This is my TV-diary with some programmes that I have watched since 2009. If someone tells you there is nothing on TV at the moment, perhaps this will convince you either way.
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 Date: May 25, 2009 01:35AM "Five weeks in a balloon". It's a lovely piece of documentary travel and Tompkinson has fallen in love with African landscapes since he filmed the ITV series Wild at Heart there. The first episode saw him travelling over Tanzania and the southern region of Rwanda. Eye candy however, the series does not ignore the darker subjects and mentioned the civil war in Rwanda. Photo-safari and animal conservation is a source of income for African countries and it was great that Tomkinson interviewed the people involved in it. Date: June 08, 2009 11:47PM
I watched a programme on the Mille Miglia vintage car race in Italy, British chef James Martin took part in his 1948 Maserati. There are only 15 of them still around. I like seeing old cars on TV. Date: June 07, 2009 11:27PM Yahrzeit (CSI New York episode) was harrowing. 60 years have passed since the Holocaust, but its consequences are still strong amongst people in New York. Yahrzeit is an Hebrew word which means to remember the dead relatives, and mitzvah means to express an
That BBC documentary about the South Pacific is fascinating. I loved the Kakapo. It's a flightless parrot with whiskers who can live more than 60 years.
act of human kindness. This was one of the best episodes of that series so far. [www.csifiles.com] [www.youtube.com] On a lighter note I watched Stephen Tomkinson travelling in Africa on a balloon. The journey was inspired by the first novel by Jules Verne
Date: June 08, 2009 11:53PM and this is a Keas or an Alpine Parrot which lives in the snowy mountains of New Zealand. And there also was a penguin that raises its chicks in the forest and goes to sea to get the food.
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 article that appeared in the Independent reporting that I disowned Shock Doctrine The documentary that will air on More4 in the United Kingdom on Sept 1. A few important points of clarification. I don t have a credit on The Shock Doctrine documentary made by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross because it is not my film. I chose not to make the documentary myself because when I finished the book I had been utterly immersed in the material for five years and I believed the project would benefit from a fresh perspective. However, I did think the material in the book was so inherently visual and emotional that it had great potential for film. So I left the project in the hands of experienced directors whose films, such as oad R to Guantanamo, very much admired. I
Date: August 12, 2009 12:02AM
The Charlie Brooker programme has been blamed for hard man Danny Dyer resigning from It's a weighty tome of a book and I am keen to his programme about hard men because two see what the director made of it. I guess it will guests joked about punching him. resemble a bit to another documentary called "The Corporation" which has similar ideas to Date: August 20, 2009 09:43PM The Shock Doctrine. Five TV are trying to hype the series "The Mentalist" and I can hear an airhead gushing I went to a reading by Ms Klein when her book over it in a documentary. It's an enjoyable TV was published, series with photogenic characters and with a main character who reminds me of Jessica Date: September 02, 2009 01:44AM Fletcher (her deductive powers that is). Five The Shock Doctrine is about how Milton always have to overdo things, they sound like Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics the Big Brother little Brother commenting on the economical ideas gradually became accepted in series. No need for that. Bring on the finale the world. One of the assertion of capitalism is episodes! that it is pro-democracy, yet, the book gives examples how Friedman's recommendations Date: September 01, 2009 10:43PM worked well in unfree regimes. Some of you may be interested that on More4 TV tonight there is a premiere of film based on Basically, from the 1930s until Friedman in the Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine - The Rise of sixties, there was a consensus that Keynesian Disaster Capitalism. It is directed by Michael policies (as embodied by Franklin Delano Winterbottom who had made films and Roosevelt's New Deal) were good for the documentaries before. economy. You had the utilities belonging to the state and during Roosevelt, many people found Some may have read in the press about Naomi employment in state-funded institutions. Klein "disowning" the film but such reports are exagerated. As she explains: "Clarification on Friedman proposed to deregulate the utilities "Shock Doctrine" Documentary (apart from the Armed forces and National By Naomi Klein - August 30th, 2009 Security) such as education, water, electricity as I am getting many requests to respond to an part of the state spending less. The result is that
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 in some countries the utilities are now owned by foreign companies likely to lobby the local governments - in the case of water, you can see the problem. A priori, US President Richard Nixon was enthusiastic about School of Chicago, but he anticipated that if he enforced such policies he would not get re-elected, however, the US via the CIA helped the coup in Chile on the 11th of September 1973 because multinationals there did not like the local government taxing them. Friedman's policies became mainstream when Donald Rumsfeld appeared on the scene in the Gerald Ford government. In the UK, Margaret Thatcher adopted ideas when she was a secretary of state (cancelling the milk allowance to children at school), and in the wake of the Falkland War, she got tougher as well in enforcing her vision of economics, utilities were sold, the stock exchange liberated etc. In the USA, Ronald Reagan did what Nixon was reluctant to do. In Russia, Boris Yeltsin also adopted Chicago School of Economics and sold off the economy thus creating a class of oligarch. The culmination of the policies was in the US after 9/11, the US contracted inner security to private firms which is now a business bigger than Hollywood and the music industry combined, and, in a bid to curtail the bureaucracy of the Pentagon, Rumsfeld contracted private companies such as Halliburton to help with the armed forces. When Hurricane Katrina happened, someone said that this was an opportunity to start from scratch meaning that they got rid of the poor people (they have been relocated in other areas) meaning less spending for the city. Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath shows that there is profit to be made from natural crisis, and the Iraq war shows that there is profit to be made from war. Since the Shock Doctrine has been released in 2007, there has been the credit crunch. Klein notices that money from taxpayers is paid to the people who caused the economic crisis in the first case (see the payout for Lehman Brothers), so this is another aspect of how government are selling "utilities" and this time by giving away their taxpayers' money. However, it seems that the world has become more savvy about Milton Friedman's policies. Question is, is the public going to be vocal about their disapproval or stay at home? ---There is also a human rights aspect about CIA interrogation techniques that aim at terrifying their prisoners and experimentations to wipe out a person's memory by a Dr Cameron. In the film, you hear testimonies on how these were applied in Chile, Argentina, Iraq and Guantanamo. I am glad that Klein had no input in the film, so it was up to Michael Winterbottom to find the evidence and footage of what Klein talks about and this is interwoven with the lecture she gave about the book. Even for people who don't agree with her political ideas, this is stuff to think about. Date: September 13, 2009 09:04PM Miss Marple on TV. I prefer Julia McKenzie to the previous one Geraldine McEwan because Geraldine was always smirking and this got annoying after a while. Although I grew up reading Agatha Christie, and therefore love Marple and Poirot, I am also aware that the lady herself wrote dodgy things. The films and adaptations have more or less erased the controversial (=racist) stuff. So I'm quite happy watching that. Date: September 14, 2009 01:00AM Agatha Christie was a person of her times, however, I enjoyed watching "Murder is Easy" tonight. After that I saw "Spiral" which is a French 10 part series about the work of Paris police and prosecutors. It's a bit much though: gruesome but good on BBC4 to put foreign language series with subtitles. I liked Wallander much more than Spiral, though. After Spiral there was a documentary presented by Jonathan Meades who is great with words and highly knowledgeable about architecture - Aberdeen looked very good in that.
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 At least for now, Sundays are sorted with good TV programmes. Date: September 15, 2009 03:35PM That afternoon series called Doctors is getting better and better. It's still looks a bit glossy but they have good storylines about the work in a doctors surgery and the local police station. The reason why I watch it is because I don't need to watch every episode because they are all closed stories. To be honest, if that series was on in the evening, I would probably avoid it and it feels sometimes like a public information series but as an afternoon programme it's good, and sometimes informative. I like the recurring story-line of the receptionist who suffers from bi-polar disorder, you saw the symptoms, the diagnosis and her recovery after treatment, but most importantly and that's very realistic, how rapidly she degraded when she stopped taking her medication. This is a common mistake made by mental health patients. I like the fact that this character Ruth is one of the main figures in this ensemble piece rather than a patient. I like that aspect because many mental health patients try to fit in society, and this character is well depicted. Date: September 27, 2009 03:44PM McKellen a lot. It was great fun to watch. The book is a lot of nonsense in the same vein as Horatio Hornblower, hence historical accuracy is not priority. The fate of Dauphin Louis-Charles was very different to the idealistic depiction.
Ian McKellen as Citizen Chauvelin Date: October 02, 2009 08:24PM Thank goodness, I don't have to watch BBC1 to see Merlin. The repeat is on BBC3. On BBC1 they slotted it between Hole in the Wall presented by the annoying!!! Anton!!! du!! Beke!!! (he talks like that) and Strictly Come Dancing where he is as well (thankfully dancing not talking). BBC1 and ITV1 is a no-go zone for me on Saturdays.
Date: October 04, 2009 06:21PM I watched Ricky Gervais - Politics yesterday on Channel4 (from 2004?), not really because I saw this in the TV schedule but because it was on as I was flicking the channel. I like him, but sometimes he tries too hard be clever and maybe he had himself convinced that I just watched a 1982 TV-movie adaptation from he is like Mr Brent in real life. As a result there "The Scarlett Pimpernel". The book inspired a was funny stuff but some stuff just didn't work line from "Dedicated follower of fashion" by like the tirade about Humpty Dumpty. The Kinks with the line "They seek him here, they seek him there.". Unfortunately the telefilm ------------did not work in the way it intended because they Flashforward is a bit of a strange one for me. cast Anthony Andrews (the guy who plays Undeniably the basis for the story is wellSebastian in Brideshead Revisited) as the hero thought of, and I wasn't surprised to read that and Ian McKellen as his opponent.I like Ian this was an adaptation from a novel. This show
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 is trying to be too clever at times, with all the philosophical questions about time/space. It will take me a while to get used to all the different characters because it's densely populated in there. However, I won't give up on it because the actors and actresses are very good. I was surprised to see Jack Davenport from This Life in it, Joseph Fiennes has changed a bit since the last time I spotted him, Courtney B Vance plays a similar character to the one he was doing in Law and Order, the lady doctor and her colleague are excellent. My favourite cameo in the first episode was the Kangaroo. Date: October 05, 2009 12:42AM The story is way off the originals by Arthur Conan Doyle, but this prequel is good at attempting to explain how Sherlock became one of the literature's most eccentric heroes. He didn't start out with deerstalker hat and pipe, nor problems with medication and women, but an idealistic private detective with a brilliant mind. Nice touch of making him untidy, though. On the other hand, the film is a bit weird about Dr Watson, because from this film to the later stories, Watson's deductive powers wane and he certainly doesn't wander about later as the Victorian version of Mr Dyson. If it's on your telly, watch it just to see D'Onofrio trying to find an "heroic" name for his new drug. He's having a ball at this.
I watched another one of these TV-movies where they made the mistake of casting a very good actor as the baddie against a nice actor who is the goodie. Vincent D'Onofrio played professor Moriarty as if the guy was Harry Lime from the Third Man and it helps because D'Onofrio is a bit obsessed by Orson Welles and looks a bit like him, and hams it up a bit. Even the end at Big Ben is an echo of Welles' The Stranger. Basically, if you have D'Onofrio in a film, he has so much personality that you barely notice anyone else, plus he is very tall. Having said that, his opponent Sherlock Holmes was also a very tall man with very good looks. I never really thought about Sherlock Holmes when he was young and starting out his brilliant fictional detective career, but young James D'Arcy is certainly a looker, no wonder that the ladies fell for him. There is also an angle about him and the press, celebrity culture and the freelancer who wants a scoop.
