How Do You Want Me? BBCZ, starts Wed 10 Nov, 10pm. While Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey continue to milk the increasingly tiresome Men Behaving Badly franchise (witness their eerily familiar Supernobdles and ' Homebase advertising campaigns), creator Simon Nye is doing his utmost to shake off this pair of moronic child-men. How Do You Want Me? established Nye in an altogether fresher arena of sitcom after a critically successful first series.

The second series proceeds in much the same vein with Dylan Moran’s Ian still struggling to be accepted into the alien rural backwater world of wife Lisa (Charlotte Coleman) and her hostile family. In the opening episode, Ian is still craving urban life (’lt's like living in China during the Cultural Revolution’) and continuing to make life more bearable by attempting to keep the village photography business afloat.

Matters are made extensively worse for poor Ian when he injures himself in a bizarre incident in a barn belonging to his father-in-law Astley (Frank Finlay). Hellbent on discovering just how much Astley had to do with his tumble, Ian realises his trusty camera may well be the key to solving the mystery.

This beautifully observed show was inspired by Simon Nye's family background and, having grown up in the countryside, he professes an abiding affection for the glories of rural flora and fauna. This claim may surprise viewers of How Do You Want Me? as his portrayal of simple country folk is pretty much a largely unsympathetic one. Lisa's humourless father Astley and brother Dean (the ultimate sadistic rugger bugger) are particularly brutal in their treatment of the underdog

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An everyday story: How Do You Want Me?

Ian. Significantly, Nye identifies most closely with Lisa, the peacemaker, torn between family and spouse.

While the writing in Men Behaving Badly was about as subtle as bazooka fire, How Do You Want Me? is at its best in Nye’s touching depiction of the troubled central relationship between Lisa and Ian. So was this project a conscious departure for the writer? 'No, I’m a bit of a tart when it comes to comedy. I'll write about anything,’ he laughs, before adding: ’The gentler humour arises naturally from the setting. Somehow, conventional sitcom jokes don't work as well in the countryside.’

Nye would now like to see the critical success of the first series being matched with an increase in viewers. ’I suppose I was spoilt with Men Behaving Badly being watched by all those millions,’ he concedes. ’I don't normally boast, but I think How Do You Want Me? is fantastic, and deserves to be seen by just as many people.’ We really couldn't agree more. (Allan Radcliffe)

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On the run: Sean Bean


another prison, in a deodedly Fugitive- style escape, he attempts to seek out the truth about the murder of his family.

’lt’s a really brilliant pr0ject, a psychological drama as opposed to purely action-based,’ reckons Bean. 'lt’s not very often that actors are offered fuller, more complex roles in front ,of the camera. More often it’s on stage you get the more interesting parts.’ Bean’s character however, does posses James Bond-esque good fortune and resourcefulness. He is able to blend into the background unnoticed, despite being a convicted murderer.

Ralph Brown - best known as Danny in Withnai/ & / and featuring more recently in The Phantom Menace - plays Joe Connor, gangland boss, enemy of Byrne and all-round nasty bastard. ’A joy to play,’ says Brown.

. Extremely Dangerous Scottish, starts Thu 11 Nov, 9pm.

Sean Bean returns to the small 'screen, after various celluloid adventures, as Neil Byrne, an undercover government operative sent to infiltrate Manchester’s organised

crime world. Convicted of murdering his wife and baby daughter, the revelation that he is an informant causes chaos within the city’s gangland fraternity.

Byrne is not quite sure himself that he didn't commit the murders and suffers from flashbacks. Escaping from captivity while being transferred to

'The man is an out and out psychopath.’

Directed by Sallie Aprahamian, Extreme/y Dangerous creates a further twist on the cat and mouse whodunnit scenario as the balance of power shifts between the two men and the police close in on Byrne, building to a tense finale. (Mark Robertson)

TV times

We put TV celebs on the couch. This issue: Johnny Vaughan

Born In North London, 33 years ago. Big break Fronting Channel 4's Mowewatch, the station’s pretty unsuccessful stab at bringing the Cinema to the people. It was a decent enough idea to have the public reviewing movies but generally they were: a) dumb; b) annOying; c) a and b.

Finest hour Savmg the bosses at The

Big Breakfast from doom and gloom after the departure of Chris Evans. He has gone on to see off co-presenter after co-presenter on The Big Breakfast. Well, two; Denise Van Outen who had obwously had enough despite the tears and Kelly Brook who he well and truly made mincemeat of. Poor love.

Don't mention His time in choky for messmg with drugs.

What now? Still rismg With the cock for Channel 4; scribbling a column for the Sunday Mirror; and now returning to the film fold With The Johnny Vaughan Film Show. A show which covers the presenter’s two favourite subjects.

Significant other In August of this year he married costume deSigner and long-term partner Antonia Dawes. He must like her, after all he converted to Catholicism for her. The Pope must have been impressed too, as he sent a happy nuptial message on the day. And Elvis Costello played at their reception.

Not a lot of people know That he once shared a flat with the brother of Liza Tarbuck, his current early morning telly partner.

Not to be confused with Johnny Vegas; Stevie Ray Vaughan; Johnny Hates Jazz.

Not his catchphrase ’Blimey, I’m bushed; think I’ll put my feet up for a minute or two.’ (Brian Donaldson)

I The Big Breakfast, Channel 4, Mon—Fri, 7am; The Johnny Vaughan Film Show, Channel 4, Sat, 7.30pm.


i H n Unmissable

* * * * Very ood * * * Wort a shot l * * Below average i * You’ve been warned

4—18 Nov 1999 THE “ST 117