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PICK OF THE BOX; Hopefuls land in soapy bubble.


Soapstars (ITV, 9.30pm)

MOVE over Popstars, there's a new kid on the block.

Soapstars will do exactly what it says on the tin - find some new faces for one of our beloved national television institutions.

The search is on to find a new family to star in Emmerdale, the tale of every-day farming people (except no-one ever farms on it and there's more adultery per square foot than in Sodom and Gomorrah).

The cameras follow the acting hopefuls as they go through the rollercoaster ride of the auditions where they have just 15 seconds to impress.

Just like Popstars, there's a tough judge to impress - producer Yvon Grace. She's already been dubbed Yvon the Viper, and she's known for her forthright approach.

She says: "Fifteen seconds was the ballpark figure, but I was like 'no!' within three seconds a lot of the time."

Yvon - who has produced EastEnders and Holby City - is joined on the judges panel by casting director Paul De Freitas and scriptwriter Bill Lyons.

Their task is to find five actors - two adults and three children - from the thousands of entrants.

Buckle in for the ride, this could be bumpy.


A Small Summer Party (BBC2, 9.00pm)

A HIDDEN little gem of last year's telly viewing was Marion And Geoff.

Told in 10 bite-size video diaries, it was the story of Cardiff cab driver Keith and how wife Marion had left him for her colleague Geoff.

Now we have the prequel, the tragi-comedy of how Marion and Geoff's affair was uncovered.

Marion's just been given a great promotion at work, so proud hubby Keith (Rob Brydon) throws a barbie and invites the neighbours to celebrate.

Also, there is Geoff - unveiled as Steve Coogan - and he and Marion (Tracy-Ann Oberman) celebrate the promotion in their own way, upstairs in the bedroom while a frantic Keith makes small talk and sizzles sausages.

The whole sorry event is captured on camcorders by various guests and makes for hilarious, if painful, viewing.


Coupling (BBC2, 10.00pm)

FIRST of a new series of the award-winning comedy, which grabbed a Silver Rose for best sitcom at Montreux.

The top-notch cast are back, too, including Sarah Alexander, Richard Coyle, Gina Bellman and Jack Davenport.

In tonight's first episode, Jeff falls in love with a fellow train passenger, but comes across as a psychotic buffoon and tries to redeem himself by claiming he has a wooden leg.

And Sally is smitten by a surgeon.


The Cleverest Ape In The World (Channel 4, 9.30pm)

FASCINATING documentary following British psychologist Susan Blackmore a she meets some of the brainiest primates on the planet.

Blackmore has spent her life studying the origins of the human mind and considering what distinguishes us from the animals.

Now she's considering the intelligence of our ape ancestors and puts their cleverness to the test.

Chantek is a 24-stone orang-utan who successfully completes a puzzle, then asks his foster mother to get some mineral water from the car.

Sheba is an 18-year-old chimpanzee who recognises her own face in the mirror, puts on lipstick, then successfully completes a complex scientific experiment.

Then there's Al, a young chimpanzee mother hot-housed in Japan, who has a head for numbers far superior to most adult human beings.

In a final, nailbiting experiment, the doctor herself goes head to head with a 24-year-old chimpanzee, a species dating back more than five million years.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Pick of the Box
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 3, 2001
Previous Article:TARTAN ARMY'S KIT BAG; Support Scots in style.
Next Article:THE CLASS-TAWAYS; Teachers swap crowded city schools for tiny Highland secondary.

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