Planespotting (ITV1); Two And A Half Men (five); The Tournament (C4): THE makers of Planespotting had no problem turning the story of the arrest and trial of British planespotters in Greece four years ago into a watchable two-hour film.

What they couldn't do what explain why grown men feel obliged to collect aircraft numbers as a hobby.

At least with knitting and stamp collecting there's something to see at the end. With planespotting, all you get is arrested.

This, coupled with the eccentricities of the Greek legal system, gave the drama a surreal quality. I watched events unfold with a voice in my head echoing Victor Meldrew's words "I don't believe it".

The group were arrested as spies after taking numbers of military planes at an air show. The idea that spies would drive around in a mini-bus posing as British tourists was plainly absurd but, before you could say moussaka, they were behind bars facing 20 years in prison.

The story focussed on the tour leader Paul Coppin and his wife Lesley as, locked up in separate jails, they attempted to prove themselves innocent. The excellent Mark Benton and Lesley Sharp were fine as the couple, but some supporting characters seemed to have strayed in from a Carry On comedy. Gary the Brummie, in particular, seemed to have come from a bad sit-com.

The other half of five's Sunday comedy hour, Two And A Half Men, aims to amuse - and succeeds in an old-fashioned way. This is the sort of slick sitcom that Americans do so well.

Charlie Sheen is hardly stretched playing womanising bachelor Charlie - see, the actor doesn't even have to answer to a different name - whose domestic bliss is upset when brother Alan, newly separated from his wife, and ten-year-old nephew Jake move into his Miami home.

As Alan struggles to reconcile himself to his wife's declaration that she's gay, Charlie ponders on his life: "I get a lot of money for doing very little work, I sleep with beautiful women who don't ask me about my feelings, drive a Jag, live on the beach, and sometimes in the middle of the day like to make myself a big pitcher of margaritas".

While Alan's persistent whining proves tiresome, Charlie welcomes the presence of Jake on supermarket shopping trips. The kid turns Charlie into a babe magnet. Attractive women can't help talking to a man with a child. "Wow, you're even better than a dog," says Charlie.

The Tournament was boys with old toys, as historical weapons expert Mike Loades tried to recreate a medieval jousting tournament using authentic weapons. Four volunteers- a Montana cowboy, American mounted policeman, prize-winning horse rider and trainer, and an army major - learnt to fight using a 500-year-old jousting rulebook.

They took great pains to get it right. The made-to-measure armour consisted of over 100 plates of metal, 280 rivets, 18 hinges and 24 leather straps. Moving about in that lot wasn't easy. Rick the mounted policeman sprained his ankle and then fell off his horse. The trainer removed his boot. "You've got an odd-shaped toe - is that normal?" she asked.

It wasn't. The reason his toe was pointing in a different direction to the others was because he'd dislocated it. So much for his armour protecting him.

Published: 21/02/2005