By Chris Willman
November 12, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Small Points Sure, NBC’s miniseries The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns (Nov. 7 and 8), starring Whoopi Goldberg and Roger Daltrey, sounds like a great idea. But be warned: There are some glaring errors that misrepresent actual contemporary leprechaun life. To set NBC straight, we consulted noted expert Tanis Helliwell, who wrote Summer With the Leprechauns: A True Story, a memoir of her months spent in the company of the little green men. To wit:

— In Leprechauns… A little person explains that his race is ”pretty much immortal except when it comes to water.”

In truth… ”They’re not immortal,” says Helliwell. ”And I’ve never heard anything about leprechauns being susceptible to water. They love cups of tea, for example. I have cups of tea with my leprechaun friend regularly.”

— In Leprechauns… The fairy and leprechaun races are ”sworn enemies” that end up clashing in an epic battle.

In truth… ”Fairies and leprechauns are not enemies,” says Helliwell. ”They just have different jobs to do. But I don’t think the leprechauns are going to be upset. As you say in the media, any publicity is good publicity. Leprechauns say that as well.”

— In Leprechauns… The main family has the last name Muldoon.

In truth… ”The family of leprechauns I lived with would not tell me their names,” says Helliwell, ”because then I could have controlled them. So my guess is that Muldoon probably gave a false name.” — Lance Gould

What the Pluck? Forget Cher. The most surprising musical comeback of the year is…the banjo? Once dismissed as a twangy punchline, the instrument has recently popped up in songs by Sophie B. Hawkins, Indigo Girls, and that barometer of hip, Beck, whose new single, ”Sexx Laws,” ends with a banjo coda. And the strings-happy Dixie Chicks’ new album, Fly, features the banjo on no fewer than 9 of the disc’s 13 tracks. ”I understand its limitations,” says Chicks picker Emily Robison. ”I don’t see putting banjo solos in every song, but it adds such texture. It’s one of those things that sets you apart. It’s really coming into its own again.” All of which is music to the ears of banjo advocates. ”I think it’s great,” says Mary Smith, executive secretary of the American Banjo Fraternity. ”Now kids are saying ‘I want to play the banjo,’ and you didn’t used to see that at all.” In other words, it’s deliverance day for the banjo.