Glad to be bad

Sue Townsend

Those of you who have a sneaking admiration for the baddies should welcome a new Radio 4 series. The Devil's Advocate. a fifteen-minute slot on Wednesday evenings presented by Clive Anderson. in which famous people present a defence for some ofliterature's nastiest pieces of work. Sue Townsend creator of Adrian Mole is the first in the witness box. defending Mrs Danvers. the

infamous housekeeper in Daphne du

Maurier's novel Rebecca. In the novel. Mrs Danvers is so nasty to Max de Winter's new wife it makes you gasp. but. Sue Townsend counters. that's only because the death ofde Winter‘s first wife was such a blow to her that it brought on

clinical depression. In fact. she might

have been a lesbian and should certainly have had bereavement counselling. ’I‘ownsend takes an interesting line ofdefence. but don‘t listen to the programme ifyou have yet to read Rehccca it gives the plot away.

Later on in the series the astute listener may begin to discern some sort of relationship developing between the fictional villains and their real life champions: Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Iiyc. will put forward a case for Satan. in Milton's Paradise Lost and agony aunt Irma Kurtz will insist that Lady Macbeth is suffering the effects of a miscarriage. Roy l Iattersley was the least co-operative in the witness box. according to producer Kate Boston: ‘He was supposed to be defending the Shakespearian Richard III and he arrived with all sorts of information about the real Richard III. He and Clive Anderson had a bit of a to-do about it. You can probably feel the tension.‘

Anderson was originally chosen to present the show because of his barrister past. to give a sort of court-room flavour to the show. In the event. he often ends up agreeing with his guests‘ criticisms. It will be interesting to see what he makes of Cruella De Ville. villainess of The One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

and staunchly defended by columnist ;

Tony Slattery. in the second episode

ofthe series. (Miranda France)

The Devil's Advocate starts Tue 18 Linn.8.3()pm.

Teenage kicks

First love: we’ve all gone through it- the longing looks across the classroom, the hideous embarrassment when your ‘irlends’ llnd out you lancy someone and promptly tell the whole school, the utter bliss when s/he asks you to dance at the end-ol-term disco. And then the bottomless misery when you're ‘chucked’, compounded by adults’ complete lack ol tact or understanding: ‘You’re too young to be in love; plenty more lish in the sea; you’ll have lorgotten about it by next week.’

It was this sort ol patronising attitude which prompted producer/director Elizabeth Partyka to make a documentary about young love which treated the subject with respect. ‘There's a great deal oi genuine emotion involved in early relationships, which nobody seems to take very seriously,’ she says. ‘lt might not be the sort oi emotion that adults know as love, It mightonly last lora day, or a week, or a month, but that doesn‘t invalidate it.’

The hall-hour programme, part of ITV’s ‘Docurama’ series loryoung people, consists mainly cl schoolchildren talking about their experiences with relationships. ‘They were very willing to talk- I thinkthey really enjoyed it.’ says Partyka. ‘It

Teenagers in love: Nicola Gemmell and Chris Harvle

seemed to be the iirsttime anyone had taken a real interest in how they tell. i We spoke to them in mixed groups, but I there wasn’t any embarrassment; they seemed to be united in how they felt. Boys as well as girls—the boys were i actually much more sensitive and easily heartbroken than the girls. They didn’t have close friends they could talk to as girls did, so they were even more , on theirown.’ She hopes that the programme will perhaps after some solace to any teenager with an aching heart who’s i watching. ‘Altertalking to these kids l was left with a great ieeling of sadness; there seem to be an awlul lot of lonely young people outthere, sitting in their bedrooms playing soppy love songs. I hope the programme might help them realise they’re not on theirown, it really does happen to everyone.’ (Sue Wilson) Puppy Love is on Scottish on Monday 24 June at4.40pm.


Cornish wafers

Guardian and Sun readers alike will be lamillarwith the work at cartoonist Posy Simmonds. In the latter her cheeky ’Bear‘ drawings in the 70s were coy double entendres at a Benny Hill nature, but she is probably best known lor her regular Monday strips, which appeared in the Guardian lor more than ten years.

These centred on the tribulations ol the well-meaning right-on lamily the Webers: George the lecturer in liberal studies at the Poly, his wile Wendy, a writer at children’s stories, and their tour children, rejoicing in names like Tamsin and Benji. Simmonds’ observational powers were palnlully acute but, ironically, the altectlonate satire on the iolbles and pretensions ol woolly liberals was lapped up by the very people it was satirlslng.

The Webers make a long-overdue transition to the TV screen this week in 3801 ’s Byline: Tresoddlt For Easter. The Webers, along with a host at other weekenders are whisked oil to the once-charming Cornish resort of Tresoddlt. ‘lt’s hard to tlnd because It's not on the map,’ says Simmonds, “but it’s a place where thousands at us are drawn every year, bumper to bumper. In winter, It lives in ourdreams—ln the spring we come and reclaim it. We love Tresoddlt, but with a corrosive love. We love Tresoddlt so much we destroy It.‘

Posy Simmonds with her cart—ooncreations.

Behind the tumour, Simmonds is making serious points about the way weekenders, with their cottages and timeshares are destroying the simple

rural lite they claim to adore. Her strength is her ability to avoid dogma, and make points with poignant jokes. We are introduced to the Webers’ iriend Kevin Penwallet, who gave up

the academic life to return to his roots and open a shop. His wholemeal and

pulses shop llopped, but he soon lound that an exotic delicatessen proved a hit

with the allluent visitors. Details and

oblique references demonstrate Slmmonds’ eye lorthe absurdities ol the British. The Webers’ cottage is called ’Barnacles’ lor heavens sake. Watch this and cringe. (Tom Lappin) Byline: Tresoddlt For Easter is on BBC 1 on Tuesday 18June at 10.20pm.

i r i _

IBook atBedt‘mezAgeol iron-smother tninceto ; hearl. M. (‘oet/ee's award-winnin‘ i"‘\Ci.SCI in a South .\f ; .wnthe

\‘Cl’ge Ul .‘har‘ «.l produce 'i\ i\ .iro Scotland .i: .llll.l producer. Stewart \ on. Radio-1. starts Mon 1 " lt' 45pm) I Eater's Digest seotland‘s ; canned soups are something to be proud of but. far from resting on his laurels. intrepid radiocth Ken Sykora ‘soup a dragon’ to his friends— wants to know why. oh why packet soups are cornering the market'.’ And w hat's all this about foreign soups gaining popularity"? (Radio I Scotland. Thurs 13

1.30pm. repeated



I Calling the Shots Peter Grecnaway. maker of films with lots of flesh and food in them. talks about his attitude to cinema and describes himselfas a ‘crossword puzzler who provides his audience with a set of pictures and ideas to unravel'. (Radio 4, Fri 14.8.(l5pm) I Gary Lineker-TheJohn Dunn Interviews Tottenham goalscorer and thinking woman's crumpet. Lineker talks to John Dunn about his childhood dreamsof becoming a professional footballer and how they came to glorious fruition. as well as his reputation for fair play and nicencss. (RadioZ. Sat 15.4.(l2pm) IJames Joyce—A Celebration ‘()n loJune. l‘)ll~l. a young Dublin writer called JamesJoyce had his first date with Nora Barnacle. a hotel maid from the west of Ireland'. reads the BBC blurb. It would be churlish to suggest that such an event needs no celebrating. but this tribute might also owe somethingto 1991 being the 50th anniversary of Joyce's death. At any rate. Frank Delaney gets to romp about Dublin and revisit L'lyvses for the occasion. (Radio 2. Sun 16.1(i.()2pm) IThe Monday Play- Shambollc Rainbow In a post-nuclear world : plagued by looting and rioting. Solomon. a seven-year-old boy. has accidentally killed his sister by locking her in an old fridge. Sounds cheery.

(Radio-l. Mon 17.


The List 14—27June 199] 75