Lonely star state: Hank Hill discovers the child within



To the rigid phallocentrICIst, comedy is an unsuitable ICU for a woman. Yet, for every Gayle Tuesday there is a Brand or an Eclair. Bleedin’ obvious though it is, the ability to make someone laugh has nothing to do With what you've got between your legs. You've either got it or you ain’t.

As if to prove the point, The Morwenna Banks Show (CS. Tuesdays) and The Mrs Merton Show (BBCI, Thursdays) kicked off their runs With conflicting reSuIts the former was crap, the latter very funny. While Banks was far from the worst thing in surreal sketch show Absolute/y, some deluded fool possibly Gordon Kennedy who

Wilt Anna continue its bank a young waiter? is Susie being biackmaiied about a game past"? {an Michelle Celiins and Frances Barber really be

the same age?

shows up far too often in the half- hour - was wrong to persuade her to strike out on her own Along With co- opting a few of her characters from her days With Jack Docherty and Co such as The Little Girl and The Artist, Banks has added several unfunny comical Creations Only the c0nsummate profesSionalism of your reViewer prevented serious wear and tear of the fast forward button Caroline Aherne alias Mrs Merton made a welcome return as the chat show hostess With floral cotton dress’ and Sulphuric acId tongue. Like Clive Anderson, her task is to make the guests squum in their own pompOSity and feel the blood drain from their face at her sheer cheek. Then again, sometimes she doesn't have to try too hard, as was the case when Keith Floyd graced her (Ouch With his Vile presence. As the red Wine flowed and the green room beckoned, Floyd became steadily more bladdered. Somewhat inewtably, Melinda

Messenger Swmdon sex on legs to some, Barbie Doll Without attitude to others was perched beside him, thOugh mindful of keeping a couple of cushions placed between them at all times.

Messenger may be some folks' notion of a real woman but the Beeb managed to throw up a more substantial quintet. Real Women (BBCI, Thursdays) saw Madams QUirke, Collins, Strong, Barber and Manville barnstorming the box as a set of childhood chums keeping in irregular touch, their lives haying taken Wildly different routes Their sole connection now is a thread of misery largely due to domestic unbliss and a desire for prosperous futures.

After the opening episode in which a raucous hen night leads to all manner of fall-out, many questions remain to be answered. Is Mandy’s bit on the Side a figment Of her imagination and Will she have the courage to leave the hell of her homelife? Will Anna return Calum's calls or continue to bonk a y0ung waiter7 ls SiiSie being blackmailed abOut a porno past? Can Michelle Collins and Frances Barber really be the same age7 It is actually marginally better than it sOunds, but whether it has anything to say about womanhood in the 90s is another thing.

The real women in Hank Hill's life are niece Lou-Anne and Wife Peggy. In the first episode of King Of The Hill's (C4, Fridays) second series, Hank was experienCing all manner of strange thoughts as his feminine side was dragged out by the guilt of nearly sending the womenfolk to their deaths in a trailer park tornado. Still, while there are genuine feelings breWing in there somewhere, Hank is ultimately Just another semi-reconstructed over- stiff redneck who can only express emotions when he is in fear of his life, clinging to the side of an oak, leVitating in mid-air at the mercy of a tornado which is stripping his clothes as he bares his soul. (Brian Donaldson)

Golden Wedding BBCZ, Sun 15 Mar, 9pm.

If you’re a movre-maker, then you’ll know that James Cosmo is the guy to call if yOu're casting for a kilted hard- nut. Or, if you want someone to be Ewan McGregor’s long-Suffering old fella, Jimmy's your man. But, for the actor who proved in Braveheart, Highlander and Trainspotting that you don’t want to mess with ginger guys, it's time for a change.

In the short BBC Scotland film Golden Wedding, Cosmo plays Eddie, a 70- year-old With Alzheimer's who has a troubled relationship With his Wife. As the narrative progresses, the nature of their marriage is gradually revealed. The role had extra resonance for Cosmo, whose mother died from Alzheimer's last year, but proved challenging for a more prosaic reason: to look old enough, he had to have his hair bleached.

'Never get it done,’ he warns. 'First I shaved my head, which was a shock anyway. Then they put this bleach on which burned. It's so fucking sore and they did it three times. Then they did my moustache and the smell of perOXide was horrendous.’

But, Surely anyone who had a part in Trainspotting, one of the most acclaimed British films of the decade, can't have to much to get narky about? You'd be Surprised.

'I was shocked and dismayed that it didn't turn me into a teen pin-up,' Cosmo Jokes. 'No, I was jUSI so happy to see Trainspotting become such a success and all the guys do so well from It.

3"... -, mafia/w!" / , I

Beached wail: James Cosmo as Eddie

'I Just hope that With the Scottish Parliament we are gomg to take advantage of it and encourage more film-makers to come here. Not like Braveheart where they’re here for five weeks then bugger off to Ireland for five months. We've got the scenery, we've got the works, but we’re Just not taking advantage of it, which is really sad.’

You have to agree. After all, he might have a claymore on him. (Peter Ross)


Betty's hotpot isn’t the spiciest thing going down in Corrie.


Groom up North: hairdresser Fiona and new sprog

Passions have been not so much Simmering as bOIIing over in Coronation Street. They must be putting summat in t'hotpot down Weatherfield way.

Sultry Sam is cheating on Des with Chris the mechanic, who's slowly working his way round the female cast. While it's hard to feel sorry for the terminally smug Des Barnes, the adulterous pair, seemingly competing to see who can care less, are both a bit too glossy and well groomed to care much abOut.

They clearly can’t be frequenting

Fiona's Hair Salon, where the troubled crimper has got other things on her mind than maintaining their cut and

blow-dries. Despite haying recently i

sprogged tiny Morgan, she’s rekindling old flame Steve McDonald. Compared to his dad Jim Fi's last fling Shifty Steve is practically the 90s Cary Grant.

Oddest liaison of all came on Friday, when the question ’What kind of woman would fancy Roy Cropper?‘ was answered: the sort With a little something speCial. Hayley, who seems to have wandered in from a Victoria Wood sketch, crushed the mood of their romantic dinner by confessing she's halfway through a sex change. She revealed rather more about precisely which half than Roy, who prefers the company of trainspotters to transsexuals, could handle.

This gratuitous story seems an attempt by hatchet producer Brian Park to challenge EastEnders and Brookside, and there's a danger the show could replace its old traditions with bland, interchangeable characters taking turns at the issue of the week. But so far it’s produced some really funny scenes and given the programme a new lease of life (Just as it has for Emily, cosy granny turned sarky eco- warrior). What next7 Betty takes a tOybOy? Chris, y0ur luck COuld be in.

Remember, the show started as a realistic drama about ordinary people, with what were then controversial storylines and racy romances. Perhaps it's just coming full circle. (Andrea Mullaney)

6—19 Mar 1998 THELIST 105