Monday, November 05, 2007

Shooting the Past

We watched the first two episodes of Shooting the Past on tv last night. BBC (I think) was repeating them. They first came out in 1999.

Timothy Spall plays one of the lead roles, in his pre-Harry Potter period. As always he’s a joy to watch: confronting, wheedling, keeping other people on the back foot. He’s not necessarily the lead character, but he certainly takes up much of the viewer’s attention.

The story is that an American business company wants to take over a building that houses a library of ten million mostly black and white photographs. The Americans would quite happily ditch the lot. The five somewhat eccentric workers in the place attempt to dissuade them from such drastic action, in part by presenting stories through the photographs. The program is worth watching for the photographs alone: they’re by turns poignant, humorous, startling, outstanding, and even seemingly ordinary. They capture the tone and times of the 20th century in a wide variety of ways.

I’m not sure when the next episode is on, but because we never seem to be in one place for long it’s quite possible we’ll miss it. I’ll have to make an effort to catch up with it.

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