Channel 4, Tue 14 May, 10pm 0000

When Margaret Thatcher sought to give TV viewers more choice. she must have immediater regretted the can of WOrlTlS she'd thrust Open. Having given the thumbs-up to the launch of Channel she must have recoiled in horror at the 'filth and degradation' (c o the blue-rinse censorship brigade) that was unleashed.

As the second part of this thumpineg good series notes. the red triangle may have been Channel 's domain, but the dear old BBC v-ras just as adept at raising the moralistic hackles of Mary Whitehouse and her merry band of Christian killgoys. The humping arse in The Singing Defective and the lesbian love of Oranges Are Not The Only f'rt/if brought the funrlamentalists out in a damp sweat.

But then the AIDS crisis exploded, making everyone think twice about what was good for our screens. Abstinence v safe sex became the new debate. ln other words. would you rather watch Ever Decreasing Circles or get a copy of The Lovers Guide? (Brian Donaldsoni


8802, Mon 13 May, 9pm 00

I've always been l’)einused by the ‘special relationship' between Britain and the USA. Often. the same people who talk up this mythical brotl‘ierliood are entirely disdainful of the American people and culture. making this relationship akin to the school swot who befriends the playground bully in return for

homework favours.

This attitude is reflected in our television. Spooks is one of those home grown dramas that tries desperately to replicate big budget US affairs. while constantly referring to our friends in the land of the free as "bloody Yanks.‘ Cultural snobbery aside, the American networks would be proud of this scenario about a crack squad of le> counter- terrorists. complete with gadgets. trippy soundtrack. zappy graphics and clipped. pithy dialogue.

The plot in episode one about a gang of cra/ed. bomb—happy pro-liters is mildly diverting. Otherwise. the characters are too bland. the script too dull and self impOrtant, to be really involVing. Stick to The X -F ‘i/es.

(Allan Radcliffe)



EXPERIMENT BBC2, Tue 14 May, 9pm O.

fitting in nicely with the overwltelming air of schadenfreude that seemingly permeates every facet of 21st century telly, The Experiment is yet another show pushing the boundaries of reality teleVision to the limits and beyond. Fourteen volunteers are placed in a prison Situation nine inmates and five guards

in a recreation of the famously shocking Stanford experiment in 1971 where the regular guy warders ended up turning into right fascist bastards.

Now I'm all for people punishing each other in the name of science and. or good telly, but sadly The Experiment is neither of those things. and there's not much punishing going on either. Chucking psychologists into a watcl'iing control room does not a scientific experiment make. And while there are moments of interest amongst how the volunteers interact. the thinking and execution of The

112 THE LIST ’9 .’/ -; Mi.


BBC2, Sat 11 May, 9pm .00.

How do you take a look at the life and times of Charles Dickens and do it justice on the small screen? Well, just having a London and Dickens obsessive like author Peter Ackroyd talking at us for hours on end would probably have been enough to keep satisfied those who believe that the creator of Pickwick, Scrooge, Micawber, Twist et al was the finest writer of his generation. However, those still scarred by the memory of spending sunny nights indoors trawling through the perfectly-titled Hard Times or Bleak House instead of raiding orchards

all summer certainly won’t be

tuning in.

Peter and Charles meet our expectations

Which is a shame, as this is the kind of bio-doc which is structured to appeal to those wavering about a subject’s merits. Ackroyd wanders around the streets of metroland amiany enough, his musings on the dark secrets of Dickens’ life interspersed with interviews.

Though, they’re not chats with like-minded Dicko-philes or elbow patch academics, but interviews conducted with the writer himself (played by Anton Lesser), his parents (Prunella Scales, Timothy West) biographer (Kenneth Cranham) and sister (Helen McCrory). Plus, there are great clips from the many TV adaptations of the Charlie canon.

To call this hugely innovative may be marginally misleading, but it could be a sign that the BBC are meeting the nation’s expectations and actually taking the arts seriously again. (Brian Donaldson)

Experiment is woolly. muddled and ultimately unsatisfying even as a bit of evil, voyeuristic fun. (Doug Johnstone)




BBC Choice, Fri 17 May, 9pm 00

Las Vegas attracts all walks of life. but when the National Finals rodeo comes to town it's cowboys and cowgirls that yeehaw their way up the Strip. Cold Feet's James Nesbitt is Our guide, looking rather out of place without a Stetson (yup, he gets one eventually).

As well as watching the washboard stomached maniacs who ride the bucking broncos. Nesbitt gets to mingle With the girls competing in the Miss Rodeo America beauty pageant. Birds could happily nest in their huge blonde hairdos and when one of them mentions ‘hoping for world peace' Nesbitt nearly chokes.

Sadly for female

equality, the girls just aren't that interesting. Not compared with a guy who's prepared to get trampled by a rampaging bull to win cold, hard cash. Entertaining enough, but would have been so much better if Nesbitt had stopped trying to lasso a beauty queen and focused on the real action. (Louisa Pearson)


BRASS EYE SPECIAL Channel 4, Mon 13 May, 10.35pm 0000

When this Brass Eye Special was first aired last year (after one false start) there were somdings from the Chris Morris camp that the media manipulator was taken aback at the fuss he’d caused. Yeah, right. If there's one thing that defenders and those offended by the japes of the Jesuit-raised satirist can agree upon, it's that Morris knows perfectly well how to play the media.

So, here we see a parade of 'celebs' being duped to have their say on the paedophile problem which forces kids to spend the night

in filing cabinets for their safety. Phil Collins, Kate Thornton and Richard Blackwood were among those only too Willing to step before a camera before thinking about the lunacy they were about to spout.

The end result is not as funny as preVIous Morris ‘investigations' into the Czech drug Cake or elephants eating the” own guts but in the sleepy TV comedy world, it's still a clanging wake—up call.

(Brian Donaldson)


Channel 5, Sat 11 May, 8pm 0000

A Channel 5 docwhentary where no secrets are revealed, no dirt dished and no skeletons unearthed? Surely some mistake. And clearly the recipe for some pretty dull vietving. Au contraire: Our love for Kylie is far too strong for this to be seen merely as a wasted opportunity to tarnish the pop princess. liver since she entered our lives as a spanner wielding grease monkey in Neighbours. the pert- bottorned chanteuse has occupied a small corner

of our hearts. Maybe it's because she's Australian. rather than American. Or because we watched her evolve from a curly- haired SAW puppet into a songwriting vixen. Whatever the reason. this whistlestop tour through Ms Minogue's fluctuating career reminds us just how huge the little lady has become. And while she reminisces about those early days in The Still/vans and how Michael l'lutchence helped her come into her own (steady . . . l. Jason Donovan, Pete Waterman. Ba/ Luhrmann and Bono fill in the gaps. (Kelly Apter)


A Tribute To The Likely Lads (Scottish. Sat I I May. 9. 10pm) Ant 8. Dec revive the 708 Geordie Sitcom.

Test The Nation (BBC 7. Sat 7 l Mav. 8. 70pm; Anne Robinson conducts the biggest IO exam ever seen in Britain.

Hooligans (BBCQ. Sun 72 May. 9pm) Are football thugs coming home?

Dossa & Joe (8802. til/ed (:3 Mat: (0me Caroline Aherne's new subtle comedy stars Madge from Neighbours. South Bank Show: REM (Scottish, Thu 16 Mai: l 7.30pm) Mel B meets Stipe and co.