IMEEEEEIIIII White nights
Anyone who saw The White Room’s Reggae Special last year will know what it’s all about. If not, it’ll take a detailed explanation and a degree in cultural studies, but the gist is this: put bands in a white room with a studio audience and let them play live with a minimum of gimmicks. Get Mancunian wit Mark Radcliffe in to front the show and, er, that’s it really. At time of going to press, no confirmed band line-ups were available, but names bandied around include Jeff Buckley, Belly and Annie Lennox.
bit of a departure for Radcliffe whose natural environment seems to be among the amiable anarchy of his night-time Radio 1 slot. His love of trivia and chums-in-the-studio approach make a Danny Baker comparison reasonable; the key difference is that Radcliffe’s show beams out of Manchester. Along with sidekick and former Fall guitarist Mark ‘Lard’ Riley, Radcliffe did a brief telly slot last year presenting Channel 4’s Glastonbury coverage, but this is his first large scale expedition onto the small screen.
In keeping with Radcliffe’s wide- ranging passion for music and total lack of interest in showbiz glitz The White Room aims to put music first. ‘lt’s for people who want to see bands play live, who for whatever reason — financial, geographical or lifestyle —
Presenting a television show marks a Q
The White Room: minimalist music show
just can’t get out to see as many bands as they want,’ says Radcliffe. ‘lt’s a kind of no-frills way of seeing bands play live.’
The shows will be recorded the night before broadcast somewhere in London. Radcliffe doesn’t seem too sure about the studio’s whereabouts - ‘I don’t live in London,’ he explains, eager to distance himself from any idea that he is part of the capital’s smart set. ‘We will be recording it live but obviously if someone completely screws it up, like me, we’ll do it
again,’ he says. ‘The bands will
probably sail through and I’ll be
fumbling for words in front of an
3 audience of ieering hecklers.’
. (Jonathan Trew) The White Room starts on Saturday 11 March on Channel 4.
I Your Place or Mine?: A Harley Street Address (Radio 4) Sun 12 Mar. 9pm. Dave Thomas is a Sarf London builder complete with tattoos and ‘Iionzie' hairstyle. His dream is to see his name on a brass plaque on Harley Street and. armed with a recently acquired diploma in hypnotherapy. he believes it can only be a matter of time. But will the well-heeled docs. shrinks and clients of Harley Street make room for Thomas“?
I Cult Culture: Radio Two Arts Programme (Radio 2) Sun 12 Mar. 10.03pm. With Edinburgh's Star Trek exhibition still proving a magnet to local Klingons and Captain Kirk lookalikes. the Radio Two Arts Programme poses the question ‘What makes cult viewing?‘ Media critic Peter Fiddick goes in search of a formula and asks why we feel the need to worship the likes of Dr Who and Captain Scarlet.
I Storyline: Stardust Kills (Radio Scotland) Mon 13 Mar. noon. Robbie ‘Cracker’ Coltrane is the voice behind Simon Brett's two-part Philip Marlowe yarn. as Storyline settles down for a week of'detective stories.
I Kane Over America (Radio Scotland) Wed l5 Mar. 6.15pm. Pat Kane comes face to face with the barrel of a shotgun in the second instalment of his six-part survey of American life. and asks what kind of political values the burgeoning gun culture in the States reflects.
I Speaking as an Expert (Radio 4) Fri 17 Mar. 8.50pm. Nothing could be easier than the life of a food writer. thinks Laurie Taylor. till his first week on the job. In an attempt to fool the experts on the panel of the famous Egon Ronay guide into giving him a job. Taylor takes a crash course in food writing and finds there‘s more to
those florid descriptions of flavour than meets the eye.
I Invisible Histories (Radio 4) Sat l8 Mara-1pm. In the first of a new series that aims to shed light on the hidden history of Britain‘s black culture. David Dabydeen. director of Caribbean Studies at Warwick University. traces the fortunes of two long -orgotten bestselling black authors of the 18th century.
I You’re a Big Boy How, Francis: The Radio Two Arts Programme (Radio 2) Sun l9 Mar. 10.03pm. Barry Norman. Tommy Steele. Kathleen Turner and Bob Hoskins are among those assembling to celebrate the career of Francis Ford Coppola. the man behind classic films including Apocalypse Now and The Godfather.
I Joklng Apart (Radio 2) Sun 19 Mar. 7.30pm. Lenny Henry and friends present the current face of black British stand-up and looks at how the restrictions of a mainly white alternative comedy scene have given rise to a distinctive and separate strand of new black comedy in the UK. With Angie Le Mar. Felix Dexter. and Jefferson and Whitfield.
I Devices and Desires (Radio 2) Tue 21 Mar. 9pm. The gadgets and gizmos that have changed our lives are examined as part of National Science Week. Do labour- saving devices really save time? Will computer technology give us the fully
I automated house of the 21st century?
' Veteran broadcaster John Timpson asks
i the questions.
I I The Home Front (Radio 4) Fri 24 Mar.
; 10.02pm. The detailed diaries kept by
‘ hundreds of British civilians during the
: ‘Mass Observation‘ scheme of World War ;II are the basis of this major new series. 'The ﬁrst programme ‘These Foolish .Things' looks at the ‘Munich Period' of
i 1938—1939 and the impact of the limpending war on ordinary lives. (Ellie fCarr)
She's coming out. I-Iolloway's most popular con has kept her nose clean for eight years — a model prisoner. the gov‘ner called her ~ and now at last she‘s coming out. It‘s a changed world — mobile phones and Chippendales are new for starters ~ but what really
unnerves Dolly Rawlins is not knowing the lie of the land. who to trust. The excellent Ann Mitchell has
reprised her role as Dolly in She’s Out (Scottish). Lynda La Plante's sequel to her 1983 women-in-crime drama Widows about a lady-like diamond thief. In lVll/UII'S, Dolly was the wife of an armed robber killed in active service (she thought). Along with three accomplices she decided to carry on her husband's unfinished business. btrt after a second series skirmish in Brazil. Dolly wound tip behind bars for offing her inconveniently resurrected hubbie.
The charm of the first series. and now this post-porridge sequel. was the nifty inversion of male/female relationships in the classic cops arid robbers genre, with men playing the cut-out roles of policeman or husband.
Now she's out. a collection of former prison mates are circling round Dolly. soft-soaping her in the hope of catching a glint from her diamond haul. The bounty hunters gather to spring-clean the rambling (.irange manor house chosen as the venue for Dolly's surprise coming out do. The collection of brassy
jailbirds Hoovering the house is La
Plante's nod to the usual role of women as either scrubbers or trophy wives in gangster lore.
Dolly isn't taken in. of course — you don‘t hang on to £6 million worth of sparklers without being suspicious. Anyway she has her own plans for the loot. like setting up a refuge for battered women and their kids. Signs are that La Plante has big plans for her hardcase heroine with a heart of gold.
So much for widows. Now orphans. five of 'em. trying desperately to hold the family together after the death of their parents in a car smash. Six months down the line. the raw grief has subsided — we'll never be sure how exactly each one coped — and the Salinger off spring are still surviving as a family unit. keeping the social
services at bay. The set-up for Party of Five (Channel -I) is so simple a kind
of urban Waltons for the ‘)()s after Ma
and Pa were tragically killed in a
cox cred-wagon pile—up.
Let‘s meet the family. living irt their San l-‘ranciscan house with a view of the ocean. In descending order. there's Charlie. a 24-year-old who‘s born to slack bttt finds his style crarrtpcd as legal guardian; hard-working Bailey. w ho's only sixteen but boy. does he feel like the responsible adult; Julia. the pouty-lippcd adolescent. who's just starting to. y"know. date boys and stuff: ('laudia‘. the pre-teen girl-prodigy who plays violin like an angel; and baby ()wcn. who has mostly crawl-on parts.
Apart from the obvious emotional trauma. the Salinger siblings are finding it tough sustaining the lifestyle to which they had clearly become accustomed. They' have to hire a new nanny and get the telephone reconnected and the sink needs unblocked but the plumber wants cash tip-front and the mortage payment's due at the end of the month and there's only $35 in the bank account. In short. their parents have left them a big house. a modest trust fund which pays otrt quarterly and a whole bunch of suburban headaches.
The premise of Party (if/"ire is neat. allowing some kind of [.()I'(/ oft/re Flies. no adults, no rules thing to develop, bill the delivery strays the wrong side of schmaltzy. Sample dialogue: ‘l'm scared.‘ ‘Don't be — we'll work it out.‘ ‘This wouldn’t have happened if mum and dad were here.‘
Yeah, but if mum and dad were here. there wouldn't have been a television series. We want our American teenagers to be like Darlene and Becky from Roseanne. not a bunch of psycho- babbling wimps too busy working through their emotions to nip behind the bike sheds for a smoke.
Which reminds me. did anyone see Pot Hight (Channel 4)? l was too scared to turrt on the telly with all those detector vans out patrolling the streets looking fora btrst. They can tell which channel you‘re watching. you know.
76 The List 10-23 Mar 1995