TV preview: Spector | Mad Men | Andy Murray: The Man Behind The Racquet

OH WOW. I hope the right photo is sitting next to these words. It’s the one that made me go: “I have to see this made-for-TV movie!” It suggested that lots of camp madness was involved, that maybe Spector wouldn’t be great but it would certainly be unforgettable. Oh wow and “Hoo-ah!”



Sky Atlantic, Saturday 9pm

Mad Men

Sky Atlantic, Wednesday 10pm

Andy Murray: The Man Behind The Racquet

BBC1, Sunday, 10.25pm

There’s a view that Al Pacino wasn’t quite the same after Scent Of A Woman, the film in which he played a blind army man and said “Hoo-ah! a lot. That was the moment he went from being a great actor to a great over-actor – when some people, emboldened by their ability to impersonate him (basically “Hoo-ah!”), reckoned he was now dealing in ham, albeit that it was prime, succulent and deftly cut.

Say that to his face. Or say it to the face of Michael Corleone or Tony Montana or Carlito Brigante. I’m still more interested in Pacino than his contemporaries Jack Nicholson and Robert De Whatisname. Daniel Day-Lewis: world’s greatest actor? I refer you to Gangs Of New York, Bill the Butcher, ham in every sense. Who did Saturday Night Fever’s Tony Manero (John Travolta, and where’s he now?) want to be when his gran caught him posing in the mirror? I don’t think any of these guys could have worn Spector’s ginormous wig quite like Al.

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The movie is controversial for focusing on the Svengali of the pop 45’s first, aborted trial for the murder of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson and not the second which resulted in him being banged up for 19 years. By the second, Linda Kenney Baden was too ill to defend him. Here played by Helen Mirren, the lawyer started out convinced of his guilt, throwing around the word “freak” like everyone else. Then she visited him at home – the castle with the suits of armour, stuffed owls, bad art, “Back to mono” slogans, white china tigers, white John Lennon piano and the wall reserved for his guns, all by that point seized – and wasn’t so sure anymore.

Spector, via David Mamet’s teleplay, had some smart lines. “First time you were felt up? You were listening to one of my songs. Sidney Poitier broke the colour bar – are you kidding me? He was playing an uptight, frightened white guy’s version of a black man. I put the Ronettes in the home! I put black America in the white home!” Baden was so charmed by him that she almost stopped noticing the procession of rugs – Bee Gee to Maureen Lipman to 1970s Woolies checkout girl to Black Sabbath roadie – and didn’t protest when the Wall of Sound pioneer arrived for court under a Planet of Hair. The film didn’t spend a long time on the pop trailblazing but as a portrait of a misunderstood genius – intelligent, crackpot, lonely – it was almost touching. That must have been hard for the Clarkson family to watch. And of course Pacino’s an incredible actor.

The last episode of season six of Mad Men began with Don and Roger sure of New York (as the centre of the creative, chauvinistic universe) and their places in it. LA, said Don, was Detroit with palm trees. Detroit, said Roger, was all fun and games until they shoot you in the face. But by the end, almost everyone wanted a district-office transfer. Would this be the moment for the mass skyscraper leap, as the titles have been promising since 2007? Hang on you idiots, there’s one more season to come!

Poor Bill, he of the magnificent Buffalo Bill suede jacket: the LA office was his idea, only for Don to pick it up and run with it, leaving Bill with his best-ever line for consolation: “I’m going to have a sandwich at my desk. Need to get to it before you do.”

Theft was a bit of a theme. Don had been drinking a lot, sleeping with Peggy for old time’s sake and, last week, punching a preacher man and ending up in jail. He steadied his quivering hands long enough to deliver a stupendous advertising pitch, of the kind which confirms Mad Men as still the best drama around. For Kodak and the carousel, read Hershey’s and the whorehouse. Well, I thought it was stupendous.

He began by recalling a happy childhood of gardening chores for chocolate rewards, his father ruffling his hair while he ceremonially unwrapped the bar. A Hershey’s was “a currency of affection, the childhood symbol of love”. A pause for acclaim, then: “I have to say this. I don’t know if I’ll see you again.” He was, in fact, a brothel orphan, the hooker forced to raise him didn’t want to know, but another one got him to go through customers’ pockets and if he produced a dollar he got a Hershey’s – “The only sweet thing in my life.” The room was stunned. I thought “Hershey’s – they’re so whoreish” could have been a winning slogan but no one else did. Don lost the contract and was placed on indefinite leave. Only one more series, then, for he and Peggy to walk off in the sunset together, or right over the top of their building.

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If Andy Murray: The Man Behind The Racquet didn’t endear our lad to the Wimbledon debenture-holders who don’t think he smiles enough or would know which spoon to use for quince or the correct way to address an earl on a Tuesday – that he isn’t Tim Henman, basically – then I don’t know what will. Henman was among those testifying to his all-round good guyness, and owned up to being partly responsible for Andy wanting Paraguay to beat England at football, the start of all the trouble.