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
Just folk: The Unthanks

music
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne with his Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor

film
Arts and Entertainment
Rowan Atkinson is bringing out Mr Bean for Comic Relief

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

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

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
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.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project