TELEVISION / Jason and the argonauts: James Rampton on David Jason, safe sex, expensive toys and Neil Kinnock's inexorable rise to showbiz stardom

A film of David Jason reading out the telephone directory would be guaranteed good viewing figures. So it was only a matter of time before somebody came up with the idea of putting him in a detective drama. Yorkshire Television are so confident that A Touch of Frost (Sunday, ITV) will send the BARB statistics off the radar that they have already commissioned a second series.

On the strength of the first episode, 'Care and Protection', their confidence looks justified. Sometimes Jason's Detective Inspector Jack Frost appeared to be merely a Greatest Hits Compilation of other telly 'tecs; he is workaholic, lonely, and prone to over- identification with suspects (Inspector Morse), he has an ill wife (Taggart), and he refuses to play it by the book (all of them). Furthermore, the prickly relationship between the grizzled old pro (Frost) and the naive young sidekick (Matt Bardock) has become as hackneyed as policemen saying 'You're nicked' or ' 'ello, 'ello, 'ello.'

But director Don Leaver often contrived to raise the material above the level of join-the-dots detective drama. In one scene, the camera went on a long, slow pan around Jason's still face; too exhausted to sleep, he stared vacantly at a television blaring out weird Oriental music in the wee small hours.

Jason suffers from the Michael Caine Syndrome; however many fancy sideburns and period costumes you put him in, he always looks and sounds the same. When Frost told his sidekick 'never wear a suit you wouldn't be happy letting a drunk be sick on', it was difficult not to think of Del Boy admonishing Rodney in Only Fools and Horses. Cast against type, he soon reverts to it. But, like Caine, Jason has presence. Short, balding, greying and jowly he may be; but he's still a star.

Neil Kinnock is fast becoming one too. On the back of an appearance on Clive Anderson Talks Back, he was interviewed at greater length by David Dimbleby on Neil Kinnock: the Lost Leader (Saturday, BBC2). Kinnock came as close as politicians ever get to admitting a mistake when he expressed regret about aspects of the triumphalist Sheffield Rally before the last Election. If he had toned down the rock star-style whooping that evening, Dimbleby might have been interviewing the Prime Minister rather than a stand-in on the Jimmy Young show. But then, this would have deprived us of the sight of Kinnock as a competitive guest on Have I Got News for You (Friday, Saturday, BBC 2) laughing at Margaret Thatcher and John Major, but also at himself when finding he had once again surged into an early lead he could not sustain.

To the disappointment of millions, Sex (Saturday C4) was not the long-awaited television adaptation of Madonna's best- seller, but an Australian spoof documentary about the dangers of unprotected sex. Much of the send-up was well-observed. One lad, wanting to impress his girlfriend with his New Man credentials, told her: 'I'll cuddle anything - bricks, saucepans.' And a couple, who only learnt about protection through sex education films, made love with a carrot sheathed in a condom on their bed-side table. Despite the familiarity of the pseudo-documentary device, Sex made its point in the most effective way - through parody, rather than proselytising.

As parents swoon and children screech in front of the Christmas displays in the shops, 'Toying with the Future', a timely Equinox (Sunday C4), examined this apparently recession-proof industry. Debra Hauer's programme - which might have been subtitled 'Toys R Dosh' - occasionally lapsed into cuteness but, in the main, the cutting helped rather than hindered the story. A precocious young girl rejected the sexual stereotyping of toys and then footage from a toy trade fair showed a stall offering, 'Building Sets Designed for Girls.' Showing off the adorable little pink homes, the company rep proudly informed us that 'you can actually decorate the dream' with stick-on chintzy curtains.

This film offered a candidate for The World's Second Worst Job: the composer of music for computer games. (The holder of the World's Worst Job is, of course, Mark Lamarr, who trails traffic jams for The Big Breakfast.) But Equinox was strongest on how much the toy world has changed. Once the Meccano Guild handbook urged children to be 'clean in thought and habit' and an advertisement for a sickly yellow Meccano monster enthused that it was 'gay in space-age colours.' Those were the days.

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor