Friday, August 10, 2007
From Sunday ITV is to fill the dog days with a series called Britain's Favourite Views presented by the Emperor of Middle-Brow, Sir Trevor McDonald. (Sir Trevor is the sort of person who is often called 'a safe pair of hands'. Somebody called me 'a safe pair of hands' the other day. I made a little pile of all the pills in the house, poured a large whisky and wrote a brief, bitter note, but then Scrubs was on and I wavered.) Sixteen views are to be 'championed by celebrities' and there are another forty-five on the site. The web site is constructed by idiots. One 'view' is the Cloud 23 - 'the city's first sky bar' - but is inexplicably illustrated by the Lowry Centre. All Souls, Oxford, is described as 'bursting with medieval charm' by some creep who has plainly never seen it. And my heart leapt slightly when Westminster Cathedral was included. I thought somebody who cared about architecture had, through some administrative cock-up, got on to the team and included Bentley's Roman Catholic wonder. But no, they meant Westminster Abbey, which is, apparently 'Byzantine-influenced'. Along with David Dimbleby's gravely disappointing How We Built Britain, this is an example of the way current television casts a pall of mediocrity over all it touches. The landscape and architecture of Britain are quietly dying of ignorance. They should be handed over to French management. The French aren't not nice but they understand the importance of culture and we don't.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 5:54 am