What the Footlights did for Monty Python, Not the Nine 0’ Clock News and various other Oxbridge TV funnies, Radio Scotland’s Naked Radio has long been doing for comic talent north of the border. The return of the quick-ﬁre satirical show on Sunday 9 February marks its eleventh year of broadcasting; since its launch, a TV version, Naked Video has taken many of the same writers and comics to the screen. Niall Clark, an early scn'ptwriter and now producer of the show, insists that Naked Radio’s brief is still ‘to discover, encourage and establish new writing talent.’ Previous writers have gone on to write for Rab C. Nesbitt and City Lights.
The excitement and tension of writing for a show that can only ever be planned two or three days before recording are seductive, though nerve-wracking. Six stalwart gag-writers ﬁeld their ideas at the start of every week, but much of the material comes from comedy-hopefuls who are invited to submit three-minute scripts. ‘We have a small number of writers’, says Clark, ‘but there’s no guarantee that their material will be used if we get something funnier from outside. A sketch rarely works first time; it’s usually an amalgam of ideas. It’s very much a team effort.’
That Naked Radio can count on a loyal posse of comedians to keep coming back to the show undoubtedly adds to its success. Elaine C. Smith, Gregor Fisher, Tony Roper, Andy Gray and Jonathan Watson are all veterans who made their name on the show before going on to TV comedy. ‘They enjoy performing the sketches and working with new writers,’ says Clark. ‘1 think they feel they’re putting something back into the show that started them off. They can also afford to be slightly more experimental here.’
Aspiring writers who think they can stand up to Niall Clark’s scrutiny should contact him at BBC Scotland, Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow G12 8DG. Everyone else can see Naked Radio recorded live at Glasgow’s Salon Cinema, Hillhead, every Friday lunchtime at 1pm. Tickets are available at the venue, and at the BBC Scotland reception, Queen Margaret Drive. (Miranda France)
Naked Radio starts Sun 9, 12.30pm, on Radio Scotland
Celebrity interviews on TV nowadays tend to be on the level of a ten-minute lngratiating natterwith a ‘star’ presenter (Wogan, Aspel, O’Connor, name your poison) where the guests get to plug their latest book, lilm, play, baby or whatever and simper at the host’s anodyne questioning. interviews where a person reveals a little at their character or motivation are rarer than
the hairs on Wogan’s head.
Which is why we should treasure Open To Question, BBC Scotland’s low-prolile early evening show where an audience oi sixth-lormers and students question a celebrity lor 30
minutes. The iirst show in the current series leatured gay lootballer Justin Fashanu talking lrankly about his decision to admit his homosexuality. it was a lascinating piece at television. ‘We were very happy with that show,’ says presenterJohn Kelly. ‘I’ve been pleased to see that the questioners are not unnecessarily aggressive. But the questions are very direct and dilterent. They occasionally throw the interviewee, who might be asked questions they haven’t laced before, so they can’t come back with the rehearsed, showbiz type at answer.’ Kelly’s own role as chairman is tar lrom the Robin Day bullying style. He contents himsell with keeping the conversation ilowing, seeing no need to protect audience or guest lrom each other. ‘Anyone who tried to patronise
. the audience would lounder very
swlitly,’ he points out. ‘It would be a very bad move on their part.’ Interviews can only be as good as their subjects, but Open To Question has been lortunate in that respect. ‘Very lew people are asked to talk about themselves on TV lor hall an hour, but Justin Fashanu proved that it you are prepared to be honest and open then the audience will respect it.’ The next guest is Northern Ireland’s civil rights activist Bernadette McAllskey, better known by her maiden name at Devlin, who became Britain's youngest lemale MP in 1969 at the age at 21. With an audience mercilully tree at party taithiul and pedantic nit-pickers, it promises to be a lively and illuminating discussion. (Tom Lappin) Open To Question is on BBC2 on Monday 3 February at 7.05pm.
love in a cold
II at the wild
A land rich in oil, coal, timber, lish . . . and eligible bachelors in chunky checked shirts, itwauld appear. Alaska is the place, the llnal irontier lor Americans, but iorthose in search at
single men it’s a happy hunting ground, as 84% of the state’s population come into this category. These are real men as well; loggers, miners, construction workers and executives.
Channel 4’s Late Night Love strand repeats the classic documentary Call Oi The Wild on 6 February. Ann Lalic’s tilm looks at the success at Alaska Men magazine, a publication founded three years ago dedicated to bringing true romance to the sex-starved Alaskan male. Susie Carter, editorand publisher says ‘Alaska men are a breed apart, men who stand up for their own belieis and desires, who pursue important dreams, who lace the extremes ol Alaska lite - the dark cold winters, the vast emptiness ol unpopulated lands.’
Sounds terrilic doesn’t it, but Lalic’s lilm cuts through the image to show the illusions that people can create when they are desperate tor romance. Two women, Jodie and Jamie see Alaskan men as the solution to their disenchantment with the available bachelors in their neighbourhood. Travelling north, they discover that the path at true love is somewhat more problematic than just picking out a hunky picture from a magazine.
Call Di The Wild begins a series at acclaimed documentaries on the subject at love and modern relationships, mostly with a grittier approach than the Valentine’s Day roses and hearts style. (Amy Druszewski)
Call Ol The Wild is on Channel 4 on 6 February at 12.05am.
v RADIO ’
I Classic Albums: Lexicon at Love Erstwhile cult band ABC slip back into their gold lamé suits to recall the golden days of ‘The Look of Love‘. ‘All of my Heart‘ and ‘Poison Arrow’ — tracks from the debut album which entered the charts at N01 in July 1982. Were they the Real Thing or were they pulling our legs with their silly lyrics? (Radio 1, Sat 1, 2pm)
I What it. . . Columbus had Never Called? Distinguished American egg-heads discuss. with Christopher Andrew. how history would have unfurled ifColumbus had decided to stay home in 1492. Skyscrapers, tobacco, potatoes, the Suez crisis and several hundred years’ worth of civil wars might have passed us by. It doesn‘t say here whether the egg-heads are North, Central or South American, but I think we can guess. (Radio 4, Sun 2. 8pm)
I Wings and Landings The first in a series of six talks in which John Williams talks about the nine years he spent in maximum security prisons, serving his ninth prison sentence. Based on his journals, the talks detail the rituals of life on a long termers’ wing. as well asthe reverberations ofthe Strangeways riots and the release ofthe Guildford Four. Above all, they chart his ‘personal development' and his awareness that he must change his ways. (Radio 4, starts Mon 3,9.15pm)
I Victoria Wood—As Heard on TV VW introduces some of the best bits from her award-winningTV show. if you miss it, you can buy it on tape. (Radio 4, Tue 4, 6.30pm)
I Out at Order Austin Mitchell and Julian Critchlcy, Labour and Conservative MPs respectively, kick offa new series of Radio 3’s unruly, challenging, absurd parliamentary quiz. Who needs it, when you’ve got televised deba'tes? (starts Wed 5, 12.25pm)
I Dirty Atiairs A hard-hitting drama set in 1999, shortly after the government has set up ‘Family Reconstruction Units’ to force estranged families back together. What will J anine‘s mates say when they discover that her family were not killed in a car accident? Starring Eastenders nice guy, Michael Cashman. (Radio 5, Thurs 6, 9.30pm)
58 The List 31 January — 13 February 1992