Back to nature

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 January, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 January, 1994, 12:00am

SOMETIMES it's difficult to walk more than a few yards through the television schedules without putting your foot in a great dollop of natural stuff. This evening the pavements are littered with it. Mother Nature is getting more than her money's worth in Hong Kong.

The cream of the crop - more of a crop surplus these days - are two wildlife documentaries on Pearl which go under the umbrella titles of Man's Heritage (8.30pm) and Wildlife Journeys (9.00pm). World does its communing with nature at 8.30pm in the form of The Last Frontiers: The Arctic.

This evening's Man's Heritage is Clowns of the Air, about puffins common, tufted and horned. It was produced, in association with the National Geographic Society, by the BBC, which has always been very good at hanging around in out-of-the-way places waiting for creatures to do their business.

Wildlife Journeys was also produced by the BBC, which only goes to prove an Englishman and his green wellies are not easily parted. This episode, River Journeys, is an absorbing trawl through the waterways of the world and the life they support, which thankfully does not always include plastic supermarket bags and abandoned barbecue forks.

World's answer to this onslaught, The Last Frontiers: The Arctic, is another absorbing trawl, this time through some of the Earth's cooler extremities. It clashes with the puffins, so make a decision and live with it or try for the first time to see if you can actually programme your video recorder without causing chaos at Kai Tak traffic control.

IT'S always nice to be able to say something positive about locally-produced shows.

Mediawatch (World, 7pm), an RTHK production, has somehow survived in the face of an acute lack of things media-related to talk about. For a time last year it looked like former host Steve Vines might be forced to fill one of the many quiet weeks by interviewing himself about the fact that he was being interviewed by just about everyone else.

Presenters Claudia Mo and Gary Pollard try to get to grips with an issue which is by no means new, but which is probably worth hanging out on the line one more time: will the arrival of cable and satellite channels in Asia, specifically Hong Kong, mean more work for the territory's film-makers? There is also an interview with the modestly-named Wagner Tang, who is an animator.

But perhaps the thing most of us will be interested to hear about is why TVB has started showing that irritating little logo throughout its programmes. Do they really think viewers are so stupid they don't know which channel they are watching? Don't answer that question.

SEEN any good movies lately? There are a couple tonight in the form of The Dead Zone (Pearl, 9.30pm) and Country (Pearl, 12.00pm). Both deserve to be watched, the former for some intensely intense acting from Christopher Walken as a man who wakes froma coma after a near-fatal car accident to find he has the gift of second sight. The latter sees Jessica Lange in her usual superlative form as a farming wife whose family is threatened with destitution when the government tries to take back their land.

SamShepard plays the husband in a film that was as topical at the time as a film could reasonably hope to be.

IN the face of such classy opposition World has decided that the best policy is, well, to do nothing. Or very little. 1990: The Bronx Warriors (9.30pm) is noteworthy only because it stars Vic Morrow, who died in a helicopter crash with two Vietnamese children in 1982 while filming a scene for a television show. The helicopter was hit by debris from the simulated warfare going on below. Evilspeak (1am) starts off badly and, after two or three minutes, begins to go downhill.