PREVIEW Trial By Fire Scottish, Wed 15 Dec, 9pm.

’I liked the idea of doing a whodunnit,’ says Juliet Stevenson star of Trial By Fire, a crime drama in which she plays Crown Prosecutor Helen West. In the first of what may become a series based on the novels by Frances Fyfield, West moves out of London with her partner police Chief Superintendent Geoffrey Bailey (Jim Carter) - to the wilds of suburban/rural Essex, where the pair are promptly embroiled in a murder mystery.

’l’m always on the lookout for something I haven't done before and I liked the idea of this relationship between the lawyer and the police, that they have this uneasy marriage,’ she continues.

I ’They are both involved with the

same crime and they have very different interpretations of those events.’

That uneasy marriage becomes a less-than-subtle metaphor for the tension between the judiciary and the police force. More interesting is the part of their relationship which attempts to accomodate the idea of the ’career woman’. ’She’s

A partner in crime: Juliet Stevenson in Trial By Fire

somebody who is trying to work out what her priorities are and that's a struggle a lot of women have,’ suggests


Stevenson. ’If their career comes into conflict with their personal life, which choice do they make? Helen is an independent cosmopolitan personality trying out this

. new domestic set-up, because she feels the time has

come to make a commitment. But it’s a terrible strain for her.’

One of Britain’s leading stage actors, Stevenson has also appeared on the big screen in Peter Greenaway’s Drowning By Numbers and Anthony Minghella’s Truly, Madly, Deeply and on telly starring in Cider With Rosie. So, how do those media differ?

’With television the significant difference is time; you tend to have to get more in the can every day. But once the camera is rolling, there isn’t a huge amount of

difference for the actor. But I’ve just finished Private

TV times

We put TV celebs on the couch. This issue: Martin Clunes

Big break After various TV appearances popping up on Love/0y, Inspector Morse and Doctor Who, he

found fame as Gary in Men Behaving

Badh. I watched that before everyone

1 loved it Yes, on ITV, with Harry Enfield

in the first series who left to be replaced by Neil Morrissey. The show

was then bought by the BBC,

becoming a huge success and sold worldwide spawning a US remake which, like Cracker and Steptoe And Son, was vastly inferior to the original.

Awards by the bucketload then? Well

not exactly, but he's got a couple of good ’uns: a British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Actor in 1995 and a

~ BAFTA for Best Comedy Performance a

year later.

A man for a bit of comedy then? Not always. He's shown up in a few drama roles and is never reticent in grabbing the odd part on the silver screen. Keep an eye out for him in Shakespeare In Love and his directorial debut Staggered.

He's not gone all serious on us has

he? For the moment it would seem so.

Lives at the King's Theatre in Edinburgh it’s really difficult to make yourself heard at the back of that great

big barn.

’Then, next week, you're doing something where the camera is an inch from your nostrils, so you have to take everything right down and internalise. I have to work very, very hard not to overplay, because I've got one of those faces - it jumps around like rubber. 0n Truly, Madly, Deeply, Anthony Minghella was always saying, "Just trust me, do even less”. "But I'm not doing anything, I'm an ice block here".

Next, Stevenson will be internalising in January on a yet to be disclosed film and projecting in April during a play to re-open the Royal Court in London.

(Miles Fielder)

Holding on: Kid In The Corner

REVIEW Kid In The Corner

Channel 4, Wed 1 Dec *****

If there is anyone currently bringing better TV drama to British screens than Tony Marchant, we should all be allowed to meet them. After the glories of his Great Expectations adaptation earlier this year, Marchant is now producing awesome quality in a contemporary setting for Kid In The Corner.

The penultimate episode saw emotions swing to and fro as dad Alex (Douglas Henshall) returned to the family fold when son Danny (Eric Byrne) began a course of medication to calm his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Initially successful, the side effects soon took their toll leading to near tragedy in a scene which remains as unforgettable as it was awful.

Within one hour's television, Marchant and his flawless central

He stars in BBCZ’s new drama Sex ’n’ Death about a self-obsessed, crazed, philandering game show host Ben Black.

Little known fact He and Neil Morrissey both appeared in the ITV

series Boon. Not so little known fact Appeared in

a photo taken by popular art loons Gilbert and George who came to his

high school in the 805.

Significant other Philippa Braithwaite, I award-winning television producer and the woman in charge of their

production company Buffalo Pictures. Not to be confused with St Martin’s College, Marti Caine, Rowan And Martin ’5 Laugh In. (Mark Robertson)

I Sex ’n’ Death starts on BBQ, Tue 74

quartet (completed by Clare Holman as the determined mother and Brooke

Kinsella as the neglected daughter) manage to cram in more drama and travel more ground without any sense of skimming than most soaps struggle to maintain in a month of Sunday omnibuses. Should society be given the right to administer character- altering drugs onto patients without their consent? How do those close to such a situation cope when they feel marginalised, as daughter Lucy is here? Should you walk away from trauma when normality appears unattainable?

The final episode will answer whether

an ordinary family can survive such an

explosive mix of dilemmas. And it will offer a potentially unsurpassable challenge to TV dramatists everywhere. (Brian Donaldson)

Dec, 9pm.

2-16 Dec 1999 rueusrm