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.

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
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
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.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    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
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all