Inside Television: From There to Here, Mr Sloane and Quirke...nostalgia on TV is so much better than it used to be

 

They say if you can remember the 1960s, you weren’t there. Or at least that’s what they used to say, until television dramas like Mad Men, Endeavour and Inspector George Gently furnished us all with perfect recall of life in decades past - whether we were actually there at the time or not.

Ah, the summer of ’96! Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer playing up front for England, The Spice Girls hit Wannabe on the radio and John Major droning on at No. 10. I remember it all like it was yesterday; Or rather last Tuesday, when the first episode of From There to Here the late 90s-set family saga aired on BBC One.

Philip Glenister stars as Daniel Cotton and the story follows the fortunes of Cotton and his family from 1996 up to the Millennium, a period well within living memory for most viewers. Most viewers, however, won’t able to recall those years in the same detail as Peter Bowker’s script. Although it does sometimes felt like sitting a modern history pop quiz on the rise of New Labour, From There To Here has managed to transcended mere nostalgia television. It’s an attempt to sum up the spirit of the whole period, not just borrow its sense of style.

The 60s-set Mr Sloane, which begins a six-part series on Sky Atlantic this evening, is less interested in the pull of history and more interested in the pulling power of one man. Nick Frost (Simon Pegg’s erstwhile Spaced sidekick) plays Jeremy Sloane a depressed, newly single man living in Watford in 1969, although he’d much prefer it was still 1961.

Back then, Mr Sloane was climbing the career ladder at work, he was still loved by his wife, and his clothes were still in fashion. “The 60s are gonna be our decade, my son, I can feel it,” says Jeremy’s friend Ross (Peter Serafinowicz) in one of the episode’s nostalgia-within-nostalgia flashbacks. Unfortunately for the 1969 Jeremy Sloane, Ross’s words proved prophetic; it seems, his best days are all behind him.

A depressing thought, but nothing that an episode of 50s-set Quirke couldn’t soothe. It starts this Sunday evening on BBC One and stars Gabriel Byrne as a crime-solving pathologist in 1950s Dublin. The special charm of Quirke lies in the low lighting and Noirish camera angles, which make it look like it might actually have been shot in the 50s as well as set then. Compare this to the unmistakably 70s fashions of Happy Days (1974-84) or the soft-focus never-neverland of The Darling Buds of May (1991 - 93) and Quirke is in a whole different category of authenticity. That’s the thing about nostalgia on TV - it’s so much better than it used to be.

How survivalism on TV gained a new audience

Should society breakdown completely next Monday evening at 10pm, I will be fully prepared. I will have seen the finale of The Island with Bear Grylls and the first episode of How the Wild West Was Won with Ray Mears. These rival survival experts have been on TV for decades, but in an age of environmental chaos and social unrest, their shows look less like a pompous Boy’s Own adventure and more like an essential how-to manuel. 

It’s not just for boys either, this fascination with reviving lost survival skills. Dawn O’Porter is presenting Channel 4’s new series This Old Thing which will show us how to repair old clothes instead of buying new, and the BBC have announced a second series of The Big Allotment Challenge, in which Fern Britton encourages us to ditch the supermarket queue and grow our own instead. Come the End of Days, that basil-blueberry preserve will still taste delicious.

CATCH UP

Penny Dreadful, Sky Go

Sky Go’s new gothic horror series has the same ghoulish interest in gore as the Victorian comics it was named after. The monsters are all truly terrifying, but none quite as scary as Eva Green. She plays Vanessa Ives, a demon-hunting occultist who’s elegant, sinister and preternaturally calm.

http://www.sky.com/tv/show/penny-dreadful/article/watch-on-demand

How The Wild West Was Won, BBC iPlayer

You don’t have to be a bushcraft enthusiast to enjoy this new three-part Ray Mears series. It’s also a fascinating insight into pioneer history and how the American landscape has shaped the American people. In this first episode, there was also a rare chance to glimpse the hellbender salamander, native to the Appalachian mountains, some say it’s the ugliest creature in the world.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b044md9y

Gracepoint trailer, YouTube

Broadchurch swept the board at last week’s BAFTA TV awards, but how well will this US remake fare? David Tennant reprises his role as the outsider detective, but this time with an dodgy American accent and a dodgier haircut. Olivia Colman’s role, meanwhile, has been taken on by Anna Gunn, better known as Skyler in Breaking Bad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9IWvbbZPZc

Coronation Street, ITV Player

Only just recovered from Hayley’s demise? Don’t put away the tissues just yet. This week Corrie has been gearing up for another big storyline. Tina McIntyre has a date with destiny aka the script writers next week which will see actress Michelle Keegan written out of the show after six years.

https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/coronation-street

Arts and Entertainment
Loading individual letters on to an original Heidelberg printing press
books
Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
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.

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'