[Tuesday, 01st] Another dire day of TV, relieved only by Derren Brown: Mind Control 3 [22:35, Channel 4]. Mr. Brown continues to baffle members of the public - and he can also bamboozle the clerks at the local dog track, persuading them to pay out on losing tickets! Clearly, a very useful person to know.
[Wednesday, 02nd] Wow, gosh! Some programmes again! Although Star Trek TNG offered another rather silly episode [When The Bough Breaks, 18:45, BBC 2]. The Enterprise came across a semi-legendary planet, which had been cloaked for ages. The natives were dying out and they wanted some human children to restock their planet. Dr. Crusher worked out that their cloak had destroyed their ozone layer and they were all dying from radiation poisoning, and the same would happen to the kids, which Captain Picard wasn't going to give up anyway. So solving the radiation problem meant that the aliens didn't need the kids.
We didn't watch the Channel 4 epic about Shackleton [2 hours today, 2 hours tomorrow] and the general view seems to be that we used the 4 hours to much better effect.
[Thursday, 03rd] Buffy, the Vampire Slayer was looking for someone to love [I Was Made To Love You, 18:45, BBC 2] and there was a weird new girl going round looking for Warren. The new girl threw Spike through a window and Buffy across the room. And she turned out to be a robot, which Warren had built as a girlfriend. Buffy was trying to get together with Ben, Glory's other half, Warren was trying to get out of town with a human girlfriend and everyone was rejecting Spike. Buffy was losing a battle with the robot when her batteries ran out. Spike told Warren to make him a Buffy look-alike. And Buffy returned home to Mom flaked out in a corpse-like pose!
What could follow that? Well, how about the last ever episode of To The Manor Born [19:30, BBC 2], in which Audrey bought the manor back, De Vere gave up his business career and Audrey proposed to him.
The Bill had a very strange episode in store [Loaded, 20:00, ITV] Sergeant Gilmore was causing trouble. Reg had bought a house and Des insisted on driving him to Southend to see his girlfriend. Meanwhile, Nick and the Special were investigating an artifice burglar. They tracked down a missing watch and arrested the burglar. Sergeant Gilmore, on the other hand, had no luck with finding Des and Reg, who decided not to propose to Helen. And then the Special got himself stabbed to death while harassing a blonde female motorist. Panic stations for the back-stabber!
The Hard Evidence of Aliens Among Us [23:10, Sky One] was an interesting mix of 'experts' saying contradictory things according to whether they were lying for the Government or trying to plug their own ideas and their book. A main conclusion was that modern equipment can composite images so seamlessly that no modern video of a UFO is entirely trustworthy - apart from the ones shot by NASA crews on the space shuttles - and NASA is too coy to let people study them any more. Some of the still photographs taken 50 years ago stand up to an in-depth scrutiny of the original negatives and the alternative view given by a debunker was lame in the extreme. So are there aliens among us? Who knows?
[Friday, 04th] The WWF put on a "Best of 2001" show to give the guys a night off [21:00, Sky Sports 1]. We got a top 10 Viewers' Choice of matches and various other bits and pieces of messing about. Too much - much too much - repetition of the filler videos but luckily no Top 10 of harangues!
[Saturday, 05th] The WWF soap [21:00, Sky Sports 1] resumed with an action replay of the start of the last Smackdown! - the Dudleys against Spike and Tazz with the decision going the other way and a harangue by Vince, who reckons he's the man of the year, after some tiresome stuff by Jazz. Stevo barged in and Booker and the Bossman sent him to the hospital to have his head sewn up.
Jazz is getting the invincibility treatment and Mighty Molly had to let her win. The Undertaker is on the same track and the Big Show was allowed to batter him with dustbins at the start of their Hardcore match before letting the Dead Man win. As a running gag, Stephie was trying to blag her way into the arena. The ref wasn't bothered by Kurt Angle and Y2J being in the ring together in their match with RVD and Edge, and we got a shambles. Stephie joined in Rick Flair's harangue - and she had to slap him when he got silly. Test versus Tajiri was another mismatch for Mr. Immunity.
We got a harangue from the Rock before his match with Booker, which featured interference by Vince, who was bashed by Flair. So the Bossman weighed in and Austin returned from the hospital to bash the baddie - and got a steel-chair shot on the head for his trouble.
[Sunday, 06th] Roswell High [Viva Las Vegas, 12:25, BBC 2] returned with a recap by Maria, Michael having a 'getting killed' nightmare and everyone heading for Las Vegas for a break. The group enjoyed mixed fortunes and Mike and Max ended up in gaol. After a bumpy time for some, the sheriff arrived just when peace had broken out and everyone had to go home.
Dark Knight [Shadowraiths, 13:30, Channel 5] began with Baron Dubois being shipwrecked while carrying incriminating documents and Mordour conjuring up some shadowraiths. The wraiths caught up with Rebecca and Odo and went with them to find Ivanhoe. The Ho was turned into a wraith and all 3 turned nasty when they met Ivan. Parking Dubois in a castle, Ivanhoe went off to look for Rebecca. Then the Queen turned up and the battle for the documents began. The wraiths were burned up, as were the documents, but Ivanhoe got Rebecca back.
On Stargate SG1 [Pretense, 16:35, Channel 4], the Tollans wanted the team to take part in a trial. They had taken out 2 Goa'uld mother ships and the host of a survivor wanted to be free of his Goa'uld. The Goa'uld lost the argument but they used the trial as a cover for an attempt to cripple the Tollans' planetary defences. Fortunately, Teal'c disobeyed O'Neill's orders and saved the day.
The Time Team [17:30, Channel 4] was investigating wooden posts sunk in the Vauxhall foreshore of the Thames, which meant that they could dig for just 2 hours per day of their 3 days because the tide kept flooding their site. Did the posts belong to a building, a jetty or a bridge? Phil's practical experiment involved some Bronze Age pile-driving and the conclusion of a very thin programme was that they had found a pile of a jetty or bridge.
[Monday, 07th] The Eagles faced the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay on NFL Live [00:40, Channel 5]. The Buccs' opening drive included a 36-yard pass to No. 88 and ended with a 41-yard field goal. The Eagles went 3 and out and King came on for Brad Johnson. A facemask penalty against the Eagles helped to keep the Buccs' 2nd drive going but they ended up punting. But they got the ball back 2 plays later with an interception by Lynch.
The Buccs were up close at the start of the 2nd quarter and Stecker rushed in for a TD. 0-10. Detmer got the Eagles close enough for a 34-yard FG try but the ball hit the right post. The Eagles gave up another 15-yard facemask penalty but they got the ball back with an interception. This drive produced a 47-yard FG after a fumble recovery by Tampa Bay was called an incomplete pass. A quick kick prevented a challenge. 3-10. The Buccs were inside the Eagle 5 with 2 minutes to go and they added a 22-yard FG to their score. 3-13.
The Eagles took their opening drive of the 2nd half to the Tampa Bay 36 but they had to punt after a sack on Detmer. They collected their 8th penalty on Tampa Bay's next drive [no penalties for the Buccs thus far]. There was a lot of work for the punters in the 3rd quarter.
A sack on King as the first play of the 4th quarter meant another Tampa Bay punt. Feeley came on for the Eagles at QB. Tampa Bay challenged an incomplete pass ruling and got their interception - the ball bounced off the receiver's hand and didn't touch the ground before it was picked. On the Eagles' next drive, the Buccs challenged a 4-yard TD pass to Douglas, diving in the end zone, but the ref ruled that he had his hands under the ball. 10-13. The Eagles forced a fumble on the kick-off return and grabbed the ball. They were at the Tampa Bay 24 with 2 minutes left. Another TD pass to Douglas on 2nd down gave them the lead. 17-13. 2 TDs in 26 seconds and Feeley and Douglas suddenly had statistics! Pride kicked in but the Buccs had no answer in the time available.
In Conclusion: Both teams were in the play-offs and playing each other next week. So this match was a chance to give the second and third string guys a run out, rest a few key players and test the other side. Slow at first, it had an exciting finish when the Eagles got moving.
The NFL Sunday on Monday match was the Jets at Oakland [12:00, Sky Sports 3]. Starting at their 47, the Jets ran 2 plays to score, including a 40-yard TD pass to Coles. The Raiders punted after a sack by Abraham. Coleman sacked Testaverde and the Jets punted after a second sack by Cooper. Some good work on the ground by Wheatley took the Raiders inside Jets' territory and they scored a 23-yard field goal. 7-3. The Jets went 3 and out.
Driving into the 2nd quarter, the Raiders got to the Jets' 3 and Wheatley powered in going straight ahead. The extra point kick hit the left upright. 7-9. After 3 successful punts, 2 by the Jets, the Raiders had a punt blocked and Glenn zoomed into the end zone from 4 yards out. 14-9. The Raiders went 3 and out again, but James intercepted Testaverde's first pass and an 18-yard TD pass to Williams gave them the lead again. 14-16.
On the Raiders' opening drive of the 3rd quarter, Gannon hit Rice with a big pass to get to the Jets' 27. A 44-yard FG made the score 14-19. The Jets restarted at midfield and Jordan raced 46 yards for his first rushing TD of the season. 21-19. The Raiders' next drive ended with a 28-yard FG attempt, which was wide left. Testaverde hit Coles with a 36-yard pass, he was almost intercepted - 2 Raiders had a chance at the bobbling ball - then he was intercepted by Pope. But the Raiders went 3 and out.
In the 4th quarter, Coleman recovered a rare fumble by Curtis Martin and the Raiders hit a 37-yard FG. 21-22. Testaverde dropped the ball but recovered his fumble. Then he was sacked and the Jets punted. With time running out, the Jets reached the Oakland 35 on their next drive and a 53-yard FG gave them a slender lead. 24-22. The Raiders had a minute left but couldn't move the ball.
In Conclusion: This was a must-win match for both teams. The Raiders needed to win to be 2nd seeds and get a week off. The Jets had to win just to get in to the play-offs as a wild card. This was the third loss in succession for the Raiders and they need to turn things round if they want to do more than go home after next week's match. The Jets have broken a long losing streak in Oakland.
Renaissance Secrets [18:00, BBC Knowledge] took a look at Jan van Eyck's 1434 painting the Arnolfini Wedding. The programme considered various views on the significance of its content; the couple and things in the background like the oranges, the gargoyle, the chandelier, the dog and so on; without reaching any definitive conclusions. So no secrets revealed. Get the Trade Descriptions Act warmed up, guys!
Stephen Hawking's Universe [18:30, BBC Knowledge] featured a small contribution from the Wheelchair Guy - and isn't it about time he got himself a decent voice synthesizer? What we got was a history of astronomy from the early Greeks to modern cosmologists in a programme which moved at a decent pace. A good watch, even if you've seen and heard it all before.
Enterprise, the new Star Trek prequel, opened on Sky One with a 2-hour pilot. [Broken Bow, 20:00] 90 years after the first warp flight and contact with the Vulcans, the Earthers decided to take a wounded Klingon home despite Vulcan opposition. Suddenly, the lights went out, there were aliens aboard the Enterprise, and they nicked the Vulcan. The aliens were getting orders from the far future for a reason which never became clear.
With some help from their resident Vulcan, the Earthers rescued the Klingon from an alien base inside the atmosphere of a gas giant but the Captain was left behind. He was beamed aboard in the nick of time using a transporter which was still new and untried technology. After delivering the Klingon to his home world, and helping him to pass on a secret message coded into his DNA, the Earthers were off to mess about in the universe at large. And the Vulcan female agreed to sign on as their science officer.
[Tuesday, 08th] On Star Trek TNG [Home Soil, 18:45, BBC 2], the Enterprise found that the boss of a terraforming crew was hiding something. Then one of his staff was killed and the away team found what looked like inorganic life. So they beamed some aboard and the life-form declared war on the Earthers and began to take over the Enterprise. But Captain Picard subdued it by turning out the lights and he had the planet placed under quarantine for 300 years.
[Wednesday, 09th] The NFL Game of the Week [00:50, Channel 5] was the Vikings at Baltimore. The Ravens began by going 3 and out. The Vikings, playing Wynn instead of Culpepper, fumbled but recovered the kick-off on the way to going 3 and out too. On their next possession, however, they scored a 25-yard field goal. 3-0. The Ravens lost a down at the Vikings' 12 thanks to confusion by the chain gang and began the 2nd quarter by kicking a 21-yard FG. 3-3.
On their next drive, the Ravens challenged an incomplete pass ruling on a diving catch at the sideline - but just lost a time out. They had to punt but Woodson recovered a fumble by Carter and the Ravens got up close. Then the Vikings staged an impressive goal-line stand and all the Ravens got was a 20-yard FG. 3-6. Wynn was sacked on the next Vikings possession, and they repayed the compliment on Grback to bring up a 3rd and 25 for the Ravens. Their punter dropped the ball and the Vikings recovered it at the Ravens' 10! On the next play, Wynn was intercepted in the end zone! With the half running out, Grbac hit Stokley with a 46-yard pass and the Ravens added a 38-yard FG. 3-9.
On the Ravens' second possession of the 3rd quarter, Grbac hit Sharpe with passes of 37 then 14 yards. The Ravens got to the 1-yard line, the Vikings' defense kept them out and they kicked another FG. 3-12.
The 4th quarter began with an exchange of punts. Wynn was intercepted by Harris and on their next possession, the Vikings punted after a sack on Wynn instead of going for a 4th and 9 with 3 minutes left - signalling that they had given up. The next time the Vikings had the ball, Wynn was sacked again, and Sharper recovered the ball and ran it into the end zone. 3-19. And that was it.
In Conclusion: It was a must-win match for the Ravens if they were to beat the Seahawks out of a place in the play offs. The Viking defense did a good job of keeping the Ravens' offense out of the end zone and the 'World Champions' looked far from impressive.
Tonight's Renaissance Secrets [18:00, BBC Knowledge] looked at how the dome of Florence cathedral was built. This was a genuine mystery as the architect and builder left no clues as to how he constructed the dome without using interior scaffolding. But an Italian investigator, after working on the problem for 27 years, has come up with a method which works, and he's trying it out by building a scale model. So we got a genuine secret revealed in this programme. Not that many other historians believe he's got the right answer, of course!
Star Trek TNG met Kafka [Coming of Age, 18:45, BBC 2]. Some creep was investigating everything and everyone aboard the Enterprise for unspecified crimes and Wesley was trying to get into the Starfleet Academy. Some Admiral was checking Picard out ahead of inviting him to join his political clique. And Wesley didn't make it.
The Good Life [19:30, BBC 2] was the episode in which Tom addressed the bird problem while Barbara scrubbed rust off an old range and eventually mutinied. And the rag and bone man with the villa in Spain gave them a cat, which began to chase the chickens!
[Thursday, 10th] Superman versus the Compensation Culture [Whine, Whine, Whine, 18:00, BBC 2]. Marcus, the Ranger from Babylon 5, with a truly terrible Cockney accent, sued the Man of Sup after he'd saved his life, Lois dumped Clark and the boss of Intergang got out of gaol, free and clear. Lois blew Agent Scardino's operation but Intergang's revenge helped the Man of Sup to win his case. And Lois's shrink, Mrs. Furillo from Hill Street Blues, got her a bit straightened out.
Buffy, the Vampire Slayer's Mom really is dead [The Body, 18:45, BBC 2]. Lots of coming to terms with loss and Dawn had a close encounter with a vampire in the mortuary!
An unexpected widow turned up at the funeral of Special Constable Knowles on The Bill [Not To Praise Him, 21:00, ITV 1]. The family wasn't impressed by the back-stabber and DCI Meadows was involved with a film crew doing a reconstruction of the stabbing. Helen threw a big moody and dumped Reg. Des made a Mark Antony speech, had a fight with Sgt. Gilmore and became his mate. Then the 'Crime Stoppers' TV show went out and the phones started to ring.
Horizon [21:00, BBC 2] looked at the search for the Greek town Helike, which disappeared on the night of an earthquake in 373 BC. The search moved inland in response to a new theory that the plain on which the city stood sank below sea level in the earthquake, it was flooded, and sediments from rivers filled up the lagoon. Bore holes turned up pottery fragments and a geophysics survey found walls. There were shells from tiny marine creatures in the area, proving that it had been flooded by the sea, but the walls were Bronze Age and much too early. More drilling, more pottery, more walls, more marine creatures. Was this Helike? Maybe.
[Friday, 11th] Vince dressed up a Rick Flair on RAW [21:00, Sky Sports 3], got into a rumble with him, hit Flair with a lead pipe and left him a bloody mess for our entertainment. Mr. Immunity Test was having a go at the ref as much as RVD in their match. He brought a steel chair into the ring, only to have it kicked into his face ahead of being pinned. Chuck and Billy took on Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert, who did most of the work. Billy was Wormed after he and Chuck had clobbered each other several times, but the swindle went off with the ref's help. A good laugh, though.
Y2J and Stevo were tedious backstage then Edge and Lance Storm had an amazingly short tussle, even by WWF standards - presumably to make room for the messing about, which was provided by William Regal, who attacked Edge on the ramp with his knuckle duster. Booker went at it with The Rock while Stevo bashed the Bossman in the ring at the start of their match, which went on for a surprisingly long time before Stevo nailed the Big Boozeman. Y2J was determined not to get a bumphrey in his match with Rikishi. And when Jericho and the ref finished up flattened together in a corner, the Champ sneaked out of the ring and left the ref to suffer! Tazz and Spike against the Dudleys. Again! But Hardcore style, this time, which meant that we got road signs and tables, but no dustbins. Tazz suffered a Wazzup! and there was lots of dragging tables out of the way. Bubbah bounced off when Tazz tried to put him through the table but it broke when Spike delivered a Dudley Dawg to his 'brother'. And suddenly, Tazz and Spike were the new tag-team champs!
Jerry 'The Idiot' Lawler was slobbering over the prospect of a wet teeshirt contest between Terri and Trash, but Jazz clobbered Trash and spoiled the party. Finally, we got some creep called Triple-something being tedious - until our Olympic Hero put him in his place.
[Saturday, 12th] Smackdown! [21:00, Sky Sports 3] began with Stephie going on in a voice which pushed raucous to new limits. Tazz and Spike against Christian and Lance Storm was supposed to be a walk over for the Canadians. But a Tazzmission settled their hash before the Dudleys did their sore-loser bit. The veteran Bossman put on a good show against Edge but the younger man got him in the end. Then William Regal told Edge how evil he is. Christ Jericho and Test had a titanic struggle with The Rock and RVD, who was on particularly good form. RVD and Test disappeared into the crowd, leaving Rocky to put a Sharp Shooter on Y2J.
Good Old J.R. interviewed Vince then Booker had to take on Rikishi - and oh, no! He got a bumphrey! Then he puked all over Michael Cole, who was laughing at him. Then DDP and his incredible teeth arived to cheer up The Book. Kurt Angle and Stevo began with some wrestling but soon got to bashing each other to a stand still. Enter Kane to choke-slam both of them, the Big Show to choke-slam Kane then the Triple-Tedious creep, before whom the Big Show had to lie down.
[Sunday, 13th] NFL Wildcard Saturday on Sunday [10:00, Sky Sports 3] began with the Buccaneers in Philadelphia. McNabb was nearly sacked on his first play. He got away from 'in the grasp' but he was intercepted by Jackson 2 plays later. The Buccs got a 36-yard FG out of the turnover. McNabb took off scrambling for 39 yards and a late hit penalty got the Eagles to the Tampa Bay 11. A 26-yard FG tied the scores at 3. Johnson was sacked by Walker on the way to a punt by the Buccs. A sack by Rice on McNabb made the Eagles punt. On their next possession, McNabb hit Lewis with a 16-yard TD pass to take the lead. 3-10.
The Buccs reached the Eagles' 15 after a face mask penalty but they had to settle for a 32-yard FG. 6-10. After an exchange of punts, and with the half running out, McNabb hit Stayley with a 23-yard TD pass. There was a flag but it was for a personal foul after the TD. 3-17. Keyshawn Johnson took a big pass play to the Eagle 13 and the Buccs had time for a 27-yard FG. 9-17 at half time.
There was a big blackout after the ads. We were trying to phone the NTL fault line when we were back suddenly, 6 minutes into the 4th quarter and watching the Eagles kick an extra point. Someone at Sky must have realized that they had a much shorter slot for the repeat and fast-forwarded to lose an hour or so. 9-24. Dawkins intercepted Johnson as the Buccs tried some hurry-up. A challenge failed. Starting from their 3, the Eagles made room to punt, and they got the ball back when Moore intercepted Johnson and returned the ball 59 yards for a TD. 9-31. And after that, there was no doubt that the Eagles were going to Chicago next week.
Match #2 was the Jets back in Oakland after some serious trans-continental travelling. The Raiders got all the way to the Jets' 3 but they had to kick a 21-yard FG. A 45-yard FG try by the Jets in reply was wide left. The Raiders replied with a 41-yard FG and the Jets returned their kick off 41 yards to the Oakland 48. Their drive produced a 45-yard FG. 3-6
On the Raiders' next drive, Gannon slipped and was sacked, and a false start penalty pushed the Raiders back to the Jets' 40 on a 3rd and 19. But they made enough forward progress to kick a 45-yard FG. 3-9. Morton dropped the kick off then returned it to the Oakland 48. A 41-yard FG attempt was blocked and recovered by Dorsett at the Raiders' 34. The Raiders finished the first half with a 3-yard TD pass to Tim Brown in the end zone. 3-16.
The Jets opened the 3rd quarter with a 17-yard TD pass to Chrebet in the end zone. 10-16. They challenged a pass from Gannon, which Brown caught at the sideline - and had it ruled incomplete. The Raiders punted for the 1st time. In spite of gaining 30 yards in penalties from Upshaw, one a terrible call, the Jets also punted for the 1st time. On their next possession, Harris ripped the ball away from Anderson and Jackson recovered the ball at midfield for the Raiders. Jerry Rice took the ball 47 yards to the 3 and Crockett rushed in to start off the 4th quarter. Garner then rushed in for 2 points. 10-24.
The Jets got away with an intentional grounding by Testaverde, which would have stopped their drive, and he fired a TD pass to Anderson from close in. 17-24. The Raiders replied with a 21-yard TD pass to Rice. 17-31. Testaverde was sacked again and shaken, and the Jets started to go for it on 4th down with time running out, first to Jordan to get them to the 4, and then to Chrebet in the end zone. 24-31. The Jets surprised everyone by not going for an on-side kick. They blitzed the Raiders on their first play and Garner raced 80 yards for a TD which settled things. 24-38 and the Raiders are going to New England next week.
The Stargate SG-1 team stepped through the stargate and found themselves right back - except that 15 hours had elapsed back home [Urgo, 16:40, Channel 4]. Dr. Fraiser found microdevices in their brains, which were conjuring up a fat slob, Urgo, who wanted to experience Earth. Major Carter decided that an EM pulse would cure the problem - but it was only a temporary fix. So the team went back to the source of the devices, where they persuaded an Urgo-lookalike to become the host for his creation.
The Time Team [17:30, Channel 4] was in Ancaster, Lincs, to find out why the Roman town had suddenly decided to enclose itself in a big wall and a ditch, which had wiped out a large part of the previous settlement in the 3rd Century AD. They were also looking for the boundaries of a cemetery and a Temple. They turned up pottery and bones by the basket-ful and an interesting burial in a coffin of stone slabs, but there was no sign of their temple. They concluded that the wall was built on orders 'from the top' to defend a strategic location. A somewhat less than coherent programme at the best of times.
[Monday, 14th] The NFL Wildcard Sunday on Monday [12:00, Sky Sports 3] had a less brutal solution to its editing problem - we got the highlights of the first hour of the 49ers in Green Bay. The Packers scored a TD via a pass from Favre to Freeman in the 1st quarter but their extra point attempt was blocked. 0-6. In the 2nd quarter, the Packers blocked a 49ers field goal attempt. We joined the match with 4 minutes left in the first half and San Francisco driving. They got to the Green Bay 2, then Hearst went in on the ground. 7-6.
The Packers began the 3rd quarter with a drive which produced a 26-yard FG. 7-9. The 49ers had to punt. The Pack reached the SF 19 via a big pass to Bradford and scored with a TD pass to Franks. A 2-point conversion attempt failed. 7-16. After an exchange of punts, the 49ers began the 4th quarter with a drive which got to the 14. Garcia then hit Streets with a pass in the end zone, and he was all alone to catch a 2-point attempt. 15-15.
After a second shaky return - with the ball dropped and picked up - the Packers reached the 49ers' 28, Favre was sacked at the 35 and they kicked a 45-yard FG to regain the lead. 15-18. They got the ball back when McKenzie batted a pass by Garcia to Williams. Some big plays by Green on the ground, a 15-yard face-mask penalty and a pass to Freeman got them to the San Francisco 26. Green rushed in from the 9 after the 2 minute warning. There was a challenge from "upstairs" as to whether he was down before the ball crossed the plane, but the TD stood. 15-25. When the 49ers fumbled the kick return and Bradford recovered it for the Packers, that was it. The Pack are off to St Louis next.
The "World Champion" Ravens had to go to Miami after scraping into the play offs. Jermaine Lewis fumbled the kick off return and the Dolphins grabbed the ball at the Ravens' 24. The turn-over produced a 33-yard FG. 0-3. The Ravens went 3 and out and Lucas came on for the Dolphins briefly. Fiedler was back when the Dolphins were stopped and had to punt - twice as the player who stopped the ball at the goal line on the first punt had gone out of bounds. Hartwell of the Ravens was thrown out of the match for a foul on the kick return. Grbac was sacked on his first play. But the Ravens pounded it out on the ground, driving into the 2nd quarter and Allen rushed in for a 9-yard TD. 7-3. The next four drives ended in punts. Then Minor fumbled and the Ravens recovered the ball. They tried a 40-yard FG but it hit the left upright.
The 3rd quarter started with more work for the punters, the second by the Dolphins pinning the Ravens at their 1. They were soon in Dolphin territory, helped by a 45-yard pass to Taylor and he took a TD pass from the 5. 14-3. Miami were at midfield by the start of the 4th quarter but Fiedler lost the ball when he was sacked. The Ravens recovered it and continued to run the ball straight up the middle. They were stopped at the 18 and had to kick a 35-yard FG. 17-3. A pass from Fiedler, going deep, bounced off McKnight and Starks caught the ball for an extreme bad-luck interception. The Ravens went back to pounding it out on the ground to eat up the clock. Grbac was sacked at the 23 and the Ravens kicked a 40-yard FG. 20-3. With 2:01 left, that was it. The Ravens now get to travel to Pittsburgh.
Enterprise has a brilliant theme tune called I Got Space Between My Ears, or something like that. Episode 2 [Fight or Flight, 20:00, Sky One] told us that the crew are a bunch of not very space-capable people, the torpedoes bounce off their targets and the alien doctor is totally weird. The Enterprise came across a shot-up derelict and Captain Archer went exploring - and didn't like what he found. The aliens aboard were being used as bio-factories by yet another bunch of aliens. So Enterprise bugged out, only to come back in time to run into the bad guy aliens. But a sister ship of the derelict turned up to save their asses.
Brand New Taggart [Death Trap, 21:00, ITV 1] began with a guy getting a phone message telling him to go to the window. Bang! A sniper took out the guy, who was trying to stop some tenaments being demolished to make way for an industrial development. And The Biscuit has been replaced by some woman! No sign of the Doc, either. The body was the son of a crooked politician and Jardine was chucked off the case because of his history with the politician. Then we got an ex-convict called Kennedy sneaking around, killing people, including an undercover cop, and Councillor Innes covering up the fact that an industrial site hadn't been decontaminated. Jardine went for a swim in the Clyde and got written out. Then the police duped the killer with an empty gun, which was where the whole thing collapsed. If he was ex-army, he would have checked the load as soon as he recovered the weapon. Oh, yes, and the crooked politician was discredited. As a final note, a former citizen of Glasgow recognized just one of the locations - George Square - and Mr. Wydey is now floating the theory that the series was really shot in Edinburgh, where it's always raining, too.
[Tuesday, 15th] On Star Trek TNG, the Enterprise investigated a derelict in the Neutral Zone and ran into a bunch of renegade Klingons, who wanted to go back to the glory days of the empire and start a war with someone [Heart of Glory, 18:45, BBC 2]. Worf could see their point but he was also a loyal Starfleet officer. So getting rid of the problem became a matter of arranging for the Klingons to die in battle instead of being executed as criminals. And if a few of the Enterprise's security crew were written off in the process, hey, that's life.
Snake Eyes got 4 stars and it proved to be an interesting and different film [21:00, Channel 5]. A politician was shot at a boxing match, which the champion threw to settle his debts. And the crooked cop found out that the whole thing was arrange by his best buddy, the naval officer in charge of the politician's security. The film was all about whistle-blowing on a defence contract for a missile that didn't work. There were lots of replays from different points of view as the cop worked out what had really happened, and he went from hero to zero - facing gaol time in the end. Oh, yes, and the twist was that the politician - the US Secretary of Defense - wasn't crooked!
[Wednesday, 16th] Star Trek TNG came up with a neat story tonight [The Arsenal of Freedom, 18:45, BBC 2]. The Enterprise put an away team on an uninhabited planet and came up against a weapon which evolved to better their firepower and tactics. The Enterprise got its ass kicked in orbit and the Captain and Dr. Crusher ended up down a hole with the Doc badly injured. They were just about to be wiped out by the 4th generation of the weapon when they found a computer and learned that the device was a demonstration model of the ultimate weapon. So the Captain ended up offering to buy it and that switched the demo off. Finito Benito! Threat over! Everyone safe! Talk about with one bound!
[Thursday, 17th] Clark was all revved up to tell Lois that he's Superman - when the phonel rang [And The Answer Is ..., 18:00, BBC 2]. Some punk had Tempus's diary and he was trying to blackmail Clark. 'Steal some diamonds or I tell all.' Then he kidnapped Mom and Dad and told Clark to kill Lois after he'd nicked the diamonds. And Lex Luthor's ex-butler supplied the punk with Kryptonite, which he used to subdue the Man of Sup. Fortunately, Mom came up with a way to get rid of the Kryptonite and the Man of Sup burned up the diary with his heat vision after the punk had poisoned the butler. Clark proposed at the end but we'll have to wait for the Beeb to start showing the programme again before we find out Lois's answer.
It was Mom's funeral on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Dawn wanted her back [Forever, 18:45, BBC 2]. Angel turned up at the cemetery, which isn't a bad trick for a vampire in daytime. Meanwhile, Dawn wanted to use magic to bring Mom back, despite warnings that it would go horribly wrong, and Ben stabbed Glory's head demon when he nearly gave away the identity of The Key. Spike helped Dawn to steal a demon's egg, and got chewed in the process, and Dawn got her spell together. But she chickened out when something knocked on the front door.
The Bill Do Not Pass Go, 20:00, ITV 1] were still looking for their murderous blonde. They found her white car but when they raided the home of a suspected accomplice, they found that he'd been dead for ages. Then we got a race between the uniforms and CID to lay their hands on a blonde called Kathy. Meadows got to make all the arrests and all the aggro turned out to be spin-offs from a plot to rip off a coke dealer who had been Kathy's pimp. And Special Constable Knowles getting stabbed was just incidental.
[Friday, 18th] Raw [21:00, Sky Sports 1] opened with a long harangue from Rick Flair. Y2J then Vince with his lead pipe shut him up. Come the wrestling, it was Spike against both Dudleys with Tazz just watching. And Spike won! Billy and Chuck took on The Hurricane and Tajiri - presumably because they're scared of anyone their own size. No surprise over the result. Jacqui versus Jazz was very short - even shorter than the backstage brawl between Stephie and Mrs. Stevo before it. Then Jazz had a quick pop at Trash.
There was lots of firework fog around in the arena when Kurt Angle faced up to Kane, who did a lot of bending down so that Kurt could hit him or throw him. The ref suffered a joint choke-slam with Kurt on the way to a crude swindle. Edge and RVD versus William Regal and Test was just another outing for the brass knuckles.
Booker T went for the big guy's knee when he took on the Big Show. Knocking him down so that he fell onto a turn-buckled worked and The Book got the pin! A Temporary Team Canada - Y2J, Christian and Lance Storm - plus the ref took on the APA and Rikishi. All action with a routine swindle finish. Triple-Tedious took over the ring for a harangue. Then Stevo strolled out to bash him and the Undertaker brought a steel chair to the ring to bash them both.
And just as we were waiting for the final WWF caption, a black screen. An NTL area fault meant no more telly until the morning. Good job there was nothing else worth watching.
[Saturday, 19th] Theme for the night - everyone telling The Rock they'll be fighing him at Wrestlemania, much to Y2J's disgust. RVD was very subdued in his match with William Regal and the ref didn't see the brass knuckles. The Wunn needed Chuck's help to see off Tajiri and Chuck got a faceful of red stuff. Jazz tuned up Trash again backstage before we saw DDP in the ring! Actually wrestling for a job with the WWF against the Bossman, who suffered a Diamond Cutter and went down and out.
Rocky strolled down to the ring for a harangue and Chris Jericho joined in. Rikishi had an Over-The-Top-Rope match with Christian and Lance Storm. Storm got a bumphrey before he went over and out. Once Christian had been outed too, the Big Show strolled in to lift Rikishi into the air and dump him out. Enter the APA to zap the show when not trying to zap each other, and Kane to sort both of them out.
The Dudleys beat up Spike and Tazz in the car park on film. Test versus Edge had William Regal running in and Edge flattening Regal, Test and the ref with a steel chair. Finally, Booker T and Kurt Angle took on Stevo, who did most of the work, and Triple-Tedious. The boss's son-in-law was allowed to pretend that he's good for something before the Undertaker wandered in to rain on his parade.
[Sunday, 20th] The NFL Divisional Playoff Saturday on Sunday [10:00, Sky Sports 3] began with the Eagles in Chicago and the editing was a bit more polished this week. On the opening drive, the Eagles were able to move the ball on the ground, in the air and via McNabb's scrambling. They reached the Chicago 17, had a pass dropped in the end zone and settled for a 34-yard FG. 3-0. Miller's first play was almost intercepted and he was sacked on his second play. 3 and out for the Bears. On a 3rd and 19 for the Eagles, McNabb did a monumental scramble and then hit Thrash with a pass which he took for 40+ yards. The drive stalled at the Chicago 5 and the Eagles kicked a 23-yard FG. 6-0.
The Bears were driving before and after a big edit to the 2nd quarter, which saw their offense back on the field with Matthews replacing Miller, who had suffered a separated shoulder thanks to Urlacher. After a bad roughing the passer call, Merrit dashed 47 yards to the end zone on a reverse. 6-7. The Eagles made a 4th and 1 at the Chicago 36 on the way to delivering a 13 yard TD pass to Martin, who was all alone in the end zone. 13-7 at half time.
In the 3rd quarter, Azumah of the Bears returned an interception 39 yards for a go-ahead TD. 13-14. The Eagles punted, then the Bears got off a punt of just 15 yards. Starting at the Chicago 37, McNabb was sacked by Azumah at the 42. The Eagles reached the 6 and a TD pass to Staley made the score 20-14.
The Bears kicked a 38-yard FG at the start of the 4th quarter. 20-17. The Eagles replied with a 40-yard FG after having a pass dropped in the end zone. 23-17. The Bears fumbled the kick off return and the Eagles grabbed the ball at the Chicago 35. Urlacher sacked McNabb but a 46-yard FG made the score 26-17. After another edit, we were back in time to see Matthews sacked by Douglas then intercepted on a 3rd and 19 after the ball bounced off the receiver's hands. McNabb took the ball into the end zone from the 7. 33-17. Another interception stopped the Bears and the Eagles gave up a safety instead of punting to run the clock out. 33-19 and the Eagles dominated throughout.
It was snowing like mad in New England, the pitch was covered and the scrapers had been out to expose the yardage lines. We arrived with 7 minutes left in the 1st quarter to see a drive by the Raiders end in a punt. After more punting, the Raiders got moving and in the 2nd quarter, Gannon fired a 13-yard TD pass to Jett. 7-0. The Raiders got the ball back when Harris intercepted Brady but the Raiders had to punt. The result was a touchback because the Raiders player lost track of where he was in the snow and went into the end zone. Lots more work for the punters in the rest of the half and the Patriots got a sack on Gannon.
The Patriots began the 3rd quarter by driving through the continuing snow to the Raider 5 but they had to kick a 23-yard FG. 7-3. The Raiders replied with a 38-yard FG. 10-3. After an exchange of punts, the Raiders kicked another FG from 45 yards. 13-7. An edit took us to the start of the 4th quarter and the Patriots punting after a sack on Brady. Their next drive got to the Raiders' 6 and Brady went in for the TD. 13-10. The Raiders had to punt and the Patriots fumbled and recovered the return.
The Raiders appeared to recover a fumble when Brady was sacked by Woodson, but after a review, it was ruled an incomplete pass and the Patriots kept the ball. This was the turning point of the match as the Patriots were able to level the match at 13 with a 43-yard FG and we went into overtime.
New England received the kick and kept going when they made a 4th and 4 at the Raiders' 28. And they finished the drive with a 23-yard FG. 13-16. This was a match that the Raiders lost in difficult conditions.
The Stargate SG1 team was on a planet which passed through an asteroid belt every year, and which suffered a bombardment every 150 years [A Hundred Days, 16:40, Channel 4]. Some of the inhabitants left, some didn't and O'Neill was left behind when he went for a couple of teenagers, who'd gone AWOL. A meteor hit the stargate and buried it. O'Neill had to face up to the prospect of going native but Major Carter came up with a plan for digging out the other stargate, which involved Tealc risking his life needlessly [when you think about it]. So O'Neill didn't have to stay native, which wasn't all together a good thing, he admitted.
