Sometimes TV is amazing and the BBC4 drama The Road to Coronation Street, about the way Granada began to make this soap was such a buzz to watch. You could feel the excitement from a top class cast who knew they were recreating history since 1960. The Tony Warren character as the original writer, was such a success for actor, David Dawson and I was swept along with his vision and belief his tears and persistence to turn Florizel Street into Corrie.
It was a beautiful drama with such energy and life – such innocence and expectation – as the young William Roach saying he would stay for the thirteen episodes and we the audience knowing he as Ken Barlow, would stay for 50 years.
Heartbeat said goodbye without much fuss and an average storyline, where Oscar the grumpy ex-policeman got his last hurrah and the rest of the cast got a chance to shed tears at his funeral. But you couldn’t help but feel that the low key ending left the door open for perhaps, a rethink, a Christmas special. This show survived eighteen series and many will miss it and blame ITV for panicking to balance the books due to falls in advertising revenue and chopping off good wood without having suitable replacements. Only time will tell.
David Jason nearly took over Sunday night with a David Jason: The Battle of Britain in a gentle celebration of the 600 pilots who fought off 4,000 German bombers. Not only that but it remembered the 30,000 civil aircraft spotters, radar crews and women in operation rooms plotting the progress of the enemy. Then Jason popped up as Harry a lovable London cabbie who with his Second World War friend Frank (David Warner) had to give an old comrade Albert his death-bed wish to be buried in a field in Germany. So they had to steal the body and smuggle it out of England and on the way they met a knowing young German girl who hitched a lift and changed their lives. This was gentle drama full of soft holes of logic as two old actors took to the task like masters – the class act they so are a memorable back story gave the drama a nice fuzzy warm flashback sequence as the two codgers in Albert’s memorial, bickered and blustered and had fun.
In the end you were in awe as the German girl turned out to be a ghost from their past and it seemed right and fitting and a wonderful end to wartime friendships.
Not sure why it is on E4, possibly because of the rude crude schoolboy humour on The Inbetweeners, as it returns for a third series as these grown up school kids or awkward teenagers. Jay has new wheels and doing gay jokes because his ears are pierced. He wants to be a model and Simon does a stupid skit in Speedos. Oh by the way, Jay calls his car in fact, his man’s car the minge mobile – an old Peter Sellar’s joke or was it Will in the Speedos. It’s that kind of show.
So, Jamie Oliver had a flop in America and cried bitter tears and made a TV programme about it – Jamie’s American Food Revolution. He went to the US fat capital, Huntington, West Virginia. I loved the guy at the radio station who was no Billy McCarthy, just a red-blooded pissed off patriot who hated the idea of a lettuce eater telling his audience what to eat. Huntington eats processed crap and no Brit is gonna change that. The dinner ladies didn’t like Jamie saying they were ignorant or made to look stupid for a TV show so they told Jamie to butt out and he cried for the camera.
Lionel Blair was embarrassingly young in his head in the BBC1 series – The Young Ones about senior personalities remembering or recreating the past – 1975 to be precise. Liz Smith delightfully fell asleep in this pastiche of Big Brother does Oldies. Derek Jameson, (what used he do?) larked about with gusto. It had its sad side as Blair seemed upset that nobody phones with work anymore. Can this be true?
The BBC have pulled out all the stops and put over 400 people to work on their coverage of the Pope’s visit to Britian. However, the programme Benedict: Trials of a Pope was an unseemly hatchet job by Mark Dowd, a Catholic journalist and ex-friar, by painting a biased view of a prelate, who was associated with Nazi Youth and who spent time as a prisoner of war. Benedict went on to be a progressive thinker and a well-liked university lecturer. Dowd found fault with the doctrinally conservative Cardinal Ratzinger and referred to him as God’s Rottweiler. I was surprised to learn that the Pope was a student of Hans Kung, in 1968 – Kung was a famous radical and mould-breaker. Much later in the programme, Dowd admitted his dislike for the Pope because of the papal position on homosexuality as a “disordered sexual inclination.”