SOAP BOX W
In a new fortnightly column, The list reports on life as it’s lived in TV’s soapland. This weelr we drop in on those bed-hopping EastEnders . . .
Roll over, Beethoven
In a new Channel 4 arts series, Simon Rattle
a” ‘ conducts viewers through
Eastenders ln shagtest frenzy
Beans are being spilled. cats are crawling out of bags. and skeletons (and more) are courting out of the closet all over Albert Squar‘ejust now. and it's taken them long enough.
It‘s not hard to see why Tiffany would want to keep quiet about the fact she's pregnant with Grant‘s kid. After all. the bullet-bonced Mitchell brother‘s tendency to ‘sort out' minor characters and generally be a bit psychotic is well known. But who‘d have thought Grant was still clucky‘? It was bad enough when he got all doe-eyed and broody with Sharon. but now Tiffany’s come clean about her imminent am'val. Grant is positively radiant. If he ever ﬁnds out he is actually the father of Michelle Fowler's youngest. surely he's in danger of ﬁnding a permanent cheesy grin on his face. That would ruin his hard man image for good.
Nevertheless. it is nice to see La Tiff and Grant ﬁnding comfort in each other. and not just for the sake of the baby. As members ofthe ‘my shagjust shagged my brother’ club. they have a lot in common. Admittedly. when Tiff told Grant she walked in on imminent ex Tony and her pin-up gay brother Simon indulging in a tongue samie. Grant giggled. Then he realised Simon might be after him next . . .
It’s about time this copping off with your lover‘s brother lark stopped in EastEnders (Mon. Tue. Thurs) . Everyone can see it coming a mile off. We’ve had Sharon shacking up with Phil Mitchell while she was married to Grant. and now there‘s the Tiffany- Tony-Simon bizarre love triangle. What next? Ricky Butcher leaving Bianca at the altar to elope with spotty loser Robbie? Cindy Beale leaving Ian and his ﬁsh and chip empire to ride into the sunset with his (almost) stepbrother David Wicks? Hell. it‘s a long shot but it might just work — frankly the script writers will try anything.
When long suffering catering bore Ian Beale hired a detective to dish the dirt on wayward wife Cindy. it was a sign that the inevitable storyline was dragging to a long overdue end. Surely the chipper chipman would sling out the missus for her eighteen-month affair with Dirty Den wannabe. David Wicks? Alas no. Armed with proof of her trysts. the wettest man in Walford weeps like a baby and begs her to stay. If he was any more spineless you could deep fry and serve him up with chips in yesterday's newspaper. (Jo Ward)
the complex and
._ occasionally impenetrable
by-ways of 20th century classical music. Kenny Mathieson took the guided tour.
The widespread perception of 20th century ‘classical‘ music is that it is difﬁcult. discordant. inaccessible. and profoundly unpopular. Three centuries of western music reached a peak in the works of the high Romantic period at the turn of the century. and turned a corner into what the majority of concert-goers still see as an experimental dead-end.
With the end of the century approaching. that music is still perceived in those troubled terms — an extraordinary example of today's revolution stubbornly not turning into tomorrow‘s mainstream. Audiences still turn out for Mozart and Beethoven. but ﬁnd themselves otherwise engaged when Stravinsky and Bartok are in the programme. while the likes of Messiaen. Boulez or Stockhausen are
enough to make them leave town altogether.
All these names ﬁgure prominently in Leaving Home. Simon Rattle's attempt to bring some of this music into the nation's living rooms and its consciousness. The seven-part series. which is arranged thematically rather than by focusing on single composers. is subtitled ‘Orchestral Music in the 20th Century'. That is too vast a panorama. as Rattle acknowledges in the course of his selective. highly personal journey.
‘It became apparent very quickly that the series could not attempt to be comprehensive. either historically or in viewpoint. and that we had to concentrate on music that somehow drove the century forward.‘ he writes in the introduction to Michael Hall's book which accompanies the series.
It is. he argues. more in the nature of ‘a menu‘. which will encourage people to explore ‘tastes and textures that
leaving Home: Simon Battle on a century of classical music
might initially seem strange or foreign'. To Rattle‘s credit. and that of the LWT production team. they have not tried to sweeten the pill (other than visually) by choosing only the prettiest or most accessible music. but have confronted the perceived difﬁculties head-on much of the time.
Rattle. now ﬁrmly established as Britain's best-known conductor. is a personable if rather earnest presenter. dutifully explaining the aims and context ofthe music. His real enthusiasm. however. comes over in the performances rather than the presentation. when he conducts the City of Birmingham Symphony ()rchestra through a wide spectrum of music. With luck. he will make some convens in the process. (Kenny Mathieson) Leaving Home begins mt Sun 29 Sept at 9pm on Channel 4; Simon Rattle is the subject uf'an eight-part dm‘unrentary series on BBC Radio 3. from Sal 2/ Sept.
