CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Thank gawd bad weather saved us from a naked Gyles Brandreth
Great Canal Journeys
World War Two From Above
Bareheaded in the rain, aboard a narrow boat with actress Sheila Hancock shivering inside her cagoule, the irrepressible Gyles Brandreth was holding forth.
‘Human beings are waterproof,’ he cried. ‘We’d be natural nudists if it weren’t for the weather.’ And every one of us watching the pair of them on Great Canal Journeys (More4) chorused in heartfelt unison: ‘In that case, Gyles — thank gawd for the weather!’
He was at it again minutes later, making cheerfully ridiculous comments as he waved regally at everybody on the Trent and Mersey Canal. ‘We’re a very cheap version of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh,’ he chortled.
Bareheaded in the rain, aboard a narrow boat with actress Sheila Hancock shivering inside her cagoule, the irrepressible Gyles Brandreth was holding forth
King Gyles and Queen Sheila sound like a slightly grand retired couple in charge of a Neighbourhood Watch association on a cul-de-sac in Milton Keynes.
In any case, it’s Sheila who shares the grumpiness of Prince Philip. She can make Inspector Morse, who was played by her late husband John Thaw, look like a paragon of saintly patience.
Fed up with waiting for Gyles to open a pair of lock gates, she threw open the throttle of their barge and motored ahead at ramming speed. Gyles’s royal composure slipped. ‘Hold on, woman,’ he barked. ‘Oh, for goodness sake!’ The boat’s nose slammed into the timbers. ‘Sorry,’ called Sheila, not even trying to sound like she meant it.
The duo, friends for 40 years, have taken over from married canal explorers Timothy West and Prunella Scales. But Tim and Prue were veterans of the waterways, whereas our newbies don’t have the first clue
The duo, friends for 40 years, have taken over from married canal explorers Timothy West and Prunella Scales. But Tim and Prue were veterans of the waterways, whereas our newbies don’t have the first clue.
‘I don’t know my aft from my stern,’ hooted Gyles. And as he bounces the vessel from the bank into another narrowboat, you realise it’s worse than that. Mr B can’t tell his aft from his elbow.
It turns out that’s a good thing. The pair are hilariously different from their predecessors, and that gives the series a lively new twist.
Gyles and Sheila could never recreate the oneness of the Wests, entwined by 60 years of marriage.
They’re not a tribute act, more a couple of ageing rebels on a spree. ‘I’m 87, so we’d better get cracking,’ announced Sheila.
And colliding with yet another wall, 72-year-old Gyles snorted: ‘At our age, if we sink, what does it matter?’
A hopeless bargee he may be, but on one issue he was adamant: the question of whether to pour the milk into a china cup before or after reaching for the teapot.
Big shoes of the week
The police thriller Unforgotten (ITV) is better than ever. Surely it can’t end now — we must have more.
But DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) is about to retire. Could her sidekick, DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), carry the show on his own?
Milk first, Gyles insisted — otherwise the fine china might crack, owing to ‘thermal shock’.
Personally, I’d add milk last, but I’m strictly a mug-and-teabag man. Most viewers of World War Two From Above (Yesterday) are the mug-and-teabag type, I suspect.
Military history is generally aimed at blokes who never tire of wartime newsreel clips and tours round bombed-out armaments factories.
But this series has another appeal — fascinating aerial footage shot by high-definition drone cameras, giving a new perspective to the monolithic architecture of Nazi Germany.
We’ve seen the story before of the concrete seaside complex at Rugen on the Baltic coast, an apartment block three miles long and built to house 20,000 holidaymakers.
And it’s common knowledge how the Allies waited nearly two years while Hitler poured vast resources into a ‘bomb-proof’ factory for assembling U-boats . . . then demolished it in a daring air-raid just as the first submarine was completed.
This familiar history took on a new interest, when viewed from above — the way RAF bomber crews would have seen it. There’s an eerie beauty to these brooding ruins.
Source: Read Full Article