tv highlights

Staggeringly good: Gina McKee hits the bottle in Mothertime


880, Sun 28 Dec, (3.55pm.

We all have relatives who drink too llltlt h and ern'oarrass us at ( hristrnas But few of us hate the nuts to seize the turkey by its legs and ham revenge like the r ast of BBCZ's lahtastit al seasonal (ornedy-drarna Mothertime Gaining the upper hand over their altoholit mother in this glossy adaptation of Gillian White's novel, are four srhlinos from a posh hr'oken home, with Kate lsrlaheily (“)0 Set ret (iarderi, Gulliver's lrave/si leading the way as the all grown up older sister When riiurn, (Crina Mt rs’ee Our friends In Me North) arrives home steaming on ( hristrnas be the militant kids take at tron and l()( it her in the sauna until (old turkey fort es her to see the error of her ways like White's pr‘evrous BBC adaptation The Beggar Brit/e, lv/lotliertirrie has its fair share of (lithes and honkhuster (haratters, well atted as they are But, as far as estapist nonsense rioes, it's as good a way as any to polish off the Quality Streets. (Hire (an)

Last Of The Good Guys - A Tribute To James Stewart

BBCZ, Tue 23 Dec, 6.35pm.

Hitchcock once identified the difference between casting an unknown and James Stewart in a film. If you drive past a car crash and see a nameless dead man, you think ’That’s a pity'. But, if you see Stewart, you think 'That’s my brother'.

Such incredible sympathy and public love for the film actor, who died this July aged 89, was partly why Scot Saul Metzstein made Last Of The Good Guys. The BBC Scotland documentary, featuring interviews with Frank Capra jnr, David Lynch and Armistead

Maupin, examines Stewart’s best work.

Cold Enough For Snow BBCl, ed 3i Dec, 9pm.

No one expe: ts ratir at -':'.' 1.1;‘u'. from the Beep at ( i‘.ristr:;as, ari-zi rat it. Rosenthal's tare of teenagers been; the nest, (old [hung/i lur Shun. i‘. run exreption But, underneati‘. the REM T drama's sittorn veneer iies ai.

unexpet ted ()(‘lll l.laureen lipriiar‘. arid Davrd Ross star as the do\.'.i‘. to earth Whittles of Blatkhurn, with loin Wilkinson and Anna (‘arteret as the posh Lloyds of Cheltenharn, :n the Corr/e ( reator's (ornpanion pie: e to Last year's Eslurrio Day All is quiet on the domestit front until the touples' (hildren meet at an shten'iet'; for Cambridge Uni and ernharl. er: an affair that threatens to jeepa'rzrse l1vtrt their futures ()r so lllt'1l (l'.,-i'."v’! par-"I‘M think So far so safe, :in as ezer ‘.'.;tl‘. (orrre t reator Rrisenthal, nothinri :s ever as olil) as it seems (eld l [flit/(H) for Show is a funny, tout lltlttl tale of soul sear< lillll] and retortt :iiatror‘ from (haratters who, des )llt‘ the surety-iy jumpers, live in another uriiterse from the < iass inhabitants of Zl’r)iriMC/ii/dreri illlie C arr‘

First On Four

Channel 4, Sat 3 Jan, time the

liver been in a londoh kehah shop and thought you'd met the real Statros? Well it's just poss:hle yezi did, het ause Adam Athahassiou is as rea. as a reriuroitated dohei on a lriday niziht, and about to make his own iv dehut on Channel 4 Athahassiou, who onte had the misfortune to he liariy Enfield's lotal kehal) supplrei, \.'.i.l appear in First On lour, a nets. series <elebiatino a (group of earnedians intludino thield, Ruhy Wax, iulian (’lary and the show Saturua.’ lltt"

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Mr Nice: Saul Metzstein asks why we love James Stewart in Last Of The Good Guys

’He's simply a great actor,‘ enthuses Metzstein, touchingly using the present tense. ’His timing and the way he responds to other actors is amazing. You would kill to get a guy like that in a film.’

But, despite Stewart’s wholesome, popular image, he actually played some

dark roles

'In Vertigo, he is effectively an obsessive psychotic,’ says Metzstein. 'Yet, because the audience feel that Jimmy Stewart has a pervasive goodness, they aren’t alienated by the character. That’s part of his genius.’ (Peter Ross)

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First impressions: John Sessions plays the stars in Stella Street

Stella Street

BBQ, Mon 22 Dec, ll.‘iSprii.

What's this? Al Pacino, Roger Moore, David Bowie and Michael Cairie, all living on the same street, with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards running the

corner shop?

Closer inspection of these famous faces reveals, however, that behind layers of make-up lurk the wickedly cunning talents of John Sessions and Phil Cornwall. The pair are the chameleon stars of BBCZ's new comedy

spoof series, Stella Street.

Between them, Glasgow-born Sessions and Cornwall play all twenty characters, a mixture of international superstars and lesser mortals, who find themselves neighbours in leafy Surbiton, and in the unlikeliest

suburban street of the small screen.

Sessions, fresh from his success playing narrator Henry Fielding in BBC1's Tom Jones, now offers extraordinary impersonations of Stella Street regulars such as Dirk Bogarde and Joe Pesci. Phil Cornwall, meanwhile, provides similarly uncanny reconstructions of all from David Bowie to

Jimmy Hill.

‘lt’s like a cross between soap opera and Goodfellas, with famous people coping with everyday life and popping down to Kwiksave,‘ explains Sessions, who co~wrote the series of ten-minute programmes.

But Sessions insists they are not being cruel about the stars they play. ‘It's not getting at them like Dennis Pennis,’ explains Sessions. ’Basically, it's about why we love them, and why they‘re stars. It's very affectionate.’

(Rob Driscoll)

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