Tom Lappin talks to the crew of Saturday Night Clyde, BBC2’s new culture shock.
Plus BBC Radio comes to Glasgow. LISTINGS: WEEK ONE 85 WEEK TWO 86
Lappin previews its menu.
producer May Miller.
Pavarotti to Billy Bragg.
With its punningly original title, Saturday Night Clyde is a magazine of the air with a difference. Tom
With the four dread words ‘Glasgow City Of Culture’ already ingrained in the consciousness of every far-flung corner of Scotland. BBC 2 offers the rest ofthe UK a chance to join in the celebrations/collective groan ofennui by producing a new networked late-night arts show. Saturday Night Clyde. presented by Clare
If there‘s such a thing as a growth industry in TV. arts shows are it. Once upon a time. all the square-eyed aesthete had to choose from was the worthy-but-dull Omnibus on the BBC, and pre-adenoids-operation Melvyn Bragg and his South Bank Show. Now. the mere ﬂick ofthe dial and you‘ve got NBs. Excesses and Late Shows galore. Perhaps Saturday Night Clyde will be offering a fresh approach? Not really. admits
‘We‘re a magazine programme that is trying to be quite stylish and accessible. Some of the Late Shows recently have been a bit obscure. I think. We’re closer to Excess or to the Edinburgh Nights programmes from last year’s Festival. There‘s nothing radically different, but you can‘t really . change that sort of format very much anyway.‘
The programme promises us a Glasgow perspective on the arts. covering ‘the best in music. theatre. comedy and art in the city‘. but mercifully ranging a little further afield for some of its subject matter, featuring international artists from Glenda Jackson through Luciano
There are two potentially interesting innovations. Glaswegian stand-up comic Bruce Morton will be presenting a strand called ‘Scotch Myths’. looking at, and hopefully dispelling. a few notions about Glasgow and Scotland in general. One eye on the network audience perhaps? ‘We didn’t want to make any concessions to the English audience.‘ says Miller. ‘because that would be patronising to the Scottish viewers. but we did want to show some of the misguided ideas that the English and foreign people might have about Scotland.‘
A possibly more contentious item could be Pat Kane’s ‘Citizen Kane’ strand. The Hue and Cry vocalist. nationalist (hide all those ‘Labour Of Love’ singles) and Scotsman cultural pundit has been commissioned to compile a ‘TV essay with my own views on Mayfest. 1990, etc. and construct an argument about the future of Glasgow.‘ In other words. it’s pretty similar to the column he’s been writing for the Scotsman.
Kane is understandably enthusiastic about the freedom he has been given to expound on one of his favourite subjects. ‘I want to use the Citizen Kane slot to make those kinds of arguments. I want to use that editorial style of television.’ he says. ‘I have been and will be in so many media situations over which I had no control. that this was something I didn‘t want to pass up. this chance to have control over every single word.‘
Kane is refreshingly candid about his qualifications for the role ofcultural and political critic. ‘Qualifications‘? Absolutely none whatsoever. I‘m just taking a general critical viewpoint. One thing about Glasgow is that it doesn’t take itself for granted. It‘s not like other metropolitan centres in that respect. What I‘m trying to do is to exemplify that self-criticism. The first lesson I learnt doing Media Studies at university is that every image is constructed. There‘s always been political and aesthetic choices made so that the image is only one kind of reality. Since I learnt that I knew that ifl got a chance to make TV I wouldn‘t try to seem objective.‘
Ifyou’re not turned on by the prospect of comedian Bruce repairing Scotland’s national identity. or pop star Pat going on about manufacture of the past. radical subversion of intention and all the rest. don’t worry. SNC has more to offer. A central feature of the programmes will be the Stuart Cosgrove star interview. Cosgrove. former media editor at the NME. and producer of Halfway To Paradise. has in the past tended to bring a surfeit ofstyle to bear on the minimum ofcontent. SNC offers him the chance to get to grips with rather more substantial subjects. beginning with poet Edwin Morgan who is celebrating his 70th birthday.
The first programme of the series will also feature a preview of Paddy 's Market. the new play from Steamie writer Tony Roper. dance from the African Saaba dancers. and music from ageing folk-rockchohn Martyn. Meanwhile across the UK a million viewers tune in and ask ‘Where‘s that bald bloke then'." (Tom Lappin) Saturday Night Clyde, BBCZ. Sat5. 10.25—11.05pm.
Ooh Gary Davies. Eeh Liz Kershaw. Bleauurgh Nicky Campbell. On your radio. Or at least inside the Big Top in George Square, on the opening day, Monday May 7, oi the BBC’s Radio Goes To Town exhibition. Davies, who earlier in the day hosts the Radio 1 Roadshow lrom Bellahouston Park. will compete It‘s Your Radio 1 l, which otters the chance to quiz the other DJs, the station’s Read at Music, Roger Lewis, and Executive, Chris Lycett, aboutthe choice oi music, the
scheduling, and anything else that comesto mind.
it Radio 1 doesn‘t appeal, the six-day exhibition is sure to have something oi interest. There's a chance to read the news under the guidance oi experts; to practise mixing a programme; to hear the secrets oi archive sound eiiects explained by Bobby Jaye; and to get to grips with many other hands-on exhibits. The main aim oi Radio Goes To Town, as well as iostering goodwill iorthe BBC, is to demystiiy the medium, and make people aware oi some oi the processes which go into
the making at programmes. 0n the show’s iirst stop this year, in Ipswich three weeks ago, 72,000 people attended; Glasgow during Maylest is expected to top that. There will, at course, be a crowd limit inside the Big Top, and the organisers promise lull access, with assistance it requested, iorthe disabled.
While some key events, such as the alorementloned Roadshow and the Scottish Symphony Orchestra's Bartok and Stravinsky programme on May 10 (see Classical listings), take place outwith the Big Top. the George Square
venue remains the local point tor the week: Andy Crane hosts two Cat’s Whiskers shows for the under-12s on Tuesday 8 (see Kids listings); Art Sutter introduces his Radio Scotland show live on the same day; and, on the morning oi Saturday 12, Brian Redhead hosts Radio 4’s Today programme. (Stuart Bathgate)
Radio Goes To Town, George Square, Glasgow, Mon 7-Sat 12 May, 10am—5pm. Free tickets tor It’s Your Radio 1 ! are available by writing to Broadcasting House, London. W1A 1AA.
84 The List 4— 17 May 1990