Back down to
So, lust what did happen to the future? When were our dreams of clean-cut, multi-cultural, technicolour crews on spinning, wide-screen space stations abandoned in favour of interactive television and elaborate security systems to keep what’s lett oi the world out? When did we chose A Clockwork Orange over Star Trek?
Mission Moon attempts to chart the rise, tall and legacy of the Apollo series of manned flights, using a collage of interviews, archive radio, mission transmissions and musical snapshots of the space-race era, illustrating the impact these launches had on popular culture.
Over the course of an hour, the premise is that whether this was the ‘crowning achievement ot the 20th century’, ‘the last great adolescent political gesture’ or simply a Pit job for Kennedy in the wake of the Bay of
Pigs, when lleil Armstrong’s teet settled on moon dust, a host of implications were raised. For the most part, these have been quietly forgotten.
While this may sound dry on paper, the accidental poetry and longing of old astronauts discussing the noise of take-oft or views of earth lrom the lunar surface are full of poignancy. The pollution leit floating in space, says one space pioneer sadly, is final evidence ‘that once there was a species which reached tor the stars, and overreached its grasp’.
Musically, the programme has, among others, contributions from Jack Kerouac, a touch of prime rockabilly and some optimistic noodlings from the perennially creepy ex-Byrd Roger McGuinn. Trouble is, there are so many sci-ti and lunar-related songs around, you keep expecting ones that never 2 come. Gil Scott-Heron’s succinct and searing ‘Whitey’s on the Moon’ is, for example, noticeable by its absence. Any chance of a ‘ilock on the Moon’ series, tab One FM? Thought not. (Damien love)
; Mission Moon is on Radio 1 on Sunday I 17 July at 7pm.
I llistory on the lloot (Radio 4. Saturday 16, 4pm) The ﬁrst in a new series of investigative history programmes looks for the missing plans of Blackpool Tower. which is a lOO-years-old this year.
I Janice Forsyth (Radio Scotland. Saturday 16. 10pm) Forsyth returns with a new series of her show which mixes music and chat. including a new slot ‘My Magazine'. which asks celebrities to design their own magazine. select a cover star. review a ﬁlm and chose a subject. dead or alive. for a star interview.
Sunday 17. 12.15pm) Media shrink Dr Anthony Clare is back with a new series of the show which probes celebrity psyches. First up in the chair is Comedy Actress of the Year. Joanna Lumley. who talks about beauty. ageing and the after- life. despite claiming to be as ‘shallow as a puddle’.
I Big Girls, llo Blouses (Radio Scotland. Monday 18. 12.20pm) This week-long series on women in sport presented by Lisa Summers kicks off with a look at women's rugby. The series continues at the same time each day this week. with sports including curling. hockey and golf.
l I Jump the 0 (Radio Scotland. Monday
l 18. 7pm) Radio Scotland‘s music show
i tonight features Canadian singer/song
writer Bruce Cockburn.
j I Lee and Herring (Radio 1. Monday 18.
5 9pm) Student favourites Stewart Lee and Richard Herring return with an expanded
I version of their ‘Fist of Fun' series. an occasionally inspired collection of sketches. jokes and plain silliness.
l I From the Glitter to the Gulch (Radio 4.
j Tuesday 19. 10am) Comedian Pete
; McCarthy and poet Roger McGough
travel through the United States in the
radio equivalent of a road movie. This
week it‘s casinos. cabaret and quickie
marriages in Las Vegas.
I Stones and Bones (Radio Scotland.
Wednesday 20. 6.45pm) This new series
presented by Jack Regan takes an
archaeological and geological look at
Scotland. hunting for clues about how the
landscape was formed.
I Costing the Earth (Radio 4. Wednesday
20. 8.15pm) Reporter Mark Whittaker
returns for another series of this
envionmental issues programme. The ﬁrst
edition looks at the impact the huge
demand for paper-based packaging has on forests in Scandanavia.
i ram-.7“ \x
I Uncle Dynamite (Radio 4. Thursday 21. 10am) Heart-throb of the moment Hugh Grant plays up his foppish qualities in this radio adaptation of the P. G. Wodehouse yarn. Grant plays Pongo. the nephew of classic.Wodehouse eccentric Lord lckenham.
