V TV REVIEW
l have seen the future of deregulated regional television and it doesn't look pretty. Primetime really doesn’t come much pn'mer than 8pm on a winter Monday evening on BBC] , so you’d expect at least an effort to entice a potentially large captive audience.
The nadir in Scottish broadcasting was reached when ‘mystery’ animal
T droppings were brought in on a salver
to be sniffed and identiﬁed by the
contestants. ‘Take the jobbies away.’
lnStead the unwary goggler is presented j ‘ should be on the phone to Gray’s
with the spectacle of Muriel Gray asking nobody in particular: ‘What peninsula separates my bra from my pants?‘
if that’s not enough to make you lose your dinner, The Golden Cagoule (BBC!) has plenty more to offer in the emetic line. Ostensibly a ‘fun’ quiz show about the great Scottish outdoors
‘Take the lobbies away,’ Gray ordered imperiously at the end of the round. Whoever
commissioned this abysmal insult to the viewing audience should be on the phone to Gray’s production company asap telling her exactly the same thing.’
(as featured at turgid length in Gray's previous productions The Munro Show and The Snow Show) the questions range from the banal to the tediously involved, with captains Jimmy MacGregor (who he?) and Donnie Munro long-winded and surly by turn. Gray hosts the shambles with her usual charmless knack of substituting blunt insults for banter, and the whole thing looks like a lazy idea made into a pilot that would be laughed out of the sky by any self-respecting air-trafﬁc control.
About as much effort has been put into the format as gorrnless scorekeeper Ross Murray puts into looking awake. On past form, Gray might claim the show is a pointed satire. but if you’re making a quiz show, you can at least ensure that the questions are testing. The Golden Cagoule can’t be bothered with any of that, one round consisting of singing the ﬁrst verse of ‘Loch Lomond’ (songsheets provided). Er, that’s it. Previous Caledonian quiz shows have provided endless material for satin'sts, but the casual shoddiness of The Golden Cagoule is enough to make you yearn for the return of Superscor, Mary Marquis. John MacLeod and all.
Gray ordered imperiously at the end of the round. Whoever commissioned this abysmal insult to the viewing audience
production company asap telling her
. exactly the same thing.
What The Golden Cagoule does
, amply demonstrate is the current sadly ; celebrity-starved state of Scotland. One
of the contestants. Blythe Duff. was
; also wheeled out to present a prize at 3 the star-not-so-studded gala The Bette . Scotland Awards (BBC I ). Blythe
Duff’s claim to fame is a regular supporting role in Taggart (and going
" to school with Ally McCoist). Nothing
to be ashamed of, but it isn’t exactly Tinseltown is it? The equivalent would be asking the WPC from The Bill to present an Academy Award. It all looks rather sad and parochial.
The question has to be whether Scotland has large enough independent ﬁlm and television industries to make the awards meaningful. Peter Capaldi seemed chuffed, but surprised that an expat actor should be honoured in Scotland. and Richard Wilson desperately tried to play up the Scottish elements of BBC London’s One Foot In The Grave, but in truth Capaldi and Wilson looked embarrassed to be medium-sized ﬁsh swimming around in a pond full oftiddlers.
‘Blythe Duff’s claim to fame is a regular supporting role in Taggart (and going to school with Ally McCoist). Nothing to
be ashamed of, but it isn’t exactly Tinseltown is it?’
Undoubtedly some productions, notably John McGrath‘s marvellous The Long Roads do deserve the recognition that they did not receive from the British Academy, (and Bill Paterson should have won for his performance in Tell Tale Heart) but too many of the categories were padded with arbitrary ﬁllers, where the Scottishness of the production seemed
I more important than its merits. A
rethink seems advisable. (Tom Lappin)
A selection of television highlights,
listed by day, in chronological order. Television listings compiled by Tom
I The Wartime Kitchen And Garden (BBC2) 8.30-9pm. Gardener Harry Dodson and cook Ruth Mott combine their talents to look at how Britain fed itselfduring World War II.
I Demob (Scottish) 9—l()pm. The ﬁnal episode of the post-war showbiz comedy drama ﬁnds our boys‘blacklisted by the EBBC and forced to go their own ways. ‘I iiain Man (BBC i) 9.30—l 1.40pm. Dustin Hoffman won an ()scar for his performance as the autistic savant with a genius for card-counting in Barry Levinson‘s amusing and occasionally touching ﬁlm. Tom Cruise gives one of his more substantial performances as Hoffmann‘s brother.
I Cheers (Channel 4) ‘).3()-l()pm. Carla reckons she‘s found a new bartender in middle-aged Englishwoman Lilian. but there‘s a catch.
I The WWII (Channel 4)
l l.lOpm—12. 10am. ()h no, it’s back. The shoddy shambles of a show everybody hates and everybody watches returns for its fourth series. Midget irritant Katie Puckrik is tragically absent. but Mark Lamarr, Dani Behr and the legendary Terry Christian are back. joined by a mystery new presenter to be announced during the ﬁrst show.
I Late licence (Channel 4)
12. l0—5.05am. The ﬁrst in a series of through-the-night broadcasts on Channel 4 is hosted by Smashie and Nicie (Paul Whitehouse and Harry linﬁeld). The programmes includes The Clangers. Ready. Steady Go and Naked City. See preview.
I The Great Depression (BBC2) 7.15—8.10pm. The 30s documentary series looks at the effects of President Roosevelt's ‘New Deal' in New York.
I Casualty (BBCl) 8.10—9pm. The Holby team welcome new consultant Tom Harley whose laid-back attitude annoys Charlie. Meanwhile the less laid-back Karen tackles an aromatherapist who has been treating a breast cancer patient with massage.
I Performance: llona (BBC: )
8. l0—9.35pm. Another chance to see Roberto Cossa‘s black farce. starring the late Les Dawson as the l()()-year-old matriarch of a Buenos Aires household. draining the family resources with her constant eating.
I Harry (BBC 1) 9—9.50pm. Michael Elphick plays the middle-aged journalist investigating the death of a respected police ofﬁcer. The truth seems likely to implicate Harry‘s old mate Nick.
I Bory Bremner - Who Else? (Channel 4) l0.05—l0.45pm. Another look at the week's news from the comedy impressionist. aided by John Wells and John Bird.
I The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie (Channel 4) lO.45pm—l2.40am. The Cassavetes season continues with thejilm noir tale ofa gambler forced by gangsters to kill a Chinese bookmaker in order to cancel his own debts.
I Open Space: More Sex Please We’re British (BBCZ) l 1.20pm—midnight. Raunch-mag publisher lsabel Koprowski presents the case for pomography, claiming that ‘a tidal wave of misinformation has swamped us.‘
I Late licence (Channel 4)
l2.50—5.20am. Another selection of insomniac fodder. including Saturday Zoo and the Levellers in concert.
I Kennedy ﬂight (BBCZ)
7.30pm—l 2.40am. A whole evening of programmes devoted to (yawn) the philandering Catholic president who strayed a little too close to the grassy knoll. Programmes include the inevitable new evidence on what happened that fateful day. letters written to his widow Jackie. a personal memory from Bore Vidal. and a proﬁle of the eminently more interesting Lee Harvey Oswald.
I The Great Commanders (Channel 4) 8-8.45pm. A new series proﬁling military geniuses in history opens with Alexander The Great who conquered half the known world in three lunchtimes or something. I Birds iii A Feather (BBCI ) 8.20—8.50an Sharon is still in love with copper Colin, and summons up the courage to tell husband Chris about the new man in her life.
I To Play The King (BBC l ) 9.05— 10pm. lan Richardson returns as conniving Prime Minister Francis Urquhart in the sequel to House ()fCan/s. Andrew Davies has written the screenplay from Michael Dobbs‘s novel. this time finding Urquhart pitted against a formidable adversary. the new king, played by Michael Kitchen. See feature.
I Clive James: Postcard From Cairo (BBC!) 10— l().50pm. The cocky Australian visits Egypt. where he hires a camel and takes a wander through the bazaan
I Spitting Image (Scottish) l()-10.30pm. Another collection of limp puppet satirical sketches.
I Made in The USA: My Own Private Idaho (Channel 4) l0pm~midnight Apt timing for Gus van Sant's road movie about two young friends and gay hustlers. played by Keanu Reeves and the recently- deceased River Phoenix. The ﬁlm has become something of a cult. despite
‘ occasional lapses into indulgent fantasy.
I The South Bank Show (Scottish) 10.454 1.45pm. Melvyn Bragg hosts a proﬁle of guitar virtuoso John Williams. discussing his musical development. his time with Segovia. and featuring footage from a concert in Seville.
I The Golden Cagoule (BBCl) 8—8.3()pm. Muriel Gray hosts the outdoor activities quiz game with captains Jimmie MacGregor and Donnie Munrojoined by C list Scottish ‘celehrities‘ Jane Franchi and Teddy Taylor.
I Cutting Edge: Educating Stephen (Channel 4) 9—l()pm. A ﬁlm about habitual truant 14-year-old Stephen. and
_ the special school in Bradford that has
made education bearable for him.
I Inside Victor lewis-Smith (BBCZ) l()—l0.30pm. Bad taste comedy with BBCZ’s other Vic. undergoing brain surgery while his wife captures it all on the camcorder.
72 The List l9 November—2 December I993