That Peter Kay Thing Channel 4, starts Wed 12 Jan, 10.30pm.

When it comes to impressing errant journos wrth tales of the glitzy, glamorous world of showbiz, Peter Kay really hasn’t got a handle on it. He opens our conversation With the choice gambit 'I got me mam a table from Argos, so I'm gorng to have some fun putting that together tonight.’ This in itself is a refreshing change from po- facerl, pretentious, 'l’m a serious artist’, comedian-types.

Aside from DIY, his latest creative venture is That Peter Kay Thing, a six- part comedy/spoof fly-on-the-wall documentary series, set in his home town of Bolton This follows on from his one-off show, The Services, broadcast as part of Channel 4's Comedy Lab last year, which documented the soaring highs and painful lows of a motorway service station.

The new series sees the 1998 Perrier nominee play fifteen different

PREVIEW Queer As Folk

Channel 4, starts Tue 18 Jan, 10pm.

With more bed-hopping action than Michael Douglas at his promiscuous peak, the first series of Queer As Folk (rerun now before the new series starts in Feb) was more than just a change of pace for British television; it was a

wake-up call signifying the potential in

drama not just featuring but indeed dominated by homosexual characters. The 'gay This Life’, as it was initially inaccurately billed, introduced three fresh faces to telly and Vince, Stuart and Nathan will soon be back.

Finally pulling gay characters away from the fringes and into the centre Of British televrsion, Queer As Folk proved that a quality drama could be made about gay characters in a modern setting and be exciting, realistic and unpatronising, without resorting to the self-righteous or apologetic.

Despite its setting in the ’Gay Village' in Manchester, the show never alienated the masses as it could have and was decreed successful enough by Channel Four to warrant a second instalment.

The boy’s drama continues as the second series tells the story of the trio's lives and loves. The end of the first saw excitable teen tyke Nathan (Charlie Hunnam) do a runner for the bright lights of London after being shunned

88 THE “31’ 7—20 Jan 2000

; “Tit-c

Manic mundane: That Peter Kay Thing

characters, including wheelchair- bound, dictatorial, social club owner Brian Potter; pornography-obsessed ice cream man Robert Edge aka Mr Softy Top; egomaniacal bingo caller Tom Dale; and canine-obsessed fire and safety officer Keith Lard. Kay was keen to include real members of the public in the series, including pensioners at the bingo hall and the audience for the social club talent night. ’The audience in the club were just sat in for two hours and watched the show straight,’ recalls Kay. ’50 they saw first-hand how bad the acts were.’

The characters had to be as believable as possible, but he was cautious of over-cooking reality. ’If you put a camera in front of these people who are real characters, those you just meet in the street, there’s the danger that you won’t be believed: people are like: "nah, you’re taking it too far”.’

Kay's insightful look into the lives of seemingly mundane people not only shows up just how stupid documentaries can get but how funny ’real life’ can be. (Mark Robertson)

Mad about the boys: Queer As Folk

by professional dirty shagger Stuart (Aiden Gillen). The sequel heralds his return.

Sheepish, apologetic Vince (Craig Kelly), meanwhile, is still hopelessly in love with Stuart and remains stuck between his mundane, straight, daytime existence and his desire to get his man. The sexual chemistry between Stuart and Vince is hotting up and it seems only a matter of time before they get it together. The question is, will Vince have the nerve to go through with it?

An excellent supporting cast and location ensure the show doesn’t solely rely on its main players for all the action and will undoubtedly launch its trio of stars onto bigger things. The new series will assuredly be, as Vince would put it, ’brilliant!’

(Mark Robertson)


White Tribe Channel 4, starts Thu 13 Jan, 9pm.

Darcus Howe and Norman Tebbit may seem the unlikeliest of bedfellows. But in Howe's three-part look at what it means to be English these days, they reach an amicable consensus.

'I think there is a bit of an identity crisis,’ states the former right-wing Tory cabinet member. 'In war it rapidly comes back: we are the English against "the others", but we have had 50 years of peace and that makes it more difficult to define what is the English consciousness.’

Howe’s research into White Tribe appears to bear this opinion out.

Country strife: White Tribe

Meeting fox-hunters in Northumberland, Buddhists in Lancashirr- aid i..t t. Dover, he finds a fragmented and uncertain nation but one \‘.Iil(Il ~,lio..i:i iiiize some cause for optimism. ’It feels like a different country,' the former {Jeai/ , Advocate notes. ’The culture of England is the culture of the globe

(Brian Donaldson)


The League Of Gentlemen

BBCZ, starts Fri 14 Jan, 10pm.

When The League Of Gentlemen nabbed the Perrier Comedy Award from under the chins of Johnny Vegas in 1997, many said ’The League Of what now?’ Mystery over their identity has gone only to be replaced by a disturbed bafflement after the cultural shock of their debut TV series.

Creating the fictional little town of Royston Vasey, the performing trio of Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith plus co-writer Jeremy Dyson assembled the most motley of characters. Underlying the stylised and highly technical comedy was a brutality and strangeness of such evocative Quality that the stench of something very unpleasant filled the nostrils.

Joining old favourites such as Tubbs and Edward the homicidal

* lift-.2: Dastardly and motley: The League Of Gentlemen

shopkeepers and Pauline the sadistic Job Seeker leader are cieirnaii (‘3‘.(Iirilifjt')

teacher Herr Lipp, gypsy showman Papa Lazarou and colourful roiiiv

ii lzlay/tti

Vaughn played by Roy ’Chubby’ Brown. It’s big and it's very, very clr~.c-i

(Brian Donaldson)


The Boy David: The Return

BBC1,Wed 12 Jan, 9.30pm.

Eighteen years ago, the story of a Campa Indian drove the nation to captivated tears. Documentary-maker Desmond Wilcox is back to record an update on The Boy David, now aged 25 and in his final year at art college in Detroit.

It was a Swiss charity worker, Martine Schopfer, who discovered the boy’s plight in a pauper’s hospital in Peru. The centre of his face had been ravaged by a cancerous condition caused by a mosquito bite. Eminent Glasgow plastic surgeon Ian Jackson was handed the long and painful task of rebuilding David’s face after

Campa David: The Return

Schopfer had smuggled him out of the Amazon basin. Jackson was so entranced by the boy's story that he and his wife adopted him.

'This was an adventure that, after 40 years of film—making, I would not have dreamed of missing,’ notes Wilcox of the latest instalment as DaVirJ returns home to find his natural parents. Prepare to be moved. (Brian Donaldson)