Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Surprise Hit Lures Bigger Guest Stars

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Surprise Hit Lures Bigger Guest Stars

Article excerpt


New Tricks/ Extraordinary People: Identical Quads 9pm, BBC1/9pm Five

THIS veterandetectives series has turned into an unlikely hit for BBC1, with its combination of quirky characterisation and familiar faces. In fact, it is such a success that more familiar faces now pop up as guest stars.

Tonight sees Frances Barber playing the leather-trouser-clad author of airport novels ("I'll have some of that," remarks chauvinist Gerry (Dennis Waterman) when he sees her picture).

Kenneth Cranham appears as a Labour peer while EastEnders fans will spot Dave Hill (Walford's annoying Northerner, Bert) as a former union activist.

This week the old boys, led by Superintendent Sandra Pullman (Amanda Redman), investigate the 1975 death of a trades union secretary. This was originally thought to be suicide but now a sinister conspiracy involving government forces is suspected.

Unfortunately, Brian (Alun Armstrong) has stopped taking his medicine.

Which means he starts going bonkers. That's not only annoying for his teammates, it is irritating to watch, too. Quirky characterisation is good, but when a figure simply becomes a collection of tics it smacks of desperation. And the show's ratings prove it has no need to get desperate.


Speaking of getting desperate, how would you cope if four babies arrived in your life at the same time? This documentary looks at the life of Alison Mathias in South Carolina who gave birth to identical quadruplets. It follows the girls' development, from premature arrival to the confusion they cause at school, as well as examining the economic burden on the parents.

The Real Goodfella

11.05pm, Channel 4

This documentary is just a collection of talking heads. But what a story it tells.

The main man doing the talking is Henry Hill, the former gangster who inspired Martin Scorsese's brutal crime film GoodFellas (in which he was played by Ray Liotta).

Hill says the film was a cleanedup version of what happened. …

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