Last Night's Television - History of Now: the Story of the Noughties, BBC2; Hannah: the Girl Who Said No To A New Heart, BBC1

Just the right treatment

"I can't believe I'm still going," said Hannah. "I have been close to death a couple of times, but I'm still going so my heart is obviously a lot stronger than some people say it is." "Some people" were Hannah's doctors, all of whom believed that Hannah should dump her existing heart and fit a new one. But after a childhood filled with medical procedures Hannah didn't want any more operations and had turned down the offer of a life-saving transplant, a decision that propelled her into the headlines a few years ago and, ultimately, into Martin Hicks's
Hannah: the Girl Who Said No to a New Heart. What generated all the news coverage was essentially a blasphemy against a modern piety – that life is always better than death. But it also involved a contemporary received opinion – that children aren't fit to make serious decisions about their own lives. Hannah eventually had to persuade a child protection officer that she was competent to decide on her own medical treatment.

I doubt it took very long, because she was impressively articulate about her right to decide what happened to her next. The opening sequence of Hicks's film was essentially a portrait of someone living on death row, but Hannah's normality – and the realistic brevity of her perspective on the future – somehow took the sting out of that fact. "I haven't got any New Year's resolutions," she confessed to a video diary. "I made one last year to stop biting my nails and it didn't work." This year, she added, she was restricting herself to "just stay well and not get worse and that this won't be the last Christmas". On a brief visit to school, she revealed that she wasted none of the little time she had left on homework, a blithe indifference that had aroused the envy of her friends: "They all say, 'Oh you're so lucky'," she explained guilelessly, "and I'm like, 'Yeah, I know'."

It struck you that the problem – as far as social workers were concerned – may have lain less with Hannah's attitude than the unusual reluctance of her parents to let their feelings colour her decision. Her mother, Kirsty, was one of those brisk, bluff Englishwomen who act as if a display of emotion would be letting the side down, and her insistence that Hannah had the last word seemed over-anxious in its refusal to guide or nudge. The awful thought occurred that Hannah might be saying what she thought her parents wanted to hear, while they were so terrified of "influencing" her that they wouldn't allow themselves to coax her past a childhood dread. Fortunately, in the end it was academic – in the light of a new diagnosis Hannah changed her mind and allowed her name to go on to the transplant list. "I was a bit stunned and a little bit tearful," said her mother, recalling this moment, "but I was sitting in the room beside her and Lucy was with us, so you have to pretend that's fine, don't you?" No, Kirsty, at such a moment – when the dread is suddenly lifted – I really don't think you do. But then again perhaps she knew that her stiff upper lip had work yet to do, with Hannah's eventual operation stretching out over 12 agonising days because the donor organ was larger than the surgeons had expected and, like an overpacked suitcase, they couldn't immediately close up her chest. Seemed ironic that, since everything you saw suggested she'd had a very big heart to begin with.

Hannah now stands a good chance of growing up to experience the generational faultline that, according to History of Now: the Story of the Noughties, is one of the defining features of our age. I felt I knew which side of this crevasse I was standing on at the beginning of Sebastian Barfield's look back at the last decade, which opened up like an offshoot edition of Grumpy Old Men, with Andy Marr, Toby Young and Will Self grumbling mildly about the vacuity of the Dome. As specious portmanteau words like "kidulthood" and "grandboomer" and "adultescence" swam across the screen, I found myself thinking of our sadly diminished attention spans and the modern terror of coming across as even the tiniest bit old fashioned. But then cultural dyspepsia began to fade. The graphics were actually rather good – image and content properly married together – and the film itself was after (and successfully hooked) something more substantial than shallow nostalgia. Killer statistic – the calculation, in 2007, that booming property prices had seen the transfer of £1.3 trillion from the young to the old in just 20 years. "It is somewhat surprising I think that young people are not angrier than they are about this," said one commentator. Then again, the young have got youth, which even £1.3 trillion can't buy back.

Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’


Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'


Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from


Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Arts and Entertainment


These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
Arts and Entertainment
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.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?