Monday, June 29, 2015


It was indeed a very bad news weekend - Tunisia; Kuwait; France - and so in a desperate attempt to get away from the wall-to-wall coverage of those appalling events and ones which are simply annoying, like Glastonbury, I discovered that ITV3 were showing re-runs of their 2012 series about National Parks.   Last night`s final programme in the series was supposed to be all about the New Forest which I could claim as my spiritual home, having spent my boyhood at Hythe on Southampton Water, "where the forest meets the sea."

Now the New Forest has much to commend it - the woodlands, the heathlands, the lawns, the forest villages, the wildlife, the history, the culture, the coastline - and I thought that at least some of these might be captured in an hour long `documentary` about the area.   Not a bit of it.   Instead we what was dished up was a collage of Caroline Quentin gushing loudly and largely incoherently in a series of staged encounters, including joining a lady up a tree. joining another one rounding up and then selling a pony, joining some chef on a forage for stuff to eat, having a good time at the Romsey Show, which isn`t in the New Forest National Park and watching a man hang gliding with his dog over Barton on Sea, which isn`t in the New Forest either.

And all done with the kind of `look at me,` stentorian, self promoting `style` which she employed to ruin a similar series about Cornwall some while ago.   Now to some people, doubtless Caroline Quentin is something of a national treasure.  The truth, however, is that she has now become a national embarrassment to herself as well as to the National Parks.   So my escape bid failed miserably and so I rescued my evening by watching Nicholas Roeg`s masterpiece, `Walkabout,` on BBC 4 and hearing once more John Barry`s glorious music and the mellifluous tones of the young Jenny Agutter.   None of which has come close, however, to easing the images and suffering brought on by a weekend which will be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

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