PREVIEW Godfathers: The

Licensee Scottish, Mon 13 Dec, 8pm.

License to spill: Martin Short exposes the Godfathers

We all know organised crime exists, but we’d prefer to ignore it. It was this disparity, between our wilful ignorance of crime and its pervasion into every level of society, that led veteran crime reporter Martin Short to undertake a full-scale investigation. The investigative series Godfathers turns its attention to Glasgow, long renowned as a city riddled with secret criminal hierarchies and gangland in-fighting.

Over 30 years, Short has seen the scale of organised crime expand beyond recognition. ’The money was minuscule by comparison in the 605,’ he says of the era now romanticised as the heyday of the British gangster. ’The

. Krays actually controlled a very small

amount of turf, they made quite small sums of money, they were hopeless businessmen and to put it bluntly they only killed three people.’

Now, Short estimates that ’the amount of money to be made from crime is about 1000 times what it was then. With the growth of the drugs scene and clubland it has been getting bigger and bigger. Gangland is no

longer confined to its own.’ In other '

words, Glasgow’s clubbers and recreational drug users are small cogs in the vast machinery of the city’s crime syndicates.

’To many, crime is a profession from which to earn a living, just like other people earn a living from being a window cleaner or an accountant,’ Short concedes. ’These people aren’t psychopaths or serial killers or weirdos or perverts. But some of them are completely ruthless, and they’re the ones who use violence, and they’re the ones who tend to get to the top of the pile.’

The series is not afraid to name names; the Glasgow episode will reveal the identity of a local gangster said to have a license to commit crime. Far from indulging our weakness for glamorous gangsters, Godfathers is a chilling reminder that our law and order system is not as flawless as our leaders like to boast. (Annabel Slater)


Jonathan Creek BBCl, Sat 27 Nov hm.

Shaggy dog story: Jonathan Creek

In light of some of the nonsense you see regularly on the box, it seems amazing that it took a whole three years for BBC chiefs to be convinced that Jonathan Creek was suitable for viewing. Despite the series being scripted by one of their favourite sons, David One Foot In The Grave Renwick, they were none too sure at both the material and his choice of leading man.

Rik Mayall and Angus Deayton were

120 TIIE LIST 2—16 Dec 1999

among those way ahead of Alan Davies stand-up comic and the Abbey National’s most laconic client when it came to the bosses’ preference for its slacker sleuth. Yet all has been forgiven; Davies succeeds as the most shambolic crime-stopper since Peter Falk and, with Caroline Quentin on board, they have a double act worthy of the term.

To kick off the new series, Jonathan and Maddy were embroiled in some diabolic goings-on in ’The Curious Tale Of Mr Spearfish’. Quite what it would take your average atheist to sell their soul to the devil is a matter for personal choice. Yet, the lack of job, money or prospects could drive the most committed Christian to give Lucifer a call. Here, Lenny Spearfish (Andrew Tiernan) is in such a pickle and, before he knows it, he is autographing his name in blood and developing a grin worthy of the hoofed one himself.

Most people could probably live with that. But then most people don’t have a Moses-loving fundamentalist for a missus. Still, even she seems impressed when he begins to deflect bullets bound for his heart and stands up to an assassin when faced with yet more artillery. But surely there must be some logical conclusion and, inevitably, up comes Creek to sort out the hard fact from the gulp-inducing fiction.

Perhaps the only mystery left is that it was given, and has maintained, a slot in the quality graveyard that is Saturday night on 880.

(Brian Donaldson)


The Fantasy Club Channel 4,Thu 16 Dec, 11.05pm.

Depression, homesickness, drink dependency. Not the things we usually associate with lapdancers, but most of us are yet to experience the negative aspects to spending your evenings sliding up and down greased poles.

In this 50-minute documentary, filmmaker Julian Kean follows six girls from the south of England to the northern lights of old Aberdeen, where the aim is to make men happy and themselves a bundle of cash. ’You get trapped into it,’ moans Rachel, during a quiet moment in the bath. 'The girls are just so greedy for the money that they’ll always come back to it. They can't handle having no money.’

But it's not only the girls who worry about finances -- The Fantasy Club also looks at the miserable clients who are fleeced because of their obsessron for lapdancers, including one man who spent £4000 over two nights at the club. Watch this and you can laugh or you can cry. (Brian Donaldson)

Pole models: The Fantasy Club

PREVIEW Universe: Alien Life Channel 4, Mon 6 Dec, 9pm.

Alien insurrection: Universe

In 1996, NASA told the world that fossilised single-cell organisms had been discovered within a meteorite from Mars. Microbiologists were most pleased to tell us all that these frozen life forms could be brought down to earth, stored in some big jars and revived later. To what end, no one seems sure.

Yet it may be Jupiter where we are likely to encounter a burgeoning living environment first, what with the ocean of water exrstrng somewhere within its surface. Will NASA’s Jupiter probe in 2010 be the ultimate breakthrough or the beginning of our end?

In this final part of the spectacular Universe, John Hurt purrs about the likelihood of aliens being (naturally, it is impossible not to picture one ripping from his belly as he does so) while Stephen Hawking roboticises that a bloodbath may await. We can conclude then, that the phoning home will be for extra- terrestrial back-up. (Brian Donaldson)


Real Life: One Man, Six Wives And Twenty- Nine Children

Scottish, Thu 9 Dec, 10pm.

’I think that when most people see polygamy they see this horny old man that wants to have sex with young women.’ Cari is wife number four of Tom, a 51-year-old Mormon fundamentalist who believes that the more wives and children he has, the more elevated his status will be in heaven.

Yet, what else could a paunchy, middle-aged man want from youthful lovelies but sex - and what on earth do they see in him? In addition to highlighting the ideas behind polygamy, this ponderous Real Life attempts to answer these questions.

It's a well-crafted portrait of the day-to-day lives of Tom and his gargantuan, hyper Walton-like brood, which shows them eking out a living from their collection of trailers in the Utah desert. The overall impression is that they are, first and foremost, a family, something which many of their critics seem to conveniently forget. (Dawn Kofie)

Family business: Real Life