By Teri Fitsell
There's a great new series starting tonight. And we're not talking about the multiple-award-win-ning, much-hyped Mob soap on TV2, The Sopranos.
Brilliant though that everyday story of mixed-up Mafia folk is, TV4 is also making viewers an offer they can't refuse with the lesser-known but no less watch-able The Young Person's Guide To Becoming a Rock Star (9.40 pm).
It's a rare clash of quality TV that should have you scrambling to remember where the record button is on the video.
Don't be misled by "Young Per-son" in the title. Anyone who's ever played air guitar or danced around the bedroom miming into a deodorant stick mike will enjoy this comedy-drama about a Scottish band that - by fair means and foul - claw their way to musical success.
The series has been compared to Trainspotting, although that's probably because of the broad Scots accents. A better Celtic comparison would be The Commitments, Alan Parker's hit movie based on Roddy Doyle's book. Rock Star has similar slick, snappy dialogue, is peopled by a fiercer but equally charismatic cast, and it too could be viewed as a sort of Fame with street smarts.
In The Commitments, Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) led his motley crew to success of sorts, providing a running narration through conversations in the bath with imaginary chat show hosts.
In Rock Star, Jez (Cieran McMenamin) supplies the narration, his voice-over explaining how his band, Jocks Wa-Hey, made it to the top.
"What was it that made me special?" he muses. "Perhaps I was just too sexy to fail."
In the first episode, Jez introduces us to his parents (Maw and Da), a couple of headbanging throwbacks who are too busy listening to Metallica to let Jocks Wa-Hey rehearse.
His Da in particular is a great character, resplendent in leather trousers and Motorhead haircut. His nurturing as a parent ("Ye touch that mike and ye're deed") is reminiscent of the Scots dad (played in heavy disguise by Mike Myers) in So I Married an Axe Murderer.
He's just one in an array of colourful characters. There's also Joe, the female lead guitarist with a respected right hook and a Glaswegian accent that could splinter granite.
And Kenny, the band's big, bruising, self-appointed manager. He turns up whenever they have a few quid in their pockets with the words, "Is that my 30 per cent?"
Kenny's pride and joy are his two guard dogs -he's taken great trouble to train them to be religious bigots.
If you still need a reason to watch (or record), Kenny also holds the secret of what really happened to the Bay City Rollers.
By Teri Fitsell