Art and about
It’s sassy! It’s street-wise! It’s packed to the brim with information on all the rad kind ot things a tinger-poppin’ hep cat like you wants to be genned up on. But hey, enough about The list already, this month sees the return of Scottish Television’s own long-running arts and events diary llB.
Stepping ably Into the fashionably- heeled presenter’s shoes vacated by tormer Deacon Blue drummer Dougie ‘the Viper’ leond comes one Sally Grey, recently seen as Johnny Vaughan’s roving Moviewatch sidekick. Grey is a veteran of schools and kids television (including the RAFTA-winning It’ll llever Work) who was ‘thrilled’ by the chance offered by Vaughan’s show to move into yoot programming. However, she admits to being disappointed, at least initially, that she was under-used.
‘The thing was that a lot of stuff I’d been given to do had already been recorded, and I just had to fill in the questions,’ says Grey. ‘That wasn’t doing very much for me, because it was like lying to the audience - that you were actually there interviewing Kurt Russell, when you were nothing of the sort.’ Rut, y’know, they were on a tight schedule.’
Sally Grey: tlying solo
Another trick ot the telly trade revealed, but there’s no sneaky editing
when it comes to RR. As sole
presenter of a show with a wide 10—60-year-old target audience, Grey has her work cut out. She hopes her ‘in-yer-tace - no, that’s not the right phrase - up-tront. Cheeky.’ personality will infect the proceedings.
At any rate, you can rest assured that whether it’s an interview with Irvine Welsh or driving a tank, it will be Grey doing the business. Unless . . .‘I refuse to do a bungee-jump. llo programme will ever get me to do that. I mean I’ve probably done worse, like jumping off Bognor pier 40 feet into the sea . . . but that was a few years ago now.’ (Damien Love) llB returns on Monday 15 May at 7pm on Scottish.
I Sex, Swing and Subterluge (Radio Scotland) Sun 7 May. II.30am. How a heady mix ofjazz. lies and pornography became powerful ammunition for both sides during World War II. I Four Comets: Big Rocks (Radio 4) Sun 7 May. 11.45am. Globe-trottingjournalist Andy Kershaw gets another lucky break with this new off-beat travel series exploring far ﬂung corners of the world. Reports for the first programme include Cleo Paskal from the South Pacific. Brian Jones on the traditional music of Morocco and William Green on the erotica of the temples in Khajuraho. India. I MVE an (Radio 1) Mon 8 May. noon. Radio I DJ‘s hit the decks for an all-day Bank Holiday Monday dance party. First on the mike are James Hamilton and Kevin Greening. followed by Mark Goodier at 3pm. Pete Tong with some more essential tunes at 6pm. and taking you into the night from 9pm. three hours ofdance from Mr Love Groove. Danny Rampling. I The Grange Institution (Radio 4) Wed 10 May. 8.45pm. Irish writer Fintan O’Toole examines the powerful legacy of Protestant Ireland’s most widely exported icon. the Orange Lodge. Over the course of two extended documentaries. O‘Toole traces the 200-year-old movement back to its now mythical roots and asks whether an institution with such profound ties to the monarchy. religious faith and Unionism can withstand the changes sweeping present-day Northern Ireland. I Inside Out (Radio 4) Thurs ll May. 9.30am. We Brits lock up more people per head of population than any other country in the EU. Trouble is over half of them re- ‘ offend within two years. In this new four- part series. Anna Parkinson shadows ten former inmates in an attempt to ﬁnd out why prison provides such an ineffective deterrant to crime. I Ribbons and Revelations "Radio 4) Thurs It May. 7.20pm. The struggles and triumphs of American college girls over the last century. brought to life by Julia Mckenzie. a British alumni of America’s
most prestigious women‘s college. Smith College. Massachussetts. During the course of the college's regular five-yearly reunion last May. McKenzie spoke to hundreds ofex-students aged between 24 and 96 to gain this lucid view of how America’s female intellectuals have lived and worked over the past 100 years.
I Grime Season: Bullet Boys (Radio 5 Live) Mon 15 May. 1.35pm. Colin Blane looks at the spread of gun culture in British cities — on both sides of the law. A convicted armed thief tells of the ease with which arms can be bought and sold on the black market, Strathclyde Police unveil some of the dangerous booty they have recovered from criminals. and police chiefs across the country discuss their views on placing a gun in the hand of the British bobby.
I Star Equality (Radio 2) Mon 15 May. 10.03pm. Clarke Peters. creator of the hit musical F ive Guys Named Mac puts the spotlight on black women in Hollywood. From Bessie Smith through to Whoopi Goldberg this series of four programmes celebrates the life and work of those who against all odds. made it through an industry riddled with racism against all the odds.
