ARTANGEL: THE BATTLE OF
Channel 4, Sun 20 Oct, 7.45pm 0..
Re-opening old wounds
It’s hard to believe now in our inertia-friendly contemporary Britain, but in the mid-80$, the United Kingdom was a strife-torn, highly politicised place. One of PM Margaret Thatcher’s primary objectives was to smash the labour movement and force a power surge in the favour
of private concerns.
To get the public on her side, she succeeded in manipulating the media to give one side of a story, and this was never more fully realised than during the historic miners strike of 1984-85. When footage of the police and pickets’ confrontation made the early evening news, the nation was horrified at the brutal assaults on the bobbies. But as many eye-witnesses including Tony Benn recall, events near the South Yorkshire coking plant at Orgreave were falsely presented. ‘The enemy within’ was being slowly
broken down by lies.
This offbeat documentary by Mike Figgis shows conceptual artist Jeremy Deller revisiting those events in order to retrieve some truth. He does this through a re-enactment, bringing together those weekend militarists, who normally wave shields about while donning ye olde armour, and locals, many of whom were
there on that fateful day.
The battle scenes are actually quite tame compared to the horse-clopping horror of those news items and the smashing of heads and splitting of a community doesn’t come across well in the fake fisticuffs. It is better stated in the testimony of the miners, still clearly bitter after all these years. As one veteran of the conflict announces: ‘If you’re watching this, Mrs Thatcher, drop dead’. Probably now, as certainly then, she couldn’t give a fig about a miner’s opinion. (Brian Donaldson)
DOCUMENTARY PORTRAIT OF A PHOTOGRAPHER: DAVID LACHAPELLE Channel 5, Sun 20 Oct, 4.10pm 000.
With a surname like Lachapelle you'd kind of have to do something glamorous with your days. So. David has shot everyone from Beckharn and Duchovny to RuPaul and Madonna. creating
some of the most spectaCLilar and Surreal contemporary photography around.
He blossomed in the 80s under the wing of poi) art icon Andy Warhol and his surreal. verging on extreme work has made him synonymous with bringing whole other sides out of the famous faces in his focus. The film follows him on several projects: on singer Alicia Keys‘ debut shoot. at a French theme park for Italian Vogue and on a beach in Nice with Elton John.
The only real complaint about this profile is that
it never fully defines how and why his work developed from stark candid snaps to absurd pop art madness. Warhol's influence is obvious but Lachapelle is quite obviously in a world of his own.
GORGEOUS Scottish, Mon 21 Oct, 9pm 0000
This two-part adaptation of a Peter Lovesey novel is a kind of female buddy version of Hitchcock's murder- swapping thriller Strangers on a Train. set among the fox furs and ration books of post-war London.
Cold Feet's Fay Ripley stars as downtrodden Rose — imprisoned in her marriage to an RAF officer turned tight-fisted serial adulterer — whose grim existence is given a shot in the arm following a chance meeting with glamorous. flighty Antonia (Helen McCrOry). also unhappin married. ‘WOuIdn't it be marvellous if our ghastly husbands met some fatal accident.‘ McCrory muses casually over tea and cakes at the Ritz. and. as if by magic. Rose's husband's
. remains are soon being
peeled from the underground tracks.
Of course. the plot goes predictably pear- snaped when McCrory calls in her end of the bargain. But this is actually a very enjoyable black comedy. thanks to a cOuple of attractive performances that will have you rooting for this pernicious pair.
WILD WEST 8801, Tue 22 Oct, 9pm 00.
Here's the pitch: two lonely and daft local women run a cornei‘shop in a small Cornish village where
Doesn't sound like a riot. does it? But as League of Gentlemen and Father Ted prove. there is fun to be had outside the city. and while this gently dark comedy isn't in that. ahem, league. it's still a decent enough way to spend half an hour
Dawn French plays one of the pair. Mary Trewednack, in her usual idiotically endearing way. while her somewhat repressed mate Angela is Subtly and skilfully portrayed by Catherine Tate next to the LiSLial array of oddball local characters.
Wild West is written by Simon Nye. the man responsible for Men Behaving Badly. and there are echoes of that shows inane dialogue and Surreal jumps here. but the overall feeling is more one of laidback small town weirdness. Bal/yki'ssangel with gags. (Doug Johnstone)
DOCUMENTARY HUMAN INSTINCT 8801, Wed 23 Oct, 9pm 00
It's increasingly popular to cite nurture over nature as the key force in human development but. according to Professor Robert Winston. basic instincts govern our behaviour. This dOCUmentary series. he asswes us from a mouth framed by a quite magnificent moustache and the outstretched plains of Africa. will ensure that 'you'll never think of yourself the same way again'.
lts tactics are distressingly familiar. We learn that a baby's cries can be as loud as a drill. The camera pans from a wailing baby to Bob.
drilling a hole in the pavement. This kind of visual longhand is all-too prevalent in Human Instinct. a documentary so keen to be popular it sometimes forgets the science.
Still. it does contain a few gems (did you know that your tastebuds are replaced every ten days?) and is watchable. in a half-conscious sert of way. The next programme is on sex. so things will obviously be getting more highbrow soon. (James Smart)
DOCUMENTARY GINGER NATION Channel 4, Fri 25 Oct, 7.30pm 00
Carrot top. ginger nut. strawberry blonde. tartan brow-ferrets . . . there's plenty of delightful schoolyard insults for red haired people. but now it's time to set the record straight. Elliot Kew is a middle-aged man half worried that he may be part of a dying race. but also keen to insist that being ginger is sexy.
But hold on, he also wants to find out the odds of two redheads having a ginger baby. Herein lies the problem with this half-hour Opinion piece for Channel 4's A/t- TV slot: too many strands. no conclusions. Why does he have his colour tested? Why does he interview a few female perverts who like ginger men when they are clearly in the minority and represent no significant social grouping?
Kew is obViously trying to say something abOLit pigment prejudice. Fair enough. but no one ever made a ginger haired person stand at the back of the bus.
DOCUMENTARY ARENA: HAROLD PINTER
BBC2, Sat 26 Oct, 8pm 0..
I know times are tough for the arts on telly. but the first instalment of this two-part dOCLimentary on Britain's most significant 20th century playwright feels like it's been put together by the team behind Changing Rooms. Rather than striding forth with penetrating llTSlghtS from
heavyweight commentators. it decides to root around the unexceptional houses in London and Worthing where Pinter spent his formative years.
And those shedding light on the great man? Why. none other than the current occupants of the houses who give a series of hilariously banal interviews about the shed in Pinter's back garden and the record player he left behind. This is all accompanied by an interview recording of such dubious quality that they have to provide subtitles (it was made by Michael Billington for his biography and never intended for broadcast).
Part two of the documentary sounds like a much better proposition. as does the BBC4 season of Pinter plays and films.
Great Britons (BBC2, Sun 20 Oct. 9pm) Anne Robinson starts the countdown to find Out the public's fav0urite Brit.
South Bank Show (Scottish, Sun 20 Oct.
1 l. l5pm) Contemporary dance guru Akram Khan is Mel's subject.
Les Miserables Goes to China (BBCT. Wed 23 Oct, 70.35pm) Shanghai welcomes the UK! US-produced
French revolution tale. The Real Tony Blackburn (Channel 4. Thu 24 Oct, 9pm) Getting under the skin of the man who beat off posh Tara.
Status Quo: Rock On and On (Channel 4. Thu 24 Oct. l0.35pm) The fading denimed rockers analysed.
17-61 ()(It .7001). THE LIST 1 1 1