July 30, 2012
Touching moments ... Rolf Harris Paints His Dream.
Rolf Harris Paints His Dream, SBS One, 2.50pm
The premise of this documentary is slightly awkward but in spite of that it works … mostly. Harris is given the chance to realise a lifelong dream - to paint a series of pictures of the scene in A Midsummer Night's Dream in which Titania awakes and instantly falls in love with the donkey-headed Bottom. Harris recruits models Lily Cole and Lizzy Jagger and actors Emer Kenny and Dervla Kirwan to sit for him.
What emerges is a retrospective of Harris's remarkable and eclectic career that uses generous amounts of archive footage of the wobbleboard virtuoso in his various incarnations.
There are also plenty of scenes of Harris chatting to his subjects as he paints. In these occasionally cringeworthy encounters, 82-year-old Harris only just avoids coming over as a dotty old fool fixed in the headlights of youthful pulchritude. Lily Cole, in particular, seems humourless and quite unsure of the whole process, appearing to know very little about the old bearded Australian painter guy or his oeuvre.
At one stage, Harris startlingly confesses that he has never seen a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream and, in fact, has never attended a Shakespeare production, full stop. But there are still plenty of touching moments, such as when a normally reticent Lizzy Jagger explains her reason for accepting the invitation: ''How could I say no to being painted by Rolf?''
My Great Big Adventure, ABC3, 11.20am
Presented by Kayne Tremills, this is the seventh instalment in an important series tackling adolescent issues. Problems addressed in previous episodes include bullying, stress and friendship. Here the spotlight turns on body image. Tremills's bouncy style is perfect for the subject matter but what really strikes a chord are the personal testimonies, from both anonymous teenagers and celebrities. Wallaby David Pocock and Paralympic swimmer Jessica Smith both speak powerfully about their battles with body image and eating disorders. One suspects that if anybody is going to get through to youngsters, it will be hero figures such as these. If you have adolescents around get them to watch it. Better still, watch it with them.
Audrey's Kitchen, ABC1, 6.25pm
There are two ways to look at food. You can see it simply as fuel, as in ''I'm hungry, I'll grab a quick bacon butty, then get on with more interesting things'', or you can elevate eating and drinking to centre stage, as in ''I've found a fabulous recipe for the ultimate bacon sandwich. Just as soon as I've tracked down some local, hand-reared, organic bacon and a loaf of artisanal sourdough and chosen the perfect wine to accompany it, I'll plate it up.''
This blink-and-you'll-miss-it series perfectly skewers the pretentiousness of the latter with throwaway lines such as ''I'm using rock salt rather than sea salt because I find it a little less … salty''.
If it were merely a pastiche of every over-the-top cooking show you've ever seen from Keith Floyd to Nigella Lawson, it would still be good but the decision to throw in a ghastly but fragile snobbery with racist overtones makes Heidi Arena's character irresistible. ''These are eaten throughout Greece, Turkey and Lebanon as well as quite civilised countries,'' she confides. Brilliant.
RocKwiz, SBS One, 8.30pm
RocKwiz seems to have been with us forever, yet it still comes as something of a surprise to realise this is the 10th series of the baby boomer panel game. Part of its appeal is that when you tune in, you know exactly what you're going to get - a good-humoured music quiz aimed squarely at the over-40s that is as much about chat and performance as it is about answering questions. Julia Zemiro vamps it up as the question mistress supported by the ever-reliable Brian Nankervis, minor rockers take to the stage and audience members get their 15 minutes of fame. Perfect fodder for a Saturday night in.
Stella, UKTV, Saturday, 7.30pm
The latest creation by Ruth Jones (Gavin & Stacey) is a warm, gentle comedy-drama set in a Welsh village full of kooky characters. Jones plays the titular single mother of three: one's in jail, one's up the duff and one's still mercifully too young to get into too much trouble. Despite her downtrodden circumstances and the rueful air she exudes when reflecting on how life has passed her by, Stella seems a reasonably cheerful sort. Stella's best friend is alcoholic undertaker Paula (Elizabeth Berrington), who carries a portable breathalyser to ensure she's OK to drive the hearse. Paula enjoys kinky role-playing games with Stella's brother, Dai (Owen Teale), who is equally enthusiastic about all things horizontal - to the extent he finds Cranford to be raunchy viewing. Stella is also popular with awkward school crossing guard Alan (Steve Speirs), who has held a torch for her for decades. Jones, as ever, is a delight to watch, and her writing succeeds in striking a good balance on a couple of fronts. The humour is a bit racy without being crass, and the characters are affectionate without being cloying. Take the scene in which Stella gets a much-needed hug from her former husband (Julian Lewis Jones): when he spoils it with a stupid question about menopause, he suddenly finds himself in a squirrel grip instead. It might be early days yet, but the signs are good.
Run Lola Run (1998) SBS Two, 10.30pm
Tom Twyker's startlingly successful feature stars Franka Potente in the title role as the young woman who has 20 minutes to find 100,000 Deutschmarks and bring them to her boyfriend, Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu), before he commits a supermarket robbery. If the jink is not forthcoming, some very unsavoury treatment will befall Manni at the hands of the criminal, whose 100,000 marks (about $60,230 in today's money) he stupidly left on a train. From the catchy opening titles to the denouement - one of three possibilities - this is an original and wonderfully abstract speculation on the nature of fate and circumstance.
Fear Me Not (2008) SBS One, 11.05pm
Mikael signs up to a trial of a new anti-depressant drug, hoping it will result in a better quality of life, free from maulings by the black dog. But when the trial is suddenly curtailed, the 42-year-old feels inclined to continue with the medication. It soon transpires there are serious side-effects and when his sublimated frustrations segue into acts of violence, Mikael is in serious trouble. Is there a medical defence in court or must he plough on recklessly, ever-deeper into intense realms of destruction? In a chilling psychodrama, the man who has everything finds himself with a lot to destroy.
Wild Camp (2005) SBS Two, midnight
I'm not complaining but are there any films featuring Isild le Besco in which the actress doesn't get her shirt off? Here, following the trajectory of a couple of other films in which she's been prominent, le Besco plays 17-year-old Camille, a teenager who is appreciably bored in the company of her family during a holiday camping trip by the sea. Well aware of her feminine allure, she finds herself attracted to a surly, fortysomething sailing instructor, Blaise (Denis Lavant), who is regarded as a ne'er do well. Camille is an upstart, sharp of tongue and way too old in her attitude for her summer boyfriend, Fred (Yann Tregouet). She feels he needs to exhibit a bit more verve, so she flirts with the instructor, who is married to the caravan-park manageress but feeling tied down. How bored is he? Bored (or stupid) enough to take advantage of the situation or be taken advantage by it? Le Besco, now 30, has been playing 17-year-olds since she was 17. Nothing terribly new and even the very watchable Lavant is wasted.