ON TV: The Slap (BBC Four)

Still from The SlapComing to BBC Four tonight is the first episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s mini-series adaptation of Christos Tsolikas’ controversial bestseller The Slap, which traces the aftermath of a tense incident at a barbeque from varying perspectives.

Although it may sit slightly out of The Far Paradise‘s ‘Australian cinema’ remit, this eight-part drama has plenty of filmic pedigree, starring an ensemble cast which includes Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda, Dirty Pretty Things), Melissa George (Triangle, 30 Days of Night), Alex Dimitriades (The Heartbreak Kid, Head On – which was based on Tsolikas’ novel Loaded), Sophie Lowe (Beautiful Kate, Blame) and Anthony Hayes (The Square, The Boys). There’s plenty of talent behind the camera too, with four directors – Tony Ayres (Walking on Water, The Home Song Stories), Robert Connolly (The Bank, Balibo), Jessica Hobbs (So Close to Home) and Matthew Saville (Noise) – each taking the lead on two episodes.

If you’ve ever read one of Tsolikas’ books, you’ll know how uncompromising a figure he can be, but if you need more proof just listen to his controversial, yet apt assessment of Australia’s ‘society of selfishness’, expressed in an interview for BBC Hardtalk when promoting The Slap. All reports from Australia suggest this vivid, compelling series is one to watch (and to stick with until the end), so make sure you tune in to BBC Four at 10pm tonight (October 27) for the first episode. Directed by Jessica Hobbs, it focuses on Hector (Jonathan LaPaglia) whose birthday party is ruined when a man slaps the child of another couple.

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