Plus: the BBC’s adaptation of War of the Worlds is deeply sad. Will we ever again see a faithful, honest, politics-free adaptation on the BBC?
George (Rafe Spall), Amy (Eleanor Tomlinson) in War of the Worlds
Edwardian England deserved everything it got from those killer Martian invaders. Or so I learned from the BBC’s latest adaptation of The War of the Worlds (Sundays). Everything about that era, apparently, was hateful, backward and ripe for destruction: regressive attitudes to women and homosexuality; exultant white supremacy (cue, a speech from a government minister on the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race); a general prevailing bone-headedness and stuck-upness; stiff, stuffy, relentlessly brown clothing with superfluous belts; and as for those ridiculous bristling moustaches…
Still, I don’t think H.G. Wells would have been totally appalled by this travesty of his 1898 potboiler. Wells was, after all, a man of the left who would later write of Stalin: ‘I have never met a man more fair, candid and honest’, and who flirted with most of the politically correct causes of his day, from Fabianism to anti-imperalism. Early in the book, he rails against the ‘extermination’ of Tasmanian Aborigines by ‘European immigrants’, asking: ‘Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?’
A Labour activist has ambushed Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a hospital and ranted at him about NHS cuts. Using your skill and judgement see if you can spot the news story cunningly hidden in that sentence.
While you’re trying to work out, here is how the BBC promoted it:
"There are not enough doctors, there are not enough nurses. The NHS is being destroyed, and now you come here for a press opportunity"
And here is how the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg chose to spin it:
Another very, very awkward encounter for PM – taken to task by a parent on a children’s ward in London where he says repeatedly the ‘NHS has been destroyed’ – Johnson like rabbit in headlights pic.twitter.com/byRiXlD0ig
Ha ha. Fooled you! There is, of course, no news story here whatsoever. It’s what used to be known in the trade — in the days when the journalistic industry maintained professional standards — as a ‘dog bites man’ story.
Its treatment of the Nazis, and of George Soros, shows that the channel is no longer interested in objectivity.
Back in the day, the BBC might have been content to strive for an objective take on the subject, perhaps with a voiceover by Samuel West and lots of period footage. But the danger of that approach, the BBC has since realised, is that it runs the risk of viewers making up their own minds what to think. Some of them might not be aware, for example, of the obvious parallels between Hitler, Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, Brexit and, to a lesser extent, Michael Gove.
Plus: season three of Stranger Things is self-indulgent and twee – more Scooby-Doo than Alien.
Losing my comrade Christopher Booker the other day didn’t help. Nor did turning to the once robustly sceptical Sun newspaper this morning to find a spread on how to cut your carbon footprint and recycle. The final ‘reeeee!’ moment (fans of the movie will get the reference) will no doubt come when I next bump into Matt Ridley and he tells me: ‘We really must heed the wise things the Prince of Wales and Greta Thunberg are telling us about climate change!’
How depressing it would be if the typical Muslim in Britain today were embodied by Abdullah Patel?
Abdullah is the imam at a mosque in Gloucester; doesn’t speak English that well; has a burning sense of grievance about a thing he calls “Islamophobia”; is a fan of Jeremy Corbyn because he scares “Zionist’s” [sic]; thinks Gaza is “the modern day Auschwitz”; warns women who have been sexually assaulted that “it takes two to tango”; supports CAGE (the organisation which had a research director who once described the ISIS killer Jihadi John as “a beautiful young man”); is deputy headteacher of a heavily criticised school with an Islamic ethos and curriculum…
Call me old-fashioned but I don’t much like the cut of Abdullah’s jib. Chippy, whiny, cry-bullying, over-eager to play the Muslim card at every opportunity, sympathetic — at the very least — to terrorist sympathisers, casually misogynistic, antisemitic (though no doubt he’d gloss it with euphemism anti-Zionist), and probably thick as mince, Abdullah is emblematic of so much that is wrong with cultural cohesion in Britain today.
There was one clear winner of last night’s BBC leadership debate: Nigel Farage’s campaign to abolish the TV licence fee.
The BBC is a disgrace, an embarrassment, a monstrosity. Its politics are so relentlessly woke, its bias so shameless, its hatred of the values shared perhaps by the vast majority of its viewers so flagrant, that it is quite incapable of serving its claimed purpose as the nation’s source of fair and balanced information.
Any properly functioning democracy would have pulled the plug on such a malign and corrupting institution long ago. As it reminded us once again last night, the BBC exerts a powerful and pernicious effect on Britain’s body politic, exploiting its near-total domination of broadcast media first to dictate the terms of the political debate and second to push them in an ever-leftwards direction. (The Overton Window.)
It’s the BBC’s leftwards enlargement of the Overton Window we have to thank for the fact that we’ve got an antisemitic, terrorist-supporting Marxist on the brink of government; the reason that, for at least ten years now, is the Conservative government has not dared to do anything remotely conservative; the reason, largely, that people feel like strangers in their own country and no longer feel able to speak their minds.
That dog’s breakfast of a politics debate we endured last night was the very exemplar of all these failings.
Read the rest on Breitbart.
Plus: why a cultish New Zealand horror-comedy fly-on-the-wall mockumentary about vampire housemates is worth your time.
After its new costume drama You Go, Girl! (Sundays) about how amazing, empowered and better-than-men women are, especially if they are lesbians, the BBC ran its first ever Nike ad. At least that’s what I thought initially: rap music, moody shots of athletes, very high production values. Then I saw they were all grim-faced women and the word ‘RISE’ in flames and I thought: ‘Big new drama series? About girls who’ve been sucked into this very strict Christian cult, a bit like the Handmaid’s Tale, maybe?’ Then I noticed they were all wearing football kit and kicking balls around, and went back to my original Nike idea. Finally came the big reveal. It said: ‘#CHANGE THE GAME. FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP 2019.’
I’m just having a quick whip-round to which I know many readers will be eager to contribute: it’s to raise money to help Olly Robbins begin a new life in Belgium.
Robbins, as you know, is the senior civil servant — Theresa May’s chief Brexit adviser — who has done so much to try to help ensure that Brexit doesn’t happen and that Britain remains stuck in the European Union till the end of time.
Now we know why: it turns out Robbins’s secret ambition is to live at the very heart of the EU project as a Belgian citizen.
We learn this from a BBC4 behind-the-scenes documentary about Brexit seen from the perspective of the EU’s negotiators.