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
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

music
Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
News
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
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.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders