Stop Telling Me About Those Six Wives – I see enough of it in Heat!

by elizabethfcoates

“People don’t like to think, if one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant.” (Helen Keller)


Credit: Horrible Histories © Terry Deary

Dear Salmons,

My apologies for the long hiatus. My exams arrived like whirlpools and I was sucked into the flow. I missed writing something more expressive quite terribly. But, all is over and I can now get to important things.

Like how are the six wives of Henry VIII related to Ms. Keller’s rather wry (but cynical) comment on people’s consciousness?

Roger that.

I am a fiend for the documentary, particularly ones that have facts shooting like intellectual bullets; bang bang bang and I’m shot down by the charismatic aim of the presenter and passion for their topic.

Sir David Attenborough was knighted for such pin-point accuracy.

But I have to draw the line somewhere, and it’s when the bullets are aimed at the heart, but completely miss, and simply shoot my pint out my hand.

In some parts of the country, that would cause a fight. But I’m a young lady, and so I can only look contemptuous.

A documentary that misses so badly, and not only that, but it also hits where several shots have hit before (many people have spilled my pint…), is only funny the first few times.

I want a documentary that infuriates me. I want a documentary that forces me to come to conclusions. I want to learn something from it.

But this documentary, “Henry VIII; Patron or Plunderer?” on BBC Two; the only thing I learnt is that I occasionally need reminding that people (and particularly high-brow TV presenters) think they are the top fly on a gorged carcass of ENDLESS HENRY THE EIGHTH DOCUMENTARIES.

I didn’t need to think to come to a Keller Conclusion, a conclusion I didn’t like. Even showing lovely images of monasteries didn’t bring me back. Even doing some twee sketches did bring me back…to the conclusion that I would throw the rest of my pint in his silly, sketchy face.

More seriously, a documentary should not be made for its own sake; it has to have a point. It’s not a person; people can turn up randomly, that’s fine, but a documentary should be driven by need.

Those who sneak into North Korea and try and film ordinary and frightened citizens, evading the official tour guides are making a real documentary.

Those who visit a Berber village in Morocco and join in on a wedding are making a real documentary.

Those who revisit a tired old subject of a king, who was basically as changeable as Michael Jackson (King of Pop) was in his opinions, sanity and health, and spew it out again on the “Channel of the Year” with some pretentious sketches may as well print it in Heat and rename Henry VIII as;

“Hen-Lo betrays Pope Diddly and ties the knot with Anne B-Lyn! Exclusive! Full story page 6!”

I like these conclusions better.

Keep swimming, Salmons.