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I have been watching ... - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
I have been watching ...
I have steadfastly not been watching Torchwood, but in the past few weeks I have seen the following:
  • Jonathan Meades' excellent Magnetic North, a trip along the North European coastline from France and Flanders to Helsinki. His style is sureally entertaining; it's a shame this was aired only on BBC4. Really he could have done with more than two episodes, but I suppose BBC budgets were trimmed.

  • Monty Don's Around the World in 80 Gardens. As observed by the Independent's TV critic, Don is so-earnest-it-hurts and does imbue the programme with the feeling it ought to have been edited by Biddy Baxter. It's not been brilliant, but I did particularly enjoy the sections on China and South Africa. I wonder how much CO2 emissions he clocked up in making the trips, though.

  • The recent run of Lewis was the best yet, still not matching Morse but enjoyable for its misperceptions of Oxford. It's still preferable to Midsomer Murders.

  • I had intended to watch It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World on Saturday, having recorded it at Christmas. Then I discovered that I had never properly tuned the DVD recorder to Channel 5 - an understandable omission, but disappointing as I had three hours of "almost snow". So instead I dusted off another unwatched and meatier recording, The Red Violin. I was inspired to record it after seeing John Corigliano's Violin Concerto (based on his soundtrack for the film), and this turned out to be quite an interesting film, tracking a violin from its creation in 17th century Italy, through Vienna, Oxford, and China, before curiously ending up in Montreal. The ending of the film wasn't at all satisfactory; though if one views the film instead as an excerpt of the violin's unhappy moto perpetuo, it perhaps makes more sense.

  • And so to last night's The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I enjoyed it, though I preferred the Radio 4 adaptations a couple of years ago, and I preferred the books to those. Mma Ramotswe is, to my mind, a little older, and rather more traditionally built. Mr J L B Matekoni is also a bit older. Mma Makutsi is not quite as up tight. But it's just a colourful bit of fun. uitlander was quite startled to find herself following the Setswana dialogues, apparently much more similar to the Sesotho with which she is familiar than she had expected. poliphilo makes some good points about the mind-stretchingly idyllic depiction of Botswana. A lot was chopped out of the book to make this film, and then some padding is inserted instead, which is curious, but perhaps it's forward thinking to make the series, promised for next year and of course now with another director, work better.


2 comments or Leave a comment
thegreenman From: thegreenman Date: March 25th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Agree about Monty and CO2 emissions. In his defence he did use trains for all of the North European section except for a quick hop to Norway. It's difficult to see how a series about workd gardening could have been made without much flying.

Far more annoying was Chris Birdshaw's flying gardener series, a complete twat who thinks good telly can be made by leaping into a helicopter and flying off to see a garden.

We've enjoyed 80 Gardens but it is a bit earnest, as you say, and I found myself not relating to many of the gardens he was enthusing about.

I think he was trying just a bit too hard to eddicate us about the history of gardening and I was more interested in the radical/primitive/modern stuff like the floating gardens of the Amazon and the botanical garden in Tromso than I was in yet another rhapsodic eulogy over some vast acrage set over to miles of box hedging set in fancy shapes.

qatsi From: qatsi Date: March 25th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
My comment is slightly tongue-in-cheek - as you say, such an exercise (with a single presenter) would be completely impractical without air travel. It's just somewhat at odds with his earnest persona. But it's not the same as doing a regular weekly air commute or frequent on-the-cheap weekend trips by GreasyJet (or moronically flying a helicopter over a garden).
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