Cagney and Lacey they ain‘t - or at least not yet. The pair of novice private detectives in Chandler & Go (BBC!) have a lot to learn before they can match their savvy American sisters down on the streets. But in the emotion and personal problems department. they're right up there.
‘ller life’s basically a Persii ad until she discovers some married men actually visit prostitutes and lie to their wives.’
Setting up a private investigation agency isn't the obvious way of coping with a messy divorce — most people opt for a Caribbean cruise or chocolate binge — but Elly Chandler (Catherine Russell) decides it's the only way she‘s going to get that man right out of her life. She ropes in her sensible sister-in- law Dee (Barbara Flynn) and from the off it's clear this isn‘t another hunt-the- blunt-instrument caper. Chandler & C0 is really about. like. relationships and stuff.
We‘re in for plenty talk. probably some tears (very cathartic) and little action. lfthere is a car—chase. it’s certain Dee and Elly won‘t exceed the speed limit in a built up area — a small child could run into the road at any time. for Chrissakes. This is a show that values fatnin above vicarious thrills every time.
Elly's the sexy one who's already discovered men are bastards. Dee's still happily married to her dependable, if unreconstructed, lawyer husband (‘Family comes ﬁrst. Dee.‘) with a daughter and teenage son (’Mu-um. where‘s my packed lunch?‘ ‘lt‘s in the fridge waiting for you to make it.’) Her life‘s basically a Persil ad until she discovers some married men actually visit prostitutes and lie to their wives. How could they?
Chandler & Co has steered well clear ofthe tougher-than-blokes beat that Helen Mirren patrols in Prime Suspect. Despite the Phillip Marlowe nod ofthe title. Dee and Elly are thoroughly soft- boiled. and more believable for it. Private investigators always say their lot isn’t a glamorous one — all leg work and hanging about in Ford Sierras with only a Thermos for company. lfso, you can't fault Chandler & Co for its realism - it revels in the everyday
details. By avoiding the huge body counts of Morse and latter-day Taggart. this series should continue to probe gently at the foibles and peccadilloes of suburban Britain for many episodes to come.
Stories of the bravery of disabled individuals who overconte the twin handicaps of society's prejudice and the disability itself have long been a staple oftelevision documentaries. However this form was neatly inverted in ‘The Wannabes‘, the remarkable ﬁrst programme in the new series of Over the Edge (BBCZ) which springs from the BBC‘s disability unit. What do you make of able-bodied people who want to become disabled; who have. in the case of George and Paul. the desire to lose a limb?
George is a pony-tailed. 68-year-old American who you imagine knocks out B-movie screenplays for a living. In fact George‘s claim to fante is that he shot his leg off with a shotgun. in cold blood as it were. This was a carefully planned operation — he practiced on a leg of pork ﬁrst to check trajectories. The irony was that doctors spent twelve days trying to save the leg before agreeing to their patient‘s demand for an amputation. After years of unhappiness, which be traced back to his parents‘ sexual repression. George at last feels comfortable in his three- limbed body.
‘The irony was that doctors spent twelve days trying to save the leg before agreeing to their patient’s demand for an amputation.’
Englishman Paul hasn‘t the nerve for gunplay but has spent over twenty years, since the age ofeight. praying for the loss of a leg. Paul broke down in front ofthe camera after a surgeon he thought had agreed to carry out the amputation pulled out. ‘What do 1 do?’ he sobbed. ‘1 don‘t want to risk killing myselfbut 1 don’t have a legitimate option.‘
But does Paul have a legitimate problem? The programme makers offered no real basis for ajudgement. other than showing George's sincere belief that he is happier minus a leg and the obvious anguish of Paul. In the process they also forced viewers to consider their response to ‘real‘ disability. (Eddie Gibb)
‘72 The List 15—281uly 1994