We're watching "The Ghost of Ivy Tilsley" (Sat C4), part of a new Channel 4 season, Fame Factor, looking at the darker side of celebrity. Other programmes include a film about stalkers, "I'm Your Number One Fan", and one about the missing guitarist of the Manic Street Preachers, Richey Edwards - "The Vanishing of Richey Manic" (Sat C4). Now, like many of the people interviewed here (a mixture of disc jockeys and fans), I hope Edwards is alive and well. This film, however, verges on Spinal Tap at times, with its solemnity and directorial conceits. I hope he is sane enough to have a laugh at it.
Guy Jenkin's latest political satire concerns the (Tory) Government's majority of one (played with the requisite oleaginousness by Tom Wilkinson), who crosses over to Labour, thus precipitating a general election. It has to be said that Crossing the Floor (Sat BBC2) is a lot better than Jenkin's last offering, The Lord of Misrule. But its cast of sleazy Tories and sleek New Labour spin-doctors (the baddies here) is so over-familiar that one can only hope for a surprise Lib Dem victory to give us some fresh targets. There's a lovely spoof of a Tory Election Broadcast, by the way, which I suggest Central Office has a look at.
In common with the trend to reduce human experience to chemicals in the brain, Equinox: Staying Alive (Sun C4) asks whether disaster survivors have just been damned lucky, or whether said chemicals have kicked in, thus greatly increasing their chances of saving themselves. Instead of freezing up (or, in the case of some of the victims of the Manchester airport disaster in 1985, trying to retrieve their hand-luggage), they have developed tunnel vision and have literally trodden on other people to get to the escape slides. I suppose there's only one way to discover one's own chemical make-up.
On the subject of survivors, The South Bank Show (Sun ITV) features Norman Mailer on his new book, Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man. Mailer, posed Hemingway-like against a deep blue seascape, is on good form, despite a worrying tendency to forget words. The contentious gist of the book is that Picasso did all his best work before the age of 30. An interesting postscript is that, like Turner, he obsessively sketched vaginas at the end of his life.
And finally, Clive Anderson, newly signed by the BBC for Clive Anderson All Talk (Sun BBC1). My own well-worn view on Anderson is that he is usually so bent on cracking jokes off the back of his guests' answers that they might as well not be there half the time. At his best, though, his quick-fire repartee can jolt celebs out of their PR patter. His first guests - Eddie Murphy and Ben Elton - should be able to give as good as they get.Reuse content