Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Crag Snag

Sunday evening found me shouting at the television. Again. I'm actually not going to go on about it, much, but Britain's Secret Heritage (not anymore it isn't) on BBC1 was a masterclass in how to show pretty pictures, prance about in and around them in inappropriate clothing and then dub on tracks from the My Hundred Best Tunes CD box. With a lowest possible common denominator script, Cragside in Northumberland (above), saw Paul Martin, off something called Flog It, flog every hyperbole he could find in the manual, every two minutes. He did it in the obligatory puffa jacket, ill-matched with bright strawberry pink trousers, and was book-ended at Jervaulx Abbey ('this magical hidden gem") by the ubiquitous Clare Balding in a big bright blue dressing gown. Cragside was this week's 'host' location, which meant that we also had Charlie Boorman grinning on a rubber dinghy and a bloke pretending he'd slept all night in a Lincoln prison. Now, before I rant further, I must say that picking through all the debris I did manage to scavenge some titbits of interesting information. But what I will never forgive the producers for is not telling Mr.Martin that the architect of Cragside, brought in by owner Lord Armstrong to develop his Northumbrian shooting box, was none other than the brilliantly talented Richard Norman Shaw. He wasn't even mentioned once. Shame on you BBC. Next week Britain's X Factor Heritage.

10 comments:

Sue said...

Um, don't know how to tell you this, but it's not about the buildings, or their architects...

Peter Ashley said...

Sue, very belatedly I've come to the same conclusion. It's about presenters. And the same old crew, no matter what. "Hallo, Mr.Fry? We've got something else for you. Yes, can't get enough of you can we?".

Jon Dudley said...

Couldn't agree more Mr.A. What a waste of potential. The ubiquitous (why?) Clare Balding attempting to describe architecture by much finger-wagging and gesturing just doesn't cut it. The 'Flog It!' geezer wasn't wearing his omni-present scarf this time, but his pink 'trysers' seem set to become a new affectation...and good old manic Charlie Boorman really ought to stick to motorcycles. The other fellow I mercifully missed. Sue has it exactly - it's the presenters not the subject. Maybe they could 'discover' a hidden humbug factory somewhere...

Peter Ashley said...

You're right Jon, but I fear that the humbug factory has already been discovered and looted. The most cringing moment in this sorry episode came when Mr.Martin poked his nose round the door of a pre-opening meeting of National Trust staff and said something so jaw-droppingly fatuous that the staff looked mightily relieved when he said he was leaving to let them get on with their lunch.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Peter: I did wonder, when I saw Cragside on a trailer for a programme about "hidden" heritage. I'm coming to the conclusion that I prefer radio (who was it who said the pictures on radio were so much better?) even though I've seen some of the radio presenters somewhere before ("Oh, hallo again, Mr Fry...").

Forest Pines said...

Going by the list of things on that programme, it looks like "hidden" is code for "more than an hour outside London".

Peter Ashley said...

Forest Pines: That's very true.

Martin H. said...

Oh, for a television programme that treats us as reasonably intelligent adults. As Jon said, what a waste of a grand opportunity to acquaint some of us with a few masterpieces we might have overlooked. Of course, the last thing we are interested in is the opinions of the ill-informed 'celebrity' presenters. And guess what we get? A national campaign for 'Dumbing-Up', anyone?

Peter Ashley said...

Yes please Martin.

David said...

How can you not enjoy the great Ms Baldwin; the bombe front, the cabriole legs and ogee mouldings? To miss too the joys of an Edwardian Fry - all broken pediment, domed cupola, frontispiece and weather vane. As for Paul Martin: who can but love the derided scarf, faienced supports, the heraldic devices and jauntily worn coat of arms?

Magical gems all!