Catch up TV review: Gone to Pot, British Workers Wanted, Lifers Behind Bars
Ivan Radford | On 19, Nov 2017
Gone to Pot: American Road Trip (ITV Hub)
In May 2017, the TV gods smiled upon us and gave us possibly the TV moment of the year, when Danny Dyer discovered that he’s descended from King Edward III. In November 2017, though, an unexpected contender arrived in the shape of Pat Butcher lighting up a bong. It’s perhaps the inevitable peak of the celebrity reality TV genre, escalating from family history and trips abroad to just grabbing five random famous people and getting them as high as possible. The excuse that ITV has for their excursion is that all of them need marijuana for medical conditions – all of them being Linda Robson, Pam St Clement, Bobby George, John Fashanu and Christopher Biggins. The latter name is a hint of the joys that await, as our gang ride a bus around to different states where weed is legal, puffing on spliffs, getting high while watching TV and occasionally throwing up in buckets. It the middle of it all, former Gladiators presenter John Fashanu watches, stone cold sober, and refuses to take part. “If I take it,” he ponders. “I might become extremely aggressive and start using martial arts.” Watch and marvel at this programme’s very existence.
British Workers Wanted (All 4)
Talk of big companies fleeing the UK in preparation for Brexit is often dismissed as fear-mongering by those who voted Leave. This Channel 4 documentary is a much-needed reminder, then, that the impact on the economy will be felt all the way down the financial and corporate ladder, with local business struggling in the wake of staff shortages. We follow two hard-working women (who voted Leave) trying to find British people to take the roles offered by their recruitment agency normally filled by Eastern Europeans, and witness first-hand just how unwilling many Brits are to lift a finger for a wage they deem beneath them. “Young people might,” says one middle-aged man, apathetically. They barely even deign the interviewers with a response. Unsurprising viewing? Perhaps, but important viewing nonetheless.
Lifers Behind Bars (All 4)
Prison is normally portrayed on our screens as a violent, harsh, brutal place, and while it is no doubt true that there are violent aspects to life behind bars, documentaries often serve a gentler counterpart to fictional depictions – and this latest two-part series from Channel 4 is no exception. Given extraordinary access to HMP Shotts, Scotland’s only maximum security jail, the programme delves into the realities of what it’s like for prisoners sentenced to life in jail, who have to come to terms with the fact that they are incarcerated for the long haul. The result is an eye-openingly candid string of interviews and perspectives, as some turn to religion and others confess to a homicide they cannot remember just because they think they might plausibly have done it. One man is so certain of his innocence that he refuses to agree to a guilty plea, even though that’s the only way that he might ever be released. From regret and retribution to rehabilitation, this is a sensitive exploration of issues that are far more complex than one might presume.