Vincent D'Onofrio - Moriarty is Harry Lime's Granddad! Date: October 11, 2009 10:33PM Wallander as played by Kenneth Brannagh is not good. I much prefer the Swedish Wallander talking in Swedish with subtitles. I wouldn't mind if he was dubbed. But surely if the original is good, why does it need a remake? ---Flashforward is good. I need to watch the episodes twice because it's dense. But it's a very clever series. Of course, it's pure sci-fi and one needs to suspend disbelief and leave it in the cloakroom. Date: October 12, 2009 09:31PM Ironside is great. It's an old TV-cops series on that new channel Quest. I used to like it a lot in the distant past, but now I like it even more
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 because of all the mobility issues in it. In today's episode Ironside's main witness was blind - the latter was a young lady who was blinded in an accident and had difficulties to cope, and so did her boyfriend. At the end of the episode they emerge stronger. Thumbs up to Ironside. Date: October 13, 2009 01:10AM I watched the end of the Sinclair docu-drama. That was awful. No wonder people felt depressed in England in the eighties: crap technology, rubbish records, that old bat Margaret Thatcher... poor Brits. Date: October 13, 2009 09:05PM Let's see what kind of cutting-edge gadgets was around in the 1990s, (BBC4 TV programme "Electric dreams"). From a technical point of view, I certainly didn't like the 80s gizmos. Date: October 14, 2009 12:31AM I always got the obsolete technology either when the parents banished it from the living room, or from charity shops. My fave hands down are the Sony walkman, the double cassette-deck and the old IBM laptop with windows 95. Favourite technology ever, PC Windows and the internet. As far as music goes, any format is fine as long as it's not mono. I can still remember the first time when I heard a cassette in stereo (in 1986). I loved that electric dreams programme. Date: October 16, 2009 11:03PM Flashforward is on soon, so that's me logging off. It's a good series except that I need to watch it twice to catch the subtleties of it. Always the case with sci-fi. After that Law and Order. That show is just so much better than CSI - less glossy and less gory. Cheers to that new channel Quest to put it every night at 11pm. Date: October 17, 2009 09:44PM I'm gonna watch the Xfactor, there are some engaging performers in this year's crop who have improved since the auditions and I like Dermot O'Leary. That sort of variety pop is not my favourite music genre, though and neither Dannii, Simon, Louis and Cheryl has made/produced records that I particularly love. It's also a pity that pop is so commercial because some of these singers may have potential of being also creative rather than being the face and the voice of a songwriting production team. The Xfactor want to be Tin Pan Alley and Brill Building, but Simon and co, don't have what it takes to rival that, hence they are stuck with covers. I tuned in because Whitney Houston was mentoring the candidates. She's looking so much better now. Back in the eighties, she was such a lovely gal. I like her auntie Dionne Warwick better though. Date: October 18, 2009 10:19PM Next week I'm not watching the XFactor because Westlife are the mentors of the hopefuls. I can't stand that band. They voted off Rikki Loney, whom I liked - coming from Simon Cowell, that does not surprise me because he's not that wild about the indie look nor Amy Winehouse style of music. If this little chap is smart, he should use the publicity he got from the programme and continue singing live in Glasgow and maybe hook up with the local scene. Cheryl Cole is cute. I wasn't bowled over by her solo song but she's nice to look at. The main strength on that programme in the context of music are if they teach their hopefuls on how to put a good performance on stage, then they have a winning formula. The live show I went to in early, two years ago, was a good pop show. What also helps the programme and the records they put out, is that young pop fans usually buy the records and the merchandise rather than using sharefiles.
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 Date: October 18, 2009 10:44PM Face about an aspiring model who got her face burnt by acid from jealous boyfriend. The programme showed us the dedicated surgeon who pionered a technique to rebuild her face, her therapy, her psychotherapy, the consequences of her attack, the trial and her hopes for the future. Brave girl.
-I'm waiting for a programme called "The Spiral" after that I watched the programme How Racist are you, with this pioneering sociologist who in on BBC4. French is normally a beautiful the wake of Martin Luther King's Death language but not on this programme because organised a social experiment by segregating there is a lot of argot, slang and swear-words. blue eyed children from brown eyed ones in a But in a programme about corruption of justice similation of an apartheid style of regime. Her and the work of a drug-squad, you can't expect controversial method bore fruit because after a them to talk like Paul Verlaine. Now, I while one group started to oppress the other on understand why Michel Houellebecq doesn't purely ethnical ground (here eye colour). This want to live in Paris ;) tells her that social stereotypes are conditioned It is called the spiral because it is meant to depict in us since we are born. She attempted to repeat the spiral of violence. Or the French title suggest this experiment in England, but the group of that little cogs keep the spiral of violence going. adults sensed they were manipulated into saying things, so not everyone cooperated. I like the main actress, Caroline Proust. Audrey Fleurot plays the corrupt lawyer. She's indeed a both channel4 very dangerous femme fatale motivated by Date: November 01, 2009 03:21PM ambition and money. I wonder how she's going Harry Hill TV Burp made me laugh. It's slapstick to end up. comedy but he is such a likeable guy. So I didn't want to miss him. Oh and I am glad to have caught Flashforward on friday, because this is the type of series that if you miss an episode, it becomes totally confusing. Well, it is confusing but I'm not complaining because there were great scenes with Courtney B Vance and Peter Coyote as the US President. I still don't know what role Miles from This Life is playing in this story, so I'll stay hooked to this. Date: October 29, 2009 01:28PM I watched Andrew Marr - the foundations of Modern Britain (or similar), if you haven't seen it, watch it on iPlayer. He is very good at making such programmes, even better than the other jobs he usually does. A television treat for people who want to see intelligent programmes. Date: October 30, 2009 10:04AM watched a documentary called My Beautiful Date: November 03, 2009 11:38AM I'm not watching much TV at the moment. Apart from Doctors and Murder She wrote, I enjoyed "Life" narrated by David Attenborough on BBC on Sunday. And yesterday I watched "How Big Chef changed Little Chef" about Heston Blumenthal improving the menu of the road-side chain of cafeterias. I think it is a good idea that an acclaimed chef like him does something that
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 ordinary people can enjoy because as you know fine dining is very expensive and very few people will ever get the chance to eat at Heston Blumenthal's restaurant. He seemed to be proud that people will enjoy his menus at Little Chef. I saw Charley Boorman going on an adventure, but I would just watch that as a filler because he's a bit too much for me. Date: November 07, 2009 12:16PM I'm starting to get an idea where Flashforward is heading to. Some quantum physics scientists and an experiment gone wrong - that kind of stuff. It's starting to be as nonsensical as Angels and Demons where the Hadron Collider and antimatter had a role to play. Schrodinger's cat was there too. To me what makes Flashforward watchable are the actors rather than the story. Apart from that, the unmissable series at the moment is Andrew Marr's documentary series. I do not really watch his interviews on his show but I have always been impressed by his documentaries - he's a good presenter who can explain things very well. Date: November 10, 2009 12:15AM If someone has freeview or can access the DAVE channel, switch it on and watch Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle. This guy is brilliant and very intelligent. This programme is a repeat from the BBC2 series earlier on this year, but this time I don't mind. This is a true story about the former deputy attorney general of Delaware who was accused of murdering his girlfriend Anne Marie Fahey and tried to frame another of his girlfriends called Debbie, and got his brother to help him dispose of the body. The case got a lot of coverage in America and has been described in films and books before, the newspapers published Anne-Marie's diary. Last year, Capano lost his final appeal at the supreme court and is now remanded in prison without parole. The story was a bit long and was told in flashbacks as well. I thought that the stalking angle was well depicted - Anne Marie wrote in her diary that Capano was a "controlling, manipulative, insecure, jealous maniac" - the story was about her trying to escape the relationship with him, also about him manipulating people around him and lastly the patient work of the police and the district attorney to find any kind of tangible proof. solid US fact-based drama. Date: November 15, 2009 03:06AM Thank goodness for BBC2 on Saturdays. Matt Frei on the History of Berlin, and the arts programme about beauty is the ideal antidote to Saturday's light entertainment on BBC1 and ITV1.
Date: November 15, 2009 05:31PM Jarvis Cocker is presenting a show on BBC6 Date: November 11, 2009 01:32AM radio is in the new year. So it's a few repeats on I watched a two-part TV movie called "Never let ITV3 and the Forsythe Saga with Gina McKee at her go" on Five. It was better than the usual fare, the moment. Five dishes out in the afternoon. I was a bit distracted by the fact that three main actors in Date: November 20, 2009 01:35AM this film were also headliners in US cop shows. The Culture Show was good especially the Mark Harmon usually plays Jephro in NCIS, segment with Andrew Graham-Dixon looking at Kathleen Morris plays Detective Rush in Cold the archives. Case and Paul Michael Glaser was Starsky in Starsky and Hutch. Mark Harmon adds Tom Date: November 21, 2009 08:04PM Capano as another charismatic villain (he played Merlin, (BBC1) was good. I'm waiting for Berlin Dillinger and Ted Bundy in other films), presented by Matt Frei, then Waldemar's arts Kathleen Morris plays the troubled young programme "What is beauty" (BBC2) and then woman he manipulates and Paul Michael Glaser film-clips on 3-D (Channel 4, last time I'll be is the cop on the case. using the silly glasses to watch TV).
