Last Night's Viewing: Coming Here Soon: Greece, Bust and Broken, BBC3
Country House Rescue, Channel 4

 

"That's the Acropolips," said Stacey Dooley as she pointed at Athens most famous landmark. "Am I saying that right? Acropolips?" Not quite, Stacey, and if Coming Here Soon: Greece, Bust and Broken had been a more conventional kind of current-affairs programme, the producer would have had a quiet word with you and the fluff would have ended up on a Christmas bloopers tape.

Coming Here Soon was on BBC3, though, so this wasn't an embarrassment but a kind of credential. It testified to Dooley's most important quality as a reporter here: her representative cluelessness. She was in Greece for the first of a three-part series on the countries in most trouble with sovereign debt and it didn't sound very much as if she was aiming at the Newsnight crowd: "I'm so made up I'm here," she said as she emerged from the airport. "It's all really kicking off here... so yeah, I'm going to dig deep and find what's what."

There are things to be said for this kind of applied ignorance. Dooley got her break on television appearing in one of BBC3's most admirable exercises in popular current affairs, Blood Sweat and T-Shirts, and she's since fronted documentaries on child labour, sex-trafficking and the downside of developing-world tourism. The point of her is not that she knows more about these subjects than her viewers (as might be the case with a mainstream reporter) but that she knows as little as they do. She's on screen as a proxy, to immerse herself in a situation and testify to how startled it leaves her. "I can't believe it!" is virtually a catchphrase.

And for the kind of viewer who wouldn't dream of watching a Paul Mason report on the consequences of the Greek debt crisis it was probably reasonably informative. Dooley talked to young people in Syntagma Square, visited free clinics trying to fill the gap left by health service cut-backs and talked to one of Greece's youngest billionaires about the problems of tax evasion. She had some reporter's luck too. While she was talking to the people running a soup kitchen in an Athens square an elderly man came up and remonstrated angrily with the volunteers, indignant at a national humiliation. Later, pushing through a crowd on the street, she discovered that it had gathered because a woman was threatening to jump from an apartment window because she'd just lost her civil service job. Following that up, Dooley revealed just how draconian the budget cuts are, slashing entire branches of social welfare.

But even a complete beginner might have occasionally felt the need for a little more depth now and then. Taking a trip on a Greek train, Dooley complained about the billions spent on sustaining a loss-making enterprise but didn't seem to have grasped that not spending the billions would consign even more people to the breadlines she was so appalled by. And when the charming billionaire assured her that the government had put its house in order and there were now severe penalties for tax evasion, she didn't question his breezy confidence at all. What's the going rate for getting a tax inspector to look the other way in Greece right now? One somehow imagines that a billionaire might be able to cover it. Least convincing of all was Dooley's commentary on the street riot that broke out after a demonstration outside Parliament: "I do not understand how this kind of carry-on is going on," she said, in weepy tones. She should try watching Newsnight perhaps.

Domestic debt crisis is a staple in Country House Rescue, which last night featured a beautiful but crumbling pile in County Cork, a victim of the faltering tourist economy and stiff local competition in the crumbling pile business. Like all episodes of this series it delivered the ignoble but reliable pleasure of finding out that what looks like a dream may actually be a daily nightmare.

Twitter: @tds153

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