I Elastic Planet (Radio 4) Wed 17 May. I lam. A new six-part series that threatens to do for investigativejournalism what The Hitt‘Ir-Hikcr's Guide To The Galaxy did for holiday guide books. The brain child of suitably strange stand-up comic Ben Moor. this surreal fifteen minute soup of fact. ﬁction and unearthly theories will be populated each week by eminent guests including Miriam Margoyles, Hugh Scully and Richard Baker. Your guide for the series is Oliver Postgate. one-time voice of cult TV series Bag/7143s and The Clangers.
I Missed Demeanours (Radio 4) Thurs 18 May. 6.30pm. Cross dressing comic Eddie lzzard makes his radio debut in a new comedy panel game of his own design. Joining lzzard each week will be Steve Frost as opposing team captain and Neil Mullarky as chairperson. Celebrity guests for the first week are Jo Brand and Mark Steel. (Ellie Carr)
TV REVIEW .
Ask sci-Ii writers why they chose that particular genre and. sure as eggs are alien space pods. the same answer comes firing back. Their line runs something like this; writing about the future or an altered present makes it easier to express society‘s deep-rooted hopes and fears. Maybe all you‘re after is an escapist thrill or a couple of whizzy special effects. but look hard enough. and you‘ll find it all has a meaning. Sci-fr stories. it’s assumed. must be parables about our times.
In the late 50s and early 60s, the major theme in America was the communist threat. Films like Invasion aft/re Badysnarrr/zers were interpreted as a comment on the McCarthy witch- hunts ofthe kind that Hollywood couldn't say out loud. Similarly Rod Serling's classic The 'lii'ilig/r/ 7mm series crackled with the paranoia of the times. Then hard on its heels came The Outer Limits (BBCZ). which was generally regarded as a dumber version of the Zone. but with better monsters. Now, zombie-like. the show has risen from the dead.
First up was ‘Blood Brothers'. a grim fairytale of sibling rivalry. Michael (played with all the range of the bom TV movie actor by Gary ‘Spandau‘ Kemp) represented commerce. greed and naked ambition. His boffrn brother Spencer on the other hand was on a more altruistic trip. devoting his life to pure science. While working late at the lab one night. Spencer has one of those eureka! moments as up pops a cure for cancer and a bunch of other terminal diseases. ‘If we do this right. nobody in the world will ever get sick again.‘ he says. Not so fast. says little brother Michael who’s just itching to take control oftheir late father‘s pharmaceuticals ﬁrm. If this is a wonder drug. he figures all those sick people will pay top dollar fora prescription.
It’s no surprise to find the miracle cure is a retro-virus carried in blood and first identified in a vivisection monkey. Got it? We‘re taking about AIDS here. Apan from the triumph of good over evil (bad brother dies, good brother gets girl), the pay-off line was the idea that disease is part of the human condition; eradicating illness from the world would be like playing God. A bit Biblical maybe. but what the hell. the special effects were great.
Willi a rather different approach to the ‘physician, heal thyself‘ comes the second series of Cardiac Arrest (BBC l ). Former houseman John MacUrc’s script shows no sign of letting his beef with the management of the National Health Scrvrce drop. while the direction makes the camera moves in Nl’l’l) Blue look sluggish As w c belt (lown corridors in the wake of a hospital trolley. the new Aussie doctor. played by Peter ()‘Brien of Shane from Neighbours fame, roller blades to his next bedside amiointment. Like American import l:‘.l\’.. Carr/"ar- Arms! believes the most exciting place to be in the world is a casualty ward.
Cardiac .-lrresr wants to beat the system — into submission. The NHS is shafted. ﬁgures MacUre, and we‘d better see how that really looks at close range without the benefit of the screens to shield our gaze as the patient is bled dry. It's vitriolic stuff and the influence of Lindsay Anderson‘s black comedy Britannia Hospital is evident: this series achieves the same sense of hellish chaos.
After staring into the abyss of 90s Britain. it was a reliefto watch something truly life afﬁrming. Grandma’s Way Out Party (Channel 4) was a real-life road movie about a trip west across America in search of roots. identity and all the weird shit that happens when you drive for twelve hours straight each day. This was David Lynch country without the menace. The deal was that Lynda Barry was travelling to her Filipino grandmother's surprise 83rd birthday party and the bosom of her family in Seattle. Lynda admitted they threw a pany for every year so the surprise element was wearing off, but grandma played along with it.
Lynda and her boyfriend Kevin Kling encountered a whole bunch of cheerfully eccentric Americans. from Dean the muffler and transmission repair man who welded together bizarre sculptures from old exhaust pipes. to Paul and Sugar Bear. whose Road Kill Cafe (house motto: ‘from your grill to our grill‘) was a magnet for bikers from right across the state. Running through Lynda's commentary was a feeling that.
boy did she ever love her country. On their crazy road trip west, Lynda and Kevin found their own slice ofthe American dream. (Eddie Gibb)