There’s a lot of content awaiting our consumption, so thanks to our enviable contact book, it’s easy for us to tap up clever and engaging people for their own personal viewing recommends. Always good to have a tried and tested series to seek out when you’re faced with seventeen streaming options! (Thank goodness we’re not back in the times of only 4 or 5 channels and whatever’s on them now :-0 )
This week, thank you to talented Edit Director and wonderful human being Celine Gilbert for her suggestions.
Gogglebox – Fridays – Channel 4 – 9pm
When Gogglebox came out, I saw it as a marker of our decline: a society distracted by distraction itself. In week one of lockdown, on my amphetamine-like high fuelled by 24-hour news and anxiety, it felt trivial and out-of-touch; how could people be laughing when I was about to die alone? But this telly snob is reformed. No other programme feels like we are living a shared experience more than Gogglebox and as well as the laughs, it’s delivering some of the best political commentary on telly.
Hospital Special – Fighting Covid 19 – BBC 2 – (available on BBC I-player – and incidentally, watch TP’s Live Session to go behind the scenes with the programmes makers here)
I live near Kings College Hospital and every day I walk past the entrance to A&E as I head to the park to exercise. From the outside, all looks calm and I can only imagine what hell lies beyond the battered old swing doors. Now I know. This Hospital special is filmed at the Royal Free, charting the first weeks of the pandemic. It is an unparalleled insight into work on the frontline of the crisis. From the demands on management (only two spaces left in the mortuary) to conditions in intensive care (like doing a twelve-hour shift in a sauna), I sobbed all the way through. Moved by the anguish, resilience and generosity of NHS staff and their patients’ desperate struggle, this special put everything into perspective. We owe a debt of gratitude to the filmmakers.
Killing Eve – BBC 1 – Monday 9pm (and available on BBC I-player)
Nothing can match the novelty and dark humour of series 1 and while the plot is thinner than a muslin frock, no matter! Villanelle’s whacky wardrobe and her ridiculous Russian accent is like salted caramel ice-cream; hits the bliss point every time.
Virago – Changing the World One Page at a Time (BBC I-player)
History is written by the winners, but this documentary tells the story of a group of firebrand women who decided to rewrite history themselves. They took on the male-dominated world of publishing to get books written by women onto our bookshelves. With its formidable cast of characters, fabulous archive and jaw-dropping recollections of misogyny, it is a hugely entertaining reminder of the appreciation we owe to those who came before us.
Miss World 1970 – Beauty Queens and Bedlam (BBC I-player)
Keeping with the subject of female icons, this is the story of the 1970 Miss World competition, disrupted by feminist protestors in front a live TV audience. Host and prize-winning-nob Bob Hope is hounded off stage as the feminists decry the outrage of cattle-market culture. Fifty years on, we hear from both protestors and contestants and among other things, learn that being a beauty queen is no barrier to being an independent, successful woman. The film also shows the blatant racism in entertainment in the 70s and how the industry turned a blind eye to the outrages of Apartheid South Africa.