Words: Saam Das
It's been ten episodes/weeks since Claudia Winkleman took over the reins as host of the BBC's flagship film programme, supported by journalist Danny Leigh and a smattering of cameos from Empire Magazine's Chris Hewitt, the exceedingly glamourous Antonia Quirke, and the man behind Ultraculture, Charlie Lyne. In that time, many of my trepidations (which I wrote about here) have disappeared, and while I still enjoyed the one presenter/Jonathan Ross format a little better, I think the team on 'Film 2010' have done a good job.
There's been claims that the show has dumbed down or become less pretentious since the departure of Jonathan Ross but as 'Episode 3' showed, when Peter Bradshaw dropped the term paterfamilias into his analysis of a film, it's not really all that different. Indeed, while the analytical bite was perhaps somewhat lacking at the very start of the series, it has built up steadily as the hosts have found their footing.
More to the point, the show remains as informative and revealing as ever and I shall mention some of my highlights. Guillermo Del Toro's wonderful interview in 'Episode 3', where he demonstrated his sketches in his notebook for 'Pan's Labyrinth', was a delight - he truly is a visionary. Features on film distribution/exhibition in 'Episode 7' and an examination of Gareth Edwards' budget filmmaking techniques in 'Episode 6' were also particularly enlightening. Also, Charlie Lyne presenting his Top 5 investigative reporters in 'Episode 7' was delicious mostly because of his name and the stereotypical media/drugs connection. And because he looks a lot like Tintin, who also featured in that list.
There was still some problems, the most infamous being the "technical problem" that blighted 'Episode 5' when someone was a bit of a potty mouth off-camera. Charlie's sarcasm hasn't quite come off as I'd hoped either but all is forgiven for putting 'Jingle All The Way' in his list of film Santas. Claudia Winkleman has done surprisingly well although is still prone to squinting at the screen and leaning so far into the camera that I'm actually quite glad we don't have 3D TV at the moment. But that's small fry really.
Most problematic of all for me, is the blanket use of white, middle class reviewers. Or orange, middle class in the case of Claudia. Please lay off the fake tan, you're already beautiful. I think one of the arguments for having a group of reviewers is that it would widen the audience, yet it's failed to widen in-house. Don't get me wrong though, I'm hardly up in arms about this but it would be nice to have maybe one or two more leftfield guests in the new series.
One thing I'm quite glad about is that the Twitter aspect of the show is now used minimally. I believe the programme is live for this reason alone but I really see no need. I'd prefer more polished critical discussion than catering to the needs of people who would rather comment on something during its performance instead of giving it undivided attention.
As a series, I think it's come on well though. Keep up the good work, chaps. Look forward to experiencing any new changes when the series returns in January.
Watch 'Episode Ten' until 1:14PM Mon, 27 Dec 2010. UK users only.