The Hip Hop Years Channel 4, starts Thu 23 Sep, I lpm.

Decks appeal: The Hip Hop Years

'AbOLit halfway through the filming I realised why no one has ever done a series like this befOre,’ chuckles David Upshall, producer of the three-part dOCumentary The Hip Hop Years, ’There’s Just loads and loads of waiting around. The time scale for a hip hop artist is nothing like the rest of the world.’

DOCumenting the history of any music form, as The Hip Hop Years does for rap mUSIC, must be a mammoth JOb,


The Royle Family BBCI, Thu 23 Sep, 10pm.

Harry Enfield was recently spotted on telly attempting to take much of the Credit for the all-conquering success of The Fast Show. Should a future tribute I night be arranged for cult comedy The Roy/e Family, a strong case could be made for him making another semi- sulky appearance.

The series, no longer seen as quite so cultish With its channel-hopping transfer to BBCI, could be argued to be a fleshed-out, naturalistic and cunnineg well-scripted version of . Enfield and Kathy Burke’s Wayne and

but you’d think exploring a relatively new genre would be easier. ‘The people from the very beginning, the further back we went the more co- operative people were,’ explains Upshall. 'The problem was finding images. The initial development of the music was Virtually undOCUmented in Visual terms.’

The music’s origins are traced back to the 'block parties’ of the Bronx in the mid 70s. A man named Kool Herc was fooling around With a couple of turntables, picking out the instrumental breaks in James Brown records and playing them instead of the full tracks. He would cut between two records to create one seamless soundtrack and the DJ was born. From there, the Cults of breakdancmg, graffiti and rapping followed.

The programme endeavours to demystify the music’s history and lay bare its appeal and influence on every creative art in the world. Upshall's experience With hip hop's megastars was, to say the least, an eye-opener, particularly the day he spent interVieWing Ice T.

'We go to his house and his Wife is running about offering us food and drinks and we get a tour of his house, the perfect hosts,’ he recalls. ’We go into the basement and this door opens and he's got a shark tank. He then takes us through to hrs recording studio and resting on the mixing desk is a bOWie knife and a revolver. It might have been a lighter, but I wasn't asking' (Mark Robertson)

Waynetta Slob. Co-written by Caroline Mrs Merton Aherne, Carmel Morgan and Craig ’Malcolm’ Cash, there is indeed much smoking of fags, nose- picking and general brutishly vulgar behaViour.

The first series of The Roy/e Family was adored by the style press and the more thoughtful tabIOid TV editors alike, and in true Da/lasty mode, the writers chose to end series one on a cliffhanger the wedding of Denise Royle (Aherne) and Dave Best (Cash).

Series two begins almost Without acknowledging the nuptial event, though let’s face it, we hardly need to be told of the kind of horror and embarrassment which raged on. Everyone is back on the beloved sofa, their conversation couched in the usual ways complaining, Whingeing, slagging off, cursing and bitching. Yet, all this misery masks a show which, at its heart, is a loving portrayal of the everyday minutiae and a warm acceptance of the drudgery of working-class domestiCity.

That drudgery may soon be broken With the news Which Denise has for her mum Barbara (Sue Johnston) and dad Jim (Ricky Tomlinson). She and new hubby Dave are expecting their first nipper and, wonders Will never cease, Denise is doing her bit by givmg up the Ciggies.

As well as the writing, which is as subtle as a feather duster, much of the show’s beauty is in the casting. A master stroke was getting Johnston and Tomlinson together for the first time since their dark days as Brooksrde Close's well-loved if ill-fated couple Bobby and She. (Brian Donaldson)



Elaine BBCI,Wed 22 Sep r

It’s of little surprise that Elaine C Smith, self-confessed Celtic fan, should give the beautiful game a kicking. Shame, then, that the material is as telegraphed as a Regi Blinker crossfield ball.

She takes the mick out of the colonisation of the Old Firm by Italians and ScandinaVians and men's scoffing of female footie analysis, but there’s little else we haven’t already heard from Jonathan Watson and the rest of his tedious troupe. All this, despite saying she dedicatedly watches Sportscene every week.

Within the part stand-up, part cabaret, part sketch show format, Smith not only introduces us to the painful experience of Michael Marra singing about ex-Dundee Utd goalkeeper, Hamish McAlpine, but to several comic characters including Maddie the Prozaced-up, divorcee make-up artist and Billy, the studio caretaker.

While her metamorphosing into Billy is no mean feat, the humour is nothing better than second-rate Rab C. (Mark Robertson)

PREVIEW 4 Later: Mad Mack Channel 4, Fri 24 Sep, 12.30am.

Rivalling Travrs Bickle’s psychotic tendencies, With a mouth fouler than Peter Reid’s, Mad Mack aka comic Barrie Hall works the mean streets of Sunderland for the seriously dodgy Monty Cabs. Naturally, he's had all the big knobs in his cab, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Tony Blair (’a southern ponce who tried to pay by cheque’). Mack demonstrates a passion for Sunderland FC not Witnessed on the small screen since the Auf Wi’edersehen Pet lads hung up their overalls.

In possession of all the silky skills of a rhino, Mack conVinces himself that the best route into the Stadium of Light is as the team’s offiCial cow mascot. Hall’s Outlandish creation may be familiar to audiences following his appearance in the successful I998 Edinburgh Fringe comedy Hope Springs A Leak.

Unshackled and unrestrained, Mad Mack promises an oasis of fun in the desert of dross that is Friday night post-pub TV. (Allan Radcliffe)

PREVIEW Close Up: Marianne

Faithfull BBCZ, Thu 7 Oct, 9.30pm.

Evening telegraph: Elaine

Cab report: Mad Mack

'I saw an angel With big tits and signed her,’ Thus spake Stones' svengali Andrew Loog Oldham of Marianne Faithfull, and thus she came to epitomise a contradiction central to the 60s concept of womanhood.

Her flaxen locks and girlish freckles made her everyone's favourite frail, vrrginal proto-waif, but she also carried a strong whiff of the IasCiVious, free-lovm' hippy chick. That alleged menage a trois With Mick Jagger and a

Mars bar didn't help, and nor did the

psychedelic soft-porn flick Girl On A Motorcycle.

Sex kitten or flower child though, Faithfull retained a killer combination of flaky eccentricity and guts that endures to this day. Plus her versions of ’Sister Morphine’ and ’As Tears Go By’ knock spots off Mick and the boys. Nowadays she’s the last word in gravel-v0iced diva chic and a worthy subject for a spot of teleVisual snoopery. (Hannah McGill)

Work, rest and play: Marianne Faithfull

23 Sep—7 Oct I999 THE UST 107