What We’re Watching

It was a titanic double team of historical heavyweight dramas that dominated TV this week. However, it wasn’t the behemoths on the front pages of the TV magazines that stole proceedings, but two smaller, more intrepid shows that displayed what class production really looks like.

After the invasion of French Aristocratic haute culture on our shores last week (Versailles), televisual fashion was wrestled back into the calloused hands of the British working class.

Ross Poldark stepped out the sea bare-chested with glistening wet hair and stormed the beaches of Cornwall dethroning the meagre, disinterested looking Louis XIV, stood there wondering why he’s in Cornwall and whether God wears the same belt buckle shoes as him…

I didn’t think Poldark could stoop so low! Until, within the opening seconds of the show, the producers already used the ace in their deck (Aidan Turner’s chiselled pecs) to turn the viewer’s eye away from the more proficient subtleties of BBC Four.

Because it was BBC Four where it was at this week! Far more rewarding than watching Demelza knead bread while wondering whether her marriage to Ross will survive, again (how much bread she must bake!), the viewing proletariat received murder in ‘The Valleys!’, the bizarre cases of Commissario Montalbano, and Robbie Williams turning his over-expressive twitchy little face back on the world.

Hidden is the latest detective series to come off the conveyor belt. However, this time the cop on TV gods decided to base their protagonists in the nether regions of deepest darkest Wales.

DCI Cadi John is reopening a case involving the murder of a girl found in a disused quarry in Snowdonia.

Hidden is bleak, with the anger of the North Welsh Police’s neglected public shooting out every pixel of the flatscreen on your wall. And kudos goes to DOP Stuart Biddlecombe. The scenery is stunning.

As it is in the crazy fictional town of Vigata. Commissario Montalbano is the straight-lace deadpan commissioner investigating cases of abduction and murder in rural Italy.

It’s a hugely entertaining show, filmed with that nice tinge of homosexual production that only our Eurovision worshipping cousins on the mainland can get away with. Look out particularly for the very amusing relationship between Montalbano and his officer Agatino Catarella.

Finally, it shows how out of date, lazy and tacky the Russian elite are that they chose Robbie William’s Let Me Entertain You to open the biggest sporting tournament ever.

Football World Cup Russia 2018 started on Thursday, the hosts thrashing Saudi Arabia 3-0. With the tournament being held under the psychotically content gaze of Putin I wouldn’t be surprised if the lowest ranked team in the competition go on to win all their games 3-0 right to the final and lift the trophy with a goal fest of overhead scissor kicks against Germany…

Poldark is on BBC 1 Sundays 9pm
Hidden is on BBC 4 Wednesdays 9pm
Montalbano is on BBC 4 every second Saturday 9pm
The World Cup is on all the time for the next four weeks on ITV and BBC.