So long Vic Mackey

So it’s over – the last ever episode of The Shield was aired on Monday night. It was one of the greatest TV cops shows ever, possibly the greatest,* and in corrupt detective Vic Mackey, portrayed superbly by Michael Chiklis, it had one of the most compelling central characters in the history of the genre.
The ending was handled well – there was no final blaze of glory for Mackey, no explosive climax. He managed to foil the best efforts of his adversaries to prosecute him for his various misdeeds, but he still ended up paying a big price for his sins. Vic’s family were moved into witness protection to escape from him after his wife turned on and him tried to help the police bring him down. Ronnie Garocki, his fellow strike team member and his closest friend was hauled away by their former police colleagues to pay the price for their various misdeeds over the years, sold out by Vic himself. And the ultimate humiliation – after getting the job with the Feds he had been so desperate for he was relegated to a mundane desk job, faced with three years of pushing paper instead of being out on the streets busting the bad guys. The sight of Vic, dressed in regulation suit and tie, being lectured by the HR lady on the workings of the air conditioning system was a superb portrait of a proud man humiliated by the banality of his situation. Continue reading

A tribute to Oliver Postgate

Oliver Postgate, creator of some of our best loved children’s TV shows, has died aged 83.

For those of us who were growing up in the sixties and seventies his programmes (created with collaborator Peter Firmin) are an integral part of or childhood memories and I have fond recollections of watching the Pogles, Noggin the Nog, Clangers and, of course, Bagpuss. In fact I have already have DVDs of the latter two series ready for my 6 month old son to watch when he is old enough (well that’s my excuse).

Anyone who has read his autobiography “Seeing Things” will know he was a great character and a true British eccentric.

So RIP Oliver Postgate, you will be sadly missed by children of all ages, especially those in their forties.

Watching “Dog Borstal” is good for you

I have to say that the current furore about John Sergeant leaving Strictly Come Dancing has rather gone over my head. Not being particularly interested in dancing or minor celebrities I have no great desire to watch minor celebrities dancing but hey, it may be populist tat but there’s nothing neccessarily wrong with that if it’s done well and I’m happy to get my kicks from the X-Factor (although it’s not as much fun as American Idol).

I did rather raise my eyebrows reading the following comment from the Indie’s Media Editor Ian Burrell though

The problem with Strictly Come Dancing, according to David Wood, of Broadcast magazine, [whom I guess should know about these things] is that the BBC was determined it would be a bona fide talent contest, awarding genuine dancing merit and – most importantly – fulfilling the corporation’s public service broadcasting credentials and thus justifying the licence fee.

Yes, that’s right, Strictly Come Dancing is not just a harmless bit of fun, it is public service broadcasting. Which I suppose makes a kind of sense given that in recent years we have seen the virtual disappearance of current affairs and arts programming from BBC1 (and the dumbing down of what’s left), the shunting of the news to 10pm, a glut of reality and lifestyle programming, historical dramas that are no more than Eastenders in funny costumes with only a faint nod to any notion of verisimilitude (hence the huge steaming pile of shite which is “The Tudors”) and its atrocious US election-night coverage, demonstrating the low opinion the BBC has of its viewers’ intelligence (at least those who watch BBC1). Not only is it desperate to find a “public service” angle to the output on its flagship channel in order to justify the licence fee but it probably does think that anything more cerebral than SCD will have its viewers reaching for the ITV button on the remote.

This isn’t just mindless BBC bashing either, I totally support the principle of public service broadcasting and there is still some genuinely great stuff on the BBC, see Picture Book for example (buried on BBC4 of course) but I can’t help thinking that the BBC should lose one of its digital channels, use the money saved to make better quality programming for its terrestrial channels, stop chasing ratings and trust the intelligence of its viewers.

Do you agree or disagree? Text your vote to 83635 or call 0890 53468273

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