Cornwall with Simon Reeve, BBC2
I’ve become a bit of a Simon Reeve groupie. It was several years ago that I encountered one of his travel programmes where he was travelling around some far flung neck of the woods and I was instantly entranced. He’s a slightly gawky thirty-something who conveys a permanent sense of incredulity and wonderment wherever he’s visiting. It’s not clear how much he plans his trips, whether they are planned for him or how much of the footage shown is entirely spontaneous. But however it is done, it works. In some ways he’s a modern day Alan Whicker – letting us in on the stories of the places he visits. Given the frequency of his series it seems he’s travelling twelve months a year. Since 2015 he’s done series from the Balkans, Cuba, Ireland, Russia, Burma, The Caribbean, Greeece, Turkey, Colombia, the Med, North America, and now Cornwall.
Presumably Cornwall has become his latest focus because of a) The Covid 19 Pandemic and b) he lives in neighbouring Devon. This two-parter is, if anything, even more fascinating than his foreign travels. I’ve only been to Cornwall a couple of times, so was particularly entranced by his meanderings along one of the most fabulous coastlines in the whole of the British Isles. He discovers a way of life which will be totally alien to many viewers. Poverty is considered quaint in Cornwall because it comes thatched. And there are lots of very deep pockets of appalling poverty. It’s an area of the country which struggles to hang on to its teenagers and twenty-somethings, who more often than not move away. Its picturesque coastal towns depend largely on the ‘grockles’ (tourists) for their existence, but a hive of little cottage industries has also started to thrive. Even tin mining is making a reappearance as the world demand for tin rises.
Simon Reeve’s special talent is to make the ordinary interesting. He’s not interested in glamour. He doesn’t stay in five star hotels. More often than not, he merges bleary eyes from a tent in the morning. He looks like the backpacker he probably once was. He is bloody good at his job, yet I wonder if the BBC would give someone like him a chance nowadays – white, male, middle class. So obsessed by celebrity have our broadcasters become, that these sort of shows would no doubt have to be fronted by Stacey Dooley or a Rapper anyone over the age of 18 no one has heard of. The BBC should remember that their job is about discovering and nurturing new talent like Simon Reeve, and I hope he continues to do what he does for many years to come.
Naked Attraction, Channel 4
Yes, yes, I know I wrote about Naked Attraction a couple of months ago, but a new series has just started, and it’s got off with a bang. So to speak. In the first two episodes two of the people looking for love [OK, a quick shag] we have been treated to two hilarious experiences. First there was a 23 year old British Asian man called Brian, who turned out to be a virgin. He had never seen a woman’s lady garden in his short adult life and was so overcome by the sight of six of them all in one go, he had to go off stage and ‘take a moment’. In this week’s episode an Australian dentristress was presented to six penises, to decide which one took her fancy. Denise, for that was her name, told us she was often mistaken for Princess Diana. Given Denise was at least sixty, this took some believing. After she narrowed down her penis choice to two, it was her turn to shed her clothes. Oh my. The 36 year old who she eventually chose did well to hide his horror, and they went on what appeared to be quite a success date, avec vetements. All was not what it seemed, however. Her beau didn’t show up for their post date ‘did they or didn’t they’ session, which was a bit unchivalrous of him, to be honest. Denise took this a sign that she shouldn’t continue her quest to find love. The entire male population of the country heaved a collective sigh of relief. Meanwhile, Brian still hasn’t lost his cherry. Maybe Denise might … [That’s enough – Ed].