V TV REVIEW
‘Those days were naughty but nice. nowadays anything goes.‘ The Trouble With The Seventies (Scottish) is that certain people seetn to believe it‘s a historical period as remote and safely distant as the Edwardian era. Hence you get professional tabloid tart Cynthia Payne sniggering raucously and reminding us that twenty years ago she was the ‘Freddie Laker of sex‘. only without the knighthood. The truth is. the legacy of the taste-challenged decade remains with us. and can still hurt. Probably the best policy is to try to forget it ever happened, and bury all the archive footage in a lead-lined vault somewhere beneath the Mojave desert. Oh. but too late. Coming to work this
‘The subtext seemed to be an apologia tor the excesses and offences of that decade, a kind of recidivist return to
wallow in those pre-Pc years.’
morning I spotted two girls wearing platform clogs and skinny rib sleeveless sweaters. and no they weren‘t part ofthe Royal Mile ‘70s Experience‘ theme park and heritage centre. The Dralon years are back and this time there‘s no hiding place.
London Weekend latched on to the trend for 70s nostalgia, oh about eighteen months too late. and wheeled out Michael Aspel to present a shoddy mixture of clips. clapped—out celebs and. well that‘s all really. lit a singularly unashamed piece of self- adoration the producers set out to cover the decade filtered entirely through the medium of TV (and usually London Weekend TV at that).
So politics was restricted to a swift Spitting Image routine with the standards of barrel-scraping wit usually associated with those irritating puppets. Latex replicas of Heath and Healey swapped leaden lines with no mention made of one of the greatest Prime Ministers this country has ever had. Harold Wilson. a man who managed to discover The Beatles. win the World Cup (albeit for England) and keep Mike Yarwood in employment.
Similarly. sport in the 70s apparently consisted of a dreary fat controller at LWT discovering darts. snooker and Eddie Kidd to delight the Iobotomised fans of lunchtime lTV. During these moments of unrelenting dullness. the
camera panned over the celebrity audience to reveal a fascinating cross- section of low-rent talent, post- menopausal relics from a small-screen golden age of tack: Angela Rippon.
; Paula Wilcox, Dennis Waterman. Sally ‘ James. Les Gray of Mud (looking increasingly like Frank front [iastEnders) and Gareth Hunt (‘actor or rhyming slang?‘ that was his catchphrase).
Actually. beneath the trivia and the jokiness (in this sort of company. you almost welcomed the arrival of Tony Slattery), The Trouble With The Seventies had a discerniny reactionary agenda. The subtext seemed to be an apologia for the excesses and offences of that decade, a kind of recidivist return to wallow in those pre-PC years.
‘ Aspel asked those wishing tojustify
themselves to form an orderly queue, everybody was going to get a turn. Miss World contestants and Page Three girls were wheeled out to say how nasty feminist protestors were as Aspel nodded sympathetically. Magpie presenter Jenny Hanley confessed to
. never wearing a bra on screen. except
for one particularly chilly filming session dowrt by the river. Sitcom writer Vince Powell defended his hit series Love Thy Neighbour in which Jack Srnethurst regularly called Rudolph Walker ‘Sambo'. Jonathan King claimed punk was the invention of 60s Svengalis like. well. himself.
King managed to make himself look ridiculous without any outside help but he should still have been wincing along with the rest the following evening as Harry Enfteld and Paul Whitehouse gleefully put the boot into the soft underbellies of assorted Radio One types in Smashie And llicey - The End OI An Era (BBCl). A spiteful. occasionally deliciously cruel. send-up of ﬂabby old DJs and their fondness for sanetirnonious philosophising. Enﬁeld and Whitehouse traced the history of ‘Radio Fab FM' through the 60s. the facial hair crimes ofthe 70s. the tribulations of punk (‘1 invented punk‘ claimed Nicey with a tell-tale curl of the lip) to the fateful day when there was no longer a place for our heroes and their Bachman Turner Overdrive record. ‘That‘s the trouble with these young DJs.‘ slurred Nicey in his reasonable DLT manner. ‘they‘re crap compared to us. Some of them are so young they‘re still in their 30s.‘ (Tom Lappin)
A selection at television highlights,
listed by day, in chronological order. Television listings compiled by Tom
I Only Fools And Horses (BBC 1) 8—8.50pm. Del‘s son and heir is born at last. and The Nags Head is running a sweep to guess the Trotter nipper’s name. I Dr Finlay (Scottish) 9—lOpm. The redecoration of Arden House causes bad tempers among the docs. Gripping eh?
I Home Improvement (Channel 4) 9.3(i—lOpm. Tim Allen stars as TV handyman Tim Taylor. forced to deal with a spot of inter-family bullying.
I From A To 8: Tales Of Modern Motoring (BBC2) 9.30—l().20pm. Nicholas Barker's documentary series looks at the arcane world of the company car. by which salesmen and executives define their professional status.
I Roseanne (Channel 4) 10—10.30pm. The increasingly horrific Roseanne faces up to a family Thanksgiving.
I Jo Brand Through The Cakehole (Channel 4) 10.30—11.05pm. A new series of stand-up and sketches from the psychiatric nurse turned TV star. See preview.
I Eurotrash (Channel 4) 11.05—1 1.35pm. Jean—Paul Gaultier and Antoine De Caunes return with anew run of the anarchic Euro-weird show. opening with reports on cyber sex and fashion excess. I Fantasy League ’94 (BBC!)
11.15—1 1.45pm. A further instalment of the shoddy soccer game-show with a suitably irreverent approach. hosted by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel.
I Beavis And Butthead (Channel 4) ll.35pm—l2.05am. After months of hype the MTV animated monsters of slackerdom arrive in your living-room. offering a dim-brained escapist lifestyle punctuated by mono-syllabic comments on a variety of pop videos. lQ-damaging stuff to rival The Word.
I Grand National Grandstand (BBC 1) 12. l5—5. 10pm. After last year‘s national embarrassment. things cart only get better for the Aintree showcase steeplechase. Desmond Lynam hosts the whole afternoon from Liverpool.
I The New Adventures 0i Superman (BBC1)5.45—6.30pm. The superhero drama continues with the Man of Steel attempting to field a gigantic meteor that threatens to destroy the earth.
I Arena: Philip K. Dick - A Day In The Afterlife (BBCZ) 7.35—8.35pm. An imaginative tour round the life and death of the influential science fiction writer interspersed with commercial breaks for ‘PKD products' endorsed by the likes of Fay Weldon. Elvis Costello and Terry Gilliam.
I Look Who’s Talking (Scottish) 8.30—l().15ptn. John Travolta and Kirstie Alley star in an execrable comedy revolving around the gimmick that the baby’s thoughts are voiced by Bruce Willis.
I NYPO Blue (Channel 4) 9- 10pm. The delectable Ms Abandando and Detective Medavoy get their act together.
I Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush (Channel 4) 10-] 1.05pm. Chris Evans plays host to another motley crew of vulgar would-be holiday-makers.
I A Pinch 0t Snutt (Scottish)
,lO.30—l 1.30pm. Comedians Hale and
Pace star itt yet another detective drama. playing a mismatched pair ofcoppers in an adaptation of Reginald Hill’s novel. See preview.
I A Dry White Season (BBCZ) lO.55pm—l2.45am. Shown as part of the ‘South Africa season’. Euzhan Palcy's ﬁlm is based on Andre Brink‘s novel about art Afrikaner (Donald Sutherland) whose eyes are opened to the horror of apartheid when his black gardener is arrested and apparently tortured to death. Marlon Brando makes a brief appearance as a civil rights lawyer.
I BAFTA Film and Television Awards (Channel 4) ll.05pm-12.15am. Not the star-studded spectacle of the main awards. but the evening for autettrs hosted by Sheena McDonald with special awards for contribution to cinema and TV.
I Ilarry Entield’s Guide To The Opera (Channel 4) 6—6.30pm. Harry. with a little help from the Opera Ponces. continues his guide with excerpts from Don Giovanni and Turandot.
I Pie In The Sky (BBCl) 7.30—8.20pm. Richard Griffiths stars as crime-busting cook Henry Crabbe, investigating the murder of one of his snail suppliers.
I Ain’t Misbehavin’ (BBC 1) 8.20—8.50pm. Peter Davison, Lesley Manville. Nicola Pagett and John Duttine star in the unappealing inﬁdelity comedy. I The Best Oi nory Bremner - Who Else? (Channel 4) 8.30—9pm. Highlights from the recent series with Rory getting help from John Bird and John Fortune.
I The Knock (Scottish) 9-10.30. A new drama series set in the world of Customs and Excise. In the first episode the team is on the trail of a drugs baron and stumbles on a Krugerrand smuggler.
I De Niro: GoodFellas (Channel 4) lOpm—l2.40am. Scorsese‘s violent. funny and occasionally affectionate portrait of the everyday life of Italian hoodlums features De Niro as the father figure to Ray Liotta‘s ambitious young wiseguy. Joe Pesci steals the film as an amiable psychopath with an unusual way of tipping waiters.
I Don’t look Down (Scottish) 10.45—11.30pm. Janice Forsyth hosts a new series devoted to providing a critical overview of the Scottish arts scene. See preview.
I The South Bank Show (Scottish) 11.30—12.30pm. Melvyn Bragg hosts a profile of fantasy/horror writer Clive Barker. tracing his progress from Liverpool to Hollywood.
I Spaced Out: Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (BBC2) 6—7.30pm. Craig Charles introduces a new season of sci-ft movies. starting with a particularly dull 1979 title. I Rhinestone (Scottish) 7.50—10pm. Dreadful country music comedy with Dolly Parton as the singing star who has to turn loud-mouthed Brooklyn cabbie Sylvester Stallone into a star to win a bet. I Eastinders (BBCI) 8—8.30pm. The less-than-chirpy Cockneys go thrice- weekly with a new Monday edition. The soft southern nances don't have the bottle to go head-to-head with Coronation Street though. oh no.
66 The List 8—21 April 1994