Once established, it’s hard to get rid of an aversion to films and TV series in which all the leads are women. While some are just plain horrid (Steel Magnolias, Charlie’s Angels), others cajole you into thinking you’re safe, make you care and then eat away at you from the inside, by which time it’s too late.
Think Sex in the City, Desperate Housewives.
But every so often we get another Tenko, and this year that honour falls to The Bletchley Circle, a miniseries set in 1952 about four female Second World War code-breakers who reunite to track down a serial killer.
The Guardian commended its “goodish plot, strong cast and touches of ‘50s period noir”. However, it did ask “why every bloke in dramas with strong women leads is either dull, stupid or feckless?” Good point: maybe that’s why these all-female affairs grate so much.
Also with strong female leads, Labyrinth, an adaptation of Kate Mosse’s bestseller set in both modern day and 13th century Europe, is spanking brand new – looks like it’s premiering all over Europe at Christmas. It’s therefore to ascertain its quality, but it looks promising.
As do the docs. Two classics are revisited for a different take in Spike Lee’s Bad 25 (SV2, 29 Dec, 22:30) and The Real King’s Speech (DRK, Sat 22:45), while Everyone loves Christmas Films (SV1, Mon 22:40) looks like your best bet for fond festive nostalgia. And finally, the BBC is walking the talk in Planet Dinosaur (SV2, Jan 2-4, 19:10), another series about them big lizards.
Elsewhere, there’s another chance to see Ken Follett’s 12th century miniseries The Pillars of the Earth (DR2, from Tue 21:00); we’ve got the final of the US X Factor (DRHD, Dec 30, 20:00), the last ever episode of Entourage (SV2, Tue 22:45); and the 2012 Xmas edition of Downton Abbey (SV1, 29 Dec, 21:00); opera fans should love Plácido Domingo – My Greatest Roles (DRK, Dec 30, 20:00); there’s a new series of An Idiot Abroad (29 Dec , SV1, 22:35); while your favourite Xmas movie may very well be Lawrence of Arabia (SV2, Tue 14:55), Where Eagles Dare (TV3+, Mon 21:00), Funny Girl (SV2, Dec 31, 23:15), or any of the Star Wars films (DRHD, Tue & Wed, 17:50 & 18:05).