February 25th, 2010

never there

Making of Modern Britain; Sahara with Michael Palin

TV night has settled into a bit of a routine lately - started off the evening with the next Making of Modern Britain episode. This one covered the 1930s, and opened with a "lovely" little tale about the Mitford sisters - Unity (pro-fascist, ended up close personal friend of Hitler) and Jessica (pro-communist, ran off to the Spanish Civil War) making up after fights (over politics) by snuggling up and talking about how they'd feel if one of them had to execute the other ... Nice girls ;) The rise of fascism was obviously one of the themes of the episode, along with the crushing unemployment the stock market crash had brought. Weird looking at footage of Oswald Mosley trying to be the UK Hitler - the same sort of nutty-demagogue stuff, but somehow looked ludicrous. Which Andrew Marr was suggesting was one of the reasons Britain didn't follow down that path, we collectively mostly thought the whole marching around in uniforms/ranting politicians thing was ludicrous. Along with a feeling that the British public didn't trust politicians in general. And, of course, a healthy dose of luck. The abdication of Edward VIII was also presented in this light - he was pro-German (ie pro-Hitler's regime at that time), so it was probably as well for the country that he wasn't monarch longer than he was. There were lighter things mentioned - Butlins started up during the 30s, because all workers now had a weeks paid holiday, so this was the perfect opportunity to give them somewhere to go for these holidays and be entertained. And there was a whole section about Gracie Fields with footage from one of her films, which ... was dreadful but apparently very very popular at the time, what's considered entertaining has changed a lot ;) But obviously the programme had to end with the immediate run up to war & the policy of appeasement during this - which Marr pointed out wasn't as loaded a term then, it seemed reasonable and desirable to try and avoid war (memories of WWI would be strong, after all). And it still would, it's just that in hindsight, Hitler and his regime was worth going to war over.

And after a break for pudding (the Co-op puddings we had were a disappointment all round, tasted artificial :/ Heinz tinned ones are much better), we watched the last episode of Michael Palin's journey across the Sahara. He started in the south of Algeria, went west to Tunisia, then back along the coast into Algeria again, before returning to Gibraltar where he started. The Tunisia bits were particularly amusing, as he went to a couple of places where they'd filmed Life of Brian, so he'd been there before but in very different circumstances ("How many people can say they've returned to the place where they were crucified?"), and we got clips from the film as well as looking at the places now (well, in 2002). I've not seen Life of Brian, should probably rectify that, as the bits we saw in this made me giggle a lot (I've seen all? most? of the Monty Python sketches, just not the films).