Drama

The Napier siege of 2009 is to be made into a two-hour TV drama for screening next year.

Jan Molenaar shot dead Senior Constable Len Snee and injured officers Bruce Miller and Grant Diver and civilian Len Holmwood in the 50-hour standoff, before killing himself.

The project has been backed by Snee’s widow Vicki and Holmwood himself, who said he would be involved.

Holmwood will be interviewed for the drama that will also include actors and some of the people involved.

“I think it’s important we get a look at the final cut before they release it,” Holmwood said.

“I’m a bit over it now, but it is a major part of our history, I suppose.”

Eastern district commander Superintendent Sam Hoyle, who led the police operation, says he supports the project.

“It’s important we document accurately all the events of the siege and the days that followed, provided it’s done with the proper respect for those who were impacted.”

Source: Herald

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MESSIAH

Tuesday 10th March at 8:30pn on Prime

Drama

DCI Walker (Marc Warren) is haunted by his past in this one-off thriller. Recently on secondment in Israel, he was separated from his beloved Palestinian girlfriend Salma following a suicide bombing perpetrated by Salma’s own brother. Now back in England, Joseph has no idea how or where Salma is – or indeed how much she knew about her brother’s suicide mission.

When Joseph heads up the investigation into a series of gruesome and elaborately staged murders, he is puzzled by the bizarre nature of the killings and the presence of mysterious symbols traced into a layer of sand at each murder scene.

Joseph’s new team – DS Mel Palmer (Marsha Thomason) and DI Terry Hedges (Daniel Ryan) – is directly connected to the murders by an illicit love affair and a disturbing rape case being prosecuted by CPS lawyer Sarah Templar.

With murder number three, a pattern appears to emerge: the victims were a Muslim, a Jew and a Christian – completing the trinity of ‘Abrahamic’ religions, today considered antagonistic but all coming from the same root. Joseph is convinced these victims are being used to illustrate something – but what? He matches the stagings of the three murders to apocalyptic signs common to all three Abrahamic religions: it appears the killer thinks it’s the end of the world.

Joseph identifies seven apocalyptic signs in total, meaning the race is on to save the four remaining victims. With the clock ticking, can he act fast enough to solve the riddle and end the killings?

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Messiah

Tuesday 10 March at 8:30pm on Prime

Drama

DCI Walker (Marc Warren) is haunted by his past in this one-off thriller. Recently on secondment in Israel, he was separated from his beloved Palestinian girlfriend Salma following a suicide bombing perpetrated by Salma’s own brother. Now back in England, Joseph has no idea how or where Salma is – or indeed how much she knew about her brother’s suicide mission.

When Joseph heads up the investigation into a series of gruesome and elaborately staged murders, he is puzzled by the bizarre nature of the killings and the presence of mysterious symbols traced into a layer of sand at each murder scene.

Joseph’s new team – DS Mel Palmer (Marsha Thomason) and DI Terry Hedges (Daniel Ryan) – is directly connected to the murders by an illicit love affair and a disturbing rape case being prosecuted by CPS lawyer Sarah Templar.

With murder number three, a pattern appears to emerge: the victims were a Muslim, a Jew and a Christian – completing the trinity of ‘Abrahamic’ religions, today considered antagonistic but all coming from the same root. Joseph is convinced these victims are being used to illustrate something – but what? He matches the stagings of the three murders to apocalyptic signs common to all three Abrahamic religions: it appears the killer thinks it’s the end of the world.

Joseph identifies seven apocalyptic signs in total, meaning the race is on to save the four remaining victims. With the clock ticking, can he act fast enough to solve the riddle and end the killings?

Sunday 11 January, 8.30pm on TV One

Anne Frank started to write her diary on her 13th birthday in June 1942, just two weeks before she and her family were forced to go into hiding in Nazi occupied Holland. Written from the cramped conditions of an annexe in her father’s spice warehouse, Anne’s poignant, feisty and often very funny account of her life over a two-year period has become one of the most widely read pieces of non-fiction.

Award-winning actress Tamsin Greig, who is well known for her roles in Love Soup and The Green Wing, plays Edith Frank, Anne’s troubled and often misunderstood mother in this adaptation of The Diary Of Anne Frank (tonight at 8.30pm on TV ONE) – a rare privilege as the rights to the diary are seldom granted from the Anne Frank Fonds (Estate).

Speaking about the role, Greig says: “Being asked to play Edith Frank, Anne’s mother, was an enormously exciting challenge and responsibility. The script was utterly faithful to the spirit of Anne’s writing in her diary, but also captured the reality of difficult and strained parental relationships in extraordinary circumstances.”

While Greig believes anyone who has read Anne’s diary will be well aware of the tensions between mother and daughter, she says she wanted to delve deeper into Edith’s character: “In her diary, Anne mostly writes with dislike and frustration about her mother, so it was important for me to draw on other contemporary accounts in order to paint a fuller picture of Edith.

“Personal accounts from survivors of the death camps agreed that however troubled their relationship had been, in Auschwitz, Edith and her daughters were inseparable. I had the privilege of meeting Anne Frank’s only surviving cousin, Buddy Elias, who had known her as a child. He commented that Edith was ‘a very good mother’, despite Anne’s contradictory opinion, and this helped me enormously in finding a fuller perspective on this unhappy woman.”

Taking part in a series where everyone knows the outcome of the story is not always easy for actors, as Greig explains: “As actors, we needed to remind ourselves always that our characters did not know the end of the story. This adaptation only covers the weeks and months in the annex and ends on the day of their arrest. But these eight people lived as though this was a temporary horror from which they would at some point be freed.”

Greig says it was an honour to be part of the telling of such a poignant and powerful story.

Starting at Anne’s 13th birthday in Amsterdam, as conditions for Jews worsen under Nazi occupation, The Diary Of Anne Frank sees the Frank family as they are forced to go into hiding. Along with the Franks, Otto (Iain Glen), Edith (Greig) and their two daughters Margot (Felicity Jones, Northanger Abbey) and Anne (Ellie Kendrick, Prime Suspect: The Final Act), are Otto’s work colleague, Mr Van Daan and his wife, Petronella and son Peter, and a single man, Mr Dussell, a dentist by trade and friend of Otto’s.

This ill-assorted group spend the next two years living together in cramped and increasingly harsh conditions, as food runs short, clothes wear out, and the threat to their lives keeps getting worse.

 

Wednesday 7 January, 8.30pm on TV One

Julianna Margulies (ER) stars as a rebellious defence attorney Elizabeth Canterbury, who knows no bounds when it comes to defending her clients, on TV ONE’s new drama series Canterbury’s Law (tonight at 8.30pm).

Haunted by the disappearance of their young son, Attorney Elizabeth Canterbury and her law professor husband Matthew (Aidan Quinn) have settled in Providence, Rhode Island, hoping to distance themselves from the tragedy, and get their relationship back on track. But those goals become elusive whenever Elizabeth’s work provides a stark reminder of the justice absent in their lives.

At the office, Canterbury has surrounded herself with a brilliant crew of attorneys. Russell Krauss (Ben Shenkman) was forced out of the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office when he went toe-to-toe with his morally bankrupt boss. His reputation tarnished, he turned to Canterbury, who was the only lawyer in Providence willing to take him in. Now Russell provides a much-needed voice of reason for Canterbury even when she doesn’t want to hear it, his position of influence well-earned by their years of friendship.

Chester Grant (Keith Robinson) and Molly McConnell (Trieste Kelly Dunn) are the associates rounding out Canterbury’s legal team. Chester is a congressman’s son who has turned his back on both his father and his father’s politics. Headstrong and passionate, Molly is quick to take sides – even if she finds herself in the opposite corner from Canterbury.

A force of nature, Elizabeth Canterbury is an attorney whose professional battles are as vivid as her personal ones, and whose strengths, vices, victories, and demons combine to serve those in need of justice. She is a fearless and relentless advocate willing to follow her instincts, whatever the cost.

Episode one sees Elizabeth Canterbury face scepticism from the public and her own staff when she defends a paroled sex offender accused in the fatal disappearance of a 12-year-old boy.

 

Monday 5 January, 8.30pm on TV One

Ben Whishaw, the star of Criminal Justice, TV ONE’s thought-provoking new five-part drama by acclaimed British writer Peter Moffat (Cambridge Spies, North Square), is one of Britain’s most in-demand young actors (tonight at 8.30pm).

The Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer and Brideshead Revisited star says he found the script of Criminal Justice instantly thrilling and hard to put down. He explains: “I started to dream about it and talk to friends about it – it got under my skin. It was something I felt I had to do, and the story seemed to tap into really primal fears. It has a nightmarish quality – it’s complex and challenging. I felt it would challenge me in big ways.

“I had to take a break between reading each episode to get my breath back and calm down,” he says. “It got me so charged. I loved the way it worked simply on the level of thriller, and yet it also felt very real, very authentic – particularly in its depiction of the politics of prison life. I was shocked and surprised and enthralled by it.”

Whishaw plays Ben Coulter, a 21-year-old with a sensitive nature and a happy-go-lucky outlook on life, who finds himself charged with murder at the end of an uncharacteristic drug-and-drink-fuelled night out.

“Ben is really a kind of Everyman figure – it seemed to me he could be any one of us. He’s young and open – an innocent. His story begins one fairly ordinary Saturday night when, through a series of minor events, he picks up a girl and spends the night with her and, within 24 hours, has been charged with murder. And so begins a journey that he couldn’t possibly have anticipated and, in many ways, is not equipped to cope with. It’s a test of his every resource.

“Ben’s journey is an enormous one,” continues Whishaw. “For me, it’s really a story about how you keep a good heart in a system that’s designed to break you. How do you hold on to the truth when everybody doubts you? It could be said that it’s also a story about growing up – growing from child to adult and the hard lessons that transition brings.”

Whishaw was intrigued by Ben’s plight. He says director Otto Bathurst advised him to base his character, more or less, on himself. “It’s the first time I’ve approached a character in that way. I kept saying to myself: ‘Keep it simple and keep it honest’. I just had to put myself in his situation and behave the way I would behave in such a situation. I wanted the audience to feel that they were Ben, and to feel what he feels.”

He says, “Criminal Justice is a thrilling human story. It’s about somebody who is unexpectedly taken to the extremes of human experience. I think the directors, Otto and Luke (Watson) have done a fantastic job of making Peter’s story exciting, and challenging, and moving. I think it may well be uncomfortable viewing at times, but sometimes it’s important to feel uncomfortable.”

The series follows Ben’s rollercoaster ride through the criminal justice system, where the truth is optional and what counts is playing the game. No one wants to hear Ben’s side of the story – as soon as he is arrested, a complex game of cat and mouse begins, played out by his world-weary solicitor Stone (Con O’Neil, Learners) and the pugnacious DCI Box (Bill Paterson, Sea Of Souls). Ben’s shocked parents don’t know where to turn and deep down there is a terrifying doubt: their son could be a murderer.

Ben’s world becomes the labyrinth of police station, prison and courtroom. As Ben steps off the prison bus he has to learn to survive alongside cellmates and hardcore career criminals Hooch (Pete Postlethwaite, The Constant Gardener) and Freddie Graham (David Harewood, Gunrush). Lost in this alien world, Ben has little sense of where things start or finish, and who is in charge.

 

Sunday 28 and Monday 29 December at 8.30pm on TV One

Written by acclaimed television writer Guy Andrews, Lost In Austen is an ingenious reinvention of the classic novel, Pride And Prejudice, in which Jane Austen’s story is thrown off track by a very modern heroine, Amanda Price (tonight at 8.30pm on TV ONE). Amanda (Jemima Rooper, Sinchronicity) swaps places with Elizabeth Bennet (Gemma Arterton, Quantum Of Solace) and takes centre stage in the celebrated love story.

Andrews (Chancer, Prime Suspect) says when the producer first suggested the concept of Lost In Austen the thought it a worthless idea. “Damien Timmer shouted it down the phone to me one summer afternoon. He was sweltering in the depths of some enormous shop in London, failing to keep control of his children; I was doing pretty much the same at an agricultural show, which seemed to consist entirely of bouncy castles. The noise at both ends of the conversation was brain-shrivelling.
“I was as polite and indulgent to Damien as I could manage under the circumstances, and privately thought that the idea – what I could grasp of it – was utter drivel. Who, for God’s sake, wants yet more gloves, bonnets and heaving embonpoints clogging up their television? Poor Jane Austen. Leave the luckless woman in peace. Cease fanning and drop no curtseys.”

But once home, he says he began to doodle with the idea, starting with a young woman, who for no legitimate reason is dissatisfied with her lot. “She secretly insulates herself against the indignities she encounters every day by reading Jane Austen. She reads with such intensity that she opens a connection to Austen’s world. She enters that world in the place of Elizabeth Bennet, and then finds that she cannot return. She dedicates herself to keeping the plot of her beloved book on track – even in the absence of the central character – but everything she does seems to send the story lurching ever more desperately off-piste.”

Andrews says once he set to playing with the book, it was clear the serious work had already been done 200 years ago. “Is there a better constructed, more balanced, sublimely satisfying story than Pride And Prejudice? As a sequence of dramatic progressions, reverses, false summits and romantic epiphanies, the book cannot be beat. More important for our purposes, the narrative is so robust that it is effectively indestructible.”

Andrews’ intention was never to twist Austen’s characters for the sake of twisting – he wanted to write characters closer to what Austen actually wrote, rather than how they may have appeared in previous film or television adaptations, he says. Reporting on his writing progress to colleagues, Andrews says he received more intelligent, imaginative and insightful criticism and advice than he ever has before.

“People may hate it. But – even though I didn’t recognise it when it was being waved in my face – Lost In Austen is a good idea and an interesting one, and they’re pretty thin on the ground. I’m very grateful to have been involved.”

Part one of Lost In Austen sees the disillusioned Amanda Price discover Elizabeth Bennet in her bathroom, and soon she finds herself swapping places with Lizzie, entering the ‘real’ fictional world of Pride And Prejudice. Amanda arrives at Longbourn, the home of the Bennet family, and realises she’s joined the action at the very start of the story. She gets to know the remaining Bennet sisters, and prepares to meet Mr Darcy (Elliot Cowan, The Golden Compass). How will she keep the greatest love story of all time on track when Elizabeth Bennet is stuck in the modern world?

Playing Mr and Mrs Bennet are Hugh Bonneville (Notting Hill) and Alex Kingston (ER); Lindsay Duncan (Rome) plays Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh; Morven Christie (Oliver Twist) is Jane Bennet; Tom Mison (The Amazing Mrs Pritchard) is Mr Bingley; Guy Henry (Rome) is Mr Collins; Tom Riley (I Want Candy) is Captain Wickham; and Christina Cole is Caroline Bingley.

Part two screens Monday 29 December on TV ONE at 8.30pm.

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Mobile

Sunday 7 and Monday 8 December, 8.30pm

New two-part conspiracy drama series Mobile is a set against the backdrop of the multibillion dollar mobile phone industry. In a plot intertwining three personal stories of revenge, police are called to investigate a mounting terror campaign. A drug dealer has been shot dead; Corsoncom mobile phone masts have been blown up; a gunman has shot a passenger on an intercity train; and two people have been killed by a sniper on a London rooftop.

As the police search for answers, they uncover three tragic stories, throwing suspicion in every direction. There’s Eddie Doug (Neil Fitzmaurice, Phoenix Nights), a phone engineer with mobile phone giant Corsoncom. Recently diagnosed with a brain tumour, he has a matter of months to live. His wife Donna (Julie Graham, William And Mary) is determined he’ll enjoy the final months of his life, but Eddie, believing that his job caused his illness, wants revenge.

Maurice Stone (Jamie Draven, Billy Elliot) is a former soldier whose wife and child were killed in a horrific hit-and-run accident. The unknown driver was using his mobile phone at the time of the crash – and Maurice wants vengeance. While David West (Michael Kitchen, The World Is Not Enough), is a communications magnate who lost both his business and his daughter because of the ruthless Corsoncom chairman, Sir James Corson (Keith Allen, Bodies).

Saturday 6 December, 8.30pm

Award-winning actor David Jason (Only Fools And Horses) stars as Des Parker, career criminal and master of disguise, in Rough Diamond.

A modern day Raffles, Des and son Phil (Stephen Wight, A Touch Of Frost) are living in luxury in the South of France, but Scotland Yard need their help. They are persuaded to return to England to break into Buckingham Palace and steal a priceless Indian jewel from Her Majesty.

Rough Diamond also stars George Cole (Minder) and Jenny Agutter (Spooks); is directed by Paul Harrison (A Touch Of Frost); and written by Guy Burt (Wire In The Blood) and Nick Fisher (New Tricks).

New Mini Series: Period Drama!

Saturdays from 13 December, 8.30pm on ARTS CHANNEL

Old Martin Chuzzlewit is nearing his death. Who will inherit his riches? With such a prize to play for the Chuzzlewit family bring forth all of their cunning, greed and selfishness.