March viewing

It was a glorious spring day when I took this photograph and the sky was in fact a wonderful shade of blue. My camera disagreed. All attempts to restore the colour using e.g. Photoshop merely resulted in poorer colour for the flowering currant and the forsythia behind it. So you’ll have to imagine the blue.

Only one five star programme this month.

The Great Pottery Throwdown***** My comfort zone on Sunday evenings. I really enjoyed watching the competitors and second guessing who would win (I was usually right). I also learnt a lot about pottery, both the technical aspects and decorative techniques. A lovely series with an underlying educational focus. I think it was really pleasing that the winner was coincidentally an NHS nurse.

Then there are the ones I enjoyed.

Chris Packham: Aspergers and me**** I enjoyed hearing about Packham’s voyage of self discovery. It was not, of course, like that of my grandson. All people on the autistic spectrum are different, as are the rest of us! I would like people to stop referring to Aspergers – partly for that reason. Autism covers a wide range of things, and I don’t think separating one section of people with autism is very helpful. But if it keeps Packham happy, that’s his decision, not mine.

All the sins Season 2**** Finnish noir. I liked season 1 and wondered whether the fact that season 2 was a kind of prequel would spoil it. It didn’t. The focus on the religious minority cult was fascinating all over again. I would, however, have liked a little more about society in Finland in general, to make comparisons that I’m sure were clear to the original target audience.

Bloodlands**** Another thriller set in Belfast. Irish noir? I quite like James Nesbitt so I enjoyed the series. I’m not sure it will sell well outside UK unless accompanied by a manual about the N.Irish ‘troubles’.

The Romantics and Us with Simon Schama**** An excellent set of programmes exploring the art of the Romantic movement. I particularly liked the way Schama linked the art, music and poetry to the politics of the time. I certainly ended up viewing some of the work from a new perspective. I did want another programme, to at least mention all the other creators who weren’t mentioned.

And the ones I at least watched to the end.

Miss World 1970: Beauty Queens and Bedlam*** An interesting look at the beauty queen world and the various attacks on the entire concept as well as the later lives of some of the participants. It didn’t entirely hold my interest and I found myself multi-tasking, but it highlighted a lot of things that were not at all clear in 1970 when I watched the news coverage in real time.

Man in Room 301*** Another Finnish noir. This time, I got fed up quite quickly with the flashbacks and the obvious red herrings, but stuck with it to find out what would happen in the end. Not really a thriller in the normal sense of the word, just a very sad look at some horrible family dynamics.

Unforgotten Seasons 3 and 4 *** I hadn’t seen Seasons 1 and 2 and by the time the series was recommended I think I only just caught Season 3. I liked the lead detectives and the format of one case per season. However, Season 4 was depressing, particularly the ending, and I was also slightly irritated at the way the two seasons followed the same pattern: four main suspects with a gradual untangling of their various stories and viewpoinst. If there’s a Season 5 I probably won’t bother.

As usual, there were a couple I abandoned

Grace (John Simm). Highly improbable – both cast and story. I watch a lot of cop shows and this one really didn’t make the grade for me.

Between the lines. I remember enjoying this first time around and we thought we’d try again but everything seemed very dated plus the film aspect ratio has changed. I’ve noticed this in other older films/series but they have to be better than this for me to ignore it.

I apologise for not having managed to make a note of the various channels and catch-up availability this month. I can, however, say that none of the above were on Sky (which we don’t have) or Sky Arts (which doesn’t have a catch up service for non-Sky customers).

2 thoughts on “March viewing

  1. Also loved the Throwdown – essential viewing during lockdown! And we had the exact same reaction to Between the Lines. I loved it at the time, too, and couldn’t believe how bad/dated it seemed. The main character came across as shady and smarmy, not the charming ladies’ man I remembered!

  2. Yes!! I remembered having a mild crush on the lead detective and was horrified! Quite recently we watched a couple of very old films, and an episode of Fawlty Towers and they (despite the dreaded aspect ratio) didn’t seem nearly as dated. We also found it hard to watch the characters lighting up cigarettes every other minute. Realistic for the time, perhaps, but not for today’s viewers! I suppose some things just don’t last!

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