The Time Team [17:35, Channel 4] were with divers off the north coast of Scotland on the site of a wreck, which they wanted to be part of the Spanish Armada. Lots of bits of pottery were recovered but nothing much in the way of guns - 2 iron cannons, no bronze ones. The experts even came up with a highly dodgy possible identification for the ship - the San Gabrielle, an old bucket of a transport ship. But it was all very inconclusive. But what's new about that?
[Monday, 21st] NFL Divisional Playoff Sunday on Monday [12:00, Sky Sports 3]. The Ravens at Pittsburgh began with 10:41 left in the 2nd quarter. Previously, the Steelers had intercepted Grbac and got a horrible field goal out of their turn-over, scored a TD via Zereoue and intercepted Grbac again in their own end zone. 0-10. The Ravens were driving but they had to punt. The Steelers drove to within inches of the end zone and Zereoue went in again. 0-17. Allen of the Ravens fumbled and the Steelers recovered the ball and kicked a 46-yard FG. 0-20. With time running out, the Ravens made their first 1st down of the match, converted a 4th and 1 with a pass to Shannon Sharpe and managed a 26-yard FG. 3-20 at half time.
Pittsburgh fumbled the opening kick return out of bounds and kept possession, but they had to punt. On their next possession, they started to go backwards, they punted and Jermaine Lewis returned the kick 88 yards for a TD. 10-20 and the Ravens were back in the match.
In the 4th quarter, the Steelers advanced to the Raven's 32 then Stewart hit Burress with a TD pass. 10-27. A roughing the passer penalty stopped the Ravens from going 3 and out but they had to punt after a sack on Grbac. Starting at their 47, the Steelers went 3 and out. Two possessions later, the Ravens made their first 3rd down of the match but Grbac was intercepted in the end zone by Alexander and all that the Ravens had to look forward to then was Grbac being sacked for the 3rd time.
The Steelers had an offense and the Ravens didn't, and the Steelers host the Patriots at the weekend.
The Packers received the opening kick off in St Louis. The Rams thought that they had recovered a fumble but the player was ruled down by contact. Then the Pack started to go backwards, Favre was sacked and they punted. The mighty Rams went 3 and out but Favre threw a pass straight to Williams of the Rams on 2nd down and he dashed for the end zone to score a 22-yard TD. 0-7 Rams. The Packers lost the ball when Green fumbled. Warner was sacked on 1st down and intercepted by Sharper on a 3rd and 19. Starting from their 35, the Packers were at the Rams' 22 in 2 plays and a TD pass to Freeman levelled the scores at 7. Faulk rushed from midfield to the Green Bay 11 and a 4-yard TD pass to Holt at the start of the 2nd quarter completed the drive. 7-14.
Favre was intercepted by Herring, who returned the ball 45 yards to the Green Bay 4. A TD pass to Hodgins made the score 7-21. The Packers had a kick-return for a TD called back for holding and they had to punt. On their next possession, they managed a 28-yard FG. 10-21. A 27-yard pass to Robinson got the Rams to the Green Bay 13 and they went for a 4th and 1 inside the 2 minute warning. A false start persuaded them to kick a 27-yard FG instead. 10-24.
The Rams punted and Green took the Packers 50 yards to the Rams' 32. Then Williams stripped the ball from Freeman and ran it back 70 yards for a TD - which was challened and called back when Williams was ruled down by contact at the scene of the mugging at the Rams' 31. A monster pass of about 50 yards from Warner to Holt got the Rams to the Green Bay 7 and Faulk burst into the end zone. 10-31. Favre was almost intercepted by Fletcher then a pass was tipped to Polley, who returned it for a TD. 10-38.
In the 4th quarter, Favre was almost intercepted by Herring going for a 4th and 6. He was intercepted again on the Packers next drive when the ball bounced from Green to Polley. The Rams blew up on a 4th and 1 but another Favre pass bounced off Green and went to Williams, who ran it in for another TD. 10-45. Getting their act together a bit, the Packers drove to the Rams' 9 and Favre threw a TD pass to Freeman. 17-45. A fake on-side kick caught the Rams offside, then the Packers recovered a real on-side kick. Favre was intercepted yet again when a pass bounced off one of his men, was tipped by Polley and finally grabbed by McCleon.
The Packers were killed by their turnovers and all the tipped passes going to Rams players. 4 defensive TDs!!! The Rams score of 45 was a record for the playoffs and they host the Eagles next week.
The crew of the first Enterprise [20:00, Sky One] dashed down to a new planet instead of looking at it from orbit, as their Vulcan science officer advised, and got caught in violent weather and bombarded with toxic, hallucinogenic pollen. The weather was too rough for a shuttle to land. One crew member was beamed back aboard but he ended up with bits of leaf and twig sticking out of him! But in the end, everyone was saved more or less with one bound.
The All New Taggart [Fire, Burn, 21:00, ITV 1] began with arson in a clothing factory and a body. And the new boss, DCI Burke,was tuning everyone up. Jackie was set looking for a missing person. The police had to pick a suspect from a group of explosive experts - and demolished the front door of the wrong one. Another fire bomb torched another clothing manufacturer's store and the missing man, another explosives expert, turned up dead. Burke learned that there were up to 3 more bombs in circulation and a guy called The Taxman was extorting payments.
A trap at a pay-off went comically wrong but clothing manufacturer #2 was arrested for having manufacturer #1's factory burned out. Another bomb, another pay-off. Then Burke and DS Reed went into the bomb-disposal business. The dead explosive expert's brother seemed to blow himself up but it was the widow all along. And Jackie, after moping over Michael and finding her marriage breaking up, seems not to be about to be written out.
[Tuesday, 22nd] Battle Stations [20:05, Channel 4] looked at the history of the Avro Lancaster, which began life as Roy Chadwick's Manchester bomber, which grew in size and received 4 decent engines in time for the arrival of 'Bomber' Harris in 1942. Everything came together for Bomber Command with the area bombing of Hamburg in 1943. The programme included the memoirs of former aircrew and lots of wartime footage mixed with recreations. 7,000+ Lancasters were built and 60% were lost on missions or in training. The aircraft was "the greatest single factor in winning the war", according to Sir Arthur Harris.
Face/Off [21:00, Channel 5] got 4 stars and it was "as rivetting as it is ridiculous", according to the Daily Mail. Both Nicholas Cage and John Trovolta got to play the bad guy and the good guy. Cage, the terrorsist, was zapped in a totally incompetent operation and Travolta went through a face transplant so that he could get information about a bomb from Cage's brother. Only Cage had Travolta's face stuck on him and he became the FBI agent after killing everyone who knew about the transplant!
Travolta escaped from the prison, where the inmates wore magnetic boots on iron floor so that they could be immobilized easily - and found that he was on an oil platform miles from the coast! So he had to swim for it. Then he had to persuade everyone that he was really the good guy, including his wife and his daughter. Lots of buildings blown up, a totally whacky speedboat chase and when Travolta finally got his face back, you couldn't see the join.
[Wednesday, 23rd] Star Trek TNG was the episode in which Lt. Okay Yar gets written off [Skin of Evil, 18:45, BBC 2]. Troy crashes in a shuttle on one of the Dune-like planets which the Enterprise keeps orbiting. Rikker is engulfed by a tar monster, which reckons that it is true evil. But the Captain manages to rescue Troy and the monster is left alone to fester on a quarantined planet.
[Thursday, 24th] Buffy was in need of a tune-up, slaying-wise, Spike took delivery of his Buffy robot and Glory wanted her Key [Intervention, 18:45, BBC 2]. Buffy headed for the desert while Spike played with his robot and Zander saw the robot screwing Spike in the graveyard! Glory's demons - described as Hobbits with leprosy - grabbed Spike, thinking that he was the Key, and Buffy wasn't amused when she met the robot, which had a more interesting personality. Spike was well tortured by Glory but he didn't talk and Buffy realized that he has the odd good quality amid the evil.
