I listen Without Prejudice (Radio Scotland. Friday l7. 12.20pm). The ﬁnal documentary drama in Radio Scotland‘s anti-racist season examines prejudice that might have nothing to do with skin colour. I World Cup Football (Radio 5. Friday l7. 7.35pm and subsequently). Radio 5 kicks off its comprehensive coverage of USA '94 with live commentary on the opening ceremony and Germany v Bolivia game.
I Gay Pride ’94 (Radio I. Saturday l8. reports through the day). Lynn Parsons and Kevin Greening cover the annual celebration of lesbian and gay culture from Brockwell Park in South London.
I nanny Baker In New York (Radio 1. Saturday 18. 10am). The chirpy Cockney broadcasts live from Broadway as Ireland prepares to take on Italy in the Giants Stadium. The city should be strangely quiet as all the cops and hoodlums head for the stadium.
I Billy Joel In Concert (Radio 1. Saturday 18. 7pm). The diminutive songwriter plays all the hits and more (except ‘Uptown Girl‘ dropped from the set after his split with Chrissie Brinkley) live from Frankfurt.
I The Sunday Play: Measure ior Measure (Radio 3. Sunday 19. 7pm). Saskia Reeves. Ronald Pickup. John Shrapnel. Bill Nighy. Linda Marlowe and Adrian Edmondson head the cast of the Bard‘s complex comedy with a ‘back to basics‘ theme. as the puritanical Angelo experiences an uncontrollable desire which he must satisfy.
I Wimbledon ’94 (Radio 5. Monday 20. l. l5pm). The annual grunting and groaning get under way at the All England Club. and that‘s just the punters who have seen the prices of the strawberries.
I Thirty Minute Theatre: Declaring Martian Law (Radio 4. Tueday 21. 2.02pm). John Hegley writes and stars in
his ﬁrst play. a semi-dramatised stream of consciousness taking our hero John from his local caff to Mars. ancient Rome and Jerusalem. Hegley‘s friend Tony plays John's friend Tony.
I The Story or Pop: Weird Scenes In The Gold Mine (Radio 1. Tuesday 2 1. 9pm). The tale of the underground 60s psychedelia movement. including The Doors. The Grateful Dead and Captain Becfheart.
I Roger Whittaker’s Music From Africa (Radio 2. Wednesday 22. 9.03pm). It‘s more the sort of thing you associate with Andy Kershaw than our Rog. but nevertheless the bearded one begins a new series on African music kicking off with two programmes from his homeland. Kenya.
I The Fiery Angel (Radio 3. Thursday 23. 7.30pm). A performance from La Scala of Prokoﬁev's opera of obsession. passion. black magic and murder. performed by a predominantly Eastern European cast.
I Glastonbury (Radio 1. Saturday 25. 2pm). Live music from the three-day crusty-fest from the West Country. Nine hours of coverage on the Saturday includes Bjork. Spin Doctors. World Party and the inevitable Levellers.
I The Jacobin (Radio 3. Saturday 25. 6.30pm). A cultured alternative to all those noisy Glastonbury sorts is Dvorak‘s little-known opera about political intrigue and friendships in a Czech village.
I Kaleidoscope (Radio 4. Saturday 25. 7.20pm). John Tague looks at the changing role of the radio DJ and the rising proﬁle of young club DJs from London. Leeds and Manchester. who think they‘re amazingly cool just because they can work a record deck.
I Guitar Greats (Radio 1. Sunday 26. 12.03pm). The likes of Ralph McTell. Albert Lee. Juan Martin. Midge Ure. Gordon Giltrap and more join forces to form a special guitar orchestra for National Music Day.
I The Sunday Play: The Ghost Sonata (Radio 3. Sunday 26. 7.30pm). Frank Finlay. Dorothy Tutin and Frederick Treves star in Strindberg‘s chamber play about a poor student chancing upon a rich invalid and ﬁnding murder. deceit. adultery and betrayal.
I Aida (Radio 3. Monday 27. 7.25pm). The Royal Opera‘s production of Verdi's classic tale ofa captive princess who loves an enemy captain. broadcast live from Covent Garden.
I Anorak 0i Fire (Radio 4. Tuesday 28. 2.02pm). A surprise hit at last year‘s Fringe. Stephen Dinsdale’s comic monologue is an apologia for the often sad. but occasionally uplifting world of the trainspotter.
