October 6th, 2011

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Mixed Britannia, Thursday 6 October 9pm, BBC2

With my "race" hat on, I am promoting Mixed Britannia, a new BBC2 series.

Cut and pasted from the BBC website:

Mixed Britannia is a new three-part series for BBC2. George Alagiah explores the often untold stories of Britain's mixed-race communities. The first episode of Mixed Britannia will be broadcast on BBC2 at 21:00 on Thursday, 6 October 2011.

In this three-part series George Alagiah explores the remarkable and untold story of Britain's mixed-race community and examines through the decades how mixed race has become one of the country's fastest growing ethnic groups. Most of all, the films tell a tale of love, of couples coming together to fight prejudice and create a new society.

The first film (1910-1939) discovers the love between merchant seamen and liberated female workers and witnesses the riots in British port cities as returning white soldiers find local girls in relationships with other men. George hears about the eugenics research examining mixed-race children and learns how Britain avoided the race laws and race hatred of fascism that scarred other countries in Europe.

The second film (1940-1965) sees the Second World War creating a miniature baby boom of “brown babies” born to local British women and African American GIs, and tells the tragic story of the British-Chinese children in Liverpool who lost their Chinese seamen fathers. With the post-war mass immigration, mixed couples, once rare and exotic, were becoming more common and society finally witnessed the first interracial kiss on British television.

In the Seventies a new wave of immigration was settling in Britain, the National Front was on the march and mixed-race families faced violence on the street (film three, 1965-2011). George learns about the debates surrounding mixed race adoption and hears about a 21st story love-story as the couple struggle to overcome the cultural prejudice from the community.
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Fagin in the condemned cell, George Cruikshank

As part of my research into Shylock, I have been looking at depictions of Jews in English Literature. This is an illustration that I found in the National Theatre's 1970 programme for The Merchant of Venice that deeply touched and moved me. It depicts Fagin in the condemned cell, from 'The Adventures of Oliver Twist' by Charles Dickens. The illustration is by George Cruikshank.

Picture credit: http://childillustration.blogspot.com/2011/03/george-cruikshank-fagin-in-condemned.html
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Hidden, Thursday 6 October, 9pm BBC1

There are just way too many things going on today!

I am going to give you all one last TV recommendation - Hidden, which starts today at 9pm on BBC1.

Cut and pasted from the BBC website:

Philip Glenister and Thekla Reuten lead the cast in Hidden, a taut and gripping four-part conspiracy thriller, on BBC One.

Written and created by Ronan Bennett, in collaboration with Walter Bernstein, Hidden revolves around the efforts of Harry Venn (Glenister), a small-time solicitor who is forced to delve into his murky past.

When a mysterious lawyer Gina Hawkes (Reuten) turns up asking Harry to find a missing alibi witness for her client he agrees to take on the job but is unwittingly drawn into investigating the death of his brother 20 years ago. Harry quickly finds himself caught up in a much bigger and more complex conspiracy.
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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: A very personal reaction

Photo credit: http://benedictcumberbatch.co.uk/tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-p/

First up, if you want a proper review of this film I am directing you to yvaine24's review of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which is here:

What I am writing now is MY personal reaction to the film. As you all know, I speak my mind and I do not shy away from controversy so here goes!

I saw this yesterday night at the Brixton Ritzy. I was massively disappointed. The film did nothing for me and, to be honest, I thought it lacked soul. I found it boring and tedious and unengaging. I could not be bothered with the plot and I did not care one iota for any of the characters in the film. For me, for a film to work, I have to care about the characters and what happens to them. The film has the creme de la creme of British acting talent in it and all I could think was - what a waste!

I realise and fully accept that I am a lone voice in the wilderness. This film is breaking box office records all over town. Three weeks into its run, every single seat in the Brixton Ritzy was taken, and it was playing on the Ritzy's largest screen. It is also playing on hundreds of screens across town and people are flocking to see it. But what I will say is that there are others who feel the same way as me. Quite a few people packed up and left during the film. I actually wish I had done the same. I just fail to see what all the fuss was about.

What breaks my heart was that Third Star, which was a deeply touching, moving and quite beautiful film, was playing on 1 or 2 screens in London, in the smallest cinema in the complex, to an empty house. There is no justice in the world!

Stuart and Third Star speak to me and to my heart. Both films have soul and a heart. I own both on DVD. I have watched Stuart many times over the years. I went to see Third Star three times at the cinema. I know I will watch the Third Star DVD many times over the years to come. I really wish I had stayed in and watched Third Star for the fourth time, not wasted my time watching TTSS for the first. I love all of Benedict's work and all of Tom's work. This is the exception.

I know I will be slaughtered in all quarters for saying this but that is my honest opinion of, and reaction to, this dull, tedious and souless film.

And so, I will post a photo from a film I think people should see in preference to this, Third Star!

Photo credit: http://www.benedictcumberbatch.co.uk/third-star-trailer-screenca/