Starstruck Channel 4, starts Wed 16 Aug, 9.30pm.

'The majority of actors are out of work most of the time and even those who do work, find themselves spinning in an orbit fraught with insecurity, rejection and frustration.’ While the narrator doles out a truism we already knew about the actor's lot, this four-part documentary boasts revealing interviews with an impressive cast of stars and earnest hopefuls coursing through the revolving door of fame and celebrity.

In the first instalment, Alfred Molina is frank. ‘Most of us are so much flotsam and jetsam that the producers have to wade through to find the actor they want. And we put up with it because we know if what we're chosen for works, then the rewards can be enormous.’

Costume drama staple Rufus Sewell is equally realistic about the jobless life. 'You hear these actors saying "Oh, when I'm unemployed I learn a poem a day, a speech a week and go jogging every day". I didn’t. I sat on my brother's sofa living off him. Smoking butts out of the ashtray and eating potato and salad cream sandwiches and just got fat and complained.’

Image affects both sexes, but for women the narrator observes, 'improbable beauty is non-negotiable’. Actors are perceived as being a 'certain sort' but the beauty taboo is somewhat dispelled by Anjelica Huston who, although wishing she had Michelle Pfeiffer's looks, appears to be reciting a belief she doesn't share. Advised to hit the scalpel, Huston managed 'to succeed in areas where you know for the most part by those pristine standards, I should rightly have failed.’

What arises from the series is that while craving some recognition, most actors only want to practise their


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Anjelica Huston faces up to the price of fame

craft. 'I was happy when I was very young and on the make and had my future as a perfect city on the hill,’ notes Richard Dreyfuss. ‘And I never enjoyed it as much as my fantasy of it.’

While we won't shed too many tears, there are serious predators ready to pounce on their business na'i'vety as 805 superstar Mickey Rourke discovered. He never threw off the Miami streets from where he emerged and the adoration ill-fitted him. The industry was merciless when Rourke established a difficult reputation and, in a poignant interview, he is sanguine about his serious errors such as turning down Platoon and The Untouchables.

Burt Reynolds uses a pithy analogy to conceal similar hurt and betrayal. ‘I went from being number 1 to number 80, and that’s some weather change.’ Rourke recognises how it crumbled away. ‘I wasn't worldly enough to understand you have to play the game. You can’t beat the system.’ (Denyse Presley)

crimewave sweeping North America is testament to this fact, but the unamused Citizens of Mammoth, Northern California are hitting back. Around 30 black bears have been habitually waiting for darkness to arrive before taking to the streets in a search for grub. Retaliatory steps have taken place With ’bear-proof’ dumpsters being placed in order to outWIt the scavenging grizzlies.

'For a bear family, a garbage dump is the equivalent of a fast food restaurant,’ notes DaVid Attenborough by way of explanation. The mm is that, unlike their human equalent, bear burglars are up to their necks in stolen goods to literally feed themselves and their family, rather than because of some klepto gene or other jealous desire for worldly possessions.

By the time that autumn has fallen

Bear Crime BBCI, Sun 13 Aug, 5.55pm.

The bear has had a pretty good press over the years Despite their potential for ripping, tearing and destrOying life of most shapes and forms, all we can think of are fictional cuddlies such as

52 THE “ST l0~l 7 Aug 2000

Paddington or Pooh. And even when a real one springs to mind, it's Hercules, the most famous and furriest reSident on Benbecula.

As this Wildlife On One shows, the humble, cuddly bear is actually a mean-spirited thievmg little shyster. Recent newspaper reports of a vast

upon the US, bears need a total of 30,000 calories in their turns a day. They’re not gomg to get that from grass or the odd charitable Wispa, so aforaging they must go. Were it rottweilers though, our sympathy levels would perhaps not be quite so high. (Brian Donaldson)

TV times

We put TV celebs on the couch. This issue: David Jason

Born The artist formerly known as Dawd John White was born on 2 February 1940 in Edmonton, London. Big break Something of a sitcom veteran throughout his 40-year career, Jason's distinctive mug has popped up in everything from Porridge to Only When lLaugh. Yet the actor’s star only started its rapid ascent in earnest when he was cast as Ronnie Barker’s nerdy nephew Granville in corner shop romp Open All Hours.

Finest hour Since Arkwright's I985 closing down sale, Jason has moved with the grace of a gazelle from one popular success to another, establishing himself as arguably the UK’s most popular televiSion actor. Perhaps only John Thaw has come close to nicking that crown. While Jason’s career history is crammed with classic roles, from G-G-G-Granwlle to lusty Pop Larkin in The Darling Buds Of May, very few would argue that he will forever be remembered as the broadest of Cockney wide-boys Del Trotter, in Only Fools And Horses. Falling arse- over-tit through a bar-hatch has never been funnier. Or more requested on any of those classic telly moment compilation programmes.

The only way is down then? The versatile Jason has made a successful tranSition from comedy to drama followmg the demise of Only Fools And Horses a few years ago. His grumpy, sandwich-chomping copper Jack Frost couldn’t be further removed from the dodgy dealings of Trotter’s Independent Traders, yet Jason’s

. dramatic midas touch continues to pull

in Viewers by the lorry load.

Little known fact Legend has it that the masswe power surge caused by audiences switching on their kettles followmg the very last episode of Only Fools And Horses was responsible for a Christmas Day blackout in 1996.

Not to be confused with David Jessel, Jason King, Don Johnson.

(Allan Radcliffe)

I A Touch Of Frost, Scottish, Wed 76 Aug, 8.30pm.