Nature, red in tooth and claw. So there was some sort of nature programme that everyone and their spirit guide has been going on about (Planet Earth, Sun 9pm BBC1), which even we thought we’d better watch, although nature programmes have never been high on our list of ‘favourite genres’ (distinct lack of gun fights, murder mysteries – the lion did it! – and space battles). Our verdict? Well, it was a pleasant enough way to pass an hour on a Sunday evening, although all things considered we’d probably have preferred to get an hour closer to finding out who shot Laura Palmer. It all seemed so cosily familiar – even the best bit, the Great White seal torpedo attack slowed down by a factor of 40. Yes, nature can be savage, yes, nature can be beautiful, yes, we have an almost infinite tolerance for footage of polar bear cubs – but seeing it after Blue Planet is like reading the second part of
Jordan’s Katie Price’s autobiography – same voice, same wildlife, slightly different beastly behaviour. There was evidence of Birtian blue sky thinking at the end, too, with the laughable technical vidblog thing that said, ”look, we took the millions of pounds of Licence Fee money and we spent it on this spiffing helicopter and this marvellous new camera, not on booze and fags, honest”. While some geeks out there will be overjoyed to learn the best way to get that perfect shot of the moment when jawbone crunches into haunch, we have to admit we were left cold by it; it smacked a bit of trying too hard to capture the Zeitgeist, although we’re sure it will feature prominently in the Beeb’s annual report, and in tussles with the government for more money.
Planet Earth reminded us of one thing, at least: how utterly bloody awful it must be to have to run for one’s life, chased by a predator out for blood. Such trauma belongs on the plains, or the tundra, or in the oceans, and not in the middle of London on an otherwise unremarkable weekday. We couldn’t help but be reminded, as we saw a wolf steadily run down its prey, of the dreadful, chilling story of how Jean Charles de Menezes came to be murdered by the very people who should have protected him from harm. Panorama Special: Stockwell: Countdown To Killing (Wed 9pm BBC1) investigates the road that led to Operation Kratos, and, ultimately, to that tragic mistake and the spent cartridges on the floor of the Tube on 22 July. Should be required viewing for all Londoners.
Thank goodness, Hotel Babylon (Thur 9pm BBC1) is almost over; it’s been every vapid idiot columnist’s ”guilty TV pleasure”, which is ridiculous when you realise it’s on at the same time as the utterly marvellous/bonkers Footballers Wive$ (Thur 9pm ITV1). Compared to FW, HB isn’t even a triumph of style over substance; the universe’s most sensitive style-and-substance-o-meter would fail to get a blip out of this utter waste of licence fee money (we want a vidblog at the end telling us they only spent two and sixpence on HB, and that all the acting ‘talent’ worked for free, otherwise we’ll cry).
Newcomers struggling for your attention this week: Waterloo Road (Thur 8pm BBC1) – the team behind Footie Wives and Bad Girls make a drama about a comprehensive in the north, although as yet it is unclear what role will be played by fake tan and diamonds; the return of Hustle (Fri 9pm BBC1), with its amoral, conspicuously stylish conmen and crooks; The Road To Guantanamo (Thur 9pm C4), which sounds like an excellent, if depressing, documentary; and Celebrities Without Slap (Sun 11.5pm Five), a live version of the column from Heat magazine and sign #583 that the End Times are upon us. There’s a special mention, of course, to Charlie Brooker’s Screen Wipe (Thur 10.30pm BBC4). Now, we love you, so we’ll certainly be watching this. For research purposes. It’s always good to know what your future husband looks like. Oh, did we not mention the marriage bit? Oops, how careless of us!