INSIDE THE TUBE

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From Loadsamoney through to Tory Boy, Harry Enfield (above) has proved an effective, broad-brush political satirist. He will have more room to express these skills in Norman Ormal - A Very Peculiar Turtle, a one-off 50-minute political comedy currently in production. Due to be transmitted on BBC1 next month, the film will follow the model of Enfield's previous, highly-successful venture into send-up documentary territory, the profile of the Lord High Luvvie, Norbert Smith. The new programme will chart the politician's life from his humble beginnings as the son of a lowly confectioner to the dazzling heights of special adviser to the Millennium Dome Experience.

In the 1970s, Ormal managed to come back from an ill-advised relationship with a topless House of Commons typist called Gayna Slutt, to pilot through the Pool Tax - a levy on those without swimming pools - in the 1980s. Then, during this decade, he invented the famous election-winning slogan for the Conservatives - "Labour Eats Household Pets" - before, like all sensible Tories, scarpering to New Labour.

The script - the first television offering from the ubiquitous journalist, Craig Brown - looks to have captured the meaninglessness of so much political speech. Norman muses on being a "political animal" and reckons he's a turtle: "I've a very hard shell, but I've a soft side that's rather sweet.... I never bury my head in the sand, but I do bury my eggs to bear fruit when the new season comes!"

Mrs Thatcher and Norman's brother, Terry Major Ormal, are said to crop up in the drama. But it is not thought that Peter Mandelson, whom Enfield famously berated at a reception at 10 Downing Street, will be making an appearance in the programme.

In a busy period for political satire, the BBC is also currently making Clinton: His Struggle with the Dirt for broadcast on 2 November. Said to be "inspired by the factual brilliance of series such as Cold War, The Nazis: A Warning from History and Driving School", this spoof documentary is set in 2028, when Governor Cameron Diaz of Alabama has just been elected President of the United States.

Reflecting on the scandal which gripped the White House 30 years previously, it includes interviews with an 80-year-old ex-President Clinton, a 55-year-old Monica Lewinsky, and the former Prime Minister, who now goes by the name of Antonia Blair. All is explained by the fact that the series is being written, directed and produced by Armando Iannucci (above).

On a more serious note, journalist Catherine Bennett presents The Baby Business, an in-depth look at the process of giving birth. Starting next month on BBC2, this challenging three-parter examines some of the misconceptions surrounding such topics as IVF and adoption. JR

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