'ER' doc gets dirty while liberating Britain

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Alex Kingston ("ER") looks great when she's filthy. She played an unforgettable "Moll Flanders" a few years back, and spent most of that film covered in grime. She turns in an equally terrific and mud-spattered performance in "Warrior Queen" on "Masterpiece Theatre" (8 p.m. Sunday, PBS). Kingston brings great passion to the role as Britain's legendary first-century Queen Boudica, the raven-haired, cudgel-wielding beauty that united rival Celtic tribes to challenge Rome's mighty armies.

Lovely, if bloody, to behold, "Queen" also features a sophisticated screenplay. Screenwriter Andrew Davies mixes rousing speeches with curiously contemporary vernacular to create a slyly subversive statement about modern imperial adventures.

Fans of "Masterpiece Theatre" should also enjoy this story's overlap with "I, Claudius."

It's a good thing she can reach her wimpy husband (Michael Murphy) on her cell phone. Or is it? Fans of good, old-fashioned whodunits might enjoy this claustrophobic thriller, but the "Footsteps" moved too slowly for my taste.