Last Night's Viewing: Death Row, Channel 4
Get Your House in Order, Channel 4


"What we are doing here is not an instrument for proving your innocence," Werner Herzog told Hank Skinner at the beginning of Death Row. Hank's innocence, it should be said, is a fiercely contested matter. Hank and his lawyers strenuously assert it, but the state of Texas, which aims to execute Hank just as soon as they can get the final paperwork sorted, is stubbornly resistant to the idea that they got the wrong man for the 1995 murder of Twila Busby and her two mentally disabled sons. Anyway, Herzog was as good as his word. This gripping film offered very little evidence that cast doubt on Hank's original conviction. What it did do was confirm once again the strange and wonderful innocence of Werner Herzog.

I don't mean by this that he's a stupid film-maker, just that he's managed to preserve into maturity a quality of almost childlike earnestness. There's no hidden agenda or concealment in the way that he addresses the world, and no sense that he will trim his delivery to match the audience. He can sit face to face with a convicted killer and ask him, in tones of urgent gravity, "How does time function? Does it stand still or does it race? Tell me about time." Hank Skinner, it has to be said, was more than up to the task of replying in kind – a garrulous autodidact who was prone to quoting Leonardo da Vinci or suddenly alluding to the epic of Gilgamesh. Not every death row inmate can have quite such a Herzogian breadth of reference.

The first of three interviews with death row inmates, this one began with Hank's account of the time that he got within 20 minutes of execution. He'd made the 40-mile journey from death row to the specialist execution centre, and he'd started on his last meal – a gargantuan feast of fried chicken, catfish fillets, bacon-cheese burger, grated cheese, bacon bits, large fries and chocolate milk. Then he called his lawyer, who told him he'd just received a stay of execution. "I felt like somebody had lifted a 1,000lb weight off my chest," said Hank. And then the warder explained that the defence lawyer's word wasn't enough. Unless the governor or attorney called, the execution would go ahead. "That was the longest 23 minutes of my life," Hank said of the gap between his first call and the official confirmation.

It did occur to you that if the Texas Department of Corrections simply let Hank eat what he wanted, he'd soon do the job for them. And if that sounds improperly flippant, all I can say is that Hank himself had an eye for the black comedy of his situation. Why hadn't he taken his blood pressure medication, a guard asked him when this last minute reprieve gave him palpitations. "Well, hell, they were going to kill me!" Hank replied, "What's the point?" He then insisted on finishing off his last meal before he was taken back to death row. As if he wanted to counterbalance the unexpected charm of Hank's presence, Herzog broke off from claustrophobic face-to-face through the glass to tread the location of his crime, a grim tract of Texas hardscrabble under a sky like the end of the world. And then, after more conversation, he finished by driving the route Hank may yet follow in one direction only, offering a premonition of his subject's final sights. The last image of the film was a giant crab wearing sunglasses outside a seafood restaurant – mad, and innocent, and pure Herzog.

Get Your House in Order bizarrely marries the hoarding documentary genre with a makeover show, pairing an antiques dealer with an interior designer, who uses the proceeds of the clutter sale to fund a redecoration. Judging from last night's show about a shopaholic called Abi, they could do with a resident psychiatrist too. Death please, and no reprieve.

Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne as transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

First look at Oscar winner as transgender artistfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Season three of 'House of Cards' will be returning later this month

TV reviewHouse of Cards returns to Netflix
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford will play Rick Deckard once again for the Blade Runner sequel

film review
Arts and Entertainment
The modern Thunderbirds: L-R, Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John in front of their home, the exotic Tracy Island

Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

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

Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

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

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars ceremony 2015 will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles
Oscars 2015A quiz to whet your appetite for tonight’s 87th Academy Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Sigourney Weaver, as Ripley, in Alien; critics have branded the naming of action movie network Movies4Men as “offensive” and “demographic box-ticking gone mad”.
TVNaming of action movie network Movies4Men sparks outrage
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Arts and Entertainment
Sleater Kinney perform at the 6 Music Festival at the O2 Academy, Newcastle
musicReview: 6 Music Festival
Kristen Stewart reacts after receiving the Best Actress in a Supporting Role award for her role in 'Sils Maria' at the 40th annual Cesar awards
A lost Sherlock Holmes story has been unearthed
arts + ents Walter Elliot, an 80-year-old historian, found it in his attic,
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey


Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower