Having trouble coming to terms with the Gaelicsie of twee little shows hitting your small screen as fast as the Government can dish out the dosh? Quit whingeing. Leaping gleefully onto the TV nostalgia bandwagon. Ex-S: The Sensation Of The Age (BBCl), in a heady 30-minute breeze, zipped through the wonderfully inglorious 40-year history of BBC Scotland demonstrating that here is a station where kitsch has always been king.
Back in March 1952, when the first transmitter cranked into action in Kirk O‘Shotts. the locals didn‘t even have electricity. What they were missing, cheeky presenter Gordon Kennedy pointed out. were programmes that were ‘Scottish. very very Scottish‘. The oldest surviving example The Honours Of Scotland by Robert Kemp (no. me neither) was a stirring nationalist set-piece with lines like ‘We‘re governed by a man with a pen in London‘. Strange to think that Alex Salmond's speeches were being written for him before he was even born.
‘Uniortunately insisting that they had Something To Sing About, Peter Morrison and Anne Lorne Gillies waved their blow-dried locks against a rural backdrop and contrived to make Rod Stewart in a gold lame skin-tight outfit seem like the height of sophistication. ’ .
Cosiness was the byword throughout the 503, reaching its apogee with Draw In Your Chair in which a tubby codger in an outrageous Arran sweater informed us that the herrings and tatties were on the fire, before whipping out his accordian for a couple of sea shanties. The White Heather Club was the natural conclusion, running from 1958 through the swinging 603. While Civil Rights wars raged , Vietnam protesters were mowed down, Hyde Park swayed to peace and free love and the Beatles released Sergeant Pepper, Scots reeled along to Andy Stewart and his kilted lassies, with viewing figures touching ten million at the height of - trad frenzy. It was an innocent age. Even in The Old Man 0fHoy the climbers puffed on fags as they clung on to the sheer rockface.
Surely things got better after that?
V TV REVIEW
‘ Well. apart from one clip from the
sublime Tutti Frutti. Kennedy‘s
researchers did little to unearth anything that wasn't sweetly embarrassing. Unfortunately insisting that they had Something To Sing About Peter Morrison and Anne Lorne Gillies waved their blow-dried locks against a rural backdrop and contrived to make Rod Stewart in a gold lame skin-tight outfit seem like the height of sophistication. Scotland in the 70s was truly a nation that was plumbing the depths ofsartorial and cultural despair.
The only man holding on to a shred ofcrcdibility was ‘Robbie‘ aka Fyfe Robertson. a broadcaster of consummate wit and perspicacity. Looking like a sort of hermit Billy Connolly. Robertson scoffed at pretensions and superficiality and scorned the fixations of the chattering classes. I for one would pay dearly for the treat of hearing him cut loose on the subject of The Late Show. In the meantime I hear they‘re thinking ofcutting offthe leccy in Kirk O'Shotts once more.
While Norman Lamont‘s resemblance to Eddie Munster grows more marked by the day. escaping the election campaign becomes a vital quest. The exquisitely shallow Camomile Lawn remains the best retreat. but for on-the-nail one-liners. the new series of Roseanne is unsurpassed. ‘1 low did our kids get so spoiled when we never gave them anything‘." Roseanne asks 0an one in particular. Youngest daughter Darlene picks up where she left off last series. dealing out devastating putdowns to parents and siblings alike.
The criminally over-commissioned Carla Lane could do worse than sit down in front ofa twelve—hour tape-loop of Roseanne. notebook in hand. Lane‘s own ‘comedies' come in two varieties: patronising populist
tales ofcheery. streetwise.
| crooked-but-lovable Scousers. or
maudlin menopausal sagas of lovesick drippy women. Screaming effortlessly slips into the latter formula. The ‘characters‘ are given to lengthy inverted platitudes and homilies that invite the viewer to emulate the series title pretty rapidly. Gwen Taylor and Jill Baker feature prominently. Casting the star ofone ﬂop drama series could be accidental. two looks like carelessness. (Tom Lappin)
A selection at television highlights. listed by
day. in chronological order. Television Listings compiled by Tom Lappin.
Timings are subject to coverage olthe. you've guessed it, General Election campaign.
I 100% (BBCZ) 7. lS—Spm. The youth magazine show reports on kick boxing in Liverpoool. and young lesbians and gay men talk about their sexuality and family reactions to it.
I Short Stories: The Inheritance (Channel i 4) 8.30—9pm. The Russell family from County Cork spend all their days thinking I up schemes that will enable them to l continuelivingintheircrumblingfamily : home. I Growing Rich (Scottish) 9--l()pm. Fay Weldon's drama serial continues. with Carmen facing the consequences ofher broken promise to the satanic Driver (Martin Kemp). I Cheers (Channel 4) 9—9.3llpm. Rebecca challenges Sam to let her run the barfor one night. but things don't go as smoothly as she predicts. I Arena: Armistead Maupin- Is A Man I Dreamt Up (BBCZ) 9.30- 10.30pm. A profile of the controversial writer whose Tales Of The City chronicle gay and Bohemian life in San Francisco. Producer Kris Clarke looks at Maupin's life and the San Franciscans who inspire his stories. I Roseanne (Channel 4) Ill—10.30pm. Darlene comes over all rebellious. wearing nothing but black and sitting in front of the TV all day. Sounds pretty normal to me.
I Right To Reply (Channel 4) b.3(l—7pm. Sheena McDonald hosts another set of viewers‘ complaints and ideas and offers them a chance to tackle the programme-makers.
I Flight 0iThe Navigator(BBC1) 7.05-8.35pm. An uneven sci-fi adventure by Randal Kleiser. the director of Grease. Joey Cramcr stars as David Freeman. a 12-year-old boy whose brain becomes programmed with complex star charts. His only chance of a return to his old life isto escape with the mysterious alien Max. who sounds suspiciously like Pee Wee Herman.
I Fine Cut: Hobo (BBCZ) 7.3(l—9.(l5pm. John T. Davis‘s film looks at the romantic life ofAmerican drifters. ridingthe railroads across the States. and having their own rules and integrity. A bit like a Bruce Springsteen song really.
I TV Heaven: (Channcl4)8—l 1.35pm. 1960 is the year with four programmes shown in their entirety: l’olice Surgeon. a sort of 'Doctor in The Niek' drama. a vox-pop with Brighton youths who are Living For Kicks. an Armchair Theatre romance and a surreal fantasy starring Anthony Newley called The Strange World Of Gurney Slade.
I Court TV: America On Trial (Channel 4) 11.35pm— l 2.35am. Featuring footage from actual trials in the American courts. Tonight‘s case features anti-abortion protesters who are using their trial (on trespass charges) to highlight the issue.
I Guitar Legends (BBCZ) 1140—2. 15am. lt's ‘Metal Night' from Seville with a line-up including Brian May. Joe Satriani.
Steve Vai. Nuno Bettcncourt andJoe Walsh. As if that's not enough they murder ‘l lcy Joe‘ by way of an encore. Don‘t forget to put your clocks forward or this could seem even longer than it actually is.
i SUNDAY 29
I Star Chamber (Channel 4) 5.3li—opm.
Politicians get a grilling from the Star Test
computer in the ‘pop politics' series.
Today's programme features Tory MP
I Loveioy(BBC1)7.15--9pni. lan
McShane heads north of the border in the
i series" last episode. inevitably sub-titled
1 Highland Hing. Love joy is on the trail ofa
reproduction 18th century bureau cabinet.
Not really exciting enough to warrant a
I Jeeves And Wooster (Scottish)
8.45—9.45pm. A welcome return for the
excellent Wodehouse adaptation in a new
six-part series starring Stephen Fry and
I So Haunt Me (B BC] ) 9—9.3(ipm. The
Jewish ghost is getting beyond a joke for
the characters and viewers alike. To think
George Costigan. star of the legendary
Rita. Stan-ind Iiob Too. should have sunk
I Screaming ( BBC] ) ‘).3(i-- lllpm. Carla
Lane sitcom. Gwen Taylor. Jill Baker (of
the truly an ful Rides) and Penelope
Wilton play three friends who decide to
share a man-free house. Tonight the
elusive Ralph is spotted in the High Street.
I Mastermind (BBCI) “LBS-«10.55pm.
; The erudite quiz hosted as ever by grim leclandcr Magnus Magnusson. asking
6 questions about Dr Johnson. the history of cycling. the history of Leicesterand
Surrealist Art. Where do all lhesedullos
g I Screen Two: The Last Romantics ( BBCZ)
10—] 1.30pm. Leo McKern and lanllolm
' star in a tale of love and betrayal by Nigel
l Williams. llolm plays Leavis.
: approaching retirement from a
: controversialteaching careerat
i Cambridge and enjoying the adoration of
i his pupil Tulloeh (Alan Cumming). Leavis
looks back on his troubled relationship
with his own mentor Arthur
()uiller—Couch (McKcrn) and dark secrets
emerge . . .
I The South Bank Show(Seouish)
10.35—11.35pm. A profile of Anthony
Hopkins. the Welsh actor in line foran
Oscar for his performance in The Silence
()f The Lambs.
I World Cinema: Mignon Has Left (Channel 4) 12. Ill—1.55am. A charming and
58 The List 27 March — 9 April 1992