Television Review

IT'S ODD that so many films have been based on the premise that blondes have more fun, when the biographies of the blondes who appear in the films hardly ever bear that out: look at Brigitte Bardot (animal freak) or Marilyn Monroe (suicide) or Veronica Lake (ended up as a waitress). Or look at our own Diana Dors, who ended up as a kitsch joke.

One thing to be said in favour of The Blonde Bombshell (ITV), a two-part drama about "Britain's answer to Marilyn", is that it at least tries to take her seriously. Another is that it started well, with a small but clever reversal of expectation: in a classroom, a teacher called on Diana to read out her essay on what she wants to be when she grows up. The camera roved across the classroom to a ringleted blonde moppet with a knowing smile; then, behind her, a mousy girl with glasses and a patch over one eye stood up to announce that she wanted to be a Hollywood star.

After that, though, it was a feast of corn: drama school turned out ill- equipped to cope with our heroine's free spirit; her first love found himself edged out in favour of a fast, glamorous lifestyle; she fell for a charming conman who broke her heart and wrecked her chances in Hollywood. Presumably this wasn't miles away from the facts of Dors's life, but the treatment showed the same paucity of imagination that afflicted her career. At one point a series of clapperboards flashed by: Man Bait, A Kid for Two Farthings, My Wife's Lodger, The Weak and the Wicked - it's hardly a catalogue of celluloid classics. It was implied that her failure to make it really big was down to her husband, Dennis Hamilton (played by Rupert Graves as a kind of psycho-spiv-rodent). But it surely says something about Britain's postwar exhaustion, and our historical confusion about sex, that nobody knew how to use Dors's plush sensuality.

The casting was peculiar, too: Keely Hawes, as the young Diana, gave off an air of watchful self-containment; whereas what you associate with the real thing is a lack of restraint. Flirting with the press ("Hello boys"), Hawes couldn't help sounding slightly sarcastic; re-creating film scenes, she had an air of thoroughly modern naturalism. It's not really Hawes's fault, but watching her isn't any fun at all.

In an edition of Equinox (C4) called "Sweden, Sex and the Disappearing Doctors", Fisher Dilke went off to explore the Swedish eugenics scandal. Between 1935 and 1974 around 63,000 Swedes were sterilised, often because they were "feeble-minded" or "anti-social" - which might mean no more than being a juvenile delinquent, or a pregnant teenager. Unfortunately but understandably, few Swedes wanted to talk about this aspect of their past, which led to some shots of blondes having very little fun as Dilke badgered them. It probably didn't help when he went around making careless comparisons to the Holocaust: I don't want to excuse the project or minimise the grief of its victims, but nobody was put to death here. The programme ended up as a clumsy hybrid of a proper documentary and a Nick Broomfield- style film about not making a film. Dilke would have done better to have cut his losses and not make a film at all.

Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
artSistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady are returning for The Apprentice series 10

TV
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder star in 'Girl, Interrupted'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas Pynchon in 1955, left, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of his novel, Inherent Vice

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Nicole Scherzinger will join the cast of Cats

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
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.

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence