Trapped: Beauty (ITV1); Force Of Nature (C4): LORD of the manor Tom Fitzhenry had no illusions about his looks. "I'm an ugly man in a generally beautiful world," he admitted. He's a bit like the Elephant Man "but not bad enough to go on tour".

But as Beauty was writer Simon Nye's take on the familiar Beauty And The Beast story, we knew that he was going to find Miss Right in the end.

The Martin Clunes season - or am I mistaken in thinking he seems to be on telly all the time these days? - continued with this one-off drama which was really rather sweet, not a word you expect to use in connection with something from the man who wrote Men Behaving Badly.

Clunes is getting better and better as an actor the more he's allowed to get away from playing the laddish lout with which he made his name in Nye's aforementioned comedy series. People have been rather unkind about his looks - notably, the ears - in the past but here he could claim it was make-up that gave him Fitzhenry's look, the result of in-breeding, cousins marrying cousins which, it was pointed out, "keeps money in the family but nature charges a terrible price".

Plumber Cathy saw past his looks and round his U-bend to find the nice man underneath. She had to look hard as he'd become attached to prostitutes after his father hired one to initiate him into the pleasures of the flesh. Fitzhenry ruined his chances with his last proper girlfriend when he put £50 in her hand after sleeping together.

It all ended happily after the lord of the manor met the locals at a pub quiz and explained: "It's not easy being stuck behind this face". Engineer and yachtsman Donald Crowhurst was hiding behind the mask of a happy family man. As Force Of Nature recalled his battle with himself led to tragedy.

In 1969, he was one of nine yachtsmen attempting to race 30,000 miles round the world single-handedly in his trimaran. He risked everything for his moment of glory, although he set sail mentally and emotionally unprepared.

Days into the voyage, his boat began leaking and the connection hose for the bilge pump had been left behind. He knew he couldn't survive the voyage and giving up would mean bankruptcy. So he decided to cheat. He left the official route, sailed up and down the coast of South America and rejoined the competitors on the way home.

He shut himself off from the world, closing down radio communications. Nothing was heard of him for 111 days. When he re-appeared, he claimed he'd sailed round the world. Meanwhile, he'd painstakingly written two logs, one real and one faking his route.

When he'd looking like coming second and realised his log would be open to scrutiny, his sanity gave way. His boat was found, but he was not. He'd placed both logs in full view, deliberately leaving proof of his deception to be found.

Without the fake log, he might well have escaped exposure and been hailed a hero in his absence. But before he stepped off the boat, he did the decent thing.

This was a fascinating, if tragic, tale told with economy and skill in under half-an-hour. An object lesson for those documentary makers who feel obliged to drag things out beyond their natural length.

Published: 13/09/2004