TV Reviews

One of the early rumours that swept the world when HIV finally became an issue was that of revenge sex. People who had been infected, the story went, were deliberately setting out to infect as many other people as they could. This story was largely promulgated by the lock-'em- up-and-throw-away-the-key brigade as evidence that people with HIV weren't merely unfortunate, or even irresponsible, but actually psychotic. Last night's Inside Story, A Deadly Secret (BBC1), made one thing very clear: that the risk of Aids infection lies not in revenge, but in denial.

Jan Ruston was 42 when she went to Cyprus, fresh from a divorce and looking for a new life. She met Pavlos Georgiou, "Paul", a fisherman who was looking after his four children while his wife died back in Britain from cancer. They fell in love - Jan is evidently not someone who takes sexual relationships lightly - had an affair, and everything looked rosy. Except it wasn't. Martha, Paul's wife, wasn't dying of cancer at all: he had infected her with HIV, contracted during one of what his doctor described as "hundreds of affairs", and died in 1994.

When Jan got wind of this, via a friend's boss - nobody among Pavlos's family or close acquaintances had seen fit to inform her, despite the fact that the story had been in the local papers - she confronted him. "He denied it," says Jan's cousin, Sharon. "He denied it again and again. No, no. My wife is dying of cancer. The press got it all wrong, they had no right to print that ... he convinced Jan completely." The tragedy of it is that he was probably this convincing because he had convinced himself. Pavlos didn't want to be HIV positive, so he wasn't.

Jan is back home now, in Essex, being cared for by her elderly parents. During the course of Carrie Britton's film, she lay, wasted and hairless, on the sofa, though happily she had rallied somewhat by its close. Sharon, in Cyprus to press the authorities to prosecute under a law that allows a two-year prison sentence for knowingly transmitting a deadly disease, encountered another example of ostrich syndrome: a solemn official who stated that "we can't tell who infected, male or female". Given that Martha was ill before Jan met Pavlos, the evidence would seem quite straightforward. We never actually found out what has happened to Pavlos, or what state he's in now. Jan and her family are devastated. The disease, meanwhile, remains blithely indifferent to legislation.

The House Detectives (BBC2) combines many pleasing ingredients: attractive settings, the potential for snooping, stories about the lives of strangers, handy decorating tips. The gumshoes of the title are the architectural historian Mac Dowdy, the interior designer Judith Miller and the landscape archaeologist David Austin, who each week are given five days to find out as much about a house as they can: who built it, who lived in it, how it was decorated, what bits were added on and taken away. Cue woodchip, utility fireplaces, and layers and layers of ancient gloss paint.

Last night's subject was a fine example of that red-brick and wooden- beam style that the Edwardians so rejoiced in - "wedding cake architecture", as one of the experts called it - which rejoiced in the marvellously arts- and-crafts name of Fayre Haven. I love watching experts on the telly: they do ham it up so for the camera. Every expert I've met in real life has erred toward the unenthusiastic: "I'm not sure, I'll have to verify it, but ..." is usually as committal as they get. Not so on the BBC. Here, they squat by skirting boards, they say things like "isn't that wonderful", they interrogate other experts.

Fayre Haven, it has to be said, was priceless: built by a wealthy plumber, painter and decorator, it read like a sample book: every type of Anaglypta was represented, as was all the stained and crenellated glass an Edwardian suburbanite could want. The experts cooed and warbled, they found another expert to show them how to restore the damaged wallpaper, they tracked down photos of the builder in his incarnation as Mayor of Preston. Anyone who's ever wielded a paint-stripper will love it.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
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.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas