Channel 5, Sun—Fri, various times.

Big Brother's very poor cousin

Never to be caught twrddling their thumbs when there's a frUitful bandwagon to be Jumped on, Jar/break is Channel 5’s attempt to plug the hole in our lives left by the passing of Big Brother. With host and comedic chipmunk Craig Charles replacing a pregnant Ulrika Jonsson at the zero hour (hasn’t he had enough of prison life?) ten inmates must attempt to bust out of a mock prison compound, egged on by the prospect of a share in one quarter of a million smackers. Needless to say, every dreary detail is captured on surveillance cameras With the ineVitable 24-hour web cast for those With no life. Whatever Will they

DRAMA SERIES Attachments BBC2, starts Tue 26 Sep, 9pm.

Hip things pursue topical phenomenon

The first three people you see are naked. One is on a skateboard, the other two are cavorting in bed Showmg a penis, breast and arse is certainly one way of attracting attention to your new show. But fear not, Attachments is a bit more than Just a load of post-slacker dudes being unable to stick to their clothes

It’s another instalment of Tony Garnett’s aim of bringing the politics of the workplace into your liVing room. His most recent portrayals of folk on the Job at work (This Life and The Cops) caused controversy and consternation Within conservative circles, so naturally, they were among

come up With next: a nude gameshow hosted by Keith ChegWin?

Jai/break's ropy first few episodes establishes it as a very poor cousin to Big Brother. The main problem lies With the contestants themselves, apparently chosen for their high scores in one of three categories, brawn, beauty and brains, th0ugh the latter was in shorter supply than fuel from the Grangemouth refinery.

One ingenious chap attempted to smuggle in a weighty tome entitled Locks And Lock Picking With the required equment stashed in a CD walkman, While yokel grandmother Pat hid a tube of glue in her specs case (maybe she thought she could stick the guards together). Within hours of their arrests, the strain of the tough prisOn regime was beginning to show. 'I do get cabin fever,’ laughed working mum Roberta nervously.

Meanwhile, glamour model Laura was in tears and Granny Pat was screaming for her ’rollers'. But unlike Big Brother, the producers of jailbreak don’t seem to trust their contestants to carry the programme, making the 'human interest’ element redundant. Instead, we get endless links With Craig Charles struggling valiantly to remember the contestants names, and reports from the suspiciously Ulrika- esque female anchor Ruth England.

The programme runs for the next three weeks (unless, of c0urse, all the inmates have escaped before then). After that, can we p/ease put an end to this vogue for ’reality TV' before someone gets hurt? (Allan Radcliffe)

the most watchable slices of late 90s British small screen life. Attachments has the contemporary twenty- something thrusting of the former, the impending sense of total disaster inherent in the latter while sharing the semi-parodic camera antics of both series.

Episode one of BBCZ’s new flagship drama sees a group of hip, young things attempting to make their way in the internet business. The website seethruco uk has been transformed from bedroom hobby to large-scale net competitor but it is havrng serious problems before its final inspection. The collection of characters (archetypes or stereotypes, you decide) include a clenching pedant, vocal lesbian, social recluse, lustful arrogant, manipulative Job-seeker and husband and Wife pioneering duo.

While a series such as This Life or The Cops c0uld potentially have been made at any time since the dawn of telly, Attachments is catching a peCUliarly millennial phenomenon, that of the dotcom business. 'What I’ve realised since dorng the programme is that setting up an internet company is no different from setting up any small business,’ notes Claudia HarrisOn who plays Luce, co-creator of seethrucouk, a character who may or may not be based on lastminutecom's founder Martha Lane-Fox. ’Coming up With original dotcom ideas has become a very popular topic in pubs’ Whether Attachments Will oe hot dlSCUSSIOn matter in the nation’s bar-rooms remains to be seen. (Brian Donaldson)


CHAT SHOW Meet Ricky Gervais Channel 4, starts Fri 22 Sep, 11.05pm.

’I don’t think Parkinson has a lot to worry about.’ Foul-mouthed misanthropic comedian Ricky Gervais appears hellbent on playing down his debut talk show series. ’lt’s based around chat in that they’ve let me loose on some celebrities to do my thing,’ he says. ’But it won’t exactly be Radio Four-style satire.’

The show features typically half- baked ideas like a rude version of Family Fortunes and a running Joke ab0ut Channel 4 executives Which is Cheeky fellow Ricky Gervais almost certainly libellous. ’I basically slag off Channel 4 all the time,' says Gervais. ’It’s a platform for me to get a better channel. I Just hope that Sky or Channel 5 are watching, cos I’m wasted on this bent channel. Anything but BBC2, though.’

Unsurprisingly, if you saw the abuse he dished out as a regular on The 77 O’C/ock Show, Gervais has been havrng a little trouble attracting guests to his show. ’Only 162 have refused out of the 168 that we’ve asked,’ he says. ’The trouble is they’ve either not heard of me, or they have.’ However With Jimmy SaVile, Tony Hart and Michael Winner all confirmed for the firing line, it promises to be a show With more than its fair share of squirm-inducing moments.

(Doug Johnstone)

DOCUMENTARY Modern Times BBC2, Wed 27 Sep, 9pm.

If you have read all those ‘men in crisis' news features over the past feW years and scoffed, Modern Times may have you thinking again. The statistics pretty much speak for themselves: two men kill themselves in the UK every day, With the same 24—hour period seeing many hundreds attempting to emulate that fatal feat.

Yet more disturbing than the data of death are the many websites set up by and for those affected by the extremities of self-destruction. On this information superhighway to hell, young men are contacting each other and discussing everything from the symptoms of their depressron to swcrdal methods. The Samaritans now have specially-trained internet volunteers who are set to deal With an estimated 50,000 e-mails this year alone.

Of course, it’s not rust the existence-extinguishers who suffer, but also those left behind to cope With the grievmg process. Bob and Lynda are still none the Wiser as to why their son Darren killed himself on holiday, and have turned to net support group SOLOS for solace. As Bob says ’When we meet him next, when we die and catch up With him, there Will be a lot of talking to be done.’

(Brian Donaldson)

DRAMA THRILLER Dirty Tricks Scottish, Sun 24 & Mon 25 Sep, 9pm.

How’s this for a Winning combination, sex, death, a healthy dose of black humOur, a top-notch cast and a quality script adapted from a novel by crack British crime writer Michael Didbin. All of which s0unds like the recipe for a near-perfect drama.

Dirty Tricks goes something like this: Martin Clunes stars as Edward »— a cad of the first degree who embarks on a passionate affair With Karen (Julie Graham), the Wife of wealthy yet dull accountant Dennis (Neil Dudgeon). When an unfortunate boating aCCident leaves Karen a Widow and quarter of a million pounds richer, the recently fired Edward puts a ruthless plan into action in order to get his hands on the money. However, things go awry, and he soon finds himself wanted for murder

The story is told in flashback, With Clunes narrating straight to camera, a device Which lets the Viewer almost, but not goite, see What’s coming. Brilliantly acted (heavyweight performers James Bolam and Lindsay Duncan merely add to the quality), and laugh-out-loud funny, this sordid tale is top-class entertainment. (Kirsty Knaggs)

The tendency towards suicide leaves parents in the dark

Sordid and funny crime drama

21 Sep—S Oct 2000 THE lIST105