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 Date: November 22, 2009 01:03AM The 3D list programme was rubbish except for some very short clips of 50s 3-D sci-fi movies and Andrew Collins. Apparently 3D has tried in the fifties and late seventies, to lure TV viewers with promises of spectacular entertainment, and it failed because it felt gimmicky. Now, apparently the movies want to revive 3D once more and an animation called "Up" is the first 3D to get a nomination at the oscars. There was some abysmal stuff in that programme. I liked watching Waldemar because he seems to make everything easy for the viewer. One of the message that I got from the programme was that art should retain mystery so that the viewer can wonder. Matt Frei makes me want to visit Berlin. Date: November 24, 2009 09:25PM These Irish-language programmes on BBC2 are very pretty to look at and quite informative. There was this anecdote that Arthur Guinness (him of the Irish beer) 's father bragged that he was related to the Magennis chieftain family of Ivea Co. Down but when his relative Charles later looked up the ancestry, he found out that this was not the case, and in fact, they were related to the more rural McCartan clan of Kinelarty co. Down. Moreover, Marie Angelique McCartan was French president General de Gaulle's grandmother, so that makes the Guinness family related to an important figure of French 20th C History. The presenter said that learning the Irish language was not really connected to religion or politics, because people who were attached to the region saw it as part of the History and a cultural thing. One of the stories was about Co. Down aristocrat Jane Reilly who was taught the harp by itinerant harpist Charles Byrne and learnt old songs in Irish-language. Irish harp music is very beautiful to listen to. I love these local History programmes for the wealth of anecdotes you can find. Date: November 25, 2009 12:54AM Jerry Bruckheimer is famous for writing dramas that are quite worthy and producing big budget films, and sometimes CSI and Without A Trace can grate, however, his crime dramas always seem to have their heart in the right place and I have to mention the episode of Cold Case I watched on Sky3, created by Meredith Striehm and starring Kathleen Morris about the Philadelphia Cold Case department "Hope lives...because the evidence never dies.". This is a series relevant of our times because cold cases get solved thanks to progress in technology, especially DNA. The background story of this particular episode was excellent and gave food for thoughts. During the Second World War, the US government imprisoned "enemy aliens" on their own soil, this meant that after Pearl Harbor, Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans (born in the USA) were interned in a camp. We see this family in Manzanar, the other strand of the story involves a brave Japanese-American soldier who fought for the USA and another soldier who justified denying bravery medals to Japanese-American soldiers on the ground that they were fighting the Japs. The police chief condemned this attitude by saying that when he was in Vietnam, he has a comrade who was born in the USA and has Asian features and he always regarded him as equal because the USA is a multicultural country, where people of different races and origins fight for the American dream. As I say, food for thought because from time to time, in real life, racism raises its ugly head and society regards migrants or children of migrants as potential traitors. Date: November 28, 2009 06:22PM After listening to Brett Anderson on radio4 via my TV, I'll shall switch to BBC2 because they have excellent programmes on. Berlin with Matt Frei followed by Why Beauty Matters presented by Roger Scruton who unlike
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 Waldemar last week holds more conservative views on arts. Both programmes should be visually stunning. If you can bear Brian Sewell, there is a programme on Dali (I won't watch it because I can't bear Brian Sewell) things are part of a harmonious cosmic order, with sharp observations of human nature (see section 2 below). Shaftesbury is often credited with originating the moral sense theory, although his own views of virtue are a mixture of rationalism and sentimentalism (section 3). I'm very happy with the TV schedule available While he argued that virtue leads to happiness on freeview tonight - it's much improved (section 4), Shaftesbury was a fierce opponent of compared to what it was two months ago. psychological and ethical egoism (section 5) and of the egoistic social contract theory of Hobbes Date: November 29, 2009 07:18PM (section 6). Shaftesbury advanced a view of Matt Frei, perfect as always. I hope he gets to aesthetic judgment that was non-egoistic and present more programmes like that. objectivist, in that he thought that correct aesthetic judgment was disinterested and The programme by philosophy professor Roger reflected accurately the harmonious cosmic Scruton was very good. I don't share his views order (section 7). Shaftesbury's belief in an because he is a bit of a traditionalist but not only harmonious cosmic order also dominated his did he present the platonic idea of beauty as well view of religion, which was based on the idea as the one from the Enlightment age in a very that the universe clearly exhibits signs of perfect accessible way, but he also demonstrated how divine design (section 8). According to beauty should be the driving force in architecture Shaftesbury, the ultimate end of religion, as well rather than mere utilitarism. And indeed, the as of virtue, beauty, and philosophical point of beauty in the human condition. I didn't understanding (all of which are turn out to be mind that his choices of artwork reflected his one and the same thing), is to identify Christian faith. completely with the universal system of which one is a part. The segment on Earl Shaftesbury was very interesting. I have heard about him, but here is some documentation about him and his ideas. Date: December 03, 2009 02:14AM BBC2 pushed the boat out for the past two The Making of Modern Britain written and weeks on saturday nights, putting quality presented by Andrew Marr finished as well as it programmes on prime time - long may it started. Fantastic documentary: facts, anecdotes, continue. an engaging presenter and one can learn a lot from this. Thanks BBC2. "Lord Shaftesbury [Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury] First published Wed Mar 13, 2002; substantive revision Thu Oct 12, 2006 Date: December 04, 2009 12:24AM 90mns of lovely Irish landscapes.
First I watched Taisce na Tuaithe - where the presenter told stories about Irish-language Anthony Ashley Cooper, the third Earl of culture in the old kingdom of Dalriada (Antrim Shaftesbury, lived from 1671 to 1713. He was in Northern Ireland plus Isle of Man and some one of the most important philosophers of his stretch of the Scottish coast. They talked about day, and exerted an enormous influence the ancient capital Ballycastle, and also about throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth Rose Young who taught herself Irish and wrote centuries on British and European discussions of acclaimed books in Irish. I enjoyed this morality, aesthetics, and religion. programme because it challenges the view that the Irish-language is representative of the Shaftesbury's philosophy combined a powerfully sectarian divide. In fact, it says that catholics and teleological approach, according to which all protestants spoke Irish. For me it's good to have
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 programmes like that because I like to know about local history. likeable or competent because it is a series about corruption of the police and legal system. I like the police chief but she is totally incompetent, The second programme was Nicholas Crane : and there is an honest district attorney but he Britania - The Great Elizabethan Journey. annoys me a bit. I like the white haired judge Crane's speciality is to follow very old maps and who is a bit old-school and pissed off at what see what he finds. This time he took Elizabethan goes around him. schoolmaster Camden's maps of Ireland. He cycled from Northern Ireland to Kinsale in the It's definitely the most pessimistic crime drama South via Shannon and Kerry, where he talks I've ever seen. I think the Wire is probably more about the Battle of the Yellow Ford (I worked cheerful than that. about 1km away from the site in 1997), looks for the spring of the Shannon River (it was Good actors. discovered in 1990 that it is in Northern Ireland), cycles around Kerry and retraces the Battle of --Kinsale. The series that disappointed me this year was Both programmes visually beautiful. And the Flashforward. Well-acted but it's a muddle. Irish weather was true to form, presenters looked wet and the landscape splendidly green, blue and Date: December 06, 2009 01:27AM grey. I loved the mini Kerry cows. I was pleasantly surprised how Spiral ended. Laure the police chief, her team and the white haired judge managed to come up trumps after all, and Samy, one of the cops turned out to be a heroic character. I like it when the underdogs win - they had so much stacked against them. Clever script and again, brilliant actors. Date: December 15, 2009 07:50PM I'm looking forward to the end of "Strictly come dancing" because that means that the "Strictly Come Dancing It takes 2" fanzine won't be on telly anymore every weekday. That jingle is as infernal as Carmina Burana. If I wasn't watching Eggheads before that, I wouldn't bother but it comes on immediately afterwards. Date: December 04, 2009 09:43PM Not much on telly this evening, but Lewis is always very good. The beautiful university of Oxford plus Kevin Whately makes for a great friday crime drama. Date: December 05, 2009 11:25PM Now the last two episodes of Spiral. They were originally shown in late October, but I was away and couldn't get BBC4. It's an interesting crime and legal drama, a sort of Law and Order in French except that nobody in there is really But the vilest afternoon programme on BBC2 this year certainly goes to Giles Brandeth. I hope that him and his quizz show will never get an airing ever again. What a mixture of smug, arrogance and patronising. Date: December 28, 2009 04:48PM Don't miss John Hurt as Quentin Crisp on ITV tonight. Once in a while ITV redeeem themselves with quality drama, and that's one I have been looking forward to for a long time. On
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 the other hand, I think that John Hurt is one of the best actors ever. Date: December 29, 2009 12:54AM "An Englishman in New York" was poignant. Of course, John Hurt knew Quentin Crisp very well and he managed to portray him in a dignified manner. It was simply delightful to see Mr Crisp walking around the streets like a bird of paradise - beautiful fedora hat, scarf. I don't often want to be friends with people I see in films, but I would have loved to meet Quentin Crisp. I met John Hurt once in London, and he's an elegant older gentleman. People like Quentin Crisp are outsiders, Bohemian characters and bring joy, wit and colour to our lives - we need people like that, those dreamers and makers of dreams because the reality is sad. The film showed that too. It can't have been fun for him to grow old in the heyday of AIDS and amidst consumerism. Despite him dressing up and looking fabulous, he was a frugal man who was happy living in his small flat in New York - his home was the stage. Full marks to the other actors too. I loved the depiction of the painter Patrick Angus. Thank you ITV! I hope this beautiful film will be repeated. I'm not wild about Sting's song, though, but if it helped making Quentin Crisp more popular, then it's fine by me. Date: December 29, 2009 01:11AM oh, dear, Peter Thatchel doesn't like the film because he says that Quentin Crisp was a reactionary as he did not take part in gay-lib things. I think Thatchell is missing the point that Quentin Crisp was getting old in the eighties. And you simply cannot expect a very old person to be in touch with the younger generation, and in the film he didn't strike as the militant type but like a softie at heart living in his little world he created for himself. In the end this is what life should be about, being able to be yourself without having society bullying you.
Date: January 06, 2010 12:14AM The Lost Kingdoms of Africa - part 1: Nubia. BBC4 fascinating and informative programme about a subject matter, I know very little about. I shall certainly watch the other episodes. Date: January 06, 2010 08:31PM BBC Northern Ireland News - BBC1 (with that weather we are having it's useful to watch the regional news). Michael Palin - Himalaya on DAVE and later: the documentary about dogs on BBC2, and, Law and Order Special Victims Unit on Five
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 Date: January 06, 2010 11:29PM The truth about dogs was fascinating! There is this collie called Betsy that can differentiate between 350 words, so you tell her to pick let's say a doll, she picks it. And she can even bring things if you show her a picture. What a canine genius. dogs are also the only animal species that can read human emotions, they can look at the right side of your face to decode it, then also look at your eyes and if you point at something, they follow the hint. They said that dogs evolved from wolves because of the domestication process. Humans selected for generations the tamest wolves to hunt and later for agriculture, and their features became softer - later dogs were bred according to features etc. The affection we have for dogs is similar as the bonding with children - one contributor uses the word cuckoo for puppies raised in human households - you get a rush of hormones emanating from the hypothalamus which is the same as the ones released in mothers bonding with their new born babies - the dog gets this hormonal rush too.
Date: January 11, 2010 06:51PM I heard a lot of good about this series, and I like James Bolam a lot, so it's great to have the Yesterday Channel (former UKTV History) showing it. When the Boat Comes In is a British television drama produced by the BBC between 1976 and 1981.
The series stars James Bolam as Jack Ford, a First World War veteran who returns to his poverty-stricken home town in the North East of They used the music "Opening from England in the 1920s. Glassworks" by Philip Glass over the conclusion The first three series ran during 1976-77 and and the end titles - beautiful piece of music. were very popular, although some thought it fell off slightly near the end. Date: January 09, 2010 10:46PM Seasons 1-3 addressed the story of Jack Ford's watched a documentary about Barack Obama's development in the inter-war years, from presidential campaign (BBC2) and waiting now returning war hero through Trades Union for the return of CSI New York on Five. Of all representative, through to entrepreneur within the CSI, the one set in New York is my favourite. the North East at a time of economic growth, If in the new series they manage another episode crisis, and the rise of fascism. as outstanding as "Yahrzeit" then I'll be more than happy. As much as I like Jessica Fletcher in the afternoon, this is more my kind of thing. I daresay, I did not want that episode to end, it was so well done. Lots of British series of that feel dated and corny and the set feel cheap or it's close to a costume drama. This had none of that, just pure class. Looking forward to watch further episodes. Date: January 12, 2010 01:49AM "Law and Order - UK" on ITV1 - just ignore the reviewer from Radio Times, this is an excellent series. If you like the US series, then you know
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 what to expect. The UK version has a similar documentary feel, basically the police solving a case and then the case goes to court and you see the Prosecutor doing his work. You get an idea how the criminal justice system works in the UK. You get a feeling about footwork and red tape involved and the series does not burden itself with personal side stories so it never feels like a soap opera - these people have a job to do and they do it the best they can. Clocking at under an hour, nothing goes to waste. Maybe I'm the only one on the planet whose favourite detective series is Law and Order - I now rate it higher than Quincy et all. Unlike the USA, the UK one has only six episodes per season.
