Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year and my Holiday TV highlights

100 years since the Great War 

2014 is with us and the big anniversary is that of 100 years since the Great War started, also known as the War to end all wars and later when it was seen that this was not the case World War I.
In many ways this war saw the commencement of the modern world with start of mechanized war, with the  use of Tanks and Planes - many survivors, traumatized by what they saw lived with 'shell shock' and a great depression.

Strange for me to think of my own (maternal) Grandfather who lied about his age to go and fight enrolling in 1914 at the age of 16 he was injured, had parts of his inners removed but lived a full life until his death in 1978 - I have some empathy with Location, Location's Kirsty Allsop's views on todays 'moaners' who feel that a loss of electricity is a violation of their human rights (Although I'm not sure that she's an expert in hard times).
My Grandfather had a somewhat harder time as well as the War  he went through the 1926 General Strike as a Train driver he was  part of the triple alliance.
My grandmother survived him by about 5 or 6 years I think -  they were quite happily married for more than 50 years.

Holiday TV highlights

Looking back on the TV Fayre over the holiday period my personal favourites are

Just Henry 
1) Just Henry on ITV - it was a repeat but I'd not seen it and thought it great to see the sort of Drama ITV does so well, it was well realised with fine attention to period detail and was made with a good cast and script (including a great performance from Sheila Hancock).

2)  I've sort of done things which was an appreciation of the life of the comedian, actor, director Mel Smith who died in 2013 at the age of 60. Mel was celebrated by his friends, I really like him in the role of corrupt property developer  in the 1980s ITV drama  Muck and Brass. 
I think that there's a potentially very interesting biography to appear on Mel he was undoubtedly intelligent, popular and talented but were there some demons driving him or was he just one of those 'larger than life figures'?
Mel Smith - more than meets the eye?
Incidentally the title of the programme comes from swipe at 'I did it my way' type anthems that was parodied by Mel.

 3) My third (and most important) gem was Sister Wendy and the Art of the Gospel - this was such an interesting and thought provoking perspective on the Nun Sister Wendy who shot to fame as an art critic - she seemed to have agreed to do a documentary about herself with the condition that she could include some paintings she considered important in respect of her faith.
Despite her status as a hermit Sister Wendy is engaging, she is not without ego (her view on Harold Wilson's academic achievement I found somewhat mean spirited) but she does recognise some of her own deficiencies.
Art Critic Sister Wendy
What I found enthralling was that the programme revealed Jesus as an individual who (it seems) really did live a life. If as Historical Jesus indicates he was born around 4 BC and lived to be about 36 there's a big chunk of his life where he just carries on as a carpenter until his 'active years' after being baptized at around the age of 30.
I think that the idea that there was a really good person called Jesus who lived and did good things is an attractive explanation of the Christian phenomenon and that perhaps history has been somewhat rewritten to add weight to his teachings  is a view with some legitimacy - something I will consider in 2104. It does not though explain the conviction and personal discovery experienced by people like Sister Wendy (and Jules Evans too).
Jesus Timeline

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