Scandal, a 1989 movie about the shocking Profumo Affair, is one of the most underrated movies of its era. It never screens on TV, has not been released on DVD and nor is it streaming anywhere in Australia. And that’s a shame, because it is a historically correct romp with a twinkle in its eye.
Now we have a BBC remake, The Trial of Christine Keeler (Sunday on BBC First), with Grantchester’s James Norton replacing John Hurt as social climbing osteopath Stephen Ward, The Crown’s Ben Miles replacing Ian McKellan as the sleazy Tory War Secretary John Profumo and Les Miserable’s Ellie Bamber replacing Bridget Fonda as the delightfully amusing Mandy Rice-Davies (famous for saying “well he would say that, wouldn’t he” even though that’s not what she really said).
Kingsman’s Sophie Cookson doesn’t make you feel sorry for Christine Keeler like Joanne Whalley did in the movie. In this version, the title character comes across as stupid and selfish, and maybe that’s closer to who she was in real life. If, however, you want to expand a story from two hours to six, there has to be at least one likeable character, and a bit more fun would have been useful.
The other new BBC drama is Dublin Murders (Wednesday on SBS) and what a pleasant surprise to see something set in Ireland. Obviously, there is a gruesome murder, but the lead detectives are not your usual TV cops. Rob (Killian Scott) and Cassie (Sarah Greene) are best friends and the twist at the end of its first episode should hook you for all eight episodes. Be warned though, some loose ends are left dangling at the end. Expect a second series, but nothing is greenlit just yet.
Here’s hoping it doesn’t rain at the bushfire fundraiser Fire Fight Australia Concert (Sunday on Seven and Fox 8). Will you pick your network to watch depending on its hosts? Seven doesn’t stray far from morning show personalities Kochie and Sam and Kylie and Larry, while Foxtel has Shaynna Blaze, Deborah Hutton, Jason Dundas and Rove.
Finally, there have not been enough well-made documentaries about television that remind you how important and life-changing the medium can be. Visible (streaming now on Apple TV+), a new five-part docuseries about the history of LGBTQIA+ representation on TV, is fascinating and only made me cry in every single episode.
But while The Celluloid Cinema acknowledged gay cinema from all over the world, Visibledoesn’t look outside of America when it comes to TV. Visible is beautifully made, but as good as it is, Australian TV is invisible, despite it having gay milestones about 20 years before the rest off the world.