of the other Osmond


the piste

' been the subject ofgenetic

, shows skate over. Andrew


How did Arnold Brown become a leading stunt skier? Whatever became

brothers? Has David Vine

cloning? Muriel Gray asks the questions other ski

Burnet pressed her for details on her latest programme. The Snow Show.

What is it with Muriel Gray and slopes? Last year you could barely scale a Munro without trailing in the wake of Muriel and her camera crew. This year she aims to do for the ski-runs what The Munro Show did for Scotland‘s craggy peaks.

The Snow Show is the latest addition to the acerbic-wilted. peroxide-topped one‘s ten-year television-presenting CV. which includes The Tube. The Late Show. the original ifshort-livcd Walkie Talkie and. most recently. The Muan Show. Though it might seem an obvious successor to Muricl's mountaineering extravaganza. the new series has been mooted for years. and while Scottish Television stumped tip for The Munro Show. ‘Colin (‘ameron (BBC Scotland Controller) was the first person daft enough to agree to finance this one.’

But if you‘re expecting a po-faced survey of slopes. snow texture. ski-sticks and Swiss chalets. you don‘t know Muriel's style. Yes. there's a wide range of practical information on various aspects of skiing. and on some of the world’s leading resorts (researched without the benefit ofany judgement- warping but hardship-lessening freebies). but there‘s also a lot of plain silliness in The Snow Show.

f orgasm: 'uh . .


There are interviews with celebrity

non-skiers like meek comedian Norman Lovett and jaded media hack Paul Morley. a completely spurious mailbag slot (with David Vine lookalike section). and many an opportunistic aside to camera.

When Muriel visits the culturally barren state of Utah. for example. she introduces Salt Lake City as ‘the only town in the world where you get a chance to ring Mormons‘ doorbells‘. and her treatment ofthe next generation of Osmonds (yes. I‘m afraid they sing too) is cheeringly harsh.

But probably the most amusing item among the episodes I saw was a relatively straight piece on St Moritz's legendary Cresta Run. Described by Muriel as ‘chap heaven‘. the exclusive. men-only Cresta Club is an enclave of

Englishness whose members come i 'from every corner of the House of

Lords'. The high spot of this feature

1 is not. however. Muriel's barbed g commentary. but the breathless

utterances (via a radio mic) of a member descending the Cresta Run

3 at typically breakneck velocity. which comes over like the

countdown to a potentially fatal . approaching finish . . . (gasp!) . . .approaching finish . ..

80 The List 6— 19 November 1992

uh. . .through finish . . . through finish . . . (stifled panting) . . . uh . .. thank God that‘s over. . .‘

Against material like this. Muriel's comic set-ups seem rather stilted. and I did wonder why she chose to include so many elaborate gags. Cue background information.

‘Therc was a fair budget for this show. but we were trying to do something far bigger and more glamorous than the money was there for. The schedule was just utterly ridiculous. We did two stints of location shooting one in Europe and one in North America in a oner each time. No days off in between filming.

‘We went to low-grade hotels.

l booked cheap-deal flights and all that kind ofstuff. bouncing around

. in this Transit van. That‘s why a

Muriel Gray: ‘A millin miles away lrotn bog standard travel shows.’

3 ‘Ityou find me rude and objectionable or whatever,

I then there’s probably an

3 element of me that is.’

! programme like this could never be made internally by either the BBC or a big [TV company. because with the kind of rules that staff people work to. they wouldn‘t put up with what we had to do. Out of two months we had three days off when we had time to go skiing. And I‘m afraid that does take its toll on everybody’s temper and stamina.‘

Laid up ill in bed after her travails. Muriel found herselfwatching two skiing items in consecutive television shows. ‘They were both exeerable. and I thought. oh Jesus. our programme might look like this unless we do something drastic.

‘So we decided we wanted it to look like the Dick van Dyke Show or the Andy Williams Christmas Special. Something that was a million miles away from bog standard travel

shows. and also a piece of light entertainment. so that ifyou‘re a keen skier there‘s tons ofthings in there that you'll find riveting that you won’t find in any other show. but ifyou’re not. there‘s an element of something big and glamorous and funny and Light Entertainment aboutn.

‘There‘s nothing remotely serious 9 about skiing. I mean what is there to j be serious about in skiing? It‘s a j recreational sport. and people who ; take it seriously you know: Get a jlife.’ It‘s just slithering about on snow 1 with two planks. The whole theme of l the series is that it’s not serious. it‘s l funny. I was hoping both skiers and {non-skiers would find it entertaining.‘ What it comes down to is that. j whether you‘ve ever skied or not. ' your feelings about The Snow Show

lWlll largely depend on your feelings

I about Muriel Gray. because there’s a ;

lot of Muriel Gray in The Snow

3 Show.

‘When I was doing The Media

i Show you hardly ever saw me .‘ she

3 points out. somewhat defensively. ‘I used to do the interviews from behind camera and all that kind of stuffand l have to tell you. that kind ofprogramme-making is so much easier than being in front ofthe camera like this. lfyou find me rude and objectionable or whatever. then there‘s probably an element ofme that is. But ifyou're in the slightest bit opinionated in front of the screen and particularly ifyou‘re a woman and opinionated. then obviously people either love you or loathe you; there doesn’t seem to be that leeway that men get. I‘m aware of the fact that some people find it grossly irritating. We sit and edit it and try to take out the most irritating bits. . . if people still find it irritating I can‘t really do much about that.‘

The Snow Show begins on BBC] on

Tue 10 Nov at 8pm.