One of the things I do before we leave Brighton for any trip, be it to France or the farm or anywhere else for a few days, is to check the television schedules for the time we are planning to be away from home. I did it for our recent trip and noticed that there was just one completely new programme that I wanted to see plus a repeat of a programme I had not seen first time round and a couple of other repeats of repeats that I may or may not remember. Anyway, I set the recorder for all those, plus another couple that the Old Bat spotted.
Tonight the Beeb will broadcast the last episode of six of a series that should have been extremely good. The first episode was broadcast when I couldn't watch for some reason - I think we were probably away - but I did watch it a few days later on the catch-up facility. We then watched the second episode. But that was it - no more; the programme proved to be an irritation to me and the OB just didn't like it. I had read some blurb about it before the series started and I had thought this was a great idea. Basically, the story, as I understood it to be, was the story of a village and its people for the past 100 years. But I must have misunderstood the blurb I read - or I didn't read it properly. As I understood things, there was to be a main character and the story would be told as a series of his reminiscences. But the first episode was set in 1914 and our "narrator" recalled the arrival in the village that year of the first motor bus. Given that he was then about 6 or 7 years old and on screen (as the narrator) he looked no older than his early 70s, there was an immediate anomaly. And I understand that tonight's last episode is only set in 1920 so there is no way the story covers 100 years.
Then there were the inaccuracies. In the first episode we saw army recruits marching off behind a brass band. The band was playing "Jerusalem". Now, I couldn't have told you when that music was composed, but there were several letters published in the paper pointing out that the music was composed in 1916 so there was no way that a band could have been playing the tune in 1914. The next inaccuracy was obvious to me, although I dare say a lot of people might have missed it. For some reason I have forgotten, the central character - then still a young schoolboy - needed to raise money and he charged his classmates sixpence for something; it doesn't matter what. The point is that in those days there would have been no way that schoolboys in a poor Derbyshire village would have had sixpence.
Despite my criticisms, the show has apparently attracted an audience of over 6 million and further series are planned to take the story through the 1920s, the second World War and post-war austerity Britain. I don't think I shall be watching.
On the other hand, I doubt there is a television company anywhere that does better wildlife programmes. Quite recently we watched a series of five about wildlife in Africa, each programme concentrating on a different area of the continent. The superb photography took four years. Lord only knows how much that must have cost, but what a series. Absolutely fantastic.
Not far from our village in France is the forêt de Juigné and each time we are over there we take a drive through.