Dinosaurs. Abba. Richard Briers. it can only be July. TV‘s silly season. when the long days of sport melt effortlessly into balmy (or barmy) evenings of dusty repeats. is in full Greg Norman swing. Switching on in mid—summer is like hiring a low-budget time-machine. If there's not a gigantic papier-mache brachiosaurus munching the foliage on Channel 4. there‘s a choreographed glitter—clad 1974 pop combo on B BC2. or Briers on BBC1 playing the smug suburban twat to Felicity Kendal’s pert- buttocked irritant in The Good Life.

All of which makes you correspondingly grateful for the sport. Tuning in to golf has previously been about as attractive a prospect as a threesome with Cilla Black and Esther Rantzen. but Greg Norman‘s ()pen victory was eminently watchable. as the chirpy Aussie notched up a perfect round. while looking more and more like Paul Hogan as the afternoon wore on. In that great British spirit of fair— play. Norman was a more popular winner than Nick Faldo. basically because he wasn‘t such a successful clever-dick as the British player.

Meanwhile. in the evenings. we‘re seeing the last death pangs of Light Entertainment. LE is a strange. wrong- side-of—the-sheets progeny of variety. which was itselfthe bastard TV offspring ofthe music hall. As Alexei Sayle so astuter pointed out. the great British music halls died out because they were essentially crap. Much the same could be said of light entertainment if you were in a generous mood.

Light entertainment is the sort of thing the local theatres in dead-end seaside resorts put on over the summer. Audiences are full of pensioners whose ticket was included in a rip-off weekend break. coach tour and full English breakfast in Mrs Miggins‘s ()lde Gueste House package. lts TV equivalent shares most of the same ingredients. leggy mixed-sex dance troupes. slapstick comedy routines and a ‘star‘ of stunted growth. Mediterranean tan and a tenuous grasp of Estuary English.

Hence Bobby Davro’s Rock With Laughter (BBCl ). a show of such insulting offensiveness that watching it is the equivalent of your TV challenging you to a fight. The idea is not completely without possibilities; sending up the stars of pop and rock is an easy and potentially entertaining concept. 1 for one would be happy to see somebody pricking the pretensions of Suede. The The. Bob Mould and the

like. and one of the few amusing moments of the last Mary White/muse [zit/wrience series was their piss-take of that sad bunch of tubby ageing goth- popsters The Cure. Davro of course misses the target completely. Like any LE perpetrator his mind is fixed firmly in the not-so-recent past. his reference points a whole batch of old hat videos from the likes of Michael Jackson. Tina Turner and Mick Jagger. His ‘jokes’ usually flirt with racism or homophobia. as he caricatures the more obvious physical attributes of his subjects. It's a depressing. nasty and worthless show devoid of any dignity. I feinted a left before catching the screen a full-on rightjab. It won’t try that again.

‘If there’s not a gigantic papier-maché brachiosaurus munching the foliage on Channel 4, there’s a choreographed glitter-clad 1974 pop combo on BBC2, or Briers on BBC1 playing the smug suburban twat to Felicity Kendal’s pert-buttocked irritant in The Good life.’

By contrast the lTV offerings are almost palatable. Michael Ball (Scottish) is a perfectly acceptable middle-of-the-road bow-tie and dress shirt warbler with a passable talent for belting out West End showtuncs. Get Mum the CI) for Christmas and forget about him. His show is another time- machine trip. back to the late 60s when any old singer would be given their own TV showcase and a chance to perform with. ‘a personal hero of mine. a great friend and showbiz legend. l‘m privileged to introduce . . .‘ cue pathetic has-been trying desperately to revive their flagging career.

More original in a scary. embarrassing kind of way is Stars In Their Eyes (Scottish) in which members ofthe Great British Public (what will become of the foul-mouthed old ladies and their pavement trtrisrns now that Thurs Life has gone?) queue up to humiliate themselves by impersonating famous singers. A tubby Home Counties woman with bleached blond hair strolled along the High Street. while Matthew Kelly gushed ‘who will she become." ‘Alison Moyet you moron.‘ I replied. and l was right. 1 don‘t know, I‘m going to have to get out more in the evenings. (Tom Lappin)

VHSerama in our regular round-up of the rental releases and sell-through suggestions heading for the shop shelves this fortnight.


