Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Much to Admire in New Shakespeare; IN & OUT TONIGHT

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Much to Admire in New Shakespeare; IN & OUT TONIGHT

Article excerpt



Much Ado About Nothing 8.30pm, BBC1

DO NOT be put off watching this if you are not a Shakespeare fan.

In fact, anybody, don't be put off watching this - it's a glorious piece of television.

This drama (the first of four Shakespeare adaptations) takes the Bard's story and transfers it to the modern world. And it is a mark of the original's timelessness that it has been turned into such a beautifully realised, contemporary comedy of love, lies and jealousy.

It still has all the improbabilities that come with a Shakespeare comedy, but they're part of the fun. Set at the regional TV news magazine Wessex Tonight, it centres on Beatrice and Benedick, the programme's two anchor presenters who, thanks to a failed romance in the past, are bitchy, sniping rivals (she calls him the man who "put the W into anchor").

Sarah Parish and Damian Lewis are excellent as the sparring twosome - who, beneath the catty remarks, clearly still fancy each other. So much so, that their colleagues band together to trick them into rekindling their love affair.

Billie Piper gives a wonderful performance as the dizzy weather girl Hero - "there is just one word to describe the weekend weather, and that word is: very changeable" - and Martin Jarvis takes a break from reading audio books to make a rare screen appearance as her father, Leonard. If you are being picky, you might say Much Ado is a tad long at an hour and a half. But, to be honest, the production fizzes along so well, with a slick and witty script by Cold Feet writer David Nicholls, that the time is barely noticeable.

All in all, one of the year's most enjoyable dramas.

Sitcoms That Changed The World 10pm, Five

The first in a new series looking at types of television that have altered the world - sitcoms, drama and, er, makeover shows. This opener, narrated by Caroline Aherne, pictured, traces the history of comedies. Some of the programmes featured have genuinely helped change people's outlooks - such as Till Death Us Do Part, M*A*S*H and The Cosby Show.

But honestly, in what way have Friends or Only Fools And Horses - decent comedies though they may be - helped change the world?

Trial And Retribution 9pm, ITV1

It's the ninth outing for DCS Mike Walker in Lynda La Plante's gritty crime drama series, so we have a pretty good idea of what to expect. And this doesn't deviate much from the formula (although it is less bloody than some of its predecessors).

David Hayman, left, once again plays Walker, a detective who always reminds me of a golf ball - not because he's small, white and puckered (although he is), but because inside he's a tightly wound ball of energy.

This time he and DCI Roisin Connor (Victoria Smurfit) have to investigate the case of a man who vanished while on a shopping trip between his wedding day and his honeymoon. …

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