Fantasy Schedule

Channel 4, Sat 27 act, 8pm—late. Viewer’s choice is a good thing. Obviously. A night set aside for the exercising of cathode ray tubing right sounds like a wizard idea, and it's thanks to Channel 4 that Fantasy Schedule, an evening where viewers not controllers have set the schedules, is happening. Yet the choices what a bland lot. We at The List believe there is more to the word 'fantasy' than a 23p a night cable subscription.

Half an hour’s Brookie is a must in most lives, but the time when the Jordaches nobbed off to Dublin to escape justice and the stench of decomposing flesh was, by all accounts, an unmitigated disaster. But there it is, the first item in the viewers’ very own Fantasy Schedule. We would have voted for that classic episode of AlbionRoadStreetFami/yEndersMarket when a nuclear holocaust puts local gossip Aggie Dewsbury's back up. She finds no one around to tell the latest scandal, when a couple of brussel sprouts are discovered floating in her comode.

A classic episode of Friends, if such a thing is in existence, could make way for Fiends the ever popular serial killer sitcom in which a local abattoir acts as the meeting place for Dennis, Saddam, Ted, Myra, Ruth and Maggie to swap hilarious anecdotes of misunderstandings, lost loves, sharp implements and the pros and cons of the Common Agricultural Policy. Slaughter and laughter in implausibly wonderful measure. Ripper!

The Cutting Edge documentary on road rage will probably be the funniest thing of the night, but how about a compilation of classic road movies with that moving tribute to Diana from Channel 4 News opening the show. You remember, the simulated reconstruction of the blonde bombshell's final dizzying moments, head

The Woman In White/ The Cantervrlle Ghost BBC 1, Sun 28 Dec, ‘%.::i?;)in/ Scottish, Fri 26 {)e. 3.3T)pm.


Two sumptuous period adaptations, both tackling the supernatural but in hugely different moods, head this festive season's small-streen drama

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Slab girls: relive Brookie’s famous body under the patio story in Brookie with Channel 4's Fantasy Schedule

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over heels in love and somehow an ironic demise for someone who spent her life banging her head against a brick wall. The soundtrack would be Marc Bolan's much neglected version of ’Tie A Yellow Mini Round The Old Oak Tree'.

We couldn't dream up a bunch of arses making arses of themselves on camera for the exclusive pleasure of themselves and their showbiz mates, so Whose Line Is It Anyway is an unarguable choice. No Christmas is complete without a speech of some sort. Our faves are Chamberlain’s rock-solid defence of the Czechs, post- match interviews with Eric Cantona and Ren and Stimpy’s moving address to the UN in October 1993. A family film? Mother and son love (Psycho) a father's love for his daughter and cousin (Twin Peaks) or young kids buggering the living daylights out of one another (Kids). Now that’s fantasy scheduling for you. (Brian Donaldson)

Fantasy Srhedu/e features Brookside 8pm, Friends 8 30pm, Cutting Edge 9pm, Father Ted 70pm, Whose Line Is It Anyway IO 30pm and Shallow Grave l I 05pm

minute Boxrng Day film based on the haunting, but (‘omital Ostar Wilde story

Edinburghborn Rithardson stars as the late Sir Simon de CanterVille,

Wilde passion: Sarah Jane Potts and James D'Arcy in The Canterville Ghost

108 THE LIST 1‘? I 8 Jan Wits

Tara Fit/gerald heads the (ast of BBCl's The Woman /n White, a two- part dark, brooding version of Wilkie Collin's (‘ompelling 19th (entury mystery, and she's surrounded by a tasty (rop of male atting talent, headed by Andrew llll(()lll fol/S Life's Egg), James Wilby, Ian Rirhardson and Com Redgrave

Fitzgerald stars as Marian Fairlie, who, With her half-sister Laura (newr'omer Justine Waddell) sets out to learn more about a ghostly woman dressed in white, mysteriously enrountered by their new drawmg master (Llll(()lll) one night

'Playing Marian proved one of the most (hallenging roles I've ever had to play,’ says Fitzgerald, 'espetially as I had to (lamber across a high Window ledge in one stene I'm a vertigo ‘.llif(‘."t'."

Ian R'tiiardson, who plays Marian's unrle in The Woman /ri White, turns up the title role of The (anterirrfie Ciht-st, ll\/’s glossy 9t)—


resident ghost at historit Cantervdle Chase, a stately borne bought up by an Aineman family who waste no time in announting (banges Whirh is where our dead hero's wuked haunting begins

‘He’s harrin a malevolent ghost] stresses Ritliardson 'lle's maybe a bit naughty, but he's absolutely hopeless at staring people '

Co-starring alongside hzm are Rik Mayall as a self-important exorrist, Pauline Quiike as a fraudulent Frenth medium, plus Donald Sinden, Edna Dore and James D'Auy rerently seen as the stheming Blifil in BBCl's Tom Jones

Despite all manner of ghostly special effetts, the spookiest moment for Rirbardson was havrng to kiss Rik .layall on the mouth

'I was lust apalled by the number of times we had to do it,’ reralls the ex- House 0/ Cards star 'Aiid | (an tell you il‘. it PS. .':.t".t have had riariit the oval"

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Mr White Goes To Westminster Channel 4, Tue 30 Dec, 9pm.

Once apon a time, there was a TV foreign correSpondent who became so incensed by the antics of a disgrated Tory MP that he stood against him as an anti-slea/e (andidate in a general ele<tion

Sounds like a fairy tale. But as those of us who remember Martin Bell sguaring tip to Neil 'dirty tritks' Hamilton earlier this year know only too well, the anti- sleaze hark srenario is one of those ('ases where truth really did turn out to be stranger than f|( tion

For Drop The Dead Donkey ((H‘reator Guy Jenkin, it was a truth more (ompelling than f|(Il()ll, and one that provided the spur for his new Channel 4 ft’dllJFO-l(‘lt(]lli (‘omedy drama Mr White Goes To Vi/estmrnster

Bitingly satirical and eye-poppineg pa(y, the film follows the heaVIly- prinripled Martin Bell figure, Ben White (Bill Paterson) as he enters Parliament ready to sweep its (orridors free of slea7e

Robert Dun(an, Gus in Drop The Dead Donkey, plays Neil Hamilton, sorry Paul Madison, With Celia lmrie as his starin ambitious Tory wrfe Vittoria Dervla Kirwan is tabloid reporter 'The Ferret'

None of the (haratters, of ('ourse, bear any resemblanr'e to those livmg or dead Apart from the obVious And as With all great satire, certain things have been magnified to (artoon proportions for our benefit This is a world where (andidates take vanloads of rent-a- grannies on the (‘ampaign trail \Nllll them for added effet't and top iournalisrn awards are sponsored by MrDonalds

Drama being drama though, Ben White does not get off so eaSily as our real-life barked-off hark Where l/iartin Bell MP has been notable by his absenre from the headlines sinte lvlay's Vl(l()ly, White (an’t keep the flashbulbs from his door after a private member's bill to protett indiVidual privaty leads to tittl( k-raking by the tabloid press

'Mr Clean l‘, dirty' run the headlines following allegations of extra-marital affairs and bribe-taking. Cynital perhaps But then who knows what skeletons that sgueaky-(lean Mr Bell has in his (upboard (Ellie Carr)




Sleaze-buster: Bill Paterson in Mr White Goes To Westminster