l V COMEDY
Tim Brooke-Taylor and Liza Aziz
There are three categories of"l'\' quiz show. The exhibitions of abject greed hosted by St. Vitus dance afflicted wiggies; the intellectual tours-de-f'orce which subject the contestants to mental trials designed by K.(i.B. agents in the 50s; and the daytimers which combine the banality of the former with the poverty of the latter. Until now. that is. For a new programme called Q1) — The .llasfer (iame looks set to revolutionise the genre.
Running over five consecutive days and transmitted live each evening. Q!) will line its contestants up to face a total ofeighteen trials of mental and physical agility. 'I'here will he .l’IUSlUI'HIllHl-SI}'lC tests on general knowledge and specialist subjects. sports such as golf and toxophily (hows and arrers to you) to master and. most innovatively'. the contestants will be given ‘homework‘ to swot up on each night as they spend the nights of their competition
week in the rooms of a hotel (contact
with family and friends is forbidden whilst they participate in the programme).
‘()nce they arrive in London on Sunday evening‘ says producer Rod Natkiel. ‘they are going to be working basically flat out till they finish on Friday evening. There is no leisure.
The show will be hosted by Lisa Aziz (from 'l'V-AM) and Tim Brooke-'I‘aylor who will act as a genial. witty M.(‘. (it says here). Natkiel. who was formerly a producer of The Krypton l’aetor believes that the lightweight hosts should not deflect attention from the toughness of the challenge. So is this as far as TV quiz shows can go and. if so. will the guinea pigs survive? 'Until we become Japanese and we start forcing the contestants to eat new‘ts.‘ he says. ‘You could get much more aggressively. physically tough but I don’t think that anybody should underestimate the pressure of putting up with five days‘ vigorous examination. the culmination of each day being half an hour in a live TV studio.
There‘s no way you'd catch me on this programme but they love it.‘ (Philip Parr)
QD — The Master Game will be on
On the I nightshift
No sooner has he hung up one set at neuroses and physical twitches in GBH, than Robert Lindsay is back with another bunch in Nightingales, which is being given a repeat run on Channel 4, after enjoying only cult success on its initial showing.
A kind of very black comedy, with more than a touch of the Joe Orton about it, Nightingales was what was called ‘a grower' on its first showing a year ago. Some viewers were perplexed by its blend of surrealism and slapstick, but at least one I reviewer, Nancy Banks Smith of the Guardian, adored it. ‘I will hit anyone who doesn‘t admit they love it‘ she promised, and nominated it for a critics' award.
Lindsay plays one of a trio of night-watchmen, along with James Ellis (of 2 Cars lame) and David Threlfall, whose main aim is not to safeguard the property but to while away the hours in as leisurely a way as possible. All three are to some extent misanthropic losers, and their after-hours existence brings out the
Robert Lindsay shrugs off the twitches and winks of Michael Murray to take a slightly saner role in the repeated series of 'Nightingales'
extremes of personality. A second series has already been written and is awaiting a kinder economic climate before being produced. Meanwhile David Threltall has been plaguing Channel 4 with phone calls enquiring when he can re-create his role as the psychotic Bell. (Tom Lappin) Nightingales starts on Channel 4 on Wednesday August7.
Play Dough :
With Bill Bryden‘s luck at the moment i (The Ship's less than glowing reviews, the non-take-off of Peter Pan), his announcement of a new season of BBC drama could well have been accompanied by spontaneous combustion of every TV set in Scotland. But when wearing his hat of Head of Television Drama at BBC Scotland, Bryden has usually had better fortune. And so it seems on this occasion.
At the forefront of the autumn and winter schedules is a new six-part series titled The Play on One, (following in the footsteps of Play For Today, The Wednesday Play, The Play For One and other such imaginative BBC titles). The season will begin with Misterioso by Alan Plater who is best known for his three hugely (and somewhat mysteriously) popular Beiderbecke series, and his adaptations of Fortunes of War and A Very British Coup.
The remainder of the series is split between established TV writers such as Jimmy McGovern (who scripted Brookside in the days of Bazza Grant’s delinquent youth) and promising stage writers making their first TV appearances. Bryden singled out McGovern in particular for special praise.
‘Jimmy McGovern‘s play Needle was one of the best plays shown on BBC1 for many years. Unfortunately it wasn‘t shown in Scotland because I think its transmission coincided with some pibroch contest which was obviously unmissable. So it's doubly gratifying
John Malshikiza plays Wyclitf Kato, on the run from ldi Amin's regime in ‘Escape From Kampola‘ on Thursday 8 August
Other writers in the season include Los Angelean-Scot Donna Franceschild, whose contribution, And The Cow jumped OverThe Moon, was a hit lorThe Traverse Theatre last year, and Valerie Windsor who has been a prolific writerfor radio. Bryden obviously hopes that the season will help to safeguard BBC Scotland’s future when the shake-up of national TV begins in a couple of years time.
‘There is a report to be issued in September,‘ he says ‘regarding BBC resources and how it affects the regions. Nobody‘s had any sight of it at all and we‘re just hoping that with the work we have done and are doing, it will encourage us to do more.‘ (Philip Parr)
The first of the new Play On One
I Let the Good Times Roll 'l‘histwo-parl documentary celebrates the (iolden :\ge of New ( )rleans rhythm and blues the ﬁlls and hits. w hen people had names like (iuitar Slim attd l’rofessor l.ongltair and my ariany ‘woke upthismorning’ with the blues. .lean l’ennington interv iewsa few old timers. (Radio l. Sat 37. 3pm)
IThe Misadventures of John NiChOlSOl‘l ‘l'he second in a seriesof Robert lotus Stevenson stories finds John Nicholson struggling to escape the dusty career mapped out for him in genteellidinburgh. eventually fleeingto foreign lands in much lltc sattte way as RI .8 himselfditl (RadIoISal 3". TJSpml
I The Million Pound Radio Show Did you hear the one about the new bomb designed to takcotit Saddam l lusscin'.’ ‘lt took ltim otit to the cinema and then toa quiet meal'. .. 'l'hisand plenty of other iapes If) a new run of the comedy series starring Andy llamtlton. who writesil \Ns llrop the “earl [hill/\I'y'. :tlltl stand-upcomie \ick Reyell. l Radio 4. Sat 37'.
l I fillme
I Beyondlhe Rainbow lt's (ilasgow. 105 l . and .ludy (iarland has come to sing at the lampire 'l‘heatie. 'l'here she ltas a chance meeting with a young waiter. w ho becomes obsessed with her. Years later his w ife ls liUl'l‘llletl to see the same thing happening to their son. The stage version of this play won a Scotsman l-ringe Award. (Radio-1, 'l'hursh’. .‘~.ll2pml
I Male Barbershop Convention ( iraham Knight visits Barbershop Singers at their annual conference in llarrogate. and discovers tltat 'elose harmony . dedication. friendship and fun' hav e been essential ingredients in Barbershop singing since its birth in ll)_‘stls America. .‘yliss it at your peril. ( Radio 2. Tue 3t). ‘).ll3pm)
I Death and the Tango Subtitled 'a comedy thriller on themes of metaphysical fattlasy ' and described as “across between Dante. William Blake arid Ripping l'arnx' Byron is a young man obsessed w itlt tango and all things dark; his friend Jeff is obsessed w ith the Renaissance and all things light. What can uninspiring Birmingham pttsslltly ltaye ltittllel lltettt In llte way of
Channel 4from Monday 2‘) J uly— Friday 2 A ugus! at 6. 30pm.
season, Misterioso, will be on Thursday 25 July at 9.30pm on BBC1. l
The List Zoluly b' .-\ugust llllll 75
that we can include his latest play in this season.‘
‘ l adv entttre‘.’ ( Radio .i. l ue ' .‘II I. ‘lﬁllpml l