Friday, 6 July 2007

Considered reactions

Well, Bob from Brockley asked, reasonably enough, what we all thought of The Tower.

I managed to catch the second episode last week, having been out of the country and missing the first one, and have to say I was rather underwhelmed. There was a lot of the stock documentary fare of 'here's several very diverse people living with severe difficulties, some of them are striving to improve their lot, others are dealing with the situation with humour but little hope, and others are just resigned to life but hoping for better things for their children'. There was also a gaggle of blonde women who formed the marketing team for the developers of the new tower. They specialised in inane comments and giggling, and in this episode were organising an event (in central London) for prospective buyers. The closest these buyers were going to get to the tower was a boat trip. So far, so predictable. Sadly, the programme never got any better and there was very little attempt to dig beyond the surface of the story. The oddest thing was that as far as I could make out (forgive me if I missed this, if it was in the first episode..) the local residents they were following didn't even live in the tower, they were in neighbouring buildings. I would have been more interested in seeing how those who'd been rehoused were adapting, if their lives had been made better or worse by the move etc.

I will continue to follow