Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Last nights tv

Bona VT
Watched BBC4 Hidden Lives stand last night and saw the Michael Sheen Kenneth Williams bio/film play “Fantabulosa” which was excellent and quite moving. Putting aside any arguments on how you portray a solitary private man the film was engaging and thought provoking. When I lived in Holborn I lived a few houses way from where Williams was born, and the mood of that part of North London around St Pancras where he spent most of his life was captured really well. It had a nice look of 70’s and 80’s too.

No Jo(e)king
Fantabulosa was followed by an interesting repeat of an Arena film on William’s friend the playwright Joe Orton. Now here’s the thing is it just me or is Joe Orton work not funny? The film had long (5 mins plus clips of his 3-4 plays) and I didn’t laugh once not even a smile. Now I know sometimes lines that get a big laugh in the collective experience of the theatre fall flat on screen (see all of “the History Boys” film) but this seemed very thin gruel. I am prepared to take into account that the content and form were ground breaking at the time but a good joke surely should last 40 years. It seemed like the sort writing you might get in the first draft of ITV sitcom or worse 2 pints of cocking lager. On the whole I think Joe Orton life is far more interesting than his plays. (My only caveat here is I should see one of his works live before fully making up my mind)

Kimono my Plaice
Also on last night was Nigella Express. There is always a lot of talk about Nigella but you can’t doubt that she is very good at making food programmes with the minimal twaddle and gimmicks. Her basic skill (rarer than it should be) is to present tasty and attractive food you can imagine cooking yourself. She might over play the busy lifestyle angle abit (one imagines she has a cleaner) but I fear she’s on a hiding to nothing with the press being firstly a women, secondly an attractive one at that, lastly coming from a seemingly privileged background. The fact that she writes really well and is enthusiastic about what she writes about seems to count for nothing. I do however think the programmes tend to veer into the “cheesecake” side of things too much for an intelligent woman but if all food programmes were as straightforward as this we’d have a lot less to complain about.

Ps. Although opinions vary


steve g said...

I knew you'd be commenting on this as i was watching it!
I thought it was like watching Dawn French doing Nigella; a complete caricature. Bizarrely, my eight year old son got very excited when he heard that 'Nigella' was about to start,and then sat there drooling. Must have been the Croissant Caramel pudding!

BLTP said...

But what is reality? I did say they are starting to go over the top a bit! We could always get plain people to cook dull food in boring blank porta cabins, and they finish the show by sobbing and pulling at their hair.

Clair said...

I agree that Orton's life is fascinating - Prick Up Your Ears is a great book, and the film, especially Alfred Molina as Helliwell, is terrific too. I am fascinated by Kenneth Williams, and his diaries are a must if you love showbusiness. What an intelligent, unhappy, torn and tragic man, and Michael Sheen's performance was brilliant as ever.

But I don't even like Nigella's books very much; give me Nigel Slater any day.

BLTP said...

It's funny because Nigel and Nigella are similar in many ways.
As for Joe Orton one interesting thing was that Helliwell was short in real life which changes the dynamic slightly.
Also with you on williams diaries and letters which show at least two sides to him. He would have hated all this attention in one way but I hope would have welcomed the compassion towards him it raises in most people.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

You love her.
Big G.

steve g said...

I made caramel croissant pudding last night. Mmm! miss dish delish!

BLTP said...

You're the best dad ever! I hope you wore a kimono and licked the rim provoactively! Also it looked good but to my mind needed some custard.
As to Chez BLTP I feasted on some stewed plums with a creamy finish of Greek... yogurt

al_uk said...

Quote from BLTP the other day. "I don't like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, I don't get on with posh cooks" Perhaps thats posh male chefs Chris....LOL!!!!

BLTP said...

Nobody likes Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, he's just plain annoying, he's posh, glib and he has chef to do his cooking whilst he's off promoting "diffusion ranges" of his tasteful brown paper wrapped strangely passionless food! Yes, Nigella's posh but she's not a faux boho look at me I live off the land with my 100,000's I get off the telly and my inheritance. I think everyone should grow their own horseradish. does no on else find his patratian rambles round the south west slightly old fashioned. I bet the locals just love with gosh can buy some lovely jam nonsense. He's posh nobody likes him it's offical.