So he does it to you before you do it to him.He's right, too. The pathetic and mendacious excuses routinely used by drivers flouting the law made me wince, though I suppose it's possible that all the conscientious ones who said "I'm sorry, I won't do it again," were edited out.Though Clampers is utterly devoid of context (why exactly was there a yellow line just outside Mr Gas Chambers's house? Could no one actually ask the council?), it is certainly full of comedy. Elongated and bearded, he is a malign version of Jeremy from Airport - the Wicked Fairy from Sleeping Beauty as opposed to Cinderella's magical godmother. He rides the van with the sliding door, barking orders and occasional bitchery at his Portuguese sidekick, Miguel - whose dreadful English does not really permit adequate reply.Ray's great virtue is that he repays abuse with spite He does it pre- emptively, in fact. He clamps your car precisely because he knows that you will call him a wanker (or - as one agitated man did - compare him to a genocidal Nazi engaged in the Final Solution).
But she also is a bloody nuisance, lurking behind a hedge until we decamp for 30 seconds to take the kids into school and then sadistically plonking a ticket on our windows, smiling all the while the thin smile of a jobsworth well done.Ray, the happy, camp clamper anti-hero, is a marvellous find for any docusoapary. But the cars of others are a menace to society, creating traffic jams and being parked irresponsibly This makes the traffic warden a highly ambivalent figure. Without her, we are doomed to blocked streets and car-packed pavements. Which is why Clampers (BBC1, Monday), the docusoap which follows the parking wardens, clampers and bailiffs of the London borough of Southwark, feels so much like a report from society's front line.The proposition is quite simple (though, naturally, never articulated in a programme that eschewed all analysis and most information): our own cars are necessary and good. And nowhere are these fights more vicious than when they concern the motor car. Number one was from Lydia's downtrodden old mum (39, and worn out from the breeding), who gave us a defiant "You go to Lunnon, my girl, wash your face in warm water," until tears ran down mother's, daughter's, and reviewer's faces.
Then Mrs Bronowski, a refugee who lost her baby to the Cossacks near Gdansk, exhorts Hannah to courage "I look at you and I see me I see a voman who don't give up." More tears. We were only missing a cameo performance from Robin Williams as the man who makes Tilda realise that she is a mathematical genius and helps her get elected to parliament.In those days they had more class conflict, but fewer cars. In fact, in the BBC's 1902, they only had two cars in the whole of London. But now that classes no longer fight each other, our battles have become more individual and less collective. But the further up the social scale you go, the women take over, the men being unobtrusive butlers or reclusive lords, always away on business.This opens the door to some splendid woman-to-woman dramatic moments, and in episode one there were at least two Hollywoodish impassioned "reach- for-the-stars" speeches, delivered from older to younger women.