Up and down the streets of shame
The lamb story, accompanied by a photograph taken by Linda Robson, was the price of admission to the Guardian, where the two women were to work themselves towards covering a real news story - or at least one of those PR exercises that constitute the learner slopes of journalism. In some respects they had already been schooled by their celebrity. Being on the receiving end of so many flashbulbs herself Linda Robson had no difficulty capturing the news photographer's trick of tactical impertinence; "Johnnie. Johnnie! Show it to me, Johnnie!" she shouted at the Prime Minister, hoping to turn his head with naughty talk. Meanwhile Pauline, engaged in an in- depth probe into underpant purchases, was going through a rite of passage endured by most young journalists - returning to the office to find that your notes appear to have been scribbled in Urdu.
I've heard this series described as "unique" in on-air publicity, when it's actually just a retread of In at the Deep End, a series in which Paul Heiney exposed himself to a variety of professional humiliations. That doesn't really matter: the two guinea-pigs here are likeable (far more likeable, for my money, than they are in Birds of a Feather) and the device is a sturdy one anyway. It's unlikely ever to deliver real professional secrets (the secret in most professions being that there is no single secret) but it does include some truthful glimpses of how the machinery works. It was telling that Linda managed to get her best Downing Street shot (Douglas Hurd doing his Grandee's Goosestep) by breaking the rules - she was soon shepherded back into the photographer's holding pen by a barking policeman, but by that time she had stolen her extra angle.
Secret Lives (C4), was both fascinating and frustrating, an account of Freud's early life which was subject to its own repressions and denial. The principal authority in the programme was Jeffrey Masson, a highly controversial figure in the field of Freudian studies because of his contention that Freud suppressed his first belief that neuroses had their seat in infantile sexual abuse. According to Masson, Freud couldn't face up to the implications of this theory and effectively covered up the testimonies of his early patients, converting their real experiences into generalised fantasies. Masson, in turn, has been attacked both by the imams of Freudian orthodoxy, outraged at this implication of bad faith, and by psychoanalytical scholars, who argue that the betrayal was still greater, that Freud effectively invented the earlier accounts of sexual abuse - that he was, in effect, the father of False Memory Syndrome.
This is still volatile matter but there was little sense of recent explosions in Fisher Dilke's film, an elegant and effective piece of story-telling, which hinted at hidden secrets but was never quite explicit about its own dark wishes. Its account of the treatment of Emma Eckstein was carefully horrifying - a tale of medical torture and half-baked therapy, assisted by real footage of nasal surgery and a display of surgical instruments that would have impressed David Cronenberg. But it was unclear what we were meant to make of this evidence of Freud's human fallibility. Was it a trauma which enabled psychoanalysis or discredited it from birth? I think I need to talk to a doctor.
Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Paul Hollywood: Police asked if I wanted them to arrest Mary Berry for vandalism after she 'defaced' my car
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
JK Rowling's Harry Potter Halloween stories: Dolores Umbridge was based on real person she 'disliked intensely'
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Downton Abbey season 5 episode 6 - review: Thomas and Lady Edith show sad signs of the times
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything