ARTS DOCUMENTARY 48 PEOPLE HO SHOULD E DEAD IN HOLLYWOOD) Channel 4, Fri 28 Nov, 7.30pm 0.
Judging by that title. you'd think that this covers the four do7en denizens of Tinseltown who cinema maverick Vincent Gallo would happily see corpsed. This is but one of the misleading elements to the latest Art Show. Firstly. Vinnie isn't actually in it. Having initially half agreed to make a film for Jacques Peretti. he completely ditched the idea while having a very bad time at Cannes with his seemingly dire Brown Bunny.
So. what we get is someone impersonating Gallo by quoting from previous interviews to answer Peretti's probings. And even then. we don't get the full list of targets for his caustic wit (of those he rants against. Kate Moss. Tim Roth and Chloe Sevigny get the Vinnie vitriol). Perhaps the only purpose of this half hour is to try and work out where Gallo's apparent Conservative Republican outlook comes from. You suspect it's a pitiable attempt at being different. Real talent usually rises above such stunts.
THE OSBOURNES Channel 4, Fri 28 Nov, 9.30pm 000
How do yOu follow a televisual revolution? On the face of this opener to series two. you do it with a flimsy puff piece that betrays much of what made the Osbournes' own brand
of ‘reality' TV great in the first place. So. Kelly is to perform at the MTV Awards but Jack is more preoccupied with trying to sit on Natalie Portman. Meanwhile. Ozzy and Sharon are off for dinner with the president — proof. perhaps. that Ma Osbourne is much more a businesswoman than a moralist. All of which is sweet enough but
leaves y0u craving for the family to be back in their domestic habitat.
What is sickly fascinating about The Osbournes is the interaction between the family members and the ensuing chaos. something sadly missing from this first episode. The second part promises more of Ox/y being confused. dogs shitting in awkward places and the kids being unpredictany brattish. In short. business as usual. lMark Robertson)
CHARACTER COMEDY LITTLE BRITAIN BBCZ, Mon 1 Dec, 10pm 0000
Men dressing as women. bi/arre characters in made-up towns with names such as Darkly Noon. Matt Lucas and David Walliams' new stark. dark comedy is all a bit League of Gentlemen. isn't it? They've even got a Pauline-esque tyrant with a flipchart and pens (this time it's a weightwatchers group rather than a JOI) club)
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while the League's Mark Gatiss even turns up as script editor.
It Iimps along pleasingly in its early stages. but within a few episodes. yOu can be sure that these oddballs will be able to stride on their own two feet. Walliams' finest moments are as a confused bloke taking on the persona of a parasoI-wielding prim miss while his over- attentive Scottish hotelier is actually hysterical. Lucas excels as the orin gay man in a Welsh village. and the surly schoolgirl With the inarticulate motormouth. And it's all narrated with deadpan elegance by Tom Baker. A grower. (Brian Donaldsonl
CITIZEN ALEC BBC4, Tue 2 Dec, 9pm
Alec Maskey was elected Lord Mayor of Belfast in May 2002. a position preVIously held excluswely by Unionists. Maskey. though. is a member of Sinn Fein. and his political life began when. aged 19. he was interned without trial for armed robbery. You'd think with such ingredients that it'd be hard to fail. But sadly. filmmaker Darragh Macintyre manages it. Following this fascinating man for his first year in office. he has succeeded only in editing together a rambling succesSion of functions and wreath- Iaying while interViewmg a predictany Paisley-ite Unionist. It takes another journalist to ask the tricky questions but Macintyre's editing saves his subjects blushes. This documentary simply lacks the courage to dig deeper to get a real sense of Maskey: what drives him. how can he reconcile his past with the future and how do the people of Belfast respond to him? lRuth Hedges)
FRANKENSTEIN: BIRTH OF A MONSTER
BBC1, Sun 7 Dec, 8pm 0..
A jazzed-up monster story
‘Twas on a dreary night in November . . .’ The story behind the conception of Mary Shelley’s immortal, incomparable Frankenstein is almost as iconic as the author’s Goethe-quoting monster and his tortured creator. And, like the improbable events of Shelley’s horror classic, that dull, wet summer on Lake Geneva, when Mary, Percy and Byron all wrote ghost stories at the latter’s suggestion, has been adapted endlessly, from Liz Lochhead’s sublime stage play Blood and Ice to Ken Russell’s utterly ridiculous film
Now it’s the turn of the BBC to grant us the definitive gen on the personal demons and turbulent life that Shelley brought to bear on her work, in the company of moustachioed enthusiast Professor Robert Winston. Shelley’s was such a richly tragic life - her mother, the rebellious Mary Wollstonecraft, died in childbirth while Mary herself lost four children, two sisters, one husband and various friends including Byron in the space of five years - that even the Beeb can’t make a monster’s ear out of her story. And there are some sumptuous visual aids to accompany Winston’s narration, including an aerial shot of the esteemed professor trudging through the blanket snow at Chamonix (where the embittered creature confronts Frankenstein in the book).
But this remains a straightforward, linear - if jazzed-up and fairly enjoyable - account of that life, which includes a pretty facile interpretation of the novel. ‘80 young and so much experience of death; you can see why this young woman wanted to bring something back to life,’ is about as elaborate as Winston's argument gets. (Allan Radcliffe)
MEDICAI [)OCUML‘N IARY
BODY SHOCK: THE BOY WHO GAVE BIRTH TO HIS TWIN
Channel 4, Mon 8 Dec, 9pm 00
It's a prefix thing: twin engine. twin tubs. twin towns. twin blood- sucking parasites. Maybe that's a little melodramatic. especially considering that the medical condition investigated here — foetus in fetu ~ is about as common as Baskerville hounds. The film starts out with the story of seveii-year-okI Alamian. a little boy who had his twui removed from his distended stomach. Virginia B£1I(l‘.'.’lll. a Vancouver—based paediatric pathologist is on the road to Kazakhstan to find out about Alamian. She looks
at the dried foetus. reassures the famin that this isn't the work of the devil and then leaves. There are some graphics. and a long-winded explanation of how this aberration of nature can happen. Then there is Dr
lisk. who riiakes a big show of separating a foetus Joined to a twin which is acardiac ithat is. without a head or heart:. This is a freak show i.-.rhich aciualh succeeds in being incrediny dull. iPaul Dalei
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Not actually the devil’s work