THAT WAS THE BOX – November 2014 (Week Three)

TV REVIEW: Confessions Of A Copper - Channel 4


Watching this programme made me feel incredibly young (a rare thing these days). When I watched ‘Life on Mars‘ and ‘Ashes to Ashes‘, I would laugh at Gene Hunt and his method of policing, where he made it up as he went along, and think that it was all artistic licence. Surely in the real world they wouldn’t have been allowed to dunk suspects in cold baths or stamp a female officer on the backside as part of an initiation ceremony? Wrong.

It seems the writers of LoM and A2A did their home-work, because judging by the dinosaurs interviewed for this fascinating programme, Gene’s style of policing was the norm. Seven police officers from a bygone age were interviewed about the changing face of UK policing and I was shocked at the level of racism, sexism and abuse metered out by people who were considered pillars of the community. It seems if you wanted to commit acts of violence or assault women but stay on the side of the law, it was in your interest to join the police and you could go to town.

Apparently coppers just ‘knew’ when someone was guilty, without the aid of forensic evidence (which could be planted afterwards) and things like electric shocks and water torture could be used to extract confessions. Women officers lived in separate divisions and were left largely to deal with little old ladies and menopausal women who had gone shoplifting. Is it any wonder that the likes of Jimmy Savile got away with his crimes back in the day, when the rights of women were ignored? One female officer spoke of a horrific way she was treated after accidentally knocking into a sergeant. It involved being spread-eagled on a snooker table in front of a room of jeering males. To rub salt into the wounds, she had to then drink with them afterwards and pretend it had all been a bit of fun.

Also shocking was when an elderly officer used the word ‘coloured’ to describe a black person and asked if he could say it. Really? Has he been living under a stone for the past thirty years?

This show brought home how much the Southall, Brixton and Tottenham riots, and ultimately the murder of Stephen Lawrence made the police take a long hard look at themselves and adapt themselves to become representatives of the community in which they policed, rather than overseeing gods with a right to do whatever they wanted.


TV REVIEW: An Intimate History of Dance - BBC4


I have to say, I would never have thought about putting Len Goodman and Lucy Worsley together as a double act. Len is the working-class no-nonsense judge from ‘Strictly Come Dancing‘, and Lucy is the eccentric academic who presents programmes about the Jacobean court. But, in this show about the history of English dance, their partnership actually worked. Like a slightly doddering uncle and his sparky niece, Len and Lucy looked at how dancing was once upon frowned upon by the Puritans and went on to become a way of displaying your social standing, and, exactly the same as today, was a way of meeting potential partners.

The premise of the show is that as well as learning about the history of dance, Len and Lucy have to perform a dance from the period and this week they had to learn how to dance a minuet. It was fascinating to see Len being the one having to step out of his comfort zone and learn a dance that was unknown to him, and by the time they had to do their performance, it seemed to be Lucy who was in charge and Len looking to her for guidance.

When it got to the country dances, it made me want to dig out all my Jane Austen DVDs, but it did bring home how restrictive society was for young people in the Georgian age. It’s a fascinating subject and I certainly look forward to the rest of the series.




Claudia is back, after her little daughter’s unfortunate accident, and understandably Ms. Winkleman was a little under par whilst interviewing the post dance contestants. After the highs of Blackpool, the atmosphere was a little flatter, but some brilliant performances were still pulled out of the bag.

Steve lumbered his way through a jive, chucking Ola around like she was a sack of potatoes. His physical size does him no favours and he clomps rather than dances. I feel Steve’s time in the show could be up.

Pixie and Trent did an energetic and saucy Charleston to Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend. As irritating as I find Pixie, there is no doubt that she is an exceptional dancer and if she’s not in the final I’ll pickle me walnuts. She ended up with a score of 37, after receiving a 10 from the ever-excited Bruno.

Caroline was unfairly undermarked with 33 points, for her American smooth with Pascha. It was glitzy and glamorous like something from a Fred and Ginger movie. But apparently she stumbled, although I did not notice it, so she’s obviously professional enough to style it out.

This week Mark and Karen were expected to dance a fierce tango, and boy did Mr Wright deliver. He has a great ability to get into the character of his dances, and there was no trace of his happy-go-lucky, smiley persona. Instead he was fierce and brutal with Karen and at times it was more like a paso than a tango. They ended up with 32 points, which I thought was brutally underscored.

Frankie and Kevin did a beautiful waltz to What’s New Pussycat. I have to say I find the waltz exceptionally dull, but as ever Frankie looked lovely and moved elegantly. She scored 38 so she ended up top of the leaderboard. Surely she is a potential finalist?

I don’t get the whole heartthrob thing where Jake is concerned, but to each their own. For me, his samba was rather stiff and over-sexed (excuse the pub), his hip movements look false, although his attempt at twerking was amusing. We saw him and Jenette visit Albert Square and he was given advice by that renowned dancer, Danny Dyer. Somehow Jake ended up with 3 10s and I’m still not sure why.

I fear Sunetra may be on shaky ground again. She did a beautiful waltz with Brendan, but she continues to be good in hold, but not so good, dancing on her own, and at this stage of the competition, the contestants need to be good at everything. She is a very good dancer and I think Bruno was rude to mention her big boobs, after all those weeks of skirting around Alison’s weight, but I do agree with the judges that there are better dancers in the competition and she probably did deserve the 30 points she got.

Simon Webbe continues to get better and better, and if he’d danced like he does now, back in the day, he could have joined Take That rather than Blue! The chemistry between him and Kristina is electric and they work so well together. To me, their salsa was head and shoulders above Jake’s samba and yet he only scored 36, which I think was grossly unfair.

I have to say there is no outright winner this year and while Pixie looks like she could romp it, there are a few dark horses that will give her a run for her money.

I know the outcome, so I won’t make any predictions. But I will just say that there are no shocks.


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