Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Telly weekend

So my weekend of nothing to do meant I ended up watching a lot of TV.

Doctor Who continues to hit the quality mark, in a very mildly risk-taking way. I feel almost as if it is the envoy from my world into the wider world, building bridges between us and them. People who didn't 'get' the hitchikers' guide can enjoy this. Given that it does this job so well, the minutiae of the individual episodes become less significant. None of this was bad; Martha seems to be a Good Thing, and we like to see British Character Actors camping it up like nobody's business ('I've got my own straw!')

Persuasion - the last in the Jane Austen short season. There was a lot here to like, in particular the sustained emotional pain, and not flinching from showing how utterly repellent her family are, and how constrained and self-conscious even her best friends are. The strong painting of the emotional wasteland of British gentrified society, in which Anne is trapped, makes the lost love even more tragic. I think there were two questionable decisions. One was to let the audience off the hook too early, by giving us an un-Austenesque male-conversation scene where Wentworth tells his friend that he still loves Anne.

The second was the scene at the end where Anne's commitment of her self at the expense of social constraint is symbolised by her running unaccompanied through the streets of Bath after her lover. I think it's appropriate for a TV script writer to translate inner events into symbolic external action, and the fact that a woman of that time and class 'would not have done it' doesn't matter, that is the point in a way. But I think they took it too far, and turned it into something almost farcical - too much running. It also weakened an element of the plot which I think is significant - Anne's decision to invest time and concern in a socially helpless and apparently 'useless' person (her disabled friend Harriet Smith) is how she finds out about the ugly truths which are hidden from polite society, but known by the pauper class. In this case Harriet was not disabled, not pauperised, and she gabbles out her revelation too quickly for it to make much difference, long after Anne has made her decision.

I saw a fabulous 2-hour documentary on BBC4 about the evolution of the British War Film and how it reflected and shaped attitudes to the 2nd World War. Nothing there I hadn't thought of a thousand times before, and yet one never gets bored with seeing Alec Guinness say 'What have I done?' and falling on the detonator at the end of River Kwai, or John Mills brilliant over and over again. The documentary reminded me of how women and the working class, so welcome into the war effort, were so ruthlessly excluded from view once the war was won.
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