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Switch On; Cops steal your breath.

They got it right from the wham-bang prison- break start of this all- action cop drama.

It grabbed you by the throat as a mum realised something was wrong and raced to grab her kids and drag them to safety.

Then, seconds later, an explosion sent debris scattering across the area where the kids had been, and villain Jesse Birdsall came running from a hole in the prison wall.

Then that was followed by more well-choreographed villainy.

An old dear and her tiny grandson were dragged away at gunpoint and, slick as you like, a security van was hijacked and opened like a huge tin of beans.

But this was action TV with a bit of a brain. So the baddies who opened the security safe were covered by a yellow dye ... which left them as tainted as the cash.

There's thought, too , behind the coppers in this Sweeney for the 1990s.

After just one edition we know that Reece Dinsdale is touched by tragedy (his son died of leukemia), but he's hard as nails when need be.

He illustrated that when he told a suspect: "If you don't give me a confession, I'll rip your neck out." It may not be politically-correct but, he's not going to be messed about. It was all going so well till the climactic scene, when romeo copper Brendan Coyle was bang in Jesse Birdsall's sights.

Instead of shooting him in white-hot rage, Birdsall made the cop run, so that he could chase after him and run smack into the bullet fired by Coyle's last-minute rescuer.

That ending was too contrived. Still, it isn't meant to be real, I suppose and there was enough here that did work to suggest that Thief Takers will be a winner.

Funnyman Paul Merton finds himself dipping into classic comedy almost by accident.

Originally it had been suggested that the star of Have I Got New For You should remake the Tony Hancock hit, The Lift.

After that, someone figured that they might have stumbled on a winner and Paul should star in a series of eight, written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.

Five of the shows in the series are new versions of Hancock comedies starting with Twelve Angry Men, in which Paul takes the role as the world's most irritating jury foreman.

Paul agreed to the series because he felt that Galton and Simpson comedy is as funny today as 30 years ago.

The telly team behind tonight's reconstruction really were working in the dark.

They recreated the heroics of a bomb disposal team who had to deal with a 1000 pound unexploded bomb that was found in a gas holder.

So the producers found a disused gas holder and the TV crew were lowered 100 feet in pitch blackness.

They also had to cope with another tricky difficulty. Because voices echoed off the walls of the gas holder, it was almost impossible to hear what anyone was saying.

They get round that problem by having a member of the TV team swim back and forward from the actors and the camera crew.

After the original mission at a gas works in East London, the bravery of the soldiers involved was recognised when three of them were awarded The Queen's Gallantry Medal.

Rab C. Nesbitt Cousin Shug returns from England and tries to move into the fast-food business. But he runs foul of the local heavy - played by former Eldorado star Campbell Morrison - who is Godfather of the pie world. Shug, who is only out to improve the eating habits of Govan, and earn himself a dishonest crust, with gravy, of course, prepares to take up the challenge.

BBC2, 9.00 pm

The Ruth Rendell Mysteries: Chief Inspector Wexford (George Baker, who's considering his acting future) returns in a three-parter titled Simisola.

The police are trying to trace a missing teenager when they find a woman's body.

That excellent actress Jane Lapotaire guests in the whodunit?

ITV, 9.00 pm

The Ggirlie Show: Designed to shock, the late-night chunk of women behaving badly, includes dishy American model Rachel Williams, right, in the role of presenter.

She's joined by Sara Cox and Clare Gorham as they set out to do the worst of The Word.

It will be interesting to see how much of the show really hits the button and how much is just some loose air-time to allow the girls to do what they want - and to heck with the audience.

Channel 4, 11.05 pm

Alive: If you have any doubts or fears about flying, better give this a miss. The opening plane crash is terrifying. Based on a true story, the 1993 drama - which stars Ethan Hawke - is about a bunch of college kids surviving a crash in the Andes. When they run out of food they're forced to make a stomach-churning decision.

BBC1, 11.10 pm
COPYRIGHT 1996 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Millar, John
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 26, 1996
Words:815
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