Showing posts from March, 2019

The Sweeney: Queen's Pawn

As I am writing this, I am waiting in for a plumber, who is going to install a new hot water cylinder. Hence the illustration: I am looking forward to a long hot soak like Tony Selby but don't worry, I won't inflict pictures on you. Long term readers are already traumatised by the sight of my man boobs anyway. Obviously I have been watching The Sweeney, prompted by the episodes I have seen recently of its BBC competition, Target. Of the two, frankly I think The Sweeney is the superior: Target tried to improve on the recipe of The Sweeney and wound up overdoing the violence, with the result that the characters tended to become one dimensional. Target also feels much more claustrophobic than The Sweeney, which in comparison depicts a greater richness of human interests, relationships and interactions. The result of The Sweeney's cult status was that the stars of stage and screen queued up to be beaten up and screamed at by Regan. I had forgotten about the guest stars and

Doomwatch: The Human Time Bomb

Recently I went to Sheffield, largely to see Europe's biggest listed building, which is the postwar development of Park Hill flats. I won't go into the tale of hope, disillusionment, deterioration and redevelopment using private money in any great detail. But Park Hill is the sort of development which was in it's hay day while Our Sort of Television was being broadcast. This episode of Doomwatch is (rather postmodernly) about another development of that type, and with the show's knack of predicting coming events, foretold the Doom of high rise living. Well, I say foretold, but high rise blocks of prefabricated construction were already doomed in this country after the partial collapse of one called Ronan Point (pictured) in 1968, three years before this was broadcast. Doomwatch rather tells the tale of human suffering in the blocks. It paints a picture of the ability of a tower block to cause isolation and mysteriously turn people into violent monsters. Apart from t

Jason King: As Easy as ABC

Reality vs unreality, that is one of the continual themes in the TV of this age, that I write about here. I err on the side of unreality myself, and would identify the intrusion of brutal reality into the television world, as the seventies wore on. One of the doyennes of unreal television is the character of Jason King, and somebody leaving a comment (you can see it  here ) about a forthcoming biography of Peter Wynegarde has caused me to watch the eponymous series today. The opening scene makes the location of this episode clear: the manor house used to set the scene is used in many ATV series as well as The Avengers, so the episode is firmly set in Avengerland, thereby making its setting in unreality clear. The premise is even more unreal: the plots of Jason King's crime novels start to happen in reality and naturally he is suspected of the crimes. I love this Jason King, particularly that pretty well everyone is a caricature, in fact I think that generalisation can be exten