[Wednesday, 01st] Castle [20:00, Alibi] A dead art gallery owner, Mr. Fink, fake security cameras, 5 shell casings at the scene but only 4 bullets. A guy with amnesia had the 5th bullet in his copy of War & Peace. The sacked assistant said Fink had been getting him to do forgeries, and Mr. Haroon, from the Bahrain embassy, became a customer-suspect.
Castle ID'd the amnesic's dog and reunited Jeremy with the dog and his ex-wife. Jeremy had the murder weapon in his apartment, so he ended up in a cell. A Fink fake was also there. Haroon had the real painting and he said he got it from Darius, Fink's new assistant. He had stolen it from Jeremy, and he was a counterfeiter and identity thief. So he was much busted.
Burn Notice [22:00, FX] Mike went after Conrad, a Polish military intelligence office, to find out what was on the flight Gilroy was so interest in. Conrad turned out not to be an easy target, so Mike set Fee on him and helped Sam with Isabella's case. Tim was suspected of stealing from her, but Mike was with Tim when they found Isabella's body and a frame-up job against Tim.
Mike & Sam went after Damon, Isabella's partner, and his partner, Rick. Tim screwed up and got himself busted but Mike & Sam got Damon & Rick busted. Conrad came up with the goods it's not a 'what', it's a 'who' on a rendition flight. Gilroy wanted Mike's help to spring whoever would be on the flight. [Tony Blair? Ed.]
[Thursday, 02nd] How The Earth Was Made [19:00, History Channel] looked at how Death Valley went from sea bed to a huge freshwater lake to the hottest spot in America, which has lethal flash floods when it gets its entire 2" of rainfall in a day, and rocks which move "of their own accord". Gold and borax mining has drawn people there, but it's mainly a happy hunting ground for geologists and extremophiles.
Classic Albums (2002) [20:00, Sky Arts 1] Def Leppard took 4 years to make Hysteria, and they spent so much money that they had to sell 5 million units to break even! But their 3rd album sold 6 million and this one went to 12 million. The band, guys from Sheffield, also broke through in their own country with this album. Rick, the drummer, survived the loss of an arm in a car crash and kept his career going. "Mutt", the producer of the first albums, wasn't going to do this one but he relented eventually and made it happen.
CSI:Miami [Meltdown, 21:00, Five USA] A customer was whacked in a jewellery story heist and the thieves vanished. No, they drove their motorbikes into a truck driven by Jake, an undercover cop, who whacked another gang member just before the cops found the truck and loadsa discarded diamonds.
Surprise! The killer thieves were women and one had used the guy who was shot in their plan. They were after gold, not the laser-tagged diamonds, which disappeared from the police evidence lock-up! The Feds told Horatio that the gang had been operating all over the country. The bad gals were popped eventually, and they'd made motorcycle parts out of the stolen gold. But the diamonds never did turn up.
Chuck Versus The Fear of Death [22:00, Living] Sarah went on a wild goose chase after Frost, Chuck was messed about by shrinks for a month because they thought his Intersect had been blocked, not unloaded, Casey didn't go on a mission for a month and Lester & Jeff started stalking a new Greta, a lethal CIA agent, at the Buy More.
Agent Rye was brought in to scare Chuck into using his Intersect. Chuck & Rye went on a mission against The Belgian who, they discovered, was selling fake diamonds containing microdots of CIA intel. Casey defused the Greta situation. Chuck was on the microdot! The Belgian knew that Chuck was the Intersect. Agent Rye was shot and The Belgian took Chuck prisoner because he wanted the Intersect.
[Friday, 03rd] How The Earth Was Made [19:00, History Channel] For those who were around on May 18th 1980, this episode is a trip down memory lane to Mount St. Helens and the first sideways eruption ever seen. The volcano was rotten on the inside due to the effects of hot, acidic water, and one of the largest landslides in history after an earthquake, meltwater and the sideways eruption sent 65 cubic miles of mudflows with the consistency of wet concrete out to scour the landscape.
A catastrophic flood of Spirit Lake was averted when geologists worked out the effects of an eruption 4x stronger some 3,000 years ago. St. Helens did a bit more rumbling in 2004, but nothing much happened. And the 1997 Monserat eruption was the 2nd ever lateral blast.
The Mental Case [Ball of Firej, 21:00, Channel 5] Jane went to buy some fruit and was kidnapped by a killer. Chained up in a cellar, Jane tried to hypnotize the guy but he was shot by a 'mastermind', Rachel, who who was even crazier than Jane. The Feds were called in so Rigsby had to work with Van Pelt's new boyfriend.
Lisbon went to gaol to chat to a killer who wanted the death penalty off the table as the price for information. Rachel wasn't at home when the CBI kicked her door down. The nutter added Lisbon to her collection. Jane tried to scam her but failed. Luckily, Ms Hightower, the boss, arrived in time to blow Rachel to hell and gone.
[Saturday, 04th] TNA Impact [21:00, Bravo] We started in the middle of a 4-team tag shambles, and Flair's losers lost again. So they turned on the ref and Morgan sorted them out. Tara zapped Mickie while she was doing her new single. Douglas Williams versus Flair loser Kazarian looked like it would be a wrestling lesson on the way to a swindle, but the loser lost again! Lots of messing about.
Sarita spent most of the match on the floor while Angelina & Medicine beat each other up, then she nipped into the ring to take advantage of Medicine's swindle. Morgan versus the scumbag Rhino involved a lot of lying down and a bit of bleeding by Morgan. Enter the losers. Yawn. So RVD kicked Rhino's ass and Mr. Kanderson put the losers to flight.
Meanwhile, Mickie & Tara were lumping it in the car park. Robbie E. & Jay Lethal messed about. Abyss + Jarrett versus Samoa Joa + the Pope was lots of bashing. The ref was killed, Jarrett got a cardboard guitar and Joe was DQ'd for taking it off him. Then Kurt Angle appeared from the ringside coffin and chased the bad guys away.
[Sunday, 05th] NFL Sunday [18:03, Sky Sports 4] The Jaguars at the Titans. The Jaguars had most of the first quarter, they pounded the Titans on the ground and their opening drive ended with a TD run by Jennings. Their next drive went to a punt in the 2nd quarter but Cox intercepted Collins right away.
The Jacksonville steamroller carried on with Jennings and Jones pounding as well as Jones-Drew, and Garrard hit the end zone on a bootleg. 14-0. The Titans blew up on a 4th & 7 at the JX 42 and the Jags added a FG as the half ran out. 17-0.
