When the Boat Comes In. LISTINGS: 66


A new series of Scottish Eye on national TV, Gulf reporting reviewed and a look back at

Eye for a chance

Scottish TV companies rarely get a chance to address the UK direct. Channel 4’s new series ofScottish Eye however, offers them a whole series to themselves. Ross Parsons takes a shufti at what we can expect

Coverage ofScottish affairs on the national networks has always been a bit of a hot tattle. although it‘s one that Channel 4 have never shied away from grasping. On 3 February they once again take up the challenge with their latest series ofScottish Eye. The forthcoming eight programmes have all been specially commissioned by Channel 4 from seven Scottish independent TV companies.

This is more than merely extending the Right to Reply slot to a whole nation. The last thing Channel 4 wanted was a whingeing ‘Why does no one ever listen to our problems‘-type tirade. What they set out to achieve and indeed what they have got. are programmes that raise questions of importance to the whole of Britain. but made exclusively by Scots. ‘The crucial thing is that they don‘t feel parochial,‘ argues commissioning editor David Lloyd. ‘Last year. for example, Skyline productions discovered hotspots of radioactivity. left over from the Chernobyl disaster. in the Scottish highlands. While most ofthe filming took place there. and most of the examples were Scottish, they also filmed some areas in the Lake District. Now, that was a problem for the whole of this country. We

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Hand Pictproductions.

also did something on Air Traffic control based mainly on the example of Prestwick but obviously it was a universal problem at the time.’

So did he feel that because Channel 4 were commissioning investigative pieces from well known Scottish journalists and guaranteeing them networked air time that they were offering something that Scottish TV or BBC Scotland couldn‘t? Lloyd laughed ‘Good heavens I couldn‘t possibly comment on such worthy and venerable organisations as those.‘ Still the series resembles nothing so much as BBC Scotland‘s acclaimed Focal Point, except with a much larger potential audience.

The first programme to be broadcast on Sunday 3. is Fowl Play (made by Hand Pict Productions). examines the illegal killing of birds ofprey in

Fowl Play- the callous slaying of birds of prey is the subject of the first in a new series of Scottish Eye. Made for Channel 4 by

order to protect the game on the sporting estates. In all. there are seven independent production companies from Scotland involved in the series: Hand Pict (who have also produced a programme investigating standards at mental institutions). Barony, Hyndland, TVP. Cormorant. Scope and Big Star in a Wee Picture. All independent production companies. including Scottish and Grampian TV, were invited to submit ideas to Channel 4, then from a shortlist ofabout seventeen. the final eight topics were chosen.

So far. neither the BBC or [TV networks have chosen to follow this precedent and it has been left to Channel 4 to give small Scottish independent companies the chance to shine on a national stage. (Ross Parsons)

Scottish E ye (Channel 4), Sunday 3 . 5.30—0an


Geordie Boys

Geordie Boys, don’t you just love them to death? Prior to the recent dual-pronged assault on the nation’s powers of comprehension made by Byker Grove and Sid The Sexist, Tyneside's greatest contribution to popular culture was the unrivalled ‘lOs‘ drama When The Boat Comes In (or Whan Th’Bowat Coams Sun for purists); an everyday tale of mining folk, union folk, teaching folk and er, rich

One of the Geordie lads not on Whenthe Boat Comes in.


landowning gentry-type folk.

WTBCI had the works: Brown Ale, pit disasters, interclass sex, weedy headmasters, strikes, scabs and more Brown Ale, all served up In extravagant Geordie, so esoteric that, rumour has it, it was this show that gave some bright spark the idea tor Ceefax

And, as in all the best dramas, Death's winged coal truck rattled its way down Jarrow’s streets more than once. One of the more memorable occasions was Old Pa Seaton’s deathbed scene, with unscrupulous hero Jack Ford close at hand, looking

uncannily like James Bolam. It was a scene to make any filolax-toting young Labour MP cringe, and everyone else shrug in incomprehension:

Old Pa Seaton: I’m gannin' bonny lad, I’m gannin’

Jack: Howay ya daft bastard.

Old Pa Seaton: Thirty year nigh on in yon pit (pauses to spit out piece of soot-encrusted lung). The were a clever bastid Jack Ford.

Jack: Howey ya daft ould sod and other affectionate Tyneside insults.

(Fade out to strains of folkies singing an embarrassing song about a little ilshie on a little dishle.) (Tom Lappln)

6-4 The List 25 January 7 February 1991 '