Who did you want to know about

Davina McCall in Who Do You Think You Are? BBC

The consensus from those I’ve spoken to is we wanted to know more about Davina McCall‘s mother, not her great-grandfathers who were featured in the first episode of the seventh series of Who Do You Think You Are on BBC 1 last night.

Davina’s mother, a frenchwoman, breakfasted on ‘un double Ricard’ and was said, by McCall, to have been a heavy drinker. They were estranged. She was fun to be around, except if you were her daughter, McCall said.

I reckon McCall only agreed to do the programme on the basis that they didn’t look into her immediate family tree but go further back, where whatever turned up (bastard royalty, as it happened) would do less harm to her celebrity status.

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Poor but happy

Freefall. BBC

Ooh. Ow. That was painful. Watching Dominic Savage’s Freefall on BBC 2 last night. Because we knew from the write-ups beforehand and from the way the drama was set up that the mustachioed schmuck, who wasn’t really a schmuck at all, would get done over by the wanker in the sharp suit who sold him a duff mortgage and material dreams he couldn’t afford. And so it was all a nerve-wracking, fraught experience for the viewer.

We really didn’t need Aiden Gillen as the City tosser, although it was nice to see and hear him again after Queer As Folk, however many decades ago that was on TV (I’ve never watched The Wire, which is his latest credit apparently). I guess his story completed the dodgy triangular pyramid of the City, the high street and home which has landed us all in the shit this year and last.

At the end of the 90-minute film, normality was restored: the have-nots were back with not much, poor but happy; the have-nothing-except-his-work City tosser was dead, blood trickling from his coke-lined features; the wideboy salesman played to a tee by Dominic Cooper was still spinning stories for different types of schmuck with a nice dig at the enviro bandwagon as a parting shot.

All in all, Freefall was superbly well-written, avoided sentimentality (no shot of the wideboy mortgage man breaking down after being physically attacked by his “old school mate” who’d he’d sold the bad mortgage to) and it was well-acted although the improv, steadycam shooting style felt a bit too quickfire and forced at times. But you had to admire Joseph Mawle‘s mustache. And Anna Maxwell Martin, who has come a long way from her costume finery of Bleak House, gives a good doorway scene. There she was, smiling lovingly at her poor but happy husband on the roundabout with the kids in front of the bleak but cheap garages. And there she was again, towards the end of the film, standing in the kitchen doorway of their £154,000 mock Tudor home, looking with despair at her sacked husband sitting at the HP pine table.

Oh dear. Uncomfortable because we all, every single person with a loan to their name, have participated in the false dream of material wealth we can’t afford.

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