media and technology

t h e to w d o w n .{Games .. ‘Web Sites . (ID-ROM:

I .llestructlon Derby 2 ,(Playstation £44.95)

Theiori‘ginal Destruction Derby sold

more copies in Europe last year than anyjother Playstation title: somewhat surprising given the game’s many flaws. More thoughtfully designed tracks coupled with a more forgiving control method have improved its

' descendant’s playability, while a new graphical engine and beefed-up sound-have added the necessary bells and whistles. Additional gimmicks include Dukes of Hazzardostyle aerial cross-overs, a stunt and smash construction set, and some very useful pit-stops. DeStruction Derby 2 has tough competition at the top this year, but it needn't suffer any Oedipal anxiety.


.The Mystery or Magritte (PC CD-

ROM £39.99) -

This .well', crafted title'offers an introduCtior'r. to artist René Magritte, a man ‘as, important to surrealism as he is to the name-a-famous-Belgian game. Using audio, visual and historical elements in a non-linear structure, the CD-ROM aims to provide a. context for the artist. Discussion of his craft and the linguistic nature of his imagery are firmly related to his influences, contemporaries and concerns. The pipe-shaped cursor might seem a little too pat, but this highly- accomplis‘hed release demonstrates how well CD-ROM can deal with art.


5 Irina: .. , [Irina Zotova is a‘frctional Web page designer whose father was a Russian ?.cosmonaut. His mysterious death sends her in search of the truth, in the ‘\ best tradition of The X-Files. Irina is an attempt at aWeb novel, sending ,...'you round various dependent and“ f::independent sites; Like' Foucault’s .‘jPendr‘tlrim, it’s an investigation of the a validity of discourse, but Irina has 3 one" central flaw. lts lack of :: traditional narrative flowfis not fun. - iPeople like stories. Trina is like one {of those‘boOks in which you shake .l'dicegto determine your progress. filtt'tfl/[futrirenetco.kttk/Penguin/h0mep l ages/(rimHornefltml fiUOhhHendeSm). a

Sky high

Sky Television is swapping floral cushions for something far sexier in its daytime schedules, says Stuart Buchanan, as he chats to the station’s newest recruit, hip Scottish

broadcaster Susan Maxwell.

ity the market researcher. A day Pfull of ‘excuse me‘s. and the only

people who bother to stop are either too old or too dull to be worthwhile.

For Sky Television. though. such hard-eamed research has proved to be worth its weight in questionnaires. The satellite station has recently scrapped and re-packaged its entire daytime programming, based on its latest round of street surveys. Mtrch to its surprise. Sky found average daytime viewers did not spend all their time worrying about beige fashions. petunias and bi-focals. The audience for the station‘s daytime digest was younger than Sky had suspected predominantly female, in the l8 to 35 bracket. With this information in its briefcase. the station announced a £3 million shake-up.

The new daytime package is spearheaded by a flagship lunchtime lifestyle show One To Three, launched on 23 September and hosted by Sarah Greene and ex-Big Brett/gas! star Paul Ross. A hipster's altemative to Richard and Judy. the self-proclaimed ‘two hour rollercoaster’ is concerned

with ‘movies. celebrities. topical information. lifestyle and enter- tainment‘.

The wicker and floral chains are off the keywords for the crew are ‘energy. positivity and fun‘. It‘s enough to leave the last generation gagging on the tear of Aunty's Neighbours.

David Elstein former head of programming at Sky and now with Channel 5 is confident the channel has made the right move. Of all the tenders received to produce Sky's daytime coverage. he was hooked on the proposal put together by London- based Action Time. ‘They offered the best combination of value and editorial flair and they are already recruiting a strong team to work on this commission,‘ said Elstein last month.

Poached from north of the border to bolster the team is Susan Maxwell, best

known perhaps. as the legs of Scottish Television‘s Scotland 'lbtlay and Trial By Night. Breaking out from behind the desk. Maxwell is holding together the entire daytime schedule in her role as continuity announcer reviewing and previewing the day‘s programmes. interviewing the circuit of celebs in their dressing rooms and finding out. literally. what‘s cooking in the kitchen.

‘lt's a new approach.‘ Maxwell says. ‘lt’s more viewer-friendly and down to earth and we‘re trying to be as informal as possible. I‘ll be wandering all over the place backstage. behind the scenes and. shortly. out on location basically just having a chat with people.‘

The calm onscreen is not mirrored in the wings. ‘We built a studio out of nothing in under twelve weeks and that really adds to the atmosphere.‘

Sky found the average daytime viewer did not spend all their time worrying about beige fashions, petunias and bi-focals.

Maxwell says. ‘Everyone is manic and frantically busy and the turnaround between programmes is insane.‘

It‘s certainly a stylish career move for the 27-year-old Rutherglen girl. but it’s also an innovative gamble for Murdoch and Sky. ‘l’m the first “regional‘” accent that Sky has had and I think that‘s what people want to hear.‘ says Maxwell. ‘Not only that. but I‘m younger than your average daytime presenter which reflects the age of the viewer. You can see that the package is totally market-led.‘

As the week draws to a close. Sky will be dropping Susan onto the back of a motorbike and ensuring she catches the shuttle to Glasgow where she’ll continue to present the late-night scream-fest Trial By Night with Met- Office thespian Lloyd Quinan.

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Susan Maxwell: the new face or Sky’s daytime coverage Scots with a bone to pick queue round the block to get on Trial By Night. but a certain behind-the-scenes technique is still required to ease the audience into colourful rants. ‘We do slip them a wee sweet sherry to ease their tongues.‘ confesses Maxwell. ‘1 think it's obvious. though. because the third debate is always better than the first.‘ ‘One night. a debate about sex shops was the last in the trio and I spoke to a group of girls at the beginning who were all saying. “I can't say anything rude because my rnurrr will be watching".' By the time it got to the debate. they were passing round

vibrators saying. “where can I get one of these? It's far better than my boyfriend!“.‘

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