Gan Coronation Street survive the loss of llaquel’s (pint) pulling power? Will
Home and Awaybe the same without Angel? The list considers the departure of two young female characters from soap-land this week. In a desperate attempt to stop the rot and rapidly falling ratings. Coronation Street (Scottish; Mon. Wed. Fri) had the brilliant idea of allowing its most popular character to walk out. What a brainwave! Everyone will tune in to see Raquel pack in Weatherfteld and then. erm, tune out again.
Mind you. Raquel's marriage to Curly Watts was never realistically going to work out. The former model and Rover barmaid married Curly at the second attempt. having turned her back on a life of excitement with unreliable playboy — do you get reliable playboys? — Des Barnes. the bookie. The cracks in their relationship really started to show when a more assertive Raquel returned from an aromatherapy course. If you were offered a top job abroad could you really see yourself turning it down to stop at home with boring. steady Curly?
No doubt viewers watched in their millions to see Raquel’s high heels clicking over the cobblestones for the last time. When Bet left The Street it was a ratings triumph. but surely the law of diminishing returns applies to popular characters leaving? If Corrie carries on at this rate. Jack Duckworth will be calling last orders to an empty bar. and no one will watch the show except a handful ofdisgruntled executives from Cadbury‘s, the show‘s sponsor. The scriptwritcrs need to take some tips from Eastlinders and Bron/(side and enlist some sexy new blood who've got tnore than warm beer and leftover hotpot coursing through their veins.
Meanwhile in Summer Bay they‘re already missing Angel. who rode into the sunset with millionaire Simon during the 2000th episode of Home and Away (Scottish; Mon—Fri). How will the soap cope with the loss of its most prominent young fogey? When the teenage runaway ﬁrst arrived at the Bay. you knew she‘d have her fair share of high school romance. What you couldn‘t have predicted was that by the age oftwenty she would be threatening to steal the widow‘s mantle from Pippa Ross.
Given Angel‘s ill-fated stay in Summer Bay. it‘s a wonder she didn‘t scarper sooner. There‘s been (deep breath): car crash paralysis; marriage to school dunce Shane; a tug-of—Iove son with leukaemia; Shane‘s fatal finger cut . . . oh. and her house collapsed in an earthquake. In just four years. Angel has gone from being a sparky teen rebel to world-weary tnurn of two - did the writers create this characterjust to prove that blondes don‘t have more fun?
By a cosmic twist of fate. Raquel is heading overseas just as Angel prepares to touch down onBritish soil. A mid- air collision shouldn't be ruled out. but it would be even more entertaining to see Angel giving Curly a massage with aromatic oils or emptying the spitoons at the Rover's. Let‘s just hope that landlord Jack is up-to-date with his disaster insurance. This woman is an accident waiting to happen. (Mary Macdonald)
The emergency services hold an enduring fascination for television; a new three-part documentary rides shotgun with ambulance crews to discover what lies behind a 999 call. Brian Donaldson reports.
Watch the opening credits of Red Base ()ne Four and you could be convinced you are in the realm of soap opera. with fast-cut edit to swiftly introduce the cast ofcharacters. But where are the Colgate smiles and the designer clothes? These people are here to save lives — this is emergency services television. and the dratna is for real.
The London Ambulance Service is undergoing unprecedented change. with new technology and working practices forcing frontline staff to adapt. die or go on strike. ‘When we started the ﬁlm. London was the worst in Britain in getting to 999 calls.‘ explains co- producer Charles Stewart. ‘They had to get themselves going and they had to change the culture.‘
This meant the introduction ofthe
standby technique. ‘Thc management had this idea that the ambulance crews should be sitting around in the street waiting for a call.‘ states Stewart. ‘That's uncomfortable. boring and dangerous.‘
Confronting the harsh truth lies behind tttuch of the work of Stewart and his co-producer Malcolm Hirst. Having first collaborated in I980. they have tnadc around 50 films covering topics such as the Ethiopia famine. Arabs itt London and. tnost recently. the intet'necine warfare at Lewisham Council. It can never bean easy ride dealing with the frailty of humans at their tnost vulnerable moments. With Red Base One Four more tough decisions had to be made.
‘Much of what we left out was just too personal,‘ admits Stewart. ‘But if it‘s in
lied Base One Four: real-life drama the film. then it‘s been cleared by the people in it. One guy who had had a nosebleed initially agreed but then called three weeks laterjust when the film was almost finished to say he didn‘t want to be ttsed.‘
Given the emotional intensity of the documentary. it is hard to itnagine what was ‘too personal‘ to make the ftnal cut. Uncomfortable scenes include a woman in deep distress pleading for an ambulance for her boyfriend. at very elderly and confused woman being coaxed into taking the trip to hospital — more tears. Above all. the sense of imminent disaster is palpable. ()n the evidence of this film. there aren‘t enough hands in the world in which to make the NHS safe.
Red Base One Four is on Sun 24 Nov at 9pm on C [tunnel 4.
I Soho live - The Essential Selection (Radio I) Fri l5 Nov. 7pm. Pete Tong presents his award-winning dance-in- your-living-room-before/instead-of-a-club show direct from London‘s Velvet Underground as part of Soho Live. Joining him on the decks are top international DJs Paul ()akenfold and CJ Bolland. while on stage The Propellerheads go mad with four turntables. a live organ and lots of drums.
I In Celebration (Radio 4) Sat l6 Nov. 5.40pm. Your granny swore by them. Your tnum forced you into them whether you liked it or not. Yes. thermal undies may have been the bane of your young life. but. as this new series singing the praises of little things we take for granted points out. those static-charged pants and vests from good old reliable Damart of Bingley would've been missed if they weren‘t there on wintery days.
I Punk Fiction (Radio I) Sun l7 Nov. 7pm. Some people just can‘t get enough of punk nostalgia. Marc ‘Lard‘ Riley — former member of The Fall - continues to muse over safety pins and DIY (with nail scissors) haircuts. and play the best sounds from the punk era in the third programme of this major documentary series. Includes interviews and archive recordings from The Clash. The Damned. The Buzzcocks. The Sex Pistols. Shaun Ryder and Alan McGee.
Sex lives (Radio 5 Live) Sun l7 Nov. 8.35pm. Seeing as she knows all there is to know about sex in this century. self- confessed strumpet and Perrier Award- winning comedienne Jenny Eclair goes in search of how a bit ofslap and tickle might measure up after the millennium. in the last programme of this series. Will Cybersex dominate the bedroom? Or will we reject virtual thrills in favour of
getting back to basics with real sensations? ()ur Jen leads the way.
I In The Grip Of The Glossies (Radio 4) Fri 22 Nov. l0.02am. Scottish poet Liz Lochhead speaks with the voice of everywoman. as she recalls scouring the problem pages of her mum's Woman 's ()ll'll for any mention whatsoever of sex in this new four-part series on how women‘s mags (and Lochhead) have changed over the decades.
I The Essential Mix (Radio I) Sun 23 Nov. 2pm. More from the ever-expanding Bristol sound as DJ duo Smith & Mighty of More Rockers Records label mix dark. soulful beats into the early hours of Monday morning.
I In Concert - The Fugees And Ice T (Radio I) Mon 24 Nov. 9pm. A double dose of hip hop with chart-toppers The Fugees killing us softly with a concert recorded at Brixton Academy earlier this year and 'original gangsta rapper‘ turned TV presenter Ice T to follow in a gig recorded at this year‘s Reading Festival.
I 2 Magazine (Radio I) Wed 27 Nov. 9pm. Satirical take on the biz that is music with appearances from the show‘s writer Richard Easter. Dominik Diamond. Johnny Cigarettes and more. Styled on certain tabloid format rock journals who shall remain nameless. the fictional magazine will carry news. reviews. new releases. interviews. competitions and. of course. an unmissable free cassette superglued to the front cover of the first issue. Oasis. The Prodigy and Howard Jones will all be notable by their inclusion.
I Wonderland Girls (Radio 4) Thurs 28 Nov. l0.()2am. New four-part comedy series by Marianne Carey which goes behind the filing cabinets of a seemingly dull assurance company to reveal a hotbed of romance. intrigue and skullduggery. (Ellie Carr)
manom— Digital watch
Occupying the arts slot that The South Bank Show has made its own, comes a new, three-part series on culture and new technology that seeks to explain in layman’s terms what virtual reality is all about. Cyber Space considers a future of entertainment which could conceivany replace Melvyn Bragg with a computer-generated presenter.
The first programme concentrates
mainly on how movies like Toy Story and The lawnmower Man used computer animation techniques to create effects that could never be achieved with a real-time, live-action camera. This is fairly standard ‘making of’ fare, though the programme does give brief glimpses of how these techniques might filter out of the movies and into everyday life. There's a short report on a popular singer in Japan who is entirely computer-generated .
0n hand to comment on the future at computer-generated entertainment are the usual cyber-suspects, including The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams and novelist William Gibson.
‘There’s a really stimulating and dynamic relationship between artists and computer people at the moment,’ says executive producer Mick Gsaky. ‘Seeing what artists were doing was the key to making an interesting series.’ (Eddie Gibb)
Byber Space begins on Sun 24 Nov on Scottish.
The List l5-28 Nov I996 95