My favourite programme of the week, brightens up my Saturday and Sunday nights, Strictly Come Dancing.  In these short, cold, dark days, it is a dazzling concoction of; lights, a kaleidoscope of ice-cream colours, movement and music.  Don’t tell anyone but I find some of the music the most disappointing aspect of the whole show.  I can’t detect a melody, a clear rhythm or indeed much that is pleasurable and familiar about the music played for the professionals and their celebrates to dance to.  The unkind may say my tastes were fixed at a much earlier period and I have no appreciation of modern music.  I confess I find much twenty-first century music a chaotic noise lacking all charm and musicality.  The music  of the 1950s and 60s.

Its a delight darling.  I like the comments from the judges, the remarks on the dancing by Len, the extravagant gestures of Bruno, the harsh judgements of Craig and the kind comments  of Darcy, who has fully embraced the celebrity status, and dazzles and glitters as if in a fairy-tale.  The show has all the ingredients you could possibly want: the vitality and speed of the professional dancers, not to mention the good looks of the male dancers, the swish and swirl of the dresses, the elegance, the drama and even the wicked step-mother.  (the thought passes through my mind, it could be the twenty-first century type of pantomime).

If     you want to recall it   https://youtu.be/TbLFzDrikMU.



This is an unusual view of British society,  there are certain facts that appear difficult to assimilate.  Throughout the twentieth century Britain has been in a constant state of change.  there have been waves of immigration; Jews from Russia and Poland, successive waves of immigration from Ireland, the displacement of people during the 1 World War and the much greater movement of people after the 2 World War from the devastated countries of Eastern Europe.  Yet we like to think of ourselves as a homogenous  British group that we have been since the days of the Norman Conquest a thousand years ago.  Two groups that are largely missed out from this story are those who came on the Empire Windrush in the 1940s from the West Indies and those who came from India and Pakistan, from what was then the British Empire.

Another subject mentioned only briefly was Britain’s leading part in the inhuman Slave Trade for two hundred years.  Some British families got exceedingly rich and set up their very large estates on the profits of this trade between Africa and the Caribbean. Some beautiful mansions were embellished with paintings and elaborate furniture  bought with the profits of treating human beings as if they were bits of machinery to be used ceaselessly and thrown aside when their usefulness came to an end.  Historically Britain’s part in the slave trade has been minimised to the point of being a footnote.  Maybe generations have to pass before we can face the full horror of what we have done.

Of course we know that workers in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries worked in appallingly dangerous conditions: in the mines, in the factories, on the land and in the ships.  The only issue that mattered was Profit.  The workers were not owned by the coal owner, instead it was a kind of serfdom.  The programme ‘Black and British: a Forgotten History’ by the historian David Olusoga on BBC2 was brilliantly done.  I’m looking forward to episode 2 tonight.


The BBC have produced an breathtakingly  amazing, gloriously filmed programme about this incredible planet which is our home:


The photography is wonderful in its scope, its exquisite detail and the magnificence  of its overhead views.  We have never seen the earth like this before.   Together with the narration by Sir  David Attenborough it is a work of art, the photographers are the Rembrants of the twenty-first century and the words set the moving pictures in a story  we can all understand.  A lot of superlatives here but everyone completely necessary.