strange_complex: (Doctor Who Bechdel test)
Via [livejournal.com profile] altariel, and with thanks to [livejournal.com profile] communicator for compiling the list, here follows a meme based on the BBC programmes and other services mentioned in Mitch Benn's new song, I'm Proud of the BBC. Bold = love (or have loved) it, Plain text = neutral, Strike through = never seen / listened to.

Obviously, there's some stuff on the list that I think is a bit rub, too - like Last of the Summer Wine or Songs of Praise. But that's not the point here. The point of the song, and thus also the meme, is how much stuff produced by the BBC most of us have seen or otherwise experienced (and thus have in common whether we liked it or not), and how much of it really is chuffing good, and thus worth being proud of. I'm happy to extend that pride to programmes and services which don't appeal to me personally, but which I can see are well made and well suited to their target audience.

This list is a lot longer than I'd realised, just listening to the song )

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strange_complex: (Claudius god)
Seen this evening with [livejournal.com profile] big_daz at the Light.

This is definitely a very patriotic and royalist film, which is no surprise given that one of its producers was Sarah Ferguson. That's not necessarily a criticism, and it's certainly entirely in keeping with the position Queen Victoria already occupies in the nation psyche. But I'm just saying that anyone who wants to see a measured critique of either Victoria specifically or the institution of the monarchy more generally should probably give this film a miss.

Personally, I didn't mind it in the least. Partly, this is because I am a royalist anyway,1 and partly it's because, since Queen Victoria was a woman, the patriotic fervour also had a distinctly feminist slant. There was a lot of emphasis on her casting off the influences of the various power-hungry men who were seeking to control her, and establishing a style of rulership of her own which was ultimately better for the nation. But while at one level this could be read as "See, you greedy and corrupt politicians try to sully the golden purity of our wondrous monarchy, but its true nobility prevails!", a secondary reading more along the lines of "Take that, you patriarchal fools!" put in a very healthy appearance.

Furthermore, the score centred throughout around perhaps the most patriotic and royalist piece of music ever written: Handel's Zadok the Priest. Which I love, and which we sang in the Sacred Wing in December 2007, and which really made the passion rise and kept making me want to yell out "GOD SAVE THE KING! LONG LIVE THE KING!" (or queen, even) at the appropriate moments. Add to that the beautiful camerawork, with lots of very good use of imbalanced shots in particular (i.e. the main focus of the shot is off to the left or right of the screen, not in the centre - I don't know if there's a better technical term for that), and a script which was sparing and naturalistic, conveying a great sense of the volumes left unspoken (as you would expect from Julian Fellowes, who was also responsible for Gosford Park), and you're in business, really.

So it's not one for those seeking an intellectual challenge or rigorous debate, but if you're up for a bit of QWEEN VICTORRIA IS TEH ACES, it makes for a good night out. And if at least one member of the cast doesn't feature in the next Honours List, I will eat my hat.


1. Essentially because I think that the monarchy offers a valuable cultural focus which helps to bind us together as a community, and that an important part of the nature of that focus is a vivid and tangible link with our past - which, as a historian, I obviously consider to be a particularly important component of our cultural identity.

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strange_complex: (Claudius)
So, the noble whale of London town is dead. What's more, a dead porpoise was found yesterday on the shore at Putney (I can't seem to find an online source for this Important News Item, but I assure you it's true - I saw pictures yesterday as part of Sky News' continuous live whale coverage).

In summary, dead and dying marine mammals are hurling themselves at our shores. You know what Cassius Dio would say. Get out of the stock market - now!

The next stage, apparently, is for experts to examine the body to ascertain the cause of death. I do hope they will pay special attention to the liver, since everyone knows that's where the gods most like to leave their messages to humanity.

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