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Evie
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
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Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:57 pm    Post subject: My Life in Books  Reply with quote

Is anyone else watching this?  6.30pm on weekdays, BBC2.

Anne Robinson is definitely not the right person for the job of host, though it's one of those programmes where much depends on the guests.  I watched the first two in the wrong order - today's was awful, partly because Sue Perkins is one of the most irritating people on the planet and Giles Coren not much better, but also because the pace was so frenetic, Anne kept interrupting, and the insane need to keep showing film clips instead of allowing the guests to talk was infuriating.  Much as I love Gregory Peck, I would rather they spent another couple of minutes talking about Moby Dick than showing the great Mr Peck harpooning a rubber whale.

I then watched yesterday's, however, and that was better.  At first I was incredulous at the pairing of PD James and Richard Bacon, but it turned out to be inspired - Richard B. was a revelation, and was wonderful with 'Phyllis' as he kept calling her, and she responded wonderfully to him, and was generally wonderful herself.  She is amazing for 90!!  Still too much interrupting from Anne and too many film clips, but some interesting snippets from the guests along the way, and was an enjoyable half hour.

It's a shame it's all so rushed - it's a great idea, a sort of Desert Island Discs for books, but it's all done at breakneck speed without any real discussion.  Interesting that the books chosen as the top books by each guest so far are three classics plus Flashman.

So - basically another opportunity missed by the BBC, but still fun.  Love the fact that the BBC is having a year of books...why not make programmes about books every year?


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:07 pm    Post subject: Re: My Life in Books Reply with quote

Evie wrote:
So - basically another opportunity missed by the BBC, but still fun.  Love the fact that the BBC is having a year of books...why not make programmes about books every year?


"... another opportunity missed by the BBC ..."

That's the problem, isn't it? I certainly don't mind lighter programmes on books, or a "bit of fun" once in a while. It's when everything has to be fun, I find it tiresome. Why is it that the  Beeb never wants to go for anything more substantial? Why can't we have a television version of the TLS with serious discussion of serious themes? The BBC are putting on an entire season of books-related programme. And yet, not a single programme in the series has serious intellectual content. I think that's a sad reflction.

It's the ethos of modern television, I'm afraid - everything has to be fun.  Well, when fun is so ubiquitous and so unremitting, I frankly find myself longing for a bit of misery...



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Apple



Joined: 24 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himadri Wrote:
Quote:
That's the problem, isn't it? I certainly don't mind lighter programmes on books, or a "bit of fun" once in a while. It's when everything has to be fun, I find it tiresome. Why is it that the  Beeb never wants to go for anything more substantial? Why can't we have a television version of the TLS with serious discussion of serious themes? The BBC are putting on an entire season of books-related programme. And yet, not a single programme in the series has serious intellectual content. I think that's a sad reflction.

It's the ethos of modern television, I'm afraid - everything has to be fun.  Well, when fun is so ubiquitous and so unremitting, I frankly find myself longing for a bit of misery...


They have to justify something which is considered minority interest with the fact it is being paid for by the license payer, ie everyone and as such they have to try and make it accessible to everyone not just high brow intellectuals. (I am with Evie on this one though I can't stand Ann Robinson)


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Evie
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
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Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I do watch TV mostly for fun - it's the notion that something serious, like books, can't be entertaining as well that is tiresome.  I do like my fun to be thought-provoking too.  I think Sebastian Faulks is doing a good job on a Saturday night at playing it relatively straight, despite the minor faults (Faulks' faults!).

But when Sue Perkins was trying to promote Crime and Punishment as the book among her choices that she would pick as the top one, and Anne was trying get her to choose The Very Hungry Caterpillar instead, it was annoying.

Desert Island Discs is a great programme - it's this sense that on TV things have to move quickly, that people can't listen or watch for more than 30 seconds at a time, that gets in the way.  Presumably that's why we have to have all the silly visual gimmicks in the Faulks programme - it's much less annoying when he is just talking to the camera!


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apple wrote:
They have to justify something which is considered minority interest with the fact it is being paid for by the license payer, ie everyone and as such they have to try and make it accessible to everyone not just high brow intellectuals.


Highbrow intellectuals pay their licence fees as well.



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county_lady



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
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Location: N Worcs.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why can't we have both the fun programmes and a monthly in depth discussion on books and not about authors' lives?


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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm enjoying this series in spite of being suspicious of it.  I agree that Bacon and James was a good pairing.  And  I agree that it would be good to have a serious programme about books with in-depth discussion, but I suppose we never will - not until we have a TV equivalent of Radio 3.


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Apple



Joined: 24 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himadri Wrote:
Quote:
Highbrow intellectuals pay their licence fees as well.
I would hope that they do!!  Wink

What I meant was, to make it worth their while making it they have to make accessible to the majority of people and try and get as many viewers as they can for it, to justify it being made in the first place and the majority of people are not high brow intellectuals, for example I come from an area where the majority of people are more likely to relate to Shameless and Jeremy Kyle.

Mike Wrote:
Quote:
I'm enjoying this series in spite of being suspicious of it.  I agree that Bacon and James was a good pairing.  And  I agree that it would be good to have a serious programme about books with in-depth discussion, but I suppose we never will - not until we have a TV equivalent of Radio 3.
I always thought that that was meant to be the point of BBC4 - to be a TV equivalent of Radio 3 but lately it has a lot programmes which are repeated from BBC1/2 and vice versa.


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mike js



Joined: 28 Nov 2008
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Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I watched the first two of these. Richard Bacon and P D 'Phyllis' James were a really interesting pairing and I enjoyed much of the first episode. The second episode didn't seem to work at all.

I agree about theTV/film clips being unwelcome. Just because this is discussing books on TV, why insist on visuals. Isn't the subject books read during a life, not adapted screenplays watched?


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Evie
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite - and when Anne interrupts what a guest is trying to say about why a book is important to them to show a clip of a TV or film adaptation, it's just rude!  (Mind you, am happy to see Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff any day of the week, but that's another story...!)

I am enjoying it (though agree that the second one just didn't work well at all), and it is, like Desert Island Discs, showing another side to some of the guests - such as Richard Bacon, for whom I have a new respect, and Hardeep Singh Kohli today - couldn't help but think of Himadri when he was talking about moving to Britain from India in the 60s at the age of 4, and growing up in Glasgow.

It would benefit from a better presenter - Anne R. says she loves books, and I'm sure she does, but she doesn't really seem to have a feel for literature, and is still too shrewish and bossy.  Shame Sue McGregor couldn't have done it!



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