Thursday, 12 January 2006

Man of Peace

It was simply a lovely piece of television on a range of levels.

Watching Jeremy Paxman trace his family history held interest on a social level and on a personal level. The camera captured a man undone by his own obstinate cynicism. Paxman laughed and cried in equal measure and, despite a regular lambasting, the narrator clearly kept his nerve and ensured that this intriguing story showed the subject to be profoundly affected by what he discovered.

The wonderful and quick witted librarian in Bradford who quipped "that doesn't happen very often" when confronted by Paxman's complete loss of words.

The brave Norfolk historian who accused the Paxman family of taking 300 yrs to travel from Kings Lynn to Framlingham (50miles??)!!

The fabulous Salvation Army officer who exposed a truly exceptional strength and duty in Paxman's grandmother and great grandmother.

Most of all was the moving and thought provoking inconsistency revealed by watching Paxman at one moment in tears over realising that his grandma's poor money had been stopped "just for having a baby" (her 11th) and then soon after, apparently mock his great grandfather for the number of times he is recorded as having "turned up with his hand out" to receive his poor money.

One senses that for once we saw Paxman responding with natural instinct to stories unfolding before his eyes and probably confront a number of personal ideals and beliefs.

It is probably very patronising to comment in this way on another's journey into their family history, but as I say, fascinating television on so many levels.
Thank you, Jeremy. My license fee earned at last.

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