DRAMA SERIES Metrosexuality Channel 4, starts Wed 21 Feb, llpm.

So where do we start? A guy has got two dads who he wants to get back together. He also wants to get jiggy again with the foxy teen temptress that works in the local hair salon. One of his two pops has got a new man while his best mate fancies his other dad. There's a commitment-shy, red-mohicaned club bouncer, a pair of sex-deprived lesbian parents and a murderous incident with an abusive relationship. Got all that?

Six years of EastEnders doesn't have this many twists and turns, but Metrosexuality isn't your average television drama. ‘It's not like Coronation Street, a show I like, but which is about how people used to live,’ explains Rikki Beadle- Blair, writer/star/director/composer of the six-part series. Metrosexuality is adamantly about now, not yesterday.

Kwame (Noel Clarke) is a beautiful, hormone-filled seventeen-year-old who, unlike his two dads, is straight. His sole desire is to see the pair reunite and for him to get together with Asha (Rebecca Varney). Standing in the way are Jonno his dad Jordan’s new squeeze - and his own macho insecurities; will he ever be able to show his true feelings to Asha? The other dad Max, played by Beadle-Blair, is the anchor around which all the others float. 'He acts tough but he’s a pushover.’ says the show's impresario. 'He is best friend, mum and dad to his son and wonders why everything just can't be perfect.’

The cast is a multi-cultural melange in multi-coloured attire but when it comes down to it, the same factors

Hedonistic, e~numbered up, hyperactive puppies

that affect everyone love, sex, happiness and friendship come to prey on the group. Metrosexuality is a drama, but as in drama queen; a hedonistic, e-numbered up, hyperactive puppy of a programme.

With editing to make Blair Witch fans suffer motion sickness and an unhealthy dollop of surreal visual effects, the overall feeling is almost like a live action cartoon (there will be those who jump to one obvious comparative conclusion, but Metrosexuality makes Queer As Folk seem like a Ken Loach grimfest).

It suffers from the occasional style over substance crisis, but there is sufficient wit and energy to pull it through, stridently retaining an acerbic sense of humour which could easily have been lost in portraying contemporary urban life. One thing is for sure, they don't make soap operas like this. Which is just as well; it's unlikely Corrie fans could take it. (Mark Robertson)

year-old newcomer Susan Nickson, Two Pints tracks the ups and downs of five juvenile archetypes. ’They are the PlayStation generation liVing in working-class Runcorn where prospects are poor but their resolve is solid,’ claims the patronising press release.

Starring the mighty talents of Corrie’s Bev Callard as bitchy mum Flo, Two Pints also features hard-drinker Donna (Ho/lyoaks' Natalie Casey) womaniser Gaz (Ho/iyoaks’ Will Mellor) dopey Jonny (The Roy/e Family’s Ralf Little), ditzy Louise and loud-mouthed Janet.

BBC2 controller Jane Root defends the appomtment of nowce writer


Two Pints Of Lager (And A Packet Of Crisps)

BBC2, starts Mon 26 Feb, 9pm.

Pity poor old Bill Roache. How rosy life

must have seemed for Coronation . Street’s Ken Barlow back in 1960. f Young, gifted and starring in ITV’s spanking new serial drama with a

glittering career ahead of him, how absurd the notion that he would remain shackled to the Rovers’ bar for

118 THE lIST lS Feb—l Mar 2001

PlayStation generation's own sitcom

the remainder of his natural life . . .

Forty years on, numerous escape routes exist for the jaded soap star. There are fleeting pop careers to be had, revivals of crappy 70s musicals to tour with, hours of lightweight television drama to star in. ’Praise God for lTV drama premieres!’ runs the mantra of retired soap heroes Ross Kemp and Sarah Lancashire.

The BBC’s comedy Two Pints Of Lager (And A Packet Of Crisps) is the latest creation to provide an afterlife for the tabloid TV star. Billed as a ’nineteen- something’ sitcom and written by 22-

Nickson. ’A channel dedicated to innovation and reinvention cannot rest on its laurels in terms of talent. We’re constantly looking for the next new voice. Sometimes that Will work and sometimes it won’t, but we never stop trying.’

While The Roy/e Family showed that dreary, static reality c0u|d produce compelling teleVision, Two Pints’ thin, unambitious premise Will triumph or fail on the strength of its writing and acting. Given the inexperience of those involved, the series is unlikely to revolutionise British comedy as we know it. (Allan Radcliffe)


TV times

We put TV celebs on the couch. This issue: Stephen Tompkinson

Born Stephen Phillip Tompkinson was born on l5 October 1965 in Stockton- On-Tees, Cleveland

Big break A love of films, particularly the Carry Ons, 'inspiied' Stephen to pursue an acting career After leaVing the Cential School of Speech and Drama at twenty, he found fame early on as psychotic Damien in Channel 4‘s Drop The Dead Donkey

Finest hour lommo won over the stoniest of hearts as l-‘athei Peter Clifford in Oirish comedy drama Bal/ykissange/ It was during the filming of that long-running series that Tompkinson met and got engaged to actress Dervla Kirwan Sadly, the cOuple separated in 1999 Meanwhile, the \rVill-they-won't-they sexual tension between tempted Father Peter and Ba/iyK's femme fatale was cleverly resolved by Assumpta's eventual electrOCLition

And now? Steve Will shortly be seen starring alongside Nick Berry in BBC drama in Deep 'I honestly believe this is the most powerful drama I’ve ever been involved in,’ says Steve. Blimey. Advance word on the series promises a gritty foray into society's underbelly and the world of undercover cops. Tompko stars as cop Garth O'Hanlon, a leather-jacketed, long-haired rough diamond type against Berry's clean-cut family man rozzer Liam Ketinan If the slightly hackneyed premise and the presence of the artist formerly known as Wicksy in his first post-watershed role don't turn you off, In Deep is worth turning on for the sight of Tompkinson’s menacing beard and fright Wig.

Little known fact Off-screen, Tompkinson is gaining a reputation as a bit of a peacock in the Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen mould. He owns more than 40 suns and apparently has a bit of a velvet fetish. I know someone who can help you With that, Steve No relation to Paul Tonkinson, Steve Coogan, Lin Tomlin. (Allan Radcliffe)

‘. In Deep, BBC], Mon 79 <9 Tue 20 Feb, 9. 70pm.