The Kleenex count is high and rising in soap-land this fortnight, with the first car crash in, ooh, ages in The Close and the tragic passing of clear, clear Derek from The Street.
Yes, yes, I’m feeling better now, thank you. But it‘s been a long, hard fortnight. Send no flowers.
It began with Coronation Street. One minute Derek Wilton was driving along with a Gilbert and Sullivan tune on his lips. The next he was gasping his last from a heart attack in a quiet country lane. Goodbye and thanks for all the gnomes. It all happened so fast; too fast, really, for the dignified exit his years in the show deserved.
Actually, after all the leaks about his death, it was rather an anti-climax. More attention was given to Alec’s weasel-like attempts to extract £30 out of various peOple to cover the funeral buffet, and to the whinging of evil Don Brennan.
Hardened as they are to inflicting pain and suffering, soap scriptwriters think death is not quite sad enough unless there’s a cruel irony involved. ’And to think,’ gasped an uncharacteristically bitter MaVis, 'the last thing I said to him was he was insensitive'
Far worse was Susannah Farnham's last goodbye to her two children in Brookside. 'l'll kill the pair of you!’ she cried ~ and she did, in a gruesome car crash. DraWing out the agony to a week of five harrowing episodes increased realism, and the acting was terrific, but was it entertainment? Er, ye-es, in a watch through your fingers in horror kind of way.
The Farnhams have always been light characters in Brookside terms. Despite Maxre’s dithering between his two interchangeable blonde Wives and matching children, and brushes With cancer and Down’s syndrome, the family's attempts to lord it over the rest of The Close meant they still seemed like the easy-target yuppies they'd been introduced as. Derek Wilton was a silly character too, but he died as he'd lived and it meant little. The gravity of the Farnhams' tragedy has ensured that at last, they truly fit in With their neighbours.
Anyway, it's all over now. Although, yikes, c0uld that lump under the bedclothes in EastEnders be dear old Ethel? Oh, please God, no, I can’t take any more. (Andrea Mullaney)
Brookside: Max and Susanna in happier days
Phil Ka Feels . . .
Channel 4, Fri l8Apr, 10.30pm.
Hairy Scottish comedian Phil Kay makes his TV debut in this new six-part series With a different theme each week. Tonight Mr Kay feels natural, so brace yourselves . . . See feature, page 6
Have I Got News For You
BBC2, Fri 18 Apr, 10pm.
The satirical news quiz returns for its thirteenth series, with chair Angus Deyton and team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton holding on to their safe seats. A little too smug for its own good these days, but still worth watching as long as Merton keeps the sardonic asides coming and Ian Hislop in his place.
Shootout In Swansea BBC2, Sat 19 Apr, 10.30pm.
Documentary on the making of Twin Town the much-hyped black comedy set in Swansea which shares a production team With Trainspotting and stars Scottish actor Dougray Scott (Soldier Soldier, The Crow Road) as a bent copper With a liking for Class A drugs and Violence. See feature, page 10.
Later With lools HoHand BBC2, Sat l9Apr, l.35am.
Jools is jomed by the reinvented Everything But The Girl who play songs from their danced-up album Walking Wounded. Also appearing is Jamaican roots reggae legend Burning Spear, performing tracks from his recent album Rasta Business and 70s classics with his twelve-piece band.
Wanted Channel 4, Sun 20 Apr, 6.30pm.
The strangely compelling live hide and seek game show returns for a second series, and this time the stakes are high. Now the public can Win money for turning in contestants on the run from an expanded team of pursuers, and there is extra money for fugitives who take part in dangerous challenges
Here And Now BBCl, Mon 21 Apr, 7.30pm.
Anastasia Cooke investigates domestic Violence in the church With this alarming report from the topical affairs series on the Vicars who beat up their WIVES
Channel 4, Mon 21 Apr, 9pm.
The final programme in this documentary series shadowing three 6P5 frOm a Manchester practice serVing some of the city’s most deprived areas With increasingly
E stretched resources
Martin Clunes's Holiday BBCl, Tue 22 Apr, 7pm.
