Last Night's Television - The Delicious Miss Dahl, BBC2; Women, Weddings, War and Me, BBC3

Courage under fire



BBC3 has been taking a lot of hostile fire in recent weeks, almost universally identified as a better candidate for blood sacrifice – should one be needed – than 6 Music or the Asian Network. But, in among the double bills of Snog, Marry, Avoid? and the reruns of Dr Who and Family Guy there have always been some interesting programmes on the channel. In fact, Snog, Marry, Avoid? is itself far more Reithian than you might expect from its title – aiming to liberate its subjects from a dependency on superficial bling and rediscover the sweet, unspoiled character within. Nobody has recently done better stuff on developing-world labour conditions than BBC3's Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts and Blood, Sweat and Takeaways series, which embedded British twentysomethings in overseas sweatshops to tickle up their (and our) social conscience. And last night's film, Women, Weddings, War and Me, offered a movingly personal account of life in Afghanistan, through the eyes of 21-year-old Londoner who fled the country with her parents when she was six.



Nel wasn't going as a reporter, but as someone who wanted to settle a pressing private question. Where did she really belong? She loves her life in London but doesn't quite know what Afghanistan should now mean to her. Is it a fate escaped or a destiny still awaiting? Her mum, understandably, wasn't very happy about her going – equally distressed by the possibility that she would detest the place of her birth and that she might like it so much that she'd want to go there permanently. She needn't have worried too much. On the road in from the airport, Nel was reassured by the bodyguard who was going to accompany her throughout the trip. The suicide bombers usually aim for Afghan military targets, he said – the tranquillising effect of this intelligence somewhat undercut by the fact that they were stuck in traffic alongside a pick-up full of Afghan soldiers.



If you read the papers regularly there were no huge revelations here. Nel learned about the Taliban, about the dos and don'ts of life as a woman in Kabul (99 per cent don't to one per cent do). She tried out the burka, and visited a women's prison, where the inmates had fallen foul of the done thing, rather than any formal law. What did have freshness, though, was the intensity of the collision between Nel's Camden-nurtured confidence and optimism and the pathological misogyny of Afghani life. When the self-esteem of half a population depends on the control and humiliation of the other half, you have a recipe for a monumentally screwed-up society. Nel found glimmers of hope, a loving father proud of his daughter's independence, schoolgirls brave enough to ignore the Taliban bombers who specifically target their schools, but also wept over the evidence of how far the country still has to travel, including a 15-year-old girl who'd set fire to herself after years of abuse from her in-laws. Tomorrow, BBC3 goes back to Afghanistan with two more young women – this time British born and wearing a uniform. Nel's film (directed by Ruhi Hamid) suggested they had urgently necessary work to do.



Nigella Lawson has tank tracks on her lawn, since The Delicious Miss Dahl has just trundled on to a bit of television real estate that the delicious Miss Lawson may have felt had been securely fenced off as private property. Did they just hand her the videos of Lawson's last series and tell her to practise until she got it right? Dahl does the seductive confusion of different carnal appetites. She does the fluttering, flirtatious looks from under the eyelashes. She even, cheeky mare, does the poetic ingredient descriptions and literary allusions. And, in this first episode at least, she was doing confessional greed as well, starting her new series with an episode dedicated to pure selfishness. She was cooking for one – and to hell with company.



She began by making an omelette Arnold Bennett – half a tub of crème frâiche, parmesan and haddock contributing to a breakfast that would send most people right back to bed, to sleep it off like a boa constrictor. Lunch was a bruschetta of fennel, courgette and "a lovely alabaster ball of buffalo mozzarella" and to fill that tricky gap between lunch and supper she whipped up a batch of peanut butter fudge. Just time for a dirty martini, a flash of those Manga cartoon eyes and few lines of Dorothy Parker, before she was tucking into roast halibut with a herb sauce and a chocolate pot with cherry compote – all this nudging the calorie count north of 5,000. "The joy of these days is that they are rare," she told us, with a voice like chocolate ganache. They'd bloody well have to be I would have thought – or they'd need to reinforce the catwalk.

Arts and Entertainment
The crowd enjoy Latitude Festival 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
'I do think a woman's place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.'

Is this the end of the Dowager Countess?tv
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith from The Office ten years on

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams prepares to enter the House of Black and White as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season five

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

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.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn