Television Review

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The Independent Culture
AS THATCHERITE success stories go, the case of Simon Weston is unique. Weston, the Welsh guardsman who suffered 46 per cent burns when the Sir Galahad was bombed 17 years ago during the Falklands War, has a familiar face, one which, unlike the rest of us, grows more handsome each time you see it.

Simon's Journey (BBC1) demonstrated, among other things, that war isn't what it used to be. Weston's rehabilitation was remarkable, both in its warmth and civility. The most interesting part of the programme followed his second meeting with Carlos Cachn, the Argentinian pilot who dropped the bomb on the Sir Galahad. We were shown footage of their first meeting, 10 years after the war, in which Weston leant stiffly backwards, his body language a combination of terror and bristling anger. In their most recent meeting in December, when Cachn came to Weston's house in Cardiff, the balance of power had shifted. Their wives met, Senora Cachn cuddled the youngest of Weston's three babies and Carlos chatted with his mother. Cachn even had a tour of the conservatory. "It's lovely - we have Christmas lunch in here," Weston told him.

Cachn was evidently moved by Weston's bearish humanity. Rare meetings like these have always struck me as intriguing, existing entirely within their own moral framework. The onus was on the Argentine to be humble. Weston said several times that he didn't blame Cachn for his injuries, that he was aware that it was not a personal act of violence, that the bomb was not meant for him.

Cachn, however, might also have had rancour which he had to disarm, but this was not explored. Perhaps friends of his were aboard the Belgrano, which was hit by a missile as it sailed outside the exclusion zone in a direct line away from the Falklands. Maybe comrades were cowering in trenches into which British soldiers lobbed grenades of burning phosphorous. It feels churlish to express reservations about the human failure to process more than one moral issue at a time, especially when the case at hand is as emotive as this; but there, I've said it anyway. Still, it was a pleasure to see two men making sense of their moral confusion.

In Making It (BBC2) eager-to-please students gave all the right answers as Tom Dixon, head designer at Habitat, trawled a graduate show for talent. "And what about function - do you see these as things to eat off?" one designer was asked about a delicate-looking set of soap-dish-type things. "They could be used functionally, yes," came the answer, the one Mr Habitat needed to hear if the conversation was to progress any further.

At the New Designers' Exhibition at the Design Centre, Dixon strode around like Griffin Mill in The Player, tall, calculating and well aware of his power. There was a telling moment with a plate-maker. Dixon took the young man's card, but when the designer went to take what he thought was Dixon's - but was, in fact, that of another hopeful - he was left embarrassed, his empty hand in the air. It emphasised the "Don't call us, we probably won't call you" nature of the design business.

Robert Hanks is away

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