I The Food Programme (Radio 4) Fri 20 Sept. l2.25pm. New series of the foodie slot. with Derek Cooper dropping in on his new B & B chums in Hereford to see if last series’ visit to Pas de Calais has changed the way the women cook and shop for produce. Also featured is the launch of Cooper's quest for the best B & B brekkie in the land. and as our Derek knows you have to eat a lot of lard-fried tinned tomatoes before you get to the real thing.
I Sunday Feature - Will It Be A likeness (Radio 3) Sun 22 Sept. 5.45pm. Novelist. playwright. Marxist art theorist and writer of groundbreaking 80s TV series Ways 0f Seeing John Berger makes his debut as a performance artist with this typically unconventional and thought-provoking one-man text addressing subjects as huge and various as the nature of silence. the signiﬁcance of radio. Beethoven's piano sonatas and Goya’s affection for his dog during the last years of his life.
I lioclr Wives and Olrlfrlends (Radio 1) Sun 22 Sept. 7pm. Women who've married or shocked up with famous rock blokes tell their all-too-often unsavoury stories to journalist Miranda Sawyer. Dishing the dirt on their own unholy states of matrimony are Sharon Osbourne (accompanied by tubby hubby Ozzy). DJ/producer Paul Oakenfold’s girlfriend Angela and Julian Cope‘s wife Dorian — all of whom have managed to beat the odds and stay part of the slim 30 per cent minority whose ‘rock marriages‘ don't end in divorce.
I for The Hell Of It (Radio 5 Live) Sun 22 Sept. 10.35pm. Former motor racing
ace Stirling Moss chases up the history of
the world land speed record from its what seems like snails pace beginnings at the end of last century to later this month. when the British Thrust team will attempt to beat the American challenge to be ﬁrst to break the sound barrier and push man and machine through 759mph. The current record — set by Richard Noble in I983 — stands at 633.468mph. Big fast motorcar-spotters take note.
I The labour Exchange (Radio 4) Mon 23 Sept. 12.25pm. Rory McGrath. Stephen Frost and Tony Hawkes return for a second series of the light-hearted panel game that brings together professional funny persons (comedians) with professional (usually) un-funny persons (butlers. beauticians and bank managers). I The Beatles In Scotland (Radio 2) Tue 24 Sept. 9.03pm. Phew. Panic over. Oasis aren't splitting after all. so there's plenty of excuses for lots and lots more Beatles nostalgia. Join Paul McCartney as he gets all misty-eyed and waxes lyrical about the 60s and the time he and his chums Lennon. Harrison. and at that time Stuart Sutcliffe. entertained the inhabitants of Bridge Of Allan. Elgin and Dingwall and (as local legend has it) laid the foundations for future success.
I John Shuttleworth’s Open llouse (Radio 4) Thurs 26 Sept. 6.30pm. Self- confessed caravan club member and Yamaha organ player. Shuttleworth extends an invite to all you lovely people in radioland tojoin him for an open house. Bombay mix and Lilt will be provided. but arrive (and depart) early as John’s wife Mary will not be pleased if she gets home to ﬁnd people round when she wants to watch her Tina Turner video. Recorded at this year‘s Edinburgh Fringe the show includes a guest appearance by local stand-up poet Hovis Presley. (Ellie Carr)
After Friends we get . . . Partners, the latest feel-good comedy to wood its way across the Atlantic and onto Channel 4. This time the group is distilled down to a core of three chums - one female, two male - who, in various permutations eat, sleep and work together. Best friends Bob and Owen are design partners in a trendy architecture firm, while Owen and Alicia are partners in the Significant Other sense. Bob and Alicia are just good friends. So far.
So do we need another aspirational sitcom about urban trendies with relationship angst? Probably not, but judging by the pilot this is a triangle with promise. Camp Bob is established as a straight character, but If you assume be Is really gay - surely the real subtext - then things could get Interesting.
Also new is Carolina In The Olly, another lIS comedy which patrols the yuppie beat. Caroline is a ditsy cartoon artist whose newspaper strip reflects her own chaotic life. Only In American sitcoms do attractive young women In mini-skirts have problems dating men, but If you buy that then this sitcom promises to be reasonably entertaining. (Eddie Gibb) carol/no In the Olly begins on Fr! 20 Sept; Partners beplns on Sun 22 Sept.
TI The List 20 Sept-3 Oct I996