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.

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary charm: Clive Owen and Keira Knightley in 2004’s ‘King Arthur’
FilmGuy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle the legend
Arts and Entertainment
Corporate affair: The sitcom has become a satire of corporate culture in general

TV review

Broadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: There are some impressive performances by Claire Skinner and Lorraine Ashbourne in Inside No. 9, Nana's Party spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Glastonbury's pyramid stage

Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair

Arts and Entertainment
Ewan McGregor looks set to play Lumiere in the Beauty and the Beast live action remake

Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie feels the lack of food on The Island with Bear Grylls

TV

The Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts and Entertainment
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, in a scene from Avengers: Age Of Ultron
filmReview: A great cast with truly spectacular special effects - but is Ultron a worthy adversaries for our superheroes? spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Ince performing in 2006
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Beth (played by Jo Joyner) in BBC1's Ordinary Lies
tvReview: There’s bound to be a second series, but it needs to be braver spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, the presenters of The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 2015

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Harold Ramis' original Groundhog Day film, released in 1993

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

  • 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.

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence