Channel Hopping

The magic's-gone. The Soviets' love affair with (iorby is well and truly over. and all that remains to be done

is sort out who the Beatles albums

belong to and who gets the dacha in the Crimea. Yeltsin may be the new

virile bit—on-the-side who has moved

centre stage. but through the TV camera lens at least. he comes across as a lounge lizard. moving in with a combination ofslimy charm and glib promises. The BBC News caught him in his graceless act of humiliating cuddly old toothless Mikhail. and exposed his pettiness. his lack of generosity. and his narrow- mindedness. The cameras also made him look like a surreal hybrid of'l‘ed Heath and Sinbad. the window cleaner from Brookside. Yeltsin will never be the worldwide TV sight-bite Gorby was. however acceptable in the West his politics are. After all. where is Mrs Yeltsin. and. ifshe exists. is she up to the job ofoutshining Barbara Bush‘.’ Such questions will assume a greater significance in the months to come. Desultory viewers of Dream On (Channel 4) the latest American

The cameras also made him look like a surreal hybrid of Ted Heath and Sinbad the window cleanertrom Brookside.

sitcom import with the added ingredient of occasional nudity. have obviously been targeted by the health authorities as being a high-risk group. There was hero Martin (played with a mixture of haplessness and lust by Brian Benben) peeling the blouse off a compliant college girl. when suddenly we zapped into the commercial break. and straight into the ‘This is not the voice of an actor' AIDS information film: ‘She seemed like a nice girl. so I thought “Bob‘s your uncle". and suggested we go upstairs. . .‘ you know the one. Perhaps this is the start of a new

nursemaid trend. and we can expect

healthy diet messages dropped subtly into Rab ('. .\'esbiit. or the

E Samaritans phone number run along

the bottom of The Paul Daniels Show. Before long we might expect Government Health Warnings in opening credit sequences. ‘This play has been written by an old hippie. who is a paid-up member ofthe SWP. Please adapt your viewing plansaccordingly. . .‘

Talking of toplessness (yes we were). Catherine Zeta Jones's much-trailed unveiled appearance in The Play On One: Out Of The Blue (BBCI ) was a desperate measure that failed dismally to save a play that was criminally self-indulgent and a dramatic disaster. For weeks before. the tabloids had warned us of ‘Darling Buds Cathy's saucy scenes‘ and the like. What they didn‘t tell us was that ()m ()f The Blue was a TV director’s fantasy about a TV director's fantasy.

Colin Firth played the fictional one. Alan. all polite aloofness and media superciliousness. a terminal case ofstill water running shallow. But this was no pointed indictment of the hypocrisy and spite of media folk. this was a whole-hearted

She murmured her lines in a Welsh lilt, expressed anger by agitating her head a little, and no doubt got herself pegged as a bucolic bimbolorthe rest of


celebration of the ‘screw you if you‘re not one of us attitude.’ Director Nick llamm threw in all the tricks he knew to make things look clever and high-tech. but the emptiness of the script. and the clumsy performances of the cast (Cathy Tyson and John Lynch should not have come within a million miles of this). increasingly left him lingering tackily on the soft-focus features of MsJones. She murmured her lines in a Welsh lilt. expressed angerby agitating her

head a little. and no doubt got herself 3

pegged as a bucolic bimbo for the rest ofher career. Massively imperfick. and a classic example of writers and directors becoming so divorced from reality that they presume the rest of us will be diverted by their jargon and wine-bar tiffs. A lot like the Edinburgh International Television Festival in fact.

My other major source of irritation last weekend was the condescending Abbey National Ad. involving various supposedly trendy young things swanning around being foolish with their Abbey National accounts. If they persist in running this ad. I suggest we all go out and open Instant Access Abbey accounts with healthy overdraft facilities. We then head to our nearest greyhound stadium and run up decent-sized debts backing long-shot tricasts involving the lame dog in trap four. When the irate Abbey man

summons us into the office to explain 3

our conduct. we simply say ‘chill out

man.” and break into cheerful song. . .‘l‘m young. l'm foolish. I'm Abbey

...' That'll nail 'em. (Tom Lappin)


The List guide to sex. lies and videorental.


t w I Green Card ( 15) Ciiyinga new meaning to the term Depardieu lounge. this amiable comedy did big box-office w ith its offbeat formula of sex interest Andie MacDowell and the breathy l-‘reneli tonesof (ierard Depardicu. He plays a l‘rench composer desperately needing a work permit to stay in New York. MacDowall needs a husband to help get a lease on a conservatory apartment. .-\ marriage of convenience is arranged. and lurve invariably follows. It‘s a warm and intelligent talc. albeit with the most dubious ending since Dubious linding lll.. (Buena Vista)

I Bonlire at The Vanities

( 15 ) This was adjudged a prize turkey at the box-office. but has to be of interest by virtue of being an adaptation ofTom Wolfe's consummate 811s social satire. Tom Hanks is slightly miscast as the ultimate yuppie Sherman McCoy whose inexorable rise takes a raincheck after an accident involving a young black man. Wolfe disassociated himself with the film. which seems a little churlish. (Warner)

\ /

I MeetThe Applegates (15) Seriously silly stuff from Michael Lehmann. the maker of Heathers. [id


3 IFinalWarningt lfiitl-iisi Independent)

1 ITheRain Killertis) (RCA Columbia)

Begley' Junior plays the leader of a family of Amazonian beetles (typecast again ch Ed?)

w ho metamorphose into a :

routine American suburban family (the idea was derived from a Janet and John book they found in the jungle) in an attempt to extinguish the environmentally unsound

human race. There's some

exquisitely funny scenes (one hapless teenager ends tip hay ing sex w ith a vigorously enthusiastic insect) and a few pointed

messages about American

decadence into the bargain. (RCA Columbia)

I Time Of The Gypsies ( 15 )

(RCA Columbia)

I Ghost Writer( 15) (RCA Columbia)

I MrOestiny ( l’(i)(Buena Vista)

I Judgementt 15) (Warner)

IThe Big Picture( 15) (3(i;:ti\'ision) IMiamiBlueS( ls‘) (MCliCi Virgin)

I Windprint8( 15) (MCL‘LCi Virgin)

BestoiseH through

I Blake's Seven: Hostage/Countdown 1 P0) (BBCHUUW

I Blake's Seven: Voice From The Past/t‘ambit (l’CillBBC £111.99)

I Buss AbbottVolumei (PG) (BBC £111.99) IThey Think It's All Over ...ll Is Nowlntriguing title. I'd guess it has something todo with that 1966 World Cup victory. (Bl3C£lt).99)

I l Claudius Partst and2 (15) The classic serial set in ancient Rome. starring Derek Jacobi as the feeble stutteringClaudius who becomes Emperor despite himself. Raunchy and educational at the same time. Look out forthe foetus-scotfing scene.


I I Claudius Partsaand4 (15)(BBC£19.99)

I BBC Match Of The Day: Newcastle UniledtBB(‘ £111.99)

I BBC Match 01 The Day: Sunderland ( BBCflll99) I BBC Match Ol The Day: Middlesborough 1 BBC grow)

IThe Young Ones: Cash. Interesting. Summer HOlldayl151l‘ilalulenee gags were ney er this funny again. Sitcom nostalgia for the people w ho bought lll£ll.\()llll(1()flillt' Salim-1n compilation. (BBC {H1991

I Yes Prime Minister: PowerTo The People(U) (BBC £10.99)

IBlazing Saddlesr 15) More flatulence gags from Mel Brooks in his spool W estern which cv cry one has seen at least six times. but might like toowii. (Warner H.991)

I Who‘sAlraid olVirginia WOO|l7l 15) (Warner L799)

I Bonnie And Clyde ( ls) Warren lieatty and l-aye l)unaw.iy star in the caiiiply violent. bullet-ridden l‘lttltl} movie. (Warner L599) I National Lampoon‘s Vacation (15) (Warner 27.99)

I Fridaythe 13th( is) (Warner t”.99il'he original that spawned the weltcrot sequels.

I Rio Bravo 1 P( i) (Warner


I Rebel WithoutACause (l’(i)()r rebel without a decent control of the steering w heel. asJames

Dean waslatertobecomc. I

(Warner 1.7.99)

I Caddyshackt IF) (Warner £799)

I Any Which Way You Can ( 151(“arner L799)

I The Enlorcert is) (Warner L799) ITowering lnlernor 151 (Warner L799)

I Weekend at Bernie’S( 15) (Warner L799)

I OverThe Toptl’m (Warner U99)

I Powaqqatsi (t‘) (Warner £799)

I PinkAt FirstSighttt') (Warner F99)

IThe Witchestl’ti) (Warnci'L'T99)

I Tango And Cash ( 1s) (Warner {‘99)

I Bloodhounds Ot Broadway ( l’(} ) ( RCA Columbia £111.99)

66 The List 31) August 12 September 1991