Five, Fri 9 Jan, 8pm .0.

David Bowie. Jeff Wayne and Elton John will be giggling all the way to the Swiss bank vault after this hypothetical imagining of what life would be like for humans on an artifi(:ially adapted Mars. And Holst must be bellowing in his grave at the misfortune of his Planets suite going out of copyright. Yep. it's Five does space travel. complete With appropriate outer limits» themed music so that we silly Viewers dont forget what we're watching.

Apparently, although our fier\,/-co|0ured neighbour has aged less gracefully than Earth. Mars might be made habitable by artificially creating a kind of global warming that would melt the planet's polar ice caps releasing further warm gases and creating oceans in which life could grow. Sounds clever, if utterly pointless. and only intriguing if you welcome the war that would be bound to break out between the two planets eventually. And anyway. who'd want to go to Mars? There's hardly any atmosphere. Thank you and goodnight . . . (Allan Radcliffe)


BBC1, Sun 11 Jan, 10.15pm COO

Taft/“my 'I, I

With the number of TV hospitals soon to exceed that run by the

NHS and patients working as Holby City extras just to secure a bed. Aneurin Bevan's beleaguered baby is once again dropped on its head and kicked around the wards. After the amusing but patchy He. the BBC repeats its treatment with this worthier but equally patchy med-sitcom which. unfortunately. is still not a patch on the deliriously silly Scrubs. Set on the Isle of Wight and co-scripted by Phil 59 Minutes to Save the NHS Hammond. it follows world-weary surgeon Roy Glover (a happily restrained Adrian Edmondson) and his calculated efforts to outflank private practitioner nemesis Dr Banatwala (Madhav Sharma). Taking swipes with sledgeharnmer rather than scalpel, the humour is cynical but generally safe. occasional Harold Shipman references notwithstanding. A well- cast support of oddball surgeons and nurses provides a hopeful prognosis for future episodes. (Jay Richardson)


Channel 4, Mon 12 Jan, 10pm 000

Willi Channel 4 set to lose the likes of Sex and the City and Friends forever this year and with The Sopranos unleashing their penultimate season in the summer, they must be getting desperate to uncover great new US shows. After all, it's one of the few things that the channel still does well. So, the likes of Without a Trace invade our screens with much to prove. And it would be fair to say that the jury is still out on this crime series.

Anthony LaPaglia (superb in Murder One. awful in Frasier) is Jack Malone. an agent at the FBI Missing Persons

Squad in New York. Each week, he and his team piece together the last movements of a missing person and the tension for the viewer is in whether that individual will turn up dead or alive. Presumably. not all shows will have a happy ending. but the sense that a Stars and Stripes ribbon will too often neatly tie up all the loose ends could easily jar. (Brian Donaldson)


8801, Tue 13 Jan, 10.35pm O.

The boys from Wet Wet Wet always wanted to be like the Clash but somehow they ended up being a ‘Sweet Little Mystery'. They were happy for a very long time. the ladies loved them. and they couldn't stop making hits. Then it all fell apart around about the time that Jarvis Cocker opened up his blazer on Top of the Pops to reveal the label: ‘I Hate Wet Wet Wet‘. Marty hit the bottle and the bathroom cabinet while the band fell apart in payment disputes.

This cobbled-together documentary from the EX:S stable seems to be something of an apology from Pellow to his former mates. He drones on and on abOut his rise and fall, winks. flashes his teeth and then tells us he is actually doing very nicely thank you on the cheeseball Chicago: The Musical circuit. Friends and associates provide fairly anodyne filler. If you're not a fan, this will take ‘More than Love'. (Paul Dale)

REALITY COMEDY LITTLE FRIENDS Channel 4, Tue 20 Feb, 11.05pm 0000

Never work with children and animals. the showbiz legend goes. But what if those nippers are actually in control making adults

look thoroughly daft. Coming on like a Trigger Happy TVJuniors. our bold as brass tweenie Quartet swear, mock and land their elders in preposterous social scenanos.

In the opener. Robert does a Dennis Pennis and confronts Bob Hoskins. Alan Hansen


and Busted with a stream of nonsensical questions before unleashing a tOrrent of abuse at his producer in

front of the baffled stars.

Darcy entices passers- by to ‘help' wish her mum a happy birthday but the placards in question have a rather different message to

THE ALAN CLARK DIARIES 8804, Thu 15 Jan, 10pm 000

Alan Clark was undoubtedly an upper class twit of demonstrable

Our Little Friends are

the height of cheek

impart. There's a strong whiff of vengeance being played out here with the sense that the sins we adults have perpetrated on the youths in our midst are kicking us back on the shins. And the reSLiIt is painfully hilarious. if occasionally uncomfortable viewing. (Brian Donaldson)

They don’t build them like the Clarks anymore

proportion, yet in his career as a Tory MP from 1983—92, he was clearly a breath of fresh air through the musty Westminster corridors. He was at best an ineffectual MP for his constituency of Plymouth South but through his diaries, Clark offered a skewed, occasionally very funny view of life under Thatcher. Many have seen him as a latter-day Samuel Pepys detailing the intricacies of power’s dull hierarchies, though it’s probably closer to the truth to say that the man was a philandering free spirit with a gift for writing, contradiction and haughty compassion. A vegetarian who supported hanging but opposed NATO bombing in Kosovo, they don’t build

them like Clark anymore.

This new serialisation of Clark’s diaries starring the ever dependable John Hurt opens with an episode entitled “March of the Grey Men’. Clark has entered parliament with Thatcher having just secured her second term and commits the first of his many embarrassing gaffes. It’s a promising start, and Hurt has some great support from Julia Davis as his unpleasant secretary Jenny Easterbrook, and Jenny Agutter as his potty,

put-upon wife, Jane.

Budget restrictions appear to have constricted this drama with too little attention paid to the period detail. Also, the Clark of the diaries was an overly confident illusionist and intelligent toff; on screen this can sometimes translate as misguided and inept, but in relation to his peers he was only marginally 50. Still one to watch for fans of this doughty parliamentarian. (Paul Dale)

8—22 Jan 2004 THE LIST 95