Music Of The Millennium: The Final Countdown
Channel 4, Sat 24 Jan, 6.30pm; repeated 1 lpm.
Pop. It's the word of our age. We’ve more pop stars than you can throw yOur pants at, a pop PM and, hell, even dead Royals follow the 903 Pop Code: live fast, die young and leave good- looking publicity shots.
So how come Channel 4's Music Of The Millennium poll suggests Blighty's full of wrinkly mop—topped Luddites who W0u|dn't know a dancefloor if they slipped on Cider and broke their bulbous noses on it7
A total 36,000 votes for the top three albums of all time have polled a Top
Jock 'n' roll: Radio 1's Jo Whiley
100, to be broadcast in a show
presented by Radio 1 DJs Jo Whiley
and John Peel, featuring studio discussion from the likes of Elastica’s Justine Frischmann. Creation boss Alan McGee and others Will name their fave toons.
The results are hush-hush, but a ‘ Jumbled Top 20 reveals that 90% of
the albums are rock and 20% are by The Beatles. Oooh, adventurous. More happily, Stone Roses and Radiohead make Top 20, While the grapeVine reckons the Top 100 breaks the rockist blockade With records by Public Enemy and Prodigy.
'The JOY of lists is watching them JUSI to say they’re wrong, so you can be self-nghteous,’ says Jo Whiley 'l'd DICk Blue Lines, OK Computer and Moondance' (Peter Ross)
Soap fans were stuck indoors this fortnight as the big shows went five nights a week. But is this gimmick getting stale?
At it every night: Mick Johnson and his solicitor Eleanor
EastEnders went daily for the kid- nicking courtroom drama, With the Judge initially reluctant to accept Cindy’s defence that liVing With Ian was mental torture Then the boy Beale spoke up and the beak saw her pOint, so he chucked him into chokey,
FOur reporters sat through all of this, at least two from the clearly overstaffed Walford Gazette. Just how newsworthy is a custody tussle involVing a chippy owner who once stood for the council7 I hope the
100 THE lIST 23 Jan—S Feb 1998
Gazette’s rivals have more entertaining headlines. ‘Dirty Den Found On Moon' would be good. Or 'Grant Mitchell Wins Local Poetry Prize'.
Five nights’ saturation coverage of this was too much of a bad thing With feeble sub-plots — Kaffy and the hip Vicar exchange yet iiiOre soulful
glances, everyone makes the tea while
something happens to bOring Michael of the Market —
the makers of
EastEnders cannot claim this was in :
any sense a character on drugs, the producers start out Just domg the odd holiday special, or when there’s a big storyline; and. before too long, it’s out of control and they're On one a mOnth. Just say no, Viewers: life's too short.
Brookside's Mick Johnson trial also lasted a week. But it had at least one scene of fine acting, as saintly Mick broke down and revealed he had suffocated his dying mother-in-law after all, repeating tearfully 'I kept my promise' Meanwhile, everyone was at pains to stress they'd learned the lesson of Viewers' and doctors' complaints after the Original traumatic
'speCial'. Like a soap
DIY euthanaSia episodes: 'Yes, if only we’d known about the marvellous
hospice care that's so easy to obtain this need never have happened'
The Jury extras looked remarkably wooden and uninterested in Mick's impassioned eVidence, but aCQUItted him anyway They probably had to rush home to catch up on the soaps. (Andrea Mullaney)
rv REVIEW Channel Hopping
Time was when the word 'Weird’ had some semblance of genume meaning. Now anything different or unrelated to your own experience can be accorded that disparaging tag If you fail to share another's taste in fashion, beliefs, art, politics and so on, don’t try to work it out Or understand, Just call them weird And if they happen to be American, it's much simpler.
In Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends (BBCZ, ThursdaySJ, the former citizen of Michael Moore’s TV Nation has a field day with those Yanks and their crazy habits Kicking off his four-part assassination of the USA, Brit-boy Theroux leads bOrn-again Christians like Uncle Sams to the slaughter. Not that it's a tricky task we all laugh at super-rich TV evangelists and their raVing acolytes, sects With untuned gUitars, and bumper-sticker entrepreneurs Rather than antagonise his Victims into SubmissiOn a la Moore, M Louis sneaks into his subjects’ trust, chuckling behind his sleeve and ending up embarrassed at his gall He gets his point aCross, but it's been hammered home so often that Weird Weekends reeks more of COnfirmation than revelation.
Louis Theroux leads born~again Christians like Uncle Sams to the slaughter. We aii iaugh at super- rich TV evangelists and their
raving acelytes, sects with
untuned guitars, and bumper
The States isn't alone in its ability to sire strangeness Fortean TV (Channel 4, Fridays), hosted by the green- Wellied, leather-clad Reverend Lionel FanthOrpe, rounds up the 'mysterious, miraculous and downright weird’ across the globe We are sent to Coventry after a pork SCraIChlng in the shape of the Virgin and Child, to India to Visit a family who Cure asthma by chucking liVe sardines down the throat, and to Nepal where 'dramatic' new footage proves conclusively, and
Without the merest shadow of a doubt, that the Yeti, not a bloke in a gOrilla surt, stalks the snowy Himalayan troughs. The eVidence7 Yeti excrement is of a length and conSistency which no human c0uld DOSSIbly elect
IDJGCIIDg nasty stuff is a prominent motif in Looking After Jo lo (880. MOndaySJ Close-ups of needles penetrating flesh have und0ubtedly had many a Viewer curling up on their couch, thOugh jUSi as many Will have agonised at the reminder of the musical crimes of 1982 heavy-handed use of The Jam's back catalogue hardly makes up for Tight Bloody Fit and Bucks Sodding Fizz Still, the period detail can't be faulted Alex Higgins weaves his magic at the Crucible, and the thin ice that TorVill and Dean skate on mirrors the dance of death which those on the Edinburgh drug scene were soon to be led into
Though much can be said for Bobby Carlyle's latest sensory onslaught — trapped somewhere between Trainspotting's Begbie and Cracker’s Albie — Jenny McCrindle is a key symbolic character. Just as her Marilyn impersonator is a mask hidden under a pretence dingised by a lie, everyone has their secrets ready to be unravelled. The past Will ineVitably lead to all manner of vengeful acts as intimated by Jo Jo's rabbit-SUited slasher attack — think a smack~addled Jive Bunny — on those Who rammed a Safeway
trolley Into his beloved's belly Another Scottish
actor who has JUSI about resisted the big bucks Hollywood carrot is John Hannah, back as pathologist Iain McCallum Whose emotional disposition is as torn a3under as the corpses he has to fish around in Despite the fact that an education in bio-chemistry may come in handy, McCallum (Scottish, Tuesdays) is brooding, intelligent and, above all, wonderfully creepy The notion that the post-Cracker prime- time crime slot could never be adequately filled must now be put to rest And that feels a bit weird
Robert Carlyle in Looking After Jo Jo: A smack-addled Jive Bunny. No. really