PREVIEW Shockers Channel 4, starts Tue 19 Oct, 10pm.
Be afraid. Be very afraid. Be pant- wettingly petrified of Channel 4's new series of sinister psychological dramas. ’They're not just “horror stories”, reveals Channel 4’s Michael Park, attempting to pin down the shared mood of the unholy trio of films. ' "Mind-Fuck Drama” is probably the most appropriate way to describe the series. Unfortunately, that’s not a term that can be used on telly and in the Radio Times, so Shockers seems the best compromise.’
In fact, Shockers is a perfectly fitting label for the three tales, all of whose protagonists are literally jolted out of their everyday normality by some diabolical twist of fate. However, those expecting bloodied fangs, scary monsters and ghouls a 90-90 may be disappointed as each film sets plausible events within a recognisable world, albeit with a slightly sharper edge.
The first instalment, The Visitor, features a group of nauseating This Life-style twentysomething housemates, whose cosy yuppie existence is shattered by the arrival of Daniel Craig's manipulative stranger. In Heatwave, a widower (Douglas Hodge) is nearly destroyed by his girlfriend's obsession with ballroom dancing. The third, and darkest piece, is Déja Vu which stars Kerry Shallow Grave Fox as a woman prone to surviving horrific car crashes. Fox becomes embroiled in an incomprehensible nightmare as the jinx claims the lives of first her son, then her husband.
Executive producer Julia Austen has nothing but praise for the project, which has allowed her the unique experience of nurturing three dramas simultaneously. ‘It’s great that Channel 4 can give this opportunity to
BBCZ, starts Mon 11 Oct, 9pm.
If the characters from The Bill and The Cops were pitted against each other in a Celebrity Deathmatch, the poor old
Sunhill bobbies would have to be scraped off the canvas with a spatula and no mistake. The Cops is grittier than a mile of bad road, and as rough as your reflection after a three-day
Jolt from the blue: Shockers
new artists, particularly new writers,’ she enthuses. ‘The intention is to create a returning slot but it really depends on the mood of the nation.’
As might be expected, everyone involved had a ball working within these dark realms. 'It was a really novel experience because "horror" isn’t something that’s given much interest in British TV and films,’ argues Austen. ’This isn’t just because of budget restrictions — you don't need buckets of money to create an atmosphere - but because we feel overshadowed by the way the horror genre has been perfected in the States.’
Austen's observation could easily be applied to all 'genre drama’, apparently considered something of a profanity within a British industry preoccupied with gritty, realistic fare. If the eerily intelligent Shockers proves popular, perhaps more producers will wake up to the fact that genre can be an equally powerful and exciting means of exploring serious themes and ideas. (Allan Radcliffe)
The series executive producer is Tony Garnett, whose impressive CV includes This Life, Bal/ykissangel and the recently re-released Cathy Come Home. As with all his previous work, The Cops is incredibly realistic, which he puts down to the intensive research which goes in to each project: ’No
without domg at least two weeks on full shifts with real cops,’ he says. ’And every member of the cast trains to be a cop. We don't do IUWie stuff.’
The first series was extremely well-
with the portrayal of one officer with a part-time coke habit, and scenes of brutality. The Greater Manchester and
research for the first series withdrew co-operation for the second. The second series promises to be just
, Celebrity sofa surfing. This issue:
Richard Blackwood What is your favourite show? There
isn't one that I watch all the time but
Seinfe/d's not bad and Trisha now and
again. What do you eat/drink while watching TV? Anything that’s qurck
and easy to do. Something like pasta and tuna.
When did you last cover your eyes at the box? Never. I like to see all the gory bits.
When did you last shout at the TV? I’m actually very inward. I don't really show emotions like that,
When did you last weep real tears at
the TV? Years ago at Boyz In The Hood
j on Video.
What is your first TV memory? Salem’s Lot. I was actually scared at that and not much scares me.
Who was the first telly person you had a crush on? Lucy Ewing from Dallas.
Favourite/most hated advert? Fave is Flat ETIC. I hate Daz ones — they’re just too fake.
Greatest cartoon character of all time? Spiderman, he was slick. I liked the fact that he could climb up walls and do stuff I couldn’t do but really wanted to.
What do you have on top of your TV
set? A picture that a young bloke
called Luke drew for me.
Who is your favourite newsreader? Trevor McDonald.
What is you favourite TV theme tune? Starsky and Hutch or Monkey Magic.
I Is there enough swearing on TV and
writer is allowed to start writing
received, and won a Best Drama Series ; BAFTA. The police themselves were 1 somewhat less impressed, particularly 3
Lancashire Police, who helped with the
as powerful as the first, with tough
issues being tackled in an uncompromising way. It won’t be pretty, but, like a particularly horrendous car crash, you won’t be able to tear your eyes away.
who should be encouraged to curse more? I curse on my show, but I wouldn’t encourage people to do so. Who would you like to see on MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch? Mel G and Puff D. (Compiled by Mark Robertson) I The Richard B/ackwood Show, Channel 4, Wed, 1 7pm.
STAR RATINGS ‘ t” ** Unmissable * t * 1r Very cod 3 t t * Wort a shot i t * . Below average * You’ve been warneLj
7—21 Oct 1999 THE HST 105