Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Seen and heard: September 2014

Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath - BBC TV two-part documentary. I wasn't aware there was much more still to learn about Stonehenge, after we realised it hadn't been built by people from space, but during the last decade imaging surveys have revealed that in its heyday Stonehenge was just the biggest of a vast number of shrines and structures. Also, its function and significance seems to have changed over the centuries it was in use. The TV programmes were also notable for illuminating use of augmented reality, so that you would see a presenter walking around a modern site, or a plane flying across the landscape, with ghostly superimpositions of the structures which had once stood there. Brilliant.

Scott and Bailey - Series 4. I was originally rather snooty about Scott and Bailey, thinking that this was basically Cagney and Lacey in Manchester. Then I realised that that's not a bad thing. Anyway, it's great to have a brilliantly-scripted women-centred cop show on the box. I especially like the soft-but-steely interrogation dialogues; things like: "Do you know this man?" "Never seen him before in my life." "What would your response be if I were to tell you that we have records of calls to and from this man on your mobile phone, statements from witnesses who say that they've seen you together, and DNA from this man in your flat?" Classic.

Passadena Roof Orchestra – at The Stables. We’ve seen them several times now, so we know most of the tunes and all of the jokes, but still they never fail to lift the spirits. Interesting up-tempo version of some blues numbers, including Ol’ Man River which didn’t really work because of the serious nature of the words and the recent experience of hearing Roderick Williams sing it beautifully at the Last Night of the Proms.

Strictly Come Dancing, new series – Saturday evenings are now organised around this and the new series of Dr Who. These days we recognize hardly any of the so-called celebrities, but the formula doesn’t rely on that: you form new attachments as you hear them talk and watch them dance, or try to.

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