Wednesday, 3 August 2011

I've time for critics - but not The Hour

It’s a relief to me the BBC 2 drama series The Hour has turned out as awful as it is.
I gave the first episode both barrels in my July 20th review Sorry, The Hour is a waste of 60 minutes.
This was a departure for me. Generally it goes against every instinct to be negative about any creative project given that many of mine have failed to fly at all.
True, I didn’t like The Finkler Question but then it had won the 2010 Man Booker Prize. I forced myself to watch two further episodes of The Hour to be certain I hadn’t been unfair.
This principle of accentuating the positive extends to my own reading of established critics. If I value their opinion - because they’ve steered me towards ‘good stuff’ in the past - I don’t see the point of reading what from its headline will likely prove to be a downbeat review.
Where critics I rate disagree about, say, a film I’m more than happy to go and see for myself. But London’s too expensive to go to a movie, a show, a concert, an exhibition, or a restaurant that’s been slammed by critics I’ve come to respect. So if they don’t like it I probably won’t be going; I’d rather test my own judgement against somewhere they’ve enjoyed.
I don’t get a kick out of reading blistering reviews in the same way I don’t enjoy tall poppies being brought low – although I’ll make an exception when Piers Morgan gets his comeuppance.
All of which brings me back to The Hour. Set in 1956…no, especially in the light of my views above, I can’t bring myself to damn it in any more detail than my original post.
Perhaps it was a cry for help but one of the characters gets lipstick on his collar after a furtive smooch. It raised memories – perhaps deliberately such is the self-destructive mess of this show – of Dennis Potter’s 1993 series Lipstick on Your Collar – also set in 1956 – which is Shakespeare in comparison.

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