Been watching… This is England 1986

Have yet to watch last night’s episode, but I will (the joys of catch-up TV) – not because it’s great, but because I keep hoping it will be.  It should be.  This is England was so spectacular (and so real that it’s used in teaching social workers possible effects of exposure to violent extremism on children) but it’s sequel is…fragmented…aimless.

I realise that’s the point – everyone has grown up, struggling with reality, demands of adulthood…but the genius of the original was the tension, the stomach sickening uncertainty over what would happen (and when), made all the more devastating because of the earlier euphoria/ joy.  A love triangle doesn’t match up to a 13 year old’s involvement with the National Front.

My hope rests on Combo – please don’t let him just be saved simply for an explosive climax, returning in a cliff-hanger ending of the penultimate episode.

Saying that… I’m still prepared for (i.e. willing) it to be a piece of shattering genius that I just missed to start off with.

Next episode: Tues 28th Sept, Channel 4 @ 10pm


Been watching…The Great British Bake Off

Loving The Great British Bake Off.  A happy programme full of happy food: biscuits, cakes, pastry, puddings…

Simple, yes – but so refreshing to have a formatted programme that ignores the most mind-numbing conventions of the reality TV competition.  In place of the ubiquitous family sob story, contributors’ characters come out (seemingly) naturally in the course of the competition. This thereby frees up time for VTs on the world’s most expensive biscuit and the ritual properties of cake in the Stone Age.  Much better to sit in a stone circle with a long-haired archaeologist than hear about how Granny got cancer.

As far as I can work out, the prize is nothing more than being named ‘Britain’s Best Home Baker’.  Which is fine. There is no need to pretend the competition is going to change anyone’s life – it is just to salivate over delicious-looking food & be welcomed into the wonderful world of food historians.

Final next week (Tues 21st, BBC Two).