Barbed Memory ?
As a group of Second World War POWs take the Japanese l government to court for £10,000 compensation per head. two producers at Radio Scotland are making a case for the war's female internees. excluded from the , prosecution on the grounds of theirj civilian status. Anna Magnusson and ? Siobhan Synnot (whose mother was; an internec) have reunited twelve Scottish women who spent three years in Japanese camps. to talk about their war experiences and their readjustment to normal life.
Some of their tales of captivity are ,
remnisccnt of scenes from A Town Like Alice or Ten/(o; one woman caught trading for food in a Java camp was sentenced to stare at the sun until she went blind. Another
l l i i
remembers how she was informed of l
her husband‘s death. and presented with a box containing a lock of hair. an old human nail. a toothless comb and a pair of shorts — none of which appeared to be his.
‘Standards in the camps varied.‘ says Anna Magnusson. "I‘hcre are some stories of horrible cruelty. whereas other women kept themselves to themselves and found
that the Japanese didn‘t bother with 1
them. Some of the women spent the time in six or seven different camps. shunted from pillar to post so that. by the end. all they had were the rags they were standing up in. Others were kept in disused gaols.‘
Ironically. one of the first signs of,
their imminent liberation came when
the Allies replaced the guards at the ,
camp. bringing with them a three-ton lorry filled with sanitary towels — the women's menstrual cycles had stopped years before. ‘We told them to take the lorry away and bring us food.‘ remembers Iilly Wood in her interview.
For many women. this represents the first opportunity that they have
talked about their experiences as
internees. and. in view of the way the ; Beirut hostages were treated on their
release. with counselling sessions and medical attention. some still feel that they were short-changed by the British authorites on their return home. Under the terms of the peace treaty each one received £43 in compensation. Now many of them. suffering illnesses caused by their poor treatment. feel the time for recompense has come. (Miranda France)
Bamboo and Barbed Wire is on Radio Scotland, part one Wed 1 Jan, 5.02pm; part two Thurs 2 Jan. 5pm.
With the raunchy Clarissa just cleared from the schedules, having garnered healthy critical acclaim in most cases, the time would appear ripe for another dose of BBC costume drama based on a literary classic. George Eliot’s Adam Bede, the source fora lavish Screen One 100 minute adaptation, bears more than a passing resemblance to Richardson's epic, focusing as it does on a tragic heroine betrayed by love, although the plot is a sight meatier.
Certainly, the heroine Hefty Sorrel is substantially more sparky than the milksop Clarissa, with the character given an extra edge by the fact that she is played by recent paparazzi obsession Patsy Kensit. Kensit has some strong opinions about her role. ‘Like any young girl, Hefty loves the finerthings in life,’ she says. ‘She loves looking pretty and is flattered by the attentions of the squire. But she is genuinely in love with him. Their tragedy is to fall in love against the conventions of the time.’
Whether that’s entirely the interpretation George Eliot was intending remains open to question, but Kensit is keen to add a touch of late 20th century insight to the role. ‘Any court today would say that Hefty suffered from severe post-natal
Pa ymltesit as Hetty Sorrel.
depression when she left her baby to die. Here was a clinically depressed young girl being judged as evil by a group of men. And as a woman writer George Eliot is totally sympathetic to Hetty’s plight. For a tale written so long ago it has universal appeal. It’s a very sexually-aware novel as well as a very sad story.’
For Kensit it’s another step on the road to artistic credibility, after being saddled with a somewhat premature reputation as a bimbo after an embarrassing debut in Absolute Beginners and a series of regular appearances in the gossip columns. In Adam Bede, she discards the mini-skirts and stilettos for a curly dark wig, sacking skirts and chalk-white make-up. ‘All l’m interested in now is becoming a good actress,’ she says. ‘It will take a lot of work and determination, but that’s what I want to achieve. I want to knuckle down to my work—and enjoy a quiet life.’ (Amy Druszewski)
Adam Bede is shown on BBC1 on New Year’s Day at 8pm.
Ring out the old, ring in the new, they say, and Hogmanay Beeb looks set to provide a mixture of both. The Village Hall (aka Studio A, Queen Margaret Drive) is the venue from whose cosy surroundings Cathy MacDonald and Phil Cunningham will proclaim the start of 1992 to viewers (and listeners
to BBC Radio Scotland) as the midnight
bells ring out. .
‘Someone sidled up to my office in October and said “Better get Hogmanay organised," says newly appointed BBC Scotland Head of Production Colin Cameron. ‘I thought they meant Hogmanay 1992, not this
Year. The festive period will mark my ‘
first public impaling but I think we’ve done pretty well.’
‘Hogmanay, for Scots, is the emotional centre of the holiday period, rather than Christmas,’ he adds. ‘Here, we differ from the English in general and the British network’s perspective in
7%. ﬁ;:§?’7 "
Remember the White Heather C
announce the winners of the viewers’ and listeners’ poll. After the McColgan tribute, one of only four surviving episodes from the classic comedy series The Vital Spark, precedes a nostalgic modern-day re-creation of
the cast and atmosphere of the fondly
remembered White Heather Club, the archetypal Hogmanay knees-up first broadcast in 1958. A City Lights
. spoof-horror special, ‘The Haunting of
particular. My long-term goal would be r
to see BBC Scotland's Hogmanay sequence shown on the whole UK network.’
The only Beeb Scotland programme which looks likely to be shown down south this year is The Golden Girl, 3 documentary portrait of Dundee-born Commonwealth gold medallist Liz McColgan. The evening begins with a special Hogmanay edition of the
Scottish Chart, where, looking back on -
what he terms ‘a significant year in
Willie Melvin’, is followed by ‘Scotland's favourite first foot’ Rikki Fulton who offers a brand new collection of acid-wit-packed sketches (including, ’tis whispered, 3 Kevin Costner/Robin Hood pisstake) in the marvellous Scotch And Wry.
Hic. From there, it’s over to Cathy and Phil at the Village Hall. Happy Hogmanay, everyone. Hey, cheer up — the English are getting Clive James
(whom we meet after 12.35am) as
chaperone for the debutante 1992. The
Village Hall’s looking good already.
Scottish pop and the way it is seen by 5 (Paul W. Hullah)
those outside it’, Nicky Campbell will See TV listings for programme times. I
I A Woman of no Importance Diana Rigg and Martin Jarvis star in ()scar Wilde's popular comedy about illegitimacy. hypocrisy and social disgrace — the play caused a fair old rumpus when first performed in 1893. (Radio 4. Mon 23. 2.02pm)
I Rosebud in the Snow Still regarded as a watershed in film-making history. ()rson Welles‘s controversial ('irizen Kane was the subject of scandal when Hollywood moguls tried to ban it. Fifty years on. Philip I-‘rench goes behind the scenes to examine the concept. (Radio 3. Tue 24. 8.45pm)
I Norma Major The First lady of Downing Street spins her favourite discs. including (‘hris de Burgh's lady in Red' — she ’loves the lyrics“. (Radio 3. Wed 25. 2.02pm)
I Pavarotti Sings Otello I’av takes the lead role in Verdi's opera. with Kiri 'I‘e Kanawa as Desdemona. directed by Sir (ieorg Solti in New York. earlier this year. (Radio 3. Hum 26.
7 . 35pm) -L if... ‘3’ .‘q_/
4 Kennedy Meets Coltrane (‘oltrane blows hot and cold about politics. education. nationalism and aristocracy in this first of the festive editions of The Kennedy (‘oni'ersafionx. ( Radio Scotland. Thurs 27. 10am) I Damn, Damn, Damn,The Communist Party Man Andy (‘roft assesses the significance of the (‘ommunist party to poets. dramatists and novelists over six decades. from fashion accessory to millstone. With the voices of (irahani (ireenc. Stephen Spender. (‘. Day Lewis. Hugh MacDiarmid and token woman. Jackie Kay. (Radio 4. Sun 2‘). 10.l5pm)
I A Century Remembered The second series in Radio 5's epic ten-year project to document the leth century. The Will—1920 period begins with the sinking of the Titanic. moving on to the Battle of the Somme and the arrest of the infamous Dr (‘rippeir (Mon 30. 9.30pm)
I Deacon Blue Hometown heroes see in the New Year. live from (ilasgow‘s Barrowland Ballroom. (Radio 1. Tue 3]. 10pm) I‘Tintin The first radio serialisation of IIerge's cult classic. starring Andrew Sachs. I.eo McKern and Richard
I’earce. (Radio 5. 'I'hurs 9. 7.30pm)
The m zit—December ram - lanai...” 199579