Cornwall with Simon Reeve, BBC2
I’ve become a bit of a Simon Reeve groupie. It was a few years ago when I came across one of his travel programs where he was traveling around a distant forest neck and I was instantly impressed. He’s a slightly scratchy thirty-year-old who gives a constant feeling of disbelief and amazement wherever he visits. It’s not clear how much he plans his trips, whether they’re planned for him, or how much of the footage shown is completely spontaneous. But however it’s done, it works. In a way, he’s a modern day Alan Whicker, telling us the stories of the places he visits. Given the frequency of his series, he seems to be on the road twelve months a year. Since 2015 he has been making series from the Balkans, Cuba, Ireland, Russia, Burma, the Caribbean, Greece, Turkey, Colombia, the Mediterranean, North America and now Cornwall.
Presumably, Cornwall has become his most recent focus due to a) the Covid 19 pandemic and b) his life in neighboring Devon. This two-parter is, if anything, even more fascinating than his trips abroad. I have only been to Cornwall a few times and was particularly fascinated by its meandering along one of the most fabulous coastlines in the entire British Isles. He discovers a way of life that will be completely alien to many viewers. Poverty is considered quaint in Cornwall because it is thatched. And there are many very deep pockets of appalling poverty. It is an area of the country that is struggling to hold onto its teenagers and twenties, who mostly move away. The picturesque coastal towns are largely dependent on the “grockles” (tourists) for their existence, but a beehive of small home industries has also begun to flourish. Even tin mining is re-emerging as global demand for tin increases.
Simon Reeves’ particular talent is to make the ordinary interesting. He’s not interested in glamor. He doesn’t live in five-star hotels. Most of the time he melts cloudy eyes from a tent in the morning. He looks like the backpacker he probably once was. He’s damn good at what he does, but I wonder if the BBC would give someone like him a chance these days – white, male, middle class. Our stations are so celebrity obsessed that these types of shows would no doubt have to be hosted by Stacey Dooley or a rapper over the age of 18 who has never been heard from. The BBC should remember that their job is to discover and nurture new talent like Simon Reeve, and I hope he will do what he does for many years to come.
Naked attraction, channel 4
Yeah, yeah, I know I wrote about Naked Attraction a few months ago, but a new series has just started and has gotten away with it with a bang. So to speak. In the first two episodes, two of the people are looking for love [OK, a quick shag] We had two fun experiences. First there was a 23-year-old British-Asian man named Brian who turned out to be a virgin. He had never seen a women’s garden in his short adult life and was so overwhelmed by the sight of six of them at once that he had to get off the stage and take a moment. Later that week, an Australian mistress was presented with six penises to decide which one she liked. Denise, that was her name, told us she was often mistaken for Princess Diana. Given that Denise was at least sixty years old, it took some conviction. After narrowing down her penis choices to two, it was her turn to take off her clothes. Oh my. The 36-year-old she eventually selected did well to hide his horror, and they moved on to a seemingly quite successful date, with reviews. However, everything was not what it seemed. Her boyfriend didn’t show up on her post date to be honest, which was a little chivalrous for him. Denise took this as a sign that she should not continue her search for love. The entire male population of the country breathed a sigh of relief. Meanwhile, Brian still hasn’t lost his cherry. Maybe Denise could … [That’s enough – Ed].