Miniseries

ARTS CHANNEL – Thursday 11 February, 9.30pm

This three hour mini-series takes and in-depth look at the lives and times of the unique people who spent exclusive time with Andy Warhol and worked at the Factory during the silver sixties, making it all click as a new counter-culture arose and began to exert its influence throughout the arts scene in New York. Features never before seen archival footage and intimate interviews with the Warhol “stars” who knew Andy best, including Billy Name, Ultra Violet, Gerard Malanga and Taylor Mead

8:30pm Wednesday, February 3 on TV2

Dougray Scott (Mission Impossible II) and Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck) star in the second part of TV2’s big-budget mini-series, about a terrifying species of carnivorous plant that comes to life, in The Day of The Triffids.

Bill (Scott) and Coker (Jason Priestley, Colditz), take sanctuary at an abbey, whose abbess says she wants to set up a haven for blind and sighted refugees, but the pair soon discover a more sinister motive. Later, Masen and his father, Dennis (Brian Cox, The Bourne Supremacy), attempt to clone a genetic mutation to sterilise the Triffids, amongst the relentless advance of the deadly plants, and the emergence of a self-appointed government led by the despot Torrence (Eddie Izzard, The Riches).

With chaos reigning on the streets, and the terrifying Triffids getting closer, can Bill put things right before it’s too late?

8:30pm – Thursday, January 7 on TV 3

It’s a bad day to be human when The Andromeda Strain infects the airwaves. The four-hour mini-series television event, The Andromeda Strain premieres on Thursday, January 7th and concludes on Friday, January 8th at 8:30pm on 3.

Based on the best-selling novel from Michael Crichton, the mini-series features an all-star cast, including Benjamin Bratt as Dr. Jeremy Stone, a man with family problems; and Rick Schroder as Maj. Bill Keane, MD, who’s all about the military modus operandi.

Along with the doctor and the Major is Scrubs’ Christa Miller as Dr. Angela Noyce, who clearly has some history with Dr. Stone. “I’m a very serious biologist-doctor. I’m not funny at all,” says the star about her role in the sci-fi thriller.

“It’s much harder doing comedy, and it’s much harder [saying] words that my husband [Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence] doesn’t write for me.”

Lost star Daniel Dae Kim is also on team brain. Kim explains that his character Dr. Chou is “a microbiologist, he previously worked with the Chinese government on their chemical weapons program. Now he’s in America, working for the U.S. government and corporations.”

For Kim, the big contrast between playing Lost’s Jin Kwon and Dr. Chou is getting the sci-speak across. “The Andromeda challenge was taking something that is filled with jargon, a lot of scientific, technical terms, and trying to play an action on top of it,” he explains.

“As an actor, [it’s] trying to keep the stakes high, while still keeping it clear enough that audience can understand what actually is happening.”

Joining this already all-star cast is Will & Grace star Eric McCormack. “I play Jack Nash,” says McCormack, “a recovering coke addict and reporter for a CNN-like news station.”

The Andromeda Strain buffs will note that McCormack’s character did not exist in the original novel, but McCormack says that his character’s inclusion seems natural in the 2008 update.

“Andromeda was science fiction when it was written,” he explains, “now; however, I think this is pretty close to science fact. It’s not outrageous to imagine a killer disease. It’s very, very close to the truth. And the truth is, that rather than three anchors, none of whom would out the president, we now have a trillion media people who would kill for the scoop. It’s almost impossible for the government to hide everything.”

Make The Andromeda Strain when the mini-series premieres on Thursday, January 7th and concludes on Friday, January 8th at 8:30pm on 3.

10:00pm – Monday, January 4 on TV 3

Val Kilmer, Steve Zahn, Rachel Griffiths, Karl Urban, Linda Cardellini, Elizabeth Banks and Wes Studi star in Comanche Moon, a new six-hour mini-series based on the book by Larry McMurtry. Comanche Moon premieres on Monday, January 4th at 10pm, followed by Part Two on Tuesday, January 5th at 10:30pm, and Part Three on Wednesday, January 6th at 10:30pm on 3.

Comanche Moon, the prequel to McMurtry’s bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Lonesome Dove, which was the basis for the multiple Emmy Award-winning mini-series Lonesome Dove, follows Texas Rangers Augustus “Gus” McCrae (Zahn) and Woodrow F. Call (Urban), now in their middle years, as they continue to deal with the ever-increasing tensions of adult life – Gus with his great love, Clara Forsythe (Cardellini), and Call with Maggie Tilton (Banks), the young prostitute who loves him and bears him his son, Newt (Joseph Castanon).

Kilmer plays Captain Inish Scull, a Yankee aristocrat and hero of the recently concluded Mexican War. Griffiths plays Inez Scull, the Captain’s sexy wife who doesn’t hesitate to fill her time with other men when he’s away from home. Wes Studi plays Comanche Chief Buffalo Hump.

