THE BOOK OF POOH
Channel 5, Mon 22 Jul, 8am u
Attempting to revitalise any cartoon is a dodgy affair (see the new Scooby film for unprecedented proof). so you‘ve got to wonder what possessed CS to tamper with AA Milne's timeless classic. Featuring all the original characters. the new series (to be Shown'as part Of the Milkshake! line-up) alleges to have Japanese banraku puppetry and newly generated computer sets; it may allege but it certainly doesn't deliver.
The opener to this daily series. ‘Best Wishes'. has Pooh believing he has the power to grant wishes by making up rhymes. Am-dram type tunes abound for the majority Of the episode while the following piece. ‘Double Time‘ is just as sickly sweet.
Yes. kiddie cartoons should be moralistic and didactic by definition but most Of all they need charm in abundance. Even Pooh's new feathered friend Kessie struggles to raise a smile. Fans should avoid. (Anna Millar)
A GOOD THIEF Scottish, Mon 22 Jul, 9pm 00
A Good Thief sees respected television drama writer Kay Mellor - responsible for Band of Gold . Playing the Field and Fat Friends - stepping back in front of the camera after a long time away from acting to play the leading role of Rita.
Although it‘S hard to see why such a mundane piece of lightweight. unsatisfying drama was chosen as a
vehicle for Mellor's return
to acting. A Good Thief is much more of a knockabout thing than Mellor‘s other dramas and is played for laughs pretty unsuccessfully. Rita witnesses a murder and subsequently has to go on the run with daughter and pensioner friend (played by Liz Smith. the gran in The Roy/e Family).
All of which is a laborious set up for the usual working class. ‘fighting for survival' thematic Stuff, although in this case those themes are executed really rather poorly. An unsatisfying and disappointing piece of television.
THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT
8801, Fri 26 Jul, 9pm
turned-actor Adam Faith on TV recently. very eloquently discussing UK entry into the Euro. Judging by his appalling new comedy vehicle. he should be considering a permanent career move into economic punditry.
Faith plays nouveau riche cockney Jack Squire who is surrounded by dysfunctional offspring (snooty daughter, neurotic Older son, thick younger son etc) all competing for Daddy's affection and a share Of the cake. The cast. including EastEnders' Gillian Taylforth as Jack's long-suffering wife (will someone tell me why casting agents still insist on pairing relatively
‘ young. attractive women
with decrepit old men?) struggle half-heartedly
120 THE LIST l8 Jul—l Aug 2002
DOCUMENTARY SEASON INDIAN SUMMER
Channel 4, starts Thu 25 Jul, 9pm
The recent upsurge of interest in Indian culture, brought about by the crossover appeal of Bollywood, is a phenomenon that now has UK networks impatient to jump aboard I the Asian juggernaut. Inspired by this craze, Channel 4’s Indian Summer presents a series of colourful documentaries devoted to sub-continental mores.
Highlights include India Calling (Tue 30 Jul, 10.30pm 000 which explores the trend among Western corporations to house call centres in Asia. Office complexes, like glittering car headlights, are springing up across India’s cities,
manned by young, enthusiastic ‘customer care executives’ who work for the princely sum of £4 a day. Operatives in the ‘Paras’ company refine their accents, take Western names and identities (Parker is the current favourite) in an attempt to convince clients that they are cold calling from Bury near Manchester. Though grotesquely amusing in parts, the humiliation and exploitation suffered by these workers is saddening. Ironically, it is the woman selling in Hindi to Indian-American businessmen, who is the film’s biggest success story.
Closer to home, Sikh Street (Fri 2 Aug, 7.30pm .000 ) is the story of Gravesend’s vast Punjabi community. The film reveals how Sikh customs were adapted so early immigrants could find work and examines the inter-cultural exchange that took place between residents. Featuring reminiscences from early members of the community, what is most poignant is the initial warmth of the relationship between English and Indian residents, which gave way to resentment following mass migration when Indians began reclaiming their traditions. ) takes a serious look at India’s burgeoning beauty industry and follows 26 ‘Miss India’ finalists as they are put through gruelling Boot Camp style preparation. Commentators see the rise of such contests as reflecting the Westernisation of Asian women. Articulate, determined and self-assured, the participants are indeed worlds away from the meek Indian women of legend. ‘If there was a prize for being a bitch,’ purrs one hopeful, ‘l’d win it.’
Bitches and Beauty Queens (Thu 25 Jul, 9pm 00.
with the weak script. frequently doing that thing of raising their voices so we don't miss the punchline.
Faith looks bewildered throughout. and the whole thing proceeds at the breakneck pace Of an amateur dramatics society doing lbsen. Even the canned laughter sounds like it would prefer to remain in the can with its feet up watching something — anything — else.
DOCUMENTARY ART THAT SHOOK THE WORLD: VIRGINIA WOOLF’S ORLANDO BBC2, Sat 27 Jul, 7.15pm 000.
‘Art that shook the world? Forget it. Art that blew it up? Yeah!‘ Having excited people present documentaries
is always useful. especially when the topic in question is a somewhat dry one. Author Jeanette Winterson is clearly enthused by Virginia Woolf 'S lyrical and experimental - but Often rather dull —1920s tale of cross-dressing across time. The romance between Woolf and eccentric aristocrat Rita Sackville-West. which formed the background to the novel, is brought to life by excellent performances from JOer Richardson and Saffron Burrows. while excerpts from Sally Potter's film adaptation provide further colour.
lt amounts to a fascinating. watchable portrait of a time when the certainties of the old order were being dismantled by rebellious intellectuals and the oppressed working class. With Observers of the calibre Of Winterson and Peter Ackroyd on board. you‘re entitled tO expect insight. and neither fans nor casual viewers should be disappointed by the end result. (James Smart)
Jump aboard the Asian juggernaut
GAME SHOW SWAPHEADS Channel 5, Tue 30 Jul, 8.30pm 0
Once there stood a proud man. respected and revered for his children's show Think Of a Number. He (and it) was fun, educational and a little bit eccentric. Now, his decapitated head floats on a TV screen, hosting a shoddy apology for a gameshow-cum- lifestyle-cum-educational programme.
Swapping knowledge. two ‘contestants' have to cram the other's specialism in one day for a climactic showdown. This week Debbie. the Britney Spears expert. ‘has swapped her red cat Suit for a German steel helmet!‘ Her rival has a rather disturbing penchant for all things Third Reich. Slightly perturbed at the prospect of her new
subject. Debbie despairs: 'lt's such a broad subject. there's still SO much to learn.’ Never mind Debbie. there's a quick two- minute video tO recap. Johnny Ball closes with a wink and a smile: ‘I have been and still am Johnny Ball.‘ This shaky assertion carries more than a touch of poignancy. (Ruth Hedges)
ALSO ON Grasping the Thistle (BBCl, Sat 20 Jul.
7 7.05pm) The amusing ongoing saga of Partick Thistle.
Six Feet Under (Channel 4, Mon 22 8. 29 Jul, 7 7.05pm) TV drama Of the year. End of discussion.
Siege (BBC2. Thu 25 Jul, 9pm) Recalling the Iranian Embassy siege of 1980.
Big Brother (Channel 4, Fri 26 Jul. 8. 30pm) The final. Which means it's almost Over. Thank goodness.
Hollywood Secrets (Channel 5, Sat 27 Jul, 8pm) The dark Side Of Tinseltown. Stalkers and Stuff.