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.
The best TV shows and films coming to the servicetv
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Dakota Johnson's 'It's only Isis' Saturday Night Live sketch sparks controversy
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
Broadchurch series 3: David Tennant and Olivia Colman to return for third season, ITV confirms
EastEnders may bring transgender character to Albert Square to challenge 'traditional' viewers
Game of Thrones season 5 spoilers: What we can expect according to George RR Martin's books
Indian Summers recommissioned: Channel 4 confirm a second series of British Empire drama
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'