Friday 13 July 2018

Untitled post

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.
Yes indeed. 
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.
Spot on.
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.

Couldn’t resist.

P.S. I couldn't think of a title for this post so I've just called it 'Untitled Post'


  1. Question I was pondering whilst listening to 3 young cellists on Radio 3 who had mentioned the BBCYM programme: why is it open to non-British musicians? I, like you, have no problem with the BBC supporting musicians of any hue from my licence fee if they are talented, but find it difficult to reconcile giving the money to non-Brits.

    1. I didn't know it was. Is it open to anyone living here or studying music here?

    2. Note quite sure. The Radio 3 site is a little vague:

      The BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists Scheme helps to support young musicians on the threshold of an international career to reach the next stage of their development and brings some of the world’s most promising new talent to listeners across the UK through BBC Radio 3 broadcasts

    3. I gather you have to be a British citizen to enter BBCYM but thousands of overseas students study at British specialist music schools and conservatoires. Some families relocate to the UK permanently, as did the family of this year’s winner Lauren Zhang.

    4. Apologies, Sue. I've mixed up BBCYM with the New Generation Artists Scheme. My thunking still stands wrt the New Generation Artists (I thunk)

  2. I seldom watch any TV drama and I have no plans to.
    Who is Chris Bavin? He's the new greengrocer. Gregg Wallace was the original; he started out on the Radio 4 food programme before promotion to television. Are we going to have a line of greengrocers or is Wallace soon to be retired? They have to bring an element of common man to the screen, especially to BBC One (which is the mass audience channel with a tradition of male sport, comedy and panel programmes) and have quite a stable of them with grating accents which up the macho factor, including the little fellow Dom who does crime and police programmes; the ex-plod who used to do Crimewatch; Nick Knowles; the greengrocers; and the football presenters and pundits - they're a crowd on their own. I don't see the appeal of Bavin myself. Or any of that lot.

    I can't read the piece about the cellist.


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