Climb every mouai't
that she would cap this outstanding teat ot endurance by climbing the more technically demanding K2. She never returned to the tamin home in Fort William, and when Kate asked it she could see ‘Alison’s last mountain’ Ballard promised his children that he would take them to the base camp at K2. The trip was made possible, in part, because the BBC wanted to make a tilm ot the trip. Loss at privacy could be regarded as the price at keeping his promise.
In tact Alison’s last Mountain was tilmed with tact and sensitivity, and the justification tor intruding at a time of private griet is that it shows how important the grieving process is tor
- children. Ballard’s blunt Yorkshire
Alison’s Last Mountain: Jim Ballard with Tom and Kate
When mountaineer Alison Hargreaves died during her descent trom K2’s 8000m peak last year she lett her husband Jim Ballard with what he describes as the ‘worst job any parent can ever have’ — telling two young children ot their mother’s death. A BBC documentary Alison’s Last Mountain tollowed Ballard and their children Tom, aged six, and tour-year- old Kate, as the tamin tries to come to terms with Alison’s death.
Alison Hargreaves was driven, like any elite sportswoman, with an obsession with reaching the top, literally. A couple at months betore her death, she had become the first woman to climb Everest alone without oxygen. While celebrating her achievement, Hargreaves announced
I Europhile (Radio 4) Sat It) l‘cb. ll.3()am. A new series for the liuropean watchdog programme. this week ﬁling reports on liastern iiuropean women forced itito lives of prostitution in the West; right wing victimisation of Latvia‘s Russian population; and the latest on the modern-day mafia in Naples.
I For God’s Sake (Radio 5 live) Sun ll lieb. 8.05pm. The scary rise of IS. shake- all—over style evangelism is the subject of this eight-part series on new religious trends in the I‘ls'. In the first programme - fiUlt’IltW .‘Illrl /’I‘rt/t/I(’r'l(‘.\ Ted Harrison meets a Metropolitan police officer who's been overcome by religious ecstasy.
I The Essential Mix (Radio I ) Sun ll lieb. midnight. Stacey l’ulleri of I'S label Transmat ~ generally regarded as one of the fittest techno l)_ls on the planet. is the guest mixer on this week's top dance- iiiusic slot.
I Love Thang (Radio .1) Wed 14 lieb. 8.30pm. .\'ot the love poems you'll ﬁnd on the inside of a big padded Valentine's card. at this gathering of Britain‘s foretiiost black performance poets. Recorded liv e at The Roadhouse. Manchester. the evenme includes contributions from l.errin Sissay. Suandr. .lohrr Siddrque and surprise guests.
I Cinema 100: British Film Studios (Radio 4) Thurs l5 l'jeb. 13.25pm. New six-part series in the centenary of cinema celebrations vein. with ﬁlm historian John Huntley visiting the British studios where some of the greatest motion pictures of our time were made. liirst port ofcall is lilstree.
I Subcity Badio l()5.4Fl\'l. 3-1hrs from Mon 1‘) Feb—Sun 17 Mar. Glasgow's only alternative radio station is back on air and
' manner lett the children in no doubt that Alison wasn’t coming back, but
his certainty that her spirit is still trekking through the Himalayas seemed to help Kate and Toni rationalise their loss.
Ballard also argued torcetully against media criticism of his wite’s decision to engage in dangerous sports instead ot staying home with the kids. As he pointed out, two climbers died in the Himalayas shortly before Alison’s death; both had young children, but neither were accused ot
: being bad parents. They were both
men. It’s sad that Tom and Kate will grow up without a mother, but that doesn’t make her seltish tor wanting to tultil personal goals. Hargreaves’ children are more likely to grow up proud ot their mother’s achievement, rather than resenttul at her tor deserting them. (Eddie Gibb)
Alison ’5 Last Mountain: An Inside Story Special is on Fri 9 Feb at 9.30pm
round-the-clock with the promise of live sets from top dance-Dis Twitch (l’ure). Rick Biowri (Sonia). (‘olin (iate (l’har ()ut) and Martin McKay (Rub-a-l)ub). Run by students at (ilasgow University. the station follows on from the short-lived success of previous projects Sweet I‘M and Tori and a Half.
I Sunday Feature: A Corny Concerto — The Music of Carl Stalling (Radio 3) Sun IS l‘eb. 5.45pm. (‘omposer (’arl Stallitig. the riiari behind the loony tunes that
matched the antics of 'l'weetie Pie and
Porky Pig. is the subject of this special tribute. As Warner's musical director of 33 years. Stalling scored more than l2()()
cartoons at the rate of more than one a
week. and created all the sound-effect
conventions we know and love today — from a piano glissando for falling down to
\ylophoiie beats for an eye-blink. I Mightier Than The Sword (Radio 3) .Mon l‘) I-‘eb. *). l()pm. Top British comics
lohu Sessions. .lolin fortune. .loliri Bird
and John \\'ells are on first-name terms for
this new satirical series sending tip the
hallowed world of literary greats like I) H Lawrence. Samuel Beckett and Thomas
I Tickle the Public (Radio 4) Mon l‘) l‘eb. 3:13am. (irrarr/r'aii journalist Matthew Engel charts 100 years iii the history of tabloid newspapers in anew six-part series. (‘oncentrating on a single
title c.1c‘ll week. the series kicks of with a looi. at the man who invented the formula
for the first popular daily paper it) 1896 — Dar/v .llarl chief. Lord Northcliffe.
I The Evening Session: Massive Attack Live in Session (Radio I ) Wed 21 lieb. 7pm. The original innovators of the Bristol trip-hop sound play live at the BBC .Maida Vale studios in celebration of Radio 1's ‘(ireat British Music Week‘. tlillie Carr)
A woman who can't spot the basic absurdity of prancing about on a sun- kissed Californian beach in a skimpy swimming costume and knee-length fur-lined boots was always going to have some difﬁculty spotting irony. It's no revelation to discover that Pamela Anderson lives up to her image as pneumatic blonde bimbo. but her inability to parry even most gently lobbed questions was quite startling. Her standard response to any question is to waggle a pair of over-inflated bosoms at the camera offering a glimpse of her silicon valley.
Such blatant diversionary tactics were probably the best defence against Ruby Wax Meets . . . (Sundays. BBCI) which travelled to the set of Baywatch with the sole purpose of humiliating the show‘s most famous beach babe. It was like frumpy Ruby was finally getting her own back after a childhood of taunting from WASPy rich girls with big hair and even bigger trust funds. At times it was hard not to believe that the barbed questions had been dubbed on afterwards. Inquiries about boyfriends BT that‘s Before Tommy. her new heavy rock drummer beau — were met with a vacant ‘I don't remember.‘ A goldﬁsh might be expected to have better recall. btit then IQ was probably not the statistic which landed Anderson the part in a show devoted to strri. sea. sand and secondary sexual characteristics. As Wax says: ‘lt's amazing what you can do with a red girdle and a couple of udders.‘
Staying by the seaside. albeit in rather less glamorous Yorkshire. is a new documentary series which tries to turn real life into a sitcom. Seasiders (Thursdays. Channel 4) follows a season in the life of a traditional holiday camp. and is a blatant attempt to create an unscripted version of Hi- l)c-Hr'.’. To the participants the send-up might have been less apparent than Ruby Wax's cruel ribbing. but the ﬁlm crew must have found it hard to keep a straight face as staff and management of Haven Holidays obligirigly fulfilled every stereotype iii the book.
‘lt‘s personality ﬁrst. ()K.' said the recruiting manager. ‘If they can sing and dance — that's a bonus.‘ None of them could of course. but all the young hopefuls who auditioned liarboured dreams of becoming an end-of-pier entertainer. Some ambition. but it‘s better than none. I suppose. At £l28.3l. less deductions for bed and board. no one could want to be a l-lavenmate —- yes. that's what they're called —- for the
After hiring the season's staff came the induction sessions. which appeared to be one long lesson in contraception and sexual hygiene. interspersed with group cheerleading sessions. The ability to go doo-lally at the sight of a fellow Havenmate dressed in a tiger suit appeared to be the main qualiﬁcation for the job. It's easy to sneer. and this documentary lost no opportunity. When will organisations realise that allowing the cameras it) just spells ti'ouble‘.’
Another organisation that let the cameras in some time ago is the House of Commons. and sure enough. that spelled trouble -- not least because it exposed the appalling truancy rates among backbeucliers of all parties. A new sitcom. made by Prince Edward’s production company Ardent. set out to discover where all those MPs are hiding. Some are to be found in Annie’s Bar (Thursdays. Channel 4) which is traditionally frequented by lobby journalists and Ml’s of such low proﬁle that even their own party whips have difﬁculty putting a name to a face.
Like Drop The Dead Drill/(6y before it, the gimmick with Annie's Bar is that it is written and recorded in the week of transmission. enabling the injection of topical references. Taken purely on the law of averages. the chances of any sitcom being funny could be given odds of around ﬁfteen-to-one. Add the handicap of a script deadline measured iii minutes and hours rather than days and weeks. lengthens those odds to the sort of rank outsider that is still nosebagging in the paddock while the rest of the ﬁeld is under starter's orders.
And so it is with this ‘political satire‘ which mistakes references to real events for gags. Simply mentioning Harriet Harman‘s parental difficulties is not in itself funny and simply demonstrates how clever the producers are. Successful sitcoms create their own characters and storylines which have their own internal logic. This is just What The Papers Say with bad acting.
Bringing in real MPs such as Austin Mitchell (no. I'm not sure either) or Edwina Currie to play themselves was the one glimmer of inspiration. With the Scott report into arms-to—lraq due along any minute. there should be a fresh bunch of MPs with time on their hands. One wonders if the supply of willing victims will soon dry up however. once they realise the joke is a play on their status as has-beeris or never-weres who prop up a bar far removed from the levers of power.
The List 9-22 Feb l996 81