Garden ‘5 Question Time. Cole Porter remembered in Red Hotand Blue, TV eccentrics and'i‘V
The arbour of Neville
NEVILLE GARDEN’S new Radio Scotland show will have more coverage of the arts than any programme of its ilk. Ross Parsons talked to the man at the mike and producer DAVID BATCHELOR, about their ambitious new show.
There are two problems with arts programmes:
what to call them and how to make them popular.
Radio Scotland‘s latest lunchtime look at the arts has. hopefully. solved them both.
‘There‘s nothing harder to find a title for than an arts programme. If there was then the Radio 2 arts programme wouldn‘t be called — The Radio 2 Arts Programme.‘ stressed David Batchelor. producer of an arts programme scheduled to debut on Radio Scotland on Monday 26. ‘We want the title to say bright. new. fresh. lively. intelligent. weighty. avuncular— I mean we‘re talking about a very long title here.‘ ‘What about The List’?‘ put in Mr Garden. Already taken. Other suggestions in the search for a soubriquet e that says so much. Bare YourArts and Garden's Question Time among them. have been politely turned down. in favour of Queen Street Garden.
So. on to the second problem: How do you make it popular? In a genuine effort not to reproduce the established voice-of-the- state-of-the-arts in Scotland they will employ some unusual critics. Jack McLean. columnist and professional Mr Nasty. will be giving his controversial and challenging views in his role as resident art critic. ‘He‘s likely to say. as he did on the pilot show, “naebody‘d hang that on their wall“ or “there‘s no way anybody‘d pay £900 for that". We want ordinary voices. not reverential or celebratory.’ explained Batchelor. Which is
certainly what they‘ll get from McLean. who makes Mrs Mack sound like Michael Ignatieff. But they are wary of taking this idea too far. ‘On the other hand we hope that there will be enough meat in it to appeal to people who do know about the subjects.‘ Stressed the head gardener. Neville. ‘We want to keep it light but not trivial.‘ After all. Jack is an art school graduate and his opinions. as always. will have some substance behind them.
Initially. the show will go out in four lunchtime blocks of60 minutes. Mondays to Thursdays. which is a massive undertaking. No other radio show in the world. that they have heard of. has devoted so much time to the arts. The definition ofarts and hence. they hope. the appeal of the programme. will be much broader than the narrow. exclusive streets patrolled by Critics Forum. ‘There‘s no reason why it shouldn‘t be popular. the arts are very big business and we don‘t intend to give it just straight coverage. what we can do is make it sparkle a wee bit. Our pious
hope is that we‘ll do that with everything all the time, although obviously we won‘t always be able to hold to it. No live programme can. but that is our ambition.‘
Certainly there‘s no lack ofimagination in their approach. The pilot shows featured Chic Murray impersonations. with invited Glasgow punters giving their best and worst versions as well as a sort of‘Simon Bates‘ ‘Our Poem‘ slot. with the cast of The Steamie reminiscing about poetry learnt at school. Our host remembered a school friend ruining The Ballad ofSir Patrick Spens. With some little prompting he recited it: ‘The King said, ye‘ll no dee. you canna drive a boat.." Sir Patrick cried you lee. you lee, I‘ve drove a boat a loat.‘
Experienced broadcasters claim to know when a show has the right feel to it and Neville Garden is more than happy with this one. He should know, after all he has been at the helm of ‘a loat‘ Queen Street Garden BBC Radio Scotland, Mon—Thurs 12.02-12.58pm.
1 DANNY KENDALL
‘You just want us all to think like you‘, and be like you. And I ain’t going to.’ That was his catchphrase.
There is a part at Grange Hill Comprehensive that will be lorever Danny Kendall's. Danny, uncannily resembling a dwarllsh Peter Beardley, was always the rebel, preaching anarchy in the playground, ‘bunlring oll' hall way through the morning, lree
The kids ol Grange Hill who wee laterlo witness Kendall’s tragedy.
spirit rebelling at the latest cruel victimisation at the hands 0er Bronson, yet displaying his artistic temperament with his swimming pool mural, and his gralilti wall.
Live last, die young, it's the same lor all the heroes, and Danny ran away once too often. Ironically, they lound him in the back at Mr Bronson’s stolen car. They thought he was on drugs but in tact it was a latal heart condition.
' Bronson was never the same again. I (Tom Lappin)
The List 23 November— 6 December 1990 81