V TV REVIEW
It’s a sad truth that the more conservative a country. the more delight its citizens take in the feeblest barbs of satire directed at authority figures. It‘s a somewhat pathetic symptom. the equivalent of sticking your tongue out surreptitiously when a particularly nasty bully who has given you a good kicking turns his back.
In televisual terms. the cringing sneer
ofa success story in recent years. Spitting Image demonstrated that you didn't have to be clever about it. if you had the right collection of lavatorial jokes. Have I Go; News For You .7 and Drop The Dead Donkey exhibited the same taste for blunt weaponry. and the latest challenger to enter the lists. House III Windsor (Scottish) follows the recipe slavishly.
The dear old Royal Family are the butts ofGranada‘s nasty little sitcom. No problem there. but the jokes and the referencesjust seem so 1993. Which is unforgivable really because we are informed that some scenes are recorded just days before transmission. to ensure topicality. Drop The Dead Donkey style. The trouble with targeting such
every twist. every salacious little innuendo. every sly reference has been
‘Anyone who has tailed to hit the remote control in time when they hear that 8802 watt howling will agree that the last thing the country needs right now is another Late Show.’
[mac a thousand times before.
And here they all are again: the gags about Princess Margaret‘s truculencc. Prince Philip's obnoxiousness. Camilla Parker-Bowles's availability. A particular victim is Prince Edward. Comics on the live circuit have been making references to lidward's supposed sexual predilections for years, but it is slightly unsettling to hear crude lines about his enjoying having mud crammed into every orifice while in the
x 82 The List 20 May- 2 June 1994
at the great and bad has been something
high-profile people as the Royals is that
5 Marines and the heavily nudge and
l wink-laden. ‘Edward would be very
1 pleased to have a touch ofGeorge
1 Michael.‘ Fnarr. fnarr. very subversive. I In between the innuendos and tacky
. little digs is a very old-fashioned class l conflict comedy featuring Leslie
I Phillips as the snooty Lord Chancellor and Warren Clarke as the brash PR supremo. not-so-fresh out of Fleet Street. Phillips and Clarke are terrific comedy actors and do their best with scrappy material. but it's relentlessy shallow stuff. Clarke‘s character is ‘Max Kelvin’. a none-too-subtle
' reference that could prove tnore reckless than all the Royal gags put together. Royals might never sue. but Rottweilers do.
Anyone who has failed to hit the remote control in time when they hear that BBC2 wolfhowling will agree that the last thing the country needs right now is another [we Show. That seems to be what Don’t Look Down (Scottish) aspires towards. and to date it‘s not a pretty sight. The format is the problem. Janice Forsyth‘s penthouse apartment plays host to a couple of overlong recorded reports with some of the dullest people you’ll encounter this side of an SNP political broadcast. The New Visions season sparked off a mish-mash of sound—bites reminiscent of little sister programme NB but without the merciful brevity. Non-sequiturs. incoherence and dull Dutchmen droning on were left in the final edit for the poor viewers to sort out for themselves.
Hosting the culminating debate. with her guests arranged awkwardly on sofa and chairs like a bunch of late arrivals at the pub. Forsyth at least resisted the temptation to flap her arms around like Sarah Dunant. She‘s no diciplinarian though. The overlong debate .degenerated into a confused clash of voices as the camera pulled out to a distance. The cameraman obviously wanted to get away for last orders. and who could blame him'.’
Meanwhile. US cop shows are getting confusing. Kyle Secor. the likeable Bayliss in Homicide has turned up in NYI’I) Blue. And he‘s having it away with Kelly‘s cx-wife. What does it all mean'.’ (Tom Lappin)
A selection of television highlights,
listed by day, in chronological order. Television listings compiled by Tom Lappin.
~ RIDAY 20
I A Skirt Through History (BBCZ) 9.30—10pm. The story of two women who were the subject of experiments by men. The 19th century Dr James Miranda Barry was disguised as a boy front the age of ten and trained as a doctor. never revealing her true identity. llatmah (.‘ullw ick was a working-class maid. befriended by a poet who believed the working classes had a nobility of soul greater than tlte gentry.
I Have 1 Got News For You (BBCJ) 10~10.30pm. Angus Deayton. lan Hislop attd Paul Merton are joined by comedian Hugh Dennis and former top cop John Stalker.
I Roseanne (Channel 4) 10-~10.30pm. Darlene comes home to face the music. A foolhardy deed considering her mother's loopittes‘s‘.
I Viva Cabaret (Channel .1) 10.30—11.20pm. Mark Thomas introduces a new series of the comedy and weirdness series. The guests in the first show irtclude liartha Kitt. sick magician The Amazing Johnathan. l.ee livans. The Doug Anthony Allstar's arid a troupe ofjugglers in (i- strings.
I Arena: Confessions Of A Pretty Lady (BBCZ) 11.15pm midnight. A profile of controversial actress and cornedienne Sandra Bernhard. Kris Clark‘s film blends archive footage. interviews and show sequences to build up a picture of a bizarre and confrontational performer. See preview.
I Gosh Boy (Chatutel 4) 11.50pm~1.10am. A delightfully-titled teen crime shocker front 1953. Probably the only film to feature not one Hermione bttt two (Badder and (iingold) as well as Joan Collins.
I Scottish Cup Final Grandstand (1313(1) l(l.-l0am--5.05pm. live coverage of the big match frorn llampden where Dundee L'nitcd take on holders and favourites Rangers.
I Morecambe And Wise - Bring Me Sunshine (BBC 1 ) 7.30—8. 10pm. Ben lilton continues his tribute to the Vic and Bob of the 70s. looking at their bizarre oil-screen domestic life.
I IIYPD Blue (Channel 4) 0— 10pm.
Sipow icz's sulky son Andy is the victim of a mistaken-identity arrest.
I Visions 0i Light (Channel 4)
10 11.45pm. A lengthy exploration ofthe art of the cinematographer. illustrated with clips from 125 films. Followed by Carol Reed’s The Third Man which won an Oscar for Robert 'l‘r‘asker's einematography.
I Seinfeld (BBCZ) l().()5—-10.30pm. The sublime New York sitcom finds Jerry facing a 550.000 fine for a library book that is 30 years overdue.
I Later With Jools Holland (BBCZ)
10.15 11.15pm. A top line-up performing live in the studio includes The Pretenders. lis an Dando. and the fellow Bostonian he stole a lot of his ideas from. Jortathan Richman.
I IIB (Scottish) 11pm» 11.30pm. Dougie \"ipond and Susan Maxwell host the arts and entertairnnents magazine. rounding up Mayfest events.
I Encounters: The Great Aussie Balloon Race (Channel J) 7 8pm. Adventurers Dick Smith and John Wallington attempt the arduous task ofcrossing Australia non-stop by balloon. The trip is complicated by a rival. Phil Kavanagh. who sets otit before them.
I John Sessions’s Likely Stories (BBCZ) 8.35 9.05pm. The silly and the satirical combine in another monologue from the wordy one. vaguely related to a New Zealand earth mother and her encounter with Cltris liubank.
I Watergate: The Scapegoat (BBCZ) ‘).()5--‘).55pm. The 1 'ixon scandal escalates as the third programme features an incriminating tape never previously broadcast.
- ' m s»; I Apocalypse Now (Channel 4)
‘I l 150p1u. Francis l’ot'd Coppola's unwieldy and ambitious Vietnam saga
stars Martin Sheen as the captain sent
upriver to deal with loony renegade Marlon Brando. 'l'aut. epic .stttff with memorable action set-pieces.
I The Knock (Scottish) ‘) 10pm. The Customs and lixcise drama sees our heroes attempting to bust a gold bullion smuggler.
I Family (BBCI ) 9.30- 10.20pm. The disintegration of the Spencer family continues in the third part of Roddy Doyle's drama. Daughter Nicola (Neili Conroy) leaves school and finds a boyfriend bttt her father Charlo remains an intimidating presence.
I Innocence Lost (BBCZ) 955—1 1.25pm. A two-part examination of one of America's most infamous child abuse cmcs In 1992 a day care centre employee was found guilty of 9‘) counts ofchild