Monday, August 03, 2009

I'm on a journey...

You've all heard the opening line of many, many BBC documentaries where a middle aged comedian is on a journey - and the rest is just a vaguely hacked together series of mildly interesting anecdotes masquerading as a penetrating and incisive narrative.

The latest is Griff Rhys Jones and "his journey" around rivers, imaginitively called River Journeys With Griff Rhys Jones. Last night's episode annoyed me. Not because he went to Marple and didn't acknowledge it, but because the whole point of this exercise was a fraud.

He went from west coast to east. Included in this were some warm and inviting vignettes of modern geography; the clean up of the Mersey, Manchester's underground rivers, then some stuff about canals. Visually this works very well in Marple, which they did by shooting the barges, the locks and the viaduct, but his narrative was to get on the Rochdale canal in Manchester city centre and then get off around Stalybridge and hike up a mountain, so he didn't mention it. But then that's the point of these programmes. No one is really listening. No one is really watching. No one will notice if you take liberties with reality.

They didn't even mention the name of the star in the making sat on the bridge at about 17m 36secs. We certainly didn't on first look!

Griff then dropped down to Chatsworth House - oh how the BBC love a toff and a stately home - warbled about there for a bit, then ambled over to the Trent for some stories about a road and fishing for carp in gravel pits. As for his "journey from east to west" he'd forgotten it.

Next month: Alan Partridge and the spoons of our Motorway service stations.

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