Forever Young: How Rock'n'Roll Grew Up, BBC4
Rev, BBC2

They were hoping to live fast and die young, but at least they can cash in on the golden age of rock'n'roll

Don't mention the "O" word. As the array of rock'n'roll relics lined up to give great quote in BBC4's Forever Young, one word remained strangely absent from their lips. They spoke of dignity. They spoke of maturity. They spoke of growing into their own material. They spoke of survival.

Motörhead's Lemmy mentioned it once, but he got away with it because, talking about his own ability to live fast and live on, he described himself, at 64, as "almost old".

Yet age was at the very heart of this documentary, which set out to show how rock'n'roll – that supposedly passing fad of the late 1950s and early 1960s – had, largely thanks to the Beatles, outgrown its own roots to morph from a rites-of-passage act of rebellion to the defining cultural phenomenon of the late 20th century.

But before we get all "Pseuds Corner", there was one other subject that no one – again apart from Lemmy, who admitted that he dyes his black – seemed prepared to talk about at any length: and that was the importance of retaining a full head of hair. Because what Robert Wyatt, John Paul Jones, Peter Noone, Bruce Welch, Rick Wakeman and Joe Brown all had in common was an uncommonly good thatch. And, given that nearly seven in 10 men will suffer male pattern baldness by the time they are 60, this lot bucked the stats to such a degree that either there is a discreet transplanter somewhere making a small fortune, or there is some undiscovered connection between sex, drugs, rock'n'roll and free-flowing locks. (Forever Young's one follically challenged participant, Richard Thompson, is never seen without a beret.)

Forever Young restrained itself for precisely three minutes before it gave in and mentioned those unforgettable words in the Who's "My Generation". Were it possible to go back in time, perhaps Pete Townshend would force his 20-year-old self to amend the lyric to "I hope I die before I go bald", but the line stands and he has had to live with that decision every time he has plugged in his Stratocaster since.

"What happens," narrator Cherie Lunghi asked as her opening gambit, "when rock'n'roll's youthful rebelliousness is delivered wrapped in wrinkles?" Mick Jagger, interviewed in the aftermath of punk rock for a Rolling Stones "comeback" tour in 1981, told us, "I think I could do this kind of physical show for about another five years," before Rosie Boycott came on to point out the strange disconnect between Jagger's body and face as he, at 66, still slinks his hips along to "Let's Spend the Night Together".

Iggy Pop, a strange person to ask about such matters, not because he doesn't have the requisite wrinkles but because the programme had promised to explore "Britain's rock'n'roll generation", gracefully admitted that though he can still perform his youthful material, he doesn't have the "animal energy to write a great rock'n'roll song any more" before complaining about aching knees. Alison Moyet went one step further, saying that while she wrote her best songs in her youth, the passing years have taught her how to deliver that material without resorting to silly dance movements. And surely, if the programme-makers could buck the Brit law for Iggy, Deborah Harry (65) would have been a more relevant and "rock'n'roll" exhibit than Moyet (49).

The dignity side of things was mostly left to Rick Wakeman – who pointed out that stars of his vintage were, these days, familiar with the sight of three generations of the same family enjoying "legacy" rock shows together – and Robert Wyatt, who touchingly confessed: "I had to live this long to get every third or fourth song on every third or fourth record I made spot-on." Conclusion? What age shall not wither, it can – as Wyatt's eclectic and entirely age-appropriate oeuvre demonstrates – invest with infinite variety.

Which is not a Shakespeare quote you can apply to TV vicars. As the lovably hapless Tom Hollander shone his way though the comedic murk of Rev, it was hard to escape the feeling that this gentle sitcom was merely The Vicar of Dibley in reverse. Where that show had Dawn French playing an inner-city cleric transposed to a country setting, this new series saw a rural reverend trying to make the best of his east London posting.

Aimed, perhaps, at those who loved Dibley but found Father Ted too sweary, Hollander had the good grace to remove his dog collar before uttering the "F" word and the show, for all its try-hard 21st-century references and excellent supporting cast, came across as old-fashioned as Derek Nimmo's All Gas and Gaiters. A programme, it must be noted, that hit screens in the same year that John Lennon declared the Beatles "more popular than Jesus".

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

Arts and Entertainment

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?