Shakespeare Re-told: Macbeth (BBC1)

Extraordinary People: The Woman With Half A Body (five)

THERE were buckets of blood but few laughs in Peter Moffat's re-telling of Shakespeare's Macbeth, which turned the ambitious Scot into a celebrity chef.

Joe Macbeth didn't like his underlings using dirty words in the restaurant kitchen. The words in question were Gordon Ramsay. "It's bad luck to say it out loud, just call him the Scottish chef," a colleague explained in a neat reference to the superstition about it being bad luck to say Macbeth in a theatre.

This re-imagining of the tragic tale was as sleek, stylish and cold as the stainless steel kitchen in which he worked. Moffat had some ingenious ideas, like turning the three witches into three binmen who told "the kitchen warrior, the cooking Braveheat" that Michelin stars were coming his way.

Wife Ella (Keeley Hawes) urged on husband Joe Macbeth to use his skills as a knifeman on his restaurant rivals. We'd already witnessed how good he was at carving as he sliced and diced a pig's head to lay out "ears, cheek, tongue, brain, no waste".

Poor Malcolm was lacking the vital ingredient that makes a top chef. Hardly surprising as he'd been a vegetarian for a year, a more serious crime in the kitchen than murdering your mother.

The Extraordinary People label was certainly appropriate for Rosemarie Siggins, who had both legs amputated at the age of two because of a rare genetic disease.

Her parents chose surgery over life in a wheelchair. She feels they made the right choice. "I'm able to do everything everyone else can do but I do it a little differently," she explained.

Seeing her lead a normal life you have to agree, although she might argue about use of the word normal. "This is my reality, this is my normal. I don't miss it because I don't know," she says about having only half a body and "walking" on her hands. "Putting on pants one leg at a time I don't know, that would not be normal at all."

You can only marvel at the positive attitude that's enabled her to marry Dave ("a 5ft 9in regular kind of guy") and have a son, Luke. "Prince Charming swept me off my hands," she jokes. Dave doesn't see anything different about his wife, but admits: "I guess if you're a leg man you're out of luck".

When Rose discovered she was pregnant, doctors didn't want her to continue with the pregnancy as no-one with her condition had ever given birth. Only one doctor didn't tell her to have an abortion.

Happiness at the birth of Luke was offset by her mother's death from cancer, leaving Rose to run the house and care for her mentally handicapped brother, Jim.

None of that stopped her pursuing her hobby of rebuilding a '68 Mustang.

Now she's pregnant again, something that I suspect won't stop her continuing with her normal life.

Round The World In 80 Minutes, Theatre Sans Frontieres, Arc, Stockton

IN spite of the cleverness of the title, this children's performance actually comes in at around the lengthy two-hour mark with the added burden of assisting our appallingly bad French. The experienced Hexham-based company knows its business and the clever use of video screens assists this tale of time-zone travelling detectives. Jack (John Cobb), Kent (Ken Patterson) and Sarah (Rebecca Jameson on stage and Sarah Kemp on screen) are in pursuit of the devilish Fantome Cycliste (Andrew Turnbull), who is robbing the world of French-speakers. Two visitors from across the channel hooted with laughter as it was revealed that victims of a chocolate bar laced with mind-robbing properties then lapsed into 'Allo 'Allo accented English. Tunisia, the Cameroon, Quebec, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg featured as the threesome haphazardly investigated the fate of French throughout the world.

While some inside the white cliffs of Dover won't be cheering the trio on too heartily, there are the usual songs, slapstick and camera trickery which ensure that TSF constantly maintains a fun-filled atmosphere. It is thoroughly English, of course, to have a theme where the home side is outwitted until the last few minutes before turning the tables on the Cycliste and his boss Charles van Horst (also played by Turnbull).

l The performance was part of Takeoff 2005, the Festival For Children & Young People organised by Darlington-based CTC, which toured eight national and international shows around Tees Valley schools. CTC, Tees Valley Dance and West Yorkshire Playhouse were local show presenters.

Viv Hardwick