TV review: ‘He got stabbed in the arse, basically’

Osteologist Jo Appleby with a piece of bone found buried in a car park in Leicester. Photograph: Richard Ansett for Channel 4
11 Feb 2013 @ 4.22 pm
| Entertainment
Osteologist Jo Appleby with a piece of bone found buried in a car park in Leicester. Photograph: Richard Ansett for Channel 4
Osteologist Jo Appleby with a piece of bone found buried in a car park in Leicester. Photograph: Richard Ansett for Channel 4

lucy-bellerby-byline-photo-bwLucy Bellerby is impressed by the passionate love one woman demonstrates for a man who’s been dead for 500 years


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I’m sure you haven’t heard or seen anything about this in the past week, but Richard III has been found in a car park. Everyone’s gone mad over it, but I’ve found loads of good things in car parks – half-full packets of fags, umbrellas, drunk friends – so I’m not overly impressed.

However the Channel 4 programme that revealed the discovery was brilliant (Richard III: The King in the Car Park, Monday).

Most of its appeal was due to a woman called Philippa, who seemed to believe she was having some sort of passionate love affair with the dead monarch. When some burly blokes chucked his old bones in the back of a van she was beside herself, trying to chuck a flag over the box and stroking it longingly.

And when a group of archaeologists were discussing his death (with a degree of detachedness that is acceptable when the subject is over 500 years old) she burst into tears and ran from the room, as the others looked around at each other, completely baffled and barely restraining giggles. I honestly think that when the image of his recreated face was revealed she asked for a life-size copy to take home, so she could prop it up in a chair and feed it toast every morning.

Anyway, they did a DNA test against one of Richard III’s descendants, who should have been rotund and stately, sitting atop a jewelled throne and ploughing through 50 giant chicken legs every mealtime before chucking the bones at a jester’s head. Alas, he was a disappointingly normal chap from Paddington, who made furniture and seemed to want to have nothing to do with the media circus that has been surrounding him.

However the match was made, so Richard can now be buried again in peace, and we are left with an archaeologist’s explanation of his dignified death in battle; “he got stabbed in the arse, basically”.

This week it seems everyone is reviewing Stephen Poliakoff’s Dancing on the Edge, however I’m not, because it’s 90 minutes long and even his name makes me feel tired. I’m sure it’s stunning and brilliant, like Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, which I have given up on after becoming desperately confused before I’d even finished the five-page character list. I ditched that for a glitzy vapid rom-com, and have done the same with my TV viewing.

And so, to Dancing on Ice (ITV, Sunday). Similar title to Poliakoff‘s program, yet it sees a significant increase in hairless men wearing sequined slashed-to-the-navel vests. I’ve never really watched it before; it’s one of those programmes that’s on in the background whilst I lie in a foetal position sleeping off a Saturday night hangover.

I’ve sometimes caught a glimpse of an Eastenders babe’s perma tanned thighs flying across the ice as I’ve nervously opened one eye to be able to see my phone to order a curry, but that’s been it until today.

If you too are a novice, I would suggest a similar manner of viewing; small peeks, gradually building up your tolerance. For tonight is “love night”, and there are enough pink strobes bouncing off the beaming white teeth of Torvill and Dean to induce an epileptic fit in the uninitiated.

But don’t worry, things slow down later on and you can relax to the soothing strains of It’s All About You by McFly, with Keith Chegwin inching his pink satin clad paunch towards the camera at 1mph. If that doesn’t get you in the mood for romance, nothing will.