Channel hopping

Amazing what you can do with a remote control wheelchair and a pair of fake arms. These were the plot props for Father Ted (Channel 4, Fridays), in which Coach Ted Crilly was set for his annual All Priests Over 755 Indoor Five-A-Side grudge match against old enemy Boss Dick Byrne. While Dougal's role switched from feckless physio to ensuring that no- one nicked the corner flags, Father Jack became goal-poacher extraordinaire and Mrs Doyle took lessons on how to be both a girl and a football fan. Father Ted will be fondly remembered for a near-perfect mix of surreal non-seqUiturs and gags you can spot more than a mile off yet never fail to tickle. It will be sorely missed by all. Except, of course, the

Father Ted will he fondly

remembered for a neareperfect mix of surreal nowsequiturs and gags you can spot more than a mile off

yet never Fail to tickle.

church which, like Ted, was fitfully up In arms.

Similar ecclesiastical angst was expressed over the Old Firm Easter Sunday clash (Sky Sports), With church leaders decrying football action on such a holy day. Yet, when Rupert and the Great God Sky takes on him upstairs, there’s only ever gomg to be one Winner, and it ain‘t the bloke with the beard. Anyway, religious bods needn't get the worry beads out Just yet: the Old Firm meeting is a biblical metaphor of epic proportions. Good and EVil, Redemption and Retribution; Faith and Flutes. There was even a touch of the resurrection as Rangers lazarused their title hopes against a Celtic defence who did their best parting of the Red Sea impersonation.

Next season Rangers will be

Monky magic: Father Ted

performing without messrs Gasc0igne and Laudrup, their star-billers from recent times. Down Ballykissangel way (BBCl, Sundays), the cast Will soon have to soldier onward Without Stephen Tompkinson and Dervla Kirwan. There may still be enough engine in the collective tank to suggest that it's a retrievable loss. The subject of sex is everywhere in the show but in a covert nod, nudge and Wink sort of way. The heat is on as Father Peter and Assumpta's unspoken passions reach discovery pOint, while Siobhan IS contemplating becoming a single mum and Niamh is attempting to trace her true origins. And all without saying ieck'once.

The origins of faith and its relevance in contemporary someties were the austere SUbJGCIS of Frederic Raphael's For God's Sake (Channel 4, Sundays), an attempt to breathe some serious analysis into the Easter scheduling. Perhaps this was Channel 4's way of atoning for the utterly unforgiveable Sin of devoting a whole night's programming to Liverpool. Raphael began his four-part pilgrimage in Jerusalem and in Wish You Were Here style, sauntered around the Wailing Wall, the Holocaust Museum, Calvary and the River Jordan asking the tough questions 'Why does he allow hatred to happen?’, 'Can there be different Gods?', ’Why is God so hung up on sex?’

Raphael's tone shifted from the intentionally provocative to the downright sarcastic. 'I don’t mean to offend you,’ he insisted at one pomt after being as offensive as he could muster. But his comedy lnIGFJGCIIODS were hardly reqUired, what With the Department of Unknown Letters revealing the sackloads of mail addressed to 'God, c/o Jerusalem’ and the Holy City's district psychiatrist discussmg the queues of patients claiming to be the new MesSiah. Perhaps they should be sent to Celtic for a trial. (Brian Donaldson)

' Touching Evil

Scottish, Wed 29 Apr, 9pm.

Robson Green, Britain's highest-paid TV actor after DaVid Jason, is returning to Our screens in a second series of Touching Evil, a Cracker-style crime thriller about an elite detective squad on the trail of serial killers.

'I'm not in the business for the fame, I Just love acting and I'm drawn to exCiting, different proiects,' says the 34-year-old Geordie star, almost certainly a multi-millionaire thanks to his pop mUSlC career With ex-So/dier Soldier colleague Jerome Flynn. But since forming his own production company, Coastal, two years ago he's planning to Wind down the acting and pump up the producmg.

'We've secured a deal With ITV to deliver 32 hours of drama, whether I'm in them or not,’ he enthuses. ’The money has enabled me to get a youth theatre scheme up and running in the North-East. The pressure is on to deliver the goods to the network, but there are a lot of scripts around. It’s a unique position for an actor to be in.'

Touching Evil is gritty, sometimes harrowmg drama. But Green wouldn’t have touched it if he thought for a second that the Violence was overt or gratUitous. 'It takes a serious look at the psychology of crime in fact, I sought some adwce from my Wife Ali, an occupational therapist, to understand one storyline about post- traumatic stress disorder.’

In a month's time, he starts filming

reviews TV

Soldiering on: Robson Green

Grafters, an ITV series about two Geordie brothers (Green and Ba/kaissangel's Stephen Tompkinson) who head for London to rebuild an Edwardian house. Then comes Dog Stars, the first major Coastal production, which Green produces but does not appear In.

'It's a six-parter about a pub football team who reunite after fifteen years and play one last match to settle a land deal in Spain,’ says Green. 'Getting together something like that from scratch is a dream come true.’

(Rob Driscoll)


Few soap characters have had as hard a life as Kathy from EastEnders. No wonder she's leaving.

Kathy come home: EastEnders' answer to Gloria Gaynor

Kathy's always been a man's woman. or, in her busy last episode of EastEnders, three men’s woman. 'It’s like waiting for the Number Nineteen bus, innit?’ she ioked all too aptly, for sadly, most of Kathy’s fellas have looked like the back of just such a

vehicle. There's been permanently scarfed Pete, the Mitchell bruvvers who have to share all their women as well as their brain cell, and, most recently, the horny Vicar. Even best mate Pat resembles a double decker.

After faffing around for what seemed like days, Kathy made an unlikely transition into an 'I Will Survive'-style diva 'l jUSl realised the prison door was open all along! What's to stop me walking out?', knocking them all back and flying to South Africa. Somebody warn Nelson.

While Kathy was saying her protracted goodbyes, Cindy was just about to claim custody of her kids when the Scottish bloke who used to be in Eldorado turned up to arrest her, wavmg a confession implicating her in shooting Ian and declaiming 'Don't you recognise me?’ Clearly, Cindy never watched it either.

The understandably confused kids were hustled back inside Ian's, While mum was hauled off to the nick. Meanwhile, the equally hapless Lorna was glugging down pills in Phil's bath, her pain merely an inconvenience to delay the Mitchells from stopping Kath's flight.

Dramatic as the hour-long speCial was, character conSistency was not it's strong point. Would Grant really leave little Courtney and his old mum? Why did Kathy suddenly change her mind and want Phil back again? How could any hardened criminal be so scared of Annie he’d confess to attempted murder? And Will anyone launch a Free Cindy Beale campaign? William Hague, here’s your chance to get in on the act. (Andrea Mullaney)

16—30 Apr 1998 THE lIS‘l’ 105