fiver's blog

Sunday 31st January 8.00pm

The property and lifestyle series with Charlie Luxton continues its new run. This week, Charlie meets a couple who have moved their four young children from Oxfordshire to France to begin a new, idyllic life. Keith and Antoinette dream of converting a chateau-style mansion into a family home and B&B. However, increasing financial demands threaten to derail the project.

Keith, Antoinette and their family have moved from Oxfordshire to the Languedoc region of France. Their dream is to convert a 19th-century chateau-style mansion into a bed and breakfast.

When Keith and Antoinette met six years ago, they had two children from previous relationships. Since then, they have had two more children of their own. However, Keith’s long working hours running his own company have left them with little time together as a family. Having always dreamed of moving to France, the couple have finally taken the plunge. Their hope is that the children will lead an idyllic village life and become bilingual.

However, in order to finance the build, Keith has to sell his IT business in the UK. While Keith divides his time between England and France, Antoinette faces the huge task of project-managing a team of French builders – a job made even more difficult as she does not speak fluent French. She also has to keep an eye on the four kids. The plan is to have the guest accommodation ready to rent for the summer season – but when the couple’s financial situation worsens, their hopes of a better life begin to recede. Can Keith and Antoinette realise their dream?

Friday 29th January 9.00pm

Supernatural thriller starring Hilary Swank as an investigator who specialises in debunking religious phenomena. The woman is dispatched to a small town in Louisiana that appears to be suffering the effects of the ten biblical plagues. She is determined to find a scientific answer to the mystery, only to be confounded by seemingly impossible forces.

The cast includes Stephen Rea (‘V for Vendetta’, ‘The End of the Affair’), David Morrissey (‘Red Riding’, ‘State of Play’) and Idris Elba (‘The Wire’).

Stephen Hopkins also helmed ‘Predator 2’, bigbudget adventure ‘Lost in Space’, and biopic ‘The Life and Death of Peter Sellers’.

Stephen Hopkins
Hilary Swank, Stephen Rea, David Morrissey, Idris Elba

Thursday 28th January 9.00pm

Paul Merton continues his tour of Europe. Paul resumes his travels in Ireland with a stop to witness the unusual sport of road bowling. Near the lunar landscape of the Burren, he drops in on Father Ted’s house, before visiting a remarkable Brazilian enclave. In Dublin, Paul meets an enterprising pair who are selling Irish dirt to America, and an artist who lives in a 1930s house.

Paul Merton’s journeys through the western edge of Europe continue in County Wicklow. Paul meets a reclusive figure called Willy who has turned his bog land into an Amazon paradise for 20 rescued monkeys, as well as a number of geese, dogs, ostriches and emus.

Having fed this odd menagerie, Paul heads to County Cork to see the ancient Irish pastime of road bowling. Locals have gathered to watch two contestants attempt to fling a cannonball as far as possible down a country lane. The player who completes the distance in the fewest throws is the winner – and the spectators love nothing better than placing bets on the outcome.

Next, Paul travels to the lunar landscape of the Burren in western Ireland. These strange rock formations once lay on the ocean floor and represent 300 million years of compacted fish bone. Nearby, Paul visits the farmhouse used in ‘Father Ted’. The property belongs to Patrick, whose father appeared as an extra in the sitcom. But it seems that some of the locals were not amused by the show. “When they saw what they were involved with, they were totally disgusted,” Patrick says. “It was making fun of the Catholic Church.”

A young Brazilian lad living with Patrick’s family reveals that there is a town nearby with a large South American community. “They call it Little Brazil,” says Patrick’s wife. Intrigued, Paul heads straight to the very Irish-looking town of Gort. It takes only a few moments to realise that most of the locals look distinctly Brazilian – and there is even a Brazilian shop. “Even for elaborate hoaxes, to build a store and fill it full of Brazilian food would be going a bit too far,” says Paul.

It transpires that a large number of Brazilian butchers were brought to Gort over ten years ago to staff a meat factory. The plant has now closed down and the Brazilians have had to find other work. The locals seem content to welcome the newcomers, pointing out that the Irish themselves have a proud history of emigrating to find work.

Paul’s next stop is Dublin, which was until recently Europe’s fastest-growing capital. The economy is facing tough times, but at least one pair of enterprising Irishmen have hit upon a profitable business. Patrick and Tim export tonnes of Irish peat to nostalgic Irish-Americans. “There’s 36 million Irish-Americans out there,” says Patrick. “Five per cent of that market – that’s what we’re looking for.”

Elsewhere in Dublin, an eccentric American has made the journey the other way. Artist David McDermott moved from New York 15 years ago and has adopted a 1930s lifestyle. David says he was inspired by the locals. “Even though the people might appear to be contemporary, they’re really old-fashioned,” he says. Paul is charmed and bewildered by David’s extraordinary home, which includes a large taxidermy collection. “I go for road kill,” David explains.

Finally, Paul spends an afternoon at a military reenactment at Fort Duncannon. A range of historic armies are on display, but Paul is especially interested by the Nazi encampment. While Paul is a little worried by all the Third Reich paraphernalia, it seems that the locals are more tolerant. “I’d probably get more adverse reaction if I had been wearing a British uniform,” says Joe, a member of the ‘Nazi’ team. The day concludes with a pitched battle and an appearance by Winston Churchill himself – complete with an Irish accent.

Wednesday 27th January 9.00pm

The rebooted version of the classic 90s drama arrives on Fiver. ‘Melrose Place’ charts the lives of seven glamorous twentysomethings in a West Hollywood apartment complex. In the opening episode, long-time Melrose Place resident Sydney Andrews is found murdered in the swimming pool. As her neighbours react to the news, aspiring film-maker Jonah proposes to his girlfriend. Elsewhere, medical student Lauren receives a startling offer.

David Breck (Shaun Sipos, ‘Shark’) is called away from a romantic assignation by a text message begging for his help. He rushes to a plush apartment complex at 4,616 Melrose Place and arrives at the home of Sydney Andrews (Laura Leighton, reprising her role from the original ‘Melrose Place’). “Something’s happened. I’ve done something really bad,” Sydney tells David. Reluctantly, David agrees to spend the night and keep her company.

The next morning, the residents are shocked to discover Sydney’s dead body floating in the pool. The police report that she was stabbed during a fight. While the neighbours ponder their landlady’s demise, it seems not all of them are sorry to see her go. “You stab enough people in the back, eventually you get a knife of your own,” says sassy, no-nonsense publicist Ella Simms (Katie Cassidy, ‘Harper’s Island’, ‘Supernatural’).

David is taken to the police station and questioned by detectives. He is released without charge when Ella invents an alibi for him and tells police he spent the night with her. Outside the station, a worried David admits he cannot remember what happened. “I went to Sydney’s to make sure she was okay,” he says. “We hit a bottle, I passed out. When I came to, she was gone.”

David is picked up by his father, Dr Michael Mancini (Thomas Calabro, another ‘Melrose Place’ veteran). Michael is trying to build bridges with his son, having denied his existence for years. Both father and son were entangled in affairs with Sydney. David also knows that his father helped Sydney fake her own death 11 years earlier (on the original show). But Michael is still keeping some secrets from his son – including the fact that Sydney was going to reveal their affair to his wife. Did Michael kill Sydney to keep her quiet?

Elsewhere, aspiring film-maker Jonah Miller (Michael Rady) proposes to his schoolteacher girlfriend Riley Richmond (Jessica Lucas, ‘Cloverfield’, ‘CSI’). But Riley shocks him by failing to respond straightaway. “It’s not supposed to be a homework assignment. It’s a yes or no question,” Jonah says.

While Riley considers her answer, Jonah heads off to do an assignment filming an 18th birthday party. His agent, Ella, urges him to present his short film to Gary Sarling, the birthday girl’s father and a successful movie producer. Jonah’s attempts to woo the film producer fall flat, until he catches the man in a clinch with his daughter’s best friend. Desperate to stop his wife from finding out, the producer tries to buy Jonah’s silence by offering him a movie deal. Will Jonah abandon his principles and agree to the deal? And will this breakthrough in his career convince Riley to accept his proposal?

