I'm mad as hell etc.

TV I've just posted this comment at Off The Telly, but I'm so annoyed by this, I thought I'd leave it here too. It's in regards to the controversy surrounding the documentary Malcolm and Barbara: Love’s Farewell which the lazy media are suggesting misleads the viewer into believing that they're seeing the point of a man's death when it doesn't.
Well, the film maker, Paul Watson was on Front Row on Radio 4 this evening and from what he's described he took an artistic decision to leave the close of the documentary deliberately ambiguous because in this case the point of death was ambiguous too -- he filmed the moment when the gentleman lost consciousness which as he described as far as his widow understood to begin the process towards death.

The tape was then sent to the ITV who reviewed it and wrote the press release which as far as he's concerned misrepresented the content of the documentary. He said that if he was guilty of a crime it was not paying attention to what was in that press release which seems ridiculous since surely he should have been able to trust the information being put out by the people who commissioned the programme, admittedly in a very different period for television.

The interviewer was very lucid, asked the difficult questions but Watson at no point came across as someone who'd set out to deceive and was on the defensive.

Something I didn't know was that the controversy was stoked by Mediawatch, the new name for Mary Whitehouse's National Viewers and Listeners Association. He mentions it again in here:


Which makes my blood run cold, frankly.

It seems entirely horrifying that a filmmaker can spend eleven years of his life following the decline of a man taken by a debilitating disease, hoping to highlight the plight of people in that situation and hopefully providing some solace to the relatives of people in the same situation and pointing out that they're cared for, for *years* unpaid by loving relatives only for the whole thing to be over shadowed by the current flash in the pan over probity in television with hysteria once again being stoked by newspapers whose own sensationalism in regards to well, any story, is far more reprehensible.
One aspect of my university course last year was a series of talks given by a range of documentary filmmakers and although some where more lucid or likable than others the impression I was given across the board was that they were all sincere about the work they were doing but also, crucially that they are being chased into a corner in relation to the subject matter that can lead to a commission in the new television world order. Watson began the process of making this film eleven years ago. Does it seem likely that the contemporary ITV would wait that long for results?

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