National treasures in court; Welcome to Wrexham and beyond

house of the dragon Sky Atlantic/Now TV
The Accused: National Treasures in Court Channel 4 | All 4
Welcome to Wrexham Disney+
Leo: The Rise and Fall of the Marsh Pride BBC Two | iPlayer

Well, here we are: the long-awaited prequel to the fabled game of Thronesthat costs squillions, with an opener watched by zillion… but is it damn good?

That’s the exciting news house of the dragon (Sky Atlantic) is way better than what game of Thrones became. The bad news: if we set the bar that low, we’d be living underground sucking dirt with the mole people. By the time HAVE Staggered to an undignified end after eight seasons, it had degenerated into an exuberant, quasi-medieval soap opera: the best one could hope for was the dragons burning the writers’ room.

house of the dragonbased on parts of George RR Martin’s 2018 book Fire & blood, focusing on the platinum-haired, dragon-riding Targaryen dynasty, tantalizingly specific “172 years” before the birth of Daenerys (you gotta love it when fantasy is fact-checked). After the obligatory CGI dragon stuff (so boring) it went straight into the narrative red meat. Ruler Viserys (Paddy Considine) hoped his pregnant wife would produce a son and heir, to the frustration of his teenage daughter Rhaenyra (Milly Alcock) and his sneaky, unpredictable, Iron Throne-hungry brother Daemon, played by Matt Smith (outstanding ) .

Cliff Richard felt bad about successfully suing BBC: ‘It’s like suing Britain’

If you sniff ahead, another incest storyline will snake its way through. While the white hair was unintentionally amusing at first (together, the Targaryens resemble a Michael Heseltine fan convention), the opener unfolded at a juicy pace: blood, guts; an unnecessarily distressing birth scene (I assume it showed that the only worth of royal wives is to be breeders); Tournaments, Skulduggery, Rhys Ifans as calculating adviser; Wave movements in darkly lit brothels. While some have complained that the sex scenes are less sexy, it’s certainly not premature – the fantasy genre needs to be more than porn for cowards.

The judgment: house of the dragon is good – a full-blooded dynastic odyssey that eats through the filth and darkness of human nature. Still, I missed the old game of Thrones Mischief (Tyrion); the Sub-Caligula villains (Ramsay, Cersei, Joffrey). It’s one thing better than being late HAVE, but what about its heyday? series one of game of Thrones It culminated in an amazing game changer (two words, my friends: “Ned” and “Stark”). house of the dragon gonna need one too.

It has been ten years since the start of Operation Yewtree, the Metropolitan Police investigation into allegations of sexual abuse, mainly child abuse, against disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile. It was a time when entertainment figures were routinely arrested on historical allegations. The Channel 4 documentary The accused: national treasures in court examined whether there were times when Operation Yewtree degenerated into a “pedo bingo” witch hunt.

In addition to police and journalists, the coup consisted of interviews with three of the accused: Sir Cliff Richard and radio DJs Paul Gambaccini and Neil Fox, all of whom were still visibly angry. Richard was at his holiday home in the Algarve in 2014 watching the BBC televise the raid on his Berkshire home (the former BBC Home Affairs Correspondent admits it was “a great discovery”). Gambaccini spoke about Savile on breakfast TV before he was arrested himself. Fox wondered who would be next when he was inducted.

There’s a film of Gambaccini and Fox during their long bail period looking stunned. Also by Gambaccini, who continues to rage The Victoria Derbyshire Show. Richard says he prayed every night: “I know it’s not true. And God knows it’s not true.”

What a mess: allegations, devastated spouses, battered careers. Judges at Fox’s trial said they believed his accusers – although, Fox insists, he was acquitted. Richard and Gambaccini were never charged. Both Operation Yewtree and the BBC’s misconduct figure prominently in this story. Richard felt bad about successfully suing the latter: ‘It’s like suing Britain.’ Gambaccini, who has successfully campaigned for the maximum time for bail before arraignment to be reduced to 28 days, says: ‘The BBC could hardly do it expect to drop me.” It’s a swaying documentary: it makes a decent point on launching the #MeToo era, but here are other concerns – media accountability; People who are publicly dishonored before they are formally charged – put the focus back firmly on the accused.

Do Americans realize that every time they say “soccer,” a soccer fairy dies? Apart from that, Disney+ Welcome to Wrexham Football documentaries are something of a heartthrob for “warm fuzzies”.

Working-class Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are bizarrely bidding to buy Welsh football club Wrexham AFC: residents of the world’s oldest international football stadium, battered by the pandemic and struggling to get out of the fifth-rate National League to come out. With the offer graciously accepted (their arms will be bitten off!), the unlikely Hollywood owners wisely take a back seat to the dark-witted Wrexham folks, who love their team almost as much as they love to thrash them: “He bets on the shift, isn’t it?’ ‘The postmen too. You wouldn’t play them on the grand piano.”

Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds at Wrexham AFC.

Ted Lasso meets Local Hero… Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds in Welcome to Wrexham. Photo: Patrick McElhenney/AP

You can find out the fate of Wrexham FC in the 2020-21 season with a quick google; Here the way counts. McElhenney is said to be inspired by Netflix’s amazing docuseries Sunderland until I die. He and Reynolds seem self-aware enough (“There’s a version of this story where we’re the villains”). While the cultural clash between Hollywood and small town and Wales isn’t ignored (there are ironic on-screen translations for American audiences), it’s not exaggerated. What comes out feels like real life (actually funnier) Teddy Lassowith a muddy splash of local hero thrown in.

I watched the 90 minute BBC Two documentary by Pamela Gordon Leo: The Rise and Fall of the Marsh Pride through spread fingers. This is an update of the mighty Kenyan pride of lions, which has been extensively filmed for over four decades, perhaps best known by BBC One Big cat diary. Their numbers are now severely depleted, not least because of illegal poisoning by Maasai tribesmen concerned about their livestock, with tragic repercussions for other Kenyan wildlife.

With archival footage and fresh observations from the likes of Simon King and Jonathan Scott, this is a grueling but valuable watch. The lions are majestic, brutal, complex, always alert for danger one moment (lionesses hide their cubs in fig trees), the next they are ragged, panting, staggering or dead. This beautiful documentary reminds the viewer that nature has no Hallmark card is and that conservation should be an important word.

Star rating (out of five)
house of the dragon
★★★★
The Accused: National Treasures in Court ★★★
Welcome to Wrexham ★★★
Leo: The Rise and Fall of the Marsh Pride ★★★★

What else am I looking at?

Agatha Christie’s Hjerson
more 4
Here’s something off the beaten path: a Swedish drama series inspired by Agatha Christie. It features the fictional Finnish detective created by Hercule Poirot’s sleazy girlfriend Ariadne Oliver but updated to the present day.

Investigation of Diana: Death in Paris
channel 4
As the 25th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales approaches in 1997, this four-episode docuseries delves into her untimely death in Paris and the tsunami of conspiracy theories that followed.

Suburb Buddha
bbc 4
What a reward; what a treat. A reprise of the groundbreaking 1993 series starring Naveen Andrews as a multiracial teenager struggling with his cultural and sexual identity. It is accompanied by a 2014 documentary about Hanif Kureishi, who wrote the novel it is based on and co-wrote the screenplay.

Naveen Andrews in The Buddha of Suburbia.

Naveen Andrews in The Buddha of Suburbia. Alamy Photo: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy

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