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A- and B-roads of discovery - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
A- and B-roads of discovery
Dimbleby's How We Built Britain is eye- and mind-candy, coffee-table TV, gently informing the architectural layman (like me) but never challenging. More discerning and delightfully idiosyncratic has been Jonathan Meades' Abroad Again, promising a trip "down the B-roads of discovery", beginning quasi-autobiographically, and then surveying such delights as the work of Cuthbert Brodrick, Letchworth Garden City and Stowe Lanscape Gardens. One has the feeling, possibly prejudicial and unfair to both, that Meades does his own research whilst Dimbleby has a team of researchers to prepare the ground. Meades is always entertaining, encouraging the mind to branch off at tangents, and as he does the same it can be difficult if the viewer and presenter drift apart for more than a few moments.

Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain has also been quirky and at times irreverent, but informing and entertaining. It feels as though this series could have been expanded and more in depth, possibly by staging it over two series - say from 1945 to 1979, then from 1979 to the present day. As it is, the topics Marr chooses are discussed well, but one feels that quite a lot has been dropped. The difficulty with history is knowing when to write it and I suspect that whilst facts may be known, there is still plenty of scope particularly for events post-millennium to be reinterpreted.


4 comments or Leave a comment
poliphilo From: poliphilo Date: June 20th, 2007 10:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Marr's OK- but when he says history he means political history- and that annoys me a bit. There's more to modern Britain than Thatcher and Blair.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: June 20th, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's certainly true, but I suppose I expected it would have that bias given the presenter. And this week's episode did include Tim Berners-Lee and the Web, albeit briefly.
thegreenman From: thegreenman Date: June 20th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
We enjoy Meades, although I do feel that he can sometimes rather overdo his trademark surrealism.

We also find it's best to watch with a dictionary close by and one finger on the pause button.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: June 20th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very wise.
4 comments or Leave a comment