Television preview

Bookmark Sat 8.05pm BBC2 Hamish Macbeth Sun 7.15pm BBC1 Encounters: Mad Dogs and Englishwomen Sun 8pm C4 Coronation Street - the Cruise Sun 8pm ITV Heart of the Matter Sun 10.55pm BBC1
Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Satellite viewers who forked out the extra pounds 9.95 to watch Mike Tyson annihilate Frank Bruno in 410 seconds obviously got a bad a deal as things turned out, but not that much worse than those who coughed up pounds 13.99 (the price at Blockbuster Video this week) for a Coronation Street video of Raquel and Curly's honeymoon.

The cover of this special 76-minute escapade clearly states "only available on video" - and, in the presumed belief that this was their only chance to share in Raquel and Curly's joy, something in the region of 750,000 Corrie fans have dug deep for the video. I'm not sure how they'll be feeling this weekend when ITV screens - yes - a special 60-minute episode, Coronation Street - the Cruise (Sun ITV) about Curly and Raquel's honeymoon. Their pounds 13.99 has bought them 16 minutes of exclusive Coronation Street. Not as bad as Tyson/Bruno - but not good.

The idea of screening this one-off seems to be to test the water for a fourth weekly Coronation Street episode, in an attempt to end BBC1's traditional dominance of early Sunday evening viewing. This timeslot was recently shored up for the Beeb by Ballykissangel and the returning Hamish Macbeth (Sun BBC1), the Highland copper with the Scottie dog and the constantly clenching jaw muscles, played by wee Robert Carlyle. And Carlyle is a magnificent presence - our own pocket De Niro. In Sunday's episode, there's hanky panky among a sect of religious fundamentalists, bacchanalian Buddhists with a taste for whacky baccy, and the conclusion (temporary, one feels) of last year's romantic cliffhanger.

If - and stranger things have happened - anyone was to make a film out of the 1970s pulp fiction of the late Richard Allen, pseudonymous author of such football terrace classics as Skinhead, Suedehead and Bovver Girls, and the subject of this week's Bookmark (Sat BBC2), then Robert Carlyle would surely be near the front of the casting director's thoughts. Some ageing "skins" in Ian MacMillan's film (touchingly still kitted out in bovver gear late into their thirties) are convinced that the author of such authentic fiction must have been one of them. In fact, he was a fiftysomething Irish-Canadian called Jim Moffat, living blamelessly on the Dorset coast, where he regularly banged out 10,000 words a day - never editing one of them.

On the subject of sub-cultures, Heart of the Matter (Sun BBC1) has a film about Ecstasy (ab)use, and we hear from a whole succession of youngsters, with pixilated eyes rolling around their heads like so many joint-winners at the 3.30pm at Doncaster. Is Ecstasy the new religion for the 1990s? Hold on, didn't we go through all this with dope in the late 1960s? Good old Joan Bakewell.

Still, rather synchronised t'ai-chi in a sweaty barn than a dose of rabies. The disease is a rather distant concept this side of Le Shuttle, but worldwide it yearly kills 100,000 people. Encounters: Mad Dogs and Englishwomen (Sun C4) follows the efforts of a British vet to prevent a rabies epidemic from sweeping Tanzania's Serengeti Wildlife Park. It looks a horrible way to die (be warned, there's footage of a boy in the throes), with victims contorting their bodies in violent spasms as they try to bite those around them. You'll never look at your pet labrador in quite the same way again.

Comments