small screen

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Back on the Chain Gang

Small screen is back. After an extraordinarily fiendish (and apparently motiveless) hostage saga in which this column was bound hand and foot with chafing irons in a none too well-appointed dungeon, and subjected to that exquisitely refined torture whereby the victim is deprived of sleep and reason by an aural assault of the complete works of TS Eliot, droned personally by the ghostly larynx of said poet, your hero was finally rescued by a shadowy figure who identified himself only as Moominpapa, and, by some arcane Norwegian magic, plonked back down in front of a comforting cathode-ray device by way of aiding a speedy convalescence. Thoroughly reirradiated, thank you, and just raring to let you know of the latest video releases. Viz: David Attenborough's World of Wildlife, a sumptuous series of six BBC naytcher tapes (out now, pounds 10.99 each). On offer: The Great White Shark, The Great Apes, Sea Otters and Elephant Seals, African Big Cats, Underwater Wonderland, and small screen's personal favourite, The Fox and Wildcat. Ahhh (left). Little foxy.

Where there's a Will

More tasty royal news, with the imminent transmission of Inside Eton (tonight 8.30pm Sky One). Although this documentary falls into the traditional media trap of portraying the boarding school as an entirely antiquated and removed system, it redeems itself with some good camerawork (the film- crew spent two years getting shots) and some insights into the competitive natures both of running such an institution, and of attending one. It seems unlikely that HRH's most formative years will be too much of a shock in a pretty balanced, if over-sheltered environment - and as for bullying in the school showers? Doubtful, when one considers the upper-pectorals of his live-in bodyguards. Anyway, Will's not as precious as one might assume, freshly returned as he is from his illegal quad-biking japes (above) in Aspen, Colorado.

Ars est celare artem

If you've been missing your cultcher of a Sunday night, thrill to the return of The South Bank Show (Sun 10.45pm ITV), profiling the simply massive Clint Eastwood. Other subjects will include William Blake (Peter Ackroyd plugging his new biography, mysteriously enough), lungster Luciano Pavarotti, yowler Jimmy Nail, and loads more. Come here, Melv, daaarling...

Word Up

It would be easy to diss Terry Christian, but small screen isn't going to. He's cool. You've probably heard that he's just been sacked from his job at Talk Radio UK, which he began in February, for allegedly "encouraging" a guest to speak lewdly about Christ. Notice that Mr Christian never actually said anything offensive himself. Ooh - the mellifluous tinkling of small screen's telephone announces a call from the man himself, laden with exclusive soundbites. "It's all a bit of a mystery to me," he says. "Contrary to popular opinion," he continues wryly, "I've never uttered a profanity on air." So what about this sacking offence then? "Well, you know, I can't stop a guest saying what he says. Those are things I would have expected to be tape dumped by the producer - and they weren't." Talk Radio is looking rather silly, isn't it, readers? Anyway, the good news is that Terry is back on London screens this week as a presenter on the new series of the zippy entertainments mag, Big City (Wed 11.10pm ITV). "It's something more mainstream - you know, The Word was so out there..." He'll be casting his eye over the latest in pop culture every week, and displaying once more his true screen eloquence, in a far different league from the nervous garrulousness favoured by some media pundits. Good. And if you imagined Terry was too big for his boots, think again. Flying up to Edinburgh for the premiere of Braveheart, he discovered he was sitting next to Sean Connery. Did our Tel bother the great man? No, he just sat there in silent awe. Go, Tezza!

Compiled by Steven Poole and Rory Watson

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