The Weekend's Viewing: Perspectives: David Suchet – the People I Have Shot, Sun, ITV1
Being Human, Sun, BBC3

 

When The South Bank Show was axed in 2009, it seemed like the final swing of the wrecking ball into ITV as a home for the arts, and further evidence that high culture in general was not welcome on television.

And yet the very opposite has turned out to been the case. The South Bank Show has found a retirement home at Sky Arts, a channel that has recently tripled its budget, and BBC2 and BBC4 have upped their coverage, with Andrew Graham-Dixon probably collecting more air miles these days than David Attenborough. Yes, I am envious. And last year, ITV1 even nipped back to the arts scene with a new series of authored films called Perspectives, starring (and I use the word advisedly) the likes of Ian McKellen on L S Lowry, Andrew Lloyd Webber on the Pre-Raphaelites and Hugh Laurie on New Orleans jazz. And while high-flying culture vultures may look down on this populist fusion of art and celebrity, I thought the films worked rather well, and that ITV had found a demotic niche that wasn't as slavishly coupled as its more highbrow rivals to the endless round of exhibition openings, West End previews and book launches. Indeed, while the BBC and Channel 4 are currently falling over each other to promote Damien Hirst's upcoming Tate Modern retrospective, Perspectives brought us David Suchet – the People I Have Shot, a film about a forgotten Fleet Street press photographer, James Jarché.

Jarché worked from before the First World War – famously capturing a top-hatted Winston Churchill at the Sidney Street Siege of 1911 – through the Second World War (recording the Libya and Burma campaigns), snapping kings and queens, coal miners and acrobats, prime ministers, Hollywood legends and even the first photograph of Edward VIII dining with a mystery woman who turned out to be you-know-who (in today's paparazzi culture such a scoop would fetch well over £1 million, we were told). But just as important from the perspective of Perspectives is the fact that Jarché was the grandfather of actor David Suchet – and had indeed given Suchet his trusty camera, a Leica M3 – thus cueing a highly personal film in which Suchet tried his hand as a press photographer.

The pre-digital technology failed Suchet as he covered a British Army training exercise – the nearest his insurers were going to allow him to a war zone – while shots of David Cameron on the staircase of Downing Street impressed the picture editor of The Sunday Times less than they probably delighted Cameron's PR people. But it's the personal stuff that is the USP of Perspectives – Suchet choking up when curators likened his grandfather's work to Cartier-Bresson and Bill Brandt. You don't get that with Andrew Graham-Dixon or Alastair Sooke, but then you probably wouldn't want to.

Returning to David Cameron, our current PM has less than a fortnight to live before he is assassinated on live TV by a vampire called Mr Snow. At least he has if the final episode of the fourth series of Being Human is to be believed. Cameron wasn't mentioned by name, but in the likely event that he is still our leader on 7 April, then that is when Mr Snow (played by Mark Gatiss with the now standard suavely sardonic menace – more Moriarty than Mycroft, you could say) will strike.

Gatiss's involvement seems fitting, since Toby Whithouse's drama has grown its own vast Doctor Who-sized mythology out of its humbler, and in many ways more satisfying, origins as a sort of left-field flat-share sitcom. I won't reveal too much more because Being Human has an impressively large online audience on BBC iPlayer – suffice to say that I was reassured that vampires still shrink from crucifixes. When Richard Dawkins has finished debunking Christian symbolism for the living, perhaps he should have a word with the undead.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform