Devoting a six-part series to the story of a takeover by one car manufacturer of another sounds like overkill. or maybe that should be roadkill. Surely tales of boardroom reshufﬂes. corporate restructuring and rebranding exercise are best left to the business news programmes which are generally shown either very early or very late?
But When llover Met BMW (BBC2. Tuesdays) isn't about two companies that make cars; it's really about what happens when a British workforce have to cooperate with a German management team. Early on. the voice- over manages to casually mention the fact that both companies were directly involved in their respective national war efforts as aero-engine manufacturers. So far no clips of the famous ‘they think it’s all over‘ goal during England's I966 World Cup victory. but surely it‘ll be along in a minute. Or perhaps the theme from The Dam Busters.
Later. at a Rover management training session intended to focus on the ‘Britishncss‘ the marque which BMW is keen to trade on. senior executives watched clips of Duds Army and the Fan-Irv Towers episode when Basil tries
— and fails — to avoid mentioning the war. Who do you think you are kidding. BBC? This series reeks of Euro- scepticism. adopting that wry British tone which suggests all foreigners are really rather amusing.
Fortunately for the filmmakers. Herr Doctor Reitzler. the new chairman of Rover installed by the new German parent. played into their hands. While being driven from the airport for his ﬁrst meeting at the Birmingham plant he asked how long before they arrived. About fifteen rnintttes. he was told. Twelve minutes later. he pipes up: ‘Soh. ve vill be zer in tree minoots‘. or words to that effect. This is a man who could surely make the trains run on time — a Sun headline writer couldn't have scripted it better.
By way of a welcome for the new boss. Rover‘s catering corps laid on a spread which featured that traditionally British welcome of white sandwiches cut into triangles and cocktail snacks. But at least the sausage was from Germany. ‘I believe salami is Italian. but this is German — it said so on the packet.‘ noted the jolly dinner lady. But as the punctuality of Reitzler‘s schedule went from bad to wurst. the buffet was by-passed. It was a bit like one of the those state visits when they paint the loos specially but the Queen doesn‘t need a royal wee.
Also new to the job is Shaman (Scottish. Mondays) starring the impressively cheek-boned Clive Owen as a South London private detective who thinks he knows all the angles. but
Shannan: Clive Owen charms the ladies once again
seems to be kind of carried along by events. He just smokes endlessly and says things like: ‘They are threatening to blow my bollocks off ifthis starts smelling.‘ I tell you. it‘s another world when you go south of the river.
Keith Allen played an undercover policeman midway between Alan Bennett anti the Mitchell brothers from lz‘ttstlfnders — sort of mincing and menacing at the same time. Scottish
actress Julie Graham. notable for her
turbo-charged performance in a Peugeot car ad. is gaining a reputation as a rather chesty vamp. Wunderbra. as the man from BMW might have said. For this part she was required to dress up in ex-Avenger Diana Rigg‘s PVC cat suit and bounce around the set waving a gun. Naturally. she was an undercover cop too.
It‘s been a week of it. actually. Also working undercover was Judith (Rosie Rowell) in Kiss And Tell (Scottish). a one-off drama which may turn out to be a promising pilot for an above-average TV series. The plot had strong echoes of the bungled police operation to entrap the alleged killer of Rachel Nickell.
Posing as a lonely heart. Judith snuggled up to the man the police believed had killed his wife. They extracted a confession. but the case collapsed when it was ruled to be tainted evidence. The drama was heightened by the fact that the investigating officer was Judith‘s ex- boyfriend. played by Peter Howitt from Our Friends In The North.
The story was strong. and the writers had worked out that what was interesting about undercover work is not what kind of car you drive. but how you stay in character. The difficulty of turning it into a series would be working out who the central character was. because the boyfriend-girl friend double act would be hard to sustain. But any police series which doesn't resort to detonated bollocks is worth a shot. (Eddie Gibb)
I lonely Planet (Channel 4) Fri 16 Nov. 8—8.30pm. lan Wright (no. not the footballer) roughs it round the world in another series of the travel show aimed more at backpackers than the Judith Chalmers end of the holiday market.
I Facing The Public (BBC2) Sat 17 Nov. 6.05—6.50pm. BBC Broadcast chief executive Will Wyatt gives this year’s Huw Weldon memorial lecture. in which he considers the subject of TV presenters and their audience in the multi-channel future.
I Dallas on" (BBC2) Sat 16 Nov.
9.30-1 1.10pm. Madonna‘s old pal Sandra Bernhard stars in this eccentric Australian ﬁlm. shown as part of the Screen Two series. Bernhard plays a strange but charismatic young golf teacher who seduces. in turn. an entire fatnily before her inﬂuence is exposed as malevolent.
I The Tenant oi Wildtell Ilall (BBC l) Sun 17 Nov. 9-9.55pm. Tara Fitzgerald heads the cast of this new three-part adaptation of the Anne Bronte novel. Repeated on Sat 23 Nov at 10.30pm. See feature.
I Horizon (BBC2) Sun 17 Nov. 9.30—l0.20pm. New series of the long- ruuning science strand starts with a two- part investigation into the discovery of BSE - so-called mad-cow disease - and the way the public health scare was handled. Part two is tomorrow. Mon l8 Nov at 8pm.
I Don’t look Down (Scottish) Sun 17 Nov. 1045—! 1.45pm. Tonight’s edition of the Scottish arts show looks at the work of painter Anne Redpath and location report about the filming of Pat Barker’s novel Regeneration.
I The South Bank Show (Scottish) Sun 17 Nov. ll.45pm—l2.45am. Profile ofJimmy McGovern. the former Brooksitle writer who created (True/(er. The programme includes clips of McGovern‘s dramatised account of the events at llillsborough which will be screened in December.
I Secret lives (Channel 4) Mon 18 Nov. 9—10pm. In the wake of the recent Rinkugute book. Sorrel Lives looks at the story of former Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe who ended up in the dock on a charge ofconspiriug to murder his ex- lover
I llever Mind the Buncoclts ( BBCZ) Tue l9 Nov. l()-l().30pm. Translating the They Think It is All Over formula to pop music is this quiz show fronted by Mark Lamarr. with team captains Sean Hughes and Phill Jupitus.
I The Trials of Kevin and Pandora Maxwell (BBC l ) Tue I9 Nov.
l().25»-l l.35pm. Following hard on the heels of Tom Bower‘s detailed investigation into Maxwell's descent into fraud for Inside Story. this documentary takes a more HelloI-stylc approach to the human interest story behind the financial scandal.
Dallas Doll: Sandra Bernhard as the goli pro who swings both ways
I Brass Eye (Channel 4) Tue 19 Nov. l0.35-l 1.05pm. Chris Morris hosts this new spoof which does for investigative current affairs shows what The Day Today did for TV news.
I Open llhodes (BBC2) Wed 20 Nov. 8.30—9pm. Spiky-haired TV chef Gary Rhodes hits the trail for another culinary tour of Britain. kicking off in the Highlands.
I The X Files (BBC 1) Wed 20 Nov. 9.30—10.15pm. After a mid-season reshufﬂe. the series switches nights. Conspiracy theories abound. but Jimmy Nail is the mostly likely suspect — see below.
I Women at Play (Channel 4) Thurs 2] Nov. 8—8.30pm. New series of documentaries about women with unusual hobbies. starting with the ballohandling skills ofa female rugby team.
I Crocodile Shoes (BBCl ) Thurs 21 Nov. l0—l0.50pm. Second series of the music industry drama created by and for the limited vocal talents ofJimmy Nail. As Jed Shepperd. Nail plays a Tyneside shipyard worker with a leaning towards country and western. Having hit the big time. he now ﬁnds himself trying to beat the inevitable cocaine rap.
I Children in lleed (BBC I) Fri 22 Nov. 7pm—2am. You’ll need to lay in a sizeable stack of videos ifyou want to avoid this seven-hour charity fundraising telethon fronted by Gaby Roslin and Terry Wogan. I Cluck, Cluck, Cluck (BBC2) Fri 22 Nov. 7—7.30pm. Wine writer Malcolm Gluck presents a new series of booze programmes which seek to demystify wine. In the first show he visits Birmingham to prove that a decent curry does not necessarily have to be chased down with Carlsberg lager.
I Black Box (Channel 4) Tue 26 Nov. 9—l0pm. New four-part series looking at the work of air crash detectives who use information from a ﬂight recorder — the ‘black box’ — to try to work out what went wrong.
a 96 The List 15-28 Nov I996