f Untold I Channel 4, starts Thu 12 Oct, 8pm.
Merging the personal and the political
History is all too often seen as the
preserve of dead generals, dull politicians and men with unkempt beards. Black History Month, though,
sees Channel 4 attempting to put a
more human and less colour-blind spin
on the topic. Unto/d kicks off in
earnest with ’Extraordinary Ancestors’ (Thursday 12, 19, 26 October) which explores the genealogies of Bristol, Edinburgh and Cardiff residents. Presenter Shilpa Metha stresses that the programme does not exclusively concern itself with the black British experience. 'The thing I've realised making this programme is that we’re
all in the mix,’ she insists. Anthony :
Adolf, the show's genealogical investigator, reveals that his research continually uncovers some surprising results. ’We discovered one person who was related to the Queen,’ he notes. ’Another had a very aristocratic sounding name but it turned out this was only because their great- grandfather, who was originally called Mitchell, thought: ”I fancy a better name than that”.’
3 The Comedy Lab
explodes into action for a third series.
sure that some hidden hilarity-makers
Slower movmg, but rather more i
poignant is ’George’s Story’ (Saturday 14 October) whose subject is 61-year- old George Perry. Having left China just before the communist revolution, his return to what is now an unknown
reunion with his sister evidences a raw, powerful dignity.
The insightful 'Words Of Fire’ (Saturday 21 October) describes a rather different cultural clash: the furore surrounding The Satanic Verses. A bunch of chillingly rational Islamic spokesmen pop up to explain just why Salman Rushdie’s death sentence was perfectly acceptable. Almost as distressing is the hostile incomprehension shown by the British press as to just why a vast number of people (Islam is Britain’s second largest faith) were so shocked by the novel.
The season ends with ’Singapore Mutiny' (Saturday 28 October), which recalls the execution of 47 British troops after an attempted mutiny in 1915. The focus is as much on the effects upon their families as it is on the wider repercussions in a meshing of the personal and political that is one of Unto/d’s engrossing themes.
Scottish, starts Sun 15 Oct, 9pm.
The British Friends isvsharp and funny
Whoever observed that there are only
SIX basic dramatic plotlines in the world was a wise sage indeed. Consider this evidence: English actress Helen Baxendale makes a fleeting appearance in Friends, an increasingly unfunny American comedy about a
tight group of six twenty/thirty-
somethings and their tangled love lives. Safely back home, she continues to
' star in Cold Feet, a British comedy
drama about a tight group of six twenty/thirtysomethings and their tangled love lives. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, lTV’s award- winning series is remade by the same company that brought you — yes, you guessed it! - Friends. And round and
round and round we go in the circle game, as Joni Mitchell was so fond of saying.
Channel 4, starts Tue 10 Oct, 11.35pm.
Humorous experimentation is the name of the game as The Comedy Lab
Having aided the comedic careers of Tommy Tiernan, Peter Kay and Dom Joly in its previous seasons, you can be
are set to be unveiled. Such as Leo Sayer
The curly-mopped icon certainly made a few of us laugh With hits like ’You Make Me Feel Like Dancing' and ’Long Tall Glasses’ but his stand-up career
Che gets animated in Popcultomania
E to date has been limited to giggling like a loon on Shooting Stars. Here though, land is fraught with doubt. George’s
he takes a key role as a mute in ’The Scunthorpe Ball Run’, loosely based on the 1970s Burt Reynolds car caper.
More genuine contenders for future stardom include Charlie Skelton as Lord Newmarket in ’The Earl’, animation director Julian Hanshaw with Frankenstein- esque drama ’Meat’ and the Mason brothers, Elliot and Justin, with their computer-generated sketch show ’Big Shiny Things’.
Perhaps most intriguing of all is ’Popcultomania’, a cartoon quiz show with host Alfred Hitchcock maintaining stability between team captains Che Guevara and
Andy Warhol and ’live’ celebrities such as Sarah Cracknell and Hugh Fearnley-
, Tough Love
Scottish, concludes Sun 8 Oct, 9pm.
Whittingstall. Now, that’s experimentation. (Brian Donaldson)
Don’t worry if you missed the first part of ITV’s gritty, good cop/bad cop, hard-hitting drama, because there are plenty more cliches to come. For a start, expect more complications for upstanding pillar of community, DCI Love (Adrian Dunbar), famed for his zero-tolerance stance on crime: ’tough’ Love, geddit?
Then there’s Love’s best friend and colleague, Detective Lenny Milton (Ray Winstone), a hulking bulldog of a thief-taker; menacing, but With a good heart. After two children went missing last episode and the body of an ASian youth was
Tough Love equals hard viewing
' found tucked away in a desolate car park, Love and the rest of the dodgy-looking
Yet, despite its air of familiarity, Co/d
Feet is that rarest of beasts; an lTV drama that’s actually memorable and doesn’t feature Ross Kemp, Sarah Lancashire, Michelle Collins or any of the other members of the network's current pool of former soap stars. Sharper, funnier and better acted than any of the recent glut of British ensemble dramas, it’s perhaps unsurprising to learn that the Manchester-based series almost never got made. Legend has it that the original script languished in development hell before the pilot was cautiously presented to the requisite focus groups, with a full year passing before a series was commissioned. Back for a third series with a brace of awards and tons of fans in tow, the first couple of episodes find Rachel (Baxendale) and Adam (James Nesbitt) still sickeningly in love and planning a family following their cliffhanger reconciliation. But all is not well chez Jenny and Pete, whose marriage seems destined for permanent residence on the rocks. Meanwhile, yuppies David and Karen have had twins, much to the horror of their other Sprog Josh. Forthcoming highlights include Karen’s chain-smoking lush of a mother, and Jenny’s date with handsome internet millionaire ’Bob dot com’. It’ll end in cyber-tears. (Allan Radcliffe)
E The Lion Ram ant
support the rugby srde will argue
j are well used to glorious failure (Wembley 1999), trouser-soiling embarrassment (Argentina 1978) or
coppers are feeling the strain. And Milton’s in trouble, because it seems he’s in the frame for murdering yet another Asian youth.
In a dark world where the line between Villains and the men who hunt them is terrifyineg ambiguous, corruption eats away like a cancer at the heart of the good 01’ police force. Be warned: the person who stabs you in the back might just be your best friend, and nothing is as it seems. One thing is certain, though; if you keep on watching this crap, they'll just keep churning it out. (Olly Lassman)
FOOTBALL DOCUMENTARY "
BBC1,Tue 10 Oct, 11. 0pm.
Following the Scottish national team in any sport is an exercise in patriotism over pleasure. Granted, those who
otherwise, but Scotland’s football fans
unforgivable lunacy (that pink away strip). But genuine, unadulterated success? No chance.
One of the men who was partly responsible for an especially memorable national disaster (the RuSSIan goal which knocked Scotland out of the 1982 World Cup) brings his laconic broadcasting techniques to The Lion Rampant, a brief history of the times suffered by the Tartan Army.
Helping Alan Hansen on this journey are Chancellor Gordon Brown, movie mogul Robert Duvall and penalty misser Gary McAllister, as they investigate the lows and lowers of Scotland’s footballing past.
Of course, the rest of the world loves the Scottish fan. How the sight of some tanked-up Braveheart attempting to limbo alongside a Brazilian beauty or
Alan Hansen flies the flag for our pitiful national team
snuggling up to a Swedish WPC warms the cockles. But mainly, Scottish
supporters are appreciated because they won’t be seen dead brandishing Union
Jacks (unless you happen to be in the Govan area) or throwmg plastic chairs
through bistro windows. (Brian Donaldson)
s‘Iig’Oci '2000 THELIST 111