PREVIEW Love In The 21st

Century Channel 4, starts Wed 21 Jul.

Queer As Folk made the trials and tribulations of the modern love affair stylish, sweet and sexy. Now its production team is set to trouble the tabloids again, with a series of short films about sex, romance and modern morality entitled Love In The 21st Century. And if the predominant concern of Queer As Folk was boy bonding, this project redresses the gender balance, taking the female perspective on burning issues such as marriage, masturbation and sexual fantasies.

Combine that type of subject matter with an array of appealing young stars including Daniela Nardini, Natasha Little, Catherine McCormack and loan Gruffudd, and you’ve got yourself a pretty surefire hit - not least with the dirty mac brigade.

Sandy Johnson, one of three directors who took on two episodes each, emphasises that thrillseekers may be disappointed. 'lnitially, reading the script, I wondered: how do you make a film with traditional sexual imagery that you might find in a porn film, and not make it look like something you'd pay for in a hotel room?’ he says.

'But we approached it in the most original way we

could; it’s not that explicit.’ Johnson directed Commitment with Daniela Nardini and Jason Flemyng, and Fantasies, with Tracy Whitwell

and Irish stand-up Tommy Tiernan. The former concerns

that persistent bugbear of late-90$ fictional heroines: the guy who just can't commit. The latter is a darker tale of one woman's exploration of her own violent fantasies.

Johnson, a graduate of Glasgow School of Art who cut his teeth on The Comic Strip Presents . . . and is currently


Coming soon: Love In The 21st Century

working on an eagerly anticipated adaptation of Alasdair Gray’s epic novel Lanark, has nothing but praise for his actors. Tommy Tiernan, whose comic talents bagged him the Perrier last year, proved no less winning in a straight role. 'I was really impressed by his screen presence; he was a pleasure to work with,’ he states. Flemyng and Nardini, already covered in glory from This Life and Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels respectively, were a dynamic combination.

The director also relished the opportunity to make shorts after a long period working on feature films and television serials. 'A short film is a beautifully condensed cinematic statement, visually and contextually, and one that stays with you. The necessity of telling the story very quickly is an interesting discipline.’

Expect a few variations on that discipline theme, and other insights bound to strike a chord or raise a blush, when Love In The 21st Century hits the screens. And remember the necessary spiel: you’re broadening your socio-cultural horizons, not just looking at pretty people in the buff. (Helena Beaumont)

relatives, and prevent doctors playing God while Simultaneously

storylines take in euthanasia, suicide and genetic engineering; but as

Cardiac Arrest) p0ints out: ’We wanted to show the fun side of life alongside all the tragedy and intensity.’

Graham, playing Katherine’s irrepressible friend Alison. Graham’s star is very much in the ascendant, and her performance in Life Support should

The/ma & Louise car ads. Brighton-based, she welcomed the chance to work in her home town. 'The programme shows Glasgow as a bustling, lively. . , wet city!’ she laughs. She was also attracted by a

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. PREVIEW 3 Life Support

BBCl, starts week beginning Mon 19 Jul.

Yes, it’s another medical drama. No, it’s not gushingly sentimental, riddled with cliches or plagued by pretentious camera jiggery-pokery. BBC Scotland's

'92 THE lIST 8—22 Jul i999

Ethic cleansing: Life Support latest flagship production is challenging, involving and beautifully realised, boasting a phenomenal cast that includes Art lvlalik, Richard Wilson and Julie Graham.

The central character, played by Aisling O'Sullivan, is clinical ethicist Katherine Doone. Her job is to represent the interests of patients and

strong sCript with personal resonance.

Box Pops

Celebrity sofa surfing. This issue:

Phillippa Wilson

What is your favourite show?

Probably Queer As Folk so watchable,


brilliantly acted, scripted and so

What do you eat/drink while

watching TV? Big bowl of bombay

mix, a cold beer, followed by hoover session.

When did you last cover your eyes at

the box? The other day watching a

plastic surgery article on This Morning.

You could hear a woman’s skull being

scraped while they were attaching

screws to eradicate wrinkles.

When did you last shout at the TV? While Willing on Newcastle in the FA. Cup Final.

When did you last weep real tears at the telly? Malcolm And Barbara A Love Story Alzheimer’s is such a cruel disease. Also the Kosovo reports. ; What is your first TV memory? Being ' sent to bed because I was too young

to watch The Graduate.

Who was the first telly person you had a crush on? Pete Duel in Alias

Smith And Jones. If you could be in any TV show, past

or present, what would it be? Sunset Beach it’s so bad, it's wonderful. Either that or an epic costume drama I do like a nice frock.

Greatest cartoon character of all time? Betty Boop, she’s so sexy. : What do you have on top of your TV

set? Candles, a dolphin sculpture and

' a Madonna and Child shaky : snowstorm.

" commentator? Des Lynam for all the

: What is you favourite TV theme

Who is your favourite sports

obvious reasons.

tune? Persuaders or Bel/e & Sebastian,

negotiating a turbulent private life. The

, What show do you stay inlrush home , , i from the pub/miss church for? None, director Morag Fullerton (This Life, . thatis the beauty of the VCR.

Who should be encouraged to swear

but not at the same time.

more on TV? Father Jack.

help her shake off the stigma of those . Now :

'MY mother died when I was eighteen, 5

and I realised how removed relatives

are from the decision-making process,’ she says. 'You’re brought up to think doctors are Gods.’

Life Support promises a healthy disrespect for such long-held assumptions, and a stubborn resistance to easy answers. (Annabel Slater)

Much of that fun is provided by Julie . I Badger, BBC], starts Sun 77 Jul, I


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