Last Night's TV - True Stories: Mugabe and the White African, More 4; The Naked Office, Virgin1

Nothing's in black and white here

Not a man hugely worried about his international reputation, Robert Mugabe. Virtually everything he's done in office would tell you that, but just in case there were any viewers out there in two minds about his indifference to world opinion, the makers of
True Stories: Mugabe and the White African began with a little clip from one of his more revealing speeches. "Justice for his people... Sovereignty for his people," intoned that familiar voice. "If that is Hitler, right? Then let me be a Hitler tenfold." If Mugabe is Hitler, though, what does that make Zimbabwe's embattled white farmers? There is one obvious answer and you were nudged towards it about halfway through Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey's disturbing film as the camera briefly focused on a headline on an opposition Zimbabwean newspaper: "We Are Like Jews During the Nazi Era", it read.

Well... yes. I can see that it must look like that. Blamed for all the country's failings, subject to random attacks by gangs of thugs who know that the local police will turn a blind eye, likely to have their property confiscated without compensation. There are no shortage of parallels. You might want to point out, though, that the comparison would only be exact if the Jews had, prior to Hitler's arrival, run a regime in which virtually every German was a second-class citizen. Mugabe's rhetoric of land reclamation is undoubtedly vicious and dishonest. It undoubtedly disguises brutality and theft as national justice. But it's set in a context of past white injustice that can't simply be ignored. That was a "but" that Mugabe and the White African was not much concerned with. We learned that it was as long ago as 1974 that Mike Campbell arrived on Mount Carmel Farm, but not that in that same year a Rhodesian election was held under conditions that made it impossible for the black majority to play any real part in how their country was run.

It's a pity that those elements of the past weren't acknowledged because they wouldn't have weakened the story that Thompson and Bailey had to tell or, I think, diminished our sympathy for the people at its centre – Campbell and his son-in-law, Ben Freeth, whose courage in the face of state intimidation was astonishing and admirable. Determined to fight against threatened confiscation within the law of the land, they had taken their case to an international court in Namibia, and appeared to have a touching faith in its ability to inhibit Mugabe's thugs. As they waited through countless postponements and delays for the final verdict, they, and their black workers, had to endure constant harassment. The man who'd been promised their farm, son of a Zanu PF minister, turned up to harangue them in person, insisting that there was no place for whites in Zimbabwe and that the land would be "redistributed to the black poor majority". In fact, as the lawyers' research had proved, the land invariably goes to party loyalists and Mugabe cronies. And then, when it became clear that they wouldn't back down, both the men and Campbell's elderly wife were abducted and tortured. "The fact that they've come out and hammered us has made us more determined to continue with the case," said Freeth, his swollen eyes the colour of a ripe aubergine. Their courage and resilience was finally rewarded in the Namibian courtroom with a ruling that implicitly overturned many other farm seizures. It was not, sadly, rewarded in Zimbabwe, where their farm was burned to the ground last year while the family was out at church.

Far more trivial acts of courage were called for in The Naked Office, in which Virgin1 bafflingly attempts to extend an idea that only just managed to sustain a one-off pilot into an entire six-part series. The notion is that getting your kit off in the workplace can be an empowering tool of management. In the pilot, the business guru who was peddling this fatuous but telegenic idea was called David Taylor ("Britain's leading big-business psychologist"), but he seemed to have decided that he didn't want too close an association with dangling executive bits, so someone called Seven Suphi ("top high-performance coach and behavioural change specialist") took over the task of spouting razor-commercial psychobabble: "I help people be the best that they can be," she said, "If these people can get naked in front of each other as a group, what can't they do in the future?"

Look each other in the face again, perhaps? Last night's test case was an organic vegetables box scheme in Wigan, where a certain amount of metaphorical dick-measuring on the shop floor was impeding expansion. As in the original pilot, the team first had to perform a diagnostic challenge – in this case, jointly lowering a bamboo stick to the floor without dropping it. A manager with any nous would have spotted at once that this task could readily be delegated to one person, while the rest could do something a bit more useful. But naturally, having signed up for the scheme, everybody present took it with great earnestness, waffling on about how they got down to basics and stripped away the superficial barriers and grew in confidence and so forth, even though most of them finally opted to keep their underwear on or coyly hide their man bags behind a strategically placed man bag. I think a more accurate way of summing it up would be to say that it successfully got all the bollocks out in the open.

Suggested Topics
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
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
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.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas