TELEVISION / Review: Returning to the scene of the crime

I KNOW it's wrong but I just couldn't help myself. The subtitle of Hollywood Women (ITV), 'Sex and Success', was too much to resist and I returned for the second episode, as a dog returneth to its vomit. It only took 10 minutes for me to feel ashamed of myself, if that counts as any kind of mitigating circumstance. Jilly Hutchinson, the producer of this animated scandal-sheet, said recently that she spent four months in the editing suite 'trying to get the balance right'. That's not what it looks like. It looks as though she spent the time cutting film into pieces so small you could use them as confetti. In a world first, they even managed to get a razor-blade between the consonants of 'tits'n'ass', sandwiching the syllables with close-ups of the bits in question.

I guess this is supposed to be arch and dry and witty and all that gas. But in truth it's insulting, both to the viewers, who are deemed incapable of making the simplest connections for themselves, and to the women who agreed to be interviewed. Their views are rendered down for their scrap value, stripped for a word here or a phrase there, which can then be welded together into a sort of composite Hollywood sentence. Last week I gave this the benefit of the doubt (perhaps its a comment on the unvarying cliches of Tinseltown);

now it feels more like a display of editorial vanity.

It's a pity because there are moments when the programme suddenly seems to have an access of shame at its own delirious voyeurism, when it remembers that there are consequences to all this trash, and then it displays proper judgement. A brief, uncluttered exchange on the morality of the film Pretty Woman made you sit up and think (Helen Mirren pointing out, with some justice, that there were young hookers on Sunset Boulevard who might not have been there without it) and the final sequence, a long, virtually unbroken monologue from Vidal Sassoon's daughter Catya, might have come from a different film altogether. As her BMW cruised round Beverly Hills and down Rodeo Drive, Catya confessed - a damaged, self- deluding girl, lacquered into a semblance of vivacious control. If this is what happens to the rich ones with contacts, you thought, then God help the rest.

It's a lowering fact that 1993 has been such a bad year for human rights that the BBC has felt obliged to change the format for its annual attempt to turn viewers into activists. Prisoners of Conscience used to attack abuses on a personal basis, highlighting the cases of named individuals. These days that's a luxury they can't afford; Human Rights, Human Wrongs (BBC2), which has been running all this week, has to deal with human cruelty in bulk.

The effect of watching all of these short programmes - Anthony Hopkins on the growing use of 'disappearance', Helen Suzman on torture, Salman Rushdie on ethnic cleansing and Arthur Miller on censorship with a bullet - is to persuade you that decency is draining from the world in a long, slow ebb. It looks ugly at low tide. Everywhere the powerless are murdered and abused, children included. Saddam Hussein attacks the Marsh Arabs as if they were a household pest and then sends his brother, the notorious Butcher of Baghdad, to the Human Rights Convention in Geneva. In Bangladesh the hill tribes are herded into ghettos and massacred if they protest. In China the inmates of labour camps are systematically tortured. In Turkey, a Nato ally, journalists who are too critical end up dead. English firms supply the equipment with which the torturers can refine their art.

Behind the presenters a large globe revolved, stopping at the relevant continent as they read their arraignments. A patch would darken to pick out the country involved, a shadow which oddly suggested that a sort of eclipse began at these remote borders. Edmund Burke once wrote that 'nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little'. If you want to light a candle, write to Human Rights, Human Wrongs, PO Box 7, London W3 6XJ.

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

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.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn