Channel Hopping

Yes, I found it difficult to believe as well. Bouncer the multi-talented hound had a dream sequence in Neighbours (BBCI). Trust the Australians to push the boundaries of soap-opera possibility over the horizon into the wide blue yonder. Bouncer's fantasy was admittedly a pretty dull one, consisting of a happy monogamous relationship with Rosie the bitch next door. in a cosy built-for-two kennel. but it did offer the scene-stealing pooch yet further opportunity to display his range of acting skills, which far outshine the abilities of any of the two-legged cast members. Bouncer: The Spin-Off Series cannot be far away.

The thespian mutt could teach a trick or two to the cast of The House DlEliott(BBC1) the new big-budget costume drama of the Upstairs Downstairs school. a risk considering the period drama was believed in most quarters to be a distinctly deceased format. The Eliott sisters don’t exactly kick the corpse back to life. Stella Gonet‘s staginess was painfully exposed in The Advocates and comes back to haunt us in this. She lumbers around enunciating those period-setting lines the writers have cruelly bestowed on her (‘Half the young men are dead of course‘) looking like an awkward piece of furniture awaiting auction.

The backdrops look as wonderful as they should considering the budget, but ifone-tenth of the attention given to period detail had been devoted to the script it might be less hilarious. Instead it’s a stilted middle-class 905 folly, depicting the ‘common people‘ as either grubby, disease-ridden serfs or cheeky, worldly maids called Molly. Someone has also seen fit to permeate the whole thing with a strained feminist perspective. throwing in references to Marie Stopes and creating a no-nonsense hockey captain-style health worker, all tight trousers, bicycle. grisly war stories and brusque efficiency. It’s tosh, but strangely watchable at that,

both for the lushness of the sets and the crassness of the dialogue. This could run and run.

I don‘t want to tempt fate here. but were I to suffer an injury (say a nasty splinter from Stella Gonet‘s acting) and be hospitalised. the last thing 1d

1 want to wake up to would be Mike Smith, Sarah Greene or Maggie : Philbin leering over my bedside with

a TV camera. saying ‘We‘re onlive here. Mr L. how do you feel‘." This was the premise of Hospital Watch (BBCl ) which sent said trio of presenters (all graduates of the BBC Bouncy and Charmless Training Academy) to poke their noses into every crevice. architectural and bodily. on offer at Hammersmith


Tackling a woman whose ovaries we had just witnessed being poked by a bevy of jovial gynaecologists, she voiced the.

question we’d all been thinking: ‘Are you happy now?’

The doctors loved it ofcourse. This was a heaven-sent opportunity to patronise not just the immediate patient but the watching millions as well. Dr Peter Hammond. an endocrinologist (me neither). smiled patiently into Camera Three and told us how they were going to shove tubes into some poor woman‘s groin. push them right up until they reached the base of the neck and drain some fluid from the pituitary gland. He obviously hadn‘t had this much fun in months. Sarah Greene grinned queasin throughout and practised her searching interview style. Tackling a woman whose ovaries we had just witnessed being poked by a bevy ofjovial gynaecologists. she voiced the question we‘d all been thinking: ‘Are you happy now?‘

It’s a stilted middle-class 90$ lolly, depicting the ‘common people’ as either grubby, disease-ridden serfs or cheeky, worldly maids called Molly.

For real medical drama it's best to stick to Casualty (BBCl ), starting a new series with all the old favourites back. bar Megan (Brenda Fricker), and I for one won‘t miss her dreary Irish platitudes and constant sly reminders of how she‘d won an Oscar. The first episode had it all: Jimmy the lecherous porter getting a knockback from a nurse, Charlie recovering from that bullet he stopped in the last series, and a heroic clifftop rescue scene to boot. Dr Chapman. wonderfully insensitive and professional as ever, gleefully uncovered an unfortunate lad‘s crushed foot and reached for his trusty saw. The close-up ofsharp steel on mangled bone will no doubt be a much-requested repeat clip on Points Of View. (Tom Lappin)


. first one was bad. this is

The List guide to what's on the rental shelves and inthe shops this lortnight.


I Robin Hood (PG)The really crap one. as opposed to the just crap one that has Kevin Costner and that Bryan Adams song in it. Thisone has Patrick Bergin and Uma Thurman strutting around Sherwood in a surprisingly downbeat version of the Lincoln green legend. Grim. grimy and grey. and not a Littchohn innuendo in sight. (Fox)

I Awakenings ( 15) Robert De Niro‘s waking after a lengthy coma. thanks to genius doc Robin Williams. He faces a tough readjustment to a world that has changed considerably since he dozed off. It‘s a sensitive and well-meaning film with De Niro putting in an excellent performance in a post-Dustin Hoffman Rain Man mode. Unfortunately it remains a little soft-centred and unsatisfactory. (RCA/Columbia)

I King Ralph (PG) on John, how could you do it? Greatest Living American John Goodman made a serious booboo when he agreed to star in this vulgar farce as a slob who inherits the throne of England (sic) after a freak electrical accident wipes out the rest ofthe Windsors. It‘s a daft idea that gets more ridiculous as time goes on. There‘s an occasional amusing set-piece. but this is essentially disposable stuff. Peter O‘Toole should have known better as well. (ClC)

I Look Who’s Talking T00 (15) lfyou thought the

more of the same. Kirstie Alley and John Travolta are raising the voice of Bruce Willis (your worse nightmare let‘s face it) and. ifthat‘s not enough.


little sister is on her way in

the form of Roseanne Barr. A zany comedy. and we all know what that means. (20:20 Vision)

I Riff Ratl(15) Young Glaswegian Robert Carlyle hits the London building sites and finds lurvve in the form ofan Irish singer. Ken Loach directed a semi- improvised critique ofthe 90s employment situation that was sadly underrated on its cinema release, but is eminently watchable due to its evocation ofthe banter and struggle ofthe building sites. Ricky Tomlinson of Brookside notoriety also stars. (Palace)

I Cold Dog Soup ( 15) (Fox)

I Descending Angel ( 15) (Warner)

I Pink Cadillac(15) (Warner)

I The Little Mermaid (U) (Buena Vista)

I Pacilic Heights(15) (Fox)

I Dream Machine (PG) (First lndependent)

I Freak Show(18) (RCA/Columbia)

I Down The Drain ( 18) (RCA/Columbia)

I Cover Up (18) (Guild) I I'm Dangerous Tonight (18)(C1(T)

I Fatal Exposure ( 15) (ClC)

IllarbourBeat(15)(CiC) i

I Delta Force: The Killing Game ( l8) (Warner)

I Cold Justice (15) (20:20 Vision)

I Duiet Days In Clichy(18)

BestotseH through

I The Residents (U) Remember them? They‘re the wacky bunch of Yank rockers who popularised giant masks on stage before Frank Sidebottom was even heard of. This sort of captures them in

64 The List 13 - 26 September 1991

performance. knocking out their blend of‘bleepy surreal pop sort ofstuff' (A rock critic). (Palace £10.99)

I Leningrad Cowboys 60 America ( 15) You missed it on the telly. so buy the video. A seriously silly movie from mad Finn Aki Kaurismaki about the worst rock band in the world emerging from the tundra and touring the USA. on the assumption that Americans ‘will swallow any kind ofshit‘. They have a point. Disturbingly funny and funnily disturbing all at once. (Artificial Eye £15.99)

I Life And Nothing But (PG) Classy stuff from Bertrand Tavernier set in Eastern France just after the First World War. Philippe Noiret playsa major faced with the task of identifying 350.000 missing French soldiers. It‘s a passionate film. with elements of both tragedy and comedy. (Artificial Eye £15.99)

I Tilai (PG) ldrissa Ouedraogo. one of Africa‘s leading filmmakers. sets this minimalist film in a small village. Sage returns to his village to learn that his fiancee has become his father's second wife. To protest is to go against the concept of family honour. the Tilai. (Artificial Eye £15.99)

I Wizard 0102 Volume 1 (U) (First lndependent £9.99)

I Wizard 0102 Volume 2 (U) (First lndependent £9.99)

I Wizard Of Oz Volume 3 (U) (First lndependent £9.99)

I Wizard Dr 02 Volume 4 (L') (First lndependent £9.99)

I Love Letters ( 18) (First lndependent £9.99)

I Twice In A Litetime(18) (First lndependent £9.99) IJackniie ( 15) (First lndependent £9.99)

I Far North ( 15) (First lndependent £9.99)

I Every Time We Say Goodbye (15) (First lndependent £9.99)

I Winter People (15 ) (First lndependent £9.99)

I Loverboy(15) (RCA/Columbia £10.99) I Loose Cannons (15) (RCA/Columbia £10.99) I The Kiss ( 18) (RCA/Columbia £10.99) I Lost In Space Volume One (U) (Fox £10)

I Lost In Space Volume TWO (U) (Fox£10)

I Lost In Space Volume Three (U) (Fox£10)

I High Spirits ( 15) (Palace £10.99)

I Black Rainbow ( 15) (Palace £10.99)

I Fools at Fortune ( 15) (Palace £10.99)

I Puppy Dog Tales One and Two (U) (Palace £7.99 each)

I Towser Volume Two (U) (Palace £7.99)