I have been commenting here for a while that I have to get cable, even if it’s only to watch the cricket. I have freeview (free digital tv for those in Oz – adds about 50 channels + radio stations and most of it is crap) but I live in such a dodgy signal area that I only pickup perhaps 10 of those 50 channels. I’ve got to have a new digital aerial put on the house, at a cost of about AUD$450. Terrestrial (normal) television is usually so dodgy and full of soaps that I’ve been contemplating cable just to have something to watch! But every so often comes a night of television that leaves you with hope for terrestrial channels, and proves that you don’t have to have cable to watch something cool and unusual. Last night on BBC2 was such a night.
It started at 7pm with Top Gear, the new series with the healthy Richard Hammond. This new series has been a joy to watch from the very first episode where Richard’s jet-car crash was reviewed. Last week they went to America, bought cars in Florida and drove to New Orleans to sell them – and almost (seriously!) got killed by rednecks on the way. Last night saw the return of the mad car challege. In previous series they’ve turned people-carriers into convertibles and created amphibious vehicles, but last night (I think) took the prize.
As the Top Gear website says: The premise was simple. Space travel costs a lot of money, so can Top Gear crack the budget nut by building a cheaper space rocket based on a car? Richard and James went for the most rocket-shaped car they could find – a Reliant Robin, but from that point on, the Simplicity Fairies flew away and left us in a world of pain.
Yes, that’s a Robin Reliant attached to a solid fuel booster rocket. A Reliant with wings and a tailplane. :)
Fantastic viewing! And you really really wanted that 3-wheeled classic joke (as Richard put it, it’s been out for 30 years and laughed at for 29) to become the first car in space! I was giggling and yelling at the television, and though I won’t give away the ending, I definitely want to see the show again. Damn good thing that Aunty Beeb repeats the show on Wednesdays! :)
Following on from Top Gear came a new series called Conspiracy Files, and last night they looked at 9/11. There were reports on all the main theories from those skeptical of the official government version of events, the most plausible of which is featured on You Tube as Loose Change. And the strangest one? That a writer from the X-Files and The Lone Gunmen predicted the event – which is pretty spooky actually. This guy wrote an episode of The Lone Gunmen where terrorists hijacked an early morning flight from Boston and were planning to crash into the World Trade Centre. It being Hollywood, however, the Lone Gunmen saved the day. The episode aired on US tv 6 months before 9/11, and some claim was where the terrorist plot came from. But the show also highlighted some blunders and inefficiencies of govt departments in responding to the terrirost threat, and later the hijackings themselves.
Finally came The Last Days of Kurt Cobain. Most of it was basic history, growing up, forming the band etc – but there were some people interviewed who I’d not seen in other documentaries. Some of them were definitely off with the fairies, but there were one or two who came across as honest and plausible. Kurt apparently jumped the wall of his rehab centre and sat next to Duff McKagan (Guns & Roses bassist) on the plane back to Seattle. Courtney declared him a missing person and put private detectives on the trail. When he was found, some two days (they think) after he fired the shot, the private eyes had been to his house twice and not looked in the greenhouse either time.
As someone who lived through the Nirvana hysteria (I was 18 when Nevermind was released), they formed the sound of my generation. And they set in stone my love of loud guitars. Scary thing is that Frances Bean, the Cobain/Love child, will be 15 this year. Yes, all this was that long ago.
But all in all a very amusing, interesting and thought provoking night of terrestrial television. Well done BBC 2, and let’s see more of it!