As anyone who has seen People ()f'l'lte Valley will testify. ‘great TV drama‘ is not a phrase that readily accommodates the adjective ‘Welsh‘. The valleys may have given us Anthony Hopkins. Richard Burton. Angharad Rees. Windsor Davies and Catherine Zeta- Jones. but when it comes to memorable dramas the Welsh contribution has been the equivalent of a few dreary specks of dandruff lurking in the Celtic fringes.

‘There’s something about Mary’s eccentric wordy commentary that verges on the erotic.’

Hedd Wynn (Channel 4) then came as a welcome surprise. Here was a drama with all the potential to be a lengthy pseudo-mystical exploration of Welsh poetic sensibility. heavy on portentous symbolism and dreary versifrcation. The pitfalls positively loomed. Instead director Paul Turner gave them a swift Nigel Walker-esque body swerve and created an accessible. very human film. poignant and moving to be sure. but with plenty of redeeming humour and lightness oftouch.

It's the true story of young Welsh poet Ellis Evans. a gifted layabout growing up in one of those villages where vowels are in short supply. Huw Garmon plays Evans as a kind of wistful poetic chancer who knows just when to murmur a tragic couplet to a pretty young thing to persuade her to engage in a spot of open-air frolicking. He smiles slyly as his mentor congratulates him on the passion of his verse. but suggests he cuts down on the womanising and concentrate on the writing. ‘Where do you think the passion comes from'." Evans replies.

Evans‘s ambition to win the Bardic Chair at the annual Eisteddfod is interrupted by the First World War (in one of the film‘s few leaden moments. a friend in the pub says ‘Things aren‘t looking too good in the Balkans.’) and the inevitable conscription of our doomed hero. Even here. the film resists the temptation to go over the top along with its characters. The bleakness of life in the trenches emerges. but Hedd Wynn is a film about real life. the greys and greens of everyday existence. and avoids the black and white of

dogma. A sublime. delicate and restrained slice of human drama. it deserved its Oscar nomination.

Mary Goldring meanwhile was showing a touching concern about Seal’s ability to come up with a decent second album in The Goldring Audit (Channel 4). Ostensibly she was investigating the future of the British music industry. but you realised the main motivation was probably the producers having a bit of fun. getting the resolutely square establishment figure of fiftysomething Mary to mingle with disreputable music biz types like Alan McGee.

It made for riveting viewing. ifonly for the weirdness of the juxtapositions. There‘s something about Mary's eccentric wordy commentary that verges on the erotic. and music biz types. from company chairmen to A & R men queued up to try and please her with their rosy assessments of the British scene. She even ventured into one of those techno basements that look like they‘ve got several corpses lurking behind the brickwork. to nod nervously as a young gun assembled some beats and twiddles to create a disposable dance single. Mary was so enthralled she headed off to a specialist shop to check out the latest white labels. tapping along to polyrhythmic drum tracks while baseball-capped groovers stared at her pin-striped blue blouse. and like so many nervous. sheep-like trend-setters confronted by the truly

bizarre. began to doubt the coolness of

their own threads.

‘Huw Garmon plays Evans as a kind of wistful poetic chancer who knows just when to murmur a tragic couplet to a pretty young thing to persuade her to engage in a spot of open-air trollcking.’

As an analysis of course. the programme was much less rigorous than it thought. but what the hell. Facts and figures were reeled out at regular intervals. but that has never been the yardstick for measuring the viability of rock ‘n‘ roll. What I want to know is why are The Buzzcocks being used to advertise Red Mountain coffee? (Tom Lappin)


A selection of television highlights,

listed by day, in chronological order. Television listings compiled by Tom



I The Exorcist 0! Wood Green (Channel 4) 8—8.30pm. A documentary profile of Born Again Christian Paddy Shevlin who regularly undertakes to banish demons. and even performs the occasional miracle on the Al.

I Only Fools And Horses (BBC l) 8—8.50pm. Repeated classic comedy. with Del fretting about the heavily pregnant Raquel when a spate of rnuggings plague the estate. Meanwhile Uncle Albert is acting suspiciously.

I Dunroamin’ (BBCZ) 9—9.30pm. A new series looking at Scots who use their creative irnplulses to make their homes extraordinary. See preview.

I Home Improvement (Channel 4) ‘).30—l()pm. Tim Allen stars as TV handyman Tim Taylor. taking on all the household chores with ‘more power'.

I From A To 3: Tales Gt Modern Motoring (BBCZ) 9.3()—l().2()pm. Nicholas Barker's documentary series looks at how couples‘ relationships are affected by their cars.

I Roseanne (Channel 4) l()—10.3()pm. The American sitcom goes downhill apace with this episode resorting to a fantasy sequence as Roseanne dreams of a male model.

I The Eyes 0! laura Mars (Scottish) I().3()pm—12.25am. Faye Dunaway stars in a superior shocker as a fashion photographer who suffers premonitions of grisly murders. Support comes frotn the always excellent Tommy Lee Jones and Brad Dourif.

I The Jack Dee ShOW (Channel 4) l0.30—l l.05pm. The grumpy stand-up is joined by soul singer Mica Paris.

I Geldot Goes Goondiwindi (Channel 4) 1 l.()5pm—12. 10am. The cameras follow Bob Geldof and his ill-advised facial hair experiments to an outback party in Australia. where black ties and ball-gowns are mixed with large quantities of beer and rum.

I Fantasy League ’94 (BBCZ) 11.15—11.45pm. A further instalment of the shoddy soccer game-show with a suitably irreverent approach. hosted by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel.

I Neil Young In Concert (BBCZ) 12.35—1.15am. Something of a treat for Young fans this weekend. He‘s on Unplugged tomorrow. and. as a taster. this is an acoustic concert from 1971 featuring material from After The Goldrush and previewing songs from Harvest.


I The New Adventures 01 Superman (BBCI) 5.45—6.30pm. The superhero drama continues with Lois having to pose as the wife of Clark Kent for an undercover assignment.

I Seven Last Words From The Gross (BBCZ) 7.55—8.05pm. The first of seven dramatic religious films shown throughout Easter week featuring the specially composed music of James MacMillan. and shot in a Gorbals church.

I Unplugged: Neil Young (BBCZ)

8.05—9. l5pm. An acoustic session from the ever-eclectic Young performing material that spans two decades.

I Cracker: The Mad Woman In The Attic (Scottish) 9—10.50pm. A swift repeat for the first Cracker story. shown in a single. feature-length episode. Robbie Coltrane is the unpredictable psychologist called in to help with a amnesiac murder suspect.

I NYPD Blue (Channel 4) 9—10pm. Kelly and Sipowicz investigate the kidnapping of a young girl. while the station staff try to replace a stolen rabbit to cheer up a group ofchildren.

I Arena: Trouble Man The Last Years Of Marvin Gaye (BBCZ) 9. l 5—10.30pm. The full story of the bizarre final years of the soul singer. who was shot by his father on 1 April. 1984.

I Don’t Forget Your Toothbnrsh (Channel 4) 10—1 l.()5pm. Breakfast king Chris Evans hosts the live entertainment and game show with help from fellow wackoid Jools Holland.

I Without Walls Special: Expletives Deleted (Channel 4) 11.05—11.35pm. Channel 4 opens its Saturday night swearfest with a surprising edition of No! Call My Blltflliosted by Auberon Waugh. A host of celebrities and pundits attempt to define some of the more common expletives. See preview.

I Without Walls Special: The Greatest F@!£"?! Show On TV (Channel 4)

l 1.35pm—midnight. ()ur own Jerry Sadowitz looks at the proud history of swearing on TV. frorn Kenneth Tynan to the heady moments of Grundy vs Pistols. See preview.


I Moviewatch (Channel 4) 6—6.30pm. Johnny Vaughan hosts the last in the current run of the film review show from Hollywood. Four of the best punters frotn the series review Kult’fm’nia. litre/(lieu! and Belle Ep() 1116.

I Pie In The Sky (BBC 1) 7.3()v~8.20pm. Richard Griffiths stars as crime-busting cook Henry Crabbe. forced to play host to a Fraud Squad surveillance team.

I Anna lee (Scottish) 8.15—l().15pm. When a female pop singer is found dead. Anna sets out to prove that the murderer is a millionaire record-company boss.

I Ain’t Misbehavin’ (BBC l) 8.20—8.50pm. Peter Davison. Lesley Manville. Nicola Pagett and John Duttine star in the unappealing infidelity comedy. I De liro: Jacknite (Channel 4) ‘)prii—l().55am. De Niro plays the friend of badly traumatised Vietnam veteran lid Harris whose visit causes tension between Harris and his sister Kathy Baker. De Niro is reliably efficient but the drama is somewhat overwrought.

I Silas Marner(BBC2)9.50—l1.20pm. In the wake of Mir/(Ilemurt'lr fever. BBCZ have dragged another George Eliot adaptation out of the cupboard. Ben Kingsley stars as the lonely weaver falsely accused of theft who becomes a bitter recluse and rniser. His life is changed when he finds an orphaned child outside his cottage.

I The Fourth Protocol (Scottish) 10.30pm—12.40am. Michael Caine. Pierce Brosnan and Joanna Cassidy star in a turgid adaptation of a Frederick Forsyth novel about a British spy assigned to foil a Soviet bomb plot.

I The Easter Stories: The Landlord’s Tale (BBCI) 11—] 1.15pm. Assembled British comedy actors perfomi updated interpretations of the Gospels in daily playlets. shown throughout the week. The series opens with Mike Harding as the landlord who rented out his upstairs room for The Last Supper.

The List 25 March-7 April 1994 N