THE TRENCH. FRI. BBC2. 9pm. 24 volunteers endure trench foot and terminal
boredom to recreate the two weeks leading up to the Battle of Ancre
in 1916 using letters and daily logs of the 10th Battalion East
Yorkshire Regiment. These lads were also known as the Hull Pals
because they were recruited from the civilian population by Kitchener’s
Your Country Needs You‚ poster campaign and often knew each other
because they came from the same village or worked in the same factory.
Even though one glaringly obvious difference in this meticulous
recreation is that no one is in any danger of losing their life, the
lads taking part still seemed to get into it. When the order was given
for them to go over the top the next day, some of them looked genuinely
gutted and others started to share stories of their happiest moments in
life. Very interesting with contributions from some of the original,
now 103 year old, Hull Pals.

SURVIVOR. WED. ITV. 9.45pm. is back for a second series. This doesn’t
get the ratings but it's much better than Big Brother. This time
round the contestants forgo the rat infested island in the South China
Sea for a snake infested idyll in the Caribbean Sea. Rampant plotting
as 12, mostly ghastly, people vie to be the survivor who wins the 1
million pounds.
ICE DOGS. WED. BBC2. 7.30pm. Benedict Allen sat in his flat in
Shepherd’s Bush and thought it would be a good idea to trek across the
frozen Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska in temperatures of minus 50
the worst in living memory.
For a man who chose his adventure holiday Ben Allen whinges a lot and
behaves at times like a bit of an actress. Apart from himself, wolves,
polar bears, towns full of alcoholics and the temperatures, his biggest
problem seems to the pack of unruly dogs he’s employed to drag him
(kicking and screaming) to Alaska. They don’t understand Allen’s
commands in his dodgy Siberian accent so when he says Œleft‚ they go
right and/or grind to a halt in an untidy heap. He may well end up in

EXTREME LIVES. WED. BBC1. 11.35pm. Is equally baffling but just as
fascinating. In last week’s episode Cannibals and Crampons‚ two
ex-army types set off to trek through the New Guinea rain forest to the
precipitous south face of Mount Mandala. This part of the world is
still unexplored terrain and there is said to be tribes of cannibals
still living in the heart of the remote jungle. They met some alleged
cannibals who seemed more afraid of the white man, apparently a symbol
of impending doom (go figure), than the intrepid explorers were of them.
It was 70 days before they had Mandala in their sights and they’d
endured legions of leeches trying to bleed them dry, foot rot which
manifested after a few days but they had to live with for months,
multiple infected cuts which wouldn’t heal in the humidity and
malnutrition. They both lost dangerous amounts of weight (and strength)
and resorted to eating anything with a pulse and none of the beast was
wasted, eyes, claws, all was eaten. They made it to the summit of
Mandala and safely back again but the question is for why?

CENTURY OF THE SELF. SUN. BBC2. Adam Curtis‚ study of the impact
of the Freud family on 20th Century life. Starting with (Uncle Siggy)
Freud’s nephew, Edward Berneys, who in the 1920‚s took peacetime
propaganda and renamed it public relations‚ to create the consumer
society( which was said to be the cherry on the icing of the free market
capitalism cake) with the aid of the first celebrity endorsements and
product placements. Interesting with some excellent archive footage.
TEACHERS. WED. CH4. The second series of this comedy about dead
beat losers who don’t want to go to school, nick fags off pupils and
smoke them behind the bike sheds and who generally want to be somewhere
else. That’s the teachers. Among the excellent cast is Navin Chowdrey
who starred in This Bastard Business‚ which was shown on the megascreen
at PFF in 2000 and was short-listed for the J.V.C. camera prize. And
(grovelling apology. Part 2 ) while on the subject of past PFF
luminaries, I forgot to mention when writing about Johnny Vaughan’s
Orrible‚ that one of the top players in that excellent comedy was Clint
Dyer who was the best thing in a film Called Guilt‚ which was shown at
one of the first PFF in 1996.
There aren’t that many good things to be said about these young (lost
and humourless) people of today being on holiday from school (again!? no
wonder they're all semi-literate). Except maybe those of us who happen
to find ourselves on public transport at 3.30 in the afternoon get a
brief respite from the relatively middle-class version of Gangsta
warfare which ensues regularly. However, it does mean that there will
be repeats of E.R .CH4. 11am. every weekday. and repeats from the
Clooney era no less.  

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