Men Behawng Bad/y star Martin CluneS visits America‘s golden gateway, San FranCIsco and Hawaii's 'Magic Isle' Maui in the 'uncut' version of the two-
TV &. RADIO
The Sack Race BBC2, 20 Apr, 9.05pm.
Think job insecurity, and a Tory MP in a marginal seat or a Liverpool docker are right up there. Hot on their heels are those most stressed-out-and-hung- out-to-fry lot, football managers. In The Sack Race Alan Hansen (a man hotly tipped for managerial fame, who has chosen to spend Saturdays arguing with Jimmy Hill rather than agonising over jobthreatening refereeing blunders) speaks to the likes of Bobby Robson, Ian Wright and Ruud Gullit on the job from both player and boss perspective.
Most pertinent of all is the case of Notts County chief Colin Murphy. 'Out of every ten decisions I've made I've been lucky enough to get seven or eight right,’ he says. ’That keeps you in work, gets you a pension.’ This closing remark is followed by a sombre statement that the poor bugger got
the bullet just four weeks later.
The Sack Race may not make you want to apply to be the next head on the block, but Hansen's mini-thesis will give you an entertaining insight into the perils and pleasures of coaching. (Brian Donaldson)
centre trip he took for the holiday programme last year This'll he the version ‘.‘.’|lfl()tll the grass skirts then. Then again, maybe not.
Channel 4, Tue 22 Apr, 9pm.
The final programme in the documentary series about peisonal belief keeps an appointment with DoctOr Death, the 68—year-old who has gained notoriety for asSIsting tip to 48 suicides in the US Dr Jack Kevorkian, as he is otherWise known, laces court proceedings for the fourth time this May, but has sworn to maintain his defiant stance on this controversial human rights issoe
BBCl, Tue 22 Apr, 10pm.
New drama series starring Neil Dudgeon (COmmon As Muck) and Samantha Bond (Miss Moneypenny in Goi'deney'el as the key staff at a labOratory where scientists and staff fall mysteriously ill after contact with a genetically-engineered pesticide which its makers claim has no effect on human beings
Channel 4, Wed 23 Apr, llpm. The one where Joey moves out and Monica introduces her middle-aged
Radio Scotland, Fri l8 Apr, llam. Karen Clark (llSCfWC’lS the secrets of Scotlandhaseo' celebrity chef Nick Nairn in this edition of the daytime lifestyle show.
Rock Kids Radio 1, Sun 20 Apr, 7pm.
The documentary series that gave us
an insight into the lot of rock Wives returns With slick-lipped Katie Puckrick in the chair and the spotlight
. svvivelled to assess the lives of pop
stars' childrens. in the studio, to talk about the effect of fame on their
3 offspring, are Madonna, Billy Idol,
Neneh Cherry, Diana Ross and Jon Bon Jovi, while Moon Zappa and Ziggy Marley are there to prove that haVing famous rocker parents really is
a no 00
Girlies Radio 4, Thurs 24 Apr, lOam.
New comedy series base-l around five
3 very different thirtysomething Asian women and the regular girlie nights
bOyfriend (Tom Selleck) to her surprised
parents iChristina Pickles and Elliot GOuldi Presumably they are surprised because he's middle-aged, not because he's Tom Selleck
Channel 4, Thurs 24 Apr, 6pm. Recently transferred from Sky l, this soap ‘.‘.’|lft strange spiritual undertones is worth a look even if you're not a fan of The Street, The Close and the rest Tonight Father McGinley conVinces Liz she is seeing things. Then he sees the dear departed Eva himself and issues a terrible warning
they hold to chew over the hassles of husbands, work and children and keep
; alive a fierce friendship dating back to
shared school days at a South London
Right Stuff, Wrong Sex Radio 4, Thurs 24 Apr, 7.20pm. Documentary about the thirteen pilots who passed NASA's gruelling phy5ical
examinations in the 60s to become
astronauts but never made it into
space because they were women. Sue
Nelson meets some of the remaining FLATS (Fellow Lady Astronaut Trainees)
; who were ace pilots, but never got to
fly With the boys. l8Apr-l May l997 THELI8T77