TELEVISION / Beggars for human kindness can't be choosy

SEASONAL Affective Depression is a condition that begins to strike at about this time of year - brought on by the shorter daylight hours and the absence of sunshine. By the weekend we were all sufferers: the cloud of the Bulger trial hung so low over Thursday and Friday that you had to use a torch to get about. Whenever a ray of light appeared to be breaking through it was promptly blocked by politicians trying to capitalise on murder (as I recall, it wasn't the Archbishop of Canterbury who said 'There's no such thing as society').

So Children in Need (BBC 1), lit by a blaze of artificial light and artificial jollity, came as a life-saver. It placed this reviewer in a quandary though - the event itself is often ludicrous and consistently dull (despite the pretence that a nationwide link- up is the most exciting thing since the moon-landings). But it is driven at the grassroots by exactly the virtues that, at times last week, seemed to be fatally endangered - social involvement, care for others, the refusal to merely stand by.

I know people enjoy sitting in baths of baked beans anyway and there might be more productive ways of raising money than pursuing their vice in a shopping mall, but we are beggars for human kindness just now and can't be choosy. Even so, my nerve broke at the prospect of representing the evening as an unblemished festival of human love. I resolved instead to donate a sum of money for each unworthy thought. For once, you'll be glad to know, these aren't cheap gags, but moderately expensive ones. Let us begin with the presentation. You need a new word for Children in Need, a word that describes an apparently spontaneous moment which turns out to have been meticulously planned but then goes wrong. Celebrities were expressing fake astonishment all evening - there was poor old Terry Wogan doing his bit in the foyer of Broadcasting House when all of a sudden he's kidnapped by the entire cast of Casualty and taken off to drum money out of the audience for Sunset Boulevard. Why, he was so surprised you could have knocked him down with a giant cheque (events like these remain, for the immediate future at least, the only times that companies can buy advertising on the BBC).

The chief draw of the evening was 3D television - we were promised that a 3D Dr Who would be dropping into EastEnders and that later this week Take That would perform their new single in 3D. Personally I think they should tackle two dimensions first and see how that goes. But that said, the technology worked quite well, giving spectacled viewers an astonishingly realistic impression of a novelty postcard without inducing a migraine in everyone else.

The normal rules of television drama are reversed in 3D - the idea is to have inanimate objects - bushes, market stalls, railings, Mike Reid - intervening between the camera and the actors at all times. In the case of the Dr Who segment, this leads you to the discovery that the drama was most vividly three-dimensional when the cast was invisible; Tomorrow's World (BBC 1) promises to explain how the system works this Friday but I have formed my own theory already.

Various people opined that comedy 'is the new rock 'n' roll' in The South Bank Show's (ITV) entertaining mish-mash of clips and interviews. I'll believe that when Lenny Henry is mobbed on landing at Heathrow and people start writing 'Jim Davidson is God' on walls. The truth is that comedians aren't suddenly as big as rock stars - they're as big as big comedians used to be.

This A-Z of British comedy abandoned its bid for intellectual structure almost immediately (C for Cruelty was followed by O for Oxbridge) but was another moment of relief in a dark week, serving up an anthology of 'best bits' and broadly unpretentious theorising. Stephen Fry's observation that 'there are more momenti mori than there are momenti botti' probably puts the case for puerile lavatorial humour as cleanly as is possible.

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Boy George performing with Culture Club at Heaven

musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years

Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

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.

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker