SHANE WATSON reviews last night’s TV: If you’re missing family, this show’s like hugging Granny
The Repair Shop (BBC One)
Sofia Coppola: Life Cinematic (BBC Four)
This is going to be remembered as the year when we fell for ‘soft viewing’.
Blame people being separated from their nearest and dearest, missing the simple pleasures of life — like linking your arm through your dad’s on a walk, or hugging your granny — that we all took for granted.
Apparently it’s either wholesome sentimental TV, or a new puppy that’s going to solve the hole in this donut. And into this gap neatly slots The Repair Shop (BBC One).
‘Welcome to the Repair Shop, where precious but faded treasures are restored to their former glory,’ murmurs narrator Bill Paterson, capturing the show’s format in a nutshell.
Apparently it’s either wholesome sentimental TV, or a new puppy that’s going to solve the hole in this donut. And into this gap neatly slots The Repair Shop (BBC One)
A team of experts use their ‘heritage craft skills’ to restore various family heirlooms and, in the process, explain the memories that go with them.
The producers obviously hope that, by the end of the show, at least someone in the room will be a sobbing wreck.
Naturally the whole team, led by furniture restorer Jay Blades, work their damnedest to source objects that are jam-packed with meaning for their owners.
We saw a brown leather wallet that spent three days being used as a makeshift paddle by Andrew Gorrie’s airman father, who had been shot down in the chilly North Atlantic during World War II and had nothing else with which to propel his liferaft.
‘Welcome to the Repair Shop, where precious but faded treasures are restored to their former glory,’ murmurs narrator Bill Paterson, capturing the show’s format in a nutshell
The wallet was patiently hand-stitched back together by the lovely and empathetic Suzie Fletcher, who presented it to Andrew as gently as if it were a baby bird.
Julianna Smith brought in an amplifier tuner and speaker that had been made by her father. She remembered him cranking it up to dance to Bill Hayley and wanted it restored in his honour.
Electronics expert Mark Stuckey gave it his best shot and when he switched it on, Julianna was crying her eyes out even before we heard the first bars of Rock Around The Clock.
Other heart-tugging restorations — a 1910 banana barrow owned by one of the first banana wholesalers and a miniature commemorative fire engine — didn’t have quite the same impact.
In the end, there’s no getting away from the fact that you are mainly watching experts fixing things while explaining what they’re doing. So unless you like tinkering and watching paint dry you were probably not in the right place.
Fortunately, the idea behind Sofia Coppola: Life Cinematic (BBC 4) was simply that she shared the scenes she loves from the films that have inspired her, with presenter Edith Bowman
Experts explaining their craft can be boring, especially if they are film directors, and even if that film director is the Oscar-winner behind hits including Lost In Translation and The Bling Ring. Fortunately, the idea behind Sofia Coppola: Life Cinematic (BBC 4) was simply that she shared the scenes she loves from the films that have inspired her, with presenter Edith Bowman.
There were some technical insights (rain always adds drama) but it was essentially a cinematic version of the long-running Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs.
Coppola’s highlights included the 17-year-old Liz Taylor’s first meeting with Montgomery Clift in A Place In The Sun; Rita Hayworth’s showstopping entrance in Gilda (‘the all-time best introduction of a character,’ Coppola said); and that moment the power balance shifts in The Servant when Dirk Bogarde orders his employer, James Fox, to get him a drink.
Notably none of her father Francis Ford Coppola’s films made the grade, not even Godfather Part II.