Fitba’s coming hame
Sitcom, football and Ian Pattison. Need we say more. Brian Donaldson thinks so.
There appears to be no getting away from the nation‘s greatest obsession. Football. Just when last year's domestic dust began to fade. Eur096 foisted its jingoistic attentions upon us and now with talk of . prc-season friendlies in the air all we really need is a soccer sitcom. Fear not. because it’s here in the hamstrung guise of Allt'llt'U l’urlit'k. a game of six half-hour shows which detail the mainly downs of a truly dire Glasgow pub team.
Ian Pattison. the creator of Rub (' NBS/2H1. is at the helm and no doubt hoping for similar success down south as was achieved by the guru fac Govan. Rab may have gone down a storm in the Home Counties but did they really get it'.’ And will they get this? ‘If you're asking me whether it will suffer from its regionality. then no. I don't think it will.‘ believes Atlctico's midfield maestro Gordon Kennedy (better known for his roles in Absolutely and his period of brushing up against Anthea Turner while the nation watched Camelot pocket their weekly donation). 'The story has as much relevance elsewhere in the country as it does in Scotland. For one thing there are pub teams everywhere. all of whom will have similarly recognisable chat'actcrs.‘
And what a bunch they are. We have Gama. whose
brutality is not solely confined to the pitch. Kennedy's Jack. who has as much difficulty scoring at home as he does in the penalty box while his wife is currently playing away from hotnc with the Bohemian Ally. Add to this a manager who rules
with an iron glove and a tragic nerd who is just. well.
tragic really. and you have the makings of an entertaining weekly half-hour. ‘Thc thing that will make it stand out from other comedy shows is that it's a proper ensemble piccc.‘ predicts Kennedy. ‘Thcre's a football team and a domestic situation and everybody has a chance to react to what's going on. which is unusual for a sitcom. There are not just one central ligure. there‘s seven or eight characters that people can get to know and love.‘
As with the leap to head a teasing cross goalwards. timing is everything. And how fortunate that Alll’llt'u I’urm-k is to he beamed into our homcsjust weeks after the climax to Euro%. It may work in its favour that the championships were deemed so successful and. with the notable exception of one night's may hem under Nelson‘s Column. brought a smile back to the face of football and its often tarnished
i Te tlowr 0 Pac
‘lt's co-incidental from our side but I'm sure the schedulers had it in their minds.‘ opines Kennedy. ‘When the catnera panned across the spectators you could see that it was a different type ofcrowd so I suppose football is reaching a wider audience. But the bottom line is that people have to find it funny.‘ \\'cll.quite.
As with Ru!) (‘th's/ﬁll. in between the chuckles are moments of deep poignancy when the smile suddenly feels awkward on your lips. ln /‘//(’Il('(l I’ul'llt'k we have Jack suddenly realising his marriage is over and rushing down to his hallowed Habitat. not. this time. to caress the bedside cabinets bttt to destroy the displays in reaction to his feelings of impotence. Yet soon the laughs return as in the terracing-stylc reton of ‘Cosmo. Cosmo.‘ when one of the player‘s wives profoundly states that the team are ‘a bunch of ageing losers that sublimate their etnotional lives by booting a ball up and down a pitch.‘ There may be many who agree.
Ill/(’llt'tl l’urlit'k slur/s on Thurs 25 (II I ()pm mt BBC /.
lends a tangible air of credibility to
David Morgenstern, the series
conclusions that stretch accepted rationale. Morgenstern comes over as an
Bumps in the night
Interest in the paranormal has become big business. Once the sole domain oi carpllre stories and Sunday Sport- type ‘Elvls’s tour bus iound on the moon’ headlines, there is now a growing sense that there may well be a lot more out there than we can begin to rationalise. Out 0! This World, a new documentary series, aims to sort genuine unexplainable phenomena iron the tantastlc tables. The presence oi the supremely level- headed Carol Vordennan as presenter
Carol Vorderrnan and can: Chol: Eat your heart out Mulder and Scully
producer, reckons that the X Files was partly responsible tor allowing people to ieel that they were not being taken ior gullible tools while watching tales of the paranormal but thinks that strange phenomena will always find a willing audience. ‘In 1994 we did a survey that showed that 36 per cent had had some ionn oi paranormal experience or rather an experience that they couldn’t explain and put down as paranormal.’
Two and a halt years oi research have gone into the six-part series and in that time the makers have uncovered ghosts, poltergeists, "His, people with extremely unusual talents and eye witnesses to the unexplained. At the same time they have conducted their own experiments which point to
interested yet sceptical observer. ‘We try to be as balanced as we can about the subject. Each programme has someone who suggests what the rational or scientific explanation ior something might be,’ he states. ‘We put the lacts in iront at people and let them make their own decision.’
As to whether he believes in any of it himseli, Morgenstern thinks that the truth is out there. ‘There are more things happening than we understand at present. Even the most dyed-in-the- wool scientist would accept that. l have a motto working on this programme which is to accept everything but believe nothing.’ (Jonathan Trew) not 0! This lllorld begins on The 23 on 8501.
74 The List 12-25 Jul 1996