Alison Rowat's TV review: Women's Euro 2022 Final; Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em; Uncoupled
SETTLED down to watch Women’s Euro 2022: the final (BBC1, Sunday) after making a bet with the dog on how long it would be before someone mentioned a certain date in the 1960s.
The hound had a nanosecond, I had a decasecond, so she was laughing all the way to the pet shop to replenish her half-time chew stash.
Gabby Logan and her commentary chums just about got away with not mentioning “it” too much.
There was no such limit when it came to the Three Lions song. I don’t know about you but I just cannot get enough of that tune. (Could someone take a chisel to the 7 inch layer of sarcasm on that last sentence? Ta.)
The Lionesses themselves were the stars of the evening. “Sorry for shouting!” said one, screaming her way through a post-match interview. Women, always apologising. Ian Wright played a blinder too, channelling his inner Germaine Greer and demanding better access for girls who want to take up football. Consider yourself a member of the sisterhood, Mr Wright.
Last word went to Gabby Logan, who finished the night by addressing the camera directly. “You think it’s all over?” she said. “It’s only just begun.”
For 15 years Ray Allen wrote scripts in a shed at the bottom of his parents’ garden on the Isle of Wight. No takers. Not a sausage. Until the day Auntie Beeb said yes. She never said yes again, but she did this time, and the result, as we learned from Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em: a Comedy Classic (Channel 5, Friday) was watched by half the country. That’s almost as many as Live Aid.
Allen, as we saw in a rare interview for the documentary, was not the Bob Geldof, boot down the doors, give us your effing money type. He was a gentle soul, an odd job man, a dreamer, prone to the most ridiculous mishaps, like the time he was mending a toilet and managed to flood a cinema. They do say write about what you know.
The other central figure in the Some Mothers’ history, Michael Crawford, who played Frank Spencer, was not interviewed. It did not matter too much because there were clips, lots of them, many focussing on his hair-raising stunts. Even by the laissez faire standards of the 1970s it was crazy stuff that would never be allowed today.
Among the talking heads by far the best value for money was John Thomson of The Fast Show, a fan and no mean comic actor himself. Like the stunts that were all his own work, there was far more to Crawford’s performance than some bloke in a beret and an awful raincoat acting like a daft laddie. And yes, the raincoat was similar to one worn by Allen (much to his embarrassment).
War and Justice: The Case of Marine A (Channel 4, Sunday) was a documentary about the first serving British soldier to be convicted of murder since the Second World War. In this case, Al Blackman, or Marine A as he was referred to at his first trial, was charged with murdering a wounded and unarmed Taliban fighter in Helmand, Afghanistan, instead of sending him to hospital as the Geneva Convention demands.
Blackman, his wife Claire, and their supporters argued that he should be found not guilty because the incident had happened during war. Though he accepted a charge of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility, he still to this day insists he is not a murderer. Who was right?
Stephen Bennett’s film steered a commendably steady course through contributions from Blackman’s wife, colleagues, the defence and prosecution, and the helmet-cam footage of the incident. Most were on Blackman's side. The footage certainly was not. I don’t imagine many viewers will have had their minds changed, but you were certainly left with a dim view of what was expected of soldiers operating in the most extreme of circumstances. As Blackman said, one minute you were supposed to be helping local people, the next you were being shot at. It was a bloody mess in every sense.
Darren Star and Jeffrey Richman are comedy A-plus listers, their names attached to everything from Frasier to Modern Family via Sex and the City. Their latest creation is Uncoupled (Netflix), with Neil Patrick Harris playing Michael, a middle aged gay man who finds himself single again in Manhattan after his partner leaves and takes the towels and wine with him. Sound good?
And I haven’t even mentioned that Michael is an estate agent, so there are swanky New York homes to nose around while you enjoy the nicely barbed script.
Any resemblance between Michael’s group of best friends forever and the Sex and the City gals is inevitable, but there is no sense of this being a reheat. New York, meanwhile, is in fairytale mode, all bright lights, big city, glamour. Irresistible.