Posts Tagged ‘tv’

Survivors ’08: Hot British Post-Apocalyptic Action

November 24, 2008

The remix of Terry Nation‘s classic 1970s post-apocalyptic series, Survivors aired last night on BBC1. The first episode was a fairly impressive feature-length update of the original storyline: a virus destroys 95% of humanity within about a week, and a disparate bunch have to work together to survive.

Here’s the trailer:

Of course, as a BBC production there were bound to be some cheesy moments and I spotted at least one continuity error at about 50 minutes in – another car flashes past the camera in what was supposed to be an abandoned housing estate.

Nevertheless as a die-hard fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I can’t help but be impressed by the scope of the programme. The resurgent eco-friendly 70s commune themes are also strangely pleasing, if a little naive, such as the outdoor retreat leader who chastises Western society for becoming disconnected from the land and complains because the central character, Abby Grant, can’t milk a cow or kill a pig or something equally “practical”.

Next episode is tomorrow night. If you missed it, you can catch up on BBC’s iPlayer. To whet your appetite, here’s a documentary from BBC Four on the appeal of the original 70s show:


Watch South Park Free – Unless You’re In The UK

March 26, 2008

Mashable reported on this a couple of days ago. You can now watch any and every full episode of South Park online:

South Park Studios

The catch is that — ahem — you can’t in fact watch any full episodes if you live in the UK. Instead you get the following picture:

Sorry England South Park

There’s no hint as to when “soon” might be. Oh well, I suppose I’ll have to stick with Youtube for all my South Park needs for the time being.

Afghanistan: Telling the Soldiers’ Side of the Story

November 8, 2007

If you didn’t catch Panorama on BBC1 on Monday night, you should head over to the website now and watch the latest programme. It’s an hour of the most gripping, harrowing, brutally honest television you’re likely to see this year. This extract explains further:

Reporter Ben Anderson followed a unit of British soldiers on a six-month tour to the front line in Afghanistan. It ended with one soldier dead and 12 seriously wounded…

Suddenly bullets came from the hedgerow where another group of Taleban were shooting from an angle that made the wall useless for cover. As the bullets came straight at us I told myself that the Taleban aren’t very good shots – and even if they were, their guns are old and inaccurate.

This film shows the depressing reality of the ongoing “war on terror”: endless skirmishes for tiny scraps of land, which are lost and must be retaken a few days or weeks later. Then there’s the rebuilding programme: every time the Queen’s Company calls in an airstrike to flush out the Taleban, they have to go through a protracted negotiation process with the local community to rebuild destroyed villages, and pay compensation to those who have lost family members.

Even worse, one senior British official is reported as saying that a significant UK presence in the country will be necessary for at least 30 years to ensure that the Taleban don’t regain control. Sobering stuff.

I really can’t recommend this film highly enough: if anything conveys the sheer monotonous horror of war, this does. Check out this clip on youtube for a taster.

“I Am Now Switching Off BBC2 Analogue!”

October 17, 2007

Those were the not-so-historic words spoken at some point earlier today when a nondescript guy, in what appears to be a storage cupboard, flicked an unassuming light switch on the wall and apparently turned off the BBC2 analogue signal for the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven:

Click on “Watch Audio and Video News” in the top right to see the moment in all its glory. What I love about this is the fact that no one thought of making it into anything approaching a spectacle or show. In proper gritty British style, they’ve clearly had to shove a filing cabinet out of the way simply in order to reach the switch. Classic.

The rest of the report has the beeb desperately trying to conjure up some major historical event out of all this: Whitehaven is the first town in the UK to be (partly) switched to a digital TV signal, and apparently it’s causing some consternation for about 0.2% of the town’s over 60s. To be fair, financial assistance is available for those who can’t afford to get Sky in, but the trouble is that too many people aren’t aware of it, or don’t know how to get it.

In any case, by the time London’s signal is switched over (in 2011 – 2012), they’ll no doubt have learned a lesson or two. I predict an all singing and dancing extravaganza featuring the cast of Strictly Come Dancing and Britney performing a duet with Justin as part of a comeback tour… Or something.


May 13, 2007

It seems BBC reporter John Sweeney’s been getting a bit hot under the collar about Scientology:

This clip may or may not be shown on Monday night’s Panorama programme, which is a special investigation by Sweeney into the darker side of the brainwashing cult — oops, I mean fine, upstanding religion, of course.

For the full background story (at least from Sweeney’s point of view) on the above shouting match, you can read this BBC news story. Here’s a relevant quote to whet your appetite:

While making our BBC Panorama film “Scientology and Me” I have been shouted at, spied on, had my hotel invaded at midnight, denounced as a “bigot” by star Scientologists, brain-washed – that is how it felt to me – in a mock up of a Nazi-style torture chamber and chased round the streets of Los Angeles by sinister strangers.

Back in Britain strangers have called on my neighbours, my mother-in-law’s house and someone spied on my wedding and fled the moment he was challenged.

Do you understand?

UPDATE 14/07/07: You can watch the full report on the BBC Panorama website now. It’s seriously sinister.