Small screen Views



When ‘v’villiarri Tey is found decapitated in his shed in the riuiet Yorkshire town of Keldale. Scotland Yard krio‘xrs therr-r's only one thing to do. It's time to send in the mismatched cops. The latest pair to hit the small screen are liIi/zil‘Jeth George's creations. the defiantly working class Sergeant l-lavers (Sharon Small) and the deCidedIy posh Inspector I.ynley lNathaniel Parker).

They uncover a nasty cocktail of police ant- agonisrri. rriissing wives. abused children and dead babies. and grow a little closer in the meantin‘ie. Nothing. of course. that a few chorce insults at the start of the next episode won't fix. And if the formula ain't broke. there's no point tampering. Is there? iJames Smart)

DRAMA st nit s ER

Channel 4, Wed 28 Feb, 9pm 0000

You can always COUIII on ER to get yetir pulse raCing. We've seen it all before: hearts being massaged. children dying on the operating table. tempers flying. tears flowing. but somehow ER manages to keep us interested. Series seven began where the last one left off With Dr Noah Wylie checking into rehab then getting straight back to the bloody action.

Other medical dramas have strong characters and storylines but where ER leaves them standing is in the heart-stopping. stomach-churning emer- gency sequences: 'We gotta grade A full-on smashed-up body.‘ someone yells as they burst through the front doors and we sit up to attention.

The opening episode didn't disappomt as two High School American football teams end up

ha.i"g a ‘llli-Q". cra ’;.-_':r a cat taCkIe PIC" r‘a: re“. one V‘s’jftllfitjf sf t'tQ't racks l‘. near: surgery If ,cu' re been feeling sor'iethi'ig's missing from your life. relax. [:‘R's back. ‘tOtllSt’t Pearson

SOAP St RIPS CROSSROADS Scottish, Mon 5 Mar, 1.30pm 000

Mention Crossroads and you'll get a Pavlowan response of ‘Ooo. lvliss Diane'. followed by some iriention of wobbly sets. dreadful acting or wafer» thin 'plots'. ITV's long— defunct soap set in a motel became a byword Ill talentless fat. but that could all be changing as a new. sexy Crossroads returns. excitineg revamped for a new millennium. So the blurb goes. anyhoo.

Actually. re\.riving Crossroads isn't nearly as had an idea as it sounds. With the evening sche dules full to bursting wrth soaps. ITV have taken the canny step of sticking it in the ‘prestigious' Home And Air/av slot opposne Neighbours: something badly needed in the daytime ratings war since they axed the Summer


Ba, saga last ,ear. Ar‘d tire 'r..aiit,? . [s 'ea.. not that rad. ir\‘ a NH": 0" cheap. itar.'t.rr:e Put it this .'.a~,. it‘s stile too good Ur Channel

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(lUlltJl-tl SERIES BOMBAY BLUSH BBC2, Sun 25 Feb. 11.20pm 00.

Programming for the percei red Asian etnnic minorities in the UK has always seemed a prob»: Iematic task. How do yOu attract a diverse audience but retain an eleriient of that nearextinct concept of informative. innovative programming? Bombay Blush has a bloody good go but doesn't quite manage for various reasons.

Part Furotrash. part Gait/me 7V. this is fluffier than Barbara Cartland's pet Pekinese and pre- senters lvlini lvtathur and Asif Seth are suitably Vibrant. The subject matter. however the Indian Who Wants To Be A tvfi//ionarre?. Laughter Clubs and new Indian moVies -- is a little lacking in substance. But this isn‘t a sociology lesson: this is

BBC1, Wed 7 Mar, 9pm .00

Did you know that the human face has the capacity for pulling 7000 expressions? Or, 7010 if you’re Jim Carrey. And just the one if you are a crocodile or a person with mobius disease. In Human Face, we follow the sad story of one poor American kid whose inability to alter facial expression leads her fretting parents to get their child some plastic surgery. So, they get some tissue ripped off her knee and stick it around the cheek area to force a smile from her lips. The consequence is that she now has two expressions and the heart duly melts when she flashes her new grin at us.

In this four-part series, John Cleese and Liz Hurley (the Mick Fleetwood and Sam Fox of physiognomy studies) set about their task of telling us everything we never knew about an individual’s visage. Cleese visits Laughter Heaven in India to discover a genuine belief that mirth is indeed the best medicine while Hurley flounces around sticking her tongue out and having her skin pulled off to reveal the crucial muscles


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Angee Borritmjfis fcrernost lot/‘gt- sedge” who sin‘per's o." '7')' a song in his '69:) PVC Iattfket the presentation is slick and st'.iisl‘ enough to ride the kitsch storm.

It might not he a totally representative Cross section of Asian culture but it makes a pleasant change from cliched Boll), wood tack and culinary capers. tlvlark Robertson)

DOCUMENTARY St' RIES ART OF CRIME Channel 4, Tue 27 Feb, 9pm 00.

'I‘m not the best-looking guy.’ admits one of the menagerie of shady crrms featuring in part one of this three-part docu- mentary. 'But I've been tremendously successful wrth women because I'm a crook.‘ The glamour. the riiystigue. the sheer sex- iness of crime epitomised by portly prankster Keith Cheeseman. Or not. At least OI' CheeSy is honest about hrs dodgy dealings: unfodunately. the makers of Art Of Crime seem more concerned With portraying the SCUITTITIy manipulators here as James Bond-style crim- inal masterminds.

As usual. there's no mention of the possbility that true Criminal genius is about not actually getting caught in the first place. Still. Cheeseman boasts of haying had access to


Hurley and Cleese detract from riveting story

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Channel 5, Tue Mar 6. 8pm 0

This hour-long ‘docu-- mentary' is really a series of grannyfriendly portraits of blue bloods ranging from the glamorous to the minor: Helen ‘Melons' Windsor anyone?

As one hack contributor admits. public interest in the royals is at an all-time low. but this hasn't pre vented Channel :3 from dredging up dull footage of Wills. Ila/za. lergie and co at airports and entering premieres. Even worse are the intervrews wrth fawning and. frankly, stupid royal com- mentators: William will, apparently, make a strong monarch because ‘he combines sex appeal With the charm of a young

Little asides to their past are inevitable (Cleese takes an unnecessary and unfunny swipe at Michael Palin and Hurley dons a leather catsuit for no good reason, whatsoever) and detracts from the interesting raw material at the programme-makers’ disposal.

As Robert Winston and Susan Greenfield have proved with their respective studies on the body and brain, science can be made informative and riveting without famous folk having to be roped in to add some oblique sense of a common touch. (Brian Donaldson)


Roper: Redford Boring and t'rLtating in equal rrie.)8tlre. "‘e \ei'. Roms merely confirrrrs the fragile values that keep the monarchy allue.

Allan Radcliffe)


BBC2, Mon 19 & 26 Feb. 8.30pm 000.

Simon Scharna's -l Histori Of Britain may have been one of last year's must-see prog- rammes. but it inevitany glossed oxer those areas of Scottish history which didn't impact Slglllfllit‘tllit‘, on [England's deveIOp» ment. Remarkably. In Search Of Scot/and is the first comprehensive televrsion history of this country since the BBC's Iandrriark 19ft series Who Are 7 he Scots?)

Filmed entirely on location, the first couple of episodes saw in defatigable presenter l'rona Watson yo yoing tip and down the country from Skara Brae to Loch Tay. from Bearsden to Covan. tracking the peoples of Scotland from the earliest Neolithic farmers to the Gaelic speakers of Alba.

At half an hour, the programme manages to be informative. engaging and unexpected in its investigation into the nation's forrriative his- torical events. The sheer breadth of the series. both historically and geOgraphically, is to be applauded while Watson‘s Wide-eyed. hands-on approach to her subject is incredibly infectious. (Allan Radcliffe)


Kirsty (BBC2. Sat 3 Mar. 7.55pm) Homage to the tragically dead singer- songwriter MacColl.

The Dave Gorman Collection (BBC2. Sun 4 Mar. 10.45pm) Perrier nominee goes in search of namesakes.

West Wing (Channel 4. Thu 8 Mar. 10.30pm) Martin Sheen has a tiff wrth his vice-president. Celebrity Big Brother (BBCI & Channel 4, Fri 9—Sat 17 Mar, various times) To-be-revealed stars get cabin fever for Comic Relief.

South Bank Show (Scottish. Sun 11 Mar. midnight) Greta Garbo comes under Melvyn Bragg's analysis.

t—IS Mar 2001 THE LIST 101