TV review

Dove barred: John Shuttleworth with Eurovision veterans Clodagh Rodgers, Katrina

Europigeon BBCZ, Mon 4 May, 10.55pm.

Most people would be thrilled at the offer of a late night slot on BBC2. Not hilarious Northern entertainer John Shuttleworth. 'Of course I’m not happy With that. It's the snooty station isn't it?’ he grumbles. 'ldeally, I'd be on ITV. jut befOre Barrymore. Or after Barrymore. Or instead of Barrymore'

Still, being a proud comedy professional, he'll struggle on regardless. One of the major ambitions of the Sheffield-based singer/ songwriter With the penchant for pigeons is for one of his songs to represent Britain in the Eurovrsion Song Contest. This, though, has proved tricky.

'Originally, I wanted my song ’Pigeons In Flight’ to be sung by that powerful yOung vocalist Michael Ball. I like the way he punches the air on key phrases, it works well. But the next year, when Britain was represented by Sonia, I didn’t bother entering a song because I considered her too bubbly She lacked the emotional maturity to carry the sensitive lyric.'

His new one-off Eurovrsion special,

Leskanich and Cheryl Baker

Europi'geOn, follows John's effOrts to have someone anyone recognise the true lyrical genius that’s made him (so nearly) a household name. It’s a guest which sees the veteran of 500 Bus Stops try everything from gifting 'Plgeons In Flight' to a devolved Scotland, to haying a radical barnet rethink.

'I was prepared to try a change of image,’ admits Shuttleworth. thought it might help. I went to Our hairdressers and asked him to give me a Kaiagoogoo cut, y’know, a Flock Of Seagulls or something. But he said "No, John, y0u can have the u8ual” As you can probably imagine, it put a c0nsiderable strain on our friendship. But it's probably for the best , because I'm working at a Jumble sale on the weekend, and people wouldn’t trust

me if I looked like Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, would they?‘

And for all the jibes and Jabs aimed at Eurowsion every year, you can always rely on one bloke who'll treat it wrth respect. 'I take it deadly seriously,' says Shuttleworth, ’It's art, after all the cream of Europe's musicians '

(Danny Wallacel

I should be so plucky: brave Our Kylie

battles for life Soapbox

Death stalks soapland, but fails to reap where it’s needed.

Too low a bodycolmt Brook'side is Struggling thrOugh a trOugh of tedium, so you might haye expected the prooucers to have used the massive explosIOn 0n the Arcade to clear but the dead wood But, no After a week of weeping and wailing, only handsome fireman Ben, who's hardly eyer in it anyway, and Our Kylie, a junior Corkhill, suffered any rea' if! effects

:‘y'iany yiewers detlb :ess had to check into hospital themselves witnessing Our Lindsay, mother of Our Kylie, emoting her way lLOOk' No makeup') through one of the most sickening scenes ever filmed in a soap that hideous waffle about Bobby the Bear and the magical island where all

96 TNELIST 3O Apr—H May 1998


children and little bears play for eternity No wonder the child suffered a relapse

Claire Sweeney's Our Lindsay is the most Irritating thing in British soap since Ashley put itching powder in Fred Elliot's jockstrap, what with her horrible polo necks, her two-timing dear, cheesy Peter and her permanent whinge This last is inherited from her mum, Jackie, the most self-righteous woman in the wOrld Lindsay wOnde'ed if God was punishing her for haying an affair with Barry, but she's Surely wrong \‘v’hat He really can’t forg ye. are 1"‘ose Cher ;mpersonat:ons

The steryfine l‘ad ts moments, like Ron Dicko in a Super Ferry Animals T. shirt, or the sinister health and safety man 'The name's Bond Neil Bond’ licensed to prosecute dodgy gas cooker fitters

There was more maternal angst .n COfOOJIIO/l Street, where baby Shannon’s sudden death ‘rom 'nening-tzs was really mute shocksng Though ii was an ac; dent, it foeked as if flighty Zoe was being punished by family-talaes SCT!Ot-\'.’.’:’.e's for being a bad mother Afte' al, she solo hannon to the fatalletts, smoked n ‘ront of her and left her ‘.'.l°th cear‘ne Battersby

An appealing child in pen! is an eaSy pull On the emotions But noose two unsympathetic, whiny mothers to show us their lack of crying skills, and it can also be a real turn-off (Andrea lylullaney‘i



SOme people have been getting over- animated about cartoons Iater Too much exposure to telly toons is flagged up as a threat to Our kiddyWinks' health and well-being Stressed Eric (BBCZ, Mondays) billed as Britain’s answer to The Simpsons is more likely to threaten the form's success as an adult genre than warp yOung minds In the episode titled 'Sex’, everyone but 40

ES finesss‘ed c t‘t‘ttstratten 3. ‘. Wtw out. {of the lat: that tt. s

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not so. The show ié‘ttiit‘fi spunk.

year-old data clerk Eric Feeble is getting ‘it’ his housemaid, his neigthLirs The Perfects, his ex-wife and the zimmer-framed old Eady he meets on his way to work Even the flies On his office Window-sill are making but Bed-bouncing act:on looks likely when an old college flan‘e turns up, but, naturally, anytt‘ing and everything gets in the way Thas tale :t‘ sexual frustration would tre terr'trly amusang, but fOr the fact that it's stuitifying y not so Stressed Eric lacks spunk

King Of The Hill tChannel 4, Fridays, Sky One, Sundays‘i compares to Stressed Erlc in only one way -- it has its eye minutiae and ludic'ousness of the everyday Whereas Feeble's fo:bies we expressed

in an animated mo e. a. throbbing.

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temples, there :s tiarely an expressaon. and tc'uCn in the America". which ccalttn't be ready recreated ‘r‘ actuality Wis s the best tn‘nr; anotlt the show, but also creates a sensat'on of cold and distanc

King Of The Hill certainly has a good deal to say about men and women, but can't guite get round the dilemma of trying to be liberal in the head and practical On the ground In the latest episode, the Hills' next door

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Neurotic labours: Stressed Eric

neighbour’s daughter Connie is keen to pm the school wrestling team Unfortunately, she is to pit her wits against young grappler Bobby Hill Hank, always the prOud father, ditches his natural honesty and goodness with some words of pre- b0ut adVIce ’Son, I know everyone's been filling your head wrth crazy stuff, but I Just want y0u to know this Connie killed your frog '

No frogs in South Park (Sky One, Saturdays), but there were monkeys w:th five buttocks, pot-bellied pigs called Fluffy and a drunken elephant Yesiree, the boys ~- Kyle, Kenny, Stan and Cartman for those who have yet

to discover the horrific Joys of the show ~ prepare for their science

grv ' , Q DTOJCCt With a

sttsttttyrngly Spot of genetic engineering. South Park can come OVGf 8S a

student rape gone too far, but its infantile Crudeness is a good thing It carries Just the right amOunt of culty kitsch and CyniCIsm arOLlnd With 't whenever sentimentality looms there is an act of senseless and very funny yiolerlce stopping it in its tracks

Had Bart ant' -2sa Simpson been. schooled by Spur/7 Park's sleazy Mr Garrrson. anl his puppet companion Tylr Head rather than the pedantically of‘iciOus Seymour Skinner, they could y<>ry easily have turned into the perverted and doomed Kenny or the pathologically Jealous Wendy Testaburger of SOUth Park Elementary As it is, Bart remains, by his analysis, ’tnis generation's Dennis the Menace,’ and Lisa :s the under- popular idealist, intermina'tfly at was with her country's (onstztution ' lines it is difficult to .rnagine a .20er t-efore or without The Simpsons :BBCZ, Mondays, .Cndays, Sky One, Clai'y except Saturdays) The future of Springfield's fotii-fmgered yellow .nnabitants has been put a: risk recently due to unrest among the creators Surely the material for a future episode if peace breaks out -— but The Simpsons will always be the kings of the animated thrill (Brian Donaldson)