In the 3rd quarter, the Titans stopped the Jags with a sack, they passed to set up the run, Scaife dropped a certain TD pass and the Titans had to settle for a FG. 17-3. The Jags had a 49 yard FG try blocked, the Titans began to show some fight, they converted a 4th down via a pass interference penalty, they made another 4th down in the 4th quarter, but just a FG at the end of it. 17-6.
MJ-D went over 1,000 yards' rushing for the season. A 48 yard FG try hit the right upright. The Titans tried to go hurry up but got nowhere. The Jags ran time off the clock but blew up on a 4th down. Mincey sacked Collins, Middleton intercepted Collins, MJ-D rushed 37 yards, the end. A great power performance by the Jags. Where have they been all season?
Next, the Raiders in San Diego. Huff sacked Rivers, the Chargers punted but they sent the Raiders 3 & out. But the Raiders recovered a fumble on the punt catch at the SD 18 and on 4th & 1 at the 9, Campbell went in on a bootleg. 7-0. Huff returned an interception to the SD 41, the Raiders made another 4th down and Cambell hit Ford with a TD pass. 14-0.
The Chargers managed a FG early in the 2nd quarter. 14-3. The Raiders pounded some more to a TD run by M. Bush through tackles. 21-3. T. Kelly sacked Rivers and the Chargers went out on downs. They got the ball back from a forced fumble but a 50 yard FG try was short.
In the 3rd quarter, McFadden did some solid rushing but, surprise, the Raiders did themselves a lot of damage through penalties. Sacks by Wimbley and Houston held the Chargers to a FG. 21-6. Their next drive, in the 4th quarter, was helped by penalties on the Raiders and went to a TD pass to a wide-open Gates. 21-13.
Oakland notched up their 12th penalty. San Diego's 2nd kept their drive alive, the Chargers set an NFL record by having 12 men on the field on successive plays(!), and a TD run by McFadden made it 28-13 with 4:35 left. So the Raiders blitzed the Chargers off the field and ran out the clock. Where has this Raiders' team been all year?
[Monday, 06th] How The Earth Was Made [19:00, History] did gold, focussing first on California, where there are extended veins of gold-bearing quartz running parallel to the coast as a result of plate tectonics. Next to Nevada, where specks of gold are found with lots of silver as a result of vulcanism. Finally, invisible gold, where 10 tons of rock have to be processed to snatch a single ounce of gold from the Carlin Trend due to deposition of gold particles a few microns in diameter from an acidic fluid rising up from deep in the Earth to permeate porous rock.
Colditz: The Legend [23:00, Yesterday] What was it like to be a prisoner here? This 2010 programme tells you, mainly through interviews with relatives of the prisoners. Oflag IVC was supposed to be escape-proof, which didn't deter Major Pat Reid, an engineer, who wrote the book of the film (among others). The French were the first to escape and the Poles screwed up a British plan, forcing international co-operation.
The programme promised a tour of the castle but failed to deliver anything comprehensive. Life was boring if the prisoners didn't make some entertainment, Red Cross parcels were essential and there were lots of "Dear John" letters. Airey Neave was the first British officer out. Pat Reid also made a "Home Run".
The prisoners spent over a year building a glider in an attic for a last ditch escape, but never used it. Mike Sinclair was killed making the last escape attempt in September 1944. In April 1945, the prisoners had to make and fly a Union flag to stop the Yanks from shelling them! None of them expected to be stuck in Colditz for up to 4 years.
[Tuesday, 07th] Monday Night Football replay [20:00, ESPN, half an hour late because ESPN shoved in half an hour's pointless fillers to fuk with the customers' heads] The Jets @ the Patriots. The Pats started but managed just a FG. 3-0. The Jets went no-huddle, wasted a challenge and their kicker screwed up a 33 yard FG try. The Patriots reached the Jets' 1 on pass interference, TD run by Green-Ellis. 0-10.
2 drops by Holmes left the Jets punting, and the kick went just 12 yards! So that was a TD pass to Branch on a 4th & 3 at the NJJ 25! 0-17. The Jets managed a FG early in the 2nd quarter. Then the Pats went back to business and the Jets didn't challenge a dodgy TD award. 3-24. In the rest of the quarter, Smith then Harris sacked Sanchez and Holmes managed to hang on to a pass.
In the 3rd quarter, the Jets survived a fumble by L.T., they made 4th & 1 at the NE 15 then Sanchez threw a pass straight to Spikes for a pick. The Pats ripped through the Jets again. TD Welker through a tackle. 3-31. McCourty picked off a deep pass by Sanchez, Woodhead went 50 yards and a TD pass to Hernandez started the 4th quarter. 3-38.
Sanchez threw another pick straight to 36. The Pats made a 4th & inches easily, and Green-Ellis made another TD run. 3-45. The Jets went out on downs at the NE 9 and there was no more scoring. A dominating performance by the Patriots. The Jets were rubbish.
[Wednesday, 08th] Stargate Universe [21:00, Sky Two] Destiny picked up an energy signature off the ship's course and found the graveyard aftermath of a huge battle. A gang went out in the shuttle went out to look for stuff they could salvage. Eli found that some of the stuff was dormant, not dead, Destiny came under attack by a fleet of drones, and the FTL drive was put out of action.
The seedship with Col. Telford aboard dropped out of FTL and led Destiny though the corona of a nearby star. The aliens aboard the seed ship wanted Destiny to help destroy the drones by taking out their command ship. The aliens swindled Col. Young before he could swindle them and Chloe did something disastrous. So Destiny had to make a strategic retreat.
Burn Notice [22:00, FX] Mike went for a ride with Gilroy and away from Sam's protection. Gilroy wanted to buy a .50 calibre machine gun from white supremacists but the deal went south. Mike tried to tell the Feds about Gilroy's plan but they were useless. Fee took a job from a scammer and ended up with an Argentinian kidnapper with a sob story. She had to tell him a sob story of her own to survive when she ducked out of Mike & Sam's protection.
When Gabriel's next kidnapping attempt fell through and his prisoner was rescued, he tried to self-destruct but Mike saved his sorry ass so it could rot in gaol. Gilroy diverted the rendition flight instead of hijacking it. And he had time to tell Mike that he (Mike) was the next target just before the ungrateful freed prisoner blew up Mr. Gilroy!
[Thursday, 09th] Castle [20:00, Alibi] Sophie was dead in a wardrobe to get out of Kira's wedding. Shock, horror! Castle used to know Kira in every sense of the word! The best man was missing; Sophie had bought roofies from a dealer to drug Mike to get access to the groom's room. Beckett had Kira as first reserve suspect. Sophie, with $18 in her bank account, had suddenly started paying lots of cash for things. So the sugar daddy uncle fell into the frame, and the wedding went ahead.
CSI:Miami [Mommie Dearest, 21:00, Five USA] A woman was battered to death savagely, apparently by an intruder. The Cheesies found that there was a monster in the household, and it was Mom. The daughter said she hit Mom once to protect Cody. Horatio pointed out that Mom had been clobbered nine times. The hunt for the stolen diamonds was still on.
Cody said he had a brother. Bradley died because Mom made him drink lighter fluid. Cody eventually admitted justifiable homicide of his monster Mom and his sister admitted posthumous bashing to take the blame.
Chuck Versus Phase Three [22:00, Living] Sarah wants Chuck to flash; no, the Belgian is still experimenting on him in Thailand and giving Chuck horrible dreams. Sarah & Casey invade the Thai embassy and grab one of the Belgian's guys. They take him to the Castle and Sarah locks up Casey while she questions the guy with prejudice. She goes off to Thailand alone to look for Chuck.
There's a laptop in Ellie's dad's car and Devon calls in Jeff & Lester to get it working. Morgan persuades Casey to take him to Thailand, and they help out when Sarah doesn't do too well as a MMA fighter. Chuck has one bad dream after another, and the next plan is to wipe his mind! But Chuck is rescued (or is he?) and, back at the Castle, the General decides there's still a job for Chuck, minus the Intersect, to do.
Ellie provides a password for her dad's laptop. "Oh, my God!" Fade to black.
[Friday, 10th] The Mental Case [Red Moonj, 21:00, Five USA] Two dead deputies and a local woman, the cops traumatized. A fake psychic offered his services, so Patrick Jane had a lot of fun with him. A trucker who had tried to date the dead waitress was harassed. Tod, the fiancé, jumped another suspect. Hightower let Jane talk him out of revenge, but he told Tod how to pretend not to be after revenge.
Van Pelt turned up a string of cop murders. The suspect became a fireman. The sheriff was killed while on the phone to Lisbon. Jane made the psychic a suspect and set Tod on him. Of course, Jane had spotted that Tod was the crazy killer and Tod managed to set fire to himself in his holding cell so he didn't tell Jane his big secret.
[Saturday, 11th] Leslie Nielsen [19:00, .bio] He spent his early days in frozen Canada with a violent father. He didn't crack Hollywood after the war so he learnt the craft of acting in Toronto then in live TV in New York. He went through a first marriage while making films and he became reconciled with his father during marriage #2. His career went up and down but he was able to keep working as a jobbing actor.
The most important film of his career came along at the end of the 1970s: Airplane! Leslie Nielsen reinvented himself from a straight actor to an actor playing comedy with a straight face. Marriage 3 came and went. He never married the 4th lady in his life. Thick Americans didn't get his excellent TV series Police Squad, but they did get The Naked Gun and its sequels.
Classic Albums: Who's Next [20:05, Sky Arts 1] Pete's most ambitious concept album grew out of an impossible-to-grasp plan for another rock opera, like Tommy, but done as a film. The band was taken to a high-tech studio in New York to record some songs, but that didn't work out. So they scrapped the film idea and made an album of the film's songs in England. It became what The Who is all about and a reflection of the band's stage presence, and an album destined to stand the test of time.
TNA Impact [21:00, Bravo] Ink Inc. had to lie down for Blubber Dudley + a fake D'von until it was time for Jesse to kill the fake. Which didn't stop the match for no apparent reason, so the fake was killed all over again by the Inky ones, and yet again by Blubber. Tara did a turn with her band and, natch, was jumped by Mickie. Gunner + Murphy versus the Guns was another lie-down job until it was time for the Guns to get stuck in with the bad guys' night sticks.
Sarita + Daffney versus the Beautiful People put the blokes to shame, Sarita did a lot of trash-talking to Velvet and Angelina killed the zombie. Abyss versus Douglas Williams was monster versus man and an obvious no contest; unless the monster exposed a turnbuckle and self-destructed on it. J.J. twatted about, pretending to do MMA.
Finally, Mickie & Tara started bashing before they reached the steel cage. They knocked lots more lumps off each other inside, and Mickie did a suicide plunge off the top of the cage for a pin!!! And made the blokes look like a buncha bitchy little girls!
[Sunday, 12th] NFL Sunday [18:04, Sky Sports 3] The Bucs in Washington, where it was wet, cold and skiddy. Torain made a 55 yard run in the Skins' first drive but the kicker missed a 33 yard FG try. A sack on McNabb stopped their 2nd drive, the Bucs continued to go 3 & out and Torain reached 114 yards' rushing in the first quarter!
Mr. Gano doesn't look like he'll be with the Skins much longer. He missed a 24 yard FG try in the 2nd quarter. The Bucs started to do well but fumbled the ball back to the Redskins, who reached the TB 1 on a 3rd down and sent Paulsen into the end zone for a TD on 4th down. Barth showed everyone how to kick a FG to put the Bucs 3-7 down. The Redskins got close as the half ran out, totally bogged up their clock management but Gano managed a FG. 3-10 at the half.
The Bucs recovered a fumble of the Skin's 3rd quarter kick off return but managed just another FG. 6-10. Freeman was sacked by 93 + 64 on their next drive, and they were held to another FG. 9-10. The Skins started going 3 & out now!
In the 4th quarter, it was Freeman to 17, 43 yards to the WR1, fumble to the Skins on the next play!! 3 & out for the Skins. Haynes sacked McNabb next time the Redskins had the ball. The Bucs went ahead with a 41 yard TD pass to Winslow and Freeman barged into the end zone for 2 points. 17-10.
The Redskins reached the TB 3 with 32 seconds left, back to the 6 on 2nd down; pass incomplete on 3rd, TD pass to Moss on 4th down. But the PAT snap bounced off the holder's hand! 17-16 final. But the Skins' kicker would probably have missed anyway, the way things were going for his team.
