Halfway down the back road from nowhere to Las Vegas. Jasmine (Jean Stapleton) abandons her husband in the desert when his car
i breaks down. Suddenly alone after 40 years of marriage she is stranded with nothing more than her holiday
she comes upon the Bagdad Cafe: a decrepit diner. motel and scene for
g the latest slice of American Sitcom Pie bought in by (‘hannel 4. it is also a piece of second-hand scenery.
in his 1988 film ofthe same name. In the cafe Brenda is queen. as one
by Whoopi Goldberg. despite her problematic family. Son Junie.
played by Scott Lawrence. is a single
father who can't keep his fingers off the piano in the corner of the cafe.
Daughter Debbie (Monica (.‘alhoun.
the only cast member retained from the film). can‘t keep her hands off the local biker. and husband Sal ((‘leavon Little) can't keep his arms
from round the waists of every pretty
woman who happens to be passing
Bagdad Cafe. the movie. gave German actress Marianne Sagebrecht her first
English-speaking role. Stapleton.
‘ who after a decade is still trying to
shake offthe role of Edith Baker in Allin the Family. portrays an altogether brasher character. more complementary to the wisecracking sass ofGoldberg.
Bagdad Cafe. the sitcom. keeps none ofthc subtlety of its film precursor. but the clout of its stars. the fashionable woman-to-woman
1 relationship and its genuine humour
mean that it should reach. and
2 retain. an audience not available to the movie. (Thom Dibdin) Bagdad C 'afe is on Thursday
evenings. 8.30pm ( 'hannel 4. from I 2
suitcases and a pair ofsore feet. until
l havingseen good use by PercyAdlon
would expect of any character played
My kinda town
Screening as part of the opening evening at BBC 2’s autumn ans
package The Japan Season,
distinguished Japanese director Nagisa Oshima’s 50-minute documentary Kyoto: My Mother’s Place is his first new work since the very peculiar Max Mon Amour live years ago, but in the wake oi the recent long-delayed UK release for his epoch-making sexual drama In The Realm Of The Senses, current interest in one at world cinema’s most provocative talents remains high. In these circumstances, BBC Scotland‘s Music and Arts Dept can be justifiably
proud of themselves lor
commissioning the project in the lirst place. The Oshima lilm was initially generated as part of a new series, The Director’s Place, due tor transmission sometime next year, in which moviemakers ol international repute (John Boorman, David Mamet, Susan Seidelman etc) draw personal portraits of particular locales that are important
to them and theirwork.
Oshima’s slant on Kyoto is merely the lirst iruit ol this ambitious enterprise. ‘I get a lot at otters from abroad and most of them are very bad,’ he explained on a recent flying visit to the Edinburgh
Oshima Film Festival. ‘I liked this idea very much and I knew immediately that I’d shoot in Kyoto. I've made a number of films there, including The Ceremony, In The Realm ol The Senses and Empire ' of Passion, but as you can see lrom this documentary I also have a strong ambivalent leeling towards the place.’
Examining the domestic experience
at the Japanese woman through the example ol his mother, and looking at the survival of traditional religious practices in this lormer imperial capital, Oshima's highly decorative picture of Kyoto underlines the tension between authority and liberty that propels much oi his earlier work. Cineastes and Nipponophiles take note. (TrevorJohnston) Kyoto: My Mother's Place screens on Saturday 7 Sept at9.20pm, BBCZ.
i v COMEDY
’ What’s happening?
In the days when Curtis and Ishmael were anonymous wide-boys in Brixton, there was a cabaret show on the airwaves that dispensed with gimmicks and aimed simply to recreate the atmosphere at a London club. The show, hosted by Jools Holland was
called “The Happening' but,
unfortunately Ior all concerned, it was one at the Ilagships at 888 belore Rupert Murdoch got his grubby paws on it, and thereiore nobody apart lrom a
lew squariels saw it.
Now a compilation ol the shows has been bought by Channel 4 and is due to be broadcast throughout the autumn. Producer, Graham Kay Smith, is obviously pleased that the shows are having a second airing, but also has
‘We started making the shows in February of last year so they are quite old. At the time, a lot of the comedians that we had on doing their first TV have since been on Paramount City. It would have been great it it was on Channel 4 eighteen months ago because everybody’s moved on since then. All of the artists have got a lot better.’
It nothing else, however, the show should prove interesting as a period piece Ior those wanting an insight into the early material oi the likes of Jack
Jack Dee in The Happening
Dee, Vic Reeves, Bill Hicks, Sean Hughes and Rob Newman. But as Graham Smith explains, The Happening is also worth catching tor the atmosphere.
‘While the show was on it became the big party every week. Even It acts weren’t on the show, they'd be in the bar. Vic and Bob were there every single week. Obviously, they’ll be at some bar every week but they happened to be In ours lor the run oi the show. So there was quite a good buzz. Paramount City’s venue was tiny — 60 people and they were told to applaud. We had 900 people in a theatre and had a great atmosphere. Also people had to pay (£1 to charity) to get in; it someone is paying to get In to a show they’re there to be entertained, they’re in a lrame oi mind to be entertained which pays dividends.’ (Philip Parr)
The Happening will be on Channel 4 on Friday 6 September at 11 .45pm.
I At Last The Go On Show A second chance to hear. on Radio 4. Radio 2‘s 40th birthday celebration of the Goons - a special documentary featuring Milligan. Bentine. Sykes and other ancient Goon-related celebs. (Sat 31.10.02am).
I Flowers For Algernon Science fiction classic in which Tom Courtenay plays a mentally subnormal man. Charlie. who suddenly develops extraordinary intellect after a dodgy University experiment. Charlie is soon able to outwit even the brainiest egg-head. but what will happen when the effects ofthc experiment begin to fade? (Radio4. Thurs 5. 3.02pm.)
I A Letter to Lord Byron The first in a series ofsix anthologies of W.ll. Auden‘s poems — part of BBC's Radio Poetry Festival — looks at Auden‘s pastiche in the style of Byron‘s Don Juan. Subsequent programmes feature sonnets. songs and ballads and political writings inspired by the Spanish Civil War. as well as A Christian Oughtlo Write in Prose. a new documentary about Auden. written by Ann Mann. (Radio 3. starts Mon 2. 9.25pm.)
I Woman’s Hour: Hot AirA second chance to hear the brilliant balloon debate which set out toexamine which of four Victorian women has provided the most inspiration for women today. Antonia Byatt defends George Eliot, Prue Leith. Businesswoman ofthc Year. Mrs Beeton; consultant Wendy Savage takes the part ofDr Elizabeth Garrett and Edwina (‘urrie onueen Victoria. The audience question the panel and vote on who should be thrown out. (Radio‘l. Mon 2. 9.05am).
I The Legendary Series: Dick Turpin Sure. he was a highwayman. but was he really so exciting. so charismatic? Hugh Dennis. ofSpitting Image and The Mary White/rouse Experience. has 36 hours to get an interview with Turpin. but first he hasto get past the man's bouncer. . .(Radio5.Tue 3. 7.35pm)
I In the Psychiatrist’s Chair Easily the best show on radio. Ifyou missed Anthony (‘lare psychoanalysing Barbara (‘artland and Anthony Hopkins. at least hear him giving Tom Sharpe v authorof Will and Porter/muse Blues ~ the once over. (Radio 4. Wed 4. 9.05am. repeated Sat , 7.30pm).
The List 30 August -- I: September l‘NI 55