I Peggy Seeger Retrospective (Radio 2. Wednesday 29. 8.30pm). Jim Lloyd talks to singer Peggy Seeger who. with her late husband Ewan MacColl. did much to change the face of folk music in Britain in the 50s and 60s.
Blorit live in. olastonbiny on 25 Jun
arenas; “in cannons“
A lot of idealised. revisionist nonsense has been written about the 60s. In hindsight it seems that about 30 pampered London sorts wearing too much patchouli and facial hair.
‘listening to phoney Eastem mystics and
over-indulging in soft drugs got all the attention. while the really ground— breaking work was going on in the regions.
Sixties music. ﬁlm and politics are hackneyed reference points. but it‘s often forgotten that TV drama was bom. had an unruly. rebellious adolescence and came of age. all in that decade. and most of it was due to the ﬁrst generation of Welfare State working-class kids made good. At the time. they said every other train at Euston or St Pancras had another writer bringing down his scripts. Looking back from the 90s. for once it is possible to feel wistful about an era when the likes of Bennett. Waterhouse and Sillitoe were on every Wednesday. instead of a high-concept Euro co- production staning Catherine Zeta- Jones as a lovable lady vet.
Dennis Potter‘s point of arrival in the capital was Paddington. but his Forest of Dean upbringing was as potent an ingredient in his work as any ofthose other writers‘ modish Northemness. Potter. challenged only by Bleasdale. went on to become the most important TV dramatist (and arguably most important writer. given the reach of television) of the 70s and 80s. continually pushing back the margins of his chosen medium. In the money- ﬁxated. slack. lazily commercial atmosphere of mid-90s television. his death is a substantial loss.
An Interview With Dennis Potter (Channel 4) recorded and shown earlier this year when Potter was ﬁrst diagnosed with temiinal cancer. and repeated as a tribute. was a poignant and powerful plea for the power of television, given extra potency by Potter‘s lucid appreciation of his imminent death. ‘We tend to forget life can only be deﬁned in the present tense.‘ he said. with a grace and patience he would never have allowed his characters. He was interested in the frailties, conceits and weaknesses of human beings. You get the feeling he would be uncomfortable depicting the courage and conviction he showed in this ﬁnal conversation.
Michael Gambon's character Philip Marlowe in The Singing Detective expressed a ‘witty despair and
cynicism‘ that critics wrongly attributed to his writer. Potter had his fair share of bleakness and misanthropy. but his vision. both in person and in his plays. was coloured by an almost idealistic British socialist vision ofjustice, hope and decency. His resentment of Americanist vulgarisation of his culture and his people could verge on puritanism. his values were deﬁantly out of step with 80s hip materialism. but his works were suffused more with love and awe than hate and pessimism. From Pennies From Heaven. the perfect Singing Detective through to last year‘s Lipstick On Your Collar. sentiment and emotion oozed out of the lip-synched period soundtracks. ‘Cheap songs have something of the psalms of David about them.‘ he said. and he was TV‘s ﬁnest exponent of pop spirituality. :1 complex moralist in 3/4 time.
‘It is possible to feel wistful about an era when the likes of Bennett, Waterhouse and Sillitoe were on every Wednesday, instead oi a high- concept Euro co-productlon starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as a lovable lady vet.’
His last months were spent in fevered writing. fuelled by liquid morphine and a feeling that he could ‘really communicate what I was feeling. what the world ought to know.‘ But he was at pains to point out that his situation was ‘a fantasy plot. You‘ve got three months to live. Who do you kill?‘ Potter toyed with the idea of blowing away Rupert Murdoch. whom he held largely responsible for debasing the nation‘s tastes. On reﬂection he thought it more worthwhile to concentrate on completing two new dramas. Karaoke and Cold LaZarus will reach your screens sometime in 1995. Michael Grade and Alan Yentob have agreed to Potter‘s wish that they will be screened on both BBC and Channel 4. and those who have read the scripts pronounce them the best work he has ever done. If so they will be an ample memorial. but an even better one would be some retum to the values of the single play. to innovative and questioning TV drama. to a TV climate where a new Potter can be cosseted. developed and can come to fruition. Don‘t hold your breath. (Tom Lappin)
The List 17-30 June I994 89