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.
TV reviewBroadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair
Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere
TVThe Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
Poldark, series 1 finale, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 3, review: Sansa and manhood-lopping torturer Ramsay Bolton - really?
The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove