DOCUMENTARY SERIES HE
T HOLLYWOOD MACHINE BBC2, Sat 8 Jun, 8.15pm .000
When it comes to movie-making in LA. financial sense goes straight through a closed window. The ridiculous sums quoted here about Titanic would make a Monopoly board spin: indeed. the film's over- budget figure could have kept afloat many a needy nation.
The opener to this series is no hooray for Hollywood. as we hear of the crises which nearly sank a few legendary movies. Producers. directors. writers and actors have all been responsible for films not getting off the Cutting-room floor: Russell Crowe. parti0ularly. comes across as a barking egomaniac on Gladiator.
Studio bosses such as the Weinsteins let their vanity guide them. almost dumping Scream before Drew Barrymore had yelped her last. And even precocious talents such as Bryan Singer. who must have looked ab0ut twelve when he made The Usual Suspects. have a tough time wrth non-trusting execs. (Brian Donaldson)
DOCUMENTARY CUTTING EDGE: GIGOLOS
Channel 4, Tue 11 Jun, 9pm 0000
God bless yOu Cutting Edge for continuing to commission and enc0urage weird dOCumentaries on the curious state of this tiny
group of nations.
Manchester-based male escort company Lush International is holding auditions. but the men are all schemie mingers until Andy. a charity fundraiser lunempIOyed. baSicallyl from Leeds. turns Lip and they send him out on his first job. We also meet Owen. a 28-year- old gigolo who IS at the top of his profession with an ego the size of a double ended dildo. Most bizarrely though we meet Pete a 30-year- old bricklayer and Wayne. 23. who are trying to set up a male escort service in Doncaster with very mixed and strange reSLilts.
We follow their stories. as the three amateurs stumble in the dark trying to work Out how to behave on the job. while Owen brags abOLIt his technique. Cringey and Surreal. this is funnier than a DaVId Lee Roth cameo in The Vice. lPaul Dalei
THE LAW Scottish, Wed 12 Jun, 9pm 0
If you have the misfortune to remember writer Matthew Hall's BAFTA nominated (why?) legal drama Wing and a Prayer then you know his newly penned series is going to be a long ride over the horribly derivative towards the utterly inconseguenhal
When the body of a respected local SP is found at the foot of a north London tower block. old school detective DI Jack Raleigh (Deuglas Hodge deing his Jack Regan on anti-depressants impersonation) and fast track ninny DS Stephen Connor (Joseph McFadden) investigate and come up wrth two suspects: the wife and a Junkie. Rigorous crown prosecutor Helen Galloway (This Life's Amita Dhiri) moves in
1 10 THE LIST ‘i—Z’; Jun 2002
FIELDS OF GOLD BBC1, Sat 8 & Sun 9 Jun, 9.05pm
‘Look, we’ve got dead people, we’ve got a suicide, we’ve got a pharmaceutical giant, we’ve got a killer bug. We’ve hit the jackpot!’ Not, as you might expect, words from the mouth of a producer pitching Fields of Gold to a mildly excited BBC, but from Roy Hodge (Phil Davis), a journalist from the old school who drinks, whores, never makes notes and continually harps on about his exploits in
Hodge is partnered by
Tense, punchy but horribly uneven
photographer Lucia Merritt (Anna Friel) and sent into the heart of the English countryside to investigate a series of mysterious deaths. On the way, he noisily masticates beef, tells Merritt exactly what he thinks of her and is extremely rude to a few locals.
She decides to bugger off with Max Beesley, and has soon discovered that the local doctor has some dubious links to a drugs multinational. When she investigates further, she’s kidnapped. Back in London, the new agriculture minister is struggling to get to grips with a nasty industrialist who happens to be a major donor to his party, and editor Dave McArdle is wondering who to sack first.
Fields of Gold touches on contemporary issues such as paranoia with GM crops, animal husbandry, pliant politicians, evil journalists and greedy capitalists, all of which get a fairly even kicking. But its critique of the public as passive consumers of all sorts of crap seems a little misplaced when it is itself an unevenly plotted and often predictable drama. There’s decent direction, a few wonderfully tense moments and some punchy dialogue, but the jackpot this ain’t. (James Smart)
and we get a lovely reactionary View of the English legal crime and punishment system. This takes the idea from Murder One and Law and Order of followrng one case to its ultimate COnClusion but fails to realise that ‘procedure' is Only interesting if you have a witty script and well- defined characters to underline the legal inadeguaCIes. This has neither. lPaul Dale)
DOCUMENTARY REPUTATIONS: FRANKIE I-IOWERD
BBC2, Sat 15 Jun, 9pm 0..
Frankie Howerd may have made choreograpl‘ied confusion an artform but as a human being, he diSplayed bog standard traits for a celebrity of his or any other era. Outrageously vain (his toupee was a thing of wonder). he was beset by moodiness and an inability to accept that his career was ever a Success. Boo hoo. Howerd made only Cursorv appearances With the Carry On crew. clearly seeing his act as a better class of smut while. alongSIde many fellow stars of the 60s. he kept his sexuality locked firmly away. for fear of ruination. Yet. he was no promiscuous
gay. having a loyal lover for many years right up to his 1992 death. lnt‘leed. the most revealing part of the film may be the stony told by Jonathan Ross who almost felt insulted when Howerd refused to make a pass at him. despite the numerous occasrons they were ieft alone. Oh no. yes. well; ooh. please yourself. lBrian Donaldsoni
DRAMA SERIES BEING APRIL BBC1, Mon 17 Jun, 9pm 0000
I was ready to hate this. Ready to hate it as much as I hate Birds of a Feather. also starring Pauline OtilrkC. she who represents the 'ordinary folk' with a wink and a smile. On paper it looked utterly predictable: Single mum with three kids by different fathers struggles to bring up the chilr'lren and persuade the errant dads to pay a bit of attention to their offspring. But lo and behold. the formula works Just like the washing powder Ouirke advertises.
In this introductory
Pauline Ouirke rises above cliche in Being April
episode. April iOuirkei invents a beyfriend who's good with the kids to make the fathers of her children JeaIOuS. One by one. the plumber. the gay barman and the clothing magnate begin to realise what they've been missmg out on all these years.
The dialogue is sharp. as is the obsen./z-ition. and it never lapses into cliche. A reliable cast of British TV stalwarts keep things light and the Star Of COtirse is Ourrke. for once seeming more like an actress than a stand- up. Mainstream. but recommended. iLouisa Pearsoni
The Hunt for Britain's Paedophiles lBBCQ. Thu 6 Jun. mei Soii‘e nasty criminals pursued. Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway (Scottish, Sat 8 Jun.
7. lc3p/ni VVII‘. products advertised during the break.
How to Break into Britain lChanne/ Sun 9 Jun, 8.05;)0‘2 Illegal immigration investigated. UK Undercover Channel :3. Tue 7 l Jun, 8pnii Older women who take a shine to teen
Neighbours lBBC l. Thu 73 Juli.
l l-lSani :3..’:’:3nni. Episode 9.000. would you believe.