TV review: Maureen Lipman: If Memory Serves Me Right, BBC1

Brushing Up on... British Tunnels, BBC4; Could We Survive a Mega-Tsunami?, BBC2

I wonder how much of Maureen Lipman: If Memory Serves Me Right I will remember in a year's time. Some of it is going to blur, frankly, if only because of television's fatal weakness for pulling in the same old faces.

Test me in 12 months about the sequence in which she learned techniques to help her remember names and faces and it's possible I'll recall it as a Michael Mosley programme in which Maureen Lipman had a walk-on part, rather than the other way round. Or, possibly, I'll remember it as another programme altogether, the particular techniques involved having featured in several films on similar subjects in the past 10 years. I know I've heard that thing about vivid mental pictures somewhere before, I'll say to myself, but I can't for the life of me think exactly where.

One thing I think I will remember is "the reminiscence bump", one academic's name for the fact that a significant portion of our long-term memories date from the time when we're between 15 and 25 years of age. His theory was that this was because it's a time of particularly fervent self-definition, and we use adolescent memories as a kind of fixative of personal character, foundation myths we tell ourselves about how we came to be the people we are.

But it will stick in my memory because of what happened to Lipman when her old school interrupted the reunion she was attending so that the current choir could sing the school hymn. Two or three lines in and every 60-year-old in the room appeared to be singing along word perfect, despite the fact that they probably hadn't heard it for more than 40 years.

If you were looking for a detailed account of the mechanisms of memory you would have been out of luck. There was a bit of desultory talk about the hippocampus and the amygdala, and one of those obligatory visits to a CAT scanner so that Lipman could see her memories lighting up as little pixels. But "an echo of the past reverberating in your head" was about as good as it got in terms of explanation, and that isn't an explanation at all, frankly, just a poetic paraphrase.

If you were willing to settle for a meandering exploration of the emotional texture of memories, however, there was more to satisfy. Most striking was Rudy, plagued by a memory of the aftermath of a bombing in Northern Ireland, his mind looping the image of a fellow soldier walking towards him carrying a severed hand. Forgetfulness wasn't a plight for him, as it is for Terry Pratchett, who also appeared here to talk about his memory loss. It was something he yearned for.

Brushing Up on... British Tunnels released Danny Baker into the BBC archives to do what he does best, stringing together curiosities and oddities with verbally ornate jocularity. To be honest, I didn't find it quite as funny as various sources had promised, but Baker's manner is very engaging. I relaxed with his opening line: "The fact that all human beings are obsessed with tunnels is well documented... I assume."

That insouciant addendum being very typical of his style. The archive is a pleasure too. "What's the biggest thing you've ever bought?" asked a local reporter of a scrap-dealer who'd just purchased a redundant Channel Tunnel boring machine. "Um... possibly Reading Gas Works?" the scrap-dealer replied hesitantly. You'd think he'd have remembered that.

Could We Survive a Mega-Tsunami? No, don't be bloody daft, of course we couldn't. In fact, I barely survived the film, a silly scientific disaster movie based on the fact that half of La Palma may slide into the Atlantic ocean at some point in the future, wiping out much of the Eastern seaboard of the United States. If it's going to happen you have better things to do with the time remaining than watch this.

twitter.com/tds153

Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
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.

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific