DOCUMENTARY CORONATION BRITAIN
Channel 5, Thu 7 Feb, 8pm 00
A dOCurnentary in which contemporary observers impart their memories of the coronation is practically the dictionary definition of dreary. Those in the broadcast media simply refuse to accept that the golden jubilee IS gomg to die like a dog. and seem hellbent on trying to whet Our appetites for bunting and union lack hats With these half- baked royal clip shows.
This one features contributions from snooty historian Andrew Roberts. the Queen's ladies-In-Waiting. and various other blue— blooded nobodies. who prOnounce 'brown' as 'brine'. Beware of these people: they will clog up our precious telly channels this year. stiff of hazr. adorned in the shiniest famiiy heirlooms and droning on at length about pOintIess royal protocol.
The only pOignant isSue to come Out of this tedious programme is the way the inner circle express how sorry they felt for the Queen on the acceSSIon. and how lonely her family became. Well, I have a solution to their misery . . . iAIIan Radcliffei
DOCUMENTARY WHEN LOUIS MET ANN
8802, Tue 5 Mar, 9pm 0...
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ARTS CHANNEL BBC4, Sat 2 Mar, 7pm
Will Surrealissimo make you fork out?
Life is a rollercoaster for Holy Keating. The unfortunately-named controller of new digital channel BBC4 has already had to take a fair amount of stick about his arts-focused channel. There have been accusations that the BBC is dumbing down its terrestrial channels, with the most highbrow arts programme being Rolf On Art, in favour of going down the specialist route by creating an exclusive arts channel which the ‘ordinary public’ won’t get to see. While the BBC have admitted their dedication to arts programming has been on the wane of late, it’s worth remembering that BBC4 will be subscription-free and licence fee-funded, hence available to everyone who’s got a digital box. Keating describes the channel as being like ‘living close to a new, world class cultural centre’. 80 what exactly are the highlights? Well, Ewen Bremner stars as Salvador Dali alongside Stephen Fry and Vic Reeves in Surrealissimo, a dramatisation of the clock-melter’s trial by his fellow surrealists; there’s Peter Brooks’ acclaimed production of Hamlet while Ian Curteis’ The Falklands Play gets an airing seventeen years after being commissioned; Bjork in concert from the Royal Opera House and Tracey Emin popping up in the history of Britart; plus Eddie lzzard in the West End hit A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg. Throw in a selection of documentaries, film, global news and an interactive art exhibition and you’ve got something that isn’t quite like living next door to an arts centre but certainly ups the quantity of arts coverage on our small screens. If you haven’t got one of the magic boxes, tune in to BBC2 on the opening night to watch the ‘simulcast’. Then decide if you want to fork out for your
culture. (Louisa Pearson)
Considering Mr Theroux's previous enc0unters with Tory figures. it's hard to watch his enc0unter With Ann Widdecombe With0ut a certain amount of unease. Surely she wouldn't be as flirty as Christine Hamilton? If anything. Widdecombe goes the other way. refusing to allow the film crew into her bathroom and getting more and more narked by Louis‘ attempts to weedle his way into her confidences.
That doesn't mean there aren't some nice moments. like the revelation that Ann's office is ‘Iike a girl's dorm', or DaVId Mellor's catty aside that ‘I think her days c0uld be coming to an end' (he presumably knows the SlngS).
1-1 Ma' 7%?
Widdecombe does not emerge from the show with a great deal of credit. showing off her bad poetry and soppy ornaments with no shame whatsoever. and asking questions like: 'Why does there always have to be a why?‘ In the archly baffled world of Louis Theroux. there is always a why. And the answer. as usual. is because it makes good telly. (James Smart)
COMEDY SERIES FRAN’S PEOPLE BBC2, Fri 1 Mar, 11.35pm 0000
Many people missed Simon Carlyle's caustic. orange-skinned. neon- clad Terri Mc/nfyre: Classy Bitch. tucked away as she was On BBC Choice before being tentativer allowed onto the BBC's
twilight zone. Carlyle's new terrestriai alter ego is Ronnie Francis. effete. idealistic choreographer of dubious talent and limitless enthusiasm. pinning his last-ditch attempt at hitting the big time on talentless erotic revue. Fran's People.
In the opening episode. Ronnie exploits the annual Pets In Need appeal by organising a charity jamboree. with his jaded trio performing 'Pussy Power’ as the
main attraction. despite battling his own money problems. ‘What cash? What flow?‘ barks Ronnie's miserable wife Margo (Carlyle again). 'The only thing that flows round here is a steady stream of shite from y0ur gob.‘ Though the lazy. hand- held camera seems inappropriate to the sassiness of the script. once again Carlyle proves himself a sharp comedic talent with a particular gift for spiky one-liners and bitchy put-downs. (Allan Radcliffe)
COMEDY SERIES BLACK BOOKS Channel 4, Fri 1 Mar, 9.30pm 000
A welcome return of this dyspeptic comedy of hardbacks and hangovers. Dylan Moran reprises his role
as the socially inept alcoholic Bernard. a Rigsby style owner of Black Books with Manny (Bill Bailey) and Fran (Tamsin Greig) his long-suffering sidekicks.
Though still among the better things to be coughed out of Channel 4's comedy lungs recently, there seems to be something missing and it may have a lot to do with the script. Moran this time works alone (previously collaborating with Graham Linehan) and though still acutely observational and Surreal in its outlook. this starter to the new series lacks the solid gags that marked out the first.
The opener has Fran lying to her blind piano teacher that she can really play by getting Manny to spoon the strings from underneath. Bernard deceives his new girlfriend with the same technique. The lusty. anachronistic. dysfunctional world of these three losers is still mostly intact though. and will hopefully run and run. (Paul Dale)
The X-Files (BBC2. Sun 3 Mar, 70.45pm) Mulder gets abducted as Scully scrambles around fOr her torch.
Billy Connolly’s World Tour (BBC2, Mon 4 Mar. 70.35pm) The Big Yin curses his way round England. Ireland and Wales.
True Stories: Monica Lewinsky (Channe/ 4, Mon 4 Mar. 70.35pm) Clinton's former aide tries to dispel some media myths.
Trouble At The Top: Boom Or Bust (BBC2. Thu 7 Mar. 9.50pm) The uplifting stOry of Michelle Mone's career in bra construction.
Libel (Channel 5. Thu 74 Mar, 7 7. 75pm) Kelvin MacKenzie analyses recent high profile cases.