Also in the pilot episode, beautiful medical student Lauren Yung (Stephanie Jacobsen, ‘Battlestar Galactica’, ‘Home and Away’) discovers that her outof- work father is no longer able to pay her tuition fees. She is invited on a date with the son of one of her patients, only for him to make a shocking offer. He will pay her $5,000 if she spends the night with him. “If you think about it, we both win,” he says. Will cash-strapped Lauren consider the proposition?

Wednesday 27th January 9.00pm

The reality series following some particularly demanding brides-to-be as they prepare for their impending nuptials continues. In this instalment, a last-minute dress disaster leads to a stressful day for New Yorker Nicole, while 30-year-old actress Kirsten from Florida strives to get what she wants on her special day by crying and throwing tantrums.

This week’s first blushing bride-to-be is 20-year-old student Nicole DeLeo from Staten Island, New York. Having dreamed about her ideal wedding since she was just 13, Nicole is desperate for her big day to run smoothly, and is insistent that she be kept informed of every minor detail. Despite being something of a control freak, however, she often has major time-management issues – so much so that she was two hours late for her prom. Will she manage to make it in time for her own wedding?

When the day arrives, Nicole seems incapable of organising herself – and the bridesmaids and best man are no better. The bride then suffers a meltdown when she spots a stain on her dress – but she should be more concerned about whether it will fit. Nicole ends up spending most of her wedding day screaming, and the tantrum continues after the ceremony has finished…

Next it is the turn of 30-year-old Floridian Kirsten Stiff, a canine tutu designer and part-time actress. Kirsten’s wedding is to be a “multi-media extravaganza” complete with singing, dancing, videos, choreographed dogs, a trapeze artist, a cocktail hour, a five-course meal and a charity auction. However, with so many things organised, there is a lot that can go wrong…

Kirsten is accustomed to getting what she wants by crying and stamping her feet, but it seems the act may be wearing a little thin. On the day of the wedding, the band leader refuses to tolerate Kirsten’s manipulative behaviour, so the bride refuses to pay him. Could things possibly get any worse for the happy couple?

Wednesday 27th January 8.00pm

Documentary exploring the final days of controversial pop star Michael Jackson. A host of friends, employees and reporters help shed light on the singer’s tragic death at the age of 50 in June 2009. The programme also examines Michael Jackson’s unusual childhood, flamboyant career and the allegations that dogged his later years.

On 25 June 2009 the world learned of Michael Jackson’s death at his Los Angeles home. As fans paid their respects, detectives began to unpick the events leading up to the King of Pop’s passing.

Michael Jackson’s death was all the more shocking coming on the eve of his 50-gig stint at the 02 Arena in London. These performances were intended to serve as Jackson’s long-awaited comeback – and alleviate the financial problems that had threatened to bankrupt the singer. “The deal promised to rescue Michael Jackson from the financial morass he had gotten himself into,” says reporter Diane Dimond.

However, Jackson was apparently furious to learn that he was contracted to perform 50 dates – 40 more than initially planned. “At 50 years old, it was unthinkable,” says family friend Leonard Rowe. The concert promoters insist that Jackson would have performed on average just two and a quarter shows a week. Yet it was clear that his body was struggling to cope with the demands of rehearsals. He insisted on being given an anaesthetic to help him sleep. “It’s a very safe medication used in a hospital setting, but you don’t want to do this at home,” says Jackson’s former nurse, Cherilyn Lee.

Prior to his 02 gigs, Jackson hired Dr Conrad Murray to manage his medical needs. On the day before his death, Jackson was seen conferring with the physician. “An aide heard Michael saying, ‘I’m ready to go to sleep’,” says journalist Ian Halperin. On June 25, Jackson was found not breathing and Murray summoned help. Staff gathered as paramedics rushed the singer to hospital. “We all held hands. We started praying, ‘Dear God, please don’t let anything happen to Mr Jackson’,” recalls chef Kai Chase. The King of Pop was declared dead shortly after at the UCLA Medical Center.

In the aftermath of this shocking event, police reported finding drugs in Jackson’s home, some of them prescribed to aliases and some to members of staff without their knowledge – including Kai Chase. “I lost it. That really made me feel used,” she says. The Jackson family appeared to take the view that someone had caused Michael’s death. Yet friends and supporters admit that the star had a history of drug abuse and dependency.

In January 1984, Jackson suffered severe burns while filming a commercial. “They tried to do skin grafts, hair transplants, but when you have a scar like that, there’s not much you can do,” says his manager Frank DiLeo. In the wake of this accident, the singer became hooked on painkillers. Some observers believe what started as an overdependency became a full-blown addiction after he was accused of child molestation in 1993.

By the time of Jackson’s trial in 2005, the King of Pop was clearly frail. “We saw a very embattled and beaten up Michael Jackson during that trial,” says biographer Stacy Brown. Diane Dimond cites sources that claim Jackson was taking up to 50 pills a day. This addiction, coupled with immune disorders and anorexia, alarmed the Jackson family.

The events of 25 June 2009 remain unclear to many of Jackson’s followers. Observers wonder how much time elapsed before an ambulance was called. They question why a security guard, and not Dr Murray, called 911, and why Jackson was on a bed and not on the floor as standard CPR procedure dictates. “The whole situation surrounding Michael’s death is very suspicious,” says Leonard Rowe. On 24 August 2009, police declared the case a suspected homicide. No charges have yet been brought and the investigation is ongoing.

Monday 25th January 9.00pm

Romantic drama in which a Chicago police officer (Jennifer Lopez) is rescued by a mysterious man (James Caviezel, ‘The Passion of the Christ’, ‘The Prisoner’)when she is ambushed one night. The emotionally damaged cop finds a kindred spirit in the enigmatic loner and the pair enter into a relationship. Together they take steps towards healing the traumas of the past.

Mexican director Luis Mandoki is also responsible for the 2004 film ‘Innocent Voices’, which examines El Salvador’s bloody civil war through the eyes of a young boy. His thriller ‘Trapped’, starring Charlize Theron, is showing on Five this week.

Luis Mandoki
Jennifer Lopez, Jim Caviezel, Jeremy Sisto

Weekdays at 1.30pm

Five celebrity smokers attempt to kick the habit in this factual series. Actress Linda Robson, chef John Burton Race, model Chloe Madeley, actor Paul Danan and medium Derek Acorah each have a personal motive for wanting to quit. They will employ a variety of methods in an effort to wean themselves off the weed. Can they erase smoking from their lives for good?

On Monday’s programme, the celebs try alternative therapies and techniques to keep them motivated. Paul experiences hypnosis, Chloe tries pole dancing lessons and John attempts acupuncture. The day ends with Paul facing the challenge of a night out drinking with his smoking mates – how will he cope?

Tuesday’s programme sees the celebrities embark on their first weekend without smoking. Saturday sees a number of them having strange dreams and there is drama in store when Paul fails his CO2 test. John visits London and meets up with Linda and Chloe when they are presented with an unconventional and challenging task.

On Wednesday, the celebs battle through their eighth day. So far, they have all managed without fags – but that changes when one of the stars confesses to having had a smoke in the night. The revelation causes consternation and a new wave of doubt amongst the others.

Thursday’s programme marks ten days since the celebs quit cigarettes – and things are not working out as expected. Linda is starting to embrace the non-smoking lifestyle as she goes shopping with her smoking sisters to spend the money she has saved since quitting. Chloe excels at an outdoor pursuit centre, but Paul reaches an all-time low.

And on Friday, the end is in sight for the celebrities. Linda has to deal with smoking actors at her panto rehearsal. Chloe visits an oral cancer unit and vows to get her friends to quit as well after seeing firsthand the damage smoking can cause. Meanwhile, Paul has a confession to make.

Weekdays at 10.30am

Martha’s life is placed in danger. Aden and Nicole face up to their feelings for each other. Leah sends Miles into a spin. Angelo is suspended from the force. Xavier’s memory returns.

This week, Summer Bay continues to be rocked by Hugo’s decision to dump Martha. Hugo insists that it is the best thing for Martha, but when he shows up at the farm to collect his things, the pair end up in bed together. Sadly, Martha realises that their night together has made no difference to Hugo, and she goes to the Surf Club Christmas party alone. Hugo’s bizarre behaviour continues to confuse those who love him. He makes an airline reservation before saying goodbye to his family. Driving out of town, Hugo is then confronted by Suzy! She tells him that if he refuses to return to Indonesia, Martha is the one who will pay. Petrified, Hugo tries to warn Martha but she has turned off her phone. Will Suzy hurt Martha?

Meanwhile, Nicole and Aden struggle to cope with their new feelings for each other. While Nicole is still in a relationship with Liam, Aden feels it is too soon after Belle’s death to start seeing someone else. However, when Nicole discovers that Liam cheated on her with Poppie she sees red and dumps him. Aden is then unfairly fired from his job, and in a rage he steals Poppie’s car and decides to skip town. He runs into Nicole and the pair go for a drive together – only to be arrested for joyriding by a local cop. The pair are locked in the cells for the night, and the tension between them reaches fever pitch. Aden shows Nicole Belle’s final letter, and explains that she has given him permission to be with her. Will the argumentative pair finally give in to their mutual attraction?

Elsewhere, Miles is confused by Leah’s cryptic behaviour and mistakenly believes she has feelings for him. She is shocked when he makes a move on her and reveals that she has actually fallen for Hazem, the Surf Club decorator! Already hurting from Kirsty’s decision to leave him, Miles is left totally mortified. His humiliation is compounded when Colleen reports the incident to all and sundry. The devastated teacher seeks solace in drink and parties with some ‘schoolies’ on the beach, before mysteriously disappearing. Where has Miles gone?

Also this week, Angelo is suspended in the wake of his attack on Hugo. Tony sells part of his business to Palmer. Ruby and Geoff consummate their relationship. Liam is tempted by drugs once again. Derrick escapes from custody. Xavier’s memory returns. And Charlie finally unmasks the mastermind behind the people-smuggling ring…

Weekdays at 10.00am

Will Elle move to New York? Can Donna stand up to Saffron? Libby discovers that Sunny has been cheating at school. Dan neglects Libby. Lyn and Lou spar at work.

This week, Elle struggles with her decision to accept a job at a newspaper in New York. She clings to the hope that Lucas will join her in the future, but Lucas knows their relationship is over. He attempts to put on a brave face, aware that Elle will opt to stay if she knows how much he is suffering. Paul sees through Lucas’s act and wonders how long he can maintain the pretence. Finally, Lucas can contain his emotions no longer and admits to Elle that he will not be joining her in New York. A devastated Elle immediately decides to stay, until Lucas prevails upon her to seize the opportunity. Elle departs Erinsborough for good, leaving a broken-hearted Lucas to be tempted back into gambling. Can he pull himself together?

Donna, meanwhile, learns that the criminal charges against Saffron have been dismissed. She has to face Saffron in mediation instead. However, her resolve crumbles when the fashion designer takes her to one side and threatens to ruin Donna’s career if she makes a formal complaint about the assault. Intimidated, Donna changes her story and claims she lied about Saffron slapping her. She is only saved when Ringo shows up at the last minute with a new witness who can confirm the real version of events. With her confidence restored, Donna is inspired to fix her relationship with Ringo.

Elsewhere, when Libby discovers that Sunny has been doing Kyle’s homework for him, she resolves to settle the matter confidentially. But Dan decides to inform Sunny’s exchange programme about her misdemeanour. This leads to a furious row with Susan, who accuses him of hitting back at the Kennedys because he feels shut out of the pregnancy. Dan insists that his hands are tied – leaving Sunny’s future hanging in the balance. Later, Dan issues Libby with a shocking demand – after the baby is born, he wants to move out of Erinsborough and away from her meddling family!

Also this week, Dan neglects Libby in order to keep an eye on his brother following Elle’s departure. Sunny declares her love for Zeke, but their happiness is short lived when Karl and Susan urge them to tell Sunny’s parents about their relationship. The DHS prepares to decide the fate of the Ramsay siblings, and Harry tries to improve his reputation by doing good deeds. And Lyn and Lou attempt to restore the shop’s image.

Coming Soon

Will the Ramsay kids be separated? Can Libby agree to Dan’s request? Lou makes a bold decision. Susan’s life is put in danger. Ringo and Donna drift apart.

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