As a child in the early 70s. my first televisual memory this side of Thunderbirds and Dr Who was watching some grim-oop-north kitchen sink drama just after the watershed. A donkey-jacketed character burst into a kitchen. felt the teapot and moaned ‘it‘s cold as a witch‘s tit‘. For some reason this cracked me up considerably and l was convulsed with giggles before being rapidly despatched to bed. ‘Tit’ it seemed was not a word for impressionable ears. although the twin treats of The Benny Hill Show and The Comedians were perfectly acceptable viewing. and I gained a reputation as a bit of a card at school retelling the off-colour jokes because the middle-class kids weren’t allowed to watch lTV.
Poor old Benny of course is now mouthing pidgin Chinese and chasing scantily clad demons in purgatory. but two decades on. The Comedians (Scottish) is back with us. and pretty damn fine it is too. Some things have changed ofcourse. the comic’s traditional drinking suit attire has been exchanged for polyester leisure wear. smoking is frowned upon. and some of the old faces have gone. Remember Charlie Williams, the chirpy black Yorkshireman whose entire act consisted ofsaying ‘Met a fella t’other day. ‘e said “IfI give you 200 quid. will you go back where you came from?" I said “Thanks a lot mate. it‘s only two bob to Bradford on t‘bus.“ ‘ No‘.’ Well. you had to be there.
Charlie wasn‘t present this time around (which is probably for the
family favourites Manning. Bowen. Rodgers. Boardman or Carson. They weren‘t missed though. for the
remembered reciting in the playground in 1974. and I found myselfchanting along with the punchlines: ‘He bounced the baby three times and booted it out to the touchline‘. ‘When he left here this morning he was full of beans‘. ‘Opening a bloody window’. all the old favourites were there. (If you want the full versions of those jokes. 1) you’re very sad. and b) send an SAE.)
You won’t get audience participation like that on Stab In The Dark (Channel 4), although by programme six I reckon the poor punters crammed into the studio could have the makings of a
best). and nor. in the first show. were
real stars, the jokes. were exactly as I
semi-decent lynch mob. TV hate figures aren’t in short supply at the moment. with assorted Cillas. Esthers. Annekas. Noels and Jeremies clogging up the schedules but Stab In The Dark‘s Michael Gove has moved swiftly into pole position in the offensiveness grand prix on the strength ofonly two shows.
Gove‘s loathsomeness is difficult to pin down to any one attribute. Maybe it‘s his pompous young fogey mannerisms. his irritating habit of standing with his hands clenched behind his back. his bulging clipboard to demonstrate that he‘s the serious one in this shambles. Or maybe it's because he reminds you of the priggish lisping rosy-checked class swot who used to get a regular kicking at school. Gove tackled Northern Ireland minister Peter Bottomley. armed with halfa question and a desperate desire to come across as hard-hitting and ingratiate himselfwith the audience. Instead a (remarkably civilised considering the provocation) Bottomley ran rings around him and spoke for a nation when he told Gove ‘I‘m very tempted to kneecap you‘.
Gove ofcourse has to rise to the challenge of being more objectionable than fellow presenter David Baddiel. Baddiel. one ofthe brattishly unfunny Mary White/rouse Experience gang. never says anything straight when a sneer will do. If Cove is the Oxbridge nerd in a suit. Baddiel is the hip (he thinks) party bore in the dayglo orange sweatshirt and halfthe oil output of the United Arab Emirates on his
hair. ‘I have to say . . .‘ he claims at regular intervals. Oh no you don’t David. or at least we don‘t have to listen to you. The third member of this sorry trio. : Tracey MacLeod. looked as ifshe were longing for the relative sanity of The Late Show. She also appeared to have been embalmed before she went on air. My advice would be to change the make-up artist or see a doctor urgently. No medic could save Stab In The Dark though. Channel Four should cut their losses now and programme some Czechoslovakian animation before the studio audience starts breaking up the seats and fashioning makeshift weaponry. (Tom Lappin)
Tom Lappin is Showbiz Writer of the Year.
A selection of television highlights. listed by day, in chronological order. Television Listings compiled by Tom Lappin.
FRIDAY 19 ‘
I Through The Keyhole (Scottish) 7—7.30pm. More execrable voyeurism with regulars David Frost and Loyd Grossman joined by guests Willie Rushton. Pattie Caldwell and Alan Coren.
I The Music Game (Channel 4) 8.30—9pm. Tony ‘lnnuendo' Slattery presents the desperately cheap and mindless music quiz asking questions that range from rock to baroque. with guests Steve Wright. Nichola McAuliffe and Chris Warren Green.
I Bottom (BBCZ) 9—9.3(lpm. Subtle wit and incisive humour: turn offif you want that sort ofthing. Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson deal in bodily secretions and bum jokes in a repeat run ofthe strangely popular sitcom.
