anticipates the return of BBC Scotland's wild and witty comedy

success, Naked Video.

PART of the perversity of modern life is that one expects television's

funny people to be serious. Actors just doing their job, and perhaps

even dreaming of playing Hamlet. Not so with Naked Video and its team.

The realisation comes when you see hear raucous laughter at the

rantings of Gregor Fisher's Rab C. Nesbitt, and discover that the

appreciation comes from Tony Roper. Andy Gray sits nearby and chuckles

at one of Helen Lederer's wine-bar soliloquies, and everyone has a good

giggle at the man-mad characters portrayed by Elaine C. Smith. Including


So it is not too deadpan after all, this comedy business. ''Even if I

weren't involved in it, I'd still watch it at home and laugh,'' Elaine

tells me, and it is obviously true. Naked Video starts another networked

run next Friday and is well established as one of BBC Scotland's major

comedy successes.

The cast find the whole thing quite funny. It is an achievement to get

them to take the whole thing seriously. And just as you are succeeding,

BBC Scotland Controller Pat Chalmers appears at your side to tell them

how funny the first sketch was. Dan Quayle making like a performing

seal, ha ha. The boss is clearly a fan.

The secret of the programme's success seems to be that everyone enjoys

his or her work. ''We are also attracting some smart scriptwriters,''

head of comedy Colin Gilbert tells me. ''We are inundated with

high-class material.''

It means Naked Video should have no trouble in maintaining its

reputation for sharp and up-to-the-minute humour. Friday's offering has

sketches about Anne and Mark, Mo Johnston, Nirex, hormonal imbalance,

Salman Rushdie, yuppie flu, Sheena Easton and Prince, and Prisoner: Cell

Block H.

We also see the latest from the new Outer Hebrides Broadcasting

Corporation, which assures us that the ozone layer problem is getting

worser and worser, and a networked notification of a four-minute nuclear

strike warning which is for everyone ''except viewers in Scotland.''

And by the way, it is argued that sex might be a substitute for

chocolate. Before debating the point, they ask you to consider how many

chaps measure up to a Curly Wurly.

You will have gathered by now that Naked Video is maintaining its

slightly risque reputation. But ''we don't snigger as much in the new

series,'' says Colin Gilbert.

It is evident that it owes much to its scriptwriters. ''We just turn

up and act out the scripts,'' says Tony Roper. ''I'd hate to have to

write. Too much like hard work.''

Among the writers is Ian Pattison, who provides Helen's soliloquy

material and the eccentric philosophies of the bandaged Rab Nesbitt. He

is very much a key man, but you will notice that no fewer than 33

writers are credited at the end of the programme. ''Even if they have

provided only a one-liner, we recognise them,'' says Gilbert. ''It

provides encouragement and we all benefit.''

The team also now includes 27-year-old Les Rowley, a Yorkshireman who

has made Glasgow his base after a spell in London writing for Roy Hudd

among others. ''Things are moving in Glasgow, in a big way,'' he says.

As for the performers, a newcomer in the form of Kate Donnelly

promises to make an impact. You might have seen her in Channel 4's

Halfway To Paradise, or on stage as part of the Funny Farm, and

therefore be aware of her character Georgina, who likes to regard

herself as solid upper-middle-class.

Georgina makes her appearance later in the series, but Kate is

involved from the beginning. One of those best pleased is Elaine C.

Smith, who considers the series needed increased female representation.

Two of the older hands, Andy Gray and Jonathan Watson, are also

involved in BBC Scotland's other big success story, City Lights: they

are possibly better known as Chancer and as the wee bank clerk with the

moustache. They are to be involved in yet another joint venture when

they team up in pantomime later this year in Inverness.

Gray is to play Fatima and Watson Ali Baba in the Eden Court's

production of Sinbad, for which Gray is also co-writing the script with

Eden Court director Catherine Robbins. It contains references to The

Beechgrove Garden, Prisoner: Cell Block H, and -- surprise, surprise --

City Lights.

Gray was at the Eden Court two years ago for its production of Dick

Whittington and has now been invited back. ''I think they want me to

settle my bar bill,'' is his explanation.

Whatever the reason, it is nice to be busy. For Naked Video fans, it

is also nice to see the team back on BBC2 for the next six weeks. They

seem to be on to a winner. Seriously.