Television: It's a state of total Dianarchy

Diana TV; The Dianaphobes are beginning to get tiresome.

Diana: The Mourning After; Diana: The Wrong Crusade Channel 4 I've seen gangsta rap videos on MTV that were more restful than Diana: The Mourning After. There were at least two jump-cuts per sentence, most of them accompanied by a switch between colour and monochrome, and the cameraman seemed to be doing his job while getting used to his new rollerblades. It was like the opening credits of NYPD Blue. Either this style was supposed to represent the tumultuous media distortion that followed the Princess of Wales's death, or it was a ploy to disorientate irate Diana-philes before they had the chance to throw a Royal Wedding commemorative plate at the TV set.

Christopher Hitchens, that reliable distributor of cats among pigeons, contended that the death caused nowhere near as much anguish as the media had us believe a year ago, and that those people who did mourn hadn't given a moment's thought to their behaviour. Anyone would agree after "a little reflection and examination", he remarked. In contrast with the wailers and teeth-gnashers who flashed across the screen, he was marvellously phlegmatic, to the extent that he looked and sounded as if he'd had seven or eight glasses of wine to calm his nerves before filming.

If so, his script wasn't affected. Every tasty sentence was stuffed with soundbites - "Our Lady of the Versace", "a photo-album cult" - and he made so many sensible points that you could do him justice only by rewinding your video to mop up what you missed. People don't normally address condolence cards to the deceased, he noted. And no one's ever heard of Jodie Williams, who won a Nobel Peace prize for years and years of anti- landmine work. And those who left flowers for Diana outside Buckingham Palace had got "the wrong address". And Bernie Taupin's lyrics for "Candle in the Wind '97?" "Doggerel."

After the opening third, the camerawork calmed down. But the thesis went the opposite way, as Hitchens slipped from facts to feelings: a risky move, as he'd just proved how untrustworthy these can be. One Diana-sceptic told him that he "rather resented" being informed by the BBC that the nation mourned as one. Pompous enough for you? There's more. He was "shaken" and "worried" by this coercion; then he deemed it the "chilling" work of "a one-party state". And who was this real-life Winston Smith? Someone who had written to the Times with these views last September. His letter was published. So much for one-party state.

We'd already heard from Mark Thomas, a comedian who is normally bang on the mark. He talked of "censorship" enforced by "Blackshirts" because he wasn't allowed to make any Diana jokes in the week after her death. I know it's his job to exaggerate for comic effect, but being asked by a club owner to cut out the carcrash gags hardly equates with living in a "Nazi state". Hitchens wasn't helping his argument here; he was just swapping one hysteria for another. Just as so many people wore their grief as a badge of sensitivity, his interviewees wore their disgust with grief-by-decree as a badge of mature perspicacity. One-upmanship was in the air. "Oh, you only resented Fleet Street's shameful brainwashing, did you? How naive. I was shaken and chilled."

Another commentator in the film pinpointed Funeral Fever as "an opportunity for feeling connected with your society". But Hitchens didn't try to understand the mourners: he was too busy mocking their stupidity. Still, maybe he thought that they'd had enough sympathetic coverage already. Certainly ITV's trailers for its anniversary scheduling nearly had me siding with Mark Thomas. Its DiTV slogan is "One Year, One Sadness". "One Leader/Party/Nation" isn't that big a leap.

For more sanity, we had to stick with Channel 4. The only error in Diana: The Wrong Crusade? was there in its title. John Sweeney suggested that Diana's campaign to ban landmines was a harmful mistake, in that it distracted attention from the more urgent task of digging up the mines already in the ground. But while we were left in no doubt that mine-clearance is drastically, tragically short of money, there was little evidence that if Diana had spent even more time on Dodi's yacht and even less time in Angola, the situation would be any better. She had only a peripheral role in the story.

At the centre were the many young amputees we saw - a terrible image in itself, and doubly upsetting here as a metaphor for the underfunded clearance organisations. One of these groups was equipped with rows of shiny blue Land Rovers, but with no money left over to pay drivers, the jeeps sat idle. I thought of Diana's pounds 17m divorce settlement, as other viewers must have done, but there's no reason to pick on her more than any other frivolous aristocrat. She was just a peg on which to hang the film. Not that many months ago, a flying visit by her to Angola was a media magnet infinitely more powerful than years of campaigning by a non-celebrity. It's sad that now she's dead, a documentary as serious and important as this one needs to give her top billing in order to get the attention it deserves.

Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’


Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'


Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from


Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?