Sunday, 15 July 2007

The BBC, the Queen and the documentary maker

Sounds like the setup for a gag or something, doesn't it? Sorry for the pause in my bloggerising, no particular reason for it. I s'pose I'm used to only bothering to typing up things if there seems like something to say. Kind of against the spirit of blogging perchance. Like using the word 'perchance'.

Anyway, my three-Euro-cents' worth on all this hoo-hah (sp?) about that trailer for the doco on HMQ. Why do I feel like some Californian bleached blonde teen (there's a first) and want to hold up a hand and go "Yeah, well, what-everrrrrrrrr?"

Every factual programme ever is 'economical with the truth', reality shows even more so. We've all read the tales of people leaving the Big Brother house and being shocked when they watch how they've been portrayed. Of course, they would say that, 'specially the racist or thick ones, but still - editing can make everyone who says anything look like anyone. Charlie Brooker did a great piece on it in his last season of Screenburn so I won't go into it here - he's much funnier, more successful and cleverer than me.

I sat and watched a great thing off of my PVR with Nicky Campbell in it (another first). It was Who Do You Think You Are?, the always-entertaining family tree yarn series. I say always entertaining - it was odd seeing David Tennant is actually Scottish. No he's not. He should talk like the Doctor ALL THE TIME. It should be in his contract. Someone make him do it.

Anyway, this fascinating doc was full of... well, I was going to say 'lies' but the legal birdie on my shoulder says I shouldn't. Erm, 'economical truth-telling scenarios".

Nicky found some stuff out, went to Australia and was amazed at what he found out there, then came back and told his equally astounded mum the news.

Except he didn't really. I'm sure the researchers who did all the finding out kept Nicky slightly in the dark, but I'm equally sure Nicky didn't trawl through thousands of documents in libraries as the voiceover implied. "Nicky went through the parish records" - er, no he didn't - "Nicky sat and looked at the parish records we'd found a few weeks before we spent £10K flying him over to Australia to sit here and pretend to look through them". Not quite as dramatic eh?

The punchline was that Nicky was related to the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane. Again, this was presented as if it was all discovered when Nicky was there. But was it? Really?

Hey I'm not complaining. This is a brilliantly well-made show, top marks all round. But as a viewer I know - and accept - some liberties have been taken to make programmes more interesting for me to watch. As people get more media-savvy, this is surely not something to be shocked at. Although the Queen, bless, might not be as media-savvy as a teen used to YouTube. I liked the Queen more when it looked like she's gone in the huff. "You go girl", I thought, like a sassy big-haired big-boned lady off of Ricki Lake. Not a first there, I should add...

And as I can see from the Sunday papers lots of other 'shocking' revelations are coming to light. Star TV Chef Didn't Catch Own Fish As He Said! Newsnight Report Was Shown In Slightly Different Order! Yawn.

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