Next up, The Chiefs @ The Chargers. The Chiefs couldn't get going. The Chargers marched downfield to a 17 yard TD pass to Floyd. 0-7. The Chargers got a sack in the 2nd quarter, they survived a fumble in their next possession, and Tolbert rushed 8 yards for a TD on the next play. 0-14. Tolbert made an 18 yard run in the next SD drive.
Floyd took a TD pass diving and catching with one hand at the back of the end zone, and it survived a challenge. 0-21. Just enough time for SD to get another sack before the half ran out.
The Chargers got back to work in the 3rd quarter but Berry intercepted Rivers. KC punted but got the ball back again from a sack/fumble. But it did them no good. The Chargers started passing instead of running time off the clock. They had a big play wiped out by a bad penalty and Kaeding kicked a 48 yard FG to put them 0-24 ahead.
More Sproles on the ground, assisted my Matthews, who rushed 10 yards for a TD and the last score of a 0-31 shut-out.
[Monday, 13th] Sergio Leone: Once Upon A Time [19:00, Sky Arts 1] He showed America how to make Westerns with A Fistful of Dollars, a low-budget film made at the right time with the right people. Music by Morricone and Clint Eastwood became a big star.
The Dollars trilogy was followed by a couple of epics: Once Upon A Time In The West and over a decade later, the gangster film Once Upon A Time In America, which received the same sort of hatchet job as Metropolis from the American distributors.
Sergio Leone was a writer as well as a director, and a meticulous planner, who could have the entire film in his head before he started shooting. He died before he could make another epic film about the WW II siege of Leningrad.
Classic Albums: The Band [20:00, Sky Arts 1] Bob Dylan's backing band was a band in its own right with its own recording contract. So they operated on a club-house schedule, everyone doing a bit when they felt like it, and swapping instruments to get the best sound.
The album was a passport back to America for people who had become estranged from their own country. The band steered clear of the contemporary acid-rock stuff to create a "stew" of traditional American musical styles, which worked.
[Tuesday, 14th] Classic Albums: Machine Head (2002) [20:00, Sky Arts 1] Fireball didn't do very well after In Rock, so Deep Purple retired to Switzerland to record again. The first venue burnt down, the cops tossed them out of the next. So they ended up in a closed down hotel in the depths of winter.
Smoke On The Water gave rock one of its classic riffs, and the album was built on half a dozen indestructible ones. The album was knocked out in 3 weeks and 3 days; quick and to the point; and it worked. The band carried on for a while, but incessant touring killed it off eventually.
CSI:Miami [Time Bomb, 21:00, Channel 5] Eric didn't notice Calleigh stalking him when he went to meet Rececca, the prosecutor, whose was blown up. Eric had found that stuff worth millions of dollars was missing from the evidence lock-up as well as the diamonds. The suspected dirty cop had disappeared. No, he'd been dead for 2 years!
Mr. Wolfe was framed for stealing the diamonds and hauled off in chains. Horatio went after another dirty cop, who tried (but failed) to commit suicide by cop. He gave up Rick of IAD, who is nearly as self-righteous as H., and who obligingly confessed.
[Wednesday, 15th] Classic Albums: Transformer (2001) [20:00, Sky Arts 1] Lou Reed graduated from the Velvet Underground to a solo career out of the shadow of Andy Warhol. His first album was a flop but he got David Bowie & Mick Ronson as producers for some entirely new material, done with a gang of session musicians.
The programme offers the stories behind the songs and interesting facts like the BBC didn't get the lyrics of the first hit, Walk on the Wild Side, and when Perfect Day was a hit 25 years on, the Beeb didn't get that it was about being on heroin. Lou Reed thinks it's just another album. Lots of people beg to differ. But it's not as good as Rock 'n' Roll Animal.
Castle [21:00, Alibi] A body was dripping into the apartment below. The vic was a guy working for a major Irish mobster and he'd just been in touch with the Feds. The M.E. became shifty when she studied the body; the wounds were exactly like those inflicted on Beckett's mother!
The Irish gangster admitted that he had tried to keep a rival dealer out of his back yard and the dead guy had a ton of heroin in a bus station locker. A fast-talking Chinese real estate scammer was busted. He said he wasn't the killer and he wouldn't give up the Mr. Big behind the heroin smuggling.
A contract killer was involved; an ex-special forces guy, who also killed Beckett's Mom. The dead guy's totally respectable elder brother wanted immunity from prosecution in return for setting up the killer, Rathbone, who didn't walk into a trap. Shock, horror! The drug-dealing bro was really Rathbone. So Beckett got to light him up but she didn't find out who hired him to kill her mom.
Burn Notice [22:00, FX] The Feds stakes out Mike's place and harassed his mom while he went looking for Simon, the guy whom Gilroy got off the rendition flight. Mike had been blamed for Simon's mass murders, hence the Burn Notice, and Simon wanted his reputation back. He wanted Mr. Management brought to Miami.
Simon had planted a bomb in an hotel, so Sam & Fee had to find it and defuse it. Mom was busted by the Feds when the detonator, but not the bomb, went off. Simon outsmarted Mr. Management but Mike saved his ass. Simon told Mike that Management now owned Mike's ass, just like his. And Mike suffered rendition to what looked like a comfy CIA hole in the ground.
[Thursday, 16th] Angel [20:00, Zone Horror] The "good" vampire was a PI who didn't like to work for money, to the disgust of Doyle, his psychic assistant, and Cordelia, his secretary. Melissa was being stalked by Ronald, a neurosurgeon with detachable hands and feet! Angel's plan was to take him to bits and store him in lots of well separated steel boxes. But making it happen was far from easy!
Raw [21:30, Sky Sports 4] did its Slammy Awards. So a grand fest of the year's most shameful moments (and minutes). Scumbags of the Year - Nexus. Asshole of the Year - Chunky Munky Punky. Guest of the Year - Peewee Herman. The Holy %#&* Move of the Year was by J. Cena. Fan Reaction of the Year - the Angry Miz Girl. Meltdown of the Year - Edge wrecking the GM's laptop. Knucklehead moment of the Year - Layla taking on Mae Young. Diva of the Year - Michelle Uncool. Moment of the Year - Undertaker going 18-0 at WrestleMania against Shawn Michaels. Quote of the Year by Michael JerkWeed Cole. Star of the Year - Cena.
