I’ve been catching up on Downton Abbey. I finally had to give in and buy the box set so that I could watch the programme from the very beginning after missing the beginning. I’m so pleased that I did – I do love a period drama and this is an amazingly well-made one. As I watch it I am transported back into times gone by and am gripped by every second. I’m currently on series two and love the changes from series one as we delve into the 1930’s and 40’s and wartime England. It is fascinating to see the comparison of life between the poor and the wealthy as they make their way through everyday life. I would seriously recommend this programme to anyone who is interested in vintage, history, period dramas and the like. That is, if there is anyone out there who hasn’t seen it!
Posted on October 9, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tagged bbc, Christmas, Downton Abbey, England, Highclere Castle, history, ITV, Kiri Te Kanawa, Nellie Melba, period drama, programme, vintage, wartime
Last night’s Panorama was particularly horrible and even now I am still thinking about it. I usually watch the programme on Monday nights because of the content and also for shorthand practice, but this episode stood out to me for some reason.
Panorama investigates how our clothes – including those of some big high street brands – are really made. It finds evidence of shocking working conditions and an industry that still puts profit before safety. More than a thousand garment workers died when the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed in April. But reporter Richard Bilton discovers people working 19 hour days, security guards who lock in the workers and factory owners who hide the truth from western retailers.
Although focusing on a topic that is already well-known among consumers, just continually ignored, it was shocking to have the extent of the problem highlighted in the investigation. Hearing in detail about the Rana Plaza collapse and how the workers had been locked in and unable to escape was both tragic and sickening at the same time.
It became worse as the investigators discovered that locking the workers in was in fact common practice, as was forcing them to work 13 hour shifts without a break and countless hours of overtime that was never officially clocked, nor were they paid enough to justify it.
The treatment of these workers is criminal and horrific to see, but it still doesn’t stop them from going to work because they are trapped in the never-ending cycle of poverty that keeps them coming back to earn a pittance that barely covers their rent or bills.
Sadly, it also fails to stop the majority of shoppers, myself included, from buying the items made in these sweatshops. Despite knowledge of these practices – why is it still so easy to forget when faced with that new item from Topshop or Primark?
I am as guilty as anyone of this.
But it certainly gets me thinking about what my life would have been like, had I been born in Mauritius and raised there instead of in the UK – I could have been scraping buy on pennies earned on 13-hour shifts in factories instead of working for a newspaper and educated in a university. Amazing really. Essentially the difference between Third World Problems and First World Problems.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Bangladesh, bbc, cheap labour, fashion, high street, Mauritius, Panorama, poverty, Primark, programme, Rana Plaza, Richard Bilton, sweatshops, Topshop, treatment
I used to love television, I used to scour the TV guides and pick out my entire week of programmes each Sunday. Then I became a teenager and ended up being too busy to dedicate my time. As a university student, I discovered the power of BBC iPlayer and 4OD, but that soon fell down the wayside when I started working full time and having so much else on my plate. These days, it takes a lot to get me to commit to a series – I often prefer to wait until it is finished on TV and is released on DVD so I can peruse at my leisure and dip in and out of the series.
This is the first series I have committed to in such a way for the best part of a year and I thought it deserved a blog post all of its own for that reason.
Top of the Lake, is an acclaimed 2013 television mini-series written by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee, and directed by Campion and Australian, Garth Davis. Filmed and set in New Zealand, the drama series follows a detective (Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss) investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl.
The DVD cover, featuring this image, was very striking and really caught my eye while browsing in HMV and when I saw it was a recent BBC production I decided I was going to have to purchase it and have a watch. Particularly with such a dark storyline, I was hooked.
I have yet to finish the series, but I have to say now that it is pretty damn good. Utterly gripping as it is explores the relationships between characters, the detective’s own personal problems – both emotional and within her family – all alongside the investigation of the disappearance of the young girl.
There are several scenes that become highly controversial and disturbing including one when a male character strips naked and begins to whip himself with a belt over his mother’s grave. If you prefer the softer, more comedic television series – I would avoid this. It is thought-provoking, powerful filming against a stunning background of New Zealand scenery.
The actors tackle the material unafraid of backlash for these sensitive topics and challenge the audience as they rail against the norm and introduce a range of characters – many mentally disturbed or emotionally distraught and clearly struggling to cope with day-to-day life.
The series exposes a culture within the country of exploitation of women, and of men, of emotionally stunted people who are trapped in a remote area but are still trying to run away from their problems.
The whole programme hooks on the idea of a delicate a beautiful new life coming out of such evil and the scene where the young girl gives birth is particularly horrifying because the audience is aware of the danger involved and the fact that she may not survive the experience.
Later the scene where the girl shouts at the baby to shut up just highlights her youth and inexperience, her inability to cope with the horrendous brutality that has been forced upon her before she was even able to understand how she became pregnant.
A powerful series, and one I am looking forward to continuing – I am intrigued to see where else the series can take the audience.
Has anyone else watched the programme? I would recommend it for those with a taste for dark and disturbing crime thrillers.
Posted on September 16, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tagged bbc, box set, crime, drama, murder, new zealand, programme, review, sex, television, television drama, television series, thriller, top of the lake, tv, violence