'Churchill' offers honest portrayal of legend

Ian McKellen narrates the three-hour documentary "Churchill" (7 p.m., PBS), profiling the eventful 90-year life of Sir Winston Churchill. Stuffed to the gills with vintage footage and cigar smoke-filled scenes of historical re-creation, "Churchill" rounds out the portrait with recollections from his daughter and other descendants, as well as the children and grandchildren of his colleagues and rivals.

While slow on occasion, "Churchill" is continually animated by its subject's well-written and often witty observations about history, politics and, above all, himself.

While most Americans associate Churchill with his defiant stand against the Third Reich, "Churchill" reminds us of his many failures and misjudgments, including the bloody Gallipoli disaster of 1915, his cavalier approach to a postwar general strike and his attitude toward India's Gandhi, a man he dismissed as a "half-naked fakir."

Viewers felt cheated when last week's episode of "The Bachelor" (8 p.m., ABC) ended without a "rose ceremony." Does that mean we'll get to see two groups of girls get the hook this week? Not bloody likely. But we will get to see Bob date Lee Ann, the apple-cheeked second-grade teacher and all-around psycho, selected by her peers to be "the least compatible with Bob."

Bartlet faces a diplomatic crisis after a piano virtuoso from North Korea seeks asylum on "The West Wing" (8 p.m., NBC).

Tonight's other highlights

  • Scheduled on "60 Minutes II" (7 p.m., CBS): Secretary of State Colin Powell's chief of intelligence discusses what Powell knew when he addressed the United Nations on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. Also: an interview with Howard Dean.
  • A minister's confession tests faith and friendship on "The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire" (9 p.m., CBS).
  • A Broadway tunesmith becomes a murder suspect on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
  • A con artist vanishes on "Karen Sisco" (9 p.m., ABC, TV).

Series notes

Ed's snooping upsets Carol on "Ed" (7 p.m., NBC) ... Grandparents with an agenda on "My Wife and Kids" (7 p.m., ABC) ... A lovelorn alien reaches out on "Enterprise" 7 p.m., UPN) ... Shot with a Kryptonite bullet on "Smallville" (7 p.m., WB).

A botched cup of coffee on "It's All Relative" (7:30 p.m., ABC) ... A killer crashes the wedding of a friend on "Jake 2.0" (8 p.m., UPN) ... Snooty chefs put werewolf on the menu on "Angel" (8 p.m., WB).

Late night

Katie Holmes appears on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno welcomes Bill O'Reilly on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).

Tim Robbins is scheduled on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Rachel Weisz and David Carradine appear on "The Late, Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (11:37 p.m., CBS).


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