Like Inspector Frost in the past, The Bill did an episode with a DS (Down's Syndrome) central character [Juliet, 21:00, ITV 1]. The girl was a 19-year-old midget and the uniforms had to track her down after she went missing from home. She turned out to be pregnant and DC Spears was all set to tear the suspected father into pieces. Only he turned out to be a spiv, who'd been fired for selling condoms at the day centre just before the girl had become pregnant by another of the inmates. An episode full of messages.
[Friday, 25th] The Stargate SG1 team were zapped when they arrived on their latest planet and Harlan, the last survivor of an ancient race, told them that he had made them 'better' [Tin Man, 18:00, Sky One]. When they went home, the team soon learned that their consciousness had been switched to mechanical bodies and they needed the power source on Harlan's planet. Harlan wanted helpers for the pointless task of keeping a vast, decaying complex going. Luckily, the team found that their organic bodies were still intact, and their organic halves were allowed to go home while the mechanicals were stuck forever with Harlan. Bummer.
RVD, Tazz and Spike (in a neck brace) took on Booker and the Dudleys to open Raw [21:00, Sky Sports 1]. Quite a long match ended with the inevitable shambles and the good guys being allowed to win one. Y2J's harangue was interrupted by some jabroni dressed as a scarecrow then our Olympic Hero came out to dismantle Triple-Tedious. And The Rock had to save his ass. Edge attacked William Regal, the new Inconsequential Champion, while the ref was searching the ring area for brass knuckles. Edge eventually got hold of some brass knucks and slugged Regal, but he was too dim to take the knucks off and he was disqualified. So he slugged the ref and 3 more refs who came to the ring to help out.
After some backstage messing about, Rick Flair was tedious, helped by Vince. Finally, Val Venis and his towel have come back to the WWF! He was supposed to be grappling Mr. Perfect but Stevo and a steel chair broke it up and we got another harangue. Chuck and Billy 'beat' Kane and the Big Show with the crudest of swindles, helped by a blatantly dim ref. The Godfather is back, too - with escorts rather than his Ho's. Lance Storm got serious with him, but only very briefly.
Triple-Tedious told Steph to shut up before he joined Rocky for a match with Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho. Kurt short-circuited a People's Elbow attempt on Y2J. Eventually, everyone was lying around but Jericho managed to slosh Angle with the ring bell and he was then Rock Bottomed!
[Saturday, 26th] Smackdown! [22:00, Sky Sports 1] began with RVD going at the Inconsequential Champion at a furious pace and scoring an easy win in a non-title match. Then Edge zapped the fallen William Regal. Jacqui was the ref for the Big Boozeman versus Rikishi. The Boozeman started well but he ended up flattened. Tazz and Spike had an energetic match with Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert. Tazz was Wormed but Spike put a Dudley Dawg on Albert and a Tazzmission on Scotty settled things.
Rocky had the Coach doing the Charleston then Triple-Tedious did his Mr. Bad Temper act on Christian backstage. Booker T versus Stevo went on for quite a while with Stevo an unconvincing victor. There was lots of table shifting when Kane and the Big Show took on the Dudleys in a Table Tag Match. The Show zapped Kane 'by accident' and Kane was 'accidentally' knocked through a table to finish things off.
Jazz ground Trash into the dust in a non-title match and then we got another helping of Vince being hammy and reflective, and going on about how he was doing something desperate - but not saying what. Y2J joined the commentators for The Rock's match with Kurt Angle. He was soon cheap-shotting Rocky - and getting his come-uppance in return. The Undertaker strolled in to zap The Rock for no apparent reason then Kurt had a go at Stevo backstage.
[Sunday, 27th] Meanwhile, back at Roswell High [It's Too Late And It's Too Bad, 12:00, BBC 2], Alex is dead and Liz thinks he was murdered by aliens. Max wants her to stop her investigation and he wants to stop Isobel from going to college in San Francisco. Liz gets Shaun to help her break into the school records department, and they get caught. As the group falls apart, Liz discovers that the family which Alex is supposed to have visited in Sweden doesn't live at the address in the school records and a picture of him with a female Swedish friend was taken in front of a building which was demolished in 1994. So Liz defies Max and heads off to Sweden.
Prince John was dallying with the sinister Countess Adel, who has a scorpion tattoo, on Dark Knight [Scorpion, 13:30, Channel 5]. The Countess was wiping out anyone loyal to King Richard and she went after Ivan's dad. Then the bad guys grabbed Rowena and chucked Ivan and Rebecca into a river. Her Scorpionness put Rowena on the rack but Ivan & Co. headed to the rescue, avoiding the booby traps on the way to the dungeons.
Star Gate SG-1 - The Tollans refused to trade technology so Colonel O'Neill helped himself and ended up with a choice between early retirement and a court martial [Shades of Gray, 16:05, Channel 4]. Colonel Mayborn turned up with an offer and O'Neill joined his illegal snatch & grab team. A Colonel Makepiece replaced O'Neill as the leader of the SG-1 team. But it was all a trap to put Mayborn's group out of action and identify an SGC mole - who turned out to be Makepiece.
The Time Team was at RAF Chicksands in Bedfordshire to investigate the remains of a 13th Century Gilbertine monastery for both monks and nuns. Nothing much turned up until day 3 and one of the archaeologists spent 24 hours as a nun in the Time Team's equivalent of a Star Trek rumpus room. The result? The team found bones in a cemetery and the site of an infirmary/chapel. They were looking for the nuns' cloister but it was assumed to be under the existing buildings and inaccessible.
Inspector Frost is back [Mistaken Identity pt 1, 21:00, ITV 1]. He went to a seminar to escape Supt. Mullet and get his laundry done. Denton nick was being inspected by a bullshit merchant. Frost came home to a body without ID in a reservoir. And there was an ice cream war going on. Frost has a new bagman - female and a person of colour.
Wheelchair-bound Paul Harris and his wife were burned alive in their home. The ice cream rival turned out to be selling E's in his cones. And Frost had a dog belonging to a dosser witness in tow, to Mullet's disgust.
Frost's bagman found the murderer's hideout at the water treatment plant - a ancient nuclear bunker, and the daughter of a stable owner went missing. Frost called in a profiler, whom he had met at the seminar, and she told him that he had a psychopath on his hands. More tomorrow.
[Monday, 28th] The NFL Playoffs [00:45, Channel 5] featured the Eagles at St Louis.
The Eagles received the kick off but McNabb dropped the ball on 2nd down and the Rams recovered it at the Eagle 21. Warner hit Bruce with a 5-yard TD pass against a blitz to open the scoring 0-7. The Eagles replied with a 46-yard FG. 3-7. The Rams put together another drive which ended with a 27-yard FG. 3-10.
In the 2nd quarter, the Eagles had to punt. The Rams tried a 53-yard FG but hit the right upright. Buckhalter rushed 31 yards to get the Eagles into Rams' territory and Staley went in to the end zone from the 1-yard line. 10-10. Faulk was almost tackled behind the line but he charged about 35 yards to the Eagles' 25. A 39-yard FG put the Rams in the lead again. 10-13. The Eagles advanced to the Rams' 7, went back 5 yards for a false start, then McNabb hit Pinkston with a TD pass against the blitz. 17-13.
Murphy lost the ball during the kick off return but Sorensen recovered it at the Rams' 33. The Rams reached the Eagles' 19 but went backwards to the 24 and had to kick a field goal. 17-16. The Eagles went 3 and out. The Rams got moving again and Faulk went in from the Eagles' 1-yard line. 17-22. Conwell dropped the 2-point conversion attempt in the end zone.
