Awakenings (Pearl, 9.30 pm) is inevitably defiled with the usual sentimentality and insulting use of incidental music. Hollywood producers do not believe audiences are smart enough to know what to feel unless given clear signals, like soaring strings or close-ups of major characters emoting. Fortunately the story has been left to tell itself, and the two major stars, Robin Williams and Robert De Niro resist overdoing it. In fact, Williams gives one of the most sensitive performances of his life playing a fictional version of Dr Oliver Sacks, the British neurologist. Sacks was working in a New York hospital in the 1960s when he discovered a group of almost forgotten neurological patients, survivors of the devastating encephalitis lethargica epidemic that felled so many victims in the 1920s. These patients have not spoken or moved for decades, and yet Dr Sayer/Sacks begins to get the germ of an idea of how to help them wake up. Dr Sacks is an instantly recognisable figure, partly because of his many television appearances, but also because of his thick curly beard. Williams as Sayer, behind a similar growth, is a remarkable doppelganger. The real doctor found the process of being mimicked by such an observant actor disturbing. He described the experience in an interview with a Californian writer. The two men had spent a day or so together, when Sacks realised that Williams had changed himself into Sacks, simply by watching him closely. 'When I'm nervous, I get this sort of odd posture, and I realised that Williams was, in fact, in the same posture. Not because he was imitating me, but because by that point he'd incorporated me, and this had become a natural position for him. He had incorporated my posture as he had incorporated my memories, my hopes, my experiences, my character. It was wonderful and rather frightening, suddenly having this younger twin.' In The Practice (World, 10.05 pm), unusual sexual gratification provides both a juicy murder trial for Ellenor and Lindsay, and a revelation for Helen Gamble. The two defence attorneys are hired by a porn queen who apparently accidentally strangled her porn king husband during the filming of a bondage scene. The line of defence is thin even by the standards of this law firm. Since she definitely did kill him, and on film, all Ellenor and Lindsay can come up with in mitigation was that it was an accident. At the same time, Gamble's admirable investigative skills are prodded into action when she finally remembers just who the other person is, apart from Bobby Donnell, who has talked to her recently about how sexy elbow sucking is.