dramatisations in the (‘lassic Serial
Hidden l Treasure
Kenneth Cranham and Anne Lacey dig up some rare RLS
Think of Robert Louis Stevenson and you think of the novels
— '1 'reas'ure Island . Kidnapped and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. But at Radio Scotland's drama department. director Patrick Rayner has been tttrning a kcener eye on Stevenson the story-writer and. later this month. Radio 4 will start broadcasting his series of four specially commissioned Stevenson
The quartet begins with The Beach (il'I-‘(ilesrt one of Stevenson's most controversial South Pacific stories and also a piece of work he described as 'nearer what I mean than anything I have ever done‘. Henry James called it ‘art brought to perfection'. but Stevenson‘s publishers were not so impressed with the story‘s ambiguous morality. The Reach of [Va/em exposes the blunt brutality of white South Sea traders. beginning i with a shocking phony marriage scene in which a native girl is tricked into consenting to one night’s ‘illegal wedlock‘. for the convenience of a lustful trader. Stevenson’s publishers had him dampen down the cruelty by extending the marriage contract to one week. an alteration which. Rayner says. completely fudges the issue: ; ’Stcvenson's South Pacific stories are really about these white scum — lost souls washed up on the islands. not knowing where they were and not being able to cope with the people. They were morally adrift. really.‘
The third dramatisation. The [Shh- Tr'de. dips deeper into the souls of these limbo-land white men. but the other two in the series. The Misrtd ventures ofJnhn .V'iehulsun and The Pavilion on the Links. are firmly rooted in Scottish soil.
A worthy companion to the series is The Hunter and the Hill (Sat 20. 2.30pm). an engaging play by Tom Wright. which charts Stevenson‘s progress from Edinburgh boyhood (he was nick-named ‘Smoutie‘) to love in America. politics in Samoa and fame as a writer. (Miranda France)
The Classic Serial starts Sat 20 Jul. 7.45pm (repeat Fri 26. 3.02pm).
Pinks under the bed
An Edinburgh University lecturer who visited Nicaragua some years ago on a tact-tinding trip remembers being told by a Sandinista otlicial that Nicaragua did not have a homosexual problem. ‘We made them all join the National Ballet’ was the explanation. Things have changed since then, but you’ll still iind a lair bit of dancing in Sex and the Sandinistas— a programme made by Out, Channel 4’s magazine lor lesbians and gays — which reports that, while Sandinismo may have been revolutionary, it wasn’t man enough to dig out Nicaragua’s deep-rooted Machismo tradition.
There is no organised gay scene in Managua, where night-club entertainers still sing songs about heroic men and virtuous women, and gay people seek each other out among the ruins at an old Cathedral. When the homosexual community saw that the Sandinista rebels’ sweeping promises ot reiorm did not necessarily extend to gay rights, they collectively agreed to stage their own revolution within a revolution. ‘Wedecided to tight lot that little piece that was missing’, explains one woman, arguing that there was a certain historical responsibility attached to lheirtight, because Cuban and Soviet communism never really addressed the ditticulties laced by the countries’ homosexuals. Lesbians
Nicaragua's gay and lesbian movement takes to the streets in Sex and the Sandinistas
integrated themselves into the struggle, lorming all-women cells and making molotov cocktails, and the gay community‘s contribution to revolution was eventually recognised, the government inviting them to take part in the popular health-education programmes which were an important part at Sandinista philosophy. Such a mark of recognition could hardly be described as revolutionary, but set against Nicaragua’s background at homophobia, it counts lor something.
‘The struggle must include the whole society,’ concedes err-President Daniel Ortega, who meant the revolution to extirpate machismo. But now that Violeta Chamorro’s American-backed ‘Uno' party is at the reins, there is tear among gay people that the old values oi tamin and church will prevail again. Sure enough, a jowly disapproving priest appears on the programme to warn ot the dangers oi excessive immorality. ‘When man leaves God to one side,’ he says, ‘he turns to the pleasures ot the ilesh and all sorts oi hedonism.’
(Miranda France). Sex and the Sandinistas Is on Channel 4 on 17 July as part at the Out series.
Remember Bob Langley? And Donny McLeod? And that woman with the prematurely grey hair? For years and decades they presented a homely little programme called Pebble Mill at One. But that was when Daytime (as it is now imaginatively known in media-land) consisted ot the above trio, litteen minutes at Mr Benn and about tour hours at the test card. Oh happy days.
In these days ol 24-hour programming, it it isn’t the lrankly sad sight at Tom O’Conner attempting to resurrect his career in an appalling quiz show, the viewer is bombarded with tashion tips, or ‘star‘ interviews (usually with Mr D‘Conner), or attractive vistas ot Liverpudlian dockland developments. The sheer blandness oi ‘This Morning’ cannot be enlivened simply because the producers chose to locate it in a depressed northern city rather than an opulent southern one.
Maybe the brains behind ‘The Garden Party“ had a similar plan when setting their show in The Glasgow Botanics. But it’s the one representative at the genre which needs little assistance trom odd locations and quirky items. The Garden Party's previous two series have proved to be the closest that any at the new wave has come to the
Lunchtime digest in the ttibble Palace as The Garden Party returns
standards set by Pebble Mill in the early 803. There is the same relaxed atmosphere and whilst Paul Coia tries tar too hard to be cynical, he certainly has more wit than the ex-Radio 2 DJs that usually populate Daytime.
in the new series he is again joined by Debbie Greenwood and Dennis Tuohy. There’s also the inclusion of chet Glynn Christian (who mustn't have time to run a restaurant, he’s on TV so much) and the producers have managed to lure David Bellamy into the told to introduce a series on Britain‘s parklands.
The first programme will include a discussion on the fragmentation ot the Soviet Union; hardly what we expect lrom background TV. Hopetully this
signilies an attempt by The Garden
Party to tackle some serious issues in addition to the housewives' choices. There's also a more lightweight item
on programmes from TV’s golden era ot ‘
the 503 and 60s. Audiences then, we are told, could regularly reach 30
I million. Happy days indeed, MrCoia.
(Philip Parr) The ﬁrst edition oi the The Garden Party will be on BBC1 at 12.05pm on 15 July.
I Families and How to Survive Them A repeat of the series in w hich John L‘lccse and his cx-shrink. Robin Sky nner. discuss the fearsome concept of the Family and suggest ways in which to make family relationships smoother. (Radio 4. Sat 13. lll.3(lam)
I Cannes: Fact or Fiction? Sunday Times critic. lain Johnstonc. looks back on the film festival which attracts 21 Mill visitors to the (ole l)‘A'/tii' every year and hobnobs with some outrageously famous people. Well. quite famous anyway.
\ . 4 s
I School'sDut Radio Scotland's daily summer phone-in tor young people with v icws to air. The show is presented by 22-year-old spring chicken Kirsty Young and there will. we are assured. be opportunities for callers to quiz. very important peoplc about issues concerning their lives. (Radio Scotland. daily. ill.(l3am) I Silenced by the Soviets: A Glass ot Water The last in a series of works which have. until recently . been banned in the ['SSR. isa play by Ly'udmila Pctrushevskaya. translated by Stephen Mulrinc. a writer and senior lecturer at (ilasgow School of Art. The play centres on a conversation between two women. one of whom has turned up at the other's hotisc. apparently looking for help. As the dialogue progresses. a mysterious plot unfurls. (Radio 3. Tue l6. 8pm)
I The Wrestling Princess and Other Stories Dawn French reads Judy (‘orbalis's story about the princess who loves wrestling and driving fork-lift trucks — the first in a series ofthoroughly modern fairy tales. ( Radio I 5. Mon 15. 7.20pm)
I Three Cruel Tales'i'hc I first of three dark stories
by French writer (iuy dc i Maupassant is the l conlession of a man vs ho has admitted himsell toa lunatic asy hurt after seeing all his tutniturc walk out oi the house. \Vcit'd. (Radio 3. Thurs IS. I
The List 12—25July 199169