RALPH Fiennes, who did wonders for Quiz Show and should have won something but didn't for his performance as the psychotic German officer in Schindler's List is the star of The Cormorant (World, 12.40am). At least he is the human star. The real star is the eponymous bird - it is actually called Archie - a pet which turns savage and does unspeakable things to the family cat. This is one of those enigmatic British productions which comes perilously close to choking on its own seriousness, but survives because of a number of good performances and a good story - based on the book by Stephen Gregory. Fiennes is a writer who escapes the pressures of urban life, and a serious case of writer's block, for the wilds of North Wales, where he has inherited a cottage from his late uncle - a promising new home for himself, his wife and their baby son. But the house comes with a strange proviso - they must look after the uncle's favourite pet, a black cormorant with a violent streak. Animals do not come much more symbolic than black cormorants. The bird exercises a strange hold over the couple's son, does away with their cat, and slashes the arm of a dinner guest. There is trouble in store for Fiennes and the locals do little to help. They are suspicious and resentful of the upwardly mobile, pseudo-agricultural city boy in their midst. THE outrageous comedy Red Squirrel (World, 9.30pm) is Spanish, which will be enough reason for many of you to watch it, hot on the heels of the success of Jamon, Jamon and countless others like it. Sidekicks (Pearl, 9.30pm) stars Chuck Norris, playing himself, which would usually be reason enough to avoid it. Children, however, might enjoy it. Beau Bridges also stars, as a struggling computer hacker with a nerdish son. THERE are no actors used in Desmond Morris' new series, The Human Animal (Pearl, 8.30pm). The idea is to prove human beings, homo sapiens in the Morris vernacular, are strange beings. Much of The Human Animal expands on theories Morris has already expounded in his books, The Naked Ape, Manwatching, The Human Zoo and Babywatching. This does not make it less interesting, but might give you the feeling you have seen it all before. The first episode is called The Language Of The Body and sees Morris on crushingly familiar territory, exploring the way we communicate, sometimes unintentionally, through gestures and expressions. THE avuncular Tim Hamlett, the man with the eccentric moustache, hosts The Week In Politics (World, 6.40pm and Pearl 11.50pm) and a good job he does too. There are not many presenters on Hong Kong television who do not inspire in viewers the urge to kick something, but he is one. In this week's programme Hamlett investigates Victoria Harbour, which is disappearing so fast under reclamation it will soon be a puddle; the Bill of Rights controversy and a dispute over whether or not the Government should increase charges for its services. BOTH Chris Hilton and Claudia Mo are also low in the irritation stakes. They present Media Watch (World, 7pm), which includes an interview with Stephen Ng Tin-hoi, chairman and managing director of Wharf Cable. Perhaps Mr Ng will explain why it is that every time I set forth from my apartment, I am accosted by a young man in a polyester suit trying to get me to part with good money for a station that shows films I have mostly seen before. FILM on Cable Movie Channel: The Babysitter (12.30pm). A teenage babysitter (Alicia Silverstone) is in big trouble - the man who hires her and his son both have the hots for her. Short on laughs, long on juvenile behaviour.