Date: January 12, 2010 03:22PM With Law and Order, you are not really meant to care about the characters per se, they are just professionals. I understand that Dick Wolf who created that franchise has a background of documentaries. So the case is always bigger than the characters. In the episode on monday, the most important person was Nick who was killed and how justice was served, and you learnt a lot of background about him, and the guy who went on trial. DI Ronnie Brooks and Mr Steele do their jobs efficiently, like many Mr and Ms The actors are good, and I'm impressed with Everyperson in the criminal justice system. No Bradley Walsh. To think that he started out as a wisecracks, no special effects, they talk shop and quiz show presenter in the nineties, very solid do as good a job they can. In that sense, it's acting. I like the prosecutor too. I know he closer to these solved crime documentaries than annoys the hell out of RadioTimes because of his classic crime drama because you feel that this high ideals - but I don't mind if he comes across could happen for real. like Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird not everyone who works for the Law is blase and Date: January 12, 2010 08:22PM cynical. GMTV and news on a loop are two things that I cannot stand watching on TV. There are worse The story? Very relevant to our times. 24-yr old things than that of course. But I came across that policemen gets shot, his colleague delays by accident this morning after not such a good helping him because he doesn't like gays. night. If some folks like documentaries, don't Imagine having to perform first aid! How will miss Simon Schama about Barack Obama. Ronnie Brooks handle the case against one of his colleagues and will Mr Steel the prosecutor Date: January 17, 2010 02:19AM convince the jury? Simon Schama's documentary about Obama's America was very well-made. Shama explained Date: January 12, 2010 02:52AM some of things that inspired Obama by talking Law and Order keeping the series low key over about FD Roosevelt, Harry Truman and one of here. The Brits have always been excellent at the main ideologists of the Democrat Party. How making crime drama and this little series show the founder fathers were divided on the issue of how ITV is capable of updating the genre. That social coherence and accumulation of wealth. channel gave us the excellent Granada series of Jefferson argued about the happiness of the Sherlock Holmes and the Poirot serial with American people, and Hamilton saw progress in David Suchet, so I'm glad they worked on this capitalism. He also spoke that banker who one. founded Morgan who bailed out Wall Street at the end of the 19th C.,,, anyway, lots of stuff Very often I feel that I know more about the US packed in 2 hours and it never felt rushed. You justice system than the one in the UK, so it's feel that Schama is for social justice and great to see British crime drama set in a prosperity for all, because when you saw him contemporary London. Law and Order works talking to someone of a borough of Cleveland well because it has never been about flashy where most of the homes are derelict because the graphics like CSI, and the issue of policing and current recession, he talked about that this once justice will always be relevant for viewers. was the American dream but with the factory
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 closed and the debts piling up this place is waiting now for the wrecker's ball. Heartbreaking statistic is that 25 million US Americans rely on food kitchens because their income is very very low. Nobody expects miracles from Obama, in such a short time, says Schama, and they think that his reforms are a step in the right direction, some would even have preferred if he had gone all Roosevelt on the bankers and solved the war issues - but one year on, it seems that Obama's electorate believe in him. Date: January 17, 2010 02:33AM BBC2 started a documentary series about the History of Christianity presenter by Diarmuid.... -. I have seen documentaries on the subject matter before but he opted for the purely historical approach rather than the ideological history we are used to. I didn't know that there was a kingdom of Edessa where the first Christians went after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. The descendant of the church of Edessa is now the Syriac Orthodox Church who worship in a language almost similar to what Jesus and his disciples spoke. Diarmuid remarked that the first Christians did not associate with powers and government and worked alongside the locals, and the idea of the monastic movement comes from Syria. This church spread to Baghdad and Egypt (Coptic church) and as far as China where Diarmuid finds a pagoda built in the 1st century as a Christian church. Nowadays this place is a buddhist temple. In the Christian Church in Baghdad - Church of the East exists but because of the war in Iraq, they had to relocate themselves in Syria. The Eastern Christian churches have influenced Islam. A very good programme, and wonderful architecture and in the next episode he's going to talk about Christianity in the Roman Empire and what was to become Western Christianity. Date: January 18, 2010 07:32PM
Last night I watched "Aristoteles' Lagoon" presented by Professor Armand Leroi whose name sounds French but he isn't. He teaches at Imperial College London. He said that the Greek philosopher Aristoteles was the first biologist i.e. the first scientific writer about animals, his colleague Theophrastus was the first botanist. If you are not too skirmish with the prof dissecting animals to show you what Aristoteles was on about, then you would have enjoyed the beauty of the island of Lesvos (Crete) in the Aegean Sea and all its wildlife. Leroi say that nowadays, there are creationists and evolutionists. Aristoteles did not suss out evolution, Darwin did much much later, but he did not believe that God created the world as the bible-believers do, because for a start Aristoteles was a greek philosopher follower of Plato - it seems that the Greek philosopher were "eternalists" and believed that everything in nature was perfection and will stay forever. You could see that Leroi was both fond of Aristoteles and the island of Lesvos, and he pointed out some of Aristoteles scientific errors and the fact that this perfect island was in danger of pollution. If you want to read Aristoteles books on wildlife, prepare yourself to the fact that it's a very big work, yet, you will read nothing about fossils nor flamingos. The flamingos are easy to explain
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 because they only arrived a few decades ago, the Mugabe, but this time, Dr Gus and his teams fossils... well, Leroi thinks that he ignored them. were allowed. When the monuments of the Great Zimbabwe were discovered in the 19th century, You know what, it's quite an achievement by the archaelogist said that this was too good to Leroi and BBC4 to make this programme easy to have been made by Africans - thankfully such understand. 2010 seems a good year for attitudes don't exist anymore and this fascinating documentaries, go on BBC. programme shows us viewers a continent we know little about, and for a change talks about here is an interview with the prof the people rather than the animals. why programmes like AristotleLagoon? s For three reasons: Firstly the public pays for science, so itimportant that we show them what s we doing. Secondly, there are always antire scientific forces in society, in various guises, and an ongoing battle. Scientists should always take the opportunity to show people how science is the only way to understand the natural world. Finally, science is a source of stories. These can give us joy and inspiration in what we do, and they have the added quality of being true, or as true as we can know. Itnatural for scientists to s want to share these stories. Date: January 19, 2010 02:02AM Bye bye "Without A Trace" like the CSI franchise, that one was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. All in all it was a good series detectives from the New York Missing Persons Office at work and at home. Most of the stories were engaging and it always good that each decade has a detective series that reflects the times. Any more of that particular series, and they would have jumped the shark though and that's because of the characters themselves and their emotional baggage - it started to feel like a soap opera. With Jerry Bruckheimer it's always a thin line between soap opera and storytelling. If New York police is as multicultural and liberal as that task-force, then good on them. Date: January 20, 2010 05:54PM (Kilwa) Yesterday, I watched Great Kingdoms of Africa presented by Dr Gus Casely-Hayford, a British art historian born in West Africa. British film crews have not been allowed to film in Zimbabwe for a few years because of Robert here is more info about the old kingdoms of Africa. Www.africankingdoms.com
Date: January 20, 2010 06:06PM Gok Wan's current programme is focusing on making disabled ladies feel happy and have nice clothes. There is some nakedness in the programme and his idea is that everyone can look foxy with clothes and with no clothes, it's all a matter of confidence. He has been campaigning in the past for the high street to reflect the figures of the shoppers when selecting their mannequins as the average size for women is UK 14. Now, he wonders why there are no disabled women as fashion models, he talked to an actress who is in Hollyoaks who likes to look glamorous, and to a young guy with M.E. using a mobility scooter. Channel4 likes to highlight issues - Gok Wan is certainly as fluffy and bubbly as usual, but his programmes are quite pleasant to watch. Be warned, sometimes as a viewer, you feel like you have walked into a nudist camp.
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 Date: January 21, 2010 01:00PM The other day, I stumbled across a programme called "Take me Out" on ITV2, because I like the song by Franz Ferdinand, I switched it on and realised that this had nothing to do with the Alex Kapranos bunch but the new version of "Blind Date" crossed with Lynx Advert where a hord of women are desperate for a man to date. You would need to be desperate to go on that show, I tell you. Funny for ten minutes, but not something I want to see again. Date: January 25, 2010 12:08AM Channel4 documentary presented by Howard Jacobson where he talks to fierce atheists and fierce creationists about the Book of Creation. As you might have guessed it, he's neither a fan of fierce atheists (how can they be so sure), nor the fierce creationists (why distort science to make it coincide with your views). He argues that the Book of Creation is not a scientific document but a philosophical tale about order and chaos, light and dark, life and nothing, the creation and the creator. In fact, artists are more likely to grasp the idea behind the Book of Creation because they too create things out of nothing. I like his approach. I'm not sure I like Jacobson much as a writer but these type of programmes suit him well. looks like a good series - it's accessible enough because Jacobson explains things well, and he gets people to explain their thoughts as well. So even if you don't agree with Jacobson, you get to see all the different angles on the subject matter. Date: January 25, 2010 12:24AM On the other hand, I struggled a bit with the BBC4 Arena programme about the British playwright Harold Pinter. He is not an easy writer to read, and some of the performances dragged on and on. On the other hand, he does write about people who are not communicative with each other, or people who don't take into account what others say or total bores who show off. You definitely don't want to meet or be married to some of his characters. However, I enjoyed Colin Firth's performance of "The Caretaker" which is the story of an unfortunate man who had electric shock treatment and whose mind is completely messed up - thank goodness, that these days, this method of treating mental health patients is outdated. David Bradley played an old tramp who comes to a monastery which is supposed to help people like him, and they treat him worse than a dog - I can imagine that happening in real life. There was a touching story of a man talking about his wife Jessie who was the backbone of the family. Stephen Rea recited a poem where someone died, and the narrator wants to give this body a human identity by trying to find out details about the person and the circumstances of their death. In his Nobel speech, Pinter said that in fiction you can change reality to suit your story, but if lies happen in real life, you need to be vigilant. Interesting programme. Difficult to watch this for two hours, and thank goodness for subtitles but patience and open mind will always be rewarded by great psychological insight. Date: January 25, 2010 08:02PM Tonight there is a new US legal drama called "The Good Wife" with Julianna Margulies (who played in E.R.), looking forward to that. Date: January 26, 2010 12:27AM Law and Order UK revolved around a vigilante story. a bipolar man who stopped taking his medication and lives in a park is beaten up. This results in him never being able to walk again. The local residents around the park are worried about the house prices going down because of that unsociable man, and nobody is keen on helping the police. It turns out that it was one of the local residents who took justice into their own hands and the case goes to court, how will the jury decide? The story was a strong statement about the revolving doors of mental health care. Once a patient is fit enough to leave the hospital they end up in the community, and many end up
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 homeless and that exacerbates their condition. There was a programme last week saying that detective stories are very good at depicting the social issues of the day. Ruth Rendell's "Simisola" written about fifteen years ago is about racist attacks. It is true that homeless people, especially those who are filthy and drunk are annoying, but does this justify attacking them? Posted by: Jackie Date: January 26, 2010 12:34AM The Good Wife starring Julianna Margulies is directed by Ridley and Tony Scott. It is well acted by the main actress and engaging enough to follow. It is also a document of our times. In the past, a wife would be standing by her man, to paraphrase Tammy Wynette, but Alicia Florrick, a forty-something former lawyer is not 100% convinced that she wants to love her husband unconditionally. The story shows that when someone goes to prison, the family are collateral damage and are left to pick up the pieces and do not get much sympathy. However, Alicia gains respect because of her competence as a lawyer, even though she has to start in the lower ranks taking up a pro-bono case - apparently big shot lawyer firms need to reserve a small quota defending people for free. Date: January 27, 2010 01:38AM I watched Lost Kingdom of Africa (Benin) presented by Dr Gus..., then Charlie Brooker Newswipe and finally Carols for Godless people presented by Robin Ince featuring Richard Dawkins, Jim Bob (Carter USM) singing Angels strike, Barry Cryer, Ben Goldacre, Chappi Kosandi, Professor Singh and many other witty people. That was recorded at the Hammersmith 02 last december. I hope that this will be part of the Festive BBC schedule next year. was prescribed by the Bible as if this was the only contribution to European ethics. I have heard her argumentation before and it reminds me of old-style European grandees like Jean Baptiste Duroselle and Mr Schumann, the French politician who imply that without Christianity, no human rights in Europe. This is complete palaver. I''m glad that Christopher Hitchens cut the conversation with her and she was unable to converse with Stephen Fry. But with zealots like Widdecombe it doesn't matter what argument you use, they are blinded by faith. A moral conservative by any means. I much preferred Howard Jacobson two weeks ago - he was able to bring different positions together and conclude that all these opinions made him think. Date: February 12, 2010 02:49PM There were two brilliant programmes on BBC4, Yesterday. The first one was presented by Professor Simon Schaffer and dealt with the science of light and our beliefs in the origin of the world, from Tycho Brahe, Gallileo Gallilei, Herschel, Darwin, Kelvin, Rutherford. What I liked about his programme is that this guy knows his subject matter very well and communicates his knowledge excellently. The total opposite of a nerd who rambles on cryptic stuff. Fantastic location shots. My favourite was Tycho Brahe's astronomical garden.
Date: February 12, 2010 03:02PM The other programme that fascinated me yesterday was Charlie Brooker Newswipe where the acerbic columnist looked at the way politicians are portrayed in the media. They used to badger the journalists, now the journalists badger them. Both options do not always make for good television. The contrast between 1960s Date: February 09, 2010 10:08AM minister Roy Jenkins who liberalised laws on I watched Ann Widdecombe on Channel4 talking homosexuality, divorce and other social issues about the 10 Commandments as a necessary couldn't be starker when put against Simon moral compass for the society of today. Her Cowell (?!) arguing that a political show in the programme was wrong, so wrong and enraged vein of XFactor where the public gets to tell me because she alluded that decency in society these politicians what they want, with a red
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 telephone to the government for them giving feedback. Charlie Brooker argues that the rule of the mob could have dangerous consequences considering that on one defunct programme, the candidate chosen had right-wing inclinations... Celebrities being matey with politicians is a bit embarrassing too, Tony Blair doesn't really need enemies when he has Richard Madeley argueing his cause... Cringe. and shatter the myth of the domestic goddess because she felt that the media did not portray domestic life accurately. Her book was a great success and it sparked a debate about women's rights, and she has been involved in that since. Then she had to face another heartbreak when her 18-year old daughter was raped.
The other women in the interview were great too. I liked the one who wanted to become a Date: February 20, 2010 02:01PM writer and was laughed at, and her mum saying I watched Eastenders Live episode special which that she was "unmarriage-able". But she went on was fine as a one-off. Then the very clever writing books. "Mentalist" - a US series about a fake psychic now working as a consultant for the police The programme reminded us that we cannot take clever scripts. civil rights for granted, even nowadays. Law and Order - Criminal Intent is a must for anyone who likes quality detective drama. I maintain that this is the best crime series on TV ever. The acting and the scripts and Dick Wolf's experience make this both realistic (and harrowing to watch) and it it never toys with special effects. Vincent D'Onofrio, Courtney B Vance are the two famous names in this series, but everyone is equally good. Date: February 20, 2010 02:03PM Newsnight Review presented by Kirsty Wark was excellent. Usually these kinds of show feature high-falutin debates, but this debate here was very accessible. Very enjoyable. Marina and the Diamonds song "I am not a robot" played live was excellent. Friday nights on TV are good! Date: March 09, 2010 12:45AM I watched a documentary by Vanessa Engle called "Women". The story of Marylin French is heartbreaking and I am glad that she didn't go to pieces over all what happened to her. In case people don't know her, Marylin French, now 73, was a graduate in the fifties and although she was gifted, the only job opportunities for her were clerical or typist and she felt pressure to get married like everyone else and be a good housewife. She had two children but her married life was hell because her husband was violent towards her. Finally after 17 years she left him and decided to write a book about housewives Very intelligent programme, I enjoyed it. Date: March 13, 2010 01:24AM Newsnight review this time they talked about Ian McEwan's book "Solar" which is about a scientist with messy relationships (five ex-wives) going on an expedition to the arctic. Tristram Hunt said he found the book hilarious because of the character, Paul Morley said the comedy didn't work too well for him. Ian McEwan himself also went on an expedition to the arctic and said in the segment that he likes having a pessimistic view on life. Everybody more or less agreed that there are some problems with the climate. There was this interesting remark that the public regard scientists as peers, but do we distrust them if their private lives are a mess? In fact, when they brought this up, I thought that most scientists are humans with failings, and I'm sure there must be plenty of them with personal problems and I concluded that if a boffin does his job well, then we can trust him. After all, Einstein was a bit of an eccentric. I like Ian McEwan, so I've earmarked his new book "Solar". The last one I read by him was "Atonement", incidentally, it was a recommendation by Brett, and he writes quite well, snappy comments in an accessible prose. I could have done without the segment with
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 Michael Winner's recommendations, though. I don't know what's been happening to Newsnight Review recently, but the programme feels much less pretentious than it used to be which is a good thing. Newsnight - 11pm fridays BBC2 If only they gave The Culture Show a proper evening slot rather than moving it around the schedules that would be great too. Date: March 28, 2010 01:56AM The documentary about the Foreign Office on BBC2 was very good. I found the civil servants even more interesting than the former Foreign Secretaries. There was another documentary about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (him of Albert Hall) presented by Fiona Bruce. One quote was poignant, it went a bit like this, "Victoria and Albert liked the arts, when Albert died, Victoria's love of art died with him". even more relevant these days, although I am sure that Ian McKellen will be up to the task freaking people out - I wonder how Jim Caviezel's performance will be. The 1960s series was strong because Patrick McGoohan wrote and starred in it. I have the feeling I'm going to root for Ian McKellen because I'm usually on his side. ITV's adaptations and remakes are always a bit hit and miss. In the Law and Order, UK they proved that Bradley Walsh is able to carry a serious role and be an engaging central character. Jim Caviezel will have to be at least as good as him. It will not get as many viewers as the political debate though. Date: April 18, 2010 12:38AM Nope, this remake doesn't work for me. First of all, Jim Caviezel looked too daft to be a secret agent and I can't see any anti-agents bothering with him, because he brings no personality to the story. What also made the original series different were the outlandish decor - here they have gone for a set that looks too realistic and yet doesn't work. Third, the script is as muddled as Flashforward and I doubt very much whether it will sustain over the next episodes. The reason why the 60s series worked for me is also that the Village looked like fifties/sixties culture with pretty pastels, and Walt Disney architecture and so very clean. This decor has nothing interesting about it.
I liked the programme "Grow you own drugs" on BBC2. It's of course not a DIY guide on banned substances, but more a programme by Mr James Wong a botanist who shows how to do some herbal remedies. Difficult to replicate at home, but the tumeric tea is quite easy to make. Instead of the root, you use the powder, put that in a pint of water in a saucepan, add some spoons of black tea and ginger and honey/palm sugar if you have that. Drain before serving. Tumeric is a The remake of sixties dystopian classic The very good spice and everyone should have that at Stepford Wives didn't work either. home. I would have persevered with it if there had been The sore throat remedy is not bad either. little competition from the other channels, but with CSI New York on Five, and Wallander on www.bbc.co.uk/growyourowndrugs BBC4, The Prisoner drew the short straw. The fact that it is immediately on after Britain's got Date: April 08, 2010 11:33PM Talent is another deterrent - I don't want to catch I going to catch up Wallander in Swedish. It's the any bit of that series. best cop show the BBC is broadcasting on at the moment. The Prisoner stuck on the set of Britain's Got Talent or in the Big Brother House, I would like Date: April 17, 2010 09:44PM to see that - but not with Jim Caviezel. That's the I'm going to watch The Prisoner (remake of the actor who also ruined The Count of Monte 1960s series) on ITV. Its Orwellian themes are Cristo for me.