I Ring Di Scorpio (BBCI )9.3t)—1().20pm. A new four-part Australian melodrama starring clapped-out veterans of American soaps. Caroline Goodall plays a successful stockbroker. llelen Simmons. whose chance encounter with Richard Duvall (Jack Scalia) reminds her of the time he was a drug runner in Morocco and used her and her friends as decoys.
I Roseanne (Channel 4) 10— 10.30pm. Roseanne is told that an operation on her back will relieve the pain. but may cause problems between her and Dan. You can imagine what sort ofproblems.
I A Stab In The Dark (Channel 4)
ll.l(L-l 1.40pm. Spurious innuendoes masquerading as incisive comment. presented by David Baddiel and Michael Gove with Tracey MacLeod.
I Right To Reply (Channel 4)(i.3()——7pm. Sheena McDonald hosts another set of viewers‘ complaints and ideas and offers them a chance to tackle the programme-makers with their objections. I Rhythms Di The World: Klezmer—Fiddler On The Hoot (BBCZ) 7.40-8.35pm. Klezmer is Jewish dance music which originated in Eastern Europe where it was traditionally played at weddings. Simon Broughton‘s film explores the music's renaissance in New York.
I Teenage Diaries: The World’s Greatest Director(BBC2) 8.35—9.30an Daniel Moss is a thirteen-year-old precocious little irritant determined to be a successful luvvic. On the evidence ofhis first film he seems more likely to be receivingthumps in the mouth than Oscars.
I GBH (Channel 4) 9-10.4(ipm. A repeat run for the BAFTA-winning (according to the judges if not the organisers) drama starring Robert Lindsay as the unscrupulous and neurotic council leader Michael Murray. coming up against the
; I Days Oi Wine And Roses (Scottish)
saintly if equally neurotic teachchim Nelson (Michael Palin). A superb piece of television with a scathineg funny script played to perfection by the two principals. Set the video if you haven‘t got thistapcd already.
I Tom Jones- The Right Time (Scottish) 10.20— 10.50pm. The voice of the valleys takes a stroll down the history ofsoul music. with guests Daryl Hall. Cyndi
MM“ I’ :5 . .. I Cinema! Cinema!: Jules EtJim (Channel 4) l().4()pm—12.35am. Probably the most overrated film ever. completely undeservingofthe plaudits it gets from bereth cincphile pseuds. Truffaut‘s painfully long manage a (mix has completely unsympathetic and shallow characters. an amusineg banal script and Jeanne Moreau as the archetypal French cinema femmefatale. ic all narcissism. pouts and a complete pain in the arse. The deaths at the end are satisfying. but too little too late. I'd have wiped the smugtrio out in a nasty gas explosion inside the first ten minutes. I Rocket To Sunrise — Ail-Night Scottish Bands Special (Scottish) l.(l5pm—5am. All through the night with top Scottish pop and rock acts. opening with an ‘NB bands special‘ compilation. Later shows include Deacon Blue live (1 1.35pm). Lloyd Cole (2am) and Simple Minds Alive And Kicking (3. 10pm).
I American Chronicles: Champions (Channel 4) 5—5.30pm. Lynch and Frost‘s documentary contrasts the different sporting endeavours of football in Ohio and the annual ‘l lead of the Charles’ regatta in Boston.
I Watching The Detectives (Channel 4) 7—8pm. A repeat run for the fascinating series on real-life private eyes. opening with Bill Dear. the ‘real James Bond‘ from Dallas.
I European Football Championships (BBCl) 7—9.10pm. Debonair Des Lynam introduces live coverage of the first semi-final.
I Without Walls: This Is Tomorrow (Channel 4) 8.30-9.3(ipm. Richard Hamilton taught Bryan Ferry art at Newcastle University in the mid-60s. This ﬁlm examines how the student Ferry put Hamilton‘s theories into practice to become a pop star and examines the relationship Hamilton‘s art has with popular culture. Paul McCartney pops up at some point as well.
I Shooting Stars (Channel 4) 10— l 1 .4llpm. A feeble comedy drama starringJane llazlegrove as a girl on a dream date with soccer star Gary McDonald. The evening is somewhat impaired when a gangof teenagers crash an ice-cream van into their Porsche and hold the couple hostage.
11.50pm—2am. A PR man becomes alcoholic (who can blame him?) and so does his wife. She recovers. he doesn‘t.
' Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick star. i
Worth gettingacarry-out in for. 5
' MONDAY 22 5
I Wimbledon 92 ( BBCZ) Noon—2pm.
2—3.50pm. 4~8pm. Prop up your eyelids
for two weeks of tedious tennis. Will
3 proficient German Michael Stich retain
his title against the challenge ofproficient German Boris Becker. and will eccentric ‘ (Yugo'?)Slav Monica Seles be able to J
The'L'l-st i9 in}... 42 July 1992 59