Television Review

THIS HAS been a good century to opt out of, as Cold War (Sat BBC2) has been reminding us. Last week, the series set off again on its long plod through the superpower years with a look at the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction that kept the peace/left the world tipped on the brink of holocaust (circle your preference) for half a century. This week, in an episode scripted by Germaine Greer and entitled "Make Love, Not War", we got the recoil.

The programme started with footage of John, Paul, George and Ringo doing "She Loves You" on stage, while Kenneth Branagh explained: "Beatlemania hits the United States. With sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, the Sixties shake American values" - a nice demonstration that this is one series that doesn't fight shy of cliches. All in all, this felt a bit too much like a tour of a Sixties theme park - Kennedy and Camelot, assassinations, civil rights, student riots, Black Panthers and Vietnam. But along with all that, Greer's script slipped in some slightly harder- edged analysis - using a batch of missile and aerospace engineers talking about their comfortable Californian lifestyles, for example, to make a neat link between US prosperity and the booming armaments industry.

Cold War remains a drably orthodox view of history, but it does remind you of the attractions of opting out. In Escape to River Cottage (Sun C4), higgledy-piggledy Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall flees from the town to a country estate, rips up the flower-beds, massacres wildlife and sets up two pigs for a horrible fate. The idea is that HF- W - darned if I'm going to spell out his name every time - spends a year in an idyllic cottage in Dorset, by a river and not far from the sea, where he will try to live "the Good Life", a fantasy which is especially attractive to those of us whose lives are modelled on George and Mildred. HF-W referred to himself as a "downsizer", which I initially thought was a mistake - surely he meant "downshifter", downsizing being a managerial euphemism for sacking people. On the other hand, from the pigs' point of view, he may be absolutely right.

I'm concerned that HF-W may be running a bit of a risk with the pigs. He admitted that his only experience of keeping livestock involved a pair of sticklebacks in a jar, and they lasted a matter of days. With this pair of attractive eight-week-old Gloucester Old Spots, we have all the makings of, at best, a PR disaster, at worst, a Hardyesque tragedy (I'm thinking especially of the muffed pig-sticking in Jude the Obscure). But already HF-W is mortgaging out their choicer body parts in exchange for advice and seeds from a pair of local organic farmers.

He also flirted with tragedy when he went spear-fishing, leaving his glasses behind in his boots, but both he and his friend Gary emerged unscathed, the latter rhapsodised over the joys of his downsized lifestyle.

This is a cunning programme, a cocktail of bucolic idyll shaken up with a splash of cold realism, managing to have a quiet giggle at the expense of escapist urges at the same time as pandering to them. If opting out means giving up television, Escape to River Cottage is a small argument against it.

Arts and Entertainment
The Rolling Stones at the Roundhouse in London in 1971: from the left, Keys, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Mick Jagger

Music ...featuring Eric Clapton no less
Arts and Entertainment
In the dock: Dot Branning (June Brown); Union boss claims EastEnders writers are paid less than minimum wage

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Roger Christian wrote and directed the 1980 Black Angel original, which was lost until 2011

film
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Green (Hand out press photograph provided by Camilla Gould)

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones reviewWarning: Spoilers aplenty
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific