Who Killed Mark
BBCZ, starts Mon 4 Dec, 11.20pm.
Born loser or victim of Britain's demise?
Mark Faulkner was a 25-year-old homeless man, found dead at Charing Cross Station two years ago. The question ’Who killed him’ is a loaded one. Rather than focusing on the murder, the programme-makers have chosen to look at the bigger picture of modern Britain and its dark side.
Bob Boyton — a stand-up comic who worked with the homeless for fifteen years — narrates the programme, and his down-to-earth musings make a refreshing change from the soft tones
MUSIC TRIBUTES Madonna Nightl
John Lennon Night.
Channel 4, Sat 9 Dec, 9pm/ BBC Choice, Sat 9 Dec, 10pm.
Ms Ciccone expresses herself
If you look hard enough you could find similarities between anyone. However, the lives and works of Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone and John Winston Lennon have some spectacular crossovers. Their shared childhood includes immersion in the Catholic faith, being brought up by women
usually reserved for this sort of thing Returning to Faulkner’s home town of Telford, we see mtervrews With his family, grieVing but still denying responsibility, leaVing us wondering if it was the small town or disCiplinarian father who drove him to live on the streets, or whether he was simply a loner who C0u|dn't fit in to 'normal’ life.
More revealing still, is the footage of Faulkner himself, filmed for a separate programme, three days before his death. An intelligent, well-spoken young man, he speaks of a family who threw him out and want nothing to do with him. It’s difficult to know the truth; we can only assume it's somewhere in between. Either way Faulkner makes a sad sight, a face filled with wasted potential, whose addiction to gambling eventually led to theft and time in prison.
A three-part series, the followmg episodes move beyond the family Circle, interviewing police, other homeless people and the religious groups trying to prowde support. Revealing Faulkner’s relationships With alcohol, drugs and prostitution, the picture becomes darker and more intricate. Drawing conclusions about ‘the state of Britain today’ is all very well, but the programme's real draw is the mystery of this one man. As much as why he died, we wonder why his life turned out the way it did.
who were not their mothers and spending the early years in cities with a once strong motor industry (Detroit and Liverpool). Both trained in artistic endeavours which informed rather than fixed their later careers (art for John, dance for Madonna).
Whether Guy Ritchie turns out to be Madonna’s Yoko remains to be seen and if anyone was to assassrnate her for some vague sense of betrayal, it would surely have happened by now. So, while Madonna continues to trot out unremarkable but still credible albums and cuts down the image overhauls to one a year, Lennon rots in his grave, probably smirking ghoulisth at the cultural deserts his old mates have buried themselves in.
Certainly, both will be reflected upon as icons for their generation. At the height of Britpop, Lennon acolytes were two a penny in the fab 40 while recent makeovers of Kylie Minogue and Sheena Easton are down to Ms Ciccone.
So, whoever you will be worshipping on the night, there is much to get your teeth into; Madonna’s tribute tracks the highs and lows in ’Who’s That Girl' while ’Naked Ambition’ looks at the early moulding of a legend. Her ’acting’ career is celebrated with Desperately Seeking Susan and there is a re-run of her interview/flirt-fest with Johnny Vaughan.
Lennonites should be satisfied with a dip into his ’Rock Shrine’, where pilgrims talk about the day he died while ’Gimme Some Truth’ looks at the story behind the Imagine album. The final programme sees Yoko introducing some of his classic songs and telling how ’Imagine’ still makes her cry. The wee softie. (Brian Donaldson)
Channel 4, Sat 9 Dec, 7.15pm.
In Blue Velvet, audiences shivered when Dean Stockwell’s effete crooner Sings Roy Orbison's ‘In Dreams’: ’A candy-coloured clown they call the sandman/tiptoes to my room every night’. When Neil Gaiman published a series of graphic novels he called The Sandman, the reaction of the mainstream comic world was pretty Slmllaf.
The symbolic power of ETA.
Haunting, if a mite confusing
Hoffman's Freudian nightmare story, which inspired both song and CO'lllC book, has little intention of disappearing into the shadows. Now, those creators of animated hells the Brothers Quay, have teamed up With a galaxy of dance d'ld drama talent to create their own live action Vision of slumbering disturbance Scottish Ballet star Adam Cooper, poet/actor Heathcote Williams, Choreograpivi
Will Tuckett and composers Janacek and Kurtag have collaborated in an llllllQLlhlg
. reworking of Hoffman’s tale. The fading author lies in his deathbed, cared for by his phySiCian and a vulnerable handmaiden. Meanwhile, Spalanzani -— one of his f fictional creations — watches from afar, plotting some kind of horrible vengeante, aided by his uncanny ability to control time and emotion.
Confusing it may be, but the sense of foreboding and disillusion seeps from the screen as Cooper, Alice Krige and Irek Mukhamedov indulge in their sensual dances of death. Haunting may be the only word for it. (Brian Donaldson)
. DOCUMENTARY SERIES
The Gambler Channel 4, starts Wed 6 Dec, 10.35pm.
To some, gambling is a mug’s game, and only life's losers would choose it as
a career path. Put it this way, you never see a poor bookie, do you? To others it’s an easy way to make a fast buck and improve on the hand that fate dealt you. This three-part documentary is based on writer Jonathan Rendall’s
irecent book, Twelve Grand, and 3 provides an entertaining insight into the mind of the serious gambler.
The idea for the show is genius.
Channel 4 has given Rendall £12,000 to gamble in any way he chooses Within the brief that he has to bet on a Wide variety of activities while it tracks his progress on camera. What’s more, he can
i keep any profit he makes.
Jonathan Rendall places his bets
And so we witness the immensely likeable Rendall — a kind of down at heel intellectual slumming it, like Will Self Without the wankiness — as he drifts from bookies to amateur boxing to racecourse eagerly spluttering about the gaiiililer aesthetic and basically getting skinned at every turn. It’s maybe not a rigorous examination of the addictive nature of betting, but it’s entertaining as hell. You can
bet on it. (Doug Johnstone)
Channel 4, Mon ll—Thu 14 Dec, 11.30pm.
Will this horror never end? After the summer-long tabloid and telly extravaganza that was Big Brother, the
side effects are as dangerously potent
as anything that the dragging saga threw up. Craig is releasing a Christmas single in between jaunts to the gym, Anna has revealed all (well, nothing) in interViews with The Observer and The Face while baldy Nichola has been flouncing around London parties in quasi-fetish gear and
Mel has claimed that, against all her naturally innocent instincts, she was ordered to be the house flirt.
Meanwhile, the nation‘s least favourite, Nick Bateman, has published a book on how to be a twat (sorry, bastard) and has now been given his own psychological game show. Set in a derelict East London warehouse, Bateman pairs bouncers With
ballerinas and models with mechanics as they attempt to use trust, loyalty and deception to get a cash prize. Sound hauntingly familiar?
The central thrusting question the show attempts to answer is: can you trust a complete stranger Without knowing what they do? Just remember: watching this
programme Will only serve to keep this man and his kin in the public eye. Do you
really want that on your conscience? (Brian Donaldson)
30 Nov-l4 Dec 2000 THELISTﬂS