IF Beverly Hills Cop (Pearl 9.30pm) serves only one purpose - to allow Eddie Murphy the opportunity to work a dozen or so variations on his familiar and oddly enduring routine - it serves it well. It could have been worse, particularly if you think that the role was originally tailored for Sylvester Stallone. Stallone is generally not funny, and Murphy often is. Which is why Beverly Hills Cop, despite its foul language and frenetic action, is the kind of film audiences seem able to watch an infinite number of times without showing signs of irritation. With Stallone there would have been nothing but irritation. It is empty-headed, but to say so is being pedantic. The whole point is that it is empty-headed, but with good jokes for everyone, including Judge Reinhold and John Ashton as the by-the-book career officers (both in sensible jackets) who are bamboozled by Murphy's character - a sassy, brash, crude, street-wise cop from Detroit who turns up in Los Angeles to look for his friend's killer. Steven Berkoff is once again typecast as a villain, but Bronson Pinochet stole the show, even from Murphy, as the fey art gallery worker with a non-specific East European accent. It is a role that has been much-imitated since, notably in Steve Martin's Father of the Bride. OTHER films on Pearl and World: The Blue Max (World, 9.30pm). Bruno Statchel (George Peppard) is an ambitious fighter pilot, fresh out of fighter pilot school in World War I Germany. He is fiercely competitive with Von Klugermann (James Mason), the hero of the nation's new air squadron. Stick with it for the dramatic aerial climax, which sees biplanes being shot out of the sky faster than you can say 'duel-to-the-death'. Exodus (Pearl, 12.15pm). A heavy-going epic about the early years of the state of Israel, toned down from the passionate novel by Leon Uris. The cast is strong (Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Richardson) and the film is long (three hours and a bit). Jewish comedian Mort Stahl, invited by director Otto Preminger to a preview, is said to have stood up halfway through and said: 'Otto - let my people go!' Je Vous Aime (Pearl 12.05am). Claude Berri's interesting but ultimately disappointing account of a woman (Catherine Deneuve) who does not believe in lasting relationships. Look out for a youngish Gerard Depardieu. Highway to Hell (World, 1.10am). A dysfunctional young couple (Chad Lowe and Kristy Swanson) are kidnapped by a police officer from Hell (C J Graham). Patrick Bergin plays an underworld service station operator. WORLD has shown A Midsummer Night's Ice Dream (8.30pm) so many times it is obviously under the impression we like this sort of thing. Shakespeare on ice has never pushed any of my buttons, particularly when set in contemporary New York with Bottom as custodian of the subway. THE unexpected highlight of The 23rd Annual American Music Awards (STAR Plus, noon), which took place earlier this week at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, was provided by Garth Brooks. He turned down his award, saying it should have gone instead to Hootie & The Blowfish. Other nominees include Michael Jackson, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Melissa Etheridge and TLC. FILMS on Cable Movie Channel: Short Time (7pm). Street-cop Dabney Coleman thinks he has a short time to live, so decides to get himself killed on the job so his wife can collect the insurance. Incredible action stunts mingle uneasily with touches of sentiment in this middling comedy. Deadful Melody (9pm). Starlets Carina Lau and Brigitte Lin in another standard issue dynastic drama. Feuding clans and martial arts feature strongly.