Channel Hopping

Maastricht has been a bit of a bugger for the cut and paste leftish political ideology squads hasn‘t it? On the one hand, a united Europe with no boundaries and a common currency seems a fine and worthy thing. But is centralised bureaucratic rule in a volatile new Europe not a touch risky, especially when even plucky little Belgium is beginning to elect right-wing lunatics?

In the spirit of Know Thy Federal Partners, World In Action (Scottish) took a disturbing peek into the sickening mind of Jean-Marie Le Pen. the leader of the French National Front. What they found should have tempted even the most profound Europhile (you know, the type that pretends to enjoy eating snails and gravadlax) to scurry back to Blighty and start reforging a few links with the Commonwealth.

‘The teams consist of sports journalists from the national papers, ivho are almost universally hideously pale physical specimens whose arduous lives of duty-tree spirits and snatched press lunches are cruelly exposed by the close-up cameras.’

If Le Pen himself was reminiscent of a sinister buffoon, in the tubby Mussolini tradition of a racist who loves his own white flesh so much he needs to have twice as much as everyone else, his party’s ‘ideological chief‘ Bruno Megret is a different kettle of hatred. His campaign posters featured pictures of black immigrants with the simple slogan ‘We arrive, they will go’. He described the party’s manifesto as a ‘war against immigrants' promising a ‘speedy, humane and effective solution’.

If this began to sound historically eerie, the programme nailed the reason. The National Front‘s racial

policy bore a remarkable similarity to the measures passed against the ‘alien culture‘ Jews with great enthusiasm by the collaborating Petain government during World War Two. As one survivor recalled, they were laws which were enforced brutally by the French officials keen to appease the Nazis.

The National Front suggestions for racial minorities include a quota on the number of children, regular identity checks. rigid segregation and ‘supervised centres of accommodation.” Places like Drancy, with a high percentage of immigrant residents would be ideal. Drancy just happened to be used as a makeshift concentration camp for Jews in the war.

‘lt‘s just a fanatical minority‘ some might be tempted to argue. One in seven French voters is a National Front supporter. and 38 per cent of the French population approve of their immigration policy. Some fanatical minorities are bigger than others.

Every piece of footage of Le Pen seems to feature him singing ‘La Marseillaise' with tears flowing freely. Nationalism and patriotism are at the root of Le Pen‘s emotive message and they are effective weapons. It was left to Professor Paul Webster to draw a potent conclusion: ‘Ultimately national identity equals racial purity.‘ It was a message that should be heeded not just by the newly-liberated Balkan states. but also by nationalist movements closer to home.

The referee is still consulting his linesman as to whether Ouizbowl, Channel 4’s new-look sports quiz. should be ruled offside. It has two hideous disadyantages. countered by a couple of neat tricks. On the pro side. the teams consist of sports journalists from the national papers. who are almost universally hideously pale physical specimens whose arduous lives of duty-free spirits and snatched press lunches are cruelly exposed by the close-up cameras. The honourable exception was the Independent team of bronzed hunks. who were nevertheless soundly thrashed by the Guardian gargoyles. The questions are a joy as well. None of these relentlessly dull statistics in

Quizbowl, instead we are treated to ,

revealing and hilarious anecdotes. about the stars. For instance ‘which footballer, depressed and lonely in a London hotel, cheered himself up by buying a home karaoke machine?‘ The answer was of course Paul Gascoigne. and doesn’t that say more about the tragedy of Gazza’ than reams of personality profiles ever could?

On the minus side. Quizbowl is presented by a nine-year-old called Will Buckley with a terminal lisp. When one of the contestants gets a question wrong. you expect poor Will to burst into tears. The game‘s format is based on American football, a ‘sport‘ whose rules and interest continue to elude me. Isn‘t it just rugby for nancy boys wearing armour? At least those Europeans still know that soccer is the only game worth the candle. (Tom Lappin)


For your delectatlon and easy reference. The List presents a pin-stickers guide to the best of the Christmas movies on TV. For details of the rest of TV, just flip the page.


I It’s A Wonderful Lite (BBQ)

3.05—5. ISpm. The classic (‘hristinas .weepie starring James Stewart. ()ne of the all-time greats.

I My Way Home (Channel-1W. lS—l(l.45pm The final instalment of the late Bill Douglas‘s film autobiography.


I The Never-Ending Story (Scottish)

2—3.4(lpm. So-so kids’ fantasy epic about a

boy transported to a magical world. I Planes, Trains And Automobiles (BBt‘t) 7.50—9.2(lpm. An excellent Steve Martin

V comedy about a businessman‘s desperate

attempt to make it home for the Thanksgiving holidav.

I The Color Purple (BBCZ) 9.20—1 1.50pm. Steven Spielberg‘s populist adaptation of Alice Walker's Deep South drama starring Whoopi (ioldberg.


I Broadway Danny Rose (BBQ) 8—9. 25pm. A slight but poignant Woody Allen film aboutva small-time theatrical agent and his roster of unlikely acts.

I Rain Man (BB(‘I )‘).35—1 1.45pm. Dustin Hoffman stars as the autistic mathematician forging a relationship on the road with brother Tom (‘ruise


I The Empire Strikes Back (Scottish) 3.20—5.4(lpm. Darth Vader returns to wreak havoc until the nice guys sort him ()tlt.

I The Wolves 0t Willoughby Chase (BBQ) 6—7.3(lpm. A comedy thriller with a vague Little Red Riding Hood influence.


I The BFG (Scottish) l(l.3(lain-<l2.15pm. A terrific animated version of Roald Dalil's story about an amiable giant.

I Batman (BB(‘l ) 6-8pm. Michael Keaton is the caped crusader. Jack Nicholson is the Joker in Tim Burton‘s money-spinning superhero yarn.

I Crocodile Dundee ll (Scottish) S—l(l.(l5pm. Paul Hogan returns as the Aussie hero in a weak sequel reprising many of the first film’s gags.

I Coming To America (BB(‘l) 9.3(l—ll.2l)pm. An unexceptional star vehicle for liddie Murphy as an African prince trying to find an American bride.


I Babette’s Feast (BBCZ) 1.30—3. lllpm. Have a sandwich to hand for this one. a riveting tale of village life and exquisite banquets.

IAn American Tail (BB(‘1) 150—3. lllpm. A Russian mouse sets sail for the US of A and enjoys many a tear-jerking adventure. I Henry V (BB(‘2) 7.30—9.45pm. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars in a stirring version of Shakespeare's battle of Agincourt story.

I A Fish Called Wanda (BBt‘l) 9.35—11.15pm. John (‘leese. Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee (‘urtis star in a madcap comedy about a British barrister becoming involved with a gang of crooks. I Gremlins(Seottish) 1(l.2()pm-12.2(lam. A waekily nasty comic-horror tale of little furry creatures causing havoc in the big eitv.


I The Searchers (BBCZ) 6-8pm. A classic western starring John Wayne. combing the West in search of his niece who has been kidnapped by lnjuns.

I Psycho (Scottish) Midnight—2am. The showcr-salesman's least favourite film. starring Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates.


I Mary Poppins (Scottish) 5.25-~ 7.55pm.

. Ttincful twceiiess with Julie Andrews as l the resourceful nanny.

I Empire Of The Sun (BBCI) s— 10.25pm. 5 Spielberg's adaptation of .l.(i. Ballard's

l autobiographical tale of a British boy's

j experiences in Shanghai at the start of the Second World War.

: I Hail. Hail. Rock ‘n‘ Roll (BBQ)

; lll.2(lpni—l3.15am. A concert movie celebrating (‘huck Berry's hilth birthday. i with guest appearances from Keith

3 Richard and lfric ('laptoii.

i SUNDAY 29 -

I Dumbo (Scottish) 1.102.3(lpm. 'l‘he cute big—cared elephant in one of Disney's most j appealing animations.

; I White Mischief (BBC?)

i lll.lSpm-midnight. (ireta Scacchi and i(‘liarles Dance star in a fair adaptation of i the livelyn Waugh novel.

l I Vertigo (Scottish) l.ll5 3.30am. The

I Hitchcock confused—identity murder

' classic starring James Stewart and Kim



I Some like It Hot (out?) 5.7m 7.30pm.

~'l‘ransvestite fun with .lack l.euimon and

Tony ('urtis joining Marilyn Monroe in an

gall-girl orchestra in order io escape the


I Willow (BB('l) 7 0pm. \‘al Kilnier

i (before he was .liiii Morrison) stars in a

l turgid swords ’n’ nonsense saga spiced tip

5 with some decent special effects

I Beetlejuice (Scottish) 0 lll.4llpni. Tim

Burton again. directing Michael Keaton

again in a wacky comedy about a

t newly-deceased couple coming to terms

with the afterlife.

I Platoon (BBQ) to 11.55pm. 'l‘hc

inf-word is the main dialogue in ()li\ er

Stone's gory btit incoherent Nam movie

starring (‘hailie Sheen as an angst-ridden l

rookie (il. :


I Mad Max ( BB( '3) 10.05 11.35pm. A cull; movie from Australia dubbed into American. with Mel (iibson as an e.\-cop on a revenge rampage. I This Is Spinal Tap (unczi 5 11.35pm—1255am. Amusing spoof of metal music and the attendant l l

pretensions. with a sequel in the offing quite soon.


I Radio Days (BBCZ) S 9.25pm. l-amily life and the great age of radio are the topics for a wonderful. if sentimental. 1' \Voody Allen comedy. I Tootsie (BB('l) lll—l 1.55pm. Dustin Hoffman gets into a frock and gets a job in a prime-time soap opera. l-‘iist-rate script and [TCTIUTlllztllCL‘s I Amsterdammed (Scottish) 2.3u ~l..‘illzlllt. Superior Dutch suspense thriller starring Iluub Stabel as a cop dredging tip daad boidies from the canal.


I Saturday Night Fever (Blit‘l)

1.50 3.35pm. ()oooohli and similar tight-trousered exclamations A damned fine evocation of the 7lls disco age. starring John 'l‘ravolta.

I Bugsy Malone (BBQ) or 7.3tipm. Alan Parker‘s kiddy gangster movie with guns firing custard pies instead of lead. Slightly paedopliiliac in parts.

I The Accused (BBH) lll~ll.5llpnl. A powerful (and topical) thriller starring Kelly Mc(iillis. prosecuting the men accused of gang—raping ()scaivwinning

Jodie Foster.

82 The List 20 December 1991 16 January 1992