Snuff moves

" 42-.

pa I" '4 ’1'." '2 Rain and Pace try to avoid mentioning Ron

‘lletectives do it every time’ must be pasted on all TV chiefs’ walls as the ready answer to their ratings worries. Post-Morse progmming has produced numerous hopeful variations on the classic crime crowd-pleaser. The latest offering, a three-part adaptation of one of Reginald liill’s popular novels asks you to stretch the imagination a little further and accept a comedy double-act as fictional cops. A Pinch 0f Snuff stars Gareth llale

and llorman Pace as university- educated Detective Inspector Peter Pascoe and the boorish, belching Chief Superintendent Andy llalzlel. They’re better-known for sketches involving excessive use of the ‘Ron’ word and llill agrees that the casting is unexpected, but diplomatically adds, ‘The nature of television means changes have to be made.’

The comics have approached their straight acting debuts seriously. llale (the one with the moustache) is llalziel. In addition to perfecting his Yorkshire accent he also had to put on weight for the role. ‘My character is supposed to be about eighteen stone. llorman on the other hand set himself the task of losing about a stone to play Pascoe.’

‘llalziel’s an instinctive person and he has quite a wicked wit,’ adds llale. “Although he sometimes likes people to think of him as a bit thick or thuggish there’s a lot going on behind those beady eyes.’ Pascoe, in contrast, is quietly spoken. ‘lie’s a bit of a terrier,’ says Pace, ‘once he’s got his teeth into an investigation he doesn’t let go.’ Their relationship is often sparky. ‘Pascoe is new and from the south,’ says liale, ‘so llalziel is often seen teasing him in a way which comes over as more aggressive than he probably means.’

The plot is a well-crafted mix of blue movies and murder, with a satisfying number of twists and turns. Hale and Pace are workmanlike perfomrers, but whether their gamble with serious drama will merit a second series remains to be seen. (Rebecca Ford)

A Pinch 0f Snuff is on Scottish on Saturday 9 April at 10.30pm.

[— Surf’s up

The phrase “Ask Aspel’ has a somewhat less innocent tinge to it nowadays, after all those llews (if The World articles, but back in the early 70s it meant an opportunity to revisit all the great (and clean) TV bits you’d missed, simply by sending in a polite request to the prematurely grey one.

That such an effective and cheap idea should languish untouched for so long in the midst of frantic TV recycling is a surprise, but the wait is over. Those evil geniuses responsible for The Word, Planet 24, have dusted off the format for a suitably irreverent so: version, rejoicing in the one Surf Potatoes.

The chap they’ve hired to present this mix of clips, irreverent features and star-spotting is one Maxton Gig Beasley .lnr, a 22-yeanold whose nane alone suggests he has the potential to be an irritant in the Terry Christian league (the comparisons are compounded by the fact that dinrbo \V'" presenter llanl Rehr is Max’s co- host). Add in the fectolds that Max is

II! P0301 98M“ specialists Mlchlko koshlno, he plays bougos on The Word’s credit sequence and he co-wrote Ontar’s last albunr, and you’d be forgiven for hating him already.

Surf Potatoes goes out In the languorous Sunday afternoon slot

z '3. 3:33

an . hate ut- already? previously occupied by little House On The Prairie, so shouldn’t be too testing on the attention span. llnllke old Aspel, Max and llanl promise to bring ustheworstofTVaswellasthe best. Turn on, tune In, none out.

Surf Potatoes begins on Channel 4 on Saturday 17 April at11.451un.


live and kicking

Amid the Meeja brouhaha about Radio Five’s rolling news and sport, Radio Scotland have been quietly getting on with the Saturday afternoon sports coverage. Thom Dibdin reports live from Studio

Five at Queen Margaret Drive.

The dreaded question came an hour into Sportsound. while Dougie Wemham, the programme‘s producer and Sports Editor in Chief at Radio Scotland snatched a cup of coffee. ‘80, are you a football fan then, Thom?‘ he asks. Well, no, actually. But that’s the point: if the four-and-a-half hours of football coverage can get a football cynic going, then it should be good enough for anyone.

Sportsound has changed dramatically since Dougie took over in l99l, after seventeen years in TV. Gone are the five—six-minute ‘packages' of pre- recorded maten’al starting at 3pm. Gone too, is Saturday aftemoon‘s dedication to every minority sport in the Scottish canon. They still get their coverage, the previous week the programme had

concentrated on the rugby

lntemational, but for Saturday, 26 March on Sportsound, Football Rules. OK?

‘From three o'clock on Saturday afternoon, the information that interests most listeners is football reports,‘ says Sportsound presenter Richard Gordon. Brought in by Dougie from Radio Clyde in I992, the youthful Aberdonian spends every Saturday aftemoon behind the glass in Studio Five. Seamlessly fielding live reports from eight matches around the country, he provides gossip, feedback and those all- important goals as they happen for the listening punters.

Kick-off for Sportsound is at l.30pm,

_a full ninety minutes before the first

match starts. It‘s a chance for the

' programme to establish itself on air

before any of its rivals and pick up fans on their way to the matches. The pre- match period is spent setting the scene for the day‘s play all the football news you need to know, with scene- setting interviews from the featured matches and regular news of the team line-ups. There’s also room for the occasional package.

This Saturday the spotlight was on the unfortunate Cowdenbeath, creators of a new record in Scottish football: 37 league games at home without a win. ’We‘ve been sitting on this feature for several weeks, but haven’t had the time to use it,‘ explains Dougie, admitting to not wanting Cowdenbeath to win at home during that time. To say the report is a ‘wee bit tongue-in-eheek’ is an understatement. Even the local priest has been asked his opinion as an

Richard Gordon fields the sad news fro-W

the team’s failures.

An atmosphere of sustained mayhem pervades the production suite while the programme is on air. Interviews carried out at the grounds are piped straight into the studio to go out live. When more than one comes in at the same time, they are recorded to be played back as if they were live, although the listener wouldn’t be able to tell the differénce.

Once the games start, the pace gets frantic. The SFA allows live coverage of only the last five minutes of the first half and all the second half of a game which can’t be publicised in advance. All the material in this vital forty minutes before the commentary is live. Even if Richard is interviewing Alan Lorimer in Hong Kong for the Rugby Sevens, he can drop in the news of Motherwell’s first minute goal against Celtic, with who scored and how many goals that makes this season.

‘When Richard beats the live, video link to the Grandstand Results Service to the score, the feeling of pride among the studio technical team is tanglble.’

Soon the goals are piling up. After a winter of dull, goal-less games, there is a veritable flood. As the news comes in from around the country, the rush is on to get the information out first to the programme’s 300—375,000 listeners at home, at work, in the garden, the car, or even listening to their earphones at the football. When Richard beats the live,

video link to the Grandstand Results

Service to the score, the feeling of pride among the five-strong studio technical team is tangible.

Even at five to six, as the last headlines are read, the atmosphere is still electric with the adrenalin rush of live radio coursing around the studio. Another Saturday, another Sportsound, and well, it’s been a programme of two halves. And all that remains is to read out that final score: Cowdenbeath: nil; Berwick Rangers: five. This one will run and run.

Sportsound: Radio Scotland. Saturdays from 1.30pm. Stop Press: 0n 2 April Cowdenbeth

announcer reels off the sorry record of I beat Arbroath [-0 before 225 fans.

The List 8—21 April 1994 CC