Catch up TV review: The Talk, Crime & Punishment, Inside Missguided, Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years
Ivan Radford | On 16, Aug 2020
The Talk (All 4)
If you don’t know what The Talk is, you’re privileged enough not to have needed it – a moment when Black parents sit down with their children to explain to them how racism will impact their lives. A host of impressive names all join the documentary to contribute their own memories and perspectives, including Emeli Sandé, Lennie James, Gary Younge and Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock. What follows heartfelt and insightful, and as deeply personal as it is relevant on a national level. Lennie James, in particular, is heart-breaking in his comments about having to withdraw back behind his armour when he returns from the Caribbean to London. But what’s really heartbreaking is the younger generation’s debate about The Walk, whether it brings an unnecessary negativity to an innocent young person and whether they would have their own Talk with their kids in the future. Essential, thoughtful viewing.
Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years (UKTV Play)
Alongside Doctor Who, Red Dwarf is one of the longest-running sci-fi shows on TV. It’s about time, then, that someone made a making-of documentary, and UKTV’s Dave, which has been the home of the show for the past 12 years, pulls all the stops out. This three-part series goes into fan-pleasing depths, starting off with the origins of the programme (rewrites and all), before diving into the detailed production of the increasingly ambitious sitcom – a show that, as its budgets grew, dramatically stepped up its scale and style from its third season onwards. From casting Robert Llewellyn – and applying his Kryten make-up – to the on-off involvement of Norman Lovett as monotonous computer interface Holly, there are all manner of trivia tidbits to intrigue, while it’s a pleasure to hear Danny John-Jules talk about Cat’s extravagant costumes and see Craig Charles and Chris Barrie swap anecdotes from their years as odd couple Lister and Rimmer. Best of all, perhaps, is just seeing their camaraderie behind the scenes, as the “Boys from the Dwarf” get together to talk about the series – from the episode where they all got to play Kryten-ised versions of themselves to the moment where Norman returned to reprise Holly and received thunderous applause from the studio audience. All that isn’t bad going for a series that almost get scrapped entirely due to an electricians’ strike in the 1980s – if you’re already itching to find out more about that, this is the show for you. Three hours of all-access production memories? This fascinating and likeable celebration of Red Dwarf is everything a fan could want, apart from the show to keep going for more years to come.
Crime & Punishment (All 4)
The UK failing to prosecute rape charges successfully despite a high number of reported cases comes as no surprise when this documentary displays the horrifying figures that our justice system produces. But it’s something that should still shock and alarm, and Channel 4’s procedural documentary makes a powerful return with this focus on two rape cases and the challenges involved in investigating them. A clip from an old documentary in which detectives practically bully the victim while interviewing her highlights how much some aspects of our criminal system have improved – but the end credits of the sensitively handled hour of TV remind us how horribly far there still is to go.
Inside Missguided (All 4)
“I like that it drains my soul,” remarks Treasure, the Senior Creative Campaign Manager at Missguided, a fast-fashion brand that’s running the online race to get more clicks, more sales and more money. That passing comment, strangely upbeat but darkly indicative of the demands that an always-on brand makes on employees, gives this behind-the-scenes documentary a tone that’s celebrational and aspirational – and unintentionally raises questions about what we don’t get to see.
There’s something to be said for the firm’s predominantly female workforce at its Manchester office, as they share ideas for possible designs and work together to be the first to launch the latest on-trend outfit or figure-hugging dress. In 2018, they lost lots of money, we’re told, and they’re aggressively trying to reclaim a position in the market – whether through guerrilla-style stunts or working with influencers and Love Island contestants. But questions such as how they can negotiate prices for clothes down to very low figures per unit go frustratingly unaddressed, especially at a time when factories within the fast-fashion sector have been exposed as offering workers exploitative conditions.
With the company’s own staff providing the series’ narration, the result is a programme that feels more like propaganda than a window on to a thoroughly modern industry. There’s an interesting snapshot of office life here, but it’s buried underneath the glitzy fabric.