Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment That Everyone's Talking about? Nick Curtis on the Shows You Should Have Watched (and Still Can) and the Upcoming Must-Sees

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment That Everyone's Talking about? Nick Curtis on the Shows You Should Have Watched (and Still Can) and the Upcoming Must-Sees

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Curtis

Much has been made of the fact that Burton and Taylor (iPlayer) will be the last original drama made by BBC4 -- less of the fact that the channel seemed obsessed with fictionalised biogs of people who were already past their best when I was a child.

Richard Laxton's biopic wasn't about Richard and Elizabeth's cinematic collaborations, or the disaster epics that were their two marriages, but about a frankly bizarre occasion in 1983 when they reunited for a theatrical run of Noel Coward's Private Lives. Writer William Ivory imagined two magnificent, addled wrecks bashing into one another, unable to work out where affection ended and spite began, but the language was clunky.

"Where did he go, Richard? Tell me where my f***ing Antony went," bawled Helena Bonham Carter's Liz. "She was just tits and make-up," reminisced Dominic West's Dick of their first meeting. There were six more references to Taylor's tits, which kind of pointed up how little the living actors resembled the dead ones, tits being almost the last things one thinks of in relation to Helena Bonham Carter.

But she was, and is, absolutely the best reason to watch this. Where West was solid, HBC was luminous -- sharper, starrier, sultrier, sadder than the vulgar, overblown Taylor ever could be. This performance reminds you how fine an actress Bonham Carter is if she's kept away from the dressing-up box, and from lapsing into her Mrs Miggins default mode.

Over on BBC3, Badults (iPlayer) started off woefully, painfully unfunny and ended up hilarious. There's something lovely about the mix of sketch, sitcom and pure silliness in this first TV show from comedy troupe Pappy's, even if the idea of male simpletons in a flatshare owes obvious debts to The Young Ones, The Goodies, even The Banana Splits. Tom owed money to his bookie, Aggressive Gary. …

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