small screen

Don't get me gong...

It's always been frustrating, come the Oscars, when we Brits are treated like the scurvy, irrelevant backwater that we are - we don't get live terrestrial coverage of the prize-giving itself. But all that's changed this year. If you stay up very late on Monday evening (or better, don't actually get out of bed till, say, midnight), you'll be able to catch all the lugubrious goings-on as they happen (3am BBC2). Gasp and swoon as our very own Baz (right) glides among the superstars, bringing his unique hood-eyed earthiness to bear on the self-regarding helium jockeys. This year the Brits have, like, a really good chance of winning something (as we're always told): Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren for The Madness of King George, or Richard Curtis for writing (curse him) Four Weddings and a Funeral. But our plucky emissaries are up against the giants of no-brain cinema that are Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump, so it's going to be a fine old moral ding-dong. If you lack the backbone to stay up till 6.30am (wuss!), you can catch Barry's useful BBC1 highlights programme on the Tuesday, at 10.30pm.

And finally...

The BBC have come up with another educational wheeze: re-edited videotapes of original war newsreels presented in the modern style by renowned serious person Sue Lawley. 1939, 1944 and 1945 are the years currently available under the witty nomenclatures News 39, 44 and 45 (£10.99), and the clash of modern televisual styles with footage intended for cinematic showing is in itself interesting. And, in an odd way, valuable: that morale-rallying Path presentation style nowadays makes real events seem more like cartoons than moments of import, and it would be unwise to allow the horrors of the war to sink to a level with Dick Dastardly and Deputy Dawg.

I am in paradise

If you happened to tune in to The White Room, Channel 4's exceedingly groovy new music show, last week, you'll have seen a shining pop moment. Ray Davies (right), of seminal 60s tunesmiths the Kinks, sang "Waterloo Sunset" with Damon Albarn from Blur, and it was a feast of cutely strained falsetto and much chummy we're-both-pop-stars grinning. More Kinks coming up your street this Tuesday on Without Walls (9.30pm C4), the second programme in John Piper's "My Generation" series. We hear about brothers Ray and Dave Davies hating each other a lot, and about how drummer Mick Avory nearly murdered Dave on stage in 1965, and there's lots of early archive footage and interviews. We also, of course, get those songs - Ray Davies is clearly such a genius that it's no wonder he was driven by industry pressures to a nervous breakdown in 1973. Here's what Damon says: "He's my blueprint... I don't give a shit about the image of the Kinks... I just thought the songs were fantastic." So good, indeed, that the lad decided to write them all again. Ooh, back in the knife drawer.

Streak and chips

The latest batch of video releases contains some real corkers from somewhere around the bottom - or maybe the breasts - of the barrel. Streaker (Video Collection £12.99) uses the deadpan comedian Bob Mills to present a selection of great sporting moments from the 1970s including the Jesus lookalike meeting his calvary in a policeman's helmet (right), a princess Diana lookalike cartwheeling daintily among the cricket stumps and, of course, tabloid heroine Erika Roe, now a Dutch farmer's wife and regretting not a moment of her past: "If you're thinking of streaking," she says, "Get an agent, go on a diet and enjoy yourself." The problem, of course, is that genuine streaks are the product of impulse, and thus examples of the genuine article caught on camera are relatively sparse; the shortfall is made up from clips of habitual exhibitionists with that look either of intense concentration or "look what a wacky geezer I am" that goes with it. Still, if you like the human backside in its unfettered glory, this could be the tape for you.

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