channel hop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 September, 2007, 12:00am

Had the summer sun persisted, you would have opened the page to bikini-clad girls riding monster Hawaiian waves in new-to-Hong Kong surfer drama Beyond the Break. Alas, the weather has turned, so instead let's consider the cooler side of television.

(And, frankly, while Beyond the Break is colourful and beachy, no amount of aloha spirit or spectacular surfing footage could make up for the sodden acting in this take-off of 2002 chick-surfer movie Blue Crush.)

Opening the doors to chills from the netherworld, BBC Entertainment brings you a series bound to cause goose bumps. Afterlife (Thursdays at 8pm) comprises six stories linked by the relationship between psychic medium Alison Mundy (Lesley Sharp) and psychology professor Robert Bridge (Andrew Lincoln, right, with Sharp).

Mundy has possessed the ability to see and interact with ghosts since childhood. This 'gift' comes at the cost of peace of mind, as she is sometimes unable to differentiate between the dead and the living.

When Bridge meets her, Mundy is trying, without much success, to live a spirit-free life in London. A sceptic by nature, Bridge, believes mediums are all frauds preying on the emotionally vulnerable. But he becomes fascinated with Mundy after seeing her reluctantly use her powers at a seance. He manages to convince the psychic to let him observe her, with the intention of writing about the mechanics of what he regards as her illusions, and the people seeking her help.

The outwardly cool and collected Bridge is thrown off-kilter when Mundy tells him his dead son is trying to communicate with him.

Part thriller, part character-driven show, Afterlife examines the intersection of belief, human psyche and the tangible world. Should you dare to gaze into this crystal ball, you will see a theatre of macabre, complete with dripping spectres, swaying light bulbs and doors that slam shut by themselves.

Elsewhere in Europe, citizens celebrate - rather than fear - the ghosts of the past. Paris, the city of lights, has been the star of so many travel shows that finding a new angle is tres difficile. One brave soul has taken up the challenge. In a three-part homage to gay Paris (ATV World, Wednesdays at 8pm), native Sandrine Voillet takes us to some well-loved spots - and some subterranean haunts.

Along the way, she enlists the help of some of the city's residents - chef Guy Martin of the restaurant Le Grand Vefour; Olivier Picasso, grandson of the prodigious painter; and Jane Birkin, lover of the city's beloved crooner Serge Gainsbourg.

Voillet is smart, playful and charming in the way that only a French intellectual flaneuse can be. Ghouls and Gauls seem to be the order of the day.