Chewin' The Fat

BBCl,Wed 13Jan, 10pm.

While Scots comrcs Ford Krernan and Greg Hemphrll talk prsh on a regular basrs, they most certarnly would never sup rt. Yet, rn therr new srx-part sketch show, that rs exactly what they seem to do whrle rn the character of the Cantankerous Old Men, two among the many grotesques who populate Chewin’ The Fat.

’lt was apple Jurce, we’re not method comedrans,‘ rnsrsts Hemphrll. ’l've drunk thrngs that l shOuldn’t have, but never urrne, I'd seen rt happen rn the Kevrn Costner movre Waterwor/d, but you won't catch us partakrng rn rt.’

The show has been adapted from rts successful roots on the radro and contarns characters such as Betty, the rncorrrgrble old lady whose war memorres revolve around berng lard by the Yanks, Brsh ’n' Bosh, parnters and decorators who do anythrng but; and

Compulsive masticators: Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill

Ronald Vrllrers, a strugglrng actor whose only success rs hrs contrnual abrlrty to fall.

ere all sketch shows bar absolutely none, Chewin’ The Fat rs a pot pourrr of the good, not bad, dodgy and sometrmes hrlarrous. 'lt's a selectron box, a prck ’n' mrx there’s always a couple of grnger ones rn there,’ observes Hemphrll. 'We weeded out the stuff whrch looked lrke rt could strll have been Just radio and concentrated on the sketches that had the vrsual element.’

Ford Krernan rs acutely aware of who he wants to see the stuff that made the cut: everyone. 'You want to catch everybody but at the same trme, you don’t want to sell your sOul to the devrl,’ he remarks. 'Strll, you can't be too preCrous about rt -- you only need to look at Harry Hrll's show. I mean I lrke hrm and all the rest of rt, but there's a prle of shite rf ever I've seen rt.’ (Brran Donaldson)

Victoria whine: Grant and Tiff in EastEnders


Birth, death, pop stardom . . .

Wrthout wrshrng to sOund callous, rt was good to see Trffany meet her end beneath the wheels of Frank Butcher’s car rn EastEnders. Once Branca's cheery, good-trme pal, Trff gradually turned rnto a trresomely noble vrctrm, becomrng rncreasrngly sarntly as she was constantly betrayed. Her eventual exrt was a long trme comrng, espeCrally as she went round sayrng rntermrnable goodbyes rn the Beeb's latest seasonal attempt to cheer everyone up. Strangely, though, she managed to escape wrthout havrng to snog Phrl, leavrng the bruvvers uneven agarn rn the wrfe-swapprng stakes.

The death scene Itself, wrth echoes of Lrttle Nell, was melodrarnatrc enough to make a Cynrcal vrewer snrgger. Thrs desprte the best efforts of Patsy Palmer, whose Branca often seems to be the only character actrng as opposed to sayrng lrnes. The grnger one had had a traumatrc enough week already, havrng given birth rn the Queen Vrc wrth only Grant on hand wrth the hot towels and

psychotrc demeanour.

By contrast, Coronation Street's brrths and deaths were more sedate. Judy's twrns were born rn -- gaspl a hosprtal, whrle a poorly-lookrng Alf gasped hrs last lrnes and succwnbed quretly rn a charr. The only drama came from pathetrc Sally, rn so-sensrble pyjamas, berng rnenaced by evrl Greg Kelly. Sally was saved by Nrcky Trlsey, who rs berng constantly complrmented by the rest of the cast rn a desperate brd to keep hrm from leavrng to launch a pop career.

Over rn Brookside, the party rape story was farrly graphrcally told and made for uncomfortable vrewrng, though the ’Who Shot JR?'-style guessrng game ab0ut the rdentrty of the perpetrator (Was rt lvlrke Drxon.7 Srnrster college bloke? Colonel Mustard?) was rn poor taste.

The scally soap also unverled rts lovely new locatron - a swrmrng pool rn the health club. Grven the murderous tendencres of most of the resrdents, rt can only be a matter of trrne before someone meets a watery grave Easter perhaps7 (Andrea Mullaney)

PREVIEW mmmemmmemmme BBC2, Fri 8 Jan, 9pm.

Wrth Nil 8y Mouth and Dancing At Lughnasa, Kathy Burke seems to have traded rn her rester's cap for a serrous actress hat. But, whrle no longer lrkely to strck a banger up a cat's arse as one of Harry Enfreld's chums, she rs strll game for the proverbral laugh.

Burke brings to lrfe a monster of a comrc character rn Gimme Gimme Gimme, a new srtcom by Jonathan Harvey, wrrter of the award-wrnnrng play and feature frlm Beautiful Thing. Lrnda La Hughes rs a sex-starved receptionrst who consrders herself 'the grnger Jerry Hall’ and has an unhealthy obseSSron wrth Lram Gallagher. She rs frxated on frnding the perfect man, but then so rs her gay flatmate, Tom (The Thin Blue Line's James Dreyfus), a ’restrng’ actor.

’lvly saddest memory rs the nrght I met Tom,’ says Burke rn character. ’If you're thrnkrng of dOrng Ecstasy . . don't! I thought he was fabulous. In fact, he's a complete knob head.’ (Peter Ross)

Maneaters: James Dreyfus and Kathy Burke



BBCl, starts week beginning Sat 16

Jan. Just when you thought rt was safe to

book your 1999 holrday, along comes a new BBC1 drama series to put you off that el cheapo package deal. Set rn the frctronal Cyprus resort of eranakr, Sunburn wrrtten by Mrke Bullen (Co/d Feet) has all the famrlrar rngredrents of stressed-out reps, stroppy holrday- makers and drsastrous love affarrs.

EastEnders star Mrchelle Collrns rs the marn attractron as Nrckr, but the Scottrsh contrngent follows closely behrnd wrth High Road's Natalre Robb as Cyprrot rep Mama and rrsrng star Sharon Small (Hamish Macbeth, Bumping The Odds) as Jaded rep Carol.

Thrs berng Small's frrst brg telly role, a brt of poolsrde research was rn order. 'I went to lvlrnorca wrth my mates,’ she says. ’The rep was great. She managed to JOIIy us all along and let any problems rust wash off her back. I thrnk, like Carol, she had been there, done that - and wasn’t bothered Wrth the t-shrrt.’ (Ellre Carr)

Scarlet woman: Sharon Small in Sunburn


Buffy The Vampire Slayer

BBC2, Wed 6 Jan at a * t

From the funky openrng trtles, Buffy establrshes rtself as the coolest new wrsecrackrng teens/krckboxrng demons show around. Banrsh all mernorres of the feeble 1992 frlm whrch spawned the concept thrs rs way better.

The scrrpt rs as sharp as a pornted stake, wrth krller one-lrners and no weak lrnks among the unfeaSrbly attractrve y0ung cast. The brggest draw wrll probably be / Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream 2 star Sarah lvlrchelle Gellar as the fang- bustrng, Emmy-wrnnrng lead, but there’s a certarn krtsch appeal rn the fact that co-star Anthony S. Head was the orrgrnal Gold Blend bloke.

The feature length opener and Wednesday’s follow-up were crammed wrth more somersaults, qurps and explodrng yucky-face monsters (albert clumsrly edrtej by a squeamrsh Beeb) than you could shake a crucifix at, as Buffy took on teen vamps, bald-headed bloodsuckers and a cheerleadrng Wrtch (Andrea lvlullaney)

She's gonna git you, bloodsucker: Sarah Michelle Gellar (centre) as Buffy

7 21 Jan 1999 THE llST 91