Trial by yoof

Beatrice Colin sat in on the recording of a late night discussion show where the guests are thrown to an audience of under-25$.

Things are hotting up. A calls B a black b . . . , in the nicest possible way; C calls A a white wanker, in the nicest possible way and all three look ready to walk out. Great TV, but the cameras are in the studio. we’re in the hospitality rooms and fighting has broken out between the guests.

Richard, sports commentator .lim Craig, and an ex- publican turn to the nicer topics of peeing up closes and Mrs T’s feminine side. Platitudes abound across the egg sandwiches, but all look as if their ensuing audience with 25 sussed young things in their early 205 is preferable to trying to make conversation with each other.

As guests on Trial by Night. a brand new two-hour- long programme on Scottish, they're supposed to

for a show transmitted during the graveyard shift on a Wednesday morning. Tonight, they will hotly defend statements such as, ‘The face of Scottish football is that of a bigot‘, ‘Scotland should be grateful to Mrs Thatcher’, ‘Celtic will rise again’ and ‘Drinking on the streets should be banned’. Heady

Footballer Justin Fashanu, Tory councillor Christine

have extreme views. The more off-the-wall the better

stuff. and just to add a few extra sparks, members of the BNP, the Young Conservatives, and a couple of raging Rangers fans have been invited to be part of the audience.

‘i’ve been told that it can be a pretty gruelling experience In front of the audience, as they say things that any self-respecting interviewer would never dare to.’

Presented by Kaye Adams and Bernard Ponsonby. the programme takes the form of a courtroom drama. Ponsonby grills the guests mercilessly as the chief prosecutor. and Adams heckles and lets the audience comment. Before the debate begins, the audience don

a coloured badge which denotes their opinion; green for agree, red for disagree and yellow for undecided. A jury of yellows is then picked to give their measured Opinion at the end of the discussion. it‘s like Runamund goes current affairs.

‘The propositions are quite outlandish.‘ Kaye

' Adams points out, ‘but it means there‘s a lot of room

for debate. As for tackling the same old subjects like racism and Conservative politics. we need new angles and fresh ideas.‘

‘Each guest has at least 30 minutes in front of the camera.’ says Angus Peetz. the programme‘s producer, ‘so there‘s plenty of time for an argument to develop and take shape. l‘ve been told that it can be a pretty gruelling experience in front ofthe audience. as they say things that any self-respecting interviewer would never dare to.’

Trial by Night is one ofthe few TV productions currently being made to allow alcohol on the set. in the audience‘s hospitality rooms, the assembled crowd of predominantly students help themselves to beer and wine. just to loosen up and get in the mood. And then two hours ofargument begin, recorded as live with commercial breaks for alcoholic top-ups. The guests file in one by one and are greeted with adoration, abhorrence and apathy.

in this TV-literate generation, the audience all express fully formed sound bites and then react for the camera when someone else disagrees. ‘They’re all so eamest.’ whispers Kaye Adams. ‘You just can’t take the piss out of them.’ At the end of recording, although gallons of beer have been swallowed, the audience remains stone cold sober; while the guests look thoroughly punch drunk.

Trial by Night is on Tuesday nights at 2am until 5 Nov when it moves to Friday nights at 12.30am.

Skye’s the limit

5 heavy period of activity. This

November he heads off to rub

. shoulders with John Maikovich and

j Kevin Kline, playing the Prince liegent

i in the film Princess Caribou. iiowever,

television remains his forte, and to

i this end he’s been filming six programmes for a new one-man show,

it’s certainly not an advert for the : something along the lines of Tall Scottish Tourist Board. For while the '- , Tales, ‘but not quite so rarefied, less splendours of the Hebrides provide a ' ' of the long purple passages’; then picturesque backdrop to John Byme’s there’s a TV sitcom with Timothy Spell adaptation of Boswell And Johnson’s at the end of the year, a shot as Tour ill The Western isles, the locus is Bonnie Prince Charlie for a Scottish actually on the misanthropic English 5"" wmégfggflmflmlg Television play in 1994, a stageshow doctor and over-zealous Edinburgh he’s written for the Warehouse in advocate, played by Bobble Coltrane amusing Mr Byme, it also marks his ! diary from the actual historical dates. London as a vehicle for him and Spali and John Sessions as some sort of directorial debut. And while he still i | asked him if he’d done It deliberately once again, and a TV screenplay he’s literary Laurel and ilardy. has a few creases to iron out If film 5 and ho said [here his voice drops an been working on (but won’t star in) ‘We’re an old Derby and Joan couple directing is to become another of his owl" and heads 10! “Ghost about riverboats on the Thames. who’ve known each other for a long many talents, he certainly Glasgow] “Aye, aye, ah huv.” I pointed ‘l’m at a crucial ago now, “on the the and get a bit crabblt with each demonstrates how tight editing and out that the academics would be threshold of middle age”, no longer other now and again,’ says Sessions of framing can add a bit of rest to a annoyed, and he said “Aye, well, that the young show-off shite on Whose his comic partnership with the big centuries-old travelogue. was the idea, Johnnie, that was the line Is it Anyway?,’ he reflects. ‘it’s man. ‘lt was our Idea, we’d been ‘We’ll doubtless get letters from the idea.” Without making ludicrous necessary to open the range of work planning It for years. Between one purists,’ anticipates Sessions, who comparisons, John has taken a and get beyond leaping around in a thing and another, it's taken us ages worked with Byme on the play Candy historical event and turned it into a Paul Smith suit. i think that day is to not it oh the timed - people’s Kisses ten years ago in London drama, the way Schiller did or gone.’ (Alan Morrison) availability and particularly John's (Coltrane’s previous work with the Shakespeare did - take the event and Mllfilmw 1 WOW" “chill” "'0 SM) 3018 and . make a dramatic point about it rather Boswell And Johnson's Tour Of The M" I“ 10m '8 "0‘ 0|“! MI FM")- ‘Whfll *0 m dolno "I0 than let the events of the story tell Western Isles is broadcast on “m “M Dim 0' 30"“: Wm“! “WM. I mm“ that JOhI hall you what you have to do.’ Wednesday 27 October at 9.25pm on for the small screen by the ever- changed all the dates in Boswell’s I Sessions is now about to enter a BBC 2.

78 The List 22 October—4 November 1993