Catch up TV review: The Secret Life of Five-Year-Olds, Parenting for Idiots, The Modern British Slave Trade, Homeland
James R | On 05, Feb 2017
The Secret Life of Five-Year-Olds
Channel 4’s loosely ongoing series of hidden camera series is back with a new bunch of five-year-olds. The format remains as amusingly charming as ever, as the children run about being surprisingly honest and wonderfully naive. But where we previously were fascinated by glimpses of cognitive development, the show’s return specifically presents us with a comparison of boys and girls – and the results are a wonderful insight into gender stereotypes and how they do or don’t take hold. Girls and boys imitating each other running are hilarious, while the discovery that girls really do seem to have more sympathy and intuition for emotions than boys is intriguing. The result works on both levels: you can either think really hard about it, or just giggle at the cute antics.
Parenting for Idiots
Parenting is not easy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying out of their bottom hole. Babies, those cute objects that you fawn over when they’re in other people’s prams, are as terrifyingly fragile as they are beautiful – and working out how to stop them crying, get them eating and somehow sleeping is half luck, half patience, and almost entirely trial and error. Channel 4’s latest clip show of famous people, then, is a fantastic bit of telly, as they’re not counting down the world’s funniest dogs or reminiscing about that Tuesday in 1982; they’re just helping to remind us that all adults with children go through the same pooey, chaotic stress. This is reassuring, funny, comforting viewing for any new parent.
The Modern British Slave Trade
“You can only sell drugs once. You can sell people over and over again.” Slavery isn’t a word we associate with 2017, but Channel 4’s investigation into modern slavery is horrific, eye-opening proof that it still exists. There are thousands of people in Britain caught up in the slave trade, and the sad truth is that the people who are forced into slavery are the easy targets at the bottom end of the ladder. Once picked off, they’re trapped, unseen, in places that, to passers by, sound otherwise perfectly normal and mundane, like “Leighton Buzzard”. One ring of slave labour is only exposed by police surveillance that eventually uncovered the barbaric living conditions these people had been subjected too – while next door, their abusers lived in luxury. Even those who do have some relative sense of freedom, we learn, are under no illusion that if they try to run away, they’ll be hunted down and beaten. Others, meanwhile, can’t speak English and are made to work in nail bars, where punters pay cash without asking questions – something to bear in mind next time you go for a cheap manicure. This is important, essential viewing.
Homeland: Season 6, Episode 2
We knew that it was only a matter of time until Saul and Carrie would once again cross paths – and, sure enough, Episode 2 sees Berenson walk into her new office, to ask her whether she’s advising Keane, the new President-elect. Carrie says no, marking one of the rare times that she’s lied to him outright – and that unexpected detour in their relationship points Season 6 in a very promising direction. So when Keane is asked by Dar Adal in a restaurant to help investigate a possible breach in the US-Iran nuclear deal, Carrie’s eventual advice for the President-elect’s team takes an even more intriguing twist: she recommends sending Saul, because he’s “trustworthy”. Saul, of course, can see straight through her lies. Probably because of his magic beard.
Quinn, meanwhile, can’t even remember Carrie saving him last season, and is perplexed when he’s reminded that it happened – a moving moment for Claire Danes (who delivers a 100% bona fide Carrie Cry Face), but also a reassuring sign of progress in what threatened to be a stagnant plotline. It’s these personal touches that keep us tuned in to Homeland each week, as they ground the often ridiculous plotlines in something relatable. Speaking of which, it doesn’t look like it’ll be long until Carrie and colleague Reda’s investigation into their client’s story to truly take off into daft territory…
Photo: JoJo Whilden/SHOWTIME