Monday, 1 April 2013

Plastic History from the BBC

I sat through BBC's 'The Village' wondering why a production so lavishly funded would be so short of horses. The story was ostensibly about a farmer attempting to harvest a huge, post-war sized field of wheat by himself with a scythe. And no horses. One wondered how he had ploughed the field in the first instance - perhaps he harnessed his downtrodden wife and sons to the plough. And no farmworkers, either; in reality, even small farmers in 1914 employed several agricultural labourers, particularly a farmer who owned his farm, one of the rural elite when a tenancy for two or three lives was the norm. And though the thing was called 'The Village' it was actually a small market town, complete with municipal baths in which the town's women spent their leisurely day like Roman matriarchs. Public baths in reality of course were for public hygiene rather than leisure; places of carbolic soap and harsh treatment to rid a crowded town's poor of lice and fleas.

Either the writer Peter Moffat knows very little of his history, or this is yet another deliberate distortion of history by the BBC. The Telegraph's TV critic Ben Lawrence knows no better either; "This was drama as history where the past is definitely another country" he writes this morning. Dickhead.

This isn't petty picking at minor problems of costume or props - a Sam Browne worn the wrong way, or a car not yet in production - the whole thing is so fundamentally flawed, so historically dishonest as to do real harm to the memory of the harshness of pre-Great War rural life. So, in place of this sanitised, plastic BBC history I offer you two good alternatives;
washing the corpse - from das Weisse Band
First, Michael Haneke's 'Der weisse Band' - available in full length on Youtube though with Spanish subtitles

The second of course is Peter Hall's 1974 film 'Akenfield' - still available on DVD, but this clip gives a flavour. With horses.


Anonymous said...

I saw a trailer for 'young Morse' [set in 1960's I think] on telly, I think I heard a copper shout "policeman down" or some such - Americanisms like that took another 40 years to reach our new gendarmerie.
Even though the plot was preposterous, Foyle was very nearly quite well done, at least they made the effort. Upon watching two minutes of Costner's attempt at Mediaeval England the other day - it was too much pain.

As to farming of yore - the horse was the most important member of the family but people helped each other when they could and the bonds of community were in most cases so strong, enveloped and given succour in the local church and parish. In which, ties to the land and next to God were welded - through life, it was a trial, an ordeal and man died young.
It could be said, the further from the land we drift, the farthest from God we become.

On a theme.

Meandering down, to attend a lunchtime Mass the other day, I was struck once more on how so few young people attend and yet whence one steps out of the doors of the Cathedral - youngsters abound.
They're all around, shopping, pubbing, gossiping and displaying [mostly] happy countenances, some thugs but too many hollow, vacant eyed stares.
Yes - they're missing something in life but whose fault is that? Does it not shame all of our society - that, they learn habits from their elders, betters, fathers and mothers and the example set since the sixties has been indeed: a very poor and Godless one and we indoctrinated but did not enrich and help them.

Glory be, for a Catholic, much to my Ma's chagrin and for its wonderfully crafted, succinct and pure English do I dearly love the King James version:

Galatians 6:7

King James Version (KJV)

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

When the left and others, spout on about "community" they know not of what they utter.

It is true, that - the only communities now in the UK, are those of the immigrant ghetto and I do wistfully respect that, if not their ideologies.

G. Tingey said...

Actually, it is very, very difficult to get "the past" right ...
I've seen clips of "Call the Midwife" (Don't have a TV, remember) & the buildings are CLEAN & there isn't any smog, and no-one has a grotty 'orrible 'alf-smoked "woodbine/cravenA" in their marf, etc, ad nauseam.
I take your point on horses, etc.
So, they should have tried harder.

Anachronisms, even physical ones, are very hard to avoid.

Meanwhile ... Anon
Well, you can stuff the RC church, 2000 years of blood-saked lies & blackmail, for a start!
No "god" (even if supposedly existing) is detectable (either directly or indirectly) ...
& is therefore 150% irrelevant.
Now piss off.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the reason the BBC is incapable of historical accuracy is because they favour 'youf' and employ too many twenty year olds in senior positions.

Anonymous said...

Piss off?

Oh dear, is that the best you can do?

Sad, very sad, sad and inarticulate.

Hugo Tillinghast said...

The thing that got to me in the end was the applause for the army volunteers as they marched down the village street.
Hand-clapping didn't occur in this type of situation (nor in church at weddings) before the current dispensation (post-1980 I guess) and only really got going during and after the beatification of Princess Di.
Cheering, yes; flag-waving, yes; applause (except at a concert), no.

Demetrius said...

Heimat? Picked up a couple of bits of this, highly coloured tosh based on 21st Century notions. As for baths, one used municipal baths in the 1940's and very good they were too. But there were about half a dozen locations only in a city of 250,000 with around five more in a county with around 500,000 population and none at all in villages or even small townships. This was comparatively generous. Also, you got ten minutes or so before the knock on the door because of those waiting.

G. Tingey said...

I can't be bothered with ignorant believers in BigSkyFairy, they are just tiresome, when they aren't out nurdering & blackmailing people.

Tom said...

A few observations...

For a BBC re-hash of history in living memory that PC-emotes cravenly and runs fast and loose with the facts - look no further than "How We Won The War" - thank goodness for iPlayer - so I can stop the flow of revisionist bilge or whopping lies to recover before masochistically returning to see what other travesties they've perpetrated.

S'funny that Al Habibi-See want to revisit WW1 when the Napoleonic period has far more resonance with the present - think about it....

I keep picking up William Cobbett's Rural Rides and looking about... Another PeterLoo anybody?

Thud said...

Murdering and blackmailing,not how I'd describe the activities of my family and friends, you need to get out and mix more.

Scrobs... said...

Aah, Akenfield! We remember it coming out and thoroughly enjoying it!

'Went and looked for work in Newmaaaarket; walked forty miles there and forty miles back'!

Thanks for the tip about the DVD!

Anonymous said...

G Tingey

If you cant be bothered then why is it that you continue to post on the issue.