Picks and Pans Review: Masterpiece Theatre: All Passion Spent

UPDATED 01/23/1989 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/23/1989 at 01:00 AM EST

PBS (Sun., Jan. 22, 9 p.m. ET)

B+

After last week's tough and wonderful A Very British Coup, Britwittery returns to Masterpiece Theatre with this three-part miniseries. But that's okay. So long as twits are the target of ridicule, I'm happy. Here, they are the target of smooth, sharp harpoons, lampoons and spears. It's 1930 in London, and Dame Wendy Hiller, as an elegant 85-year-old matriarch, is sitting by the corpse of her husband, a former Prime Minister, while downstairs, her snobbish, middle-aged children debate how to run and ruin her life. Hiller will have none of it. She shocks the family with an "eccentric scheme" to ignore them and move into a small house where she can enjoy her peace, her garden, her memories and a few new gentlemen friends. In the end, this becomes a lovely tale about old age well spent and the real trappings of civilization. A few of the twits are a tad overplayed, but Hiller is just great.

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