The Eagles started the 4th quarter with a punt. The Rams went 3 and out after a holding penalty. Wistrom sacked McNabb and the Eagles went 3 and out. Faulk rushed 25 yards to the Eagles' 22 and hit the end zone from 1 yard out. 17-29. McNabb was sacked by Little but the Eagles made a 4th and 7. McNabb finished the drive himself with a 3-yard TD run. 24-29 with 2:56 left. The Rams went 3 and out but Williams intercepted McNabb on a 4th and 7 play. The Rams ran the clock down to 13 seconds and punted. The Eagles had 3 seconds to do something but didn't.
In Conclusion: The first half was even but the not-so-mighty Rams dominated possession in the 2nd half. But the Eagles could have won it with a bit of good luck.
NFL Sunday on Monday [12:00, Sky Sports 3] began with the Patriots at Pittsburgh.
The highlights of the 2st quarter were a 50-yard punt return for a TD by Troy Brown to give the Patriots a lead of 7-0 and a 30-yard field goal for the Steelers after a spectacular 34-yard scramble by Stewart to get the drive moving.
The Patriots were driving 2 minutes in to the 2nd quarter. The Steelers challenged a completed pass ruling and had it overturned (wrongly), leaving the Patriots with a 4th and 15. The punt went just 18 yards to the Steelers' 40. The Patriots challenged a big pass to Ward and he was ruled not to have had possession when he hit the ground, so the Steelers punted. Gildon got a sack on Brady. On the Patriots next possession, Brady got off a big pass to Brown but he was hit low by Flowers and that was his match over. Bledsoe came on and passed and scrambled to the Pittsburgh 11 before hitting Patten with a TD pass. 14-3.
The Patriots recovered a Steeler fumble on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter, the Steelers challenged and got their man ruled down before he lost the ball. The Patriots recovered a fumble on the very next play but failed to make a 4th and 7. They intercepted a pass on a free play for Stewart, but as the Patriots had jumped, all they got was a penalty against them for offside. The Steelers tried a 34-yard FG but the kick was blocked, Brown collected the ball and threw a lateral to Harris, who zoomed into the end zone. 21-3. The Steelers got the the Patriots' 4 after penalties but Zereoue lost a TD rush to a bad spot. But Bettis went in from 1 yard out on the next play. 21-10. Bledsoe was sacked, the Patriots punted and the kick was returned 29 yards to their 32. Zereoue went in straight down the middle from the 10. 21-17.
In the 4th quarter, New England challenged an incomplete pass ruling but there was no video evidence to overturn the ruling. A 44-yard FG extended their lead to 24-17. After an exchange of punts, Stewart was intercepted by Jones. The Patriots tried to settle things with a 50-yard FG attempt but the kick was wide left. The Steelers had 2:15 left and 60 yards to go to get a tie. When Milloy intercepted Stewart, that was it.
In Conclusion: Surprisingly, the Steelers weren't really in it. They had no ground game for most of the match and Bledsoe, who's been on the bench for most of the season, played like a starting QB. And the good news is that Sky is showing the Super Bowl on Sky Sports 1, not Extra, so we'll actually get to see it!
Captain B. Acula of the Enterprise [possibly the son of Dr. Acula] was in the shower and oh, no! The gravity went off [Unexpected, 20:00, Sky One]. A cloaked alien ship was following them and causing all sorts of malfunctions. The aliens were scaly, their dodgy warp drive was built by Heath Robinson & Co. and they had a super rumpus room. Chief engineer Tucker went over to fix the warp drive and he came back pregnant! While looking for the aliens, the Enterprise ran in to some Klingons, who threatened to destroy the aliens then blagged a rumpus room. And Tucker had his embryo transferred.
Back with Inspector Frost [Mistaken Identity pt 2, 21:00, ITV 1], after releasing the gardener, he had a bust-up with the tight-arsed inspector and Mullet. Harris's dad and the mother of the man found in the reservoir had been witnesses at the trial of an armed robber 13 years before, and relatives of other witnesses had also died.
Frost got landed with the missing girl case - she'd only flounced off to London - and ended up busting her dad for insurance fraud. Another trial witness died and the mad killer turned out to be the (dead) bank robber's son. Frost's shrink friend had been on the case when the kid had been taken into care and she became a target. The killer wrote himself off and the psychiatrist ended up half drowned. And Frost sent the Inspector of Constabulary packing with a flea in his ear.
[Tuesday, 29th] Star Trek Voyager offered a moderately silly episode [Body And Soul, 18:00, BBC 2]. The Delta Flier ran into aliens with a down on photonics, and the Doctor was aboard. So he hid inside Seven and took over her body, which gave him a chance to experience cheesecake, getting sloshed and being lusted after by the alien captain. Luckily, the prisoners were able to contact Voyager and get rescued. And Seven discovered that there's more to life than nutritional supplements.
On Star Trek TNG, Enterprise went though a brief time loop then it answered a distress call [We'll Always Have Paris,18:45, BBC 2]. An old flame of Captain Picard's had married a mad scientist, who was experimenting with non-linear time and seemed to be about to destroy the galaxy by accident. But Data applied a patch and saved the universe! Hooray! And we ended up in the rumpus room. Boo!
More Voyager [The Swarm, 23:30, Sky One], more aliens, Paris and Tores being zapped and the Doctor losing his memory. And nobody had backed him up in the 2 years that his program had been running so rebooting him would lose everything that he had learned! Voyager had to cross a zone of space controlled by a swarm of little ships, which clung on to bigger ships and drained them of energy. Kes came up with the idea of grafting the EMH's diagnostic program on to the Doctor just as the Swarm attacked. But with one bound, Voyager came up with a solution - and the doctor was singing again.
[Wednesday, 30th] TNG [Conspiracy, 18:45, BBC 2] Picard was called to a secret meeting by Captain Walker, an old mate, and two others. They suspected that something was going on at Starfleet and they wanted Picard to join their rat hunt. Enterprise came across the wreck of Horatio, Walker's ship and Picard headed for Earth. His old mate Admiral Quinn beamed aboard with a creature in a briefcase and started scrapping with the security mob. Meanwhile, Picard discovered that the bosses at Starfleet had been taken over and they had to eat wriggling maggots! But Picard zapped the monsters but only after they'd sent a signal out into space.
[Thursday, 31st] Buffy had to drop out of school, Ben was fired from the hospital because Glory was monopolizing his body and Dawn had been skiving off school [Tough Love, 18:45, BBC 2]. Glory thought that Tara was The Key but one taste of her blood told Glory that she was wrong. So Glory scrambled Tara's head, which sent Willow after her. The rumble ended in a draw after Buffy joined in but at the end, Glory knew that Dawn is The Key.
Some jabroni did a runner from the Sun Hill custody area but he ran right into WPC Bradford, who's new and a former inspector with the Hong Kong police [Set In Stone, 20:00, ITV 1]. Reg was having problems with his builder and a graveyard was being vandalized. The chief suspects were the yobs at a nearby day centre and there were builders going round nicking stuff off buildings. The Sexton at the church was involved in that, and he was also fitting up the yobs. And Tony Stamp didn't get off with the new arrival, to the relief of Nick, who stood to lose 200 quid if he'd managed it.
Horizon [21:00, BBC 2] looked at the Lost Pyramids of Caral. The earliest city in Peru was Casma, dated at 1,500 BC, until Caral was dated at 2,600 BC. The reason why people switched from a simple life to the organization of cities was believed to be warfare and Casma had produced abundant evidence of conflict. But Caral had no fortifications and it turned out to be a place where they grew cotton to make nets for the fishermen at the coast, 20 miles away, and they provided the growing city with fish. In fact, Caral is though to have enjoyed a millennium of peace and trade, and warfare is now thought to be a later human invention.