Best of times

Once upon a time there was a boy called George. 0r Georgie, as his friends - mostly female would call him. His foes, meanwhile, would chant unkind things at him: ‘Georgie Best, superstar/walks like a woman and he wears a bra.’ Yet even his detractors were unable to deny that his genius was almost unrivalled in his chosen profession. George Best remains one of the greatest footballing talents these shores have ever seen.

His story, to be dissected in 3802’s The George Best Nightto mark the soccer legend’s 50th birthday, is ultimately one of self-destruction. Arguably the game’s first superstar he went on to become the archetype of the wasted, in every sense, talent who ruined his promise through indiscipline and a roving eye.

For Manchester United and Northern Ireland his ability to make opponents look foolish was almost casual. Nowadays, it is Best himself who is the clown whether he is appearing drunk on chat shows or voicing racist views about his former team’s most expensive signing Andy Gole.

Yet the footage of his remarkable goalscoring feats can easily make the viewer forgive him. Many Scots will be able to tell grandchildren of the day they saw Georgie Best play after he had signed for Hibs in 1979. Strange to think that a legend spent winter

: birthday boy

George Be

afternoons gracing Pittodrie and Firhill. Though perhaps not so strange considering the weekly wage which he tucked in his shorts during his short stay.

One incident comes as close as any to summing up George Best. (in attempting to clear upfield, goalie Pat Jennings was illegally relieved of the ball by Best who tucked the ball away. He began to celebrate, fully aware that the goal could not stand. Arms aloft, he proclaimed his innocence. He knew he was as guilty as hell. (Brian Donaldson)

The George Best Night is on Sun 19 May on 8802.


I Football Play For Girls (Radio 4) Sat 18 May. 2.30pm. .-\s the number of girls who brave pie and Bovril and men peeing en masse to stand on the terraces increases. Radio 4 delivers two short plays devoted to women and their relationship with football. It is of course a game of two halves: writer Stephen Buthchard gives as ‘.loan‘. who's divorcing hubby Vincent on the grounds he's more married to Liverpool l"(' than her. while l’at .>\ndersou’s seventeen-year-old ‘Joanne' wishes her parents would divorce so she could spend more money on going to see her beloved livei'ton.

I Relatively Speaking (Radio 4v Sun 10 May. ()pm. last in the series of the show looking at famous families. with interiors and restaurant king. ’l‘errence ('onran and his ev er-so tlamlmyaut son .lasper not going down the pub for a piiit to discuss their father-son relationship. the early years of Sir 'lerry 's brainchild Habitat and the number of places worldwide that accept :\lllc‘l‘lC;tll lispress. .\’o sign of

w ife. mother and Superwmiimi Shirley though.

I Jelly Mountain (Radio 3; Mon 20 May. 8.55pm. Much-loved. super-kooky Scottish humorist Ivor Cutler invites its back into his living room for a third series of the stories. poetry. songs and playlets that have awarded him ctilt status in the world of comedy. Bizarre interruptions to the programme come from New /.ealand sculptor Craig .\lurray-()rr and demon linguist Dylan lidwai'ds.

I The Essential Selection tRadio t i in 2-1 May. 7pm. Radio 1's .\lr dance-music Pete Tong larges it as only Pete Tong can over new ish dance rag .lln:ik magazine’s first ever awards ceremony. ‘Saints and Sinners‘. Reporting bright-eyed and bushy-tailed from the previous night‘s

ceremony in Birmingham. Tong announces Best (‘lub DJ. Best (‘lub. Single. Album and Radio l's Best livv'elirni/ .l/ft award. \\'ith the one-year- old .lluiik fast becoutiug the essential read of the dance set tie. these could become sought after awards.

I Ad Lib: Golf Caddies t Radio 4) Sat :5 May. (vSUPIu .-\h. the life of a caddie. :lt/ li/i takes a probing look at the lot of the blokes who ltig the clubs around the course for tip-top golfers and discoveis it's a lot like playing unzlei‘stutly to a star. l‘irst there's the endless travelling and lack of personal life. then there s the tiny percentage of winnings awarded for indispensable advice and did you know it's only ten years since caddies weren‘t allowed ill the cltibliottsc'.’ 'l‘lts‘y do

howev er get to vv ear some really cool plusfours. Tune iii and find out where the stylish caddy shops for his.

I Foreign Bodies vRattio at Sun In May. ‘lpm. Ses. 'l'okyo-sty le. as presenter David .\'. Lodge burrows deep into the Japanese psyche to discover vv hf. this seeiiiitigly straight-laced nation should boast 30.000 ‘love hotels. L‘I'Usstll'c‘xslllg' T\' presenters and T\ stations that regularly l‘t‘oadcasl torture l'ests. llas tltts man never SL‘L‘Il VII/Ir (flit .lt1/I1<’\ \VI'IIIH'.)

I Hitting The JaCprI (Radio vli 'l‘liurs .i‘l \Iay‘, Tjtlpm XL‘W st‘t'l'.“ lt‘.lltt\\lll‘:1'llc‘ fortunes of st\ folks vv liose numbers came tip big time in the nation's favourite Saturday teatinte pastime 'l/n' National Lottery. In the first programme ‘(ioing l’ublic'. ('hrtstiue announces the {300.000 win of her (‘amden Homeless l’erson's l'nit syndicate to a press camp in her garden; lilaiue and Derek etiioy five minutes of fame on breakfast telly when they scoop t l .8 million. and .la/ hands tn his notice as an electrical fitter and looks forward to seeing Ins name lit the papers. only to find racist headlines the following day that force him itito hiding. tlillie (‘arri

The jury is just being selected in Murder One (Tuesdays. BBCZ). Steven Bochco‘s gripping courtroom drama which began its marathon Zo—episode run in America while ()J Simpson was still standing trial. The spine ofthe story is the case of The People vs Neil :\vedon. a heart-throb movie star who has already fallen from grace alter media revelations of drug-taking and kinky sex. Avedon's bedroom antics do not necessarily mean he murdered his sixteen-year-old girlfriend. as pugnacious defence attorney Ted Hoffman will no doubt argue when the trial eventually begins. But whatever the verdict. his public reputation has suffered.

Against his attorney's advice. Avedon elected to be interviewed on television with a pre-transmission agreement that there would be no direct questions about the case. It was a live show, so the interviewer asked them anyway. ()n British television earlier this week. 0] was also answering questions about his acquittal for the murder of his wife .\'icole and her lover. We already know that aside from lavish expenses. Simpson was paid only a nominal stun to appear on the opening show of Tonight With Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan (Tuesdays. Scottish). This was pure l’R. as publicity Whll’l. .\la.s Clifford‘s presence testified.

Whether there were no-go topics previously agreed is unknown. but the self-confessed wife-beater obviously reckoned this was a television appearance that could do him more good than harm. The fact is. his personal standing is .so low he probably has nothing to lose by appearing on television —- as long as he doesn't actually break down and confess. This was never likely. given Richard and Judy's fundamental misunderstanding of the good cop/bad cop style of questioning (‘Tell us about the nice Nicole. the Nicole you loved‘). But at least he took the stand. or rather couch. wluch is more than happened in the Los :\ttgchs courtroom.

Despite their daytime success with fflly .lloritiue. Richard and Jttdy have already buried one talk show turkey. and iudging by the inept handling of the year's biggest scoop alter the Princess Diana confessional. this one is already stuffed and basted. It was always going to be pointless asking specific questions about the knife. the glove and Nicole‘s taped ()ll call the most espcnsive criminal defence team in history has already worked out some pretty convincing answers for their client. 0] duly reeled them off. and his evasions were never challenged.

.-\s Richard said. there was a lot of ground to cov er. so why was the second half of the show devoted to .\'eil

channel Hopping

Diamond plugging his new album”? ()J's showbiz career has already nose- dived. but being forced to warm up for an ageing easy-listening crooner shows just how low you can go. It was as if the Purim-(mm interviewer had said after fifteen minutes: ‘Have to stop you there. Di. And now for the latest on that minor earth tremor in Chile.‘

The combination of untaxing questions and a failure to follow up the answers because of time shortage meant that ()J was in the driving seat for the brief interview. as surely as he drove that white FordBronco down the freeway. Ultimately. whether anyone in this country cares about 0] is another matter. but Richard and Judy‘s soft soap has helped buff tip a tarnished reputation.

Talking of banal. they don't come any more mind-alteringly dumb than Man O Man (Saturdays. Scottish). a new early- evening entertainment show presented by Chris Tarrant. whose breakfast show on a London radio station makes him the top earning DJ in the country. Tarrant‘s lack-lustre performance suggests he was going through the motions to earn more dough to buy a second yacht. This is a man whose flan- flinging activities on kids TV show 'Ii'xwas were once regarded as bordering on the subversive; now he has the glazed look of one who knows he is now shovelling something rather less sweet-smelling than a custard pic at the viewing public.

Before an audience which looks as if it consists entirely of Saturday girls from Miss Selfridge. ten young men are put through a series of ritual humiliations to their machisino in an effort to prove they are the New Hunk ofevery woman's dreams. The all- fernale audience is provided with keypads so they can vote for their favourites. After each round. two unlucky lads are pushed backwards into a conveniently placed swimming pool. The only glimmer of wit in the entire show is that the first two contestants are dunked before the opening round

just for looking nerdy. A little more cruelty is what this show could benefit from.

In an excruciating reversal of the Miss World format. the remaining eight have to demonstrate they could do more than look good in a pair of swimming trunks. ()ne over-excited chap whipped out his organ to entertain the ladies. but it turned out to be a (‘asiotone keyboard with the rhythm track set to ‘ragtime‘. The others went for a more conventional stand-up routine or did weak impressions, which demonstrated why the lines on Ill/ml Dale are pre- scripted. Watch .llun () .llmr to realise . how dismal ‘spontaneous‘ wit can be.

(Iiddie (iibbi

The List l7-.’() May l996 83