Cutting Edge: The Men Who Jump Off Buildings, Channel 4
Californication, Five

While adrenalin junkies get up early to prove their machismo, a certain Californian writer is happy to stay in bed

This season's IT Crowd, which finished its run on Friday, has delivered some beguiling conundrums – not least how to get the word out about Street Countdown – but Moss's contemplation of the essence of man trumped them all.

"Men, eh? What are they like with their bawdy talk and roughhousing?" What are they like, indeed.

"Wouldn't you rather stay in bed?" Dan Witchalls' mum asks him in the Cutting Edge documentary The Men Who Jump Off Buildings.

"When the alarm goes off [at 4.30am], I think, 'Shall I get up?'" he replies. "But when I do get up and I go out and do the jump, I'm glad."

Mum: "Why?"

Dan: "Because I am."

Mum: "Why?"

Dan: "It's what I do, isn't it?"

Mum: "But you done it."

Dan: "But I can do it again."

Mum: "Do you feel afterwards you're on a high?"

Dan: "A little bit, yeah."

Dad: "A little bit? To get up at 4.30 and jump off blimmin' buildings?"

That snippet tells us an awful lot about Dan Witchalls. The voiceover assures us that the roofer, who has completed more than 800 "base jumps" (leaping off high-rise buildings with the last-second get-out of a parachute), uses ingenuity, nerve and skill when picking his jump site. He must also make sure he won't get caught – doing it in the dead of night isn't enough – we are told as he throws himself off Wembley Stadium, Battersea Power Station, Nelson's Column et al. Yet, Witchalls' own to-camera nonsense rather suggests his greatest attribute is macho stupidity.

He never can quite explain why he likes jumping, but maybe we can work it out. "Did you see me?" he shouts to his jumping buddy, Ian Richardson, running to him as he lands. Frankly, all he needed do was add "daddy", wheel his arms around and voilà, you have the five-year-old still seemingly driving him.

It's an impression made all the stronger when he visits Richardson in hospital, after the lad crash lands, snapping his leg. "What have we here?" he asks, cheeky-chappily to his camcorder. "Let's go and have a look. Fuck me, it's the hippo. What are you doing here, heh?" Has there ever been a better paean to bravado masking a legitimate fear of death? One in six jumps ends in fatality.

A big problem with adrenalin-sports programming is that while there must be a thrill to doing the activity (according to Richardson: "It's as close as you can get to being a master criminal without committing any major crimes"), we've all become so inured to ridiculously dangerous acts through programmes such as Jackass and, erm, Hole in the Wall (entire careers at threat in every show!) that it takes an awful lot more to make us care. A multi-layered protagonist rather than a gormless geezer, perhaps.

So that's the roughhousing. How about the bawdy talk? "Have you ever spent time with an 11-year-old boy and wanted more from him than he was willing to give?" Yup, Californication's back, and it's as filthy as ever. The third series begins, not surprisingly, with Hank (David Duchovny) in bed. With a beautiful woman who's not his on-again, off-again wife-turned-lover, Karen (Natascha McElhone). And he's having to get used to being a single parent, because Karen has gone to follow her dreams in New York. So, it's back to the good ship Promiscuity, with a smattering of weed thrown in for good measure. Though the fact that it's his daughter smoking it is perhaps more of a surprise.

As per, Hank is amoral; he's having a good time and he doesn't much care about the fallout. "What? I'm the asshole because I say what's on everybody's mind?" he asks at a dinner party after mooting the possibility that his daughter and the host's girl have just gone off to discover lesbianism together. But while the dialogue remains elegantly written, and, as one would expect of a HBO show, the production is slick, one can't help but feel it's losing a bit of steam.

The shock value has started to ebb, and there are worrying signs of phoning it in: when Hank flicks a cigarette at a "road-hog" cyclist, causing him to crash, it's pretty obvious that the cyclist is going to end up at that dinner party he's heading to. It's a heavy-handed moment we wouldn't have been seen in the first two series.

Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
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.

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral