24-hour party people

Politicians have personalities? It‘s a tall order. but that’s what a new Channel 4 series Star Chamberis l !

hard-hitting political questions to get some sort of context. But there is a sort of leaning towards their personality. their morals. their ideas on religion and health and so on. rather than the normal political issues.‘

Roy Hattersley is the first victim. He stays relatively cagey but is forced to agree with the computer‘s assertion that he comes across as a bit ofa prig. and he gets rather animated about Ken Livingstone. Like the experienced subject ofsatire he is. he laughs good-naturedly when they dig out an embarrassing clip of him doing the Lambada at a Save The Children benefit. What is noticeable is that he keeps his answers relatively succinct. ‘They know that we’ve only got halfan hour.‘ explains Peck. ‘so they can't witter on for hours. Jack Straw even gave Yes and No answers. which for a politician is pretty extraordinary.‘

The politicians were allowed the option of refusing to answer certain ‘sensitive‘ questions. but none took the escape route. ‘They seemed to enjoy it as being something totally different to them.‘ says Peck. ‘They seemed to like the idea of being asked those sort of cheeky questions even if they don‘t reveal much in the answers. They had this feeling of being alone in a room with just the computer and to a large extent being allowed to pace it themselves. so they felt they were in control. They relaxed more and maybe gave more ofthemselves away than they tend to do in more confrontational circumstances.‘

What they reveal isn‘t always contained in the answers though. What is left out can be just as . pertinent. ‘Roy Hattersley was asked "if you were Mal0r was ‘09 bus)’ af’ParCn”.V'- young now. would you go to raves'.’". says Peek.

‘Thc whole idea was to interview politicians and i . _ ' ' hand he didn‘t understand what a rave wits] This is hopefully get the 18—24-ycar-0Ids to take an .Slar Tes‘tquestlons to polltlcutns. so we ask them the man who would be Home Secretary? interest in the c|cctj()n“cxp|ains producer what thelrprCJudlccsare. what their first sexual ' Annabel Peck. ‘We wanted to put the same sort of CxPeri“1C0 “'1” PWS WC “5k [hem mm“ "mm

aiming to prove. Tom Lappin finds out how from producer Annabel Peck.

While the rest ofthe media speculate deliciously on the sexual experiences of Paddy Pantsdown five! years ago. a new Channel 4 series is promising to reveal details (if you can hear them) of‘sundry i politicians‘ first-ever lustful stirrings. j That‘s just one of the offbeat questions posed by the dominatrix-like computer in Star Chamber. a development from the Star Test idea whereby pop celebrities were incarcerated in a clinical room with only the inquisitive computer for company. This time around. the subjects are our political representatives. including the aforementioned Paddy. John McGrcgor. Jack Straw. Gillian Shepherd. Bryan Gould. (‘hris Patten. Tony Benn. Norman Tebbit and Baroness Sear. John

Star Chamberslarrs on Channel 4 on Sunday 1 a February at 5. 30pm

_ serious cases, it means that you‘ve work. For instance. we hear been through a very intense experience SOMBDOGV'S been killed and the" a Ver I whetheryou’re the defendant or a crystallised, cut-down version of the witness and the explanation of that, the evidence appears ina newspaperor on unravelling of how the crime TV news. When you see the trial at

_ happened, the causes that the counsel greater length. Veil undefelend "well and judge draw out are very revealing more how lhese "tings eflse. YOU


about how lite is led.’ understand the complexities of The first edition of the programme, in evidence so that you’re learning both spite of Carey's declaration of about the real legal process and about

Think of televised trials and one’s mind focuses on a certain great American family, unsavoury shots of defence attorneys holding up underwear and a frenzied, polarised crowd outside the courthouse alternately chanting ‘Slut' and ‘Rapist’. But it doesn't need to be

with tax evasion. One trial will feature of iustice in the British courts. the

serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and the number of verdicts that have been

other, Connecticut v Ligon, concerns a overturned recently. you could well ask . manslaughter case in which the yourself, “If those trials had been on

I delence rests on the tact that the television and everyone had seen the

I defendant is a Vietnam vet, suttering demeanour 0‘ the Felice. "1e

1 non-sensationalism, is hardly dealing real life. if you look at recent problems i

i like that, or at least Channel 4 hope it ___ j tram post Dramatic Stress disorder, demeanour of the defendants and the ! doesn't l" a deal with "3 cable “~- , , i Surelyfhis use of television in a t waylhe evidence emerged. would the i channel. Courtroom Television sensational trials 0' entitling like that,’ i courtroom is pure entertainment, 3 cases which led to the conviction of i Network, we will get the chance to see says America On Trial’s executive rt don’t mink mars the word rd use at s innocent peopte have gone that t ‘highlights’ at recent American court producer, George Carey. ‘We're trying i an,» detends Carey. this mammaan ; my?" '(phmp pa") j cases overthe next three months. ‘0 {lei ones Whleh are examples 0‘ l certainty and it’s interesting to see how 3 America on Trial begins on Saturday 15 l

‘We're not going tor the ten most 99mm“ mas 0' crime- GeneraNVv 0" ; the mechanics of crime sometimes February Bill-109m 0" Channel 4-


The List 14 27 February 1992 59