Dance on film adopts a challenging posture

It's been an unusually fatuous week on television, both in drama and current affairs, which may be why Dance for the Camera (BBC2, all week) feels like relief rather than obligation. The Radio Times described it as "a journey along pathways real a nd imaginary", which under normal circumstances would have me getting out the map to look for an alternative route. In fact the series has been full of little shocks of pleasure, precisely because it gives precedence to bodily impulse over rational clari ty.

It began more strongly than it finished, though this may have had something to do with the fact that you became familiar with certain preoccupations after a while - sensual near-miss kisses, moments of transcendence in humdrum lives, lots of homoerotic smouldering. The series isn't going to convert anyone whose prejudice against dance rests on the essential narrowness of its utterances.

That said, Outside In (Monday), choreographed by Victoria Marks, distracted you with some beautiful surprises. One of these was a rather crude one; the surprise that a dancer with no legs at all - indeed no lower torso - should prove so graceful and fluid in his movement. There couldn't help but be a flavour of side-show to this, however high-minded the motives. The piece might have been an argument for us to go beyond our prejudices about disability, but that's only possible if you pass quite closely by them on the way. Marks' piece sensibly seemed to acknowledge that a word like "scuttling" will have been in many viewers' minds before what you saw on screen forced you to change it to "dancing".

Margaret Williams, the director, came up with some equally beautiful adjustments of perspective, in particular a lovely image in which a dancer bent forwards to inspect his face in a mirror and didn't stop; the liquid surface rippled and let him in.

Alistair Fish (Tuesday) was enjoyable too, a little drama about a man chasing his errant girlfriend to Glasgow, greatly assisted by the fact that the main dancer was as startled as we were to find himself in a choreographed world. He thought he was just catching a train until he noticed that every lolling head in the carriage was moving with the precision of a Busby Berkely chorus line. It had the feel of one of those half-waking reveries that often steal upon you in the captivity of a train journey - and it was delirious and paranoid by turns. I don't know whether the choreography was banal or subtle but the effect of the whole was pleasure.

More of which was provided by Jim Broadbent's performance as Colonel AD Wintle in Heroes and Villains (BBC1), the last of the series and a return to form after last week's slightly underpowered episode. Personally I think there's a less melancholy charm to these brief lives than the makers do, and there were times when you felt you were expected to dab away a tear of elegiac regret which, in my case, just wouldn't flow. But Wintle's reckless assault on army proprieties was very funny. "I make it my business never to be rude to anyone below the rank of brigadier," he serenely informs a superior officer, "but you're so blinkered I've decided to make an exception." He isn't just all talk either. "You should be shot!" he bellows at an RAF bureaucrat obstructing his plans for a one-man mission to France. "In fact I'll do it myself." He was sent to the Tower of London for emptying his revolver into the man's desk but got away with a reprimand.

Broadbent's depiction of him was wonderful, in particular as an old man, recording an edition of Desert Island Discs and fully conscious of his status as a "turn". He followed his more eccentric statements with a mildly deranged giggle which proved remarkably infectious.

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

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


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

Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

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

Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

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'

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

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.

    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
    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
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie