Television YOUR ESSENTIAL TV & SATELLITE GUIDE FOR THE WEEK AHEAD; Samantha Bond's peroxide look may have scared her son, but it got her a new role, says TIM RANDALL.
NATIONAL CRIME SQUAD
BBC1, Monday, Tuesday, 9.00pm
ACTRESS Samantha Bond went peroxide blonde for her new TV role as a no-nonsense cop, but her new look didn't go down too well at home.
"I walked through the door and my eight-year-old son Tom took one look at me and burst into tears," says Samantha.
"It was just the shock of not recognising his mother. I burst into tears, too. It was awful. He thought I was going to be different because my hair looked so different, so I had to go upstairs and put a lot of make up on and say: 'It's all right, it is mummy.'
"Thankfully he's used to it now and so am I. I'm quite enjoying it actually. I have to say when they asked me if I'd go blonde I got terribly excited because I'd never dyed my hair before and it's been interesting how people treat you. You do get more attention."
The blonde bombshell look is in aid of her role as DS Maureen Picasso in the chilling new BBC1 police thriller NCS: Manhunt, in which she co-stars with David Suchet (Poirot) and Melanie Hill (Playing The Field).
The NCS are Britain's answer to the FBI. Tough, uncompromising coppers at the top of their profession who only tackle the most difficult crimes.
"This is different to anything I've ever done," says Samantha, 38. "My character is strong, spiky and you wouldn't want to mess with her. She's very fiery inside, but on the surface she's as cool as a glacier. I tend to play women who wear their emotions very much on their sleeves, so the idea of playing someone who contains them for a change was very attractive."
In this two-parter the squad investigate the kidnapping of a police inspector's mother by a convicted murderer. The nutter is obviously out for revenge and it's up to the NCS to stop him killing again. It's gripping stuff and there is already talk of the thriller going to a series later in the year.
While Samantha has worked to critical acclaim in film, TV and theatre, she is best known for her role as prim Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond films. A part that has to be one of the most high profile cameos in film history.
"When I first took it on I didn't know what was going to happen as it's a real double edged sword and it really did stop my predecessor Lois Maxwell's career in its tracks," says Samantha, who is also starring in ITV drama The Hunt, as the wife of a serial adulterer.
"You are taking on this huge mantle of responsibility and she is much, much bigger than you will ever be - as is Bond, M and Q.
"I did worry about a backlash but it hasn't happened and it's just a joyful thing I do for a few days every couple of years. For Goldeneye I was practically done by 11am on the first day.
"Even so, it's what I'm best known for in the school playground, which is a great advantage. Officially my children's school friends are all too young to watch the new Bond films, but it's amazing how well I go down with year six. My two have seen two of the Bonds, but not Tomorrow Never Dies because it's too violent.
"What I like about Moneypenny is that she's the one woman Bond can never have. There's a sexual tension between them which comes across on the screen. When you're working opposite Pierce Brosnan sexual chemistry isn't that difficult to play."
Although she likes to keep busy, the mum of two (her daughter Molly is nine) admits that being such an in demand actress can impair family life.
She says: "I've had quite a frenetic year so I think that has been hard for the children, but I don't do being guilty about my job.
"Their mother is definitely a much happier person for going to work."
FILM of the week
DEATH BECOMES HER
Friday, BBC1, 12.05amBLACK comedy with Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn battling against Mother Nature.
Streep plays Madeline Ashton and Hawn is Helen Sharp - two vain women who hate each other, but happen to both love the same guy, Madeline's mild-mannered husband Dr Ernest Menville (Bruce Willis).
Both women rely on Ernest for plastic surgery for their continued good looks, but Madeline takes her search for eternal youth one step further - gulping down an age-defying potion from Lisle Von Rhoman (Isabella Rossellini).
SOAP of the week
BBC1, Monday, 8.00pm; Tuesday, Thursday, 7.30pmTHE police reckon Steve (Martin Kemp) shot Phil (Steve McFadden), and haul him and Mel (Tamzin Outhwaite) in for questioning.
He points the finger at Dan (Craig Fairbrass), but Mel cocks it up for her husband by lying.
Then Charlie (Derek Martin) remembers Steve got out of the taxi on the way to the hotel on the wedding night. Where did he go?
Phil finds it all very amusing from his hospital bed, and when he admits to Jamie (Jack Ryder) he knows all about Dan's goings-on, the plot thickens.
BAD GIRLS Tuesday, ITV, 9.00pm
DRAMAof the week
Prisoners out for revenge
AWARD winning ITV drama Bad Girls is back for its third series and it's better than ever.
It's only the second episode, but the action is already intense.
This week the fall-out from Shell's (Debra Stephenson) attack on Jim Fenner (Jack Ellis) continues.
A crazed Shell is dragged off to the psychiatric ward - or the notorious 'muppet wing', as it's dubbed by the inmates.
There she encounters old adversary, mad Tessa Spall (Helen Schlesinger), who is as unhinged as ever.
But when Tessa takes a worrying shine to Shell, officer Sylvia Hollamby (Helen Fraser) makes sure that Shell is set for a beating from a much more formidable character - the even more unhinged Podger Pam (Wendi Peters).
Meanwhile, Jim's life hangs in the balance in the intensive care unit, and his wife Marilyn (Kim Taylforth) keeps vigil by his bedside.
But he also receives a visit from his on-off lover, Governor Karen Betts (Claire King). He's causing trouble even in a coma, it seems.