Last Night's Television: The Family, Channel 4
The Rules of Film Noir, BBC2

If you're beginning to get Christmas ground-rush (realising that you haven't pulled the ripcord early enough to prevent a hard landing) just be thankful that you're not having to organise an Indian wedding, a social event that involves more pre-planning than a trip to the Moon.

And if you are planning an Indian wedding you have my sympathy, and, I imagine, that of anyone who's been watching The Family for the last eight weeks. Sunny and Shay's wedding has been something of a running theme in this warmly engaging series – the very first episode revealing that even sending out the invitations is dauntingly a labour-intensive affair. The question of whether Shay's estranged mother would actually attend the celebrations has also been inextricably stitched into the recent lives of the Grewal family – a dependable cliffhanger that this week delivered the anti-climactic but sadly realistic payoff. In a movie, mum would have pitched up at the party at the last minute for a tearful reconciliation, complete with Bollywood dance number. In life, we got the tears – from a young bride who hoped to the very end – but maternal pride stupidly won out. Will the folly be so great that she doesn't even watch on screen? If so, she'll have missed something lovely, both as a mother and a television viewer.

The final episode began with comic misdirection, Arvinder's voice issuing instructions to his long-suffering wife, Sarbjit. "Do it at the bottom," he said, followed by a long ambiguous moan. Then, "It's swollen", and another ecstatic groan. The camera cut to a close-up of the three wise monkeys on the bedroom window, paws clasped to eyes, mouths and ears, and then we got the reveal, which was nothing more erotic than a massage for a bad back. The three wise monkeys, incidentally, played very little part in the programme at any other point, since the central idea of the format was that we should see and hear everything, both good and bad. And one of the reasons this particular series has been so delightful is that, although the bad hasn't been entirely absent – with serious illness and marital rows – the good has so effortlessly surmounted it. The intensely romantic connection between Sunny and Shay has been a major part of that, and so it seemed fitting that the final programme should be almost entirely built around their wedding and its elaborate rituals.

Part of the pleasure of the thing has been the natural intermingling of the routines of British life with traditions and customs that have only recently taken root here, perhaps best exemplified by Sunny's description of one of the post-marriage ceremony rituals, when the groom visits the bride's parental home, to be amiably barracked by her relatives: "We're just waiting for the handover now, for the goods..." he said. "If this were you in Ikea, I guess this would be the collection point... you've got the receipt and you've got the numbers and you're just waiting for 'here you go, mate'." Earlier, he had compared the pleasures of fully licensed intimacy with his wife to driving a Ferrari that had all its paperwork up to date. Sensibly he – or the production team – had declined to show us the couple pulling out of the driveway, leaving the last few minutes of the series for the long-delayed return of Kaki and Jeet's baby, an event that very nearly made Sarbjit dissolve with happiness. "Everyone's going to live happy ever after," she said. I imagine it'll be a bit more complicated than that, but I do hope she's right.

Matthew Sweet's The Rules of Film Noir, setting up a season of noir films on BBC2, was a real treat for buffs, full of apposite clips from classic noirs and distinguished talking heads, including Paul Schrader and the cinematographer Roger Deakins, who beautifully keyed up a long sequence from Sweet Smell of Success. Sweet himself crisply itemised the essential components of this counter-intuitive cultural moment – a group of Hollywood movies that essentially set out to make the filmgoer feel worse about America (and human beings in general) than they had when they entered the cinema. And the director, Elaine Donnelly Pieper, had reconstructed the tropes of film noir – backlit steam and raking shadows – so lovingly that you couldn't always immediately tell when a clip had given way to a piece to camera. Novice students may have remained baffled by one conundrum though. How come a resolutely American art form, hugely influenced by German émigrés, ended up with a French name? It was because noir – the concept – was entirely retrospective and owed its existence to the enthusiasms of Parisian cineastes. To paraphrase one of Sweet's rules – "See America through a stranger's eyes" – they taught us to see Hollywood through French eyes.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Chosen to lead the women's wing of the ruling Zanu-PF, the wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding the 90-year old
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model of a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution