Monday, October 10, 2005

More 4 Launch Night (part 3)

2100: A Very Social Secretary. This is the big one-off comedy-drama for the opening night. It's a dramatisation of the David Blunkett sex scandal. Blunkett threatened to sue over this, before noticing that there isn't actually anything illegal about taking the piss about of politicians. But at least we know he's watching.

Or rather, he isn't watching, because David Blunkett is blind. There's an interesting drama to be done about David Blunkett and I suspect this might be too busy playing for laughs to be it. There's a part of me that really wants to admire David Blunkett. If he only he wasn't wrong about everything. Still, somebody's got to be the enemy of civil liberties, I suppose.

As somebody pointed out, somewhere in Britain right now, a close friend is doing audio description for David Blunkett. That must be the most awkward room in Britain.

They're playing Blunkett as an arrogant bastard who thinks that his triumph over disability is evidence that everyone can succeed no matter what the odds, and thus that anyone who hasn't succeeded is, ipso facto, not trying hard enough. Hmm.

Robert Lindsay's doing Tony Blair. He's trying to play it as a proper character, lapsing into outright impressions occasionally. They're doing Tony and Cherie as the comedy suburban middle class couple. I think this film isn't quite sure how broad it wants to be.

2114: How can you underplay Boris Johnson?! The man's a self-conscious clown in real life! He's a gift for this show! Mind you, come to think of it, it's probably a dramatic impossibility to go over the top with him.

2117: David Blunkett-related sex scene. An advertisement for blindness, in more ways than one.

2124: Boris Johnson not being underplayed. Boris Johnson being very badly played by a man who's trying to go over the top but just can't reach high enough. I like Blunkett's aides arguing in mime about who has to handle the dog, though. And Robert Lindsay's great in this.

2135: Odd couple stuff with Blunkett and Kimberley. He's marginally more sympathetic when he's standing next to the adulterous editor of the Spectator, strangely enough. Looks like the writer has finally decided he needs a sympathetic lead character other than Blunkett's liberal aide who isn't actually involved in the plot. And it's hardly going to be the adulterous editor of the Spectator.

2145: Kimberley Swan gives birth after remarkable five-minute pregnancy. Battle for custody foreshadowed one minute later. I think we're getting to the good bit.

2150: I think I see where we're heading with this. Blunkett well-intentioned but stubbornly wrong-headed in the face of all the facts, in love as in civil liberties. Hmm.

2210: Final ad break. I'm in two minds about this. I'm really not sure there's a point to this other than "aren't these people funny." Yes, the whole affair was like a farce, we get it. It's quite amusing, but it's awfully self-righteous. It's taking an unrelentingly liberal line on everything, despite the fact that that really doesn't have a tremendous amount to do with the subject, and that's starting to grate on me even though I agree with the sentiment. I have a rising urge to vote Conservative in rebellion. I fight it down.

Christ, this Microsoft "break-ups are the best" advert is punchable.

2217: A pregnant Kimberley assaults a giant teddy bear with a spade. Her surname is finally given and I belatedly realise I've been typing it wrong for the last hour plus. I go back and fix it.

We're nearing the end of the running time, and the writer belatedly realises he's got to get the unwise comments from the biography in there. Nothing to do with the story, but it does give us a funny scene of him apologising to his colleagues. Oh god, I'd forgotten about Blunkett's karaoke routine at the Christmas party. (He did "Pick Yourself Up And Start All Over Again", in a way that only a man physically incapable of judging the mood of the room could.)

2225: Blunkett gets fired and the film ends. Oh no, hold on, he's straight back in office two minutes later after the election. And they wrap up with yet another bit about how the Labour Party isn't liberal enough. Put down the sledgehammer, we get the point!

Not bad, but really poundingly unsubtle, in a way that I suspect it doesn't realise. Next week in this slot: Capturing the Freidmans. Ooooh.

To be continued...