FREE TO AIR
Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation, SBS One, 7.30pm
Given the host is an eminent ambassador of the cuisine of the subcontinent, one might expect the ”nation” of the title is India. But in this low-budget series, Madhur Jaffrey is tracking the influence of Indian cooking on England, travelling the country to identify where the taste for chicken tikka has overtaken the appetite for fish and chips. Here she’s exploring the popularity of the food of southern India, which she describes as ”light, fragrant and full of surprises”. She finds a convert to the cooking of Kerala serving guinea fowl curry in north London, and masala dosa on the menu in Harrow. The food looks fine and the passion for it is evident, but the show’s crude production values don’t do justice to this culinary doyenne: the camera coverage can be clumsy and the sound quality fluctuates. The series looks as though it’s trying to cover the flavour of India, in all its richness and diversity, without incurring the travel costs.
Upper Middle Bogan, ABC1, 8.30pm
The fourth episode of this lively culture-clash comedy begins with a meeting of mothers. It’s Vietnamese chicken salad versus lasagne, and Israeli films versus 3D blockbusters as Margaret (Robyn Nevin) and Julie (Robyn Malcolm) get together for lunch with their predictably anxious daughter, Bess (Annie Maynard). A garage sale, organised by Bess’ daughter Edwina (Lara Robinson) to raise money for charity, then unites the Denyar-Bright and Wheeler families, with their divergent skills, values and discards, in unexpected ways. Bogan bounces along with well-crafted scripts, is cut to a snappy pace and boasts a cleverly chosen ensemble cast. This episode, directed by Tony Martin, who also wrote the teleplay, is packed with zinging cultural references and character comedy.
Please Marry My Boy, Seven, 9pm
This grubby little reality TV show continues to play its nasty game. The cruel competition involves a number of women competing for the affections of allegedly desirable bachelors, their efforts assessed not only by the men, but also by their hovering mothers. Awful.
The White Queen, SoHo, 8.30pmFrom the style of the title sequence and the snowy first scene, it seems The White Queen is hoping to lure the Game of Thrones crowd. Which makes sense given that this series, adapted from novels by Philippa Gregory, is based on the Wars of the Roses. The Lancasters and Yorks are the original Lannisters and Starks, after all. The titular queen-to-be is one Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson), a demure but beautiful young widow who we first see waiting by the roadside for the young Yorkist king Edward IV to come clip-clopping along. When Edward appears in the handsome form of Max Irons (son of Jeremy), Elizabeth begs him to return the land seized from her Lancastrian husband. Edward is smitten, and the two embark on a furtive romance. Elizabeth’s father (Robert Pugh) thinks no good can come of it, but Elizabeth’s mother, Jacquetta (the wonderful Janet McTeer), thinks her daughter has what it takes to be queen. None of it is terribly convincing but, if you don’t expect too much, it could be a bit of lightweight fun.
Kidnap and Ransom, UKTV, 9.40pmA decent-looking new series in which Trevor Eve (Waking the Dead) plays a professional negotiator working to rescue corporate hostages. Tonight he’s off to South Africa, where a scientist with a pharmaceutical company has been kidnapped.
Searching for Sugar Man (2012), M Masterpiece (payTV),12.05pm
Not long into Malik Bendjelloul’s 2012 Searching for Sugar Man, some of you will realise something is amiss. It is the story of a brilliant American singer-songwriter named Sixto Rodriguez, who has been wrongly ignored for most of his life, except in South Africa, and whose whereabouts were unknown when filming began. But as soon as the film starts playing his songs, some of you will start singing along as you realise you know the music and words. And then the record covers appear and you go: ‘‘Yes, I have [or had] that … and that one, too.’’ You see, it wasn’t only in South Africa that Rodriguez was famous: he was also famous in Australia – so much so, in fact, that his albums were released locally by Blue Goose Records. And to say Rodriguez was rediscovered in South Africa is to ignore the fact that he has irregularly toured Down Under since 1979 and that Sugar Man was used in the 2006 Australian film Candy, starring Heath Ledger. As for Rodriguez’s whereabouts, he can’t have been hard to locate, because he headlined Byron Bay’s East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival in 2007 and 2010. Now, you might get irate and moralistic at the blatant misrepresentation of the truth, as I did and still do, or you can just tell yourself it is a fairytale and the most important thing is to introduce Rodriguez’s joyous music to those who haven’t heard it.
The Return of October (1948), 7Two, 2pm
Whimsical fluff about a horse trainer who drops dead after he bets everything on his horse and loses. Later, his teenage niece (Terry Moore) believes he has been reincarnated as a horse named October. A psychiatrist (Glenn Ford) is asked to investigate. Not the greatest plot ever, perhaps, but we all love films when we, against the world, believe in the ‘‘delusional’’ lead.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.