TV Listings | It's a righteous ripper!
Pick of the week: Ripper Street
BBC Entertainment, Sat 21:00 (repeated Sun 23:55)
It can be quite a humbling experience when entertainers you dislike disappear, reinvent themselves and return to make you worship the ground they walk on. I’m thinking of the likes of Mark Wahlberg and Mickey Rourke – not so much Luke Goss or MC Hammer.
But it pales into comparison with the feeling you have when you’ve read them their last rites only to years later love them without recognising them. It was only by chance I realised the actor who played Bronn in Game of Thrones (the bodyguard of the imp) was the same Jerome Flynn who, along with his Soldier, Soldier co-star Robson Greene (busy winning street-cred back on Strike Back), sang a nauseating version of ‘Unchained Melody’ in the 1990s.
Thrones was Flynn’s first live action role since an ill-advised outing in 2000 as Bobby Charlton. And in his role in the ongoing BBC drama series Ripper Street (a solid 72 on Metacritic), which this year made it onto the Guardian’s best shows of 2013 list and got renewed for a third season, he is fast establishing himself again as one of British TV’s most bankable stars.
Set in 1889 in Whitechapel just a year after the Jack the Ripper murders, the saucy one’s deeds cast a shadow over the local nick where Flynn’s Det Sgt Bennet Drake simmers with a brooding intensity – even outshining the always dependable Matthew Macfadyen in the lead.
“The story examines complex human motivations and cuts through to the guts of what it means to be evil and/or human,” praised the Guardian. “And it did this while looking truly stunning.”
As a period procedural, the attention to detail is impressive – from the costumes and sets to the varied accents – whilst the direction, writing and acting pull together to produce a compelling drama.
And the interest for Thrones fan doesn’t stop with Flynn. Shot in Dublin, several cast members took the opportunity in between shooting in Belfast to film episodes, including Iain Glen.
Coming Soon: The Spoils of Babylon
This six-part miniseries is part-homage to and part-spoof of the overly grandiose, televised novels of the 1970s and 80s.
Will Ferrell plays Eric Jonrosh, a fictional author who introduces us to the TV adaptation of his debut novel episode by episode.
His novel focuses on the changing fortunes of Texan oil prospector, Jonas Morehouse (Tim Robbins), and his efforts to keep his family’s empirical designs on track while attempting to keep his daughter Cynthia (Kristen Wiig) and adopted son Devon (Tobey Maguire) from consummating their lustful relationship.
The saga features cameos by Val Kilmer, Michael Sheen and Jessica Alba, but it is Ferrell who steals the show.
As you would expect, he is perfect for his role as the pompous, self-important auteur Jonrosh, which he plays like a drunken parody of Orsen Welles. (CJ)
The ratings for the new drama series this week demonstrate how some sites are more reliable than others.
Scoring 7.9 on IMDB but 49 on Metacritic, you will hate Angry Boys (SVT2, Sat 23:00) if you’re not one of the fans of Aussie comic Chris Lilley who bumps up ratings on websites.
The why-did-they-bother remake of Ironside (SVT1, Fri 22:00) failed spectacularly on both sites, and the BBC carefree Greek legends romp Atlantis (SVT2, Sat 18:15), starring the chubby Mark Addy as Hercules, didn’t fare much better.
Touch (TV2, Sat 22:50) was a hit on IMDB, but critics concurred that Keifer Sutherland saves this drama about a mute boy who can see patterns in plants from being an outright flop.
Elsewhere, the queen of pop reveals all in Gaga – the Monster Mother (BBC World, Sat 16:30 or 22:30); Inside Claridge’s (DRK, Wed 22:15) treats us to a stay at the London hotel; and don’t miss an evening of recently-made Mandela docs (DR2, Tue 21:00). (BH)
Sport of the week
By the end of the weekend, we will know the NFL (TV3+, Sun 20:30 NFL Divisional Playoffs) teams contesting Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2. Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots in the first playoff followed by Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers. If you prefer basketball, you can see four live NBA (DR3, Mon 19:00) games – the pick of which must be Chicago Bulls vs LA Lakers. Or maybe you prefer something more sedate like snooker. Although the final of the sport’s top invitation tournament, The Masters (Eurosport, Sun 19:45 The Masters Final), does tend to go down to the wire. (BH)
Film of the week
If George Clooney’s one thing, he’s consistent, although his political drama The Ides of March (TV2, Sun 21:00) might need a dirty campaign to see off the alien caper Paul (TV3, Sun 21:00) starring Simon Pegg. Also recommended are Emma Stone in the high school satire Easy A (TV3, Wed 20:00), Russell Crowe in The Next Three Days (SVT4, Fri 22:15), a 2010 thriller from Paul Haggis (Crash). Dramedies Young Adult (SVT4, Sat 21:30) and The Rebound (SVT1, 00:15) divided opinion, while Taxi Driver (SVT2, Fri 22:15) and Blow Out (DRK, Fri 20:45) are outright classics. (BH)