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In honour oi the 75th anniversary oi women winning the vote, BBC Scotland _ is presenting an ambitious three-part series looking at the changing role oi Scottish women since the beginning oi the century. The title, ‘Time Gentlemen Please’ is particularly well- chosen, evoking as it does that most male oi institutions, the ‘public’ house, and also the polite but iirrn commands oi Betty Boothroyd in the Commons. The world oi politics is the subject oi ; the iirst oi the programmes, in which ' narrator llelena Kennedy describes the enthusiastic but oiten overlooked Scottish contribution to the suiiragette movement, the impact oi the First World War, and the subsequent ilrst iorays oi Scottish women into political liie. As archive iootage gives way to interviews with leading lights in Scottish politics such as Maria Fyie and Margaret Ewing, it becomes clear how much has been achieved in not much more than a liietime, but also, how the optimism which dominated the women’s movement right up until the 70s has largely given way to disappointment. ‘There have only ever been 22 women MPs in Scotland,’ explains producer lleil Mciionald, ‘at the moment, there are live - no more than in 1959. There are so many practical things working

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, J N ' (f) I. ' I z- t ' I. 4 . .. xx 1 1 . ' Suiiragettes march along Princes Street in Edinburfli.


against women’s selection: meetings are these macho aiiairs held late at night, where the mere mention oi

“women’s issues” provokes glazed

looks. In Scotland in particular, where Labour has dominated, women have

simply not belonged to the unions

irom which so many candidates have

been iielded.’

The small number oi women in power

cannot be separated irom broader

social issues, both in terms oi cause and eiiect. The second and third

I programmes oi the series draw on the

day to day experience oi ordinary Scottish women to look at the worlds

oi work and oi the iamily, respectively. Long beiore they got the vote, women 5 were battling ior equal pay and

conditions in the workplace, and the battle goes on, mostly to secure equal representation at the top oi the pyramid.

The areas that this series seeks to

' cover are vast it’s hard to imagine a

similar potted version oi men’s lives -

and yet this contraction produces a ; iascinating sense oi perspective. ‘Time Gentlemen Please’ makes ior

exhilarating viewing ii only because it provides that extremely important

. thing, a succession oi strong iemale

role models. (Catherine Fellows)

, ‘Time Gentlemen Please’ begins on

BBC1 on Tuesday 8 March at 10.50pm.


Lindsay Duncan is the restless ilector’s Wile

Channel 4’s drama output is nothing it not eclectic. In recent years GBH was succeeded by The Camomile lawn and Dennis Potter’s Lipstick On Your Collar iollowed by Tales iii The City. All were creditable series in very diiierent ways, and all looked questionable at the outset.

Such a success rate, critically at least, makes it unwise to attack the latest production, The Bector’s Wiie, despite its cosy middle-class Englishness. Based on the Joanne Trollope ‘Aga-saga’ the Talisman Films

production stars Lindsay Duncan (oi

GBll iame and A Year In Provence

notoriety) as the eponymous

discontented middle-aged woman,

Anna, building a liie ior herseli

outside oi her conservative husband. ‘Anna is a good woman, with a great

appetite ior Iiie. She has to learn to be

; seliish,’ says lluncan. ‘l’ve never

played anyone like that beiore, but

Joanna Trollope has created a

character that you are instantly drawn to, as l was when I read her novel.’ The details should be right, as Trollope is nothing ii not painstaking

in her research. She spent a couple oi

weeks stacking shelves in a

supermarket to see how it ielt being a . nice middle-class lady roughing it

with the working classes.

The question is, whether Trollope’s loving depiction oi rural well-to-dos has any real dramatic bite, whether

we are going to care about the characters. Lovineg shot, and with an

impressive supporting cast including

1 Prunella Scales, lionald Pickup and Pam Ferris, The Bector’s Wiie has the

trappings, but does it have the substance? (Tom Lappin)

The llector’s Wlie begins on Channel 4 on Thursday 3 March at 10pm.

Tales you win

The fax from the First Secretary, Political. Australian High Commission. Singapore, went first to the BBC Tropical Tapes Unit before it landed on the Edinburgh desk of radio producer Bruce Young. Beyond the sterile statistics of listening figures it‘s difficult for a producer to gauge the audience reaction to their programmes. so the fax, praising ‘the truly outstanding rendition of F lashmon'. and inquiring how to purchase tapes of the programme, came as a welcome indication that he and the other creators of Storyline were doing something right.

Storyline is a fifteen minute slot which features readings from a variety of genres Scottish fiction. classic novels and short stories. The criteria of choice are, as the series title suggests. the need for a strong narrative (to keep you listening) and a facility for being read by one actor only. Bubbling to the top ofthis eclectic mix over the next few weeks are series of short stories by women writers, The Amateur Immigrant by Stevenson. Hogg‘s Confessions of/l Justified Sinner and a detective story read by Robbie Coltrane. Given the speed with which radio can be produced it offers an opportunity for big names to become involved. As well as Coltrane. Brian Cox and John Nettles can be heard on the slot.

Robbie Coltrane

Significantly in the light of the B BC‘s new market-orientated stress. .S‘torv/ine is becoming a bit of an earner as well l as a significant cultural export -- with programmes such as Alasdiar Gray‘s Poor Things being sold to Radio Four and then. potentially to the World Service. Still in its tentative stages is an attempt to cash into the audio book market which. with the advent of urban traffic congestion and quality in car cassette players is now reckoned to be worth about £35 million a year. So one day soon High Commissioners all over the tropics may be able to catch up on the latest products of an Edinburgh studio. (Stephen Chester)

Stony/[Ila Radio Scotland. 12.03—12.20pm. Mon—Tue.


I Anderson Country (Radio 4) Every weekday afternoon. 3.02—4pm. A somewhat unusual departure for Radio 4, this: Gerry Anderson. the smooth- speaking Ulsterman who made his debut on the network with ‘Stroke City‘. his series of stories from across the water. has been given a permanent slot presenting this chat show and phone-in. Contributions from Laurie Taylor and John Peel amongst others. the fact that it is reporting live from around the country. and Anderson‘s undoubted talent. should set this apart from your average commercial talk show.

I High and Lonesome (Radio 2) Thurs 24 Feb. 10.03—10.30pm. The first in a six- part series telling the story of that manic American folk music. bluegrass. Apparently. the check shirts and inbred yokels image of bluegrass is way off the mark it is a technically formidable form that has come a long way from its origins in the poor mountain communities of the USA. As presenter and bluegrass bandsman Nick Barraclough intends to prove. the ‘white man’s blues’ have influenced everything from the rock of the Rolling Stones to modern jazz.

I Johnny Walker - Suede in Concert (Radio I) Sat 26 Feb. 7—1 1pm. NME’s recently elected ‘Best Bond recorded at Blackpool's Tower Ballroom on 11 February. It‘s the first time the glittering pleasure palace has hosted a rock concert at all. let alone exposed itselfto ‘Animal Nitrate‘.

I Today (Radio 4) Mon 28 Feb. 6.30—9am. You only have to remember the wave of dismay at the death of former presenter Brian Redhead to realise that the heimsmen of 'Today’ are pretty important people in the lives of Radio 4 devotees. This morning, James Naughtie. previously of ‘The World at One‘. The Scotsman and The Guardian. makes his debut. joining John Humphreys. Sue Macgregor and

Peter Hobday as a regular presenter.

I Grave Thoughts (Radio Scotland) Mon 28 Feb. 12.20—12.30pm. Alistair Rowen. architectural historian and principal of Edinburgh College of An. obviously has a lugubrious streak. In this lunchtime series he roams around the mausoleums and crematoriums of Scotland in an attempt to dig up clues about the Scots‘ relationship with God and society.

I night, Reason and Realism (Radio Scotland) Wed 2 March. 6.15~6.50pm.

The fascinating story ofJohn Mair. a 16th century philosopher from East Lothian. At the height of the Renaissance. the University of Paris was the intellectual centre of Europe. and Mair was one of its greatest teachers. Amongst his pupils

were John Calvin, and Ignatius Loyola. who went on to found the Jesuits. He was also the author of the first popular history of Scotland.

I The Art oi Travel (Radio 4) Wed 2 March, 7.20—7.45pm. Another new travel series! This one revolves around the experiences and favoured destinations of particular people. For Bombay-born

wn'ter Firdaus Kanga a trip around Britain becomes an uncommon adventure both ' because of his foriegn perspective. and because he is wheelchair bound.

I Europhlle (Radio 4) Sat 5 March. ll.30am—noon. The first in a new series

of perspicacious and informative reports from around the continent of Europe. I Johnny Walker - Glastonbury Season ' (Radio 1) Sat 5 March. 7—9pm. A six- week run of recordings from Glastonbury Festival kicks off with sessions by Jamiroquai and Grant Lee Buffalo.

I blame llecembra (Radio 4) Mon 7 March. 7.45—9pm. The plot of this award- winning play by Nigel Moffatt has more than a little resemblance to that of the film ‘Truly. Madly. Deeply‘. This time a ()2- year-old Jamaican widow wills her

husband back. only to confront the less

than idyllic nature of their relationship

and. eventually. to leave her fantasies for life in the real world.

The List 25 February—IO March tool 65