TELEVISION REVIEW / It's a simple tale of boy meets trash

THE FIRST part of Final Justice (BBC 1) began with, displayed across the screen, the legend essential to all made-for-television mini-series of the kind that fur up the end-of-summer schedules: 'The following is based on a true story.' It wasn't until almost at the end of last night's dreary episode that it became clear precisely on which true story this twaddle was based.

The yarn went as follows: the male off- spring of a quality family meets and, after a whirlwind courtship, marries a low- rent piece of scheming trash. The matriach of the quality family is not impressed by her son's choice of partner - she is particularly apprehensive about the age gap - and makes her reservations abundantly clear. The father - lazy, past-it, on an easy free-wheel into an old age doing the matriach's bidding (Martin Sheen in a paradigm of his own career) - counsels reconciliation.

Meanwhile the trash, too cunning in the ways of the world for her slow-witted but essentially decent husband, employs all her feminine wiles to see him off. Thence a battle for custody of the offspring ensues, with crucial plot details revealed via misheard telephone conversations. In the red corner is the trash, who wants to bring the little one up in the modern, laissez-faire manner; and in the blue, the matriarch, who wants grandchildren to be educated traditionally, to appreciate their place in the natural hierarchy of things.

In the final custody-court scene, the trash cuts her hair to impress the judge. As a blonde bob bounced above a surly, hooded-eyed sneer, flashed in the direction of the in-laws, the whole thing fell into place: this was, given a spin of the Deep South and a seasoning of sex and violence, the tragedy of Princess Diana we were watching.

With the benefit of the foresight accorded television reviewers, I can reveal that the metaphor becomes even more transparent in the second half of the farrago, screened tonight. The Di-alike, at the end of her tether in the concluding courtroom scene, has the last word when she yells through her blubbing: 'They're all out to get me.' Andrew Morton and Richard Kay were, oddly, not accorded a scriptwriting credit.

The Business (BBC 2) also concerned itself with a new way of assessing the ruling classes. Subtitled 'Managing the Managers', it looked at an industrial relations technique imported from the United States ('very much flavour of the time', apparently). Awash to the point of submergence with business psycho-babble - 'human resources', 'upward feedback', 'employee empowerment', subordinates being allowed to 'own their problems themselves' - the film nevertheless explored a valuable new idea: how bosses might have their performance marked.

'Not a process for the faint-hearted', said the voice-over as we entered a meeting room at BP Oil where a manager named Peter West (no relation to the old cove who used to present Rugby Special) was being confronted by his staff telling him where he had gone wrong.

'Peter can be enthusiastic to the point of over-enthusiasm,' said one junior employee, watching his chances of promotion disappear up the cathode tube. As he spoke, a nervous titter of the sort usually found when the boss makes a bad joke rippled around the room. Small steps, but making a big difference in the firms which employ the technique. Meanwhile on the news, some duffer from Railtrack was proudly informing us that in the umpteenth week of the signalman's strike, managers managed to get 50 per cent of train services running. Upward assessment in Railtrack headquarters would make instructive viewing.

Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • 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.

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers