"Art is not a mirror with which to reflect the world; it is a hammer with which to shape it"

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Channel Zero #2

Top TV of the week had to be the Oscar-nominated documentary: True Stories: No End In Sight (which I’d completely failed to notice was on until the last minute). A searing yet level-headed insight into the build-up, execution and aftermath of the second Iraq War and an examination of the key mistakes that were made. This was everything that Fahrenheit 9/11 wasn’t (and could never be): incisive, intelligent, accurate and packed with interviews with people who actually had an inside track during this period (such as Jay Garner, Barbara Bodine, Richard Armitage). Sadly, next to no-one will have seen it because of the absence of show-boating, self-aggrandisement, cynical stunts and crass humour.

Also very involving was Cutting Edge: A Boy Named Alex which I hadn’t intended to watch. A moving and uplifting documentary about a severely ill boy, suffering with Cystic Fibrosis, as he rehearses his School Choir and Orchestra in preparation for a performance of Bach’s Magnificat. When you see people like this it really does make you re-consider how much you yourself whine about very minor problems and throws the problems of some so-called celebrities into sharp relief… fame may be hard but, hey, on the other hand at least you’re not coughing up blood on a regular basis! (Repeated: Tuesday, C4: 11.05 pm)

Embarrassingly, I haven’t had a chance to fling in tape of the much-anticipated Torchwood episode yet. Ooops!

Incidentally, last week I mentioned that the under-utilized Gillian Kearney was now in Casualty; well, after other recent psychic successes I am pleased to announce that she will be guesting in Primeval on Saturday night. I am clearly responsible for this via last week’s post: that’s right, they wrote, cast, filmed, edited and scheduled this programme in a single week. And in no way was this a coincidence. Nope, not at all.

Now, I don’t know whether this was any use to man nor beast last week but if it was I’ll do it again this week. So. There.

Far flung television which has caught the eye for the coming week includes:

BBC2: 8.10 pm: Timewatch: The Pharaoh’s Lost City: documentary about the life and times of the fascinating ‘Rebel Pharaoh’ Akhenaten.

C4: 2.30 am: The Eye: excellent Thai horror.

BBC2: 3.10 am: Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner: acclaimed film clearly scheduled for insomniacs and people who understand their VCR timer.

BBC2: 10.00 pm: Storyville: Jonestown: The World’s Biggest Mass Suicide.

C4: 2.30 am: Exodus: a contemporary retelling of the Old Testament story. A truly terrible piece of ‘prestige drama’; its heart was clearly in the right place but the execution is so clumsy, especially when you consider the racial and political subtext, as to make the piece borderline offensive. It is, however, something that should be seen once.

BBC4: 7.40 pm: Primo: Repeat of the filmed National Theatre Production starring Anthony Sher as Primo Levi.

C4: 8.00 pm: Dispatches: Why Kids Kill.

BBC2: 9.00 pm: Horizon: What On Earth Is Wrong With Gravity? Documentary on ‘the true nature of gravity’ by Dr. Brian Cox who would appear to be the scientist who provides the commentary on the copy of Danny Boyle’s Sunshine that I just bought… and if he’s good enough for Danny Boyle, he’s good enough for me!

BBC4: 10.30 pm: Storyville: The Devil Came On Horseback: about one man’s struggle to alert the world to the Darfur genocide.

C4: 1.45 pm: Blithe Spirit: David Lean directed it, Noel Coward wrote, Rex Harrison starred… what’s not to enjoy?

BBC4: 9.00 pm: The Art Of Spain: Andrew Graham-Dixon starts a three part series on… the art of Spain…

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