Catch up TV review: Young and Promising, Inside London Fire Brigade, Is Love Racist?
Ivan Radford | On 30, Jul 2017
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(For BBC TV reviews and round-ups, see our weekly Best of BBC iPlayer column. Or for reviews of the shows on All 4’s Walter Presents, click here.)
Young and Promising (Walter Presents)
Walter Presents’ latest import from Norway isn’t a noir crime series but a delightful coming-of-age comedy. Made by Siri Seljeseth, who also stars in the show, it’s cute, downbeat, often laugh-out-loud funny tale of three Young and Promising women growing up in Oslo. Siri plays Elise, a stand-up comedian who returns to Norway from a stint in America, but finds the national authorities unwilling to renew her visa, leaving her stuck in her home country. Fortunately, she has her friends to keep her company: one, a would-be author, the other, a wannabe actress. All three struggle with obstacles in their professional lives, from potentially abusive men to the closed-door nature of the publishing world, juggling their ambitions with work as waiters – or, in the case of Elise, dressing up as Bob the Builder. Based on Siri’s own experiences and written with her co-stars in mind, the result is painfully honest and a wonderful portrait of the ambition and creativity of young people in a modern world that too often leaves them adrift. With episodes only 30 minutes long, this is an easy-to-watch pleasure that’s perfect for Sunday afternoon streaming. Young and promising, indeed.
Inside London Fire Brigade (ITV Hub)
It says a lot, perhaps, about the general attitude towards public services that they have increasingly been the subject of documentary series in recent years. Where offbeat, unusual individuals were the focus of TV’s voyeuristic non-fiction, they’ve now been replaced by an urge to humanise the people behind the national services that keep the country safe and running. From doctors to the police, public service workers have gone from overlooked players to heroes of British television. It’s tragically fitting, then, that ITV should commission its own series – Inside the London Fire Brigade – just as they face the worst fire in Britain since the Blitz. Not unlike the Westminster Bridge attack in the recent BBC series Hospital, the Grenfell disaster looms over the opening episode of this show, as we hear from emergency workers the accounts of how they tried to fight the blaze and rescue those in the building. But there are other incidents too, and the programme began following the firefighters long before Grenfell happened. The result is an inspiring, important portrait of the brave souls facing infernos in the capital, brought into horribly sharp relief by the harrowing events of that sad day. The government may take our public services for granted, but there’s no danger of anyone else doing so.
Is Love Racist? The Dating Game (All 4)
Is love racist? It’s a big question and if anyone’s going to attempt to answer it in 45 minutes, it’s inevitably Channel 4. The result is exactly the kind of thing you’d expect from a modern documentary on a hot button topic – a light sprinkling of generalisations and loose analysis designed to provoke a response wherever possible. But if the programme is a reflection of our current age, that also applies to the subject matter: with the rise of online dating and hook-up apps, people are now asked to profile their ideal matches based on physical characteristics, including ethnicity. Sure enough, one white person in a group surveyed on camera says they would only ever want to date white people. There is, rough data suggested, a tendency for white people more than other groups to want to go out with other white people. Is that some kind of built-in anthropological conditioning? Or is it due to lack of exposure to other cultures? It’s a genuinely interesting question, but one that needs more nuanced and in-depth exploration over a period of time to really engage with the issues it raises. As a general prod to those on the dating circuit to keep an open mind, though, this at least acknowledges the tip of an iceberg exists.