TV Review

The detail is wonderful - you even get to see the romantic comedy that Hitler was watching as he kept the Czech premier waiting in calculated humiliation - but there is something about the gear change between such vivifying footnotes and the broad narrative frame in which it is set that has prevented the series building up the sense of occasion it deserves.

I just looked at him and I saw good eyes," said Suzi Seitz recalling her meeting with Adolf Hitler. "And in my heart I promised `I always will be faithful to you'." If her costume was anything to go by she still was - as she sat there in dirndl and smocked sleeves, a sartorial argument for racial purity, you suspected that the original Fuhrerkontakt still sang in her aged bones. Other Austrians had their lives changed with less Mills and Boon poetics - Walter Kammerling, a young boy at the time of the anschluss, remembered being forced to scrub the streets with other Jews. He looked up at the sneering crowd at one point and saw a well-dressed woman holding a beautiful infant girl up so that she wouldn't miss the fun.

The Nazis (BBC2) is full of such grating appositions - the unrepentant or wilfully amnesiac side by side with those who are unable to forget. Last week's film included a truly gripping passage in which an old lady who had denounced her neighbour to the Gestapo sat with a tight smile on her face, first declaring her mystification at the presence of her signature on the relevant paperwork and then - more chillingly - at why anyone would make a fuss about it. The neighbour had disappeared into Ravensbruck concentration camp. This week, the testimonial laurels went to Herbert Dohring - a member of Hitler's personal bodyguard who served as a kind of major-domo at the Berghof - Hitler's Obersalzburg retreat. He described the atmosphere on the very eve of war. The guests had gathered on the terrace to find the evening sky in livid turmoil, bruised and sulphurous. The mood was tense anyway, but this Wagnerian backdrop tipped it over into hysteria. A woman guest saw it as an ill omen, presaging "blood and more blood". "Hitler was totally shocked," said Dohring. "He was almost shaking. He said: `If it has to be then let it be now'."

The difficulty The Nazis has is in reconciling such brilliant flashes of presence (whether through eyewitnesses or meticulously researched paperwork) with its larger task of introductory chronology. This was most marked in episode one, which negotiated a little uneasily between a primer on pre-war Germany and a survey of recent Third Reich scholarship. But subsequent episodes have also shared the tension generated whenever specialist knowledge has to be imparted to a general audience. The detail is wonderful - you even get to see the romantic comedy that Hitler was watching as he kept the Czech premier waiting in calculated humiliation - but there is something about the gear change between such vivifying footnotes and the broad narrative frame in which it is set that has prevented the series building up the sense of occasion it deserves. For some reason The Nazis has not yet become more than the sum of its parts. Fortunately, the parts are so good in themselves that it may not really matter.

I didn't have space yesterday to write about The Complainers (C4) - an odd Cutting Edge film about three hobbyists of disgruntlement. This at first looked like a standard documentary freak show - but it turned out to be more provoking than that. The complainers themselves were initially presented as spaghetti western loners - the Weird, the Mad and the Grumpy. They clearly see themselves as consumer heroes, prepared to fight the tiny skirmishes between buyer and seller that the rest of us concede, in the interests of a quiet life. "You are denied the opportunity to take part in a Heinz promotion," said David indignantly as he stood in front of a shelf of baked beans; it was as if Tesco had been guilty of planting anti-personnel mines in its fruit and veg display. The Viz-like humour of this kind of monomania would have faded pretty quickly. What sustained the film was the way it hinted at the emotional fury behind these unappeasable irritations (all three men hated it when they won - they wanted the fight, not the victory) and the way your own response flickered from incredulity to solidarity and back again, as these devotees of disputation accidentally landed on a private sore-point.

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, goes back to his family's Sicilian roots in the first 'Godfather' film
film
News
Kim Kardashian speaks on the Today show about her step-father's transition
PEOPLE
Arts and Entertainment
Kermit and his doppleganger Hyalinobatrachium dianae
film
Sport
Wenger and Mourinho square-up to each other earlier this season
All the action from today's Premier League, including Everton vs Man Utd and Chelsea vs Arsenal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

    £26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

    Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

    £24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

    £22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

    Day In a Page

    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
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions