Diamond Geezers and Gold Dealers, TV review: Delicate ecosystem had an intricate beauty
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Friday 25 July 2014
Everyone who featured in ITV's one-off documentary about London's jewellery quarter was looking to strike gold. Hatton Garden, is only half a square mile of London streets, but it's the scene of 75 per cent of the UK's cash for gold business, and 80 per cent of the diamond trade.
There was Michael, the subterranean stone-setter who had been working in his basement workshop for 50 years. There was Leigh, the 25-year-old heir to her family's gold-salvage business, whose well-groomed appearance seemed ill-suited to the dirty work involved. The bag of human teeth, ready to be melted down for gold fillings, was a particularly gruesome sight: "It's the ones with the blood! They're so disgusting!"
This delicate human ecosystem had an intricate beauty, but just in case that was ever difficult to appreciate, an unusually lyrical voiceover was there to help.
It came into its own particularly when accompanying footage of unwanted wedding rings melted down as scrap: "In the great furnace of Hatton Garden, metals are all born equal and all are ready to be reborn." And there you were thinking this was just a cheap-to-make documentary about the jewellery trade.
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