Audrey on the catwalk

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 August, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 August, 1994, 12:00am

IT is sometimes difficult to keep up with our television stations. ATV World is particularly adept at making late changes to its programmes. If you were hoping to slip into your armchair for Caesar and Cleopatra this evening you will be disappointed. It has been removed, but please do not ask me why.

The good news is that it has been replaced by Funny Face (World, 9.30pm), which stars the late and very great Audrey Hepburn as an innocent who is turned into a chic fashion model by photographer Fred Astaire.

Funny Face would be a fine movie if it did nothing else but feature Hepburn. It is crucial to an understanding of her glorious gamine appeal. But it is also one of Astaire's finest musicals of the 1950s and a fine satire of the fashion world.

The story concerns the relationship between Greenwich Village bookseller Jo Stockton (Hepburn) and Madison Avenue fashion photographer Dick Avery (Astaire). Dick discovers the sweet young thing and plays Henry Higgins to her Eliza, turning her into a top model in Paris.

There is no more to say about the story. It exists purely as a line on which to hang the film's superb visuals and George Gershwin's memorable tunes. Hepburn is absolutely irresistible, especially when she does an admirable job squeaking How Long Has This Been Going On? in her own voice.

She also manages quite well as a dancer, particularly in the satirical cafe number with two fellow mods. But her limitations in this department begin to show when she performs the climactic duet with Astaire in the woods. Perhaps she had trouble with her heels in all that long grass.

Real-life model superstars Suzy Parker and Dovima appear, but the most unforgettable fashion moment feature Hepburn at her most ''Givenchy'', descending a flight of steps in a stunning red gown.

YOU get three shots at watching Sherlock Holmes: Incident At Victoria Falls, which stars Christopher Lee as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous pipe-smoking investigator. It is on STAR Plus at 8.30pm, midnight and finally at 3.30am. Later, Clive James pops up in Clive James On Safari (STAR Plus, 5.30am), but by then you should all be in bed.

THE Totoros in Totoro (Pearl, 9.30pm) are furry, fat, funny and lovable creatures that only children, with their pure and innocent hearts, can see. Which begs the question ''why are Pearl showing it at 9.30pm?'' Totoro is the third animated film from Hayao Miyazaki. The other two were Nausicaa and Laputa.

REPORTER Andrew Paterson spent a day with the fisherfolk of Tai O for one of the reports in Inside Story (World, 8.30pm). The residents of the Lantau stilt village - a tourist attraction since almost before tourists started coming to Hong Kong - are being ordered to move to new homes by the Government, which argues they cannot go on living in homes that have no sanitation and that might be unsafe. The villagers are very happy where they are thank you and determined not to move one inch.

Jim Sciutto reports on the dangerous slopes that have been claiming lives with depressing regularity and finds that there might be a lot more of them. And Janine Graham finds out how easy it is for children as young as six years old to buy pornographic magazines.

THIS evening's episode of the offbeat but often entertaining Picket Fences (Pearl, 12.25pm) is called High Tidings. It is about Christmas, but is being shown for our benefit slap bang in the middle of August.

It gets off to a bad start for Brock and Jill, who return home from a skating party on Christmas Eve to find their daughter performing naked acrobatics with the boy next door.

Brock, played by the excellent Tom Skerritt, is outraged and has the boy arrested for having sex with a minor. Things get worse when two of the townsfolk are taken hostage by a man who claims he is Santa Claus. Christmas was always a busy time of the year for the folk of Rome, Wisconsin.