Glasgow Kiss

BBCI, starts Tue 25 Jul, 9.30pm.

The city of Glasgow has had a pretty rough ride through its portrayal on screen. lts citizens are either brash drunks (Rab C.), slash- happy delinquents (Small Faces) or bent cops, paedophiles and prostitutes (The Near Room). Even an exciting new talent such as Lynne Ramsay seems hellbent on directing her focus towards the muckier elements of life in dear old Glesga’.

With Glasgow Kiss, a slightly more healthy (or plain normal) image of the city is being projected. Written by playwright Stephen Passing Places Greenhorn, the series tells the story of a widowed regional sports reporter Stuart (lain Glen) whose world revolves around his work, young son and larking around doing Roger Milla celebratory wiggles in the canteen with colleague Gordon Kennedy.

Into Stuart’s life collides Cara (Sharon Small), a London— based management consultant whose dabbling around her married boss’ underpants concludes with her being shunted up north to oversee a radical overhaul of the newspaper. Mistaking Cara for a new features writer rather than the woman who may soon be proposing the sacking of senior staff, Stuart begins a relationship with her. All in his lovely flat, in a lovely part of Glasgow.

’lt’s portraying the city in a different sort of light,’ remarks the Edinburgh-born, RADA-trained Glen. ’All the stuff you usually see is of the underworld and the drug world yet Glasgow, like any other city, has many different sides. This is a lighter look which wants to celebrate the success of the city.’ And one of the successes is in having two football teams who generate vast sums of revenue and attract bigger attendances than most sides in the ultra-glamorous English

A nasty Orwellian exercise or interactive TV in its purest form?


Now, like no other time, we \‘VIII be able to Witness the soiling and washing

'l’d rather be described as a shag, than completely unshaggable'


At the beginning of episode one, Glen gets to visit Celtic Park. ’lt’s odd because the press box isn’t surrounded by glass or anything, it’s just part of the stand,’ he recalls. ’The mood there is quite subdued yet you're surrounded by all this hysteria. We were in a quandary initially, about how vocal I could be because I would just be drawing attention to myself but there was a chap from Radio Forth reporting on Hearts and he was not at all neutral so I felt liberated to express my support for Celtic.’

lain Glen's liberated approach has famously seen him take to the stage stark knackers naked alongside Nicole Kidman in The Blue Room and he gets down to business with Small within the first half hour of Glasgow Kiss. Could it be that the man who has made his name as a quasi or undiluted psycho in roles for Silent Scream and Trial And Retribution is settling into characters who are called a shag and get laid. ‘I’d rather be described as a shag, than completely unshaggable.’ (Brian Donaldson)

Ten applicants will live in a communal custom-built house in London and their every move will be monitoied on camera for the nine weeks of the show Each week, one participant will be evrcted from the house, and a lodger can leave at any point but they forfeit any chance of getting their hands on the £70,000 prize money which is given to the last remaining dweller, The final judgement on who gets the cash is voted on by you, the Viewer.

The phenomenal success of the original Dutch series, from which this is adapted, made both national heroes and figures of hate out of some of the volunteers. TV careers and even the odd modelling j()I) were gained post- show, and perhaps this is why there were over 40,000 applicants to get on the UK version

With the addition of a 24-hour web broadcast, the Orwellian origins of the title become even more applicable Is this an attempt to control and distort personalities through financial

Channel 4, Mon—Fri, llpm. A most tin-British activity is that of

‘.'.ashing your duty linen in public

120 THE lIST /'i 5. lim; 2000

of people's dirty garments in the mest exposed of envu'ons on TV wrth Big Brother And be assured, that washing is both metaphorical and literal

inducement? And as for realism, we can never judge when people are acting and when they are not This is TV after all. tMark Robertsonl

TV times

We put TV celebs on the couch. This issue: Timothy Spall

Essentials Born on 27 February 1957, Timothy Spall currently lives With his Wife Shane

Big break Having notched up a series of impresswe cameos in late 70s BrithiCkS -- blink and you'll miss him as the prOJectionist in Ouadropheni'a Spall eventually won fame and affection sharing a Nissen hut wrth Jimmy Nail, Kevm Whater et alas electrician Barry 'Radish’ Taylor in hit 80s Anglo-Germano-Spanish comedy Auf W/ederse/ien, Pet

Finest hour While B-B-B-Barry the Brummie still stands out as his most memorable TV incarnation, cuddly Spall has gone on to demonstrate his acting range on screens big and small wrth roles ranging from the loveable to the grotesque On telly, Tim starred opposite erstwhile EastEiider Daniella Westbrook as a Cockney PR manager in two series of Frank Stubbs

Promotes Skilfully resisting typecasting, he also appeared as a Virtual reality games operator in Red Din/art, came over all Dickensian in a BBC adaptation of Our Mutual Friend and played wrth Peter Bowles in cricket based comedy drama Outside Edge. And now? The Thing About Vince sees Spall returning to the construction site as a fortysomething London builder and tropical fish fancier whose mid-life crisis leads to an extra-marital adventure

Little known fact Spall's most physically demanding TV role was as eccentric character actress and 50s Miss Marple, l'vlai'garet Rutherford This ()llO-llldll/\.‘.’()lilci!l monologue was filmed as part of Channel 4's I/I/lt'llOL/l Wal/s series

Not so little known fact Spall has successfully battled cancer and serious depression, He revealed in a recent interwew that he would probably have committed suicide had Barry and Ant I/I/ieclerseiien, Pet not turned up iAllan Radc liffe‘

'l'lie flung About Vince, Scott/sh, starts Mon 24 Jul, 9pm

STAR RATINGS Unmissable Very good Worth a shot Below average You've been warned