Welcome to Lagos, BBC2
The Prisoner, ITV

An uplifting gem of a documentary from the refuse tips of Lagos contrasts with a lacklustre US remake of a British classic

While the nation (or 9.4 million of us, anyway) was glued to the Great Debate on Thursday night, a real beauty, Welcome to Lagos, was blushing unseen on BBC2.

In Nigeria's biggest city (population 16 million and rising by 600,000 a year) the film-maker Gavin Searle took his camera into the most god-forsaken, rat-infested, polymorphously revolting territory you can imagine – the vast Olusosun rubbish dump, about the size of Slough – and discovered within it a miniature model society.

The 1,000-odd inhabitants scavenge directly from the back of refuse lorries, sorting through the reeking cascade of rubbish with fearsome metal hooks. They're all experts at spotting the morsels of brass or rubber, wire or plastic that can be parlayed into a few Nigerian pennies, and you'd naturally expect them to be rivalrous thugs, forever at each other's throats. Nothing of the sort. The dump is a mini-city, with its own bars, restaurants, shops, a mosque, even a barber's shop. Sometimes a thief is caught pinching another man's meagre trove of debris, whereupon he's tied up and a bald overseer called Ericho, with the grave implacability of Solomon, decides on his fate.

Searle's restlessly nosey camera concentrated on two men. Joseph was the wily entrepreneur who negotiates a price for the scavengers' findings with the city's metal dealers. Puckish, witty and wise, he was the documentary's hero. "Our business is just like the stock market," he told the camera. "It's governed by what happens to the dollar. The only difference between us and the City guys is the suit, the tie and the fine shoes."

We met his beautiful wife Elizabeth and their sweet children, Peace and Patience, while he displayed his random collection of special trophies liberated from the dump – an electric lamp, binoculars, a teddy bear ... it was like Winnie in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days, gleefully handling her life's belongings.

The other central figure was Joseph's friend Eric, a singer, aka Vocal Slender, who works the dump to make enough money to mix his Yoruba song in a recording studio, and get some cool photos for a T-shirt. It seemed a ludicrous ambition for a man at the bottom of the food chain, but Eric was a hustler to the soles of his bare feet. When a street fracas left him accused of assault and facing a crippling compensation bill, the dump rats all chipped in to help, while Joseph threw a party for baby Patience's first birthday. The commentary by David Harewood was overly folksy ("You know what? Where you see filth, the scavengers see opportunity"), but this little hymn to human resourcefulness fairly twanged the heartstrings.

Forty-three years after the original series tantalised the nation for 17 weeks in late 1967, the American remake of The Prisoner finally hit the screens. Jim Caviezel, whose handsome fizzog was obscured by blood and matted hair when he played the lead in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, awoke in a desert to see an old man on a nearby hillside being hunted down by men with guns. Soon he found himself in The Village, where everyone has a number and any attempts to escape or do anything individual are met by the baffled enquiry: "Why would you want to do that?"

The new Village wholly lacks the sterile menace of Portmeirion in Patrick McGoohan's original; with its palm trees and beach huts, it looks like Venice Beach en fete. Ian McKellen as the riddling, omniscient Number Six – terribly English in a cream suit, blue tie and cup of tea – glides about cheerily with a boyish catamite by his side, radiating bonhomie rather than evil. Caviezel is athletic and noisily rebellious as the former secret agent but is one-dimensional where McGoohan was a moody existentialist. The flashbacks to his Manhattan life concentrate more on his affair with a foxy brunette (Hayley Atwell) than with any government secrets.

Altogether, the show is merely puzzling where once it was genuinely surreal. It features explosions where there used to be tense cat-and-mouse drama. A shame to find such a TV classic remade as some sort of hybrid of Lost and Life On Mars.

Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans has been confirmed as the new host of Top Gear
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Top of the class: Iggy Azalea and the catchy ‘Fancy’
music
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.

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings