Lazy Programme-making

Wednesday 21st November

Of course we shouldn’t expect every TV programme to be of excellent quality, if so we would never be able to discern the good from the bad and the ugly, but minimum standards should be expected, at least by the terrestrial broadcasters.  On Monday night we watched ‘Little England’ on ITV and what a load of drivel it was.  Our interest was that it was supposed to be a documentary about Brits who have decided to up-sticks and move out to France.  In particular, and in the intro it is described as such, the series focuses on ‘The Dordogne’, which is not a region, but a department of France where we have indeed bought our house.  My first gripe was that the two couples the programme focused on were settled around Cognac, which is about 100 miles from the Dordogne.  Be that as it may I began to realise after a few minutes that it could actually have been filmed in Essex, or anywhere at all.  There were no shots of vineyards, of rolling hills, of fields full of sunflowers, nothing to indicate we might be in France at all..  And the actual ‘drama’, the meat of the ‘documentary was so prosaic, so tame, as to pathetic.  A bass player arriving late for a party !!!  A fund-raising dinner for a horse sanctuary!!!  Hardly riveting stuff, in fact pathetic, and again this could have been filmed in Essex.  A tractor blocking the road had to be towed away; the beer was coming out too frothy !!!  Was this the stuff of documentaries?  How about the attampts to blend into French life?  How about brushes with the French legal system, the local Mairie, the markets, the wine even, for Christ sake.

Unbelievably lazy programme making; they must have simply advertised for people willing to appear in a docu-drama, filmed them and then thrown away any footage to do with France, and concentrated on the most piddling little details of their existence.  Like much on our TV screens it was probably commissioned a while ago, and the contract is being played out as cheaply as possible.

Little England