CHRISTOPHER STEVENS REVIEWS LAST NIGHT’S TV: Strewth! Aussie soap’n’schlock doesn’t get any better than this
Lie With Me
Amol Rajan Interviews Sundar Pichai
Why everyone is in such a rush to escape from Australia simply beats me.
Even if you’re in the throes of a nervous breakdown, the place appears to be a five-star hotel the size of a continent.
Yet half the world’s celebrities are Aussies who seemingly couldn’t wait to get out. Kylie, Cate and Elle, not to mention Mel and Hugh . . . they’re scattered from Manhattan to Malibu to Tunbridge Wells. Perhaps the endless sunshine of Oz gets boring after a while.
Director Scott Major is trying to evoke undercurrents of delusion and murderous recrimination
Young mum Anna (Charlie Brooks) in the domestic thriller Lie With Me (C5) hasn’t found much she likes about the place
Being British, I really wouldn’t know. Young mum Anna (Charlie Brooks) in the domestic thriller Lie With Me (C5) hasn’t found much she likes about the place.
She and solicitor husband Jake (Brett Tucker) have moved to Melbourne from England to try to repair their marriage.
Anna is obsessed with suspicions that he’s having an affair — and hires a taxi so she can sit outside his law offices day after day, trying to spot him with his mistress.
Imagine doing that with a black cab in London. You’d need a bridging loan to cover the fare by lunchtime. At night, Anna can’t sleep for jealousy. She’s a nervous wreck. So she sits on the verandah, warmed by the breeze from their acres of lawns, and knocks back the local red vino.
Britain offers far worse settings for a breakdown. Anna could be an insomniac, wrapped in a Draylon dressing gown and perched on the edge of a garden trampoline in Tyneside, for example — with the wind coming off the North Sea and a can of Newcastle Brown for comfort. Not quite so inviting, is it?
Anna doesn’t have to bother about weeding. Every Australian home comes with a shirtless gardener, all tan torso and white teeth. And she needn’t even worry about getting home from work in time to put her two small children to bed. There’s a fresh-faced au pair (Phoebe Roberts) for that.
Director Scott Major is trying to evoke undercurrents of delusion and murderous recrimination, as Anna torments herself with visions of her husband’s infidelity.
We’re left wondering why she can’t just unwind and enjoy her new home. There’s a chandelier in the en-suite bathroom, for heaven’s sake. When did you last see anything like that on Location Location Location?
A raunchy final scene took the story in an unexpected direction, with red lace undies and a hint of silk blindfolds to follow. Strewth! But any vestiges of psychological tension are swept away by the acting style.
Brett is a former Neighbours star, and Charlie has been Janine Butcher in EastEnders for more than 20 years: she’s due to return this year. Lie With Me is full-on soap’n’schlock in lavish surrounds. Nothing wrong with that! After months of dour lockdown documentaries, I’m ready for some melodramatic nonsense with shameless over-acting.
Amol Rajan Interviews Sundar Pichai (BBC2) was billed as an unforgiving inquisition
Pichai appeared to be a humourless man whose corporate smile was empty. Beyond that, we learned next to nothing
Radio 4’s new Today host Amol Rajan was enjoying the sunshine in Silicon Valley, California, as he met the boss of Google and its parent company, Alphabet.
Amol Rajan Interviews Sundar Pichai (BBC2) was billed as an unforgiving inquisition. The search engine supremo had no advance warning of the Beeb star’s questions.
But Google’s predictive algorithms must be pretty good, because Pichai delivered well-rehearsed answers throughout. Accusations of tax avoidance and spying on users were brushed aside with politeness.
Rajan had no intention of leaving on bad terms. They began by comparing notes on their similar Indian childhoods, and ended with a game of cricket.
Pichai appeared to be a humourless man whose corporate smile was empty. Beyond that, we learned next to nothing. This search returned no hits.