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TV preview : TV preview : Steve Hendry on the next seven days on the box; Fenner hits a new low.

Byline: Steve Hendry

JIM FENNER, the biggest villain on the box, has been getting a taste of his own medicine in Bad Girls.

Larkhall Prison's Mr Nasty - alias actor Jack Ellis - has always been more interested in having his wicked way with the women banged up behind bars than setting them on the straight and narrow.

Now the jail's new gay governor, Neil Grayling (former Coronation Street star James Gaddas) wants him to change his ways - and save his kisses for him.

Jack, 45, may be more used to his lying, blackmailing character being the sexual predator but he has been delighted to be on the receiving end for a change.

He said: "The great thing about all of this is it gave me the chance to play a bit of comedy.

"It got me away from Fenner's brooding, nasty presence. He is such a predatory character, but now the tables have turned and he has become the victim. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

"A lot of people have enjoyed it, but it's also quite dark and not particularly politically correct."

He's not kidding. Fenner dealt with the governor's unwanted affections by sexually assaulting former fiancee Karen Betts, played by ex-Emmerdale star Claire King.

But Jim, true to form, doesn't think he's done anything wrong - demonstrating perfectly why he made it into a recent poll of Channel 4's Top 10 TV B******s.

Jack joked: "My wife says she could have told them that 20 years ago.

"What I love about Bad Girls is that one minute you think you're in a really dark episode of The Vice - the next you are laughing your head off with the two Julies. We were very serious about it all in the first series, and saw it as a cross between Cracker and Prime Suspect.

"Now it's got elements of Coronation Street, EastEnders and It Ain't Half Hot Mum."

After years treading the boards in theatre and playing supporting roles in TV shows like The Knock, the role of evil Fenner has shot Jack to stardom. Over four series of the award-winning Bad Girls, he has tried just about every trick in the book - from affairs with prisoners to running a sauna empire and helping the notorious Shell Dockley (Debra Stephenson) to escape.

He said: "What it boils down to is you can't have a pantomime without a Demon King - and that's Fenner. The devil always gets the best lines.

"I've tried to play it with as much relish as I can. Maybe I have made it theatrical to some degree - like when people boo the baddie at a panto. I'm not asking people to boo the TV set... but I'm told some do."

Bad Girls has been a massive hit. Despite its critics, it has picked up Best Drama at the TV Quick Awards two years in a row, spawned nearly 200 websites and been sold across the world.

Jack said: "I'm constantly apologising for how successful the show is. Call it trash TV or whatever you like but people like it and they watch it.

"There are trashy elements in it but it reflects society. Let's face it, we all like to have our trash picked up once a week.

"Big Brother voice Marcus decides to play Dirty

YOU might not recognise Marcus Bentley's face, but you will definitely know his voice.

The Geordie provides running commentary on events in the Big Brother house. Now we are about to hear more of him now his vocal talents are gracing Sky One's new 'nasty' lunchtime game show Dirty Money. The hard-nosed quiz is based on contestants stealing from each other - and as the losers depart the show their only comfort is Marcus asking them: "Are you gutted?"

He said: "It can get down and dirty and it can be very tempting to give them a slap on the wrist, but I don't think Sky wanted me to be a pseudo Anne Robinson. So I'm just being myself, very sarcastic, instead.

"Some of the contestants haven't got an ounce of humour or self-deprecation about them." Marcus, who has just signed on for another four years as the voice of Big Brother, remains in the shadows of Dirty Money. Not that it bothers him.

He said: "I've never dreamed about becoming a game show host so I can't say it worries me. Voice-over is by far the most successful I've ever been at anything."


Rise (C4, Mon-Fri)

Hot Scots Kirsty Gallacher (back row, centre) and Edith Bowman (middle row, right) join a host of new faces who aim to help you start the day on Ri:se, but will they explain the point of the colon in the middle of the show's name?


Young, Gifted and Posh (ITV, Monday)

Pass the sickbag as five of the most spoiled brats you've ever seen - Donatella, Gavin, Tom, Jules and Alexander, pictured - let cameras track their free-spending lifestyles. Truly awful.


Coronation Street (ITV, Monday/Tuesday)

Deirdre (Anne Kirkbride) finally tells Geena (Jennifer James) she had a close encounter with her dishy fiance Dev (Jimmi Harkishin) after too much Christmas cheer. Handbags at dawn.


Inspector Lynley Mysteries (BBC1, Monday)

Posh cop Lynley (Nathaniel Parker) and his working-class sidekick Havers (Sharon Small) get their vicars in a twist as a clergyman is murdered in a Lancashire village where there are no secrets.


Alistair McGowan's Big Impression (BBC1, Friday)

Al impersonates TV interrogator Loui Theroux in Louis Potter and the Philosopher's Scone, backed by Ronni Ancona as TV chef Nigella Lawson and Jan Ravens as quiz mistress Anne Robinson.
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:TV Preview
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 28, 2002
Previous Article:TOP 5 FILMS.
Next Article:My Star frocks; EXCLUSIVE: Scots dress designer on her out-of-this-world creations for Natalie Portman.

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