‘Adam Pearson: Freak Show’ – On the Box

The best kind of documentaries are the ones that encourage you to stare. If you tried this in the street you’d get a smack in the mouth, and deserve it. People who wear veils, who have disabilities or who look different in some way usually have enough shit to deal with without you staring and making them feel uncomfortable. But if you can’t ask questions or take a good look at someone how will you ever get to know them and learn to accept them?

Adam Pearson is an actor and tv presenter. He has a rare condition called neurofibromatosis which causes tumours to grow on his face. He’s had this condition since he was little and has suffered with abuse and hurtful nicknames on the school playground. The one he really hated was ‘freak’.

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Not on the box – Viewpoint

Ladies and gentlemen of the internet. Come on a journey with me to the dark side – a cavernous living room where there’s no focal point, where sofas sit facing each other… a world in which all of the pixels are dead! Witness the insufferable smugness!

We know them, we come across them in all walks of life – the uber-poseurs (the ones who know it really should be written über). They lean in to you over their flat white, and bristle your arm slightly with their elegantly tailored Belstaff coat as they smirk and say “Oh no, I haven’t got a television” BEFORE THEY’VE EVEN BEEN ASKED. You swear you didn’t ask the question, or even think it, but they’re desperate to tell you about it. They’re like the vegans of the entertainment world.

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‘Celebrity Big Brother’ – Viewpoint

Don’t worry, it’s not suddenly become culturally relevant again, if it ever was. And you’re right, it’s not something I normally watch.

Do you remember back in the heady days of 2000 when Big Brother started, when it was billed by Channel 4 as a grand social experiment? Turns out the social experiment was on the British public – how long would we put up with this intrusive, demeaning, ridiculous shit for? And we were all sucked in – I was foolish enough to expect a quality programme. What I actually saw was a bunch of slightly unhinged people  stuck in a claustrophobic environment, becoming increasingly paranoid and unpleasant as the weeks dragged on. Every series ended up with arguing (usually full-on screaming and crying) about some perceived slight or whose turn it was to do the washing-up. Who needs telly? I could have looked in the mirror if I wanted to see that.

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‘And Then There Were None’ – On the Box

Oh my! How grizzly, how gruesome, how horrible!

I’m an Agatha Christie fan and I knew despite the veneer of respectability that she liked it dark. And bloody. And sinister. Even little old Miss Marple has a dark side. But in all that time I never realised Agatha Christie was a frustrated horror writer. This all became clear watching And Then There Were None (BBC1), a period murder mystery based on Christie’s novel of the same name. Even George R R Martin (aka the butcher of all your favourite characters) would have said “Come on now Agatha, don’t you think nine elaborate murders based on a racist nursery rhyme that drive a young woman to suicide in a mansion on a deserted island is a bit much? Death by dipping a guy in molten gold is one thing, but this is just nasty!”

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Christmas Telly Round-Up

Happy 2016 everyone! As we stumble outside and face the grey drizzly dawn of another new year let’s enjoy a round-up of the best and worst telly from the past two weeks. If we concentrate really hard maybe we can still pretend we’re comatose on the sofa in a Batman onesie surrounded by Quality Street wrappers and fighting about whose turn it is to put the kettle on. Ah, happier times.

So in no particular order…

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‘Abz on the Christmas Farm’ – On the Box

As you may recall back in September BBC2 introduced us to a superstar in pretty unusual circumstances, and I thought he was fantastic. This was Abz Love, ex-boyband member of 5ive breaking with his past and being born again as a super enthusiastic small-holding farmer. In my review I was hoping for a follow-up, and the Christmas telly listings gave me that gift.

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‘The Great History Quiz’ – On the box

Geek squad assemble!

So it’s Christmas Eve, (in the front room, not the drunk tank… not this year) and we’re gathered to watch a festive treat on BBC 2 The Great History Quiz. “We’re so old” moans Mr H. Nope, not me. I’ve always been like this – a total geek for history, ever since Mrs Green dressed us up in togas for our Romans project when we were 12. And any show about the Tudor dynasty is bound to appeal to kids. I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t like grizzly tales of ancient plagues and beheadings. The continuing success of the wonderful Horrible Histories should make that abundantly clear. More on that later.

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