In the week leading up to one of my scheduled TV reviews I’m on the look-out for new or one -off programmes to write about. I can usually make up my mind quite quickly on what is going to receive my attention but this week has seen my indecision causing a number of watched programmes to languish in my Sky Planner in case they need re-viewing for reviewing (see what I did there?)
I thought I might write about “Paul O Grady’s 100 Years Of Movie Musicals” (More 4) in which there was a valiant attempt to cram a century into a hundred minutes in a format that seemed rushed and ultimately a little unsatisfying. “24 Hours In Police Custody” (Channel 4) continues its run as one of the best programmes on TV because of its jaw-dropping access and story-telling with this week’s unsavoury episode “In Plain Sight” appropriately recalling the book of the same name about Jimmy Savile as it related two disturbing tales of paedophilia in Luton. There were also two new series worthy of consideration, “Outcast” (Fox) which was incredibly dark (not dark in the sense of the latest series of “Game Of Thrones” as in “Put a bloody light on!” dark but dark in the sense of exorcisms in small-town America starring Brit Philip Glenister) and Anthony Horowitz wrote a very promising opening episode of a fast-paced BBC1 series “New Blood” which was full of likeable performances and much potential.
However, late Thursday night, after a stressful day I viewed the one-off BBC4 showing from 9pm – “Make! Craft Britain” not the snappiest of titles but an hour of surprisingly good television. Presented by Martha Kearney who told us were are in the midst of a huge growth in crafting and that we are keen to relearn skills that the previous generation had at their fingertips. To prove this Martha sat with her crafting mother who had made a beautiful quilt for her some years back which was obviously such a cherished possession for them in terms of the item itself and what is said about their relationship. From colouring books (sales of which have provided the book market as a whole with greater buoyancy) to gadgets used to produce pom-poms we are spending money on craft materials.
I am not a crafter but my partner is- just a few feet from me as I write this there is a spread out patchwork quilt which seems to be growing alarmingly with new hexagonal pieces being added. I attend a monthly craft group but really just to make the tea and cake but the ladies have taught me how to knit, initially for a charity item but I’ve gone on to make a bobble hat and am three-quarters of the way making one of BBCTV’s “The Clangers” I am around craft and it is actually fascinating watching the ladies of the craft group work- the range of skills and the choices made and the satisfaction of seeing something through to completion.
A bobble hat I made earlier This is what my clanger should look like
In “Make! Craft Britain” we visited two craft sessions with participants with a range of expertise from none at all to seasoned makers. We alternated between a lampshade embroidery group in Lealholm in Yorkshire and a paper-cutting group on London and it was fascinating stuff. You could sense the enthusiasm, the concentration, the decision-making and ultimately the thrill of crafting. This would have beneficial effects on the viewer at home. This was a one-off programme but I could see a series here. There’s always great feedback for the occasional “Slow TV” BBC programmes of sledges going through snow or railway journeys but I could happily watch a mixed group of people wielding a scalpel onto a piece of photocopy paper. There was none of the frenetic rush to the fabric store and race against time of “Great British Sewing Bee” and no competitive element so no need for presenter or judges. People just did what they were told, made their own choices and were delighted by the results. I think we need more television like this. The BBC needs to see the potential of this little gem of an idea and act upon it. It would be cheap enough! It was both relaxing and inspiring. I slept very well after watching it.
Rightly proud of their paper-cutting!
Make! Craft Britain was shown on BBC4 on Thursday 9th June at 9pm. It is available for catch-up on the BBC I-Player.