Nigel Mansell. Nigel bloody Mansell. You‘ll have guessed that The Sports Review Of The Year (BBCl) came as something of a shock and disappointment to me this year. Squeaky also-ran Liz McColgan was bad enough last December but Nigel Mansell? I ask you.

Let’s get a few facts straight here. Mansell won the Formula One World Championship by dint of the fact that his car was immeasurably superior to everybody else‘s. He got paid around 12 million quid for doing so, although this didn‘t stop him from living in tax exile on the Isle Of Man to save a few bob. At the end of the season he split acrimoniously from the Williams team and headed off to the States to earn even more obscene sums. At the awards evening he made a few graceless digs at his rival drivers, and had the nerve 5 to thank the ‘wonderful‘ British fans ; whom he's deserting next season for the sake ofthc cash. The man has the : ‘personality‘ of a That's Life presenter minus the charm.

Linford Christie won the Olympic gold medal in the 100 metres at Barcelona after years ofdedication and punishing training. supported only by the occasional sponsor. The moment when he crossed the line ahead of the best in the world was a split-second ofecstacy that he communicated to the watching world. This is what he he had spent all those years working towards and he‘d achieved it. That‘s what sport is . surely about. rather than the

‘The bitchy, egomaniac, domineering, demanding and sarcastic fictional figure of Roseanne Conner is just the real Roseanne Arnold with the nasty bits excised.’

Channel Hopping

j doubt the finest half-hour comedy

around at the moment (80 million

viewers worldwide can‘t be wrong). ; but it was somewhat disconcerting to

discover that the bitchy, egomaniac, domineering, demanding and

; sarcastic fictional figure of Roseanne

Conner is just the real Roseanne Arnold with the nasty bits excised. She was undoubtedly the monster of the title and her ego demanded feeding as often as her stomach. Roseanne has a mission you see. She sees herselfas the (millionaire) blue-collar ambassadress to the rest of the world. bringing news of how these folks live out there in their Midwest Nowherevilles. That hasn‘t stopped her from picking up the worst kind of Californiaisms along the way. ‘Comedy, laughter, is this cathartic way of making the world right,‘ she rants. But she'll have no truck with these trendy middle-class

‘In the show he plays Arnie, an unctuous and unpopular slob with a tendency to brown-nose authority figures. No great effort would seem necessaryto get into character.’

law-school bohemians who become

f TV writers and try to doctor her

- vision thing. It takes an

f evenehanging crew of writers to feed

the monster. and she‘s a picky eater. Chiefscriptwriter Bob Myer was cast as head waiter and whipping boy and put a brave face on it as radical rewrites were demanded by the Queen Bee. The drones set to work in the college locker-room atmosphere created in that desperate frenzy ofwriters with massive pay-cheques and zero job security. Meanwhile husband Tom Arnold. the drone who gets to

' service the queen. and has a

mind-numbing tedium of a superior machine zipping round a track countless times for the sake of big-money sponsors, while the jealous and covetous drivers hurl insults and taunts at each other. I know who my sports personality of the year is. and he hasn‘t got a crappy : moustache and a boring Brunmmie ' accent.

Disillusionment also came in Funny 5 Business: Feeding The Monster (BBC2) a behind-the-scenes look at the ruthless hiring and firing of American sitcom writers on the hit show Roseanne. Roseanne is without

matching buttock tattoo to prove it. played go-between. bringing the message down from on high. In the show he plays Arnie. an unctuous and unpopular slob with a tendency to brown-nose authority figures. No great effort would seem necessary to get into character. ‘Bob‘s done a great job. but maybe he won‘t want to stay on the show.' Arnold said with a sly grin. Myer duly went soon afterwards. ‘Comedy‘s a healing thing‘ suggested Roseanne. There were more than a few gaping wounds in the writers‘ office. Only one scribe survived the season. (Tom Lappin)


So what do you do? Watch the film. setthe video. play your nephew’s Nintendo or listen to Auntie Morag's detailed description of her gall bladder operation? Make your mind up with the aid of our not-so-exclusive guideto the pick of the festive films and viewing.


I Passport To Pimlico (Channel 4) 1.10—2.40an Stanley Holloway stars in an Eating satire about Little Englanders. as the London borough secedes from the UK. If you like this. stick around for The 'l'irfield Thunderbolt immediately afterwards.

I Crossing Delancey (BBC2) 9—10.35pm. Jewish chicken-soup style romantic comedy. starring Amy Irving as a bookstore manager whose love-life is taken in hand by herinterfering grandmother.

I The Man With Two Brains (Channel 4) 10—1 1.40pm. One ofSteve Martin's more appealing farces. He plays a surgeon who falls in love with a human brain. With Kathleen Turner and David Warner.

I Frenzy(BB(‘2) il.35—1.35pm. Alate Hitchcock with all the usual ingredients scattered over a plot concerning a businessman wrongly accused of a series of horrific murders.


I The Dark Crystal (BBC2) 7.30—9pm. An expensive puppet epic from Frank Oz with 3 some nice ghoulish touches is let down by i an unimaginative and linear plot. I Aliens (Scottish) 9—l()pm. ; l().3()pm—midnight. The second in the E series sees Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) returning to the slimy creatures' home world and getting more than she

bargained for. Spoilt as usual by the break for News/1! 'l‘en.

I Dead Calm (BBCI ) 9.30—1 1pm. A fine thriller starring Sam Neill and Nicole Kidman as a married couple getting away from it all on a yachting holiday. They rather rasth pick up a psychotic stowaway (Bily Zane) who subjects Kidman to a terrifyingordeal.

I Breathless (BBC2) 11.15pm—12.5()am. Richard Gere is a rockabilly punk on the run after a cop killing and fleeing across

LA in a stolen car with a girl at hisside.

The style and energy are more important than the basic storyline.

I UHF(BBC1) I l.45pm—l.2(lam. Weird

Al Yankovic stars as the manager ofa chaotic TV station in a broad sketch—based hit-and-miss comedy.


I Heartbreak Ridge (Scottish)9— 10pm. 10.30—1 1 .55pm. Clint Eastwood is a l


LISTINGS TELEVISION Vietnam veteran Marine called in to train

a bunch of rookies for the invasion of Grenada. The predictable action-packed plot is fleshed out by some interesting characterisation of Eastwood as an ageing grunt.

I Poltergeist II (BBCI ) 9.30-1 1pm So-so horror sequel notable only for the design contributions of the notorious II R Giger ofAIien fame.

I The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre

(BBCI) 11.45pm— 1 .45am. The classic John Huston drama stars 1 Iumphrey Bogart (a baddie for once). Tim Holt and Walter lluston as three men ofcontrasting personality finding gold in a Mexican wilderness and falling out rather substantially. ,


I A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur‘s Court (Channel 4) 5—6.45pm. Not the Bing (‘rosby classic but a 1989 version with Keshia Knight Pulliam as a girl wakingup in King Arthurville. The wisecracksaren't as sharp as they ought to be. 5 I Buster (Scottish) 9-10pm.

10.30—1 1 .20pm. Phil Collins is surprisingly good as dim but lovable great train robber Buster Edwards hightailingit to Spain with wife Julie Walters, but coming back to face the music because he misses old London town. Genial without being overly sentimental.

I Someone‘s Watching Me (BB(‘1) 1().30pm—12.3()am. A routine llitchcockian thriller from 1978. with Lauren Hutton as a TV director plagued by sinister and obscene phone calls.

I Police (Channel 4) 10.55pm—lam. Gerard Depardicu is a Paris cop who becomes hoplessly entangled with a woman (Sophie Marceau) who steals a suitcase of money. Plenty oftension. hostility and violence. but not much in the way ofplot.

I Santa Claus The Movie ( BB(‘1) 3.35—5.2(lpm. Soft-centred family fun with Dudley Moore as a misguided elfeausing problems in Santa‘s North Pole toy factory. Adults avoid.

ISea DI Love (BBCI ) 9.45—1 1.35pm. Al Pacino excels in the role of lonelyeop Frank Keller falling for a suspect while investigating a series of Loner I Icart murders. The godlike John Goodman plays a warm and witty sidekick.

I The Golden Child (Scottish) 10.10—11.5(tpm. One of Eddie Murphy's many critical and box-office flops. lie plays a social worker mistaken for The Chosen One by a bunch ofexotic Orientals and sent in search ofthc winsomc Golden Child. En route he bumps into assorted martial arts chappies and a particularly evil Charles Dance.

I Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown (BBC2) 10.30—11.55pm. Pedro Almodovar‘s most accessible and liveliest film. It's a ludicrous and stylish farce looser following the confused and outrageous lives of three Madrid women. I The Birds (BBC2) l 1 .55pm— 1 .5()am. Hitchcock's surreal romance-cum-horror extravaganza featuring millions of winged

psychopaths with a fondness forTippi

Hedren‘s starched hairstyle.

The List-'18 December 1992 —‘14 January 1993-S3