Yer TV’s oot!
Sunday nights are about to become I ‘
a choice between a warm-hearted i drama set in rural Scotland and, er, I a warm-hearted drama set in rural Scotland. David Harris holds the towels as Hamish Macbeth takes on Dr Finlay.
Time was when Sunday night in front ofthe television meant inoffensive family melodrama and historical hokum. full of unﬁappable domestics and tempestuous below-stairs romances. In recent years. however. the line stretching back to Onedin has been severed by a motley array ofquirky sleuths. each with a gimmick thrown in to distract attention from the predictability of the plots.
Later this month. the Great British Public will vote by remote control on its genre preference. as the pn'metime slot on the major channels is filled by Hamish Macbeth and Dr Finlay respectively. The simultaneous broadcast of lTV’s peak-time practice and the Beeb's off-beat bobby may not exactly quicken the heartbeat. but it demonstrates the bizarre notion of choice which rules in the cloistered world of the television scheduler.
Although he admits the programming decision is an attempt to dent his rival‘s viewing ﬁgures — the only number that really matters in TV-land — Scottish Television‘s chief executive Alastair Moffat deftly passes the buck to his London-based superiors. ‘With Scottish now having three peak-time drama series on [TV [Taggarr and the recently commissioned McCallum are the others] and BBC Scotland doing well.’ he claims. ‘it’s inevitable that we should clash sometime.‘
Over in Glasgow's West End. BBC Scotland‘s head of television Colin Cameron is equally magnanimous
Scottish pride: llamish Macbeth on patrol in Lochdubh. while the good Dr Finlay heals the poorly people of Tannochbrae
towards the opposition. ‘I think it’s daft.’ he says. ‘that the viewer is forced to choose between two excellent programmes from Scotland.‘ However he stops short of admitting to doubts that Hamish Macbeth will see off the competition. especially after the highly successful first series ended in the middle of an unresolved romantic dilemma for Robert Carlyle as the West Highland cop.
But audiences can be fickle. and the lurve angle alone won't be enough to sustain the programme‘s popularity. In the opening episode of the new series. Lochdubh‘s one-man constabulary is denounced as Satan himself by Malachi McBean. fanatical leader ofthe Church ofthe Stony Path. While l-lieland damnation is a staple of this brand of Scottish whimsy. the show‘s less absurd sub-plots seem as awkwardly conspicuous as would an appearance of Hamish's Shakespearean namesake in ()irish sitcom Father Ted.
Docs and rozzers abound in the schedule. but where Dr Finlay wins out is in its characterisation — hardly surprising since viewers and writers have had 37 years to absorb the nuances of the set-up. Although David Rintoul in the title role comes across as a tin-
jawed automaton you woulan allow near a sick
hamster. lan Banneu and .-\nnette (‘rosbie as the iraseible llr t'ameion and his long suffering housekeeper .ianet are the quintessenee of Sunday eyening drama,
\Vith BB(‘ and channel Al still wrangling oyet' how to schedule Dennis Potter’s tinal plays without treading on each other‘s toes. it w ill disappoint fans of these two popular dramas that some gentleman's agreement wasn‘t reached here. However it should be said the idea that the clash of two Scottish programmes is doubly unfair smacks of parochialisni.
Nevertheless it would be a pity if the 'l‘annoehbrae surgery were deserted for the sake of farcical stereotypes labouring under the pretence of genre subversion. lf Bobby (‘arlyle‘s increasingly high profile takes him on to more substantial work. the BB(‘ w ill no doubt replace him with a one—legged saxophone-playing pathologist with an interest in the occult The nostalgic Sunday evening drama seems as a dead and gone as the world it once portrayed. Hamish .l/ai'lri'llt .y‘lill‘l\ n11 Xian/try Mar 3-! on li’l)’( '/. l)r hilt/av lice/us on Sun .i/ .llai:
Scottish interior designer Anne McKevltt is a bit ot a kitchen revolutionary. Strange though it seems, she’s through with a kitchen culture that overdosed on labels and culinary spaces screaming out tor Le Crueset pans. Perhaps it’s a sign that the 80s’ designer years are tinally over.
So it you’re led-up with lonnica and test chrome is out in the late 90s, McKevitt ls set to share with the nation her interior handy tips on how to overhaul your kitchen. In 3802’s Home Front, the DIY guide to home-
Anne McKevltt: kitchen designer
to the stars
improvements, she is taking on three up-and-running kitchens and their owners, to show how you too can turn the heart of every home into the stylish epicentre you’ve always wanted - it only you had a tree weekend. She also appears on Scottish Television’s The Home Show restyling an Edinburgh tenement. McKevitt is an advocate of the ‘looking great doesn’t cost a packet’ approach to design, demonstrating that a llourish here and a dash of colour there can do wonders to a room overloaded with work surfaces. Despite an afﬂuent client list that includes Annie lennox and Kate Moss, McKevltt spurns the biiou design emporia in favour oi ott-the-shelt purchases from the likes of Texas and
Putting this dosh-conscious attitude
down to her Thurso upbringing, 28- year-old McKevitt began her working life as a hairstylist. But after buying, re-designing and selling a succession of flats in London, to coos of delight and colour scheme-coveting from friends, McKevitt, who has no formal training, started redesigning other people’s homes.
Now with a book in the pipeline, McKevitt wants to do tor interiors what Delia Smith has done for cooking. So it Delia has cranberries, what is McKevitt’s trademark ingredient going to be? liberate Sunday painters from white with a hint oi pink - she wants the nation to get into colour. (Susanna Beaumont) Home Front begins on Wed 3 April on 8802. Anne McKe vitt also appears on The Home Show on Thurs 28 on Scottish at 7pm.
The List 22 Mar-4 Apr 1996 83