Columnist James Waller-Davies gives his view of some of the recent events on television.
This Week, Capital, London Spy
As far as modern ‘Youtubers’ – YouTube celebrities – go, former Sunday Times editor, Andrew Neil, probably isn’t the first who springs to mind.
Yet, what was termed his ‘rant’ against the Paris attackers has already notched up over half a million views on Youtube alone, after his piece against the terrorists at the start of This Week (BBC1).
This Week usually manages to pass by in relative anonymity in the graveyard slot of 11.35pm and is generally only watched by politics nerds, insomniacs and prospective OxBridge PPE applicants.
Sometimes you just know you’re watching a bit of live TV which is going to get noticed beyond the moment. This was one of them. By 9am the following morning, Neil’s anti-terror tirade was the topic of Radio 5 Live’s daily phone in programme. People had indeed noticed, and they were talking about it.
Neil, who is without doubt one of the very top handful of British political journalists, was no doubt more aghast it was he, the journo, being the news, and not the story.
This Week remains, along with Neil’s other show, The Daily Politics (on in the middle of the working day), the best politics programme on television.
Given he has two of the duffest slots in the schedule, you’d be right in wondering if it is politics generally, or just Neil himself, the BBC are not too keen on.
Capital (BBC1) caught me right off guard. It is a more than refreshing and satisfying satire, with excellent performances throughout, not least Toby Jones as the banker (Roger) we’re not sure we still want to continue hating, even though he clearly deserves all our ire. Roger’s only saving grace is that his wife is even more awful.
Set in a London street, the desperate occupants manage to just about get along without actually having to rub up against each other too much. Until that is, they all begin to get lightly menacing messages reading ‘we want what you have’.
So far, there’s no indication of who the ‘we’ are, or what it is the street’s
inhabitants actually ‘have’.
What we do know is they are all starting to have bad days, especially Toby Jones, who has had the dire misfortune to have to look after his own children Tantalising and Enigmatic, Capital pokes its satirical finger in the eyes of the people living behind closed doors.
In this way it borrows from Hitchcock’s Rear Window, or Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood. There’s also something rather Dickensian about the pernicious, internecine, scheming within all the families.
Nonetheless, Capital retains much of its own character and it’s a nice bit of spice ahead of the festive TV sugar-rush.
There are two more episodes to go. It you missed the first, definitely worth a catch-up online.
In London Spy (BBC2), nothing happened, again. So far, we’ve had three hours of programme and just five minutes of plot. Ben Whishaw’s Danny is lost. I know how he feels. It’s going to be over in two episodes’ time. I’m worried I’m not going to notice.