Spaced Channel 4, starts Fri 24 Sep, 9.30pm.
Liars come in all shapes and sizes. Their lies can be secrets, stories or spins. But have you ever actually told a falsity to get yourself a living space? Channel 4’s new sitcom Spaced is based around such a fib. Two slackerish single folks Daisy and Tim meet in a cafe, in mutual need of new abodes; Tim has been politely asked to leave his girlfriend’s flat while Daisy's flatmates hardly noticed her departure, blinded as they were in a narcotic haze.
So, naturally enough, you meet up with a relative stranger, share a lot of coffees, weep in synchronised despair, and hatch a plan to pretend to be partners in order to get that professional flat you may well, at some point, need to kill for.
The series is written by and stars Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson whose lying past, you will be relieved to hear, pales by comparison; unless you are crushed by the thought of utilising sick cats or big business in the name of The Lie. ’I did once phone in sick and said that it was because my cat had just had an epileptic fit,’ guiltin recalls Stevenson, currently also to be seen as the neighbour in The Roy/e Family. ’That’s a testament to how honest I am that I had to make up this huge big lie just to have a day off. Then I had to come in and retell it to everyone in great detail which was a huge burden.’
Co-star Pegg - former stand-up, performer on Steve Coogan’s last tour and recently of Big Train fame - matches this with grand larceny. ’I can’t tell you! I may go to prison!!’ he ponders before letting rip. ‘OK, let’s say I was working "somewhere". And I took "something" in a bag. And pretended I bought it. And I
: Sky One, Tue 21 Sep it fat at
Your appreciation of the new series
from the mind of Matt Groening will
inevitably be prejudiced by his past with hope.
108 THE lIST 23 Sep—7 Oct 1999
Loving the alien: Futurama
glories. Homerheads across the land will search for the instant catchphrase to take into work/school/pub the next day. A single Sitting in front of Futurama may lead to disappomtment. But your heart should also be filled
Slack comedy: Spaced
hadn’t. But you know, it was a faceless company who wouldn’t have missed it.’
While the pair insist that they are not trying to alter the British comedy landscape (it has already been dubbed as part of a new ‘slacker comedy' strain), the techniques of filmmaking used and the raft of cultural references in there, such as The Shining and Dukes Of Hazard in part one alone (’promiscuously referential’ Pegg calls it), make the likes of Babes In The Wood utterly irrelevant.
'What Jess and I thought was that the sitcom was too settled into a set of conventions with audience laughter and basic camerawork,’ declares Pegg. ’But our mission statement was more to do with our show rather than the state of British sitcom. We haven’t set out to create a template for its future.’ Try as they might not to, that may well be what they are doing. (Brian Donaldson)
The opening episode set things underway SWiftly It's New Year’s Eve I999 and pizza delivery boy Fry stumbles into a time machine which transports him a mere 1000 years into the future. There he is he met by Bender — a petty criminal and porn- lovmg robot —- and Leela — a one—eyed butt-kicking alien. This trio go on a series of mini-adventures, all With the sole purpose of helping break the Viewer in to this new enVironment and gently introducmg us to a fresh set of Groening creations.
And while that freshness may repel those With a Bart-like attention span, the watchers who stick With it will reap the rewards. How many w0uld have raced from the sofa screaming With delight after episode one of The Simpsons? As 'we have found With the reSidents of Springfield, our love has come with time and the realisation that the show’s humour emanates from the characters; the iokes only make sense When knowledge of their idiOSyncrasies is grasped.
For Futurama's success to be sealed and Bender’s Vices to be accepted, patience Will need to be the audience’s virtue. (Brian Donaldson)
Celebrity sofa surfing. This issue: Sally Gray
When did you last cover your eyes at the TV? At In The Name Of Love - the bit when she knifetl the stalker in the stomach
Who was the first telly person you had a crush on? DaVid Soul, for the records and the blonde hair and that opening sequence in Starsky And Hutch when he Jumped on the car I loved that man
Favourite/most hated advert? I loved the old Pepsi ad in the Illllkbcll' type place and this guy walks in, the line was ‘hey Eddie, how are you so cool7' I hate the current C&A one With its haunting music It comes on and | Just think, Why have they chosen such a depressing track.7
What do you have on top of your TV set? Some bizarre carved-out animal from Gambia. It's a rhino or something When did you last weep real tears at the TV? When Tiffany died
What do you eat/drink while watching telly? A whole packet of dark chocolate digestives and a cup of tea
What is your favourite TV theme tune? The original Einirierclale Farm and All Creatures Great And Small, I'm not a c0untry girl ~ I’m a wee lassie from IvlorningSide -- and I'd be too scared to be alone With all those animals.
When did you last shout at your TV? Watching Tim Henman at Wimbledon I shouted something like ‘go on Tim, take it to the next level'
Is there enough swearing on TV? It may be realistic but there’s far too much. They should Wipe their mouths out With Listerine. It's bad, bad, bad. Who would you like to see on MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch? Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston. Barbra w0uld have those deadly nails but Whitney could get Bobby Brown
2:. Linford’s Record Breakers, 88C I, starts Fri 7 Oct, 4.35pm. Dinosaur Detectives, 88C 7, starts Mon 7 7 Oct.