Last Night's Viewing: I Never Said Yes, BBC3
The Apprentice, BBC1
I don't know what the demographic overlap is between Independent readers and the BBC3 audience, but if you haven't been watching you might be interested to learn that the Corporation's most frivolous channel has also built an impressive record for bringing serious social issues to a younger audience. It has produced reality formats that illuminate the true cost of the cheap goods we enjoy, it's used pop presenters to explore foreign affairs and it's done thoughtful documentaries about disability issues in which disabled people serve as reporters, not just the passive subject matter. This week alone you could have watched a drama documentary about an inner-city murder on Monday, Reggie Yates exploring the world of teen gangs on Tuesday and, last night, Pips Taylor's I Never Said Yes, a documentary about the worrying gap between reported rapes and convictions. And unfortunately the last of these was an example of how good intentions aren't all you need.
Taylor's credentials for the job went beyond a peppy on-camera style and music presenting on the CV. She could also claim a direct experience of the issue she was reporting on, having narrowly escaped a sexual attack when she was living in Mexico City, an incident she recalled with obvious emotion at the very beginning of the programme. So there was no doubting her empathy with the various rape victims, some named and some anonymous, who she interviewed here. What was less clear was what her film actually added to our knowledge of the issue. The rhetoric was of a scandal exposed: "I confront the people in authority who are supposed to be putting people behind bars," she said at the beginning. But her interview with a rueful woman from the Crown Prosecution Service didn't even begin to unpick the tangle of jurisprudence and legal conventions that make rape convictions so rare (15,934 reports of rape last year, only 1,058 convictions).
One issue here is the erosion of the notion of "reasonable doubt", which judges are increasingly reluctant to allow for, even though it is virtually unavoidable in a crime where both parties often concur on what happened and only differ on how. Another is the odd reciprocality of a rape trial, in which a not-guilty verdict for the defendant will almost always feel to the victim like a verdict of guilty against her. But while nobody could doubt that the current adversarial system is a painful and unsatisfactory way to try such crimes, it is far harder to say what might replace it. Respect to the women brave enough to talk about their experiences, but reminding us that rape is horrible and concluding that "we fail to see things from the victim's point of view and that has got to change", as Taylor did, just isn't quite enough.
It was the invention challenge on The Apprentice this week, the teams being challenged to come up with a saleable gadget for use in the kitchen or bathroom. Astonishingly, both teams came up with quite neat ideas – washing-up gloves with built-in scourers in the case of the men and a padded cover for bath taps in the case of the women (you can sell people anything if you tell them it's to keep their children safe). Both teams then turned their backs on their lightbulb moments and went with a manifestly half-baked alternative instead. Fortunately, product designers can make virtually anything look good these days so it wasn't a complete fiasco, though it was fun watching the faces of the Amazon sales team as they were invited to place an order of a million units for the bathtime equivalent of a chocolate fireguard. Maria got the boot in the end, which means that the basilisk-eyed Jane stays in to develop her burgeoning feud with Katie. Don't fret too much about Katie, by the way. She's going to have five restaurants to her name by the time she's 25.
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