This dreary Glaswegian take on This Life has unbelievably been commissioned for a second series. though this is actually closer to High Road on cocaine With token homosexuals and a soporific script. For the diehard fans (or bi viewers fresh from a Iobotomy), this first episode sees Tinsel Town (the club) at a new venue that now incorporates a cafe. bar and shop.

Tommy (Jason Kavanagh) and soft- brained Ian (Daniel Jacksoni confront a shoplifter. Jack (Paul Thomas Hickeyi. annoying Sandra (Mandy Matthews: and her brother Ryan (David Paisleyi have a hOLisewarming party but unfortunately their embarrassing parents turn up and it becomes karaoke hell.

Teresa (Dawn Steeiei. now a single woman. goes to visit her daughter Pauline and is less than pleased to discover her daughter's attacl'iment to her own mother's new boyfriend. Meanwhile. Sandra finds out Ryan has been keeping a big secret from her. Thrilling stuff . . . now shoot me. please. (Paul Dale)


I can't heip feeling slightly patronised by those po—faced nature documentaries that

116 THE LIST '3. 1"”. Ha" I.

explain the scientific truth behind mythical beasts. I suspect even the most pie-eyed amongst us realises the Loch Ness monster is nothing more than a sturgeon. while the Giant Octopus is probably just an oversized squid. Despite that. everyone should love this innovative new BBC natural history programme. which aims to show us strange behaviour in nature. pointing out the facts behind the fiction. ln episode one we are shown a white whale with a spiral tusk like a unicorn. and a Dugong with a mermaid's human face and forked tail. as well as salamanders doing wheelies downhill. plus galloping crocs and bouncing bushbabies. Despite one creepy scene. in which Mexican jumping beans are Spilled inside a grotesque child's playroom. the programme is beautifully. intimater shot. so as to be completely mesmerising and surprising. A fine example of the kind of thing the BBC still does well. (Allan Radcliffe)


’5' ,_

This documentary starts off smueg proclaiming that soon-to-be- released Bulger killers Thompson and Venables will struggle to maintain the new identities they have adopted to protect them from reprisals. 'Just one slip and their past will come crashing in on them.‘ screams the mechanical voiceover. surely borrowed from one of Chris Morris' parodies.

To illustrate the difficulties faced by the teenagers, the

programme introduces us to informers like Willy Carlin. a Northern Irish Catholic recruited by Ml5 to infiltrate republican terrorist circles. He and his family were forced to flee to Britain and adopt new roles when Carlin was unmasked.

One serious complaint is made by contributors: that Criminals appear to be given more suppOrt to integrate into society than those on the right side of the law are. However. the Thompson/Venables case is simply a red herring here. a sensational hook on which to hang another exploitative Channel 5 dOCumentary. complete with childish tabloid script and cheap reconstruction.

(Allan Radcliffe)

GAME SHOW MAKE MY DAY Channel 4, Thu 21 Mar, 10.30pm 00


'22, l

In a nutshell. Make My Day is Bead/es About with Sara Cox instead of the manually challenged presenter and with a prize car to be won.

You want more? Well, the programme picks on a poor unSLispeCting member of the public (thanks to their ‘friends' and family). sets up a whole host of preposterOus situations in their daily life. attributes a tick or a cross in a box for the

outcomes of these events. then gives them a prize (or not) at the end of the day. With. as they say in the trade. hilarious consequences. In this first show. poor unsuspecting Joanne. a really quite Iikeable and wonderfully naive travel agent from Norfolk. gets well and truly stung. Despite some idiotically obvious set- ups. Joanne falls for it all, hook line and sinker. But does she get the car? Who cares. (Doug Johnstone)

MAGAZINE SERIES PASSENGERS Channel 4, Fri 22 Mar, 11.35pm CO

I wish I'd just got in from the pub after consuming my weekly recommended alcohol allowance in one sitting. If I had. Passengers would be perfect viewing. Cramming at least six ‘yoof Culture' issues into 30 minutes. it's a bizarre mix of Newsround meets Eurotrash.

This first episode features a self- confessed 'bunch of pricks'. three has-been skateboarders who're either stripping Or breaking plant pots with their foreheads while making a ‘bad boy' video. Then there's a bunch of dumb American college girls getting their tits out at a Lab0ur Day party. And let‘s not forget the Californian gang members. the Italian anarchists or Charlie Chaplin's grand- daughter who. yOU've guessed it. gets her kit off.

If only Passengers didn‘t take itself quite so seriously it could be Cult viewing. It's almost as though it‘s been put together by someone with multiple personality disorder: 'Let's do gritty journalism; no wait a

The naked truth on Passengers

DRAMA SERIES THE WEST WING Channel 4, Sun 24 Mar, 10pm O...

t, I”;

Why can’t Bush be more like Bartlet?

Since the events of 11 September and President Bush’s subsequent attempts to wage war on foreigners, I mean terrorism, The West Wing has new meaning. Picking up where series one left us hanging off a cliff, series two begins with the aftermath of a failed assassination attempt on President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen).

Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) is touch and go in intensive care. The rest of the White House’s key personnel attempt to continue running the country while dealing with the notion that they’ve been within the crosshairs of white supremacists.

It’s not so much that events in the show mirror real life, more it’s just a shame and deeply disturbing that Bush isn’t Bartlet; as it turned out during the last presidential election, fictional Bartlet was more popular with the American public than factual Bush. Home-grown terrorism isn’t something Bush has dealt with (anthrax aside), but you can be sure if he were in Bartlet’s shoes he’d knee-jerk right into martial law rather than swallow, grin and bear the fact that extremists have a right to gather in a democratic country.

This is where The West Wing excels; its storylines don’t end in trite conclusions, they undermine expectations. True, its God Bless America sentiment is hard to choke down (and there’s an episode which finishes with the cast repeating this phrase), but the writing is the best American television has to offer, and the terrific ensemble cast continue to do their scripts justice. (Miles Fielder)

minute. let's do titillation.' Please Passengers. just make up y0ur mind.

(L0uisa Pearson)


When Louis Met Keith Harris And Orville In Panto (BBC2, Tue 79 Mar. 9pm) Theroux tries to put his hand up a duck's bottom.

EX-S: Last Tango At The Barrowland {BBC}, Tue IS) Mar. 10.35pm) The

balIrOOm's finest moments.

Strippers (Channel 4, Wed 20 Mar. 72.55am) Ladies who remove clothing provocatively for money.

The Mark Thomas Product (Channe/ 4, Wed 27 Mar. 70pm) More comedy of commitment.

Me And My Toyboy (Channe/ 5, Thu 28 Mar; 8pm) Ladies who remove clothing from youngei men for love.