PREVIEW The Grlmleys Scottish, starts Mon 8 Mar, 10.30pm.

With British sitcoms still fighting for life, TV execs seem to have fallen back on the decade that taste forgot as the gimmick they hope Will bring in some much needed laughs and new Viewers. Hot on the heels of the British version of Days Like These comes The Grim/eys. Set in a c0uncil estate in Dudley, this series cashes in on the intrinsic daftness of 70s clothes and hairstyles to bolster its slight plot about a gawky teen With troubles both familial and romantic.

Stars of last year's well-received pilot episode Jack Dee and Samantha Janus were otherwise engaged, so Brian Conley and Amanda Holden have stepped in as nasty PE and nice English teachers, respectively. But, still on board is glam rock legend Noddy Holder, as hero Gordon's kindly music tutor.

In between popping up every December With that annoying Christmas record, Holder has been keeping quietly busy since Slade's demise, hosting radio and cable TV shows and domg v0iceovers for frozen fish ads. But The Gri'm/eys has given him his first proper acting JOb since the Surprisineg good 1975 mOVie Slade In Flame. ’I've only done bits and bobs Since then,’ remarks Holder. ’With this character (the cunnineg named Mr Holder) they wanted me to put a lot of what I’m about into it. He's really encouraging, the kind of teacher I


Scrutiny: A Nation Once Again

BBCZ, Sat 6 Mar, 6.50pm.

Exactly two months from the broadcasting of A Nation Once Again, Scotland’s electorate Will go to the polls and usher in a new dawn in this c0untry’s political and social structure. As Gordon Brewer’s Scrutiny programme shows, any sense of apprehension has now been dwarfed by a raw excitement. Even the Tories seem to be mad for it ’lt's pretty upfront now that Scottish Conservatives have thought "look this parliament is here, we'd better go With it",’ observes Brewer, former Scotsman 10urnalist and Currently seen presenting Newsni'ght.

Here, he can be seen talking to nationalist Labour members in Easterhouse, a millionaire businessman in the Highlands who is backing the SNP and Edinburgh’s cafe society who are c0unting the days to devolution. Gordon Brewer has lived away from Scotland since 1986, With Tokyo and then London becoming home. HaVing questioned so many in the programme whether or not they feel British or Scottish, it only seems fair to ask him the same.

'Iva sense of Britishness comes from working in London for an essentially British organisation,’ he states 'I‘ve been away for a number of years and I wanted to see what people were thinking. One of the things that did Surprise me was JUSI how many people

The Grimleys: filthy Brum

WOuId have liked at school. I may well have become a music teacher if I hadn't become a rock artist,’

His isn't the only face which Will Jog memories of flares and Spangles, With AlVin Stardust popping up as a barman in episode one and upcoming appearances including ex-Professional LeWis Collins and sheepskin ijkCl throwback Ron Atkinson ’I think people remember the 70s With much fondness and that's What gives the show comic quality they look back and laugh,' says Holder, You can only wonder if the 90s Will look so stupid in twenty years time (Andrea Mullaney)

Scrutiny: nation states

in Scotland said they had no sense at all of being British '

While the Right Within Scotland seems to have accepted the ineVitable, there is the Whole area of our future relations With England Would Home Rule heighten or lessen any anti- English feelings which spaWned the likes of Settler Watch7 ’I have a gut instinct that when Scotland gets responsibility for running its own affairs, the chip that we generally have on our shoulder might reduce in size and that anti-English sentiment Will lessen,’ insists Brewer ’What surprises me is the way things have moved on all our agonising about identity was ten or twenty years ago Now we're Just getting on With being who we are ' (Brian Donaldsoni


REVIEW Shanghai Vice

Channel 4, Suns, 9pm {I a t at

Every now and then a dOCumentary comes along that makes all others look like. Tel/ytubbies do Crimewatc'h Phil Agland’s new seven-parter is One such series, fixing a penetrative lens on Shanghai as it emerges from the shadows of the cultural revolution into the free market's bright lights, Like a rabbit fixed in the headlights, the city is caught between the relative freedom of shedding its Mao surts and the wave of Vice that comes hand-in-hand With profiteering

In almost soapy format Agland allows stories to unfold each week, With particular emphasis on the smack-dealing Wang Sisters, their bl’Olli(?I'-ilI-!(i‘.‘v’ turned grass, a SO-something lonely heart and Shanghai's remarkably photogenic police squad

Agland's crew get so close to this lot you can practically see the pores all the. more impressive considering China's continued closed book status Gritty and accessible, this is shaping up to be a series of rare gravrtas (Ellie Carri

FILM OF THE FORTNIGHT Dead Man Walking Channel 4, Sun I4 Ivlar, 10pm.

In The Player, Hollywood's philistine nature is conveyed by a 'rewritten' ending in Which Bruce Willis rushes into a prison gas chamber to save innocent inmate Julia Roberts at the eleventh hour Compare that to Dead Man Walking, where the setting is also Death Row, but the film's artistic integrity couldn’t be higher

By coincidence, the star of Robert Altman's satire, Tim Robbins, directs his Wife, Susan Sarandon, to a deserved Oscar Win Robbins takes the basic story after the denial of his appeal, a convrcted murderer is encouraged to face up to his crimes by a nun -- and steers it away from Hollywood sentimentality In this film, intellectual debate and emotional intensity are perfectly balanced.

Ethics, religion, the opportunist state of American politics, the effects of a crime on the families of both Victim and perpetrator these issues spark against each other as Sarandon and Sean Penn build a manipulative, caring, fearful and enlightening relationship between the characters 'Alan lv‘iorrison‘i

REVIEW Births, Marriages And Deaths BBCZ, Mons, 9pm a w a 4: It begins With a falling frog and ends With a suspected croaking, as the lives of three best friends are Visited by each of the title's component megadramas Alan iRay Winstonei is a self-made businessman, larging it through life, answering only to the call of his ego He looks out for his pals and frequently ends up meddling

This fortysomething trio, 'rebels Without a clue' according to one of their Wives, take off on a stag day, all shades, suits and champagne, obliVious to a plot that is to take more tWists and turns than an anaconda's breakfast

The Talcillllfl()-(-.‘S(lllO garb and occasional, disorientating camera angles provoke initial suspicions of style oter substance, but the quality of the performances more than satisfy One pdlllctildll', picaresgue scene finds Winstone stood on a cafe table, arms aloft, karaoke-mg Gary Glitter through a mouthful of cooked breakfast Wonderful and i‘.()l)p!.".(} mad v'Rodger Evansi

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Shanghai Vice: don't look Mao

Dead Man Walking: hard cell

Births, Marriages And Deaths: three wide men

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