The Observer from London, Greater London, England on March 26, 1978 · 29
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The Observer from London, Greater London, England · 29

London, Greater London, England
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 26, 1978
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Easter Monday 3.10-4.40 THESE THREE (BBC2, film, 1936) : William Wyler's first, necessarily oblique shot at filming Lillian Hellman's ' The Children's Hour ' (he re-made it less well in 1961), with Miriam Hopkins and Merle Oberon in fine form as the two small-town teachers destroyed by the vicious slanders of a frustrated girl (unforgettably played by Bonita Granville). 'But Sam, the play's all about Lesbians,' an aide cautioned producer Sam Goldwyn, who allegedly replied : ' OK, so we make them Albanians.' 4.40-6.15 COME AND GET IT (BBC2, film, 1936) : Lumbering period melodrama concerning lumber king Edward Arnold and two-fisted son Joel McCrea, who are both attracted by the daughter of Dad's former girl-friend (the wonderful Frances Farmer). 8.45 - 9.50 THE RUTLES (BBC2) : Eric Idle's pastiche of a biographical film about a group just like the Beatles is flashy, facile, technically accomplished, a monument to trivially applied ingenuity. It is really an overlong in-joke and suffers from a welter of sycophantic allusions which will flatter the Melody Maker readers for whom it is intended; it also suffers from its incapacity to see that it is a parody of the self purodic. The songs sound, to be sure, like the Beatles'; cleverly and expensively done sequences take off Richard Lester's tiresome gimmickry and Tony Palmer's 'resome earnestness; the screaming fans look Tuesday 8 30 - 9.0 ARMCHAIR THRILLER : The Girl Who Walked Quickly by Ray Jenkins (ITV): A claustrophobic student ' brilliant,' naturally is captured by a bunch of people bent on, yes, world domination or something of the sort and is subjected to a horrible, really rather chilling sort of brainwashing. Meanwhile his girl friend (Phyllida Nash) and Clive Merrison, as a sociologist, get on the mazy track which leads them to the youth's dour parents and, more promisingly, to the offices of a body called the Phobic Help Association. Hokum, of course, but not badly done. 9.25-10.45 PENNIES FROM HEAVEN : Better Think Twice by Dennis Potter (BBC1): Den Trodder and his all-singing, all-dancing production team seem to be fiag- MOTORING C Available from only one Any other make ol car also supplied ALfASUD 5M deposit 68.60 35 monthly rentals of 68.80 ., T1 deposit 78.46 35 monthly rentals of 78.46 ,. SPRIKT deposit 97.78 35 monthly rentals of 97.78 ALFETTA 1.6 GT deposit 1 21 .93 35 monthly rentals of 1 21 .93 GTV deposit 134.01 35 monthly rentals of 134.01 GTY STRAPA deposit 1 66.64 35 monthly rentals of 1 SbM ALFA SPYPER deposit 141.28 35 monthly rentals of 141.28 II you wish to pay 3 months' advance rental, pause tor 3 months, then monthly thereatter, deduct approxima'.ely 1.00 per 1,000 cost ot car, i.e., Altasud SM 65.64 monthly. SAAB 99 EMS. November l74. Excellent condition. Radio. 1,400. Tel: Bbhops Lydyard (Taunton) 4 J 232 1 . RANGE-ROVERS and Land-Rovcrs. L.H.D. and R.H.D. available for export and home market. Please Dhonc for details 01-303 6025 and 01-304 3131. CHRYSLER DEALERS FOR CHRYSLER IN SOUTHAMPTON Contact ALEC BENNETT LTD Portswood, Southampton S09 1LW Tel. (0703) 554081" For Chrysler in Sussex Conlact J. W. DAVIS MOTORS (Chrysler Main Dealers) 1 Marine Court, St Leonard's on Sea, Sussex Tel. 0424 426837 FOR YOUR CHRYSLER REQUIREMENTS contact ESSEX GARAGE ILCS) LTD. 211 ROMFORD ROAD, FOREST GATE, LONDON E7. TEL. 01-534 8554. LINDSAY BROS LTD CHRYSLER MAIN DEALERS 905925 HIGH ROAD, NORTH FINCHLEY N12 Tel: 01-445 1022 (10 lines) EMA LTD Tudor House Grove Rd South $ Southsea, Hants ' 0705 23261. Overlong in-joke? The Rutles, with Eric Idle (left). like those who mobbed the Beatles and a hundred other groups. The trouble is, there's no distance between the model and the representation of it. Idle plays the Paul McCartney part and that of the overawed reporter who narrates the thing; Neil Innes, who did the music, has Len-non's winsome yobbery to a tee and Mick Jagger appears as himself, compounding the archness of the enterprise. 9.0-11.25 VICTORY AT ENTEBBE (BBC1) : This American TV production was transmitted within three months of the Israeli commando raid which it celebrates. Much abridged, it'got a cinema release in this country and was withdrawn when the (slightly) better made tide of movies on the subject arrived. With Kirk Douglas, Elizabeth Taylor, Burt Lancaster and Julius Harris. 9.0-11.45 ZULU (ITV, film. ing a bit here ; there is yet another or, rather, exactly the same scene between Arthur and wife. And much of what follows is of a pretty mundane nature. Arthur's pregnant sweetheart cue for lots of bar-room bun-in-oven gags faces starvation in London, the Big City. She is picked up by a baby-faced ponce (Hywel Bennett, excellent) who puts her on the game. 9.30 - 10.20 THE MAN AWVE REPORT: Girls Be- hind Bars (BBC2): 135 adolescents and young women are locked up in the Bullwood Borstal : hardened cases, supposedly, though they typically turn out to be there for shoplifting and quite a few are married and mothers. Those interviewed seem to bear it well : the staff is humane, the regime even ' cushy.' But since they cost us 100 a week each one may wonder at the pointlessness of it. (S.B.) month's advance rental at the same highly competitive ratss R REGISTERED R.H.D. International 1110 pick-up Truck Auatomatic. P.A.S., I'.A.B. Only 14.000 miles from new, together with 26ft Styleline 5, 5th Wheel, Hitch Trailer. 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Ring JIM ROSE on 01-236 9422 or 01-236 0202 x 353360. 1964) : Handsomely-mounted imperial adventure movie in which the late Stanley Baker as actor-producer pays tribute to his fellow Welsh men's heroic stand at Rorke's Drift m 1879. Short on his torical perspective, but among the best British action films ever made. 9.50-10.45 AMERICANS The Indian Chief (BBC2) Most of this series's subjects have been less than sympa thetic people, only too willing to oblige Desmond' Wilcox with the length of rope that he has allowed them. So you might think that his choice of token Indian would be a sort of Uncle Tomahawk sell ing his people's birthright for a Lincoln and a well- stocked bar. Far from it, he has come up with a militant and humourless Qumault to whose tribe he otters a paean that is so effusive as to be embarrassing. Anna Nicholas In 'The Girl Who Walked Quickly.' Friday 7.30-9.0 A SONG FOR EUROPE (BBC1) : Aspirants to represent Britain in the European Song Contest. Among them are Christian from Glasgow who 'is passionately fond of animals and a football supporter '; Brown Sugar, one of whose members 'was born into show business of fire-eating parents '; and Midnight, who like cooking, yoga and tennis. 8.0-9.0 SURVIVAL SPECIAL: Castles of Clay (all ITV except London; 10.40-11.40 London) : One of the wonders of Alan Root's film about termites is its ability to transform its audience's initial revulsion into Saturday 12.30-4.50 GRANDSTAND (BBC1) : Grand National edition ; the big race starts at 3.20. 2.25-4.35 MRS MINIVER (BBC2, film, 1942) : Hollywood's best-known tribute to Britain at war-an effable, irresistible propaganda fantasy built around a ' typical ' Home Counties family, headed by Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, exuding grace under pressure. Andre Previn conducts Walton's First Symphony. Smoothly directed by William Wyler, it picked up six Oscars and did wonders for Anglo-American relations. 6.45-8.40 THE BATTLE FOR ANZIO (BBC1, film, KB THERE CAN be few more pleasurable activities for Easter Monday afternoon than listening to the repeat of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Radio 4, 3.2 p.m.), John Wells and Carl Davis's superbly inventive musical version of the Carroll book. The familiar complaint of Europhiles is aired in Say it in English; Only Louder (Wednesday, Radio 4, 7.20 p.m.) as Erik de Mauny pumps teachers and industrialists about why foreign language teaching is declining in British schools. If you can stomach those rather earnest attempts to modernise religion, religious rock musicals, try Paul Jones singing a modern mystery cycle (Creation . . . Plus !, Wednesday, Radio 4, 8 p.m.). Otherwise, there's a welcome Messiaen 70th 1 irthday Concert (Radio 3, 8 p.m.) from the Royal Festival Hall. The Road to Aldermaston (Thursday, T.adio 4, 7.45 p.m.) looks back to the first of those annual CND marches, on Good Friday 1958. Ian Rodger draws reminiscences from Pat Arrowsmith, Joan Bakewell, James Cameron and Christo pher Logue. This Week's Composer (Monday-Friday, Radio 3, 9.5 a.m.; is nanaei. Ann Karpf V V 7 J Wednesday 9.30-10.30 PLAY OF THE WEEK : For Tea on Sunday by David Mercer (BBC2) : The case of those playwrights who complained to the BBC about the Corporation's parsimonious wiping of the tapes on winch certain ot their Elays were recorded was not elped by the self-pitying, selt-important