TELEVISION / A Proplus a day keeps cleanliness at bay
Saturday 06 August 1994
The Young Ones casts a shadow over this fly-on-the-grimy-wall documentary, which began its final series last night; the front of the house in The Living Soap even looked like that in the student sitcom. 'Student Grant' from the comic Viz also appeared to have been brought to life - in the form of Colin, all dreadlocks and dreadful attitude. But the documentary demonstrated that real students can be far more obnoxious than their fictional counterparts.
Colin spent his time moaning about the other residents nicking his milk and whingeing about being caught driving without insurance. 'If they were going to be lovely,' he said of the police, 'then they should let people like me off.' His letter of mitigation spun the story that he was dashing to meet some elderly people in Calais; he considered adding that they had Alzheimer's. Later, he made a very laboured attempt to put up a washing-line, because 'I do need underwear actually - the rest has got skidmarks.'
Mark the medic was not much better. In the opening titles, he was shown playing rugby and downing a pint of Guinness in one - on this evidence, a fair summary of his student life. His flourishing of a 'bag of wank' at a post-match function made you slightly concerned about his bedside manner.
Battling with revision, meanwhile, Nadia thought the answer lay in Proplus. 'You've got to be really, really - what's the word again? - really, really knowledgeable.' I'd pop those pills now if I were you.
The students' antics may have caused you to reach for the Alka Seltzer as often as they appeared to, but they certainly made for compelling television. Stephen Dodd's neat direction contrasted with the messiness of the students' lives. The struggling Spider tearfully contemplated her future in front of a poster which read 'Do Something about It.' Colin's comment that Jason 'body-builds too much' segued into footage of Jason, muscles bulging out of his T-shirt, failing miserably to remove the cork from a bottle of wine. The only duff note was struck by Brian Cant's jaunty voiceover, which sounded as if he was still on Playaway.
The picture painted by The Living Soap is inevitably selective, and those featured may (like Noeline from Sylvania Waters) feel they have been stitched up - they are, after all, young and inexperienced. Even so, you still couldn't help thinking that Paul Calf - Steve Coogan's comic creation, whose hobby is punching students - is an eminently reasonable man.
Wendy, the subject of another fly-on-the-waller, Paramedics (BBC 1), inspired much more admiration. Her training to become a paramedic was injected with phrases familiar to any keen viewer of Casualty; the air pulsed with 'cardio-pulmonary resuscitations,' and 'intubations'. Like Casualty, the programme imparted the warm feeling that our lives are safe in their hands - an impression enhanced by the narration of Kevin Whately, better known as that nice doctor from Peak Practice.
It was all very thorough, but just the tiniest bit slow. Which, after The Living Soap, left you with the sneaking suspicion that in documentary - as in drama - the bad guys have all the best lines.
filmIn Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: What we know about JJ Abrams' film
Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Plebgate: Andrew Mitchell’s reputation in tatters as judge rules he used the word ‘pleb’