Saturday, 27 December 2014

Festive Cheer

What a load of old tat on British TV over the festive season! No wonder MPs were complaining to the BBC about repeats. Ancient shows and geriatric performers have been dragged out of retirement to give us seasonal cheer. The usual Church platitudes were intoned between cringeworthy carols. And most films halfway interesting the BBC blocked from computers and displayed a notice about copyright. Even the art world wilted under the strain of it all. The best artwork I spotted today was Mel Ramos's painting Hippopotamus (1967). And that's in the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, displayed in the exhibition Ludwig Goes Pop (CLICK). Thank goodness for Downton Abbey on ITV, a two-hour Christmas special that flashed past so fast it seemed like half an hour.


At 28/12/14, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The documentary of the 60 years of TV carols from King's College was quite good.

There only a couple of interview bits that were overtly religious. Mostly it concentrated on the musical and technical aspects. One had to smile at a desperately pious denial that the pre-recorded TV broadcast is not an entertainment programme.

There was some skilful editing to show soloists from several years singing in sequence.

The early black and white recordings were a reminder of what once seemed technological magic is now taken for granted.

Several soloists were featured with a commentary by their adult selves. Composer Bob Chilcott gracefully pointed out that his sticking out ears were not confined to his younger self.

There was apparent political correctness at one point during a choir stretching exercise when warming up. A bare midriff was removed from the shot by an upwards lurch of the otherwise smooth camera pan. Clumsy - and the editing should have cut the shot before the lurch.

The credits were very jarring for me - a "Religion & Ethics Production". Without those it would have passed as a typical nostalgia music back story documentary.

At 28/12/14, Blogger Ian Cox said...


Thanks for your comment. I missed this programme. There were a number of carols concerts over Christmas. I caught the tail end of one while I was waiting for something else to come on. This is the one that had mini sermons between each carol, which I thought was OTT.

The jarring note of a "Religion & Ethics Production" is the BBC's new approach to religion. It's found that the audiences for "Songs of Praise" are old and dying off. So it wants to broaden its approach to religion and try to appeal to younger viewers. I guess this means less C of E and more happy clapping I look forward to a Jimmy Hendrix retrospective at the Finsbury Park Mosque. Ho, ho, ho.

I must admit I prefer religious songs sung in Latin, so the banal lyrics don't get in the way of the music. I love the songs of Hildegard von Bingen.


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