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.

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones