'Ohannel Hopping

Farrah Fawcett. we salute you. We only had to watch The Richest Woman In The World (Scottish). she had to act her socks (but not much else) off all the way through this tawdry mini-series. The script of the story of Barbara Hutton. the Woolworth’s heiress was an insult to Ms Fawcett's acting talents. which is a pretty serious indictment ifyou think about it. The highlight was when Farrah‘s outrageously camp cousin was banned from holding her baby by her macho Danish nobleman husband. ‘OK I‘m a queen. I‘m a queen.‘ squealed cuz. ‘but at least I earned my title.‘

Gary Olsen plays hubby as a useless brain-dead hulk of lard instead of the devastating male

role model and all-round wise-guy of John Goodman’s Dan Conner.

You‘ve got to laugh. haven’t you? Well, no actually you haven‘t. not if you rely on the TV companies' latest autumn comedy offerings. What‘s on offer to bring laughter and happiness into our grim winter nights is a motley assortment of reheated old ideas. criminally weak new ones. and treading-water continuations ofold faithfuls.

Take Andrew Marshall‘s (except it isn’t his really) 2 Point 4 Children (BBCl). This is based unashamedly on the American show Roseanne (still a treat repeat on Channel 4). and attempts to match that show's blend of family disharmony and wisecracking. It fails dismally on all counts. First. the central character Belinda Lang is too thin. too middle class. too bland. several leagues adrift of Roseanne Barr in the raunchiness stakes. and afflicted with a Carla Lane/Wendy Craig l mid-life crisis. Second. Gary Olsen I plays hubby as a useless brain~dead '. hulk of lard instead of the

devastating male role model and all-round wise-guy ofJohn Goodman‘s Dan Conner. Third. and vitally. the kids are the usual talent-bypass graduates ofsome home counties drama school. devoid ofcharm or intelligence or even a credible accent. The Conners’ brood on the other hand are a great festering mass of hormones. low cunning. whining sarcasm and psychotic tendencies. ie typical children. It's details like this that make Roseanne a gift from heaven and 2 Point 4 Children a one-series (please) flop.

Talking ofre-jigged formats. Bagdad Cafe (Channel 4) the sitcom. must have Percy Adlon fuming. if the debonair Teuton ever

experiences such emotions. Jean ' Stapleton might be the USA‘s most

respected TV comedy actress but she

on the rental shelves and in the shops this fortnight.

lacks the poise Marianne Sagebrecht '

brought to the movie role. Whoopi Goldberg as Brenda also seems to be yearning for Cinemascope. turning

every gesture and punchline into a hey-Iook-at-me performance. Subtle ' itain‘t.andthe series lookslike : turningintoasortof

deadbeats-at-the-diner Cheers pastiche. far removed from the wit of i . Adlon's rather melancholy original.

After all that. ‘Smells‘. the first episode of Rik Mayall and Ade

Edmondson's Bottom came as i something ofa breath of fresh air.

It‘s obviously a series the lads dreamt up after their seventh or eighth pint. wrote over the tenth and a kebab

The List guide to what's new


I Switched At Birth (PG) A true story of two Florida babies who were. you guessed it. switched at birth. The two setsof parents have rather

1 different approaches to

solving the problem. and yup. heartache. emotion and tears follow in abundance. Bonnie Bedelia. Brian Kerwin

and Ed Asner star.

with extra chilli sauce. and flogged to

the BBC the next day while nursing substantial hangovers. This is a throwaway show. or more precisely. a chew. swallow. gag. regurgitate and throwaway show. where the Dangerous Brothers meet the

I Young Ones ten years on. All the jokes are either bodily functions or

choreographed violence. ie Comedy

f Zones A and B. The first episode featured a graphic-but-fun vomiting

sequence and plenty ofTom and Jerry-style GBH. Ofeourse. it‘s not

; in the slightest hit big or clever. and i remember kids. Rik and Ade are

indestructible. you aren‘t. Don‘t try ' any ofthisat home.

It’s obviously a series the lads

dreamt up aftertheir seventh or

eighth pint, wrote overthe tenth and a kebab with extra chilli sauce, and flogged to the BBC the next day while nursing substantial hangovers.

Meanwhile. before I swan offon holiday. I‘d like to add my voice to the lobbyists opposing the cancellation ofAfrer Dark. Not out ofany deep-seated belief in the

sanctity ofopen-ended dialogue. you ;

understand. more in the hope of retaining one of the few outlets for genuinely spontaneous TV. where

Roger Mellie is still a possibility.

where Oliver Reed can talk candidly about Kate Millett‘s physical attributes. and skinheads can swear at the world. Surely that‘s worth preserving? (Tom Lappin)

70 The List 27 September— 10 October 1991


I Filofax ( 15) Another one ofthose yuppy nightmare movies. based on a preposterom premise. A petty crook (James Belushi) stumbles on a filofax belonging to an upmarket executive. assumes his identity (as you do) and embarks upon a spree of good living. Mainstream but enjoyable comedy with Belushi in good form. (Buena Vista)

I Boyfriend From Hell ( 15) (Warner)

I War Party ( 18) (RCA/Columbia)

I Bethune ( 15) (RCA’Columbia)

I Impromptu (15) (RCA/Columbia)

I Spellcaster(18) (RCA/Columbia)

I Dinosaurs (U) (Guild)

BestofseH through


or JESStCA vacuum:

III “I rsqu

from their uneven BBC

£19.99) 9 IThe Vital SparkZ-The Ouarrel Classic Scottish

- ILiverpooI In Europe Triumphsandthe

; comedy. (Odyssey)

I The Rescue OtJessica McClure (PG) Another video version of a true story. This one concerns a rather careless 18-month old girl who fell down a well in Texas. whose rescue became a world event. Beau Bridges. Patty Duke and Pat IIingIe star. (Odyssey)

I Steel Magnolias(PG) (RCA'Columbia £ 10.99)

' I LadderOfSwords(15)

' (I’G)(BBC£10.99)

I A Parties Guide To The Man From Auntie (15) ‘Topical' comedy from Ben Elton. that months - later makes not the slightest bit of sense. (BBC£10.99) ' I DoctorWho—The Deadly Assassin (PG) (BBC £10.99)

I Only Fools And Horses-Big Brother(PG) (BBC£10.99)

I Only Fools And Horses—Second Time Around (PG) (BBC £10.99)

I A Bit Of Fry And Laurie (15) Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in sketches

series. (BBC£10.99)

I Smith And Jones ( 15) Another comic duo. whose more basic material tends to be a lot funnier. (BBC£10.99)

ITrials Of Life(BBC

comedy from the 60s with Para Ilandy and his colleagues. (BBC £8.99)

occasional tragedy from the most successful British soccer club ever. (BBC £10.99)

One ofthose offbeat British movies that are l doomed at the box office. 1 butworth checkingouton I video. Martin Shaw stars as an enigmatic circus performer on the run from the law. A sinister and highly original black

I The Chronicles Of Namia—The Silver Chair (U) (BBC£14.99)

I The Singing Kettle 2 (BBC £7.99)

I The Dangerous Brothers Present World Of Danger

IThe Farm (Castle £10.99)

I Great Managers Great Players (Castle £7.99)

I Small Faces (Castle £7.99)

IThe Bakeer Monceau/Suzanne‘s Career (Castle£l4.99)

I Love In The Afternoon (Castle £14.99)

I Perceval Le Gallois (Castle £14.99)

I Claire's Knee (Castle £14.99)

I The Sign Of Leo (Castle £14.99)

I Marquis ("0 (Castle 1 £14.99)

I I Was ATeenage Werewolf(15) (Castle £10.99)

I it Conquered The World

(PC) (Castle £10.99) I War Of The Colossal Beast (PG) (Castle


I The Spider (PG) (Castle £10.99)

IThe Braineaters(PG) (Castle £10.99)

I Prime Suspect (Castle £30.20)

I Hard Times (PG) (Castle £14.99)

I Tale Of Two Cities (Castle £14.99)

original cringe comedy starringJohn Travolta and Kirstie Alley as the unfortunate parents bringing up a kid that unfortunately has the voice and personality of Bruce Willis. A chart-topper for sure. (15) (RCA/Columbia £12.99)

I Physical Maintenance With Hick Berry (First Independent £10.99)

I Tom And Jerry Kid Show-Batmouse (U) (First Independent)

I Tom And Jerry Kid Show-OuterSpace Hover (U) (First Independent) I Goldy2 (U) (First Independent £10.99)

I Star Knight (PG) (First Independent£10)

I Crystalstone (PG) (First Independent £10.99)

I Up World (PG) (First Independent £10.99)

I Sky Pirates (PG) (First . 1

Independent £10.99)

I King Of The Wind (U) (First Independent £10.99) IAmsterdamned(18) (First Independent £10.99)

I Paperhouse(15) (First Independent £10.99)

I Crawlspace (18) (First Independent £10.99)

I Chopping Mall ( 18) A promisingly titled horror from the ‘First Fright' series. (First Independent £10.99)

I Howling V-The rte-Birth (15) (First Independent £10.99)

I Ghoulies Go To College (15) (First Independent £10.99)

IThe Punisher(18) (RCA/Columbia£10.99) I Hellbound: Hellraiser ll (18) (RCA/Columbia £10.99)

I Frankie Howerd At His Tittermost (PG) Ooh no missus don‘t. Comedy from the genius who somehow gets away with not havinga scrap of material. (Sunset And Vine £10.99)