SATURDAY DECEMBER 3
Hockey (Sky Sport 2, Sky 031, noon). First the Rugby World Cup and now this: the largest hockey event in New Zealand’s history, the 2011 Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy, was given to Auckland after some governance issue with the Indian Hockey Federation. Owen Glenn was instrumental in gaining the hosting rights, and the tournament is also known as the Owen G Glenn 2011 FIH Men’s Champions Trophy. Fancy. Eight teams contest the title at North Harbour Stadium, and the tournament is said to have a television audience of 38 million.
Economy Gastronomy (Prime, 7.30pm). Dame Alison Holst would approve: a series about cutting food budgets, eating better and reducing food waste, “rather that just being more nobby cheffy stuff on telly”, co-host Allegra McEvedy told the Guardian. She and Paul Merrett invade the homes of ordinary Britons and teach them, like, wicked food skillz, yeah?
SUNDAY DECEMBER 4
Raising Hope (TV3, 7.00pm). They have good guests on Hope: tonight, it’s Mary Lynn Rajskub, last seen as the verging-on-autistic Chloe in 24, but in real life a terrific comedian. In typically warped Hope style, she plays a reverse-gender polygamist, a woman with four husbands, including Jimmy’s cousin Mike. In other guest-star news, Megan Mullally, last seen in Will & Grace, appears on Parks and Recreation (Four, Monday, 9.00pm) as boss Ron Swanson’s ex-wife. In real life, Mullally and Nick Offerman (who plays Ron) really are married.
Nature’s Miracle Babies (TV1, 7.30pm). Current affairs series Sunday takes a Christmas break, and is replaced with … cute animal babies. Aw. These babies are more special than most, because they could be the key to saving endangered species. British zoologist Martin Hughes-Games travels the world looking at what is being done for rare species such as the giant panda, pied tamarin, Asian rhino, barbary lion and aye-aye lemur.
Summer of the Shark (Discovery, Sky 070, 7.30pm). It’s that special time of the year again, just before summer, when Discovery channel likes to scare us with Shark Week, and there are some doozies. It begins with Summer of the Shark, a special about the sudden rise in shark attacks in 2008-09 that closed beaches across Australia. There’s Rogue Sharks (Discovery, Sky 070, Monday, 7.30pm), which asks if some sharks have developed a taste for human flesh. Let’s hope the answer is “no”. And there is Killer Sharks: The Attacks of Black December (Discovery, Sky 070, Wednesday, 7.30pm), about the infamous attacks near Durban, South Africa, in 1957-58 that left five people dead.
Five Daughters (TV1, 8.30pm). The way TV1 has been mucking around with its prestige Sunday Theatre timeslot this year, it’s difficult to tell when something of quality actually turns up. But at last they’ve rummaged around in the back of the cupboard and found Five Daughters, a dramatisation of the 2006 murders of five young women in Ipswich. The three-part programme was universally lauded in the UK, where it was nominated for three Baftas, and won a Royal Television Society award. Sarah Lancashire, who plays the mother of one of the murdered women, gives “the performance of her career”, said Guardian critic Vicky Frost. The Telegraph was similarly effusive about Jaime Winstone and Aisling Loftus, who play victims Anneli Alderton and Gemma Adams with “disconcerting radiance and intelligence”, it said. The key is the focus on the five women rather than, as is usual in crime dramas, to turn the killer into an evil genius who is taunting police with diabolical, elaborate plans. In reality, the murderer was a 48-year-old forklift driver, who was convicted in 2008. Writer Stephen Butchard discovered that the families were very unhappy about the media’s portrayal of the murdered women, who were all working as streetwalkers to fund their drug habits. The discovery of their bodies over a period of two weeks in wooded areas around Ipswich sparked the biggest manhunt in the UK since the Yorkshire Ripper in the 1970s. But their continued portrayal as prostitutes was demeaning. “They were quite distressed that these people that they knew and loved had ended up with the label,” Butchard told the BBC. “I was interested in who they were, and what led them to being where they were,” he says. “Just because they were sex workers on the street it didn’t mean that they were monsters or had crossed some line.” z
MONDAY DECEMBER 5
Shortland Street (TV2, 7.00pm). Uh-oh, Zlata’s daddy – if that’s who he really is – is not best pleased when he discovers Luke is going to throw Zlata over for Bella, and as quick as you can say “Romanian mafia” he’s issuing threats and taking Zlata and Bella away to a “spa retreat”. Probably Romanian for “concrete shoes”.
James May’s 20th Century (BBC Knowledge, Sky 074, 7.25pm). Need more James May? The long-haired one from Top Gear looks at inventions that have changed our lives in the 20th century. He begins with inventions that shrank the world: the telephone, airliners and, of course, the motor car. In subsequent episodes he covers the space race, medical advances, warfare, the teenager, and big-city living.
