So, it’s Thursday which means the theme is ‘life on the i-player’. And what have I been watching this week? Well, it being the slow season there wasn’t too much on offer that was new. So I caught a couple of old favourites including Dad’s Army and QI. The latter featured the quite incredibly annoying Brian (gosh, I’m so brilliant) Cox as well as the ever-entertaining Sue Perkins, and had a lot of Quite Interesting science stuff in which was almost ruined by Cox’s perennially-grinning manner. Half an hour of Brian is enough to make me yearn for Richard Dawkins – and that’s saying something. It’s hard to imagine Dawkins on QI though, as he doesn’t seem to have much of a sense of humour.
Dad’s Army turned out to be an early black-and-white episode where a jobsworth bloke from HQ comes to inspect the platoon and tries to get Jones thrown out. This highlights what is touching and quite subtle about DA – features which subsequent series from the same writers, such as ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’ and ‘Allo Allo’ entirely lacked – insofar as Mainwaring genuinely cares about his men and goes out on a limb to protect them. When Jones is asked to complete an assault-course in 15 minutes the entire platoon pitches in to help perpetrate a scam and Jones is saved.
I followed this up with a helping of Blackadder – the third series, and in many ways my favourite, though the fourth is more moving. This episode features a couple of ham actors and Prince George calling his butler ‘Bladder’, which I’m convinced was a blooper they kept in:
Just as I was about to listen to the Archers – at the very moment the pips were sounding, in fact – Mark burst through the door laden down with carrier bags.
‘What have you got there?’ I asked.
He showed me one bag which had the usual food-cupboard contributions from his mother.
‘What’s in the other one?’ I said.
‘A fox skull,’ he replied, airily.
‘A fox skull?’
‘Yes. My mum gave it to me. She found it on the lawn.’
‘But what are you going to do with it?’
‘Oh, dunk it in Persil.’
Resisting the urge to dunk his human skull in Persil, I persisted:
‘Oh! I don’t know – put it on a shelf or something.’
Great. Just what I wanted – a manky old fox skull cluttering up the place.
So after the Archers we watched a very interesting programme about the history of lighthouses on the coast of Scotland and the family – Robert Louis Stevenson’s family, as it happens – who built them.
And so to bed…