Exit for Mrs T of the CID

13th October 2006 at 01:00
Detective Jane Tennison seeks a murderer and a cure for alcohol addiction after 15 years on the case

Prime Suspect: The Final Act. ITV, Sunday, October 15, 9-11pm

This is the seventh and last series of the long-running drama, which began in 1991 with a script by Lynda La Plante. Helen Mirren plays the detective, Jane Tennison, now confronting personal demons as she prepares for retirement.

Tennison is so closely identified with her work that it is hard to imagine her without it: she was never a woman who brought feminine qualities to her job, always one determined to show that she could perform as well as any man, and better than most - in short, the Margaret Thatcher of the CID.

The dramas have always been well written, with convincing contemporary settings. I have only been able to preview the first half of this one, but I shall be watching the second half eagerly, not least to find out if my guess about the murderer is correct.

Tennison's case this time involves the disappearance of a 14-year-old girl and suspicion falls on her father. But her best friend reveals that Sallie had a secret life and another prime suspect appears on the scene.

Meanwhile, Tennison has agreed to seek help with her alcohol addiction and has to confront the imminent death of her father, but such private concerns have always seemed a distraction from the important things in her life which happen at the station and on the street.

In future judgments on social attitudes and gender issues in the late 20th century, all seven series of Prime Suspect are likely to be cited as evidence.

Nanny School. Discovery Home and Health, Monday, October 16, 7-7.30pm

The Norland College trains nannies for the famous and the super-rich. It even trains male nannies, though Tom, who features among the students filmed for this series, is only the second male to be admitted to the school in its history. The students will spend two years in training, which includes the art of changing nappies, entertaining infants and whole days without a word of intelligent conversation. Why do they seem so happy?

The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton. BBC4, Monday, October 16, 9-10.25pm

Anna Madeley stars as Isabella Beeton in this dramatised life of a real household name. One of 18 children, Isabella had plenty of experience in looking after a home before she married the publisher Samuel Beeton and decided to put her knowledge into a book. What she didn't know was how to cook, apparently (you might say that when it came to recipes, she had her sources). Her book was a huge success, but fate did not allow her long to enjoy it.

Afternoon Play: It's Not You. BBC Radio 4, Wednesday, October 18, 2.15-3pm

A young teacher goes on holiday and has an affair with a girl who tells him that she is 22. When he gets home, he discovers that she is really 17 and a member of his sixth-form class. Simon Burt's play not only deals with the sensitive subject of relationships between teachers and pupils, but is also about the images that we have of ourselves and those that are reflected on us from others.

The Cairo Trilogy. BBC Radio 4, Sunday, October 15, 3-4pm

In 1988, the late Naguib Mahfouz became the first Arab writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, mainly on the strength of his family saga, The Cairo Trilogy.

This three-part adaptation, recorded in Cairo with Omar Sharif heading a cast of local actors, should give some idea of what the fuss was about before you read the books.


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