PREVIEW Let Them Eat Cake BBCI, starts Thu 9 Sep, 9.30pm.

French fancies: Let Them Eat Cake

Of all the Blackadder series, it's probably fair to say the overwhelming favourite is the second, in which the long-suffering Lord Blackadder was at the mercy of Miranda Richardson’s insane and squiffy Queen Elizabeth. That Winning formula has been brushed up, given several coats of make-up and sent forth from the pen of Pete Learmouth as the new French and Saunders vehicle, Let Them Eat Cake.



Channel 4, Thu 9 Sep, 9pm.

Just when you think that the barriers of prejudice are slowly falling down in this country, there’s always a programme coming along to shatter those delusions

At the end of this episode of Coppers, you may ask yourself qune why women would want to enter an employ seemingly driven by the foundations it has been built upon foundations embedded wrth bigotry and ignorance.

The death of two WPCs begin and end the programme Yvonne Fletcher, shot outside the Libyan Embassy in London and Nina Mackay, stabbed to death after entering a bUiIding Without the body armour she had removed to help batter down her killer's door. Perversely, these tragedies served to signal that eduality was becoming an achievable goal Within the police serVice.

It was certainly a far cry from the post-war days when female rozzers would be assrgned peCuliarly ’female' cases from cats up trees to domestic Violence. It was only on the broadcasting of Roger Graef’s Police: A Complaint Of Rape dOCUmentary, With the brutal interrogation of a woman, that police attitudes were finally exposed. ’As bad as that was, it was probably one of the best things that ever happened for the cause,’ insists former Met WPC, Carol Bristow.

Still, making people sit up and getting something done are two very different

Set in 18th century France, at the court of Marie-Antomette, Dawn and Jen ham it up as a noble lady and her maid. There are no prizes for guessing who takes which role, Saunders is the straight-faced and sordid Madame Columbine whilst French plays her buxom maid Lisette. For a lemme of Gallic persuasron, Lisette has a distinctly Cockney-sounding accent to deliver and is always on hand to spout the tragically obvious double entendres. The pair are aided and abetted by Adrian Scarborough as BOuffant, Madame Columbine's oh-so- gay wrgmaker and scheming general aSSISIant.

A kind of spoof Dangerous Liaisons- type affair, rammed full of sex, intrigue and With heavmg bosoms aplenty, there is no denying that this new series is fun and frolics all the way. There’s also a certain pantomime feel to it, since everything is somewhat over the top. However, for all its good humour, no new ground has been broken, and although it has its share of running gags and one-liners, they are never gomg to make it to a ’I have a cunning plan’ Cult status.

Visually, this is a IaVish production ~ the costumes, the hair, the settings are all flaunted for all they’re worth. This dimension takes the show to greater heights than it perhaps w0u|d have reached on a lower budget

However, fancy dress does not a masterpiece make, and this should ultimately be seen for what it is Simply another show featuring French and Saunders, playing much the same roles as they always do (Kirsty Knaggsl

""t u a“ it in -- "~

The gentle touch: Coppers

things When one officer won her case of most and sexist abuse, the apology she received proved to be hollow she left the police six months after her return. Little had changed.

Yet, respect for the bravery of women officers has surely increased in the light of the 90s phenomenon of the ’honey- traps'. Policewomen were putting their lives on the line by forming relationships With suspected murderers in a bid to tease out a confesSion over a lengthy period of time. The fact that such evidence on its own is inadmiSSible was the sour point in cases which proved that women had become as determined as the men in trying to get Justice done.

(Brian Donaldson)


LiVing With The Enemy: Cannabis

BBC2,Wed 15 Sep, 9pm.

Few things get more up the noses of the establishment than the smoke rings curling out from the back of a dopehead’s throat. In the first episode of Livrng With The Enemy’s second series, anti-drugs campaigner James Hellyer takes his Views into the communal living space of Exodus, a pro-weed group.

HIS Opinion is that there isn't nearly enough prison-space in the country to lock these people away; Exodus' only drug problem comes when supplies are low.

As is the way With these things, both sides learn much from each other and their newly-formed understanding is put to the test when Hellyer has to deCIde whether he should report these heinous criminals to the police.

'Cannabis' is the first of SIX programmes, the others bringing people on different sides together to look at alternative mediCine, art, feminism, religion and class. (Brian Donaldson)

PREVIEW The Fast Show Theme Night BBCZ, Sat ll Sep, 9pm. ’Scorchiol’, ’Very, very drunk', ‘Niiiice', 'Where's me washboard?', 'Surts you sir’. All sayings which over the last few years have imbedded themselves in the British telly-watchers psyche. They are catchphrases shouted in pubs, playgrounds and student unions alike; and deSpite the constant praise heaped on comedy product from across the pond, few have been as consistently funny as The Fast Show.

Its main appeal over much of the competition is that nothing ever outstays its welcome the over-in-a- second sketch format means a variety of peculiar characters appear and reappear and succeed in remaining fresh. An indication of the prolific work rate of Paul Whitehouse and his cohorts is their confidence in dropping characters before their comedic possibilities are exhausted.

In recognition of the show‘s popularity, the evening’s celebrations include documentaries, the unveiling of new creations and a re-run of the first ever episode. (Mark Robertson)


Secret History: The Bunny Girl

Channel 4, Tue 14 Sep, 9pm.

The story of the rise and fall of The London Playboy Club is not dISSlmllar to Martin Scorsese’s tale of Las Vegas racketeering in Casino. In 1966, the original Playboy himself, Hugh Hefner sent business partner Victor Lownes to the swmging capital to open a UK branch of the club it was an enormous and instant success. Connery, Caine, Nicholson, Beatty, Polanski you name ’em, they were there. But the 70s Spiralled into drink, drugs, sex and gambling excesses and by 1981 Lownes was sacked for financial misconduct and the club doors closed forever.

Secret History: The Bunny Girl reveals all through the reminiscences of the puff- tailed, pointy-eared, sexy hostesses, reunited 33 years on. Although frowned upon at the time, the girls recall, with much amusement, parties and porn films, snogging Dustin Hoffman, turning down Omar Sharif and shopping for amyl

nitrate in Harrods, among other revelatory gems. (Miles Fielder)

Hash decision: Living With The Enemy

Speed king: Paul Whitehouse in The Fast Show

Filthy rabbits: Secret History

9—23 Sep 1999 THE “3" 93