Who Do You Think You Are? (UKTV, Sky 006, 7.30pm). A new season of this fascinating series; the family history searchees include JK Rowling, Sebastian Coe, Robin Gibb, Emilia Fox, Alan Carr and artist Tracey Emin.
Strawberries with the Fuhrer (BBC Knowledge, Sky 074, 8.30pm). BBC Knowledge drops some local content into its schedule this week with NZ Young Producer Shorts 2011, a series that has been made in conjunction with the Screen Production & Development Association (Spada). Kiwi producers under the age of 30 were invited to submit proposals, and five were granted $5000 to make a documentary. The first one tonight, Strawberries with the Fuhrer, is made by Wellington’s Amy O’Connor. It’s the story of a woman who has lived in rural South Canterbury for almost 60 years and all that time has kept the secret of her father’s activities during World War II. Helga Tiscenko’s father was one of Hitler’s generals, and was executed as a war criminal. On Tuesday, Getting It Up is Emma Conroy and Catie McDonald’s doco about two couples’ struggles with prostate cancer and the loss and recovery of their sex lives after treatment; on Thursday, David White’s documentary Lex profiles a father who does mad stuff with his kids, such as build a catapult to teach them about propulsion (White is no relation to Listener photographer David White, by the way); and Friday’s A Bach Somewhere is the story of the New Zealand bach, and a man for whom the bach lifestyle has become permanent. All four documentaries screen at 8.30pm, and there is a marathon on Sunday, December 11, from 4.00pm. A fifth documentary, Porn and Piety, is yet to be scheduled.
TUESDAY DECEMBER 6
Blakey (TV1, 8.30pm). A two-hour tribute to Sir Peter Blake, who was killed 10 years ago today while sailing on the Amazon River in Brazil. It’s made by Mark Albiston, who was co-director of the acclaimed short film The Six Dollar Fifty Man. He has pulled together historical footage of Blake as well as interviews with family, friends and colleagues.
Downton Abbey (Prime, 8.30pm). What eventful lives the Edwardians led, to be sure. The Downton Abbey metronome seems to sway back and forth from bedroom farce to melodrama, from carting a dead Turk back to his room to the deathbed marriage of William and Daisy (and not a dry eye in the house). The deathbed scene seems to be a favourite of writer-creator Julian Fellowes, and there is one tonight as the Spanish influenza sweeps through the land and Lady Grantham, Carson, Mosley and Lavinia all fall ill. Never mind, there’s also a wedding!
The Kennedys (Prime, 10.00pm). THE episode. The one that recreates the day JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, in 1963. It’s not a straight chronology, however; the episode contains a number of flashbacks to events leading up to the Kennedys’ visit (Jack was there to mend fences between the liberal and conservative wings of the Democratic Party). There’s the death of Jack and Jackie’s newborn; the affair with Marilyn Monroe (Charlotte Sullivan) that Jack ends by having his brother Bobby (Barry Pepper, who won an Emmy in September) warn Marilyn off, and her subsequent death; there’s the disagreements between Bobby and Vice President Lyndon Johnson (Don Allison). And there’s Lee Harvey Oswald (Ryan Blakely), carrying a rifle into the Texas School Book Depository in a brown paper bag. However, if you were looking for new fuel for the conspiracy-theory fire, it’s not here: probably wisely, the assassination isn’t fully recreated.
WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 7
Find My Family (TV1, 7.30pm). An Australian version of a Dutch series that’s quite a bit like Missing Pieces. People search for family members they never knew – tonight, Lynda, whose mum had a one-night stand and only knows Lynda’s father’s name and that he was in the navy; and Amelia, who has discovered she has a sister.
THURSDAY DECEMBER 8
Benidorm (TV1, 9.30pm). As old-fashioned a Britcom as ever there was. The broad humour quotient is high in this comedy about the English working-class at a resort hotel somewhere on the coast of Spain.
Kitchen Nightmares (TV2, 9.30pm). A new series of Sweary McSwearypants telling hapless American restaurant owners what to do. He begins with Mojito, a Cuban eatery in Brooklyn, New York, where the owners’ marriage needs saving along with the restaurant. Gordon Ramsay as a marriage counsellor? We’re not seeing it.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 9
Good Morning Christmas Special (TV1, 9.00am). Good Morning signs off with music (Adeaze, Elizabeth Marvelly, Annabel Fay, the Howard Morrison Trio) and prizes.
Rugby Sevens (Rugby Channel, Sky 037, 10.30pm). Coverage of the IRB Sevens World Series is pretty limited, for the first two rounds of the tournament anyway; here’s round three from Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Next stop, Wellington.