Two proud but very different men, McCrae and Call enlist with a Ranger troop in pursuit of three outlaws: Buffalo Hump, the great Comanche war chief; Kicking Wolf (Jonathon Joss), the celebrated Comanche horse thief; and Ahumado (Sal Lopez), a deadly Mexican bandit king with a penchant for torture. Assisting the Rangers in their wild chase is the renowned Kickapoo tracker Famous Shoes (David Midthunder). They are joined by their comrades-in-arms, Deets (Keith Robinson), Jake Spoon (Ryan Merriman) and Pea Eye Parker (Troy Baker), in the bitter struggle to protect an advancing western frontier against the defiant Comanches who are determined to defend their territory and their way of life. The Rangers also encounter Buffalo Hump’s violent outcast son, Blue Duck (Adam Beach).

Make sure not to miss this action when Comanche Moon premieres on premieres on Monday, January 4th at 10pm.

Thursday 24th 8.30pm and 25th December 8.35pm

Fantasy

From the delightfully twisted mind of best-selling satirist Terry Pratchett, Hogfather weaves together pagan myths, druid worship, winter solstice rites, childhood bogeymen, and holiday spirit delivering a present filled with fanciful dreams and incredible nightmares. It is unlike anything ever imagined – hilarious and horrifying, magical and menacing, wicked and witty. Take a wild trip to Discworld, and restore your faith in the power of imagination.

Susan, Death’s half-human granddaughter, is taking a holiday in the human realm on Discworld, a landscape literally carried on the backs of giant tortoises. As governess to the young and innocent Gaiter children, Susan can’t wait to celebrate Hogswatch, that special time of year when Hogfather delivers presents to the children of Discworld. Then comes the dreadful news that Hogfather has been snatched by the Auditors, the ethereal keepers of logic who vehemently object to the propagation of myths. They will do anything to swing public opinion back to where it logically belongs, even if that means kidnapping someone they don’t believe exists. Enlisting the help of Death, Susan embarks on a phantasmagorical rescue mission. But she had better act fast, because if belief in Hogfather fades, the sun will never rise again.

Meanwhile, the Auditors have enlisted help as well from professional assassin Lord Downey and the Bad Seed, a master of destruction working closely with a band of lowlifes who’ve already put a spell on children’s teeth in order to rot their faith in the Tooth Fairy. With Hogfather’s time running out, Susan leads a hobgoblin’s gauntlet of villains, including the sadistic Teatime, Chickenwire and his gang of thieves, the Grim Squeaker, and the Hair Loss Fairy. Death is doing his part by masquerading as Hogfather in a makeshift sleigh pulled by a giant pig, a sight that only manages to appall. Whatever it takes – from infiltrating the Castle of Bones to outrunning the snapping blades of the Scissor Man – Susan and Death are determined to bring Hogfather back and re-establish faith in Discworld.

Starring David Jason, Marc Warren and Tony Robinson.

8:30pm Wednesday, November 18 on TV2

Based on Raymond Khoury’s number one international bestseller, The Last Templar is a gripping two-part thriller, following archaeologist Tess Chaykin (Mira Sorvino, Human Trafficking) and special agent Sean Daley (Scott Foley, Felicity) on the hunt for the recovery of a stolen Vatican artefact.

At the end of the First Crusade, the monastic order of the Knights Templar was formed to protect Christian passage to the Holy Land. After two centuries, as their power and wealth grew, they were wiped out by jealous adversaries, their secrets buried with them. Now, an ancient mystery is about to be unearthed.

In New York City, during a celebration of Vatican art, a historic decoder is stolen from the Vatican, and Tess Chaykin, daughter of a famous archaeologist, realises that the theft is connected to the Knights Templar. But the question remains why, among all the priceless treasures, was the decoder the only item stolen? Templar scholar Bill Vance (Kenneth Welsh, The Aviator) has the answer. It may just crack the code of an ancient journal’s truth. A truth that could question the divinity of Jesus, solve the mysteries of his bloodline, and hold the key to destroying the power of the Church. In a race against time, Tess and Detective Daley must traverse across continents to stop the decoder from falling into the wrong hands.

Director Paolo Barzman says of his approach to making The Last Templar that the first intention was to do something really entertaining. “There was the potential to be incredibly entertaining and, at the same time ask questions about history and religion, but in a light atmosphere. It’s not a deep, bleak film – it’s very enjoyable.”

Actor Scott Foley says The Last Templar is a search for the truth. “It begins with a heist, a murder investigation that takes us through different stages of religion and faith, and ultimately leaves the door open for the audience’s interpretation.”

Mira Sorvino thinks that producing an epic story with big production values for television instead of the big screen has distinct advantages and provides a unique opportunity for in-depth storytelling.

“Since it’s in a mini-series format you can really go into detail with the characters’ lives and the discovery and the mystery without having to compact it into an hour-and-a-half format,” Sorvino explains. “We’re spanning continents and cultures, it really has the feel of a big screen movie.”

WEDNESDAY 10th June & THURSDAY 11th June

Drama

Over Wednesday and Thursday evening Prime is delighted to bring you the mini-series Pandemic. Featuring Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Faye Dunaway (Network), Pandemic is a timely, frightening and all too real human drama.

What happens when the deadly strain of an unknown virus multiplies second by second, person by person? What happens when an entire city is put under a government sanctioned quarantine? What happens when the source of the virus is as elusive as the cure? What happens is a pandemic. 

At the Centre for Disease Control, epidemiologist Dr Kayla Martin (Tiffani Thiessen, Beverley Hills 90210) and her partner Carl Ratner (French Stewart, 3rd Rock from the Sun) receive a frantic call from a flight attendant high above the Pacific. A nineteen-year-old male passenger, en route to Los Angeles from Australia, has died from a raging fever and violent convulsions. Vehemently concerned about the symptoms, Kayla orders all passengers quarantined upon their arrival at LAX – a decision at odds with Mayor Richard Delasandro (Eric Roberts, Runaway Train) who suggests the only outbreak will be one of panic. The CDC considers the frightening possibilities – the reality of bird flu, the possibility of a biological attack, or worse, a new virus they can’t control. 

By the time the passengers of Flight 182 are filtered into the ward of a local hospital, the infection is already poisoning sections of the city, unbeknownst to each victim who passes it on. While Ratner and FBI Agent Troy Whitlock (Vincent Spano, Alive) work with the Australian officials to find the source of the virus now dubbed ‘Riptide’, a media manipulation of the human interest angle fires up an ACLU attorney who exploits the ‘unlawful quarantine’ to satisfy her own divisive political agenda. Only Kayla and her team know the unavoidable facts. The virus is spreading, and so is the panic and the fear that it can’t be stopped. From a Los Angeles morgue to a foul death-ridden apartment complex in Australia to a beach shack in El Salvador, the hunt is on for Patient One. Time is running out.

UKTV – Mondays from 30 March, 8.30pm

A gruesome murder sets up a trail that leads Commander Adam Dalgliesh to the House of Lords in the two-part classic PD James drama, where love and hate form the basis of an intriguing case for the intellectual Commander.

There is a family at war, a secret society for sexual favours that involves lords of the realm and a murder case which mimics the crimes from the Murder Room, a chilling exhibition in the Dupayne family museum dedicated to the most gruesome real-life murders between the two world wars.

When the lease on the museum is up for renewal the three Dupayne family siblings have to sign it, according to their father’s will, or it will be closed. Adopted brother Neville refuses and he becomes the first murder victim to die in a grisly killing that is a replica of one of the exhibits in the Murder Room.

Stars Martin Shaw (Judge John Deed).

UKTV – Sundays from 15 February, 9.30pm

Adapted by award-winning writer Andrew Davies from Alan Hollinghurst’s Booker Prize winning novel, this three-part drama serial is set during the hedonistic 1980s and stars a mix of young talent and established names.

This is a story of love, class, sex and money, crawling deep under the skin of 1980s Britain. Framed by the two general elections of the decade, which returned Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative government to power, The Line Of Beauty spans four extraordinary years of tragedy and change.

Nick Guest, a young, gay Oxford graduate of modest means, is invited to stay with the wealthy Fedden family at their home in west London. Dysfunction and glamour come in equal measure with the Feddens, headed by father Gerald, a Tory MP and an empty man, who is consumed by his rising status within the

Party, wife Rachel who barely recognises her manic-depressive daughter Catherine, and son Toby, for whom Nick has had a secret crush ever since their time together at Oxford.

During his stay with the Feddens, Nick experiences every extreme of the boom time eighties, from falling head-over-heels in love for the first time, to drug-induced highs and lows, via waltzing with the Prime Minister. Amidst the euphoria of the champagne and parties, the young graduate witnesses political scandal, the deception and hypocrisy of the rich and the desperate tragedy of the outbreak of AIDS.

This outsider’s journey into the heart of the beautiful and seductive world of the social elite bristles with emotion, drama and social commentary. Full of style and wit, this is a richly textured coming-of age story, set against the backdrop of a ruthless decade.

Introducing Dan Stevens as Nick Guest and Hayley Atwell as Catherine Fedden, Also starring Tim McInnerny (Casanova, Notting Hill, Blackadder), Alice Krige (Deadwood, Star Trek), Don Gilet (Babyfather, 55 Degrees North), Kenneth Cranham (Rome

ARTS CHANNEL – from Thursday 15 January, 9.30pm

A stunning drama bringing vividly to life the French Impressionist’s struggle for recognition in the face of massive hostility from the art world of the late 19th Century. The delicate hues of Monet’s water lilies and Degas’ exquisite ballerinas contrast sharply with the real story of huge controversy, scandal and rivalries which emerges in this sumptuous drama based on an extensive archive of letters and documentary evidence.