Reluctantly for me, back to this blog’s original remit. The BBC. It’s Friday 13th; unlucky for some.
I rarely agree wholeheartedly with TV critiques in, e.g., The Times, (£) but today’s review by Carol Midgley hit the spot.
The topics addressed were last night’s new drama, BBC One’s ‘Keeping Faith’, and ‘Eat Well For Less.’
Keeping Faith began atrociously, got a bit worse, then suddenly became terrific and ended with me chomping for the second episode. Word has it that this first instalment, which initially had the faux-stylish air of a sanitary towel advert, is not typical of the whole series and I’m glad to hear it. Because initially it was like playing cliché bingo.
I might have mentioned this before, but my nearest and dearest has little time for TV dramas. The opening moments are often enough to drive him into another room to watch the history channel muttering ‘The Archers', codeword for everything that’s wrong with - - well, dramas.
Obviously, with its atrocious beginning, he abandoned Keeping Faith almost as soon as the titles were over. Actually, the titles were very clever, both the imagery and the trendy 60s, retro, no-caps typography. Curiosity, or perhaps heat-induced lethargy, led me to persevere with this production and eventually it came good. Some of the dialogue was hard to catch (maybe I need a hearing aid) but it’s well worth keeping faith with.
(I’ve swerved sharply several times already to avoid puns with ‘keeping’ and ‘faith’ so can we let that go?)
Eat Well For Less. What can I say?
I don’t know what’s more alarming: that it needed Gregg Wallace and Chris Bavin to travel to Blackpool to point that out or that such blindingly obvious stuff makes primetime TV. Probably the latter.
Who is Chris Bavin? I ask that in my best Edith Sitwell (or Edith Evans or both) with the emphasis on “is”. We all know who Greg Wallace is even if we don’t know why he’s on TV all the time. Why?
What is it about sloppy Cockerny enunciation that the BBC finds desirable? It’s grating.
It’s fair enough to point out that home cooking is best. Perhaps there are generations that don’t know that it’s cheaper, more nutritious and usually tastier than your average takeaway. But they always gloss over all the tedious shopping, chopping and washing up home cooking entails. You’re tired. You’re hungry. That is surely a large factor in the appeal of the takeaway. That or get a maid.
I'll revert to non-BBC bias mode. This is about another piece in The Times (£) Times 2, to be precise, “culture” and a long article by Andrew Billen, one of the reviewers I like. It’s about Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the 19 year-old cellist who ‘shot to fame’ after he performed at the Royal Wedding.
Well, if you didn’t know already, he’s black. I don’t know enough to compare Sheku’s cello-playing with that of other winners of BBCYM. He’s undoubtedly brilliant and inspirational. I can’t tell whether or not there’s a tiny element of positive discrimination in the adulation he’s receiving, but I found the bit about multiculturalism pretty annoying. I don’t care whether players are black, white or any combination, but I do know that this country desperately needs more young orchestral players, period. If Sheku’s youth or charisma succeeds in attracting young players to take up the instrument, excellent. From any race, colour or creed.
P.S. I couldn't think of a title for this post so I've just called it 'Untitled Post'