Top five TV picks of the week (+trailer)

Check out five shows that will keep you glued to the couch over the coming days.

Actress Morgana O'Reilly as Carole Taylor in Sunday Theatre: Safe House. Photo / Supplied
Actress Morgana O'Reilly as Carole Taylor in Sunday Theatre: Safe House. Photo / Supplied

Pick of the week: Sunday Theatre: Safe House

Sunday Theatre begins a series of local telefeatures with Safe House, which tells the story of party-girl-turned-mum-of-two Carole Taylor and her time in witness protection in the mid 80s

Although based on accounts of her being under police guard, it is made clear that in order to protect her identity the events and characters depicted are fictional

It is set in Auckland, but with the safe house located in a small country town. Taylor (played by Morgana O'Reilly, last seen in the biopic Billy), gets caught up in a murder case when former boyfriend Tony Michaels shows up at her house one night in blood-soaked clothes in search of a refuge.

Michaels (played by Erroll Shand, who was Mr Asia drug lord Terry Clark in Underbelly: Land of the Long Green Cloud) becomes prime suspect in the violent slaying of drug dealer Alan Sheridan.

Detective Inspector Andrew Hunter, played by Peter Elliott, has Michaels in his sights but the only evidence that can convict him is a missing CCTV videotape and the testimony of Carole and her 8-year-old daughter, Rosie.

So Taylor and her two children find themselves in witness protection, a programme that was still in its early stages in New Zealand in 1985.

Although Michaels is a nasty piece of work, the three policemen minding Taylor are just as heavy and manipulative.

There's the disdainful old-school detective Cliff Stout (played by veteran Kiwi actor Paul Gittins), the sleazy Lewis (Scott Wills, The Cult, Stickmen) and naive do-gooder Morrissey (Dan Musgrove who played drug lord Marty Johnstone in Underbelly).

Directed by John Laing (Go Girls, and also director of local crime dramas Street Legal and Duggan), Safe House is clever in the way it moves seamlessly from the safe-house scenes to flashbacks which reveal the story of Taylor and Michaels' relationship, and the murder inquiry.

And it has an Underbelly-style mix of action, sleaze, and tension.

Meanwhile, the next Sunday Theatre will be Siege, a dramatisation based on the case of Napier gunman Jan Molenaar (Mark Mitchinson, Rage).

When police officers went to Molenaar's house to serve a search warrant for allegedly growing cannabis he opened fire, killing Senior Constable Len Snee and wounding two other officers and his neighbour Lenny Holmwood.

Later in the season, What Really Happened: Votes for Women is a follow-up to What Really Happened: Waitangi from last year.

The docudrama tells the story of women's' suffrage in New Zealand, led by Kate Sheppard (Sara Wiseman).

The events are seen through the eyes of a documentary-maker, played by Pip Hall (The Cult, The Tattooist).

When: Sunday, 8:30pm
Where: TV One
What: Police protection 80s style

Food pick: Masterchef NZ

It's cheery and unassuming wannabe chef Chelsea Winter versus the competition's consistent star, Ana Schwarz, in the final of Masterchef.

In the two-hour special they face four challenges, starting with a taste test where they must name the ingredients in a curry prepared by judge Ray McVinnie.

The second is an invention challenge with venison, set by former contestant and wild-game-cooking specialist Cameron Petley. Then they have to replicate a Malaysian prawn laksa, the signature dish of special guest and British celebrity chef Rick Stein.

Finally, the traditionally ridiculous hard dessert challenge this year is Euro's executive chef Eugene Hamilton's 10-layer Torturous Trifle.

When: Tuesday, 7:30pm
Where: TV One
What: The final cook-off

Drama pick: Page Eight

This BBC TV film stars Bill Nighy (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Love Actually) as veteran spy and ladies man Johnny Worricker, who finds himself in a predicament.

What to do with highly sensitive intelligence his MI5 boss, and oldest friend, Benedict Baron (played by veteran actor Michael Gambon, best known recently as Dumbledore in Harry Potter) has uncovered in a top secret report.

Information it contains implicates the British Prime Minister in a dodgy cover-up which caused many deaths.

Written and directed by renowned British writer David Hare, it also stars Rachel Weisz as a political activist who becomes Worricker's accomplice as they go about revealing the truth.

When: Saturday, 8:30pm
Where: UKTV
What: An old-school spy thriller.

Music pick: Songs From The Inside

In the final of this 12-part series, Kiwi musicians Anika Moa, Maisey Rika, Ruia Aperahama and Warren Maxwell are in the studio putting the finishing touches to the prisoners' songs.

Then they return to the jails for the last time and the prisoners hear their finished tracks for the first time.

At Rimutaka we hear Tama's skanking reggae anthem Just Like You, and though he was one of the most vocal during the series he is lost for words. And Mo's heartfelt rap-meets-soul number Reflections brings him to tears.

At Arohata women's jail, Moa and Rika introduce songs which range from the sweet toe-tapping ditty of Nelly's Waddup With That to the confessional poignancy of Nicole's Cries of an Unhappy Child and Anna's Absent.

When: Saturday, 8:30pm
Where: Maori
What: Facing the music

Driving pick: Surviving Teen Driving

Clinical psychologist Nigel Latta dishes out the facts about teens and driving, and dispenses practical advice for parents on how to keep their kids alive on our roads.

New Zealand teen drivers have the highest death rate of fatal crashes in the OECD. Car crashes are the leading single cause of death for teenagers aged 15 to 19 in New Zealand, and for every 15-to-19-year-old who dies in a crash there are six serious injuries and 17 moderate injuries.

Latta's main aim is to tell parents what they can do to improve their chances of keeping their kids alive.

Latta demonstrates the differences between the adult and teen driving brain, and provides a strategy that could make a difference to everyone's safety.

When: Sunday 7pm
Where: TV One
What: Tackling teen driving

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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