I’ve danced with some dogs in my time - sorry, gents - but Pudsey takes the biscuit.
Am I alone in feeling slightly discomfited by a dog dancing Gangnam-style at telly’s top awards ceremony? Especially when the dog steals the show from what’s claimed to be the best of British TV talent?
Pudsey’s a talented pooch and his increasingly glamorous owner could probably go it alone but what’s really in it for him - other than doggy treats?
Back in the day when I learned ballroom and Latin American dancing at Kenneth Lane’s dance school on Topping Street, the closest I got to a treat was my dance partner pinging my bra as we fox trotted towards the tea and biccies. Slow slow quick ping slow.
It’s a shame awards host Dermot didn’t pop a dog biscuit into Dot Cotton’s mouth to shut her up long enough to let Brendan O’Carroll get a word in when Mrs Brown’s Boys claimed Best Sitcom. Now there’s a worthy winner.
But what of the rest? Joanna Lumley got one for being Joanna Lumley, posh totty with a conscience, and proving actresses can be funny. Miranda Hart got one for proving funny women can be serious actresses. Downton, created by jolly good Julian Fellowes, claimed Best Drama from a generation of viewers who evidently can’t remember Lady Bracknell, Sebastian Flyte and the original Mrs Bridges did that sort of thing so much better in the good old days of stage and screen.
Call me old fashioned - and I’ve got the foxtrot moves to prove it - but I find telly an unedifying affair these days, and the back slapping of the TV awards reinforced that opinion. “Chosen by you” they trumpet - but only if you read a tabloid newspaper I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole or a TV mag I can’t afford or fork out on costly phone line votes.
So what’s the best thing I’ve seen on the box lately? A new DVD from the British Film Institute, edited by Penny Woolcock, an award winning film maker who’s suffered death threats for her art in the past having strayed far from the comfort zone of the usual armchair viewing. Penny’s that rare thing, a documentarist who makes us think, provokes public debate, doesn’t go for the quick fix via the usual talking heads.
By far the best part of her film From the Land to the Sea Beyond features the found footage of ‘Electric’ Edwardians Mitchell and Kenyon, early film makers who focused on Blackpool. The next best thing is the fact the film has no commentary. Merely music and snippets of snatched narrative from original film makers to guide viewers from Edwardian to Windsor era.