The Kennedys: An American Dynasty

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 July, 1999, 12:00am

It says something about John F Kennedy Jnr that a film about the Kennedy family will hardly mention him. But the nature and achievements of the 38-year-old whose plane crashed two weeks ago is almost irrelevant. It was his name that prompted a nation to go into mourning.

TVB has altered its schedule to sate an interest in his family, rekindled by his death, by showing The Kennedys: An American Dynasty (Pearl, 8.35pm). This will no doubt include the one image Kennedy Jnr will be remembered for, that of the forlorn child captured on his third birthday, saluting his father's coffin. It is not going to say anything about the man he became - the magazine editor who never seemed likely to follow in his father's political footsteps. Instead, The Kennedys will perpetuate the myth of unique family greatness and tragedy, with the help of reminiscences of lesser family members, archival footage and home movies. For many Americans, they have been the royal family the American psyche craves.

John F Kennedy Jnr was best known for inheriting his family's lust for taking risks, not in the political arena but in high-adrenalin pursuits such as paragliding and white-water rafting. It is a spirit he had in common with the likes of Nancy Feagin and Barry Blanchard, who feature in a repeat showing of the BBC series Face: Six Great Climbing Adventures (World, 7pm). Together they climb a 600-metre rock face in the remote and frozen Canadian Northwest Territories. 'This is hell and I love it,' is hardly a comprehensible explanation for what drives Feagin beyond the limits of human comfort and endurance in order to fleetingly reach the summit. Only those who share such passions can understand.

The comedy Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery (Pearl, 9.35pm) will be entertaining viewing, especially for those nostalgic for 1960s Carnaby Street culture. Runtish funnyman Mike Myers (pictured above) plays the spy who was deep-frozen in 1967, during the heyday of peace and free love, only to be defrosted and left hopelessly out of sync with the less groovy 1990s. He also plays his nemesis, Dr Evil, and is knocked into shape by the supermodel Elizabeth Hurley, who plays the sophisticated British agent he lusts for.

Al Campbell will fill this column from Monday, while I spend August in cooler European climes.