We are still only in January, but the BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall is already sure to be one of the year’s TV highlights.
Costume dramas have long been the Beeb’s stock in trade and on the strength of episode one (broadcast on BBC Two on 21st January) this looks to one of their best for a long while.
It almost goes without saying that the acting is superb and I was particularly impressed by Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell.
What makes his performance so riveting is that, although he not physically imposing, he quietly manages to fill the screen and make you understand how such a man could have risen from humble beginnings , as the son of a blacksmith, to be one of the most influential figures in Britain.
The drama has a contemporary resonance in that you can well see how Cromwell’s instinctive Machiavellian skills also have a modern-day application. Continue reading
GRAYSON PERRY : WHO ARE YOU? . Channel 4 series – episode 1
Grayson Perry, the first transvestite potter from Essex to win the Turner Prize, is not a man to be afraid of public ridicule.
Last year he delivered the BBC Reith lectures in a series of elaborate frocks and collected his CBE from Prince Charles in what he called an ‘Italian mother of the bride outfit’.
In a highly competitive art world in which everyone is clamoring to get noticed, his cross dressing is a calling card that has served its purpose well.
A further advantage of his overt eccentricity is that he earns a degree of trust when interviewing those who have made similarly unconventional life choices. He knows what it’s like to be and feel like the odd one out.
This sets him apart from run of the mill journalists who are mostly just seeking out salacious details to make a good story. Perry genuinely wants to understand what makes people tick and you never get the impression that there’s a hidden subtext to his questions.
Who Are You? is essentially a tweaking of the formula of All In The Best Possible Taste , which he made for Channel 4 in 2012, and I have no complaints about this whatsoever. Continue reading
Brazil’s astonishing 7-1 world cup defeat at the hands of a merciless German team was nothing short of a disaster not only for the team and the nation but also for the corporate interests behind the orchestration of this sporting event.
The hope, and expectation, was always that the home country would triumph so that it would end in one gigantic Samba street party.
The massive expenditure needed to stage such global happenings are enough to potentially bankrupt even the richest countries. The huge investment in the construction of soon to be redundant stadiums and facilities can only be justified if they bring wealth to the country in the form of sponsorship deals or increased tourism.
Anti-government demonstrations against high taxes, poor services and political corruption have been violently quelled leading up to the tournament and Brazil’s ignoble exit will only serve to reignite the debate about these spiralling costs. Continue reading