Wednesday 12 December 2018

Television review: We must all show Fortitude

* Fortitude (Sky Atlantic)
* Trump/Brexit (All channels)

Left to right: Sofie Grabol, Christopher Eccleston, Michael Gambon and Stanley Tucci star in Fortitude
Left to right: Sofie Grabol, Christopher Eccleston, Michael Gambon and Stanley Tucci star in Fortitude
Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

In these times of terrible upheaval I am pleased to direct you towards a bit of light entertainment with the return of Fortitude.

Set in some very, very cold part of the frozen north, in a town in which very, very strange things have been happening since the start of the first series, it is coming back at the right time.

If you're looking for a break from the news channels covering the self-destruction of the great civilisations of the western world, it is ideal fare.

With just a few minutes gone in this first episode, we had an interesting scene of what seemed to be some kind of cannibalism which took place a few years ago, long before that first series.

It was quite a flashback, offering us a vision of some crazed individual with blood smeared across his face as a consequence of the fact that he was to all intents and purposes eating a child.

Which would be a tough watch for some, no doubt, but not if you've been watching Sky News all day, hoping against hope that the Trumper will allow us all to go on living for another day.

After the bit of cannibalism, we moved to a scene in the Fortitude of today, in which two policewomen are performing some sort of autopsy on the corpse of a man who has been found in the snow, decapitated.

There's some debate about what might have happened to his head, with one of the women advancing the theory that there must have been a snow plough involved in it, while the other one is sure that it looks more like a clean cut with a blade.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, for reasons best known to themselves, they presented us with an image of a large dog hanging upside down with its spine apparently ripped out, a most unusual sight.

This is where I go these days, to unwind, to take a chill-pill.

And given the way that things are on "the world stage" I'm sure there are many more who are finding this Fortitude a liberating and even a consoling experience.

Certainly it makes more sense than the pictures we saw on all the British news programmes of Kenneth Clarke standing up in the Commons to declare himself against Brexit, and to become the only member of the Tory Party to vote against it.

Given that the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, couldn't be more useless if he had actually been personally installed by Vladimir Putin to assist wherever possible in the delivery of the Brexit catastrophe, we are now looking at the astonishing sight of Ken Clarke, the authentic voice of the Left in British politics.

Many of us remember Ken Clarke well, as a member of various Tory administrations which were despised by all reasonable human beings.

And though his face is now a lot redder, many thousands of lunches later, I don't suppose Ken Clarke has radically changed his vision of the world since those days under the thunder of Thatcher. No, Ken Clarke has not changed, but the world around him has changed so very much.

He now stands there on the Channel 4 News, making his stand against the loony right like some old-school socialist who will be repairing to the House of Commons bar after the vote to sing The Red Flag all through the night, and to speak movingly of the sacrifices of the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War.

All through the day, meanwhile, we are keeping an eye on Sky News, in thrall to the whims of the Quare Fella in Washington - and he knows we are in thrall to him too, he knows we are watching, he wants this to be a television show that is screened every day for eight years. And maybe more….

He even watches television every morning to get himself started on his own performance.

Gil Scott-Heron told us that The Revolution Will Not be Televised, and Trump is here to tell us that that's why there has been no revolution, or at least not the kind that Gil Scott-Heron had in mind.

Sunday Independent

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