WITH the season of Burns Suppers fast approaching, it's the perfect time to "see ourselves as others see us".
With a sharp eye and even sharper wit, American writer Bill Bryson tells it like it is about the Britain of 1999.
Bryson has had a love-hate relationship with our country since coming to live here in 1973, before returning to the States in the pre-Blair Britain of four years ago.
Now, with the help of celebrity Brits like Stephen Fry and Alexei Sayle, Bill travels from Dover to John O'Groats (via Inverness and South Uist) to re-discover his former adopted home.
He doesn't like everything he finds... but says he still loves the place and its people.
STAR OF THE DAY
GOING into its 12th year with yet another series starting tonight, this firefighting drama isn't doing too badly for what started off as a "one-off" play!
Jack Rosenthal's original special is now a mainstay of ITV's Sunday ratings battle.
Adding a touch of femininity to the show is Heather Peace as Sally "Gracie" Fields.
She's in the thick of the action straight away as Blue Watch try to come to terms with the death of a much-loved colleague in a horrific cinema blaze.
Also back again is one of the original cast, Richard Walsh as the workshy Sicknote.
He once almost ended up in hospital after a spectacular fire stunt went wrong... and he had to be saved by REAL firefighters.
THOUGH he plays The Saint in tonight's big movie, don't exect to see a halo above Val Kilmer's head.
The actor gained a reputation for being a perfectionist who was difficult to work with.
But that accusation put Val, right, in a very unsaintly mood.
"The hideous thing about those allegations," he raged, "is that they're based on something that's true, and which I'm proud of - that I work really hard."
Val's certainly not been slacking in recent years. He's starred in Batman, Tombstone, The Island of Dr Moreau and as the voice of Moses in the cartoon epic Prince of Egypt.
And he's a veritable bundle of energy in the Simon Templar role, which easy-going Roger Moore made his own on TV.
Val gets through around a dozen costume changes in The Saint, in which his co-star is the stunning Elisabeth Shue.
Offscreen, Val had to pay pounds 4.5million to divorce his English actress wife, Joanne Whalley.
But it seems one thing they had in common was a love of cars - their children are called Mercedes and JACK!
(Sky Premiere, 9.30pm)
FANGS for the memories Christopher Lee and Bela Lugosi, but those old vampire dramas wouldn't frighten the family cat these days!
Some new blood had to be injected into the legend - and it's come in the shape of Ultraviolet, which starts on satellite tonight.
Jack Davenport, right, who starred with Daniela Nardini in This Life, plays modern-day vampire-hunter Detective Sergeant Michael Colefield.
He has trouble tracking down the 1990s' undead, who seem very alive indeed. They look, act and behave like normal human beings - until they get within biting distance of a neck!
Colefield is recruited into a secret "hit-squad" which has to wipe out the country's growing population of blood-suckers.
But Colefield's best friend has joined the undead. And they must ALL be exterminated.
Sadly, a crucifix is of little use and garlic doesn't work either!
Tonight sees the first of six weekly episodes of a thrilling drama that horror fans will just love to get their teeth into.
(Sky One, 9pm)
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|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Jan 10, 1999|
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