Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Television reviews

The number of times in - well, in memory - that there have been three things that have caught my attention sufficiently on television in one week is zero. This isn't to be mistaken from the: "Well, I'm doing the ironing anyway, so what is there to watch?" syndrome. However, this week is an example.

The Horizon programme on Intelligent Design I have plugged already. I have also hinted about the "Life on Mars" series, which has captured my attention - just what is John Simm's character doing back in the 70's, and how is he going to get back to the present again? - in conjunction with individual episodes that explore the "wrong" and "right" way to go about doing things, as well as social values from the '70's - boy, I'm so glad that it's 30 years ago now! I suspect that he is "changing the past", and this will have an impact on the situation that he was facing in the "present" ("Ah, the old 'assassinating your grandparent' trick!"). But we'll see.

Last night, the BBC offered a programme called (I think) "Facing Disaster". This featured Adrian Edmonson (sometime anarchic comedian) in a very grown-up role as a Russian scientist, investigating the Chernobyl disaster in a drama-documentary reconstruction. It was very well put-together, and although it pointed out the soviet culture of secrecy that had such an awful impact as the disaster unfolded, it also pointed out the straightforward willingness of soviet soldiers and workers to lay down their lives in the most awful circumstances to do what they could to stand in the way of the disaster.

The reconstruction was harrowing - from the first engineers who went to look for the reactor and came back, to the horror of other people in the control room, with radiation burns on their faces. Both Liz and I have science backgrounds; Liz works with radiation - so we got the significance of just about everything that was said and happened. An excellent programme.