Mediaweek TV Guide – 26-29 August

FRIDAY
Birds of a Feather
8pm on ABC

This revival of the Brit sitcom after 16 years (and with all the original cast) has been another hit and having already screened on UKTV, it finally makes it back to the network that first introduced it to Aussie viewers. Three new series and two Christmas specials should follow.

RuPaul’s Drag Race
8.30pm on Arena

In a fabulous, last-minute about-face, the new “All Stars” series will screen here “Express From the US”. Back from previous seasons are such stars as Detox, ginger Minj, and former American idol singer Adore Delano. Instead of judges eliminating them one by one each week, it’s up to the queens to vote each other out so expect things to get nasty/funny.

SATURDAY
Sex and the City
3.40pm on SoHo

Now here’s something viewers are crying out for – a three hour marathon of Carrie and her girlfriends! I mean, it’s not like this show is on all the time, right? Oh wait, there’s another two hours on Eleven tonight?

Ben Hur
7pm on Gem

This 1959 epic, which won a then-record eleven Academy Awards, is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest American spectacles of all time. The fact that Hollywood thought re-making a biblical classic in 2016 says everything you need to know about the modern movie industry.

The Dressmaker
8.30pm on Foxtel Movies Premiere

This hilarious Aussie revenge movie, which deservedly became a huge box office hit last year, hits all the right buttons with its amazing cast – now get ready: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Rebecca Gibney, Sarah Snook, Sacha Horler, Shane Bourne, Kerry Fox, Alison Whyte, Gyton Grantley, Barry Otto, Genevieve Lemon, Shane Jacobsen, Julia Blake and Terry Norris. Seriously folks, it doesn’t get any better than this.

SUNDAY
The Big Music Quiz
7pm on Seven

Pre-publicity for this show has seen charming host Darren McMullen wax lyrically about the shows he left behind at Nine. The Voice “was getting a bit stale”, he was sick of the “fake drama” and “it’s not the kind of television I watch.” Brilliant. Then, despite being begged to stay on House Husbands and be “a big part of this season”, he decided “I want to do real stuff.” Like The Big Music Quiz which has easier questions (i.e. dumber) than Spicks and Specks and a drunker karaoke (and bad dancing) vibe than Rockwiz. Keep it real, Darren.

The Real Housewives of Auckland
8.30pm on Arena

Can the Aussie producers of The Real Housewives of Melbourne (and soon Sydney) get Kiwis into catfights? How about “Persian Princess” Gilda being labelled a “gold-digger” and Oprah-wannabe Angela asked if she is a “plus size model”? Meanwhile, (former) model Michelle doesn’t do limos because “they’re tacky” (she only travels in a Rolls Royce, thank you very much) and “Champagne Lady” Anne (Batley -Burton, no less) refuses to do menopause because she’s still a “party girl”. As for the show’s biggest name, that would have to be Louise Wallace who has hosted the NZ versions of 60 Minutes and The Weakest Link, directed The Celebrity Apprentice and starred in Shortland Street. From 60 Mins to The Real Housewives? Jana Wendt, what are you up to these days … ?

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
8.30pm on BBC First

Purists were “outraged” that Dr Who screenwriter Russell T. Davies including a lesbian kiss in this new BBC version starring Maxine Peake, Matt Lucas and John Hannah. “Shakespeare must be turning in his grave” some thundered but others thought it smashing. The Guardian described it as a “modern, family-friendly version” and called it “undiluted joy”. Happy happy everyone.

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