Last night's viewing - Small Teen Turns 18, BBC3; Britain Beware, ITV1
Jazz has a lot of people in her life who seem eager to big her up, which is handy because there are several reasons why she might need a boost. The very least of them curiously is Jazz's size, the result of an unspecified form of dwarfism.
From a fairly early age, she knew that any growing up she was going to be doing in the future was going to be more a matter of emotions and understanding than physical height, and one of the pleasures of Small Teen Turns 18, the third of a series of films about Jazz's life and tribulations, was how indifferent she is to her own physical limitations. True, it makes shopping for shoes a bit of a nightmare. As Jazz's mother pointed out (she also has the same condition), there comes a time when a girl tires of only being able to buy footwear that lights up when you walk. Fortunately, she and Jazz then discovered an online website that offered come-to-bed heels in inappropriately tiny sizes.
Jazz's biggest problem is her father, a lifelong heroin addict with whom she was reunited in an earlier programme. Things went very well at first, her parents picking up where they'd left off 16 years earlier and Jazz allowing herself to celebrate the fact that she had a dad again on her 17th birthday. But then Paul fell off the wagon and Jazz offered him the same ultimatum her mother had made when she was born: it's me or the drugs. The twin subjects of this follow-up documentary were Paul's remorseful entry into rehab and Jazz's preparation for a coming-of-age party. And the first triumph was the arrival of Jazz's new boots: "Oh.. that noise!" she said deliriously as she tapped noisily down the hall. "Oh my God! Victory dance!"
The style of the programme – post-produced diary in which Jazz narrated in the present tense – felt a little artificial and the script was over-reliant on headline clichés of adversity. "My world collapsed," said Jazz when she was talking about her father's relapse and inevitably his attempt to get straight again was described as him "facing his demons". But the warmth of the rest of Jazz's family was so touching, and her own resilience and pluck (it seems the right word for the cheerfulness of her determination) so impressive that it didn't really matter. The film had its lows – including Paul absconding from his treatment centre when he was just a few millilitres of methadone away from becoming completely drug free – but they were outnumbered by the highs. Best moment: when Jazz tried on the specially tailored Moulin Rouge dress she'd had made for her big night and loved it so much that she burst into tears. I expect this isn't the last we've seen of her.
I'm not sure how empty of diversion your life would have to be to make you watch Britain Beware all the way through, but if you'd stumbled on Ade Edmondson's history of public information films while channel hopping I think you'd have stuck around for at least one channel break. Beginning with the days when Cyprus Is an Island could be a big draw at the local village hall, Edmondson offered a selection of the kind of civic horror films intended to stop people from immolating themselves in chip-pan fires or wandering in front of passing vans.
It's a branch of the cinematic art in which it's virtually obligatory to operate on the assumption that your target audience are stupid, but even allowing for that there were some startling moments. "Well, Maximilian, old fruit. You'll not be in any discotheques for a while, will you?" Jimmy Savile said cheerfully to a young man on hand to illustrate the perils of not wearing a seat-belt. Since Maximilian had severed his spine and was now quadriplegic it seemed a fair bet.
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Review: Cilla, ITV TV
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