The List guide to what’s best on the box over the next fortnight.
I Talk of the 808 ( am ‘2 ) 4.3(L—Spm. repeated l 1.2(L 11.50pm. llanif Kureishi. scriptwriter of My Beautiful Laundrette. looks at the contradictions ofhis life— regarded as a ‘Paki‘ by many white Britons. thought of as an linglishman by his Muslim relatives in Pakistan.
I First Born ( BB('l )‘).3il—lil.25pm. (‘harles Dance is the .Ministry ot'[)efence scientist who creates a half-human half-gorilla baby. called (iordon. and has to suffer the consequences as the creature grows to adulthood. first shown earlier this year.
I Britain and the German Question ( BBCI) lil.25~l 1.55pm. David Dimbleby examines the possible consequences of (ierman reunification. and asks what role Britain should be playing in the restructuring of liurope.
I World Championship Boxing (Scottish) 10.35—‘1 1.05pm. Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran come out of semi-retirement to contest the WB(‘super middleweight title. Leonard. the current holder. remains a consummate stylist. while the test for Duran is whether he has the stamina left to persist with his streetfighting-style onslaught for long enough to trouble the champion.
I Young Billy Young (BBCI)
l1.55pm— 1 .leam. Robert Mitchurn becomes the marshal of a small New Mexican town. and offers the titular iuvenile (Robert Walker) the chance to become his deputy. the hitch being that Mr Young quite likes being an outlaw. Made in 196‘). a well-produced but not over-original Western.
I World Cup Draw (BBC1)3.50—5.20pm; (Scottish) 4—5pm. Live from Rome. the answerto the question on everyone's lips these past few weeks— which three countries will Scotland be beaten by nextsummer? Scottish Football Association secretary Ernie Walker recently expressed the wish that Scotland be drawn against Cyprus. Luxembourg and Malta but, unfortunatelytor MrWalker. none of these nations has qualified. The 24 teams are seeded into four sections: each of the six first round groups will be composed of a team from each sechon.
I Khovanshchina ( BBCZ) 7.2o— 10.25pm. Mussorgsky‘s five-act opera (finished with a little help from Stravinsky ) depicts the reign of Peter the (ireat. and the struggle in Russia between the modernisingTsar and some reactionary old eodgers who wanted nothing to do with Western liurope. (‘laudio Abbado conducts the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
I The Mahabharata ((‘4 ) 7.3tlpm- 1 .35am. A specially adapted. carefully abridged film of the lndian epic. directed by Peter Brook. See panel.
I The Day of the Jackal i first ‘1)
S’— Iitlilpm. l-red Zinnemann'stightly constructed thriller stars lidward Fox as the assassin out to bump oll [)e ( iaulle. Featuring what the Radio 'I'unes calls a ‘first-rate liurocast‘ ~ in other words. a Couple ol actors vs lio aren‘t British. pltts
L'yril L ‘usack. Derek Jacobi and Donald Sinden.
I Blind Chance(BBC2) li).5(lpm—l2.55am. Krysztof Kieslowski. whose A Short Film A boat Killing was much acclaimed when shown at the OFT recently. directs this earlier. originally suppressed piece. set in the early 80s when military rule was at its fiercest. Boguslaw Linda stars as Witek. whose entire future appears to depend on whether or not he catches a train.
ISportscene‘89(BBCl )7.15—b’.l(lpm. The traditional end-of-y'ear review of the past twelve months in sport. presented by Messrs Donnelly and Macl’herson. culminates in the awarding of the Sports Personality and Team of the Year trophies.
I Rhythms of the World: The Stones in Morocco (BBCZ) 9.20—10. lllpm. The rock gerontocrats return to North Africa to renew their acquaintance with the Master Musicians ofJahjouka. and Mick visits a remote mountain village. All very jolly. but one suspects that the fact they only went there to record one track for their latest album hints at a self-indulgent vogucishness rather than any deep respect for ‘ethnic' sounds.
I Marnie (C4) Input—12.30am. The Hitch ()n 4 season concludes with this Freudian
tale of a kleptomaniac ( Tip/ii Hedren as Marnie) and the young lmsinessman (Sean Connery; who knows her secret. but can 'I work out how her interest in theft is related to herfrigidiiv.
I St Elmo‘s Fire(BBC2)10.10—11.55pm.
Bratpackers aplenty star in Joel Schumacher's 1985 film. which follows the fortunes of seven college friends as they encounter the realities of life out in the big bad world. Earnest. flaccid and soapy (which would surely have made a better title. when you think ofit).
I Pygmalion (C4) 2.30-4. 15pm. The original. and arguably best version ofthe Shaw play. made in black and white in 1938. with Wendy lliller and Leslie lloward as pupil and professor.
I Master of the Universe (BBCZ) 8.3(l—9pm. A profile oi‘crippled astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. author of the best-selling A Brieinstory of Time. and one of the most brilliant scientifc minds ofthe century.
I Cracking Up (C4) 9—10pm. The penultimate part of the series which looks at the effects of revolutions on creative people focuses on T. E. Nicholas. a Welsh poet whose passionate support ofthe Russian Revolution ossified into Stalinism. an ideology which regarded any form ofcreativity. other than social
MAHABHARATA AND RUSHDIE
Peter Brook’s acclaimed production of The Mahabharata finally, with much bombast, reaches the small screen. Last year Glasgow's Tramway Theatre saw the only British staging in Brook's mammoth world tour, but the TV version of the £4m production promises to be as fascinating and awe-inspiring as its original theatrical presentation. The 3000 year-old cycle of tales relating the epic narratives at the heart of Hindu culture proved a landmark event in British and European cultural consciousness, and Brook has always insisted on their relevance and enduring appeal: ‘All the questions we are living through today are dramatised by this work. The fact that it was conceived 3000 years ago doesn’t make it remote. 0n the contrary, by the simple process of distance, it enables the basic issues to come through more clearly.’ The play's original nine hours have been reduced to a more palatable five, to be screened in a single night (Sat 9 from 7.30pm to 1.25am, C4); with its typically international cast The Mahabharata itself is a symbol of cross-cultural co-operation. So, iiyou missed it first time, now’s the chance. Channel 4 are continuing the Indian theme with a second showing of Salman Rushdie’s documentary The
Riddle of Midnight (Fri 15 at 11.00pm).
l Filmed and screened before the Satanic Verses controversy, Rushdie delivers a probing analysis of a state-of-the-nation. The central theme of his own contribution to ‘maglc realism', Midnight’s Children, is scrutinised in a real-life setting — a cross-section of India's ‘children of Independence’ are interviewed and examined, the yuppie and environmentalist, the peasant and the fisherman, the beggar and the merchant. Rushdie picks out faces in the crowd of India, giving shape and form to its anonymity— especially to the problems of religious violence, the clashes between Sikh, Hindu and Muslim. With telling, and unhapplly ironic, prescience Rushdie comments: ‘When such grief cannot be spoken or redressed, terror can only increase.’ (Andrew Pulver)
realism. as dangerous and potentially counter-revolutionary.
I News From Home: Comrades and Friends (C4) llpm—midnight. Last year'sfutile challenge by Tony Benn for the leadership of the Labour Party is followed fromstart to finish. with special attention being paid. for once. to the political arguments rather than the personalities involved.
I First and Last ( BBC) ) 9.30-1 t .5flprn. Joss Ackland is Albert Holly. a sedate suburbanite who sets out from Land's End with the aim of walking the length of Britain. causinga mixture of bewilderment and anxiety among his family and friends. Scripted by Michael Frayn. this new BBC film is as much about the changing state of the nation and its landscape as it is about a rather normal group ofpeople.
I Made In Latin America (BBCZ) 9.3il—lll.3tlpm. Brazil comes underthc scrutiny of novelist Jorge Amado among others. ‘()ne immense font of love‘ is how he describes his homeland. but there isa darker side to life in South America‘s largest country. whose potential riches were frittered away by a military dictatorship too inept to appoint a competent economist to help them out.
I Cul-De-Sac (C4) 12.15—2.15am. Polanski‘s strange black comedy. set in an isolated castle. stars Donald Pleasence as a menopausal husband who seems to be in danger of losing his bored wife to two wounded criminals.
I Red River (Scottish) 13.35—3. 10am. Montgomery (‘lift and John Wayne are the cattle drivers heading for Missouri in this seminal. ifoverlong 1948 Western.
I Cinema Canada: Marie in the City ((74) lit-l 1.30pm. Marie ﬂees her home and her violent brother for the streetsof Montreal. but life there hardly seems safer when she meets and befriends a cocaine-dealing prostitute.
I Halfway To Paradise (C4) ll.3()pm—12.3()am. Music from The Four Brothers and The River Detectives. a profile of Glaswegian boxer Gary Jacobs. and the strange case of Scotland'sonly Vietnam veteran.
I Club X-tra (C4) 6.3(l—7pm. The old day-in-the-life routine with a difference. in which a selection ofcelebrities video their activities. Bernard Manning's involves a visit to his mother. while Michael Clark‘s has. unfortunately. something to do with his own anatomy.
I 40 Minutes: All About Ambridge (BBCZ) 9.30—10. lllpm. The longest-running soap in the world has so many twists and turns in its 38-year history that the actors themselves often know less about the characters they play than do some ofthe quietly obsessive fans who. with their maps of the village and membership ofthe Eddie Grundy Fan Club. willingly confuse fact and fiction.
I 0uestion Time ofthe Decade (BBCI) 10—] 1.15pm. Peter Sissons chairs Healcy. llowe. Death and Sara Parkin as they
64 The List 8— 21 December 1989