Last Night's TV: Olympic Dreams, BBC 1
True Stories, More4

There's no need to go overboard

Having hope yourself is one thing. Being "a hope" for someone else is quite another, and Olympic Dreams effectively caught the queasy ambiguity of that condition, in its profile of three young hopes for the 2012 Olympics. "I feel that I probably could have been a champion at one time," said Tony Romaeo, a man whose time had now gone, and who as a result was pouring his undiminished ambition into his children.

They were going to achieve greatness, Tony told us. "No matter what it takes me to achieve that." And no matter what it costs them, he might have added, though to say that would have acknowledged the uncomfortable fact that they didn't appear to have a lot of choice in the matter. This wasn't something that Tony was prepared to entertain. "I'm not a pushy parent. I would never push Romeo and I wouldn't push my daughters into doing their chosen sports," he insisted. The remark was tricky to square with Romeo's gym schedule, broken only by school and eating. "Quarter-to-five in the morning I wake Romeo up, rain, snow or sunshine, we don't care. I decide what Romeo does every morning." Romeo wasn't the only runner in Tony's stable. He also had Venus, who will be 15 in 2012 and thus just the right age for a gymnastics gold. And if Venus didn't make the grade, Tony explained,"then I've got a back-up plan, because I've got more babbies". Very sensibly, Tony's youngest daughter was keeping her distance. "With Angel, I think she's always afraid of what I might have planned for her exercise-wise," he said.

You would have had to see a lot more of the Romaeos' family life to decide for certain whether this was merely eccentric or pathological, and Xavier Alford's film, though very good, never quite achieved gold- medal standard as an observational documentary. It simply didn't have enough time to dissect Tony's obsessional approach to his children's lives, or to catch the moments when the public show and the private reality peeled apart. Perhaps they never did, and perhaps this is just another way of saying that the stories here were so intriguing that you always wanted to know more. About Tom Daley, for instance, a brilliant young diver whose father was just as obsessively preoccupied with his son's achievement. But how did Rob Daley feel about the fact that his son now had another adult in his life – his coach – and how was it that he didn't even have a ticket to watch him in a critical competition in Beijing? More to the point, why was it that this relationship struck you as loving and fatherly and touching while Tony's drive carried a nagging sense of exploitation? To want the best for your children is a kind of lowest common denominator for parenthood, but wanting Olympic gold for your children and regarding anything less as a letdown may condemn them to a life in which they always feel second-best however great their talent, and yet Rob always looked as if he was applauding an achievement rather than demanding a result. Just as engrossing, in a different way, was Ashley's story: rescued from the streets by judo and now having to decide whether it was worth gambling four years of his youth on getting to the very top. Sadly, Ashley seemed to be opting for the ordinary life, cutting training altogether or behaving unacceptably when he did go. At which point, tellingly, you found yourself almost as driven as Tony in wanting to get a little discipline into his life.

In Stanley Kubrick's Boxes, a film for True Stories, Jon Ronson rummaged through Stanley Kubrick's archive, a vast memorial to the director's extraordinarily obsessive working methods, and turned up all kinds of tangential treasures, among them the photographs that recorded the scores of hats Warren Clarke had had to model before Kubrick decided that bowlers would be perfect for the droogs in A Clockwork Orange, and several of the director's crazily detailed memos. "Please see that there is a supply of melons kept in the house at all times," he wrote to one assistant. "Do not let the number go below three without buying some more."

Ronson's attention to detail was a good match for that of his subject. Lots of directors would have spent time on Kubrick's carefully indexed collection of crank letters, carefully broken down by respective film. Not all of them would have troubled to track down one of the cranks, and thus have unearthed a perfect little subplot of writerly obsession. Ronson had obviously won the trust of Kubrick's widow and daughter to get access to any of this stuff in the first place, and it didn't seem to me that he'd betrayed it here, conveying the full scope of Kubrick's compulsive behaviour without ever turning him into a mere freak. If genius is the infinite capacity for taking pains, there's no question that Kubrick possessed it.

Arts and Entertainment
Stewart Lee (Gavin Evans)

comedy

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
Yaphett Kotto with Julius W Harris and Jane Seymour in 1973 Bond movie Live and Let Die

film
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment

film
  • Get to the point
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.

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own