the m detectives

Cop a load of CITY CENTRAL, the new police drama which makes The Bill look like Playschool.

Wo'ds Kathleen Morgan

WM‘WM/Z'YW’ “0’ "’ 1’


It you tind police drama as exciting as watching paint dry on a cell wall. prepare tor something more arresting. The latest cop show ('in ('t'urm/ promises to comhine the action ol‘ .\'l"l’l) Blue with the addictiye storylines ol This Life. And it should get tip the nose ot any police chiefs worth their stripes.

The creator ot' the Bl3("s l'irst precinct-hased police drama since Z-(‘ui's‘ is lfus'IICIIr/ers wt'itcr 'l‘ony .lordan. lie is determined ('iry (‘t'llll'UL lilmcd in Manchester. will knock the hohhy socks ol'l other cop series.

‘I want (‘iry' ('erilru/ to he naughty. sexy and yery l‘)‘).\’.' he says. ‘I want yiewers and the ordinary copper to go. "yes. that's what it's all ahotit" and I want the top hrass to go. "oh dear".'

Scottish star ol‘ ('in ('t'nmr/ Ashley Jensen says the secret ot' the series‘s‘ success will he its concern with the private lives of its characters. In other words. we should get to see heneath the unit‘orms.

‘lt is more character-hased than The [fill —— more plot-hased.' she says. '\\'hat annoys tne ahout 'l'lu' Iii/l is I don’t know who any ot' them are. (‘iry' ('e/Ilru/ dely'cs into people‘s liyes and how that al't‘ects their \yot‘k.‘ Jansen should know she has starred in The [fill and is presumath tired ol‘ that heat.

The 38-year-old actress. who has starred in 'I’V‘s Rorig/i/u't'ks‘ and iii/ting ()l'('l'

The Asylum. plays Icycl-

headed i’(‘ Sue ('happel ilt

(‘in ('e/iri’ul. She got a taste i ha" :2;

ol' the reality ol. police lil‘c

hel'ore l'ilming hegan. when she patrolled the streets ol- Manchester with the city"s l'ot'ce.

‘lt was quite scary.' says .lensen. ‘lt made me realise I'm too much ot a wimp to he in the Police l‘orce »- I‘d get too inyolyed.’ She grimaces and adds: ‘I was with a prohationer one day who was dealing with a suicide who had hung himselt'. He was made to whecch the body oycr his shouldcrf

Based hetween (ilasgow and London. .lensen says the ten-part (‘ily' (‘eurm/ series gets as close to reality as its pre-watcrshcd time slot allows. But while its content might he harder than The Iii/l. it will

W, -

A fair cop: Ashley Jensen in City Central

ineyitahly he sol‘ter round the edges than the likes ol'

.\'l'l’l) Blue.

‘I hope (‘r‘ry ('enim/ pushes the plots as tar as it can go.’ she says. ‘In some ways I wish it was going otit at 0.25pm. htit there are certain responsihilities we haye to l‘tilt‘il. 'l’here were situations where we were tilming houses heing hlown tip and we couldn’t go. “oh my (3od". let alone. "l‘uckin' hell".‘

l'nless she is hiding something. Jensen‘s only link with the police w as her gr‘andlatln‘r‘. an ol'l'icer with Strathclyde's torce: ‘l neyer had anything to do with them apart t'rom my grandpa making me hayc shiny huttons and shoes as a child.‘ ller eypcricnces on the heat with Manchester's l‘orcc seem

to hay e made a greater impact.

‘.-\ lot ot‘ people haye contempt tor the police.’ she says. ‘I hayc a huge respect l'or what they do. You don’t know w hat people go through until you‘re laced with their esperiences.‘

The notion iii a British police drama hard-edged enough to ohliterate the memory ol' /-('urs is tempting. \thther ('r'ry ('en/m/ will he treading the heat as long as The Iii/l. though. remains to he seen.

City Central is weekly on BBC1, beginning Sat 4 Apr, 8.10pm.

Box Pops

Celebrity sofa surfing. This fortnight: Late Lunchers Mel & Sue

Favourite show?

Sue Larry Sanders

Mel Frasier

Fave TV snack?

Sue Chips and Diet Coke

Mel Japanese rrt‘e tratkers and a warmint; liqueur

When did you last shout at the telly? Sue At the Oscars What a dull, self- rndtrlnent event'

Mel \VYIi‘. delight at The Jerry Sprayer Show

If you went on Stars In Their Eyes who would you be?

Sue The female half of Dollar

Mel The male half of Dollar

What TV personality makes you want to be physically sick?

Mel Bun-ole in Rat'rhort Fspetaliy when he were shorts {:yer has for suit Fave Blue Peter presenter of all time?

Mel Janet Ellis hetause she had to take all that flak for herno a single mom

Sue Christopher Werner because he's so ignored

Favourite/most hated advert?

Sue Fayeurrte Blatkt‘urrant Tanr;o/Ferrero Rother, most hated Clirtken TOHIQili

Greatest TV moment of all time?

Sue Retently when Richard Madeley had to leave the T/‘rs‘ Mam/rig smart:- te he \ro‘ently szt k

Were you still up for Portillo?

Mel i've never been up for hzrn he's a tosser

Sue Oh' Just not :I' I was up to see him lose hrs seat Mel was in bed, dreaming of a New Britain

Why should people watch your show?

Sue 8e<ause our hand are unnaturally sexually atrattive

Mel They don't have to, but id ::e lovely of them if they thd As ' if: as. they 'eaf‘y want te

law 1 .i'.‘{ 't s .rr.‘ can -.

lil()\s4'(l'\, ‘7‘?)kilr')(w\kl'<}y8<)’ ., lira/Stfdm,

2— 16 Apr 1998 THE lIST 97