Britain is the new America and opera is the new pop. Words: Brian Donaldson

hen it comes to Creating

drama series that pop up

on viewers must-see lists. the Americans have got us beat. And almost all of them end up on Channel 4: Six Feet Under. The Sopranos. SmaI/vi/le, NYPD Blue. ER and The West Wing are among those that are bywords for class and they will all be returning to our SCreens before March ls out.

But can the Brits actually be on the verge of churning out quality shows that don‘t include the words ‘adapted from the novel by' stuck onto the credits? 40 (Channel 4. Mar) is a three-part drama by Brian Elsley (The Crow Road) starring Eddie Izzard. Kerry Fox. Joanne Whalley and Hugo Speer. It revolves around seven people whose lives are linked by their secrets. It all gets a bit provocative and dirty.

But some things don‘t change in British telly drama. Such as Stephen Poliakoff delivering the goods. The Lost Prince (BBC2. Feb/Mar) looks at a mysterious bit of regal history with a starry cast headed by Michael Gambon and Miranda Richardson. BBC Scotland has collected an impressive selection of talent for The Key (8802. Mar). a political drama about three generations of the Corrigan family. Ronni Ancona. Kevin McKidd. Dawn Steele and Ken Stott are all in there.

ITV is even having a right old go with The Second Coming (Feb/Mar). with Christopher Eccleston starring as a 36-year-old virginal Manchester City fan who proclaims himself to be the new messiah. Queer as Folk Creator Russell T Davies is already bracing himself for the backlash.

On the political documentary front. there's a major series about Thatcher called Maggie (Scottish. Mar), while Witchcraze (BBC2. Feb/Mar) goes to the heart of the bloodiest witch hunt in British history.

Perhaps the most bizarre take to date on the whole 'singing to get yourself famous“ gig is Operatunity (Channel 4. Feb) in which the English National Opera auditions 300 singers for just one role.

Touch base with the games that matter in 2003. Words: Maureen Ellis

hile league football

trundles along in the

same Old Firm direction as usual, more interest lies in the national team. Scotland - who recently lost the chance to host Euro 2008 - will continue their 2004 championship qualifying with home matches against Iceland (29 Mar). Germany (7 Jun; away 10 Sep). Faroe Islands (6 Sep) and Lithuania (1 1 Oct; away 2 Apr). The friendly season requires the national side to play host to Republic of Ireland (12 Feb) and Austria (30 Apr), and then to travel to NonNay (20 Aug). In the domestic game. the CIS Cup Final (16 Mar) is the usual precursor to the Tennent's Scottish Cup Final (31 May).

Scotland‘s international rugby

calendar resembles previous years the Six Nations campaign begins with a home match against Ireland (16 Feb) and ending with Italy at Murrayfield (29 Mar) before a tour in South Africa in the summer. and then the biggie: the World Cup in Australia (10 Oct—22 Nov). Scotland qualify automatically after reaching the quarter final stages last time. and. after a trio of victories in 2002 Autumn Test. the on-form team will go out with guns blazing. Edinburgh

Mountain bikers head to Fort William in May

Rugby face mounting opposition from Glasgow in the domestic competitions. which draw to a close in April.

The Mountain Bike World Cup returns to Fort William (31 May—1 Jun) bigger and better than 2002. boasting Cross Country as well as the Downhill competition. Participative charity cycling event Pedal for Scotland wheels its way from Glasgow to Edinburgh on 14 September.

The Scottish Rocks complete their inaugural season as Scotland's national basketball side in April. Can the Rocks do their home support proud and finally chase the BBL title to the Wire?

In the world of athletics. the Great Britain International Indoor Athletics competiton takes place at Glasgow's KeIVin Hall (Sun 2 Feb). On the participative calendar, there's the Women's 10K Run (18 May. Glasgow). the Great Scottish Walk (22 Jun, Edinburgh). the Great Scottish Run (7 Sep. Glasgow) and the Capital City Challenge (Sep. Edinburgh).

Finally. why not try yOur luck with a flutter on one of Scottish horseracing‘s main events including the Scottish Grand National (20 Apr), the Gold Cup (18—20 Sep) at Ayr and Saints and Sinners (Jun) day at Hamilton Park. Remember to tread carefully.

Edinburgh uncertain. Glasgow bold. Words: Henry Northmore

lam Events. as usual, will

be leading the way with

some of the most exciting nights in Glasgow. PreSSLire promises line-ups including FC Kahuna. Jeff Mills. Layo and Bushwacka. Miss Kitten and Umek. It will also be hosting the Slam Tent at T in the Park this July. so another amazing line-up can be guaranteed. But most interesting of all is a new venture that may or may not involve a new large scale Glasgow venue . . .

The Arches heads the list for big name clubs with Colours. Inside Out and the Funk Room still packing them in, while new night Death Disco welcomes the Cleaning Women (Finland) and Lady Miss Kier of Dee Lite fame (New York) in February.

For sounds from the underground Monox is taking the techno world by the scruff of the neck With Ege Bam Yasi (21 Feb). Woody McBride (18 Apr) and Frankie Bones with Adam X (16 May).

After the Old Town fire. Edinburgh's clubbing world has been thrown into flux. La Belle Angele alone was home to some of the biggest nights in town. While things are in the air, Manga's seventh birthday (31 Jan), starring J Maiik. looks like the first unmissable Edinburgh event of 2003 as the club finds a temporary home at the Honeycomb.

The drum & bass scene in the capital is still thriving with Jungle Magic returning. more one offs from Goldie's Metalhead7. and Mischief continuing with its three floor drum & bass-meets-hip hop parties (Grooverider drops by 7 Feb. With Blak Twang tbc).

The Liquid Room continues its formidable guest roster with Progression featuring Sander Klienberg and Desyn Masiello on 15 February while big hitters such as Colours (Jeff Mills drops by on 22 Feb) and Bugged Out! (Felix da Housecat plays a live set 29 Mar) continue to wow the punters.

24 YHE LIST 2—16 Jan 2003