[Friday, 17th] The Detonators [20:00, Discovery Science] The job was to take out bits of an old coal plant in West Virginia, a coal kipple and a chimney on day 1, then a water tower and coal silos on day 2. Each structure presented its own problems, like lots more rebar than expected in the chimney, but day 1 went off okay.
Our visiting expert did some lab experiments to show the difficulties of cutting curved steel with shaped charges. But, to the frustration of the programme makers, everything went off okay enough, and surrounding structures remained undamaged by the flying bits.
The Mental Case [Jolly Red Elf, 21:00, Channel 5] It was Xmas and Santa, totally sozzled, off a roof. Jane said it was definitely murder. Benjamin didn't write the 'suicide note'. An Uncle Fester lookalike arrived to investigate how Red John's disciple, Tod, went up in flames in a cell last week. He homed in on Jane, who didn't buy his Robocop routine.
The CBI got intererested in a drunk rehabilitation scheme, where Benjamin had been treated. Did Dr. Wilder stage the suicide? Jane took the aversion therapy and got rat-arsed while exposing the homicidal assistant; her parents had been drunks and she was putting people like Benjamin out of their misery. Then Uncle Fester turned up to grill Jane.
WW$mackDown! [22:00, Sky Sports 3] Edge spun a tale of getting into Kane's head. Kofi + Kaval versus Ziggles + Swagger meant lots of lumps for Kaval, and a pin for Kofi on Ziggles, which stuck this week. The Vault: Edge versus Punque. The Musclepiece had to lie down for the inflated Rhodes. Mysterio, a small guy with talent, had to go against Mizrabul, a bigger clunker, as a vehicle for inflating Mizr's rep. The Divas larked about a bit.
Santino + Koslov versus Chavo + Tyler Recks was a loada bashing + laughs. Finally, Mysterio + Edge versus del Rio + Mizrabul was a lot more lumps for Mysterio, and some for Edge when Kane joined in. Then cue a massed shambles of the locker room separating the combatants.
[Saturday, 18th] Classic Albums: The Number of the Beast [19:00, Sky Arts 1] Iron Maiden fell into the trap. Apparently, the number is really 616 but it's a great album for those who like their music loud and driving. And there was the usual parade of fascinating facts about the band members, too.
How It's Made [20:00, Discovery] Hammers; horrible, holey Swiss cheese; roller skates and coloured pencils in this first helping.
How It's Made [20:30, Discovery] Carbon fibre bike frames; blood products; forged chandeliers and fancy ballpoint pens.
TNA Impact [21:00, Bravo] A Jabberwocky of Jawing. Then Lethal versus Robbie E. and a swindle in the offing? New or tired old? No, Christie handcuffed herself to Cookie on the outside and that was enough to make Jay Lethal the X-Division champ. Gen. Me versus Eric Young + Orlando Jordan became a Battle Royal when Eric chucked out the ref then everyone else. The rest was incidental.
Tara + Medicine versus Mickie + Miss Tessmacher was a loada rubbish. Amazing Red had to lie down and let Blubber Dudley beat him up until D'Von chased Blubber away. RVD versus Big Rob was a good bashing for the smaller Rob before Big was booted and frog splashed down and out. J.J. is still pretending he can do MMA. Tragic, the way these guys go when they're too old to wrassle.
Jeff Hardy + Kazarian versus Matt Morgan + Mr. Kasshole was another joke match with a blind ref. Remember when TNA used to have a 6-sided ring and wrestlers instead of a buncha clowns?
[Sunday, 19th] NFL Sunday [17:30, Sky Sports 4] The Jags at the Colts with Red Zone diversions to other matches. The Giants picked Michael Vick, the Dolphins missed a FG, the Brown got a TD, also a TD for Collie of the Colts. Huge sack on Eli Manning by the Eagles, a FG for the Cowboys, a TD for the Titans, a FG for the Panthers, and one for the Rams. Adverts.
This is no way to watch American Crunch unless you have the attention span of a gnat and not interest in watching a match develop and seeing how the tactics play out. And it would have been better to show the whole of the Eagles versus the Cowboys, because that was a real stunner of a comeback win for the Eagles.
Back to doing it properly, the Jets at the Steelers in snow [21:15, Sky Sports 4] The Jets returned the opening kick off for a TD via Brad Smith. 7-0. The punters had a bit of work then the Jets started running through the Pittsburgh defense and making short passes, but holding sank them. The Steelers started from their 4, they survived a sack and a 3rd & 17, and Spaeth caught a pass for a change in the end zone. 7-7. Both teams managed a FG in the rest of the half, 10-10 at the close.
The Steelers started the 3rd quarter with a march down field, Mendenhall rushed 21 yards and he scored a TD. 10-17. The Jets found themselves facing 4th & 1 at the PS 7, so Sanchez went in totally alone on a bootleg. 17-17. The Jets went back into the lead with a FG early in the 4th quarter.
Mendenhall got his 100 yards' rushing. The Jets kept blitzing the Steelers off the field and their next score was a safety; the running back felled before he could get out of the PS end zone. 22-17. After sending the Jets 3 & out, the Steelers restarted at their 8 with 2:08 on the clock. Roethlisberger was sacked again in a drive which got no further than the NJJ 10. A good win for the Jets at a place where that doesn't usually happen.
[Monday, 20th] Journey to the Planets [18:00, National Geographic] If you ever wanted to know what it's like to be on Mars or to fly over the surface of the red planet, you can go there in wide-screen pictures. NASA has compiled enough images from orbiters and landers to let a programme maker create the look of a visit to Mars. Great pictures, perceptive comments from the NASA experts, this is a series worth catching.
How Do They Do It? [20:00, Discovery] Make long-lasting halogen bulbs with a tungsten filament mined in Austria; silence a noisy car engine; make lots of different locks and keys.
How It's Made [20:30, Discovery] Screw drivers, compact track loaders, doctors' scales, carbon-fibre softball bats.
Classic Albums: The Doors' debut album (2008) [20:00, Sky Arts 1] The poetry of Jim Morrison and a gang of musicians who believed in themselves got some cash but no recording out of Columbia, so they did some gigs and got themselves introduced to the Elektra label by Arthur Lee.
They had about 30 songs by then and the first album is pretty much The Doors live in the studio without overdubs. They made an album like none of the others around at the time, Light My Fire was cropped into a hit single, and The End put an astonishing finishing touch to the first effort.
The Doors [22:00, Sky Arts 1] is the band in a studio without an audience during the 1968 European tour. Alabama Song, Backdoor Man, Texas Radio, Love Me Two Times, When The Music's Over and The Unknown Soldier.
[Tuesday, 21st] CSI:Miami [All Fall Down, 21:00, Channel 5] The Cheesies all got bits of a picture; an announcement of a murder by remote control. The dead woman was involved in a psych dept. PhD student's study. A lead to the next victim was posted to the first one. The Cheesies didn't call the local cops and the guy was dead by the time they got there; a prof in the psych dept.
The Cheesies were told that Melissa, the student, had been canned for falsifying her results, so she became a red herring. Another prof went up in flames under BV's nose. Melissa turned herself in as part of her new thesis; that Cheesies fit up someone they think is probably guilty.
Calleigh decided that the last of 3 professors, who was getting police protection, had killing the others because Melissa's scam had cost him his tenure. He was harassed as the Cheesies at the lab started dropping like flies after being exposed to a bio-weapon. Season finale, like the last act of Hamlet, bodies everywhere.
Chuck Versus the Leftovers [VM TV on Demand] Volkov sent his 3 top American assassins to take out Chuck but Mom took them out. Ellie was still wrestling with her dad's laptop. Mom told Chuck she switched off the Intersect to stop him following her as she was trying to take out the whole Volkov organization, not just the man himself. And Jeff & Lester were trying to work a mobile phone scam at the Buy More.
Shock, horror! Volkov is in love with Mom. He invaded the Buy More, Mom told him that Chuck is her son to keep Chuck alive and everyone ended up having Thanksgiving leftovers with Ellie & Awesome. Chuck got Devon to set off a CIA alarm and a fake hospital emergency got Ellie & Devon out of the firing line.
Mom forced Volkov to play nice with her family and Chuck told her he trusted her. Jeff & Lester were busted by Big Mike. Devon told Chuck to keep Ellie and himself out of the spy stuff and turned over the laptop. Chuck cracked the password and got his Intersect re-booted.
[Wednesday, 22nd] Castle [21:00, Alibi] A black family came home to find a dead white guy in a bedroom. Had he been squatting in their apartment? Doug wasn't the squatter and the real squatter told the cops a tale about a scar-faced bad guy. Castle found him dead in a fridge, so the hunt was on for the 3rd man.
Castle suggested a bank heist, which hadn't happened. Then he came up with smuggling diamonds in snakes imported from South Africa. So Castle & Beckett were dumped by their separate dates in a posh restaurant, and Beckett decided that the 3rd man was Doug's brother.
[Thursday, 23rd] Holst: The Planets [20:00, Sky Arts 2] is the music set to a range of film clips and orchestra shots with diabolical lighting. Tanks for Mars, waterfalls for Venus, Mercury as a screensaver, Jupiter was a carnival, Saturn, the back end of autumn and a graveyard, Uranus was done at top speed and went into space and Neptune was a light show, which was rather 2001: A Space Oddity. Plus Pluto as a bonus.
Raw [21:00, Sky Sports 3] The Divas started the ring action after the blokes had messed about a bit to kick off the Xmas show. Daniel Bryan versus Regal, who helped to train him, was quite a good show, lots of bashing & staggering about and a suspiciously quick tap-out by Regal in a submission hold.
Tamina (Snuka) + Santino versus Maryslush + the 10¢ Punk was a loada jolly fun, and Slushy took a Super Fly Splash off the post. The Vault: Edge versus Punque, who seems to have retired to the announce desk. Cena razzed up (we hate) Vickie for a bit.
Cena had a match with Ziggles, so a parade of pounding and the expected swindle finish was trumped by Cena to upset (we hate) Vickie even more. So Chunky Punky assaulted Cena. Finally, a 6-man tag shambles of usual suspects rattled on for a fair bit, then Mizrabul was screwed.
[Friday, 24th] TNF replay [12:00, Sky Sports 2] The Panthers @ the Steelers. The Panthers started well but blew up on penalties. The Steelers also started well but had a TD pass to Sanders wiped out by a challenge and got just a FG. 0-3.
Johnson gave R'berger a good crunching with a 2nd quarter sack. The Steelers punted, the Panthers muffed the catch twice but kept the ball, but McFadden intercepted their first play. A quick flick to Wallace produced a TD for the Steelers. 0-10.
Later in the quarter, Sanders took a pass 35 yards on 2nd & 18, and Mendenhall went in for a TD after the 2 minute warning. Which left enough time to stop the Panthers and get the Steelers back into FG range. 0-20 at the half.
The Steelers went out on downs, despite a challenge, trying for a TD in their opening drive of the 3rd quarter. They eventually reached the CP 1 on pass interference, Mendenhall couldn't get in so R'berger, the guy with the broken nose, went in on 3rd down for a TD. 0-27.
Kiesel got a sack on Clausen, the defences dominated in the 4th quarter. R'berger barely got out of his end zone to deny the Panthers a safety on top of their a sack. The Panthers managed a FG with 8½ minutes to go to avoid the shut-out. 3-27. And that was it for the scoring.
How Do They Do It? [20:00, Discovery] Make industrial carpets from shearing the sheep to manufacturing at Axminster; make specially designed Lego kits.
How It's Made [20:30, Discovery] Anatomical models, jukeboxes, tortilla chips and spark plugs.
A live, blockbuster WW$mackDown! [22:00, Sky Sports 2] Orton versus Mizrabul, so who cares who wins? Big Show Ho Ho did Santa. Santino & Chavo bounced each other around a bit. The Vault: Nitro versus Finlay. Kaval came into the ring showboating, so he was promptly zapped by McIntyre and barely lasted a couple of minutes.
Swagger + del Rio versus Mysterio + Kofi bloody again? Bloody yawn. Anyway, Kofi sank del Rio and Mysterio 619'd Swagger and zapped him for a pin. Finally, Ziggles + (we hate) Vickie versus Cena, who went into slow motion to spin things out to more humiliation for (we hate) Vickie. Then Chunky Punky attacked Cena again for some tired scripting reason.
[Saturday, 25th] Classic Albums: A Night At The Opera [20:00, Sky Arts 2] was a daring record released by a band which wanted to make a big statement. With 3 successful albums under their belts, and thoroughly ripped off by previous management, the members of Queen were given the studio time to explore their arrangements and push recording techniques to their limits. Bohemian Rhapsody was a piece of art, even if it was too long to be a conventional single, and this album made the band superstars. (2005).