way in which they drew attention to their 'plight nor by the fatuous claims that were made for the ' lost ' works no more lost than any stage produc tion. Among the complainants was Mr David Mercer and among the tapes in ques tion was that ot tne ism production of this play which dates from his loony-with-an- Thursday 8.30-9.0 LIVING IN THE PAST : August (BBC2) : The campers daub themselves with woad ana wanaer aDom their site like the witless members of a fringe theatre group in order to celebrate a festival that some bright bod from the Beeb has told them about. One of their number, his mind no doubt made up by the experience of being smothered with clay and lard, announces that he will submit to the farcical experiment no longer and quits. 9.30-10.0 THIS WEEK (ITV) : A filmed report from Jonathan Dimbleby on the aftermath of the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon. 9.30-10.15 MEN OF IDEAS (BBC2) : The interrupted talker is Noam Chomsky. 10.15-11.10 BREAKAWAY GIRLS: Sally Wharton (BBC1): A middle-class girl (Louisa Rix) rebels against her parents' values. Last of the series. 10.25-12.10 a.m. THE LIBERATION OF L. B. JONES (BBC2, film, 1969) : William Wyler's last movie, an angry, uncharacteristically coarse study of racial bigotry and police brutality in a nasty Southern town. First-rate performances from Ros-coe Lee Browne as a black undertaker and Anthony Zerbe as his persecutor. passionate interest. The systems of life within their extraordinary free - form towers are shown with considerable art. Various weird and beautiful beasts travel through, feed from and live in these mad dwellings, from a snoring aardvark to an assassin bug covered by the bodies of its victims. Humans too exploit the termitaries, trapping swarms of alates which are evidently a gastronomic delicacy. (S3.) 8.25-9.0 THE MONEY PROGRAMME (BBC2) : An interesting, if tardy, feature on the ways in which the high street tailoring chains have been affected by the (now almost defunct) universal denim suit. 9.0-10.0 PEOPLE LIKE US by James Saunders after R. 1968): Ambitious, mostly unsuccessful' attempt to combine a large-scale entertainment war movie with an analysis (derived from Wyn-ford Vaughan-Thomas's firsthand report) cif what went wrong after the Anglo-American landing south of Rome in 1944. 8.15-9.50 THE LIVELY ARTS (BBC2) : Andre Previn conducts the LSO in William Walton's First Symphony. 9.50-10.20 JACK FLEA'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION by Ian McEwan (BBC2) : A CASA CASA CASA CASA CASA CASA CASA CASA CASA Your exclusive chance to buy a Picasso U I2 U ! 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House, 85 Great North Rd, Hatfield. Herts AL9 5EH. I VSV3 VSV3 VSVO VSV3 VSV3 VSVO VSV3 VSV3 VSV3 axe period. I have no idea why the BBC should have chosen to do this risible piece again perhaps it's the only way to appease the author. They have certainly done a fine job. Don Taylor has cleverly aped the directorial quirks of early 1960s teledrama, the selfconsciously ' experimental ' bits are done with the correct arty gravity and Jonathan Pryce, as the obligatory class warrior on day release from an asylum, looks just like David Warner as he wields his axe and spouts beautifully-written baloney. 9.55 -10.55 SPORTSNIGHT (BBC1) : Hugh Mcllvanney of The Observer assesses Red Rum's chances of gaining another National victory, and Liverpool take on Borussia in 0k fMMpMg ''"-visa viTanMMF Rebel : Louisa Rix In ' F. Delderfield (ITV) : To adapt the elegant epithet ' Gasmeter Fiction ' which applies to rooming-house sagas, this is Lawnmower Fiction everybody in a suburban street gets to know one another over the lonicera hedge and their lives become, as they say inextricably intertwined. The time is the interwar years; the producer must be deluding!, himself when he says that the persons represented are from 'an area of society which hasn't been covered by any other series.' 9.25-10.15 LIFE AT STAKE : Houston We've Got a Problem (BBC1) : Something to do with a cock-up in space. Apollo 13 is the luckless vessel and large is the luckless cast. repeat of a piece by this morbidly diverting writer about ' an affair between an adolescent and a schoolteacher twice his age. 10.50-12.45 a.m. THE HEIRESS (BBC2, film, 1949) : William Wyler's studied film version of James's novella 'Washington Square' about the disillusionment of a plain girl (Olivia de Havilland) at the hands of a fortune hunter (Montgomery Clift). Film previews by Leigh Woods. Additional TV previews by Sally Belfrage. ii,:.- n utn ..ill,.. AnotherEXCLUSIVEofferfromtliepublishers of CASA: the exciting 48-page full-colour magazine enjoyed by over 600,000 readers. Receive a free copy when you buy any of these CASA products. CASA. International House, 85 Great North Road, Hatfield, Herts AL9 5EH. Reg. No. 105368. n "SpringFlowers" Scarves I I atJl.i.JUeacli(tnci.pcp) 'Spring Flowers" Earrings at 7.50 a pair (incl. p&p) "Spring Flowers" Bracelets at 15. M each (incl. p& p) i I "Spring Flowers" Pendants I I at 7.50 each (incl. p&p) Muuey back immediately if iwl delighted. the away leg of their European Cup semi-final tie. 10.30 - 11.20 ARENA: THEATRE (BBC2) : The Red Ladder Theatre Company are filmed researching, rehearsing and performing a show that records something of the life and Luddism of Yorkshire weavers at the time of the introduction of mechanical looms in the 1840s. 11.0-12.0 CHAMPIONS by Barry Keefe (ITV) : Having beaten the IBA's ban, Keefe's meagre piece, about three Manchester United supporters, previewed here last week, was deservedly replaced by the League Cup Final reolav. Unless some thing else anything else comes up it will be shown tonight. Breakaway Girls. Actors in a life-sized, NASA- approved mock-up control wear pin-collar shirts and sweat; other actors in NASA-approved mocked-up Apollo 13 wear advanced punk outfits and sweat. 10.45-12.30 a.m. NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY (BBC2 film, 1968) : Surprisingly successful black comedy, ex pertly performed by Rod Steiger as a homicidal maniac with a great line in disguises and George Segal as the mother-dominated Jewish cop wha pursues him around New York. wmm 1 i t -S8t 7fc--yMlele hit: I tor Bipg Wm You've always wanted a Miele vacuum cleaner. You like the th ought of electronically regulating the full 950 watts of suction power -strong for carpets, gentle for curtains. You also like the telescopic hose which rotates a full 360 to help you effortlessly clean those most inaccessible places. The design, of course, is superb. Double-walled, anti-static casing for almost silent running. Automatic cable rewind and 'onoff both activated by simple foot switches. And hinged lid for easy emptying of the huge 7 litre dustbag. In short, you want a Miele because it's the best Because it's made by Miele, Germany's . Steel hips and chips IN the Golden September ot 1957, I set ott from Victoria Station for Venice with one, as yet, undiscovered quarter of the satire boom, called Alan Bennett. He was doing his shy best to hide an extra ordinarily well received hrst-class degree in his tory from Exeter College, Oxford. I was doing my best to hide something else from Exeter College, Oxford. Mr Bennett's degree did little to ' heln us when we arrived in that romantic set ting. Sure, the full moon shone over the Piazza San Marco. Sure, an orchestra played Beethoven's , Eighth Symphony. Sure, we stood, in proper awe, at the majesty of what now I would consider a vulgar overstatement. Then, when we got back to our lodging, we had troubles. He had dropped his styptic pencil down the washbasin, and I had fused the electric lighting with mv tazor. The honourable lady of the house patiently accepted our hesitant explanations and a placatory bunch of red roses. She was not, obviously, in the habit of being soft soaped by shy students. She, therefore, doubled the food and halved the price. I have, now, alas, lost her name and address. When this pale imitation of a gentlemen's grand tour was 'over, we came back to England to work. As befitted our degrees: he was in Oxford, researching and teaching. I was in a prep school, pretending I knew what a wing three-quarter did. We saw each other, occasionally. I invited him to a school staff party and, with a burst of uncharacteristic showmanship, he performed a sermon which he had written in Oxford. I say, a sermon.' I mean ' the sermon ' which now hangs, like a leaden pectoral cross, round his neck. No one has yet dared place two or three strategic ecclesiastical pebbles in their mouth and warble about sardine tins. All but two of my colleagues ached in their laighter. The two looked at the floor and in the ripping gales of applause begged to be excused. The Edinburgh Festival, the West End and New York (where he hid under the kitchen table on the first night of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962) all followed smoothly, and triumphantly. His subsequent career' as an author of plays for the stage and television has been well chronicled. The strange thing for me is that, until last week, I had never seen him at work. fof I, We met in the cafeteria of the Law Courts in the basement of Leeds Town Hall, where a television play called Me ! I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf ' was being prepared. The play is one of an amoitious group ot six (without music) he is making for London Weekend Television, in the autumn. There is no unifying theme except, as far as he can observe at this moment, steel hips, which seem to creep, in, if that's how you describe it, rather frequently. Steel hips and gentlemen of a certain middle age, with identity problems. With Alan Bennett, as the architect on site, is Stephen Frears, the foreman builder, the director. They are used, now, to each other's themes and variations. I have never been able properly to work put how Mr Frears can accurately convey the bleak wist-f ulness of Mr Bennett's vision of Morecambe into, real pictures. Crimplene, hair lacquer, spectacles, braces, steel hips and chips. What I observed in Leeds Town Hall was a subtle exercise in persuading people that firstly they were expected, nay encouraged, to have a good time the almost accidental result of which would be a good programme. Stephen Frears is expert at all that. It's a fairly unusual sight to see actors and cameramen and sound recordists and wardrobe ladies having to pat their hands over their mouths to stop the noise of their enjoyment at eleven o'clock at night in a draughty cafeteria in Leeds. Bv another accident which Mr Bennett could well have fictionally confected, a murder trial was being held in the courts above the cafeteria. Odd gentlemen ushers and other judicial dignitaries peeped through the swing doors, like children excluded from a grown ups' party, to marvel, round-eyed, at such a joyous exercise. Mind you, all the necessary insurance policies had been taken down and dusted. Thora Hird, for one, plays the hero's mother; Neville Smith, for another, the hero. He is teaching at a polytech largest manufacturer of cylindervacuum cleaners. These are the important reasons for buying a Miele. But, we do admit, our new prices are a very attractive bonus. The S224 'Electronic cylinder vacuum cleaner, with a full range of accessories, is now down to 99 And there are hefty savings to be made on the whole Miele range. SeeyourMieledealertoday. , 'Manufacturer's recommended retail price (indudingVAT). jLvuricmic Anything nic. She is bewildered by his lack of ambition and irritated by the fact that he is.not yet married, even though ,he is 35. ' What preys wickedly: upon his mind is his name, and the confrontation ijir the cafeteria forces thisi.-bubbje of worry to the surfa'pe. He asks his mam, directly, why she called him Trevor. Thora Hird, in northern pique, pushes her pebble glasses back up her nose and wipes the corners of her, mouth, unnecessarily, with a japer hankie. The more he goes on, and by God, he does, t(ie less his mam- can' Junder-stand. ' You're in the outside, lane before the pistol goes ' with a name like Trevor,' he says. 'It's not Trevor Proust, is it ? , Trevor Sibelius ?' Lenin, ' Sfcalin, where would they -'be if they'd been called Trevor ? ' When his mam has, had time to think, you cpri see illumination flush up behind her permed head. . ' Well,' she leans over triumphantly, what about Mrs Beaver's son? He's called Trevor.. He's the North Western Area,. Manager for Kayser-Bondor. Trevor hasn't stopped him getting to the top.' Then Miss Hird drums the melamine surface 1 in triumph and scoops off some invisible but offensive crumbs. Stephen Frears, with directorial eyes in tho back of his head, shouts ' cut,' more to give the technicians a chance to laugh aloud than for any need to re-position. Ever since we first met, in 1954. I have been envious of the bulge in Alan Bennett's well-worn jackets. The bulge is caused by a little black book wherein are jotted) remarks overheard on buses, in shops, in queues. Some -are pinched from friends whose forgiveness for their- use springs from the realisation that he will wait until the context is found for their proper display. Three years ago, he swears he heard two women, heads confidentially together, worrying about the doctor's verdict upon the shorter one's feet. 'What did he say then?' says the taller. ' He took one look at them,' says the smaller, 'and he says, "They'll never be any use to you again. Not as feet! '" That hasn't surfaced yet, but no doubt this experienced- pearl fisher knows exactly where and wljen to dive for it. ' t I V 1 less is a compromise.

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