TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Life is the name of the game . . .

Rik Mayall used to be a standard- bearer for alternative comedy, challenging the complacent comic establishment of panto, time-share endorsements and double-glazing ads. On The Young Ones, he appeared in a send-up of pro-celebrity golf. In a neat inversion, he now plays MICKY LOVE (9pm ITV), an old-fashioned, middle-aged gameshow host keen on golf whose primetime slot is threatened by a young 'raw, out-there, happening, in-your-face' comedian (Alan Cumming). In the first of Granada's trilogy Rik Mayall Presents, Love foresees a terrifying vista of afternoons presenting celebrity noughts and crosses and gardening quizzes. Peter Morgan's smart script picks up on the minutiae of life in the media. A drama producer in the executive dining-room complains in passing: 'Morse, Morse, Morse, that's all I ever hear. Can you make it more like Morse?' In period clips, Love is seen swigging Jack Daniels with a dolly bird on each arm and urging the Sex Pistols to say something outrageous. He talks to his wife in gameshow host catch- phrases. The only quibble might be the similarity between Love's network and Network.

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