DOCUMENTARY -NARRATION - A Highland Empire This look at a shamefully neglected chapter of Caledonian history makes for genuinely rewarding viewing. Narrated by Kevin McKidd, this beautifully shot film tells how, 200 years ago, members and descendants of the Highland diaspora settled in the Canadian wilderness, creating a fur trading conglomerate powerful enough to threaten the dangerously ruthless Hudson's Bay Company.
Date: 19 May 2007 By PAUL WHITELAW The Seven Ages of Rock Today, BBC2, 9:10pm
Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain Tuesday, BBC2, 9pm
A Highland Empire Sunday, BBC2, 9pm
THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT MAY well be an open invitation for incensed readers to burn me alive in a giant guitar-shaped wicker effigy, but Jimi Hendrix has to be the single most overrated figure in the annals of rock.
Now, I'm not denying that the guy had talent. He was undoubtedly an innovative musician, and he single-handedly broadened the possibilities of what could be achieved with the electric guitar. But how many of his actual songs have stood the test of time? His finest recordings, All Along The Watch Tower and Hey Joe, weren't even written by him. Indeed, as a songwriter, Hendrix was sorely lacking. Plus, he had a voice like a dog trapped in an upturned bath. Quite honestly, Hendrix's music is a self-indulgent blues-snooze bore.
The first part of the major new rockumentary series, The Seven Ages of Rock, argues that modern rock as we know it began with the only man ever to make crush velvet loon pants look anything less than ridiculous. It's a massively contentious claim. What about the proto punk/metal stylings of The Kinks, or the band-as-gang mentality of the Stones? The Who were experimenting with feedback and auto-destructive stagecraft long before Hendrix.
Townshend's mob do at least get a look-in, but in showing that they were indisputably the first modern rock act, the programme weirdly contradicts its central argument.
Seven Ages comes from the people behind such excellent musical travelogues as Lost Highway and the landmark epic Dancing in the Street, which remains the greatest rockumentary series in the history of television. But on the evidence of this first instalment, their latest is an unnecessary retread of previous efforts. Over-familiar archive footage and received opinions are trotted out, while some of the interview snippets are taken from the 12-year-old Dancing. OK, in the case of Hendrix's manager Chas Chandler, who died in 1996, a new interview was always going to be difficult to arrange, but this reliance on old material still vexes.
Later episodes concentrate on pop art, punk, heavy metal, stadium rock, and modern alternative rock from both Britain and the US. Hopefully these will be an improvement over this lacklustre opening. However, I suspect connoisseurs of the rock-doc genre have seen it all before.
There are more large-scale historical musings this week in the shape of Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain, which for some reason is presented by a glove puppet of Russian premier, Vladmir Putin.
In this fascinating opener to a five-part series, Putin - sorry, Marr - begins his clear-eyed account of the events which have shaped Britain since the end of the Second World War, starting with the shocking and unceremonious dumping of Churchill, the beloved leader who led the nation through its darkest hour. This is a meticulously researched documentary full of brilliantly chosen archive footage, none more remarkable than the scenes of "unsentimental and unpredictable" Britons actually heckling Churchill as he delivers a valedictory speech. Ten years later, however, and the great man was back in office, following years of instability under Clement Attlee's Labour government.
This was a time of extreme rationing and relentless economic strife, the country lurching from one disaster to the next. Nearly all the major socio-political points of the era are covered in Marr's characteristically witty and persuasive essay, from the far-reaching to the comically mundane, from the passing of the British Nationality Act which gave 800 million people from across the Commonwealth the right to emigrate to Britain, to the brief introduction into the national diet of a gruesome, prehistoric-like fish called snoek, which purportedly "hissed like a snake and barked like a dog".
Marr is a quirky and engaging host with a keen eye for colourful detail, such as Labour Chancellor Hugh Dalton being "high on Benzedrine and covered in boils" at the height of one particular disaster, or an ageing Churchill dictating notes from his bed with a budgie on his head. Entertaining, digestible and genuinely informative, this is historical documentary at its best.
A Highland Empire is nowhere near as impressive, but it's still a reasonably diverting documentary about the little-known achievements of the Scots-owned business empire which, in the early 19th century, built the biggest complex in North America at that time. They were fur-traders, ruthless businessmen, or "a Highland Cosa Nostra" in the words of narrator Kevin McKidd. Compared to Marr's lively approach, it's rather earnest and dour. But as an insight into a forgotten scrap of history it just about does the trick.
In Latin, the word "Genius" usually meant "The tutelary god or attendant spirit allotted to every person at his birth, to govern his fortunes and determine his character, and finally to conduct him out of the world".
Reptillus: Greetings friends!
Oct 27, 2015 2:00:45 GMT -5
duchovlet: Win KEVIN McKIDD's Autographed Grey's Anatomy 250th Episode Hat * BID HERE www.ebay.com/itm/231735882800 * OPEN WORLDWIDE * Kevin will *PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPH * hat to winning bidder!
Oct 29, 2015 20:55:46 GMT -5
duchovlet: HAPPY HOLIDAYS from TEAM McKIDD! We wish all McKidders joy, peace & a fun year ahead Thank you for supporting Kevin & his official website!
Dec 24, 2015 11:06:08 GMT -5
rayme: I love Grey's Anatomy
Feb 4, 2017 19:48:22 GMT -5
rayme: Can we talk them here
Feb 4, 2017 19:49:03 GMT -5
stormtrooper68: Hello, everyone. anybody else spotted the mistake in episode 13 of Journeyman. Happens during the dance scene.
Apr 24, 2017 4:03:57 GMT -5
veroni: My name is veronica and I am from South Africa. On which date will Grays Anatomy Season 11 debuted in Norway. No one else detected the slip-up in scene 13 of Journeyman. Occurs amid the move scene.comfortable mattress.
Jul 14, 2017 3:25:05 GMT -5
garym: Hi everybody Im Gary from Keith in Scotland . My mothers mother is his grandmas sister a 2nd cousin I believe and to all his fans out there reading,no need to be jelous Ive never even met Kevin. Would be super cool to tho
Apr 30, 2020 18:42:07 GMT -5
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Jun 29, 2020 9:05:56 GMT -5