-. to keep the kids amused. Actually it‘sa semi-entertaining piece of throwaway fun 1 with the guys taking on the evil Shredder
, I Memorabilia - Soit Cell From those early
Black marks to the BBC producer who thought Chris Tarrant was the , ideal man to introduce The Simple Truth concert for the Kurdish refugees. Tarrant’s middle name is crass, with a string of scraping-the-barrel game show appearances to his debit. We were regaled with the nauseating spectacle of the former Tiswas presenter attempting to philosophise feelingly about the plight ofstarving children, before rapidly segueing into a breezy DJ tone to ask ‘50, Dave, are you a big Hall And Oates fan?’ It was toe-curling stuff. only redeemed by rock‘s trio of social workers. Sting. Peter Gabriel and I Sinead O‘Connor. Their well-intentioned seriousness seemed the most appropriate demonstration ofconcern.
There’s a lot of nonsense being talked about ‘quality television‘ at the moment, with the franchise auction looming. Even ifwe overlook the cynical view that what broadcasting authorities usually mean by ‘quality’ is anything that
v TV REVIEW ‘ i
pulls in over 12 million a night, it remains an indeﬁnable chimera.
Manhattan Cable (Channel 4) demonstrates the point perfectly. It’s a medley of bite-sized snippets culled from New York’s public access network, and in its depiction of ordinary (scrub that, there’s nothing remotely everyday about these wackos) people getting in front of a camera, it’s easily the most watchable thing on the box at the moment. The notorious former tabloid editor Wendy Henry used to have a policy of publishing ‘Hey Doris, look at this’ pieces, as she termed sensational human interest stories. Manhattan Cable is ‘Hey Doris’ television with a vengeance. Treats include the editor of Screw magazine sitting in his back garden railing against his ‘fuckin’ fascist’ neighbours, and the eminently memorable Eric In His Underpants show, featuring the thus-clad Eric leering over dodgy pictures in his bedroom and appearing to have all the makings of the USA’s next big serial killer.
Public access were probably two of the most offensive words you could have uttered in the presence of Sir Bernard Ingham, former more-than-just-a-Press Secretary to Margaret Thatcher. Michael Cockerell’s soft-centred profile, Bunkum And Balderdash (BBC2), seemed to take the view that he is an essentially loveable and loyal, if
cantankerous, old geezer, when
what was called for (and I think Michael Heseltine, Geoffrey Howe, several sacked ministers, and the entire political correspondents’ lobby would agree) was a full-scale war crimes trial-type investigation. Ingham’s upbringing sounded like a Monty Python sketch. His parents, Hebden Bridge corduroy weavers, both contrived to look like Terry Jones in drag, and we were given the usual platitudes about tough upbringings and gritty working-class graft. There’s something about Yorkshire folk that makes a virtue about attributes that everywhere else in the world would be regarded as major character defects. Characteristics like stubbornness, bloody-mindedness, chauvinism and philistinism are proudly paraded as fine qualities, and more often than not the tykes manage to brainwash the rest of us into believing it. Michael Cockerell certainly seemed hypnotised by Ingham’s studied lack of charm. Thatcher‘s Rottweiler’, the ‘Yorkshire Rasputin’, and ‘the sewer’, regaled
with relish the story of how he told Gorbachev the British Press were ‘altogether too free for my liking’. ‘The French are always the French’, he offered, in one of those incisive analyses of Europe that his former boss was so adept at. They say dogs come to resemble their masters in time, and Ingham’s comfortable journey from (un)civil servant to Thatcher’s personal PR man, stage-managing foreign visits and manipulating the popular press brilliantly, was capped in the programme’s one stroke of genius. A slow-motion film showed Ingham’s walk and bodily gestures perfectly mirroring Thatcher’s. It was a startling, but hilarious spectacle. With a knighthood and a six-figure advance for his memoirs, Ingham has ‘done alright for a lad from Hebden Bridge’. He relaxes by mucking out at his brother’s farm. ‘It’s a complete contrast to life at Number 10,’ he claimed. Not quite. Bernard Ingham is back doing what he was always best at: shovelling bullshit. (Tom Lappin)
The List guide to what’s on release atyour rental store, and on the sell-through shelves. Fast-iorward through the trailers, and break out the ooocorn . . .
I Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (PG) Ha ha, you thought you’d heard the last of
these pesky cowabungaring amphibians didn’t you? Well think again. Turtles 1]: The Secret Of The Ooze will be at acinema , near you before you can order a pizza, and ' in the meantime the original is out on tape
and his gang of street urchins. There‘s plenty of Ninja-style fighting (don’t try it at home, kids), a few cute wisecracks and a nice scene where the unbearably smug Splinter gets roughed up a little. All in all, a wholesome family tale ofswallowing battery acid, mutating hideously and kicking plenty ass with your Japanese Martial arts skills. Great role models, Michaelangelo and the guys. (MCEG Virgin Rental)
days in Leeds with the fat man inthe moustache playing the keyboards to all that prancing around on Top Of The Pops with Gene Pitney, Marc Almond has travelled a long road. This video collection traces his development from early chart success in Soft Cell, through the torchy
melodrama years to his recent
re-emergence. Like his career, it’s a patchy affair with occasional strokes of genius. For me these were Bedsitter, Where The Heart Is and Say Hello, Wave Goodbye. For you they might be completely different. (PolyGram Video) I The Maid (PG) Martin Sheen and Jacqueline Bisset star in this charming, if lightweight, romantic comedy set in Paris. Sheen plays wealthy New York banker Anthony Wayne transferred to Paris where he becomes completely besotted with the bank‘s vice-president Nicole Canter (Bisset). In a frankly ludicrous twist, he manages to get a job as hermaid, and an unlikely romance begins to ﬂourish. Sheen is somewhat out of his depth in the sort of role Cary Grant used to knock off in his sleep, but the script's deftness of touch helps him carry it off. Refreshingly unpretentious. (Buena Vista Home Video Rental)
I Dullseye (15) Oh no it‘s directed by Michael Winner! Starring Michael Caine! And Roger Moore! If that hasn’t put you off, you might even be the sort of sad deluded person who could enjoy this so-called comedy that struggles from one limp joke to another with the lack of subtlety we have come to expect from Winner. Caine and Moore play a couple of conmen who are the spitting image of a couple of nuclear scientists, and try to exploit the fact for personal gain. It’sa caper movie of the old (very old) school with little in the way of plot or characterisation to help connect the feeble gags (slapstick for the most part) Caine slightly shades Moore in the contest to determine who delivers the boorish dialogue with the least degree of interest.
(RCA/Columbia Rental) : I Havana (15) The US Govenment l
wouldn’t let them film this in Cuba, no doubt worrying that the Commies would crack up laughing at the script. It’s a Casablanca retread that doesn’t manage to get within a million miles of the wit and
power of the original. Robert Redford
plays a poker-playing playboy in downtown pre-revolutionary Havana falling for an anti-govemment rebel (Lena Olin). Director Sidney Pollack’s sentimentality for the period gives the film an unconvincing soft underbelly, and the script too often falls into risible cliche. This is Redford’s seventh collaboration with Pollack , and is one of the actor’s weakest performances. (ClC Rental)
I Narrow Margin (15) Peter Hyams’ remake of a 1952 suspense thriller substitutes visual stunts and spectacular scenery for the original’s claustrophobic tension. Anne Archer plays a Los Angeles editor who witnesses her blind date being blown away and has to be escorted by deputy district attorney Gene Hackman on a train journey even more hazardous than British Rail Southern Region. The baddies pursue with helicopters, machine-guns and the works, but Hackman proves resourceful in adversity. It’s basically an extended chase sequence, stretched out to ﬁll a whole movie but there are some welcome touches of comic relief and Hackman is excellent, revelling in some dry, sarcastic dialogue. (Guild Rental)
I Criminal Law (18) Gary Oldman can do no wrong in my book, although director Martin Campbell’s analysis of greed and corruption could be accused of being over-simplistic. Oldman plays a lawyer somewhat disturbed to find that the client (Kevin Bacon) he has just got acquitted of rape and murder was actually guilty. This, needless to say, causes him to question the nature of the business he’s in. As you’d expect from the director of the award-winning TV serial Edge Of Darkness there’s a tense second half when the worm turns, but the major issues become submerged by personal grievances, and the film grinds to an uneasy conclusion. Oldman is as perfectly watchable as ever though, with his Cockney accent impeccably concealed. (RCA/Columbia Rental)
Also on release this fortnight.
I Hitler's Daughter (ClC Rental)
I Revealing Evidence (ClC Rental)
I The Reflecting Sitln (MCEG Virgin Rental)
I The Rift (15) (RCA/Columbia Rental) I A Promise To Keep (PG) (Warner Rental)
I Locitdown (18) (RCA/Columbia Rental) I Last Stand At Lang Mei (RCA/Columbia Rental)
Chuck Norris in Delta Force 2
I Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection
(18) (Warner Rental)
I Blood Moon (18) (Guild Rental)
I The Abyss (15) (Fox £9.99)
I The Twilight Zone-Volume 3 (PG) (Fox
I The Twilight Zone-Volume 4 (PG) (Fox £9.99) I The Twilight Zone-Volume 5 (PG) (Fox £9.99)
I I Medan-The Art Di Energy (Polygram £9.99)
The List 17—30 May 1991 83