Baby blues

Friday nights have traditionally been American sitcom night, but Channel 4 is injecting some homegrown humour into the schedule with a new comedy written by a husband-and-wife team. Tom Gorham asks what‘s so funny about unplanned pregnancy. Life on a high-rise council estate in Brent Cross should in itself provide enough challenges for most single twenty-year-old women. But for Alison. the central figure in Channel 4’s new Friday night comedy sitcom Life After Bin/i. things come even tougher. For her. the difficulties in negotiating an existence in one of London‘s most unwelcoming boroughs comes coupled with the baggage of an

Life After Birth: unmarried with children


environment might face and he wrote the funny bits.‘

unplanned pregnancy. after a drunken one-night i U“ H lit-C ' IL‘CINISC single mother on a London .. . . . . . .. . stand with a bloke who disappeared on a round-the- s‘UUIiCll Chlélls‘ 1“ PIN \VliUll} lilil's‘lllill'lss‘tl. llwdlulnc gm”! \gw‘wl might dlmll‘.“ I’M}, MIN world mp when news of impending fatherhood X0“ 3 lmdm. L” a” muggy“) wumwhcmhu “s5 lint/i s tale of the tiiumph over adversity of a gallus broke. When you add the complications of Alison's perhaps understandable that Poland is reluctant to ""SIC "WIN" ‘1‘ l‘lc‘llcml’lc l’l'mluu 0' 1‘ Pilllllcall)’ desire to continue her education. as well as the t‘e\eal too much of her past. but she is prepared to “(m-C,“ (“mm-V department at ( hilnnd 4‘ ml! .mmk _ difficulties of dealing with a self-obsessed fiatmate acknowledge that there might be a few thrmvbacks to u mm. hmc WIT “mm milk“ It ungulprmng that and the interference of nosy neighbours. the story of her youth in the series. ‘l don‘t think that Alison is i lhc “Km” \l"VCVC'Ull‘ulls l” the plu'mmg stage " her journey through womanhood takes on almost like me. but a lot of the characters around her were H W“ m (“N-W“ any mm m a “gm—(m momc epic Proportions. based on my own experiences of pregnancy.‘ she ' hchlnd m“ “mm , , . . That the tale of Alison - played by 33-year-old claims. I .l “N “.10”ng [hm Ihc holc “Ilium” “ins “Dc mr a Emma Cunniffe and her experiences of But it was only with the assistance of Block. wlioiii (Numb “lul' alumllgh l.\llplm'\c It. mac u mcswgc motherhood has been compressed intojust six she met and married when her son was four )‘ears I” h“ “mm m m“ "Ur-l“ \ that hung “"glc

mother needn‘t be a such a tragedy. There‘s a lot of negative stuff in the media about single parents and this series does put the point across that it isn‘t the end of the world to be an unmarried woman w ith a

episodes is some credit to the unfussy Writing talents old. that the series ever came to fruition. ‘II was of husband-and-wife team Teresa Poland and Simon actually Simon who came up with the idea of the Brock. Their debut television script provides a blunt sitcom.‘ she confesses. ‘lle thought it had great

insight into unmarried pregnancy and its attendant possibilities and we ended up bouncing ideas off : , _

complications. And it isn‘t too difficult to fathom each other when I came back from school. He was ‘ih'l‘l' ll,“ PM“ U” “C” 5”” him‘ ‘1 him."- 5"”

why the plot's credible twists ring so true. Life .‘lfft'l' the one with the technical abilin i came up with ' “WW ) , , _

Bin/i bears too many close parallels with l’oland's some situations that a young pregnant mother in that I'm. "m" I’I’I’l’ ["1'1’“ “’1 l‘” // MN.“ “’1 WHUIW/ 4.

Nevis range, action and is able to record actual DOCUMENTARY With the help of mountaineer rescues. A second crew filmed the

u _‘ cameraman Alasdair Walker, whose fescue coordinators in the Fort g ' previous credits include The Munro William police station, giving a real . snow, Ross has made scotiano’s sense of drama and danger that is

highest mountain range look as scary absent in 999ster reconstructions.

and foreboding as any Himalayan The final sequence follows the peaks. Having won the co-operation of helicopter retrieval of the body of a the Lochaber team mountain dead climber, an experienced

After spending much of 1994 crawling rescuers are notoriously suspicious of mountaineer who lost his footing and

through heather to film The Firing media ‘ambulance-chasers’ the crashed onto rocks. For the Lochaber

Range, the Channel 4 documentary

. biggest problem was being ready for team, who are all mountaineers first about disgruntled gamekeepers on a

call outs. ‘It was the mildest winter in and rescuers second, yet another

Highland sporting estate, director living memory which was quite fatality reinforces the fact that

Ross Wilson traded in his tweeds for a depressing from our point of view,’ climbing is really about cheating

full suit of waterproofs and headed for says Wilson. death. ‘There’s a sense of the big, bad

the hills again. Nothing happened for several mountain which wreaks havoc but is The result is Mountain Rescue, a - weekends during February when the also a thing which draws people to it,’

stunning film about the work of the In film crew was on stand-by; then there says Wilson. ‘The rescuers know that

lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, a *- were four rescues in two days. By the tiniest of errors can thwart even

weather-beaten bunch of volunteers .3 using an experienced mountaineering the best-laid plans.’ (Eddie Gibb)

who spend much of their spare time Mountain Rescue: cheating death and cameraman and sound recordist, Encounters: Mountain Rescue is on

plucking distressed Climbers off the Sailing "'95 Mountain Rescue stays with the Sun 19 May on Channel 4.

82 The List l7-3() May l‘)()()