Channel 4, Fri 18 May, 11.05pm COO

“PeOple say I'm an exhibitionist.’ giggles

Chantal, 'and I do like to get my bits out.’ Such a claim might once have entitled her to fifteen minutes on a podium but these days it‘s enough to earn her a two-month long filmed stint on a tour bus travelling across the US. Last summer. Chantal and five other Leicester- based clubbers approached Channel 4 with the idea of an American clubbing odyssey. In exchange they were given expenses and a six part mini-series. presumably on the premise that it would irritate the Daily Mail enough to get the channel a spot of publicity.

When they're not being vacuous. the kids are pretty entertaining, whether dancing, shagging. popping pills or looking suitably scared when meeting the gun-toting exponents of Ghettotech


in DetrOit. Undemanding. With a high graturtous nudity content. this is the kind of programme that would not have eXisted without The Word or Benny Hill. Lovely. (James Smart)



Channel 4, Fri 18 May, 12.05am 0000

Suburbia. Sitcoms and satire make great bed pals. Here. enfant terrible FrancOIs Ozon builds upon his CV of sharp. sinister short films with a feature debut that implodes the domestic happiness of a bourgeois French family. It all begins with the arrival into the 'respectable' household of a rat. Said wee white rodent is the catalyst for a series of increasingly

outrageous incidents.

beginning with the son annOLincing he's gay through to the daughter becoming suicidal and the mother getting jiggy jiggy with sooooo the wrong person to the father . . . well. you have

to see what happens to the patriarch to believe


Ozon cleverly directs the whole thing in the style of an overly- melodramatic television sitcom. However. just as the family implodes so does Ozon‘s film. as melodrama is replaced with absurdist humour.

And though the comedy

is of the darkest kind. Sitcom doesn't quite


French suburban satire

116 TH. Ll8T10—24 May 2001


Stephen Poliakoff makes awkward drama. From the implied familial bonding of the underground black-clad clan in The Tribe to the Slralgltl-(I()\.'.‘l)- the-line Sibling screwing in Ciose Mt Eies; or the secret underground networks of Hidden Citi' to escaping the urban jungle in Food Of Lore. his TV and film works have become national treasures

Merging bits of those prewous artefacts. Perfect Strangers seems like the piece Poliakoff was destined to make. Blending together a distant and painful past

(the traumas of World War II in Britain and Europe), famin relations and defiance of

conventions. this serial makes In A Land Of P/O/ifl’ look like trite. student mucking about. People say the kind of sentences and phrases you would hear in everyday speech; it's the way that they are said that is important. Dreamy. arch. odd: when the real. recognisable and direct poignancy arrives. it's all the

more powerful for it.

The many-tentacled Symon dynasty has gathered together for a grand-scale reunion in a swanky London hotel. All seems plotted and regimented to

deliver the outrageousness it promises. (Miles Fielder)

TEEN DRAMA YOUNG AMERICANS Channel 5, Sat 19 May, 5.55pm 0

American teen dramas: dontcha just love 'em’? Well. no. but that doesn't seem to stop them clogging up screens with their cliche— ridden scripts. unfeasibly good-looking casts and sickening feelgood schmaltz. So. fresh from the Dawson's Creek stable comes Young Americans. And even by US teen angst standards. a diabolically crap programme.

And. like The Creek (or ‘The Keek' as my mates refer to it). Young Americans has a bunch of gorgeous adult actors pretending to be kids. this time at an elite boys boarding school in New England. Unlike The Keek. there‘s no endless self-analysis and Scream-style self- knowing parody. Instead. Young Americans heads at breakneck pace down a well-worn path to corny drama hell. pausing at the roadSide to indulge in every single cheesy stereotype of affluent America you c0uld possible think of. plus a

few more besides. Not

even so-bad-it's-good.

Young Americans is just really. really bad. (Doug Johnstone)



Channel 4, Wed 23 May, 11 pm 000

The lives of the rich and pompous have always made profitable screen entertainment. Dal/as. Dynasty and their overblown ilk naturally lend themselves them to high production values in direct contrast to the gritty. llllllllllill‘blldget affairs that necessrtated the effect of Cathy Come Home. Boys From The B/ackstuff and such.

When Tina Goes Shopping careered onto


Gambon is a singing defective in Poliakoff’s latest oddity

the finest detail but chaos begins to creep in when old photographs and the family ‘karaoke' unravels

secrets of the past.

As ever Poliakoff's cast works wonders: his regulars Lindsay Duncan and Timothy Spall plus those who were born to act fer him. Michael Gambon. Claire Skinner. Matthew Macfadyen and Toby Stephens. pull out all the stops as the creeping. off-kilter drama unfolds. Television drama of the year? Quite likely. (Brian Donaldson)

our screens in 1999. its stark bravery was roundly applauded. Director Penny Woolcock had opted to fictionalise the drama on a Leeds housing estate by casting the real folks who lived there. Preumably this was to avoid criticisms of voyeuristic manipulation. but did it avoid accusations of the show being utter drivel? Well. yes. and it's back with Tina searching for a break (in sunny Blackpool) from her daily to” of drug abuse and offspring neglect. Grim it certainly is. lifted by the odd moment of brash humOLir. But let's face it. y0u'd much rather watch an episode of Falcon Crest. wouldn't you? (Brian Donaldson)

ALSO ON Eurovision (BBCl. Sat 12 May. 8pm) Copenhagen hosts this year's cheeSy song-fest. Secrets Of The Dead: Gladiator Girl (Channel 4, Mon 14 May. 9pm) Proof positive that it wasn't just the blokes who wrestled tigers in Roman times.

Perfect World (BBC2. Mon 14 May, 9.30pm) Paul Kaye returns as sleazy marketing exec Bob Slay.

Nigella Bites 2 (Channel 4. Wed 16 May. 8.30pm) Ms Lawson returns with more quick and quirky meal suggestions. Greed (Channel 5. Fri 18 May. 8pm) Jerry Springer presents game show with 21m prize money.

Falcon Crest anyone?