I loan The Pig Farmer (15) British broad comedy on a tight budget is the order of the day in Gary Sinyor and Vadim Jean‘s acclaimed debut feature. Mark Frankel plays nice Jewish boy l.eon who discovers that he is the result of artificial insemination. and that his natural father is Yorkshire pig farmer Brian Glover. Numerous porcine gags ensue in what is essentially a hit-and-miss farce. lively and unpretentious. (Electric)

I Bram Stoker’s Dracula (18) Francis Ford Coppola‘s high gothic romance mixes camp and gore in roughly equal quantities in a confused but always lavishly visual version of the vampire tale. Gary ()ldman is the Transylvanian Prince roaming through 19111 century London in search of Mina (Wynona Ryder). and changing form at regular intervals. The effects occasionally border on silliness but most of the time it‘s a spectacular trip. (20:20 Vision)

I Psychocop Returns (18) A sequel to the lowest common denominator rental hit reprising its blend of police brutality and low- budget titillation that had the original waltzing off the rental shelves. (Columbia Tristar)

. .3 I I Honey 1 Blew Up The Kid (U) Unprepossessing sequel to the Disney hit. This time around the toddler is enlarged to Godzilla size and romps around the city in cheap 50s B-movie shoddy effects style. The kid might be huge but the film is distinctly short on gags. (Buena Vista)

I Dne False Move (18) A distinctly superior thriller from Carl Franklin. A pair ofdrug dealers murder a

group of people at a birthday gathering. Two LA cops are assigned to track them down. but a local sheriff is keen to find the killers first. A

driver who falls for femme

firm/c Simone Simon. whose husband has already murdered her

former lover. Steamy.

conventional crime thriller .

enlivened by some neat twists and line performances. (20:20 Vision)

I Ambush In Waco: In

§ The line Of Duty ( 15) A

swift turnaround from

real-life to movie in this

biopic of Branch Davidian nutter David Koresh and his collection of followers. Timothy Daly

plays the self-proclaimed 'New Messiah' whose

spiritual purity was slightly undermined by his obsession with

raunchy rock music and

his fondness for bedding twelve-year-old girls. (Odyssey)

I Unforgiven ( I8) ()scar- winning Clint Eastwood‘s

dark ‘Western-to-end-

Westerns. He’s a tamed former killer. creaking back into the saddle to join a bounty-hunting posse. and running across sadistic sheriff Gene Hackman. A novel. unrornantic attitude to violence makes this one of the more profound and realistic of Eastwood's films. (Warner)

I Aladdin (U) (Columbia Tristar)

I Under Threat 1 15) (Columbia Tristar)

I Tattle Tale (PG) (Columbia Tristar)

I Keeper Of The City 1 15) (Fox)

I Time Runner ( 15 ) (Medusa)

I Street Knight ( l8) (Warner)

I It’s Hothing Personal (15) (Warner)

I Highway To Hell (15) (20:20 Vision)

I Murder So Sweet (PG) (20:20 Vision)

I Gross Misconduct ( 18) (Polygram)

I Chained Heat 2 ( 18 ) (Guild)

I The End Of The Golden Weather (PG) (Blue Dolphin)

I Sell-through

I The Occult History Of The Tilde Reich Dubious

tape release of the

fortnight. featuring biographies of Adolf

Hitler and Heinrich

7 Himmler among the - ‘special interest‘ titles on

offer. (Columbia Tristar £10.99)

1 I La Béte Humaine (PG) I Jean Renoir‘s adaptation of Zola's novel stars

, Jacques Lantier as a train

atmospheric stuff. and that‘sjust the trains. (Electric £15.99)

I Dual Des Brumes (PG) (Electric £15.99)

I Pépé Le Moko (PG) (Electric £15.99)

I Atlantis (15) (Warner £10.99)

I Freeiack (15) (Warner £10.99)

I Mr Johnson ( 15) (Warner £10.99)

I Rush ( 18) (Warner- MGM £12.99)

I Company Business (15) (Warner-MGM £ 12.99) I Trail Of The Pink

Panther/Curse Of The

Pink Panther (PG) (Warner-MGM £12.99) I The Pink Panther Strikes Again/Revenge Df

The Pink Panther (PG) (Warner-MGM £12.99) I Midnight Ride/Human ; Shield (18) (Warner-

' MGM £12.99)

I The Hitman (18) (Warner-MGM £10.99)

'2 l l

I Crying Freeman: Portrait Of A Killer (18) (Manga £8.99)

? I Doomed Megalopolis: The Demon City ( 18) 5 (Manga £8.99)

I Emperor Of The North (15) (Fox £12.99)

I Peter And The Wolf (U) (Buena Vista £8.99)

I Planet Of The Apes (PG) (Fox £12.99)

I The Abyss - Special

Edition (15) (Fox £12.99)

I Hello Dolly

I (ll) (Fox £12.99)

I Conan The Barbarian (15) (Fox £12.99)

I Jabberwocky (PG) (Fox £10.99)

I Gladiator ( 15) (Columbia Tristar £10.99) I Stone Cold (18) (Columbia Tristar £10.99) I Toy Soldiers (15) (Columbia Tristar £10.99) I The Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb/The Revenge Of Frankenstein (15) (Columbia Tristar

£ 12.99)

I Torture Garden

( 15)/Scream And Scream Again (18) (Columbia Tristar £12.99)

I The flight Of The Generals (15) (Columbia Tristar £7.99)

I Heart Condition (15) (Columbia Tristar £7.99) I Heathers (18) (Columbia Tristar £7.99) I Ghostbusters 11 (PG) (Columbia Tristar £7.99)

62 The List 30 July-l2 August 1993