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 afford it. And someone mentioned that Nouvelle Cuisine was invented to show off that you have a lot of money that you can spend in restaurants without having to stuff yourself. Usually this of "The Grumpy Guide to..." can be a bit tedious, This was on yesterday and they might show it but they had some people who were funny. I'm again. This is about the tradition of Bacha Bazi glad that they remember the 80ies the way I do: in Afghanistan where powerful overlords used to crap music, crap gadgets, idiot yuppies, neo-cons keep teenage boys to dance for them. It is a politics, moronic fashion and daft haircuts. Spot tradition that arises from the fact that women are on. Russel Kane and Ed Byrne are very likeable. prohibited to be dancers in public places and parties, so they have boys, dress them in cloaks. The documentary highlights that many of these Date: May 11, 2010 06:21PM boys are sexually abused. There is the anecdote The other programme that I watch and would of one of these dancers getting too old for the job like to recommend to people here was Derren so his master will find him a wife, maybe buy Brown investigates. As you may know, Derren him a house and he plans to train dancing boys Brown is an illusionist and a sceptic. So in this too. The abused becoming the abuser. Most programme he decides to investigate a claim by dancers don't fare well, one was murdered as he a guy who pretends to make contact with the tried to escape and the reporter tried to help a dead. He accompanies a medium who visits a child who was being groomed. The documentary lady called Wanda and seemingly he is able to narrated by Juliet Stevenson explained that tell lots of things about her, Derren Brown poverty makes families vulnerable and parents analyses how much "cold reading" he uses may sell their children for Bacha Bazi. With the (guesswork, etc) and submits the medium to a war in Afghanistan going, sorting this problem is test. In this test he fails to contact the right spirit not really a priority - sometimes some of these (the lady missed her sister, he claimed to contact warlords work with corrupt officials. her mother). There is a twist at the end of the programme and I will spoil it for you in case you The book the Kite Runner gives a hint of the can't see the programme outside the UK, after misery these children endure, perhaps its literary investigating further he discovers that the success has opened the eyes of the world wide medium's sister is Wanda's next door neighbour public. and that the medium has also done successful readings in that street. Coincidence or evidence, ,No human being should be sold, not forced to you decide. give sexual favours to more powerful humans, nor be treated like a servant. Especially children I liked this remark by Derren Brown "It is do not need to have their future screwed just insulting to the dead and the living to claim because adults fancy the idea of owning people. having contact with them when it is not the case", and he is right to point out that mediums Date: May 11, 2010 06:13PM play on the vulnerable. I watched a programme on BBC2 where the likes of Ronnie Ancona, Mark Steele, Terry Derren Brown is very good at debunking Christian and a few others were talking about spiritualist myths, because he knows all the how they remember the 80ies. The worst thing tricks of the trade and he's a very clever man. of that decade were yuppies, shoulder pads, Check out his writings or his DVDs mullets and Margaret Thatcher. Mark Steele mentioned the Yuppies bragging how much Date: May 18, 2010 05:34PM money they have and showing off in bars where The BBC has launched its new subsite they would buy more alcohol than they could [www.bbc.co.uk] and has dedicated a season to drink and tip the rest just to show that they could mental health. Libby Purves writes in the current Date: April 21, 2010 08:47PM The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan - More4 documentary
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 issue of RadioTimes that society has more or less accepted people with milder cases of mental illness because there are some popular entertainers and celebrities with the condition. However, as the documentary about Asylums in Britain showed, society prefered to have the more difficult cases shut away. The programme was very bleak to watch because asylums felt more like prisons than hospitals, and the treatment there was brutal. Nowadays, it is accepted that electro-shock treatment, insulin induced coma and lobotomies have no benefits whatsoever. The programme interviewed some former residents who tell that they have spent decades in such institutions and it is not unheard that some patients have spent over sixty years in such places. Bizarely, it is Enoch Powell who championed the idea of abolishing asylums and Margaret Thatcher who finally implemented this. At least, these two do not have a completely negative legacy. The programme also explores what happened after the mental health patients were transferred to "care in the community", as a doctor remarked for many it meant being forgotten about and shunted by the media. From time to time stories about mad people becoming murderers made the headlines and that is not helpful to end prejudice. Date: May 20, 2010 10:09PM Yesterday, I watched the life of the manicdepressive presented by Stephen Fry. If anyone had to present the programme, then he is the right person for it. Eloquent, intelligent and compassionate, and sadly diagnosed with bipolar disorder about 10 years ago, he went to speak to doctors, patients, nurses about how the illness is perceived. What the programme tells us is that the prejudices about being labelled as mentally ill prevents some sufferers to go and see a doctor, a mother tells the story of her daughter who killed herself rather than accepting her fate. One fellow patient - an actor - tell Stephen that medication has helped him staying creative and he has done his best work when receiving therapy. Another patient - a part-time GP who trained as a neurosurgeon - tells about how the Disability Act has helped her keep a job and she recommends to fellow sufferers to slow down a bit as stress is a trigger to manic thoughts. Stephen visits a cognitive therapist to find out more about his own manic actions - and he discovers or let's say he accepts that he's doing far too much, he feels compelled to work a lot because it gives him a buzz and shop a lot even if he doesn't need all these things and when he gets tired, he is depressed. The programme leaves us as Stephen ponders the future for himself. I have no doubt that he will go on being as clever, knowledgeable and likeable as he is now but he will have to learn to slow down a bit. The ex-neurosurgeon in the programme is a real trooper, I liked her a lot. Well done BBC and Stephen Fry. Date: March 05, 2007 08:16PM let's see tonight how "Flashforward" ends. I have to say I didn't stick to this series beyond the tenth episode or so because the story is seriously muddled, though the synopsis is easy: in a blackout people see the future happening months later, is fate inevitable or can they change it, and if so how will the change affect their future. Now it looks like the future is happening exactly as they saw it despite frenetic attempts to change it. There is a message of predestination and fate in this series so the concluding episode will tell us what happens after the fateful day. The acting has been good and made you care about the characters - but there were just too many of them. It might have worked better either as a feature film or a mini-series. Flashforward Channel5 9pm Date: March 05, 2007 08:28PM The Genius of Britain - The programme on Channel4 about science presented by Stephen Hawking with segments by David Attenborough, Richard Dawkins, James Dyson and others is certainly worthy, solid, educational and very accessible. I can see this programme being shown in schools or at least be used for homework - it is to science what Coast is to British coastal geography. Channel 4 (and +1) Lewis - the crime drama on ITV1 - had an
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 implausible plot like most dramas of its kind. The lead character played by Kevin Whately is engaging, that's why I watched it. It's a pleasant and undemanding programme. Brit TV is good at crime dramas and science, and yesterday showcased that. Date: June 01, 2010 05:29PM The Genius of Britain is on again tonight Vrubel - Demon (Channel4) , as well as The Art of Russia by Andrew Graham-Dixon (BBC4). worth checking (the demon represents a dislocating Russia) out. in the picture showing that using people as beast of burdens is cruel and unnecessary)
Date: June 03, 2010 08:56PM Andrew Graham-Dixon on The Art of Russia yesterday. He described the end of Tsarist Russia via those paintings
Kandinsky - Komposition No 7 chaos and further disintegration
Vladimirka by Isaak Levitan (the road where prisoners were deported)
Repin - Barge Haulers on the Volga (people being used in slave labour-like condition despite technological progress - there is a steam engine
malevitch - The Black Square the end
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 This gallery of pictures is very haunting. Date: June 06, 2010 09:37PM African Journey with Jonathan Dimbleby more cuts in public spending.
Martina Cole - On Myra Hindley. (ITV3) The crime author portrays the notorious serial killer from Manchester who with her partner Ian Brady It's one of those travel programmes but Jonathan killed children and buried them on the Moors in Dimbleby is also a current affairs presenter and 1965. Cole talks to people who were close to the has been to the continent before. It doesn't focus case and they tell her that Myra Hindley took an on the wildlife like so many other programmes active part in those crimes and hoped to be about the continent but the people who inhabit it. released from prison. The Moors murderers case was the first case to be tried in the UK since the Date: June 07, 2010 02:11AM end of the death penalty and Hindley - who died Do it! I love these programmes and this week in 2002 - was the longest serving female they are going to repeat "The Art of Spain" also prisoner. There are some chilling details like Ian presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon - and that Brady's notes that human beings are like too was a fantastic series. maggots and the fact that they had an obsession in recording on tape and on photographs. This Jonathan Dimbleby programme on Africa was case gets updates from the press because the fantastic. He travelled around Ethiopia, Kenya police are still looking for the body of one of the and Tanzania. Not the touristy stuff but the way young victims. they conduct business, their media and how they make do and mend, use technology to Date: June 15, 2010 02:02AM compensate with lack of facilities, and Dimbleby Ben Fogle's Programme about "Facing Africa" a also highlighted that China is one of the biggest programme about children in Ethiopia affected investors in Africa. Fascinating also was the by Noma disease was essential to watch because biography of Tanzania's first prime minister it showed us what plastic surgery should really Julius Kambarage Nyerere (--> be about - reconstructing damaged faces. The [africanhistory.about.com]). presenter accompanies Dawitt Nida - and talks to three young people called Asnake, Rashid and Date: June 08, 2010 12:06AM Eschekida. Noma is a gangrenous disease that is Dispatches on Channel4 - It didn't tell us caused by malnutrition and it could be anything that we haven't read about in the media erradicated by antibiotics if caught on time, but regarding child services. That unit's work was most of these children do not have access to a overshadowed by lack of experienced staff, doctor. Plastic surgery is the only hope for them excessive bureaucracy, limited resources and because their mouths are so deformed that they jadedness. For example, one 14-yr child is can't eat properly nor talk audibly. Ben Fogle homeless because his foster carers threw him talks to an English plastic surgeon Dr LeRoux out, and the unit cannot find him a bed for the from England who is preparing to go to Ethiopia. night and advise him to stay with friends until The work done by Facing Africa is amazing, and something comes up. There is this careworker Ben Fogle is an engaging presenter. Well done who says that he has 80 pages of administrative BBC2 for screening this at 7pm. documents to fill in regarding a case and when his file is bulging he has to go to an office and [www.facingafrica.org] request a form to transfer the old dossiers. One newbie is not even properly induced and ends up also watched Dispatches - How the Bankers won straight into a meeting and having to visit a family threatened by someone with a knife. Disturbing. A not very cheerful economics programme Makes me wonder how the social services will presented by Will Hutton, who knows a thing or look like now that the government has promised two about the subject. Watching this programme
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 it seems that the leading UK banks are still working in the same way as before the banking crisis. In fact it looks like whilst the rest of the nation faces spending cuts, their profit increases. The various segments says that the bonuses have gone down but the salaries increased so basically it has stayed the same. Then, they also tend to invest more in properties than industry, so whilst the banks have recovered, industry has not - and as an example, there is a firm where the manager says that he can't get a loan from the bank. In another segment, they talk about the staff from the finance ministry and the banks and one of the people interviewed said that recruiting people from a banking background may give the Treasury know-how yet this staff may rule in favour of the banks. murdered... I usually don't like Robson Green (especially not as a singer) but he brings warmth and vulnerability to this series, in the same way as Bradley Walsh in "Law and Order - UK". Wire in the Blood is not on par with - let's say Ruth Rendell's - "Simisola" which I warmly recommend but it seems to me that crime dramas capture real life and social issues a bit better than the soap operas.
Date: July 20, 2010 12:28AM Oh and Andrew Graham-Dixon's documentary on Caravaggio was interesting. They showed it to coincide with the release of his new book about the painter. Fascinating documentary and I Bill Clinton's former financial adviser says that am glad that he made the point that even though eventually the banks will need to be broken up Caravaggio's tumultuous life attracts attention, so that the units that want to specialise in risky he was a great painter. Andrew Graham-Dixon investments should be detached from the old said that with so much passion that you realised fashioned lending to industry. Someone has even how much he likes this art. a gloomier perspective: if there is another banking crisis, the government will not have any info here: money to bail the banks out. [www.andrewgrahamdixon.com] If you can catch this programme on the I like this guy a lot. Proof that intelligent Channel4 player - watch it, Will Hutton makes it programmes are not necessarily dry and very interesting. academic, but also that documentaries do not need to be dumbed. This is the kind of presenter Here is his column who takes you on a fascinating adventures into [www.guardian.co.uk] the arts. Date: July 03, 2010 12:20AM I wouldn't say that "Wire in The Blood" with Robson Green is very realistic. It's a UK policedrama with Robson Green playing a professor of psychology working as a police consultant. However, there was one bit in this week's episode on ITV3 that felt very real. One of his students was late handing in a dissertation because he had to work. Far too often, students are portrayed as young people who get a loan just like that and live the life of Riley. The reality is that not everyone who studies is elligible for a loan or gets a scholarship. If your parents have a bad credit history, then you won't get a loan for university. Unfortunately, that poor student (in both senses of the word) ended up being I only know him as a presenter, but this has inspired me to check how he writes. Date: July 24, 2010 02:59PM A review in the Guardian says that Andrew Graham Dixon's book is a bit uneven, oscillating between an academic tone and a narrative one. Perhaps it makes more sense getting DVDs of his TV programmes because he is brilliant at that. It would have been probably difficult for him to describe paintings the way he does on television with big gestures and his inquisitive eyes - the visual medium is best for him.
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 Date: July 25, 2010 01:14AM I was looking for Dave +1 the TV channel on freeview because I had missed Stewart Lee on Dave Gorman's programme "Genius"... and ended up on "RT". That was weird, and the news there were even weirder. The presenter had an Irish name and accent, so for a while I was wondering if it was RTE or whether Dave Gorman from the Dave Channel was doing a weird segment. The headline of those news were about how America is an unfair place because over 300.000 homes get repossessed every year, then a segment about Vladimir Putin riding a Harley Davidson trike and having lunch with the Ukrainian President and the US spies (Anna Chapman and her friends). The accents on that TV station are bizarre. I have found a TV channel even stranger than Euronews - welcome to freeview... RUSSIA TODAY I try to imagine someone wanting to catch up with Top Gear on Dave +1, ending up being as puzzled as me. (insert Cold War joke) Seriously, you should have heard the speech Vladimir Putin made about motorbikes - it was a mixture of Top Gear and Easy Rider as scripted by John Le Carre. Date: July 25, 2010 10:09PM The World's Squarest Teenagers - Channel4 part of their religious programming, and Channel4 is once again showing an excellent series where as a viewer you might not agree with the religion depicted but if you want to know more about their life and beliefs then this is worth watching. In this programme Leah Miller, an Amish girl and her friends visit the UK and stay in London with a family where the teenagers are in a street dancing group. The Amish are allowed a period of "rumspringa" where they leave their communities to explore the world and their commitment to faith. You can catch this programme on Channel4 player - these young people the Amish and the Londoners were lovely people with kind hearts and it was great to see that they made friends - and the Amish teenagers supported the Londoner during a memorial for one of their friends who was stabbed. Date: July 26, 2010 12:55AM Check out "Sherlock" on BBC1 sundays with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The 21st century update of the characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle works is very well made and I like the visuals - conveying text messages and thoughts on film is always tricky, so well done to Mark Gatiss who wrote the script. The two lead actors are engaging. Date: July 27, 2010 12:46AM The "Hospital" and "Dispatches" were bleak. I knew that was going to be bleak, but it was even more distressing than I anticipated. [www.channel4.com] - dispatches (superstitious beliefs and reckless pastors in some evangelical churches, and the distress caused to their parishioners [www.channel4.com] - the hospital healthcare professionals talk about their work with teenagers. Date: August 02, 2010 01:14AM Law and Order - Criminal Intent last Wednesday was excellent but I wouldn't expect less from that series and the actors they have there. Very nice to see Vincent d'Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe and Eric Bogosian. What I liked about the season premiere episode is the depiction of attitudes at work towards colleagues who go through a personal crisis and how those face exclusion. Sherlock - it's a good series. The premise of Sherlock Holmes working as a consulting detective in modern London works well. The actor who plays him is such weird-looking fella in the most flattering sense of the word. Great series for a bit of London location spotting. Date: August 24, 2010 12:50AM Another episode of The Hospital. This time, the faceless documentary makers visit the Liver Unit at King's Hospital to interview doctors and patients about liver disease. As you may guess, this is a very busy unit and the consultant says that due to increased number of patients, they can't transplant livers to everyone of their
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 patients. The consultant explains that how people can make life-style choices to prevent or combat liver disease. Alcohol related diseases, Hepatitis, fatty liver disease are on the increase, and with Hepatitis, the consultant says that about 100.000 people are diagnosed with it, but it is possible that 600.000 have it. With an early diagnosis it is possible to treat it with medication, as we see with one patient. The liver department in a hospital has the highest mortality rate because liver disease has no symptoms and people deteriorate very quickly. This results as the consultant said in some patients becoming too weak to have an operation or dying while waiting for a suitable donor. One patient with a transplant says that he feels weird at the fact that he is constantly reminded that an organ belonging to a dead person allows him to live. A necessary documentary series because the public should be informed about health issues. Very difficult programme for me to watch because a few years ago I was in hospital internal medicine - and this is indeed the unit (apart from onkology) with the highest death rate. Quite a few people died from liver-related diseases, because of that programme I had to think of them. I also remember that lady who had a transplant and felt grateful at her new lease in life but she will have to take immune suppressants for the rest of her life and therefore is vulnerable to disease. on that. (It's like telling people not to ski anymore because they are at risk of breaking their bones.) ---"Dispatches" The programme before "The Hospital" was about cousin marriages and the genetic risks that their children face. It is a sensitive issue because some cultures have this tradition, but again, this is difficult to legislate so the doctors recommend regular health check ups Date: August 30, 2010 10:32PM Channel 4 Dispatches documentary about domestic workers being de facto slaves of their employers. Now a feature film about the very issue. Thank you Channel 4 for highlighting this issue. The modern myth is that slavery has been abolished, not so fast... It highlighted the work of Kalayaan and Anti-Slavery International. [www.kalayaan.org.uk] [www.antislavery.org] [www.channel4.com] Date: September 01, 2010 12:16AM The Forgotten Children of Zimbabwe BBC2 [news.bbc.co.uk]
" By Xoliswa Sithole Producer, Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children Xoliswa Sithole is a South African film-maker find out more at based in Johannesburg. She was awarded a [www.channel4.com] BAFTA, for her role in producing the BBC/True Vision documentary Orphans of Nkandla, I am glad that the surgeon did not want to enter a chronicling the effects of Aids in Africa. discussion about the worthiness of people Zimbabwe, when I was growing up there, was receiving liver transplant. On Sunday morning, the breadbasket of Africa and had one of the best over at the BBC there was a nasty little education systems in Africa if not the world. programme (don't know what it was called) labelled as "discussion on ethics" where a trio of The healthcare system was great, too. people plus the annoying presenter were having that kind of debate. Once you start going down For a child born in apartheid-era South Africa, as that road, you divide people in "worthy" and I was, it was a land of opportunity. After my "worthless" and it's back to pre-human rights mother moved to Rhodesia, I received a firstdays. You can tell people not to put their health class education, and graduated from university in at risk, but it is simply not on to try and legislate post-independence Zimbabwe.
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 It is startling how quickly a society can fall apart. My film, Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children, follows the stories of a number of children struggling to survive in the country today. Zimbabwe has become a very hard place to be poor, and poverty is ugly. Conspicuous consumerism is very evident, and greed is also very visible. I shot the film undercover, after getting a permit to make another film, about my childhood and how it has shaped me. I was raised as a child of the Zanu party. My stepfather's cousin Ndabaningi Sithole, founder of Zanu, was a prominent politician. ... But while I was making this film the Zimbabwean government launched Operation Murambatsvina (Remove the filth) - a slum clearance programme that left thousands of people on the streets. pay their school fees. The schools haven't got any resources to buy teaching material and if a child cannot provide the - for us - modest fee, they are sent back home. The ratio is that about 90% of children cannot go to school because the parents can't pay the fees. Unemployment in some areas is 95%. The film mentions that Robert Mugabe's regime is a police state and that they would rather not have such documentaries being made. Fact is that poorer families even have to rely on international food aid to survive. The film-maker is shocked how rapidly Zimbabwe has declined in the past ten years because ten years ago it was self-sufficient and the infrastructures were working. Looking at this documentary, unless the Zimbabwean government addresses the issue of homelessness, infrastructure and education - the future of his younger citizens looks bleak. Originally, this documentary was broadcast late on BBC4, I'm glad it's been repeated on BBC2 at a more sociable time. In fact, school children should watch it.
Date: September 01, 2010 09:29PM This made me resolute to make another film, Interview with Tony Blair by Andrew Marr, about Zimbabwe's children. When I lived in BBC2 7pm Zimbabwe in my twenties, there were hardly any street children in Harare. broadcast at sociable hour where people will Children are now not only living on the streets, have good opportunity to watch the programme. they are giving birth on the streets. A second This was a well-structured programme and generation of street children is growing up. Andrew Marr got quite a lot of information out of the former UK Prime Minister. Tony Blair is The system was supposed to take care of its definitely good at stating his case without using people, but it has failed. too much jargon, so he is relatively easy to follow. The bone of contention about his legacy In less than a generation, the country has is the War in Iraq and the so-called "Chicago changed beyond all recognition." doctrine". During a speech in Chicago, Blair explained that because the world is This documentary was very difficult to watch. It interdependent, issues cannot be resolved at showed the life of three families, Esther's, national level, hence if there is a dictator like Ogbert's and Grace's. They are three children Saddam he will inflict damages not only to his under ten whose families have been made own country but to the world. In that sense he homeless after Operation Murambatsvina in doesn't regret having gone to war in Iraq with the 2005, and unlike the film-maker haven't known USA. The Middle East seems to be a recurrent the Zimbabwean school system in more theme for him because in the past five years he prosperous days. They are left scavenging in has been involved in peace negotiations although rubbish dumps to recycle bottles so that they can he doesn't quite specify what he does exactly and
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 what kind of multifaith charity he works with. The profits of his current book are donated to The British Legion, a charity who looks after the interests of former soldiers because he has respect for the armed forces. Tony Blair has been unpopular because he's been perceived as USA's George Bush's greatest ally, but he explains that he dealt with Bush, because he was US president. sure Andrew Marr enjoyed it because he sometimes presents programmes on UK History since 1945, all this will certainly be lots of quotes and infos for future programmes. Date: September 01, 2010 09:34PM I feel a bit guilty not watching Richard Dawkins on More4 on Wednesdays but he clashes with "Law and Order - Criminal Intent". I can't watch every documentary, however, his documentaries are online --> [video.google.com]# - I tend to watch him at Christmas as an antidote for too many religious programme. ;)
His legacy concerning Northern Ireland is considered his best achievements and he explains that the negotiations involved personal relationships on all sides, and he is confident that the peace in Northern Ireland will continue. Date: September 10, 2010 09:02PM Merlin is back on BBC1. That's good news. I Regarding the economic policies. He explains need to have my remote on hand to switch off to that he is in favour of economic liberalism but ITV3 or Five just afterwards so that I don't hear the country has to provide fair opportunities and the infernal theme tune from Strictly Come progressive social policies and he lists that his Dancing. Same applies for Eggheads because government built schools, hospitals etc. He "Strictly Come Dancing - the chat show with the thinks that the UK could not avoid the global annoying Claudia Winkleman" comes just after recession, but that it was wrong to nationalise the teatime quizz. the banks because whilst in the past they took too many risks, now they are too cautious. And New Tricks is on tonight, it's not a bad series. It the problems with the budget deficit should have is as nonsensical as "Wire in the Blood", if you been addressed back in 2005. He says that suspend disbelief, you might actually be able to Gordon Brown did a good job, and that frictions enjoy that. The theme tune sung by Dennis between cabinet ministers have existed in each Waterman is charming, and reminds me of "one government. He is confident that Labour can win foot in the grave" - I like the idea of very old the next election and he'll support whoever wins police-staff investigating cold cases. The actors the leadership contest however he doesn't want are nice, the aforementioned Dennis Waterman, to come across as the old hand who knows but also the sassy Amanda Redman, James everything. And this is also why he hasn't made Bolam and Alun Amstrong. It's a bit salt-of-theany comments towards Mr Cameron nor the earth geezer at the time, and the plots and side Conservative-Lib/Dem coalition. characters are almost transparent. Law and Order - UK is much cleverer than New Tricks, but that makes two good new British detective series at That's basically what I understood from the the moment. programme. Date: September 16, 2010 01:37AM Tony Blair looks certainly better on TV than he Law and Order - Criminal Intent on five and in does on recent press photos. When Andrew Marr between Fyfe Dangerfield singing "She needs chanced the remark that he is not very popular, me" on BBC1. Safe to say that Fyfe was the only Blair replies sensibly that he did at least win ray of joy during the whole hour, because "Law three elections so it can't be that bad. (or and Order" is efficiently dour. something like that) but he doesn't seem too worried about his reputation. This week there were two documentaries about the Pope, one on Channel4 presented by Peter Yeah, civilised dinner-time conversation. I'm Thatchell and the one on BBC2 presented by
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 Mark Dowd. It was interesting watching both documentaries because Thatchell is not a member of the Catholic church, but Dowd is. Pope Benedikt 16th is the type of person who should never be a leader - he is very brainy but he has serious problems relating to people and PR. He is an interesting man because until 1968, he was one of the most liberal catholic reformers and one of the brains behind Vatican II, teaching theology at the university of Tubingen with his colleague Hans Kung. In 1968, the years of student riots and the break-out of anarchy prompted a group of students to invade his classroom and his liberalism died: he became increasingly convinced that the right way was to lead from the top, and distrust everything coming from the bottom ranks. This is not the first time I have observed a liberal mind becoming intransigeant after a crisis but he is certainly the most dramatic. Hans Kung is still asking for reforms in the catholic church but has been expelled, the "Liberation theorists" from South America too have been brought to account. His quest for the one truth from above has led him to dismiss relativism and secularism as the new evil in Europe - after Europe had Marxism, Nazis. Bizarely, he has written a book with an Italian atheist and that atheist says that Europe should go back to its Christian culture because secularism is destroying Europe's roots. Without disrespect but I think that this Pope is blinded by his faith just like any politician who tries to sell their political programme as the panacea. Nice to see Peter Thatchell looking more mellow these days and that gives his support for human rights more gravitas. But that Pope seriously needs to clean his own house first before tackling secularists because in the child abuse and the Rev. Williamson scandals, he looks very incompetent if he claims he did not know about that. And for someone so clever, his speech in Regensburg was not very subtle. It struck to my mind in the Thatchell documentary that a 19th C English Cardinal Newman said "Conscience first, papacy after". The Pope is coming to England because he wants to make him a saint. Interesting stuff. - The Irish newspaper said that Sinead O'Connor and Ian Paisley are going to be in Edinburgh tomorrow when the Pope is coming, what a formidable pair! I liked the programme "How to take stunning photographs" on five yesterday. Always good to be reminded of a few things and get tips. Looking forward to Professor Hawkins series on Channel4 on Saturday. But yeah, the lovely Fyfe Dangerfield playing the piano, that made my evening :) Date: September 29, 2010 02:50AM great programme "The Ration Book Cookbook" presented by Valentine Warner. As you know it's the 70th anniversary of the Blitz and second world war and plane attacks on the UK made life at home very difficult to say the least. This is no ordinary cooking programme. Nice chef and gourmet Valentine Warmer tells us about the Ministry of Food's rationing programme. It was aimed at reducing malnutrition in the UK because during the First World War, this was a big problem. Infant mortality and disease (rickets) was high. Due to the war, imports were severely restrained. The Ministry of Food allocated a certain amount of certain foods per person and you could collect it with a coupon. This meant that food was evenly distributed and could be monitored. Marguerite Patten was a wartime cook who came up with recipes. Land Girls were employed in the countryside to increase the production of agricultural products and ordinary people were encouraged to grow their own vegetables. One person in the programme said that even in Hyde Park there was an allotment in front of the Prince Albert Statue. The Ministry of Food managed to keep people at home healthy, but rationing had to stop because people saw the point of it during the war, but in peace time they were less keen on the government dictating eating patterns. But as Marguerite Patten said poignantly at the end of the programme: without it, we wouldn't be able to eat this Meringue Pie today. A worthy programme which tells us a lot about people's resourcefulness and reminds us that it is
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 important not to let food go to waste. seemed to do nothing about it. And a similar thing happened when another suspect that Elliot Date: September 30, 2010 02:02AM doesn't like gets beaten up in a hospital by a guy They are repeating Law and Order earlier series and he takes his time to break up the fight. I with Jerry Orbach on Five USA in the would have expected a remark from Elliot's afternoons. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone superior or his colleague Olivia to be less violent but it's a solidly made series and makes you or someone to tell the suspect with the broken think about the US Justice system and issues of arm that he could sue the police, or some staff at policing. Two days ago, the District Attorney the hospital to break up the fight. I have no (played by the wonderful Sam Waterston) was problem with the idea that the police can be making his case for the death penalty in the case over-eager to catch criminals, but in this case the of a four-time murderer, and I found myself violence went too far. A big policeman hitting an agreeing with the Canadian authorities who old homeless guy or a guy with a broken arm opposed it and wanted the murder to be locked doesn't look like reasonable violence to me. I up for life no parole. The ravages of murder, the hope this show doesn't derail further - because motives for violence, the cross-country here I didn't get much a sense of "Law and diplomatic relationship, the defense attorney Order". defending the non-guilty plea, the murderer confessing and asking for clemency at the last Date: October 07, 2010 12:43AM minute. This was certainly one of their most Watched Midsomer Murders. Interesting subject edgy episodes and it got me emotionally matter revolving around how to pass on involved. I like this kind of drama, where you "genius". it starts harmlessly enough with a don't necessarily agree with the main character music school enrolling students for the (in this case the death penalty) but if this wasn't masterclass by the celebrated pianist. The pianist an issue I had thought about for a long time, is obsessed about finding a new musical genius. independently from this series, I would certainly Soon we find out that his prodigy is the result of be inspired to do so. If it had been me, I would the pianist practising natural selection (his hero have not have requested the death penalty. This is the scientist Francis Galton) - he is both her is a programme that thrives on emotional and grandfather and her father and in the story he ethical questions and US constitutional rights wants to sleep with her and combine her genes and it is extremely well acted. However, it is with his. To this you add his views that modern usually very bleak. They manage to convey the society is becoming moronic and something message that any murder is the loss of a life, needs to be done about it. where the consequences are felt deeply by the bereaved and therefore it is necessary that Midsomer Murders thrives on bizarre stories and criminals are apprehended and sent to court. this one was convoluted to the extreme. It is also extremely unrealistic and this is what makes it Date: October 02, 2010 02:29AM watchable and Detective Barnaby's wife seems This is one of the rare occasions where I did not to be the unluckiest village volunteer of all time, enjoy "Law and Order - Special Victims Unit", every time she finds a new hobby and a local or better said that I did not root for these village group, weird things happen. Poor Joyce. policemen. The reason is that Elliot Stabler Nice piano music by the way, and John Nettles is behaved in a violent way towards potential an entertaining actor. I like Midsomer Murders suspects and apart from a doctor who said that it's erm so English. the homeless suspect that Elliot beat up used to be a lawyer before he had a stroke and lost his Date: November 01, 2010 10:18PM speech. I didn't like the way, Elliot did shove his Dispatches programme about the homeless torch into the face of the homeless, and threaten teenagers. another suspect who already had a broken arm to break his other arm, and the usually kind Olivia Every year, about 100.000 young people
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 between 16 and 18 are forced to leave home. This programme follows the life of five teenagers and as Robyn, one of the young people says, this programme gives them a voice.
Date: November 03, 2010 01:12AM David Attenborough - Life of Mammals on Yesterday. Finally some good telly between 7 and 8. We share our planet with some really strangelooking creatures. This is an animal who can distinguish the flutter of moth wings in the middle of forest noises. Amazing footage, if you ever own one animal DVD encyclopaedia make sure that it's the one by David Attenborough. Date: November 04, 2010 09:14PM Another weird animal courtesy Mr Attenborough who in this programme examines the herbivores. this is a gerenuk that can stand on its two back legs like a human being when it eats leaves from trees.
western big-eared bat Date: November 03, 2010 09:11PM another weird looking animal courtesy Mr Attenborough this is a capybara - a very big rodent that can run as fast as a horse.
The segment about the elephant digging a mine to find salt was incredible. As always these programmes show the harshness
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 of life, and the way animals have adapted to survive. Date: November 06, 2010 12:34AM David Attenborough's series on Fridays. BB2 9pm This means that I missed The Mentalist on Channel5 but I'll catch up with Patrick when it repeats. Date: November 07, 2010 12:23AM I watched Amstrong and Miller - I quite enjoyed it, but then Alexander Amstrong seems nice when he's on TV. I like the fact that it's likeable posh comedians making a gentle parody of posh people on TV, it's quintessentially as English, my dear, as Midsummer Murders. It's not trying to be too clever either, so that's good as well. Jolly good fun as a cuddly jumper but not suitable for kids. [www.armstrongandmiller.co.uk] A very long time ago, the earth looked like this. The Mentalist is a brilliant little series. I like the fact that it appears nonchalant but there is a very dark heart beating in this. It is solidly scripted by Bruno Heller who is the brother of the writer Zoe Heller and I love the quirky characters headed by Australian actor Simon Baker. Benedict Cumberbatch may have been modern Sherlock the clever clog on BBC1, but Patrick Jane - the ex-fake psychic wins my vote on this one and I love that team. Date: November 10, 2010 09:41PM It's better getting that duck out than it being trampled by footballers. And they are not easy to grap either. --Wanted to mention The Dispatches Programme. Fashions Dirty Secret (Channel4 - Monday) Dispatches investigates the working conditions and this animal - yes it is an animal - comes of clothing manufacturing units in the UK. They from a place called Ediacara. send their undercover reporter Kuli to a firm In biology, sex is called "gene swapping". Before called Sammi's Leisurewear who are that happened, the only way to reproduce was by subcontracted to manufacture clothes for renowned high-street fashion brands. The dividing yourself. workers are paid £2.50 an hour, there is no health and safety compliant material, the fire exit For more weird stuff biological facts about life is blocked and they work in a windowless on earth, including fractal animals and a lot of basement. Basically a sweat-shop in Leicester. other fascinating stuff, check out - who else ? -
* www.zebras54.com presents: TV diary 2009-2010 When contacted by the programme, the high street retailers said that they did not know that their subcontractor subcontracted their orders and that their policies do not condone sweatshops. Burgess Shales.
Date: November 14, 2010 08:53PM Cenotaph Ceremony - a rememberance service for the soldiers who have died in past conflicts especially the ones who have died since last The programme explains also that Sammi's year. BBC2 managed to keep its workforce quiet because a poignant reminder of the war's death and injury they are illegal migrants and therefore would not toll and the people left behind and a how a go complaining to the authorities about work country officially remembers the loss. conditions. The pay was so low that the workers had to live together in a house so that they could Date: November 16, 2010 12:47AM pay rent on it. Jimmy McGovern's TV drama on BBC1 : The Accused with Christopher Eccleston. The programme also contained footage of customers to high-street brands who were not The symbolism was a bit heavy-handed at times, pleased at the idea and asked that the companies but still a very good story on how a decent exert tighter controls. (we saw the workers at ordinary man ended up in court. Sammis' putting on labels "made in Moldova" on Willy is a man in turmoil. He does his best; he’s clothes that were manufactured on the premises) a good plumber and a loving father, but he fails to be a faithful husband. I like Christopher Eccleston as an actor and he was brilliant in this film. I hope the rest of the series with the other actors is going to be as good.
Date: November 13, 2010 12:11AM David Attenborough - First Life (second part of the series = Conquest) the first animal that came on land is called The Velvet Worm. (neither made of velvet nor a worm). This was not the only weird animal shown in the programme. The six foot long Scottish centipede in the Scottish rainforest must have been quite a sight. One of the most important place to find fossils from the Cambrian age (before the trees and after frozen earth) is in Canada in the so-called