Batman Begins (2005) Bruce Wayne is traumatized, as a boy, by bats and seeing his parents murdered by a mugger. He becomes disconnected from his heritage, and goes off travelling to gain an understanding of the criminal mind and to confront his fears. He is trained by the League of Shadows but he disapproves of the League's capital punishment policy, kills the leader and burns down the HQ, but he does save his mentor.
Back in Gotham City, Wayne finds that the family firm has a department, which makes all sorts of Batman gear. Batman drops in on an operation by Falcone, the local gang boss, and saves the life of his childhood friend Rachel, who is now a D.A. Dr. Krane, a shrink, is using Falcone to bring a weaponized hallucinogen into the country.
The weapon is being put in the water supply and Wayne's mentor, Raz, turns up and reveals himself as the League's enforcer, who is about to destroy Gotham City because it's a cesspit of evil. Stately Wayne manor goes up in flames but Alfred saves Bruce.
Raz gets wrecked with the Gotham City elevated train system and the city is saved from exploding water mains. Rachel knows Batman's secret identity. Wayne regains control of the family firm and access to further Batman gear.
[Sunday, 26th] NFL Special [12:00, Sky Sports 4, an hour late and on the wrong channel, but hey!, this is Sky Sports] The Cowboys had a disastrous start in Arizona. Kitna was picked off twice, by 29 then 28, and both guys ran the ball back for a TD. 0-14.
Feely missed a 49 yard FG try for the Cardinals but the Cowboys did better early in the 2nd quarter. 3-14. Roberts took a pass 74 yards to extend the home team's lead to 3-21. The Cards kept sacking Kitna, 4 times in the first half, but that didn't stop a TD pass on a 4th down at the AC 2. 10-21 at half time.
McGee came on for Kitna in the 2nd half. His team managed a FG half way though the 3rd for 13-21. A run through a crowd gave Barber a TD with a couple of minutes of the 3rd left. 20-21. In the 4th, McGee went down to the Cards' 5th sack. Feely made a FG for the Cards with under 4 minutes to go. 20-24.
Sack #6 for the Cards, they help the Cowboys out with pass interference and a 37 yard TD pass to Austin on the next play put the Cowboys ahead for the first time. 26-24 after the PAT kick was missed badly. 1:41 left, Ware got a sack but that didn't stop the Cards setting up a 48 yard FG kick for the win. 26-27. Phew!
NFL Sunday [18:00, Sky Sports 3] The Bears started well against the Jets in freezing Chicago but the visitors had some shocks for them. The Jets went in at half time 24-17 up, the difference being due to an interception early in a Bears' drive run back for a TD. The other TDs came, unusually, from Jets' running backs.
The Bears got back level in the 3rd minute of the 3rd quarter, and added 2 more TDs to the Jets' 1 to finish the quarter with a 31-38 lead. The Jets managed a FG for 34-38 in the 4th quarter, but the quarter belonged to the defenses and a Chicago interception after the 2 minute warning sealed their win.
The Giants in Green Bay [21:16, Sky Sports 3], where they ended up stuck because blizzards closed the east coast airports! The Pack opened up with a 1-play drive, Rodgers to Nelson, 80 yards for a TD. Williams stopped the Giants with a pick and a TD pass to Jones put the Pack 0-14 up.
A penalty on the Pack and a blown coverage gave Nicks a 36 yard TD pass. 7-14. The Pack got close but Nelson lost the ball reaching for a 1st down. One play, 85 yards, Manning to Manningham, 14-all. Lots of Jennings, but a TD run by Kuhn for 14-21 at half time.
Woodson forced a fumble from Bradshaw and set up a 31 yard FG for Crosby. 14-24. The Giants strolled through the GB defence to a 38 yard FG for Tynes. 17-24. A 33 yard pass to Driver, a 36 yarder to Jennings on the next play and a 1 yard TD pass to Lee as the 4th play of the drive. 14-31.
A challenge wiped out a fumble ruling on the kick return, Raji sacked Manning, the Giants found huge holes in the GB defense but Jacobs fumbled the ball to the Packers and a challenge failed. After an exchange of punts, Tuck got a sack, Jones dropped a pass which he should have taken in for a TD. Punt by GB.
The holes in the Packers' defense opened up again. Shields intercepted Manning. He came down with a foot on the line but the Giants had no challenges left. A TD pass to Kuhn made the score 17-38. A pick for Collins, another big pass to Nelson to the NJG 1 and a run gave Kuhn his 3rd TD. 17-45 with 4:20 left.
Hawk got an interception when Manning tried to throw the ball away to avoid a sack. Flynn got a run out for the Packers, and the Giants could do nothing more.
[Monday, 27th] The Life and Legacy of Spike Milligan [20:00, Sky Arts 1] attempts to paint an accurate picture of what Spike was all about; a family man born in India of an Irish father, who was blown up in the war and met Harry Secombe as a consequence. His successes, including the Goon Show, were balanced by periods of severe depression, which drove away his first wife. Wife No. 2 brought stability to the family but she died young.
Spike popped a lot of pills and wrote 83 books; Puckoon was the essence of Spike. He married again and enjoyed success on TV with his Q series. And when he died, there was unprecedented newspaper coverage. Goon but not forgotten.
Die Hard 4.0 [21:00, Film 4] Det. John McClane gets the job of rounding up a hacker when the FBI's security division is hacked. He arrives as bad guys are trying to take out young Mr. Farrell. There is more fun & games in DC over the Independence Day weekend. Farrell says it's a "Fire Sale", everything run by computers must go. McClane survives an ambush and chucks a car at a BG chopper!
The kid points McClane at a power hub in W. Virginia, where he takes out the HBG's kung fu bitch girlfriend. Gabriel, the HBG, warned the US government that it is vulnerable to the sort of attack he has launched, but his reputation was trashed. So he has set in motion a plan to gain access to the US's financial data, which can be erased or stolen at Gabriel's pleasure.
The kid screws up the theft of the data. McClane takes out more BGs. Gabriel fishes McClane's daughter out of a lift as a hostage. McClane dodges an assault by a useless stealth fighter pilot. His talent for losing his gun comes to the fore when he confronts Gabriel, but the HBG ends up a good BG.
[Tuesday, 28th] How Do They Do It? [19:00, Discovery] Make reproductions of 19th century Colt revolvers using computer milling machines instead of by hand; manufacture Astroturf carpet for sports stadia.
Monday Night Football replay [19:30, ESPN] The Saints at the Falcons. The punters got lots to do. The Saints opened the scoring with a 52 yard FG with a minute of the 1st quarter left. In the 2nd, Vilma fell on a snap which just dribbled toward Ryan in the shotgun, and that set up a TD run by Thomas. 10-0. The Falcons finally managed to assemble a decent drive and White took a TD pass. 10-7. The Falcons continued to blitz and Abraham sacked Brees toward the end of the half.
Two doses of pass interference put the Falcons at the NO 1, Turner lost the ball at the 2 but no damage done as the defences took over. Brees barely avoided getting killed by another blitz. Smith got to Ryan. In the 4th, Brees tried to avoid a sack but his 'pass' went straight to 92 Davis, who went 26 yards for a Falcons' TD. 10-14.
The Saints dashed into AF territory but Abraham tipped a pass and caught it himself. No damage done. The Saints went ahead with a TD pass to Graham. 17-14, 3:24 left. The Saints had to use a challenge to overturn a fumble ruling, but they were able to run out the clock for a much needed divisional win.
Black Dawn (2005) [22:00, Syfy] Scumbag terrorists wanted revenge on the US for killing their scumbag leader, so they were stealing diamonds to finance a plutonium bomb. Meanwhile, ex-CIA agent Johnathan Cold, who was supposed to be dead, busted another scumbag out of a prison hospital and took him to L.A. under CIA surveillance.
The gaolbird sold bomb plans to the terrorists. Cold had to rescue a female CIA agent when the BGs caught her and create mayhem on the roads with a chase. There was a leak in the CIA. The gaolbird was planning to double cross the terrorists. Cold checked out Greer of the CIA as the leak.
The lady CIA agent took out the guy who was stealing the plutonium, but the terrorists got it. Greer shot up the terrorists but one of them managed to start the bomb's timer. Luckily, there was a chopper handy and Cold was able to drop the bomb in the sea off San Diego and get himself declared officially dead again.
[Wednesday, 29th] Wellington Bomber (MMX) [21:00, BBC 4] Early in 1940, the Broughton factory in N. Wales decided to break the world record for building a bomber; a factory in California had done it in 48 hours. Wellington LN514 was constructed over a weekend by men, 50% women and boys as young as 14, and the whole thing was filmed for a propaganda film.
The programme interviews survivors from the big build against the background of a showing of the film at what is now a factory building wings for the Airbus. The workers and Wellington aircrew offer their memories. And the aircraft was built in 23 hours and 50 minutes, and test-flown about half an hour later by a test pilot, who had been dragged out of bed, they'd done the job so quickly.
Jackie Chan's The Myth (2005) [22:00, Syfy] flits back and forward between 2005 and dreams of the time of the first Chin emperor, when Jackie was a general, who was sent to escort a concubine princess to the new ruler, only to be challenged by a rival general. So lots of battles and comedy. In 2005, Jackie is an archaeologist, whose pal William is involved in researching a myth about weightlessness.
The pair of them watch a holy man float in mid-air, then William screws everything up by stealing a piece of meteorite, which makes it happen, and upsets the holy man's followers. Cue a huge chase and more dips into the dream. William finds that a grave-robbing archaeologist, who was shopped by Jackie, has been funding his research.
Jackie finds the real first emperor's tomb under a waterfall, and leads the grave-robber to it. He's looking for an immortality pill, which the first emperor never got because the concubine and a subordinate general took it. Myth and reality collide in a weightless world containing a massive meteorite. And only Jackie gets out alive.
[Thursday, 30th] Fawlty Towers: Reopened [21:00, Dave] is a 2-hour celebration of the 12 episodes with comments from the stars and misc. celebs. The first season in 1975 was made very cheaply. The Basil character was based on a real hotelier, who had the pleasure of the Pythons' company, and who got a run-out in a John Cleese-written episode of Doctor At Large.
The then Mrs. Cleese, Connie Booth, co-wrote the series and her character acted as a straight guy who saved Basil from Sybil's wrath. Prunella Scales turned out to be a better Sybil than the writers had hoped possible. The BBC guy who looked over the pilot thought it would be a disaster! But the series is one of the Beeb's most successful exports.
The initial ratings were low but got better as people 'got' the concept. Manuel became a national treasure and the Major had to become a regular. All of the scripts ran for more than the prescribed half-hour because there was so much in them. All attempts at foreign remakes haven't worked.
Season 2 wasn't made until 1979, and it was twice delayed by strikes, which gave the actors extra time to polish their performances. Terry, the chef, was added to the cast. What about the legendary lost episode? Pure tosh.
Basil & Manuel did a Royal Variety Performance spot in 2008. The writers, particularly J.C., refused to do a season 3 because of all the hassle involved in meeting the expectations already established.
[Friday, 31st] Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) [18:50, Film 4] A tatty old Vulcan causes trouble on the Planet of Galactic Peace in the Neutral Zone because he wants a starship. Starfleet sends the Enterprise, which is in bits and mostly doesn't work, and has a crew of old codgers. A Klingon warbird also heads for Nimbus III because the captain wants a shot at James T. Kirk. The Vulcan nutter turns out to be Spock's half-brother, who believes in emotions, not logic.
Kirk starts a punch-up on the planet and falls into a trap. The nutter takes over the Enterprise with few problems. Syborg is looking for the planet Shakari at the centre of the galaxy because he thinks god hangs out there. Getting through the Great Barrier is no problem. 'Heaven' looks like a good place to shoot a Western.
The 'god' turns out to be just another scum-sucking alien with galactic domination in mind. The nutter Syborg tries to hypnotize it but Enterprise feeds it a photon torpedo. Then the Klingons arrive and finish the scum-sucker off because Spock has saved the day again.
Next, boldly going on a "Journey To The Planets" [21:00, National Geographic+1] and trips to Uranus and Neptune with the 1970s grand tour of the Voyager spacecraft. Uranus is a gas giant, tinted green with methane, with 13 skinny, dark rings, 27 or more moons and its axis of rotation is horizontal. And there's not much going on there, apart from the moon Miranda, which is full of interest.
Neptune, on the other hand, has fugitive spots, like Jupiter, and it's blue-green with white clouds and wild winds. The rings have bright, clumpy bits and thin patches. The surface of the moon Triton surface is loaded with unique features and it has polar ice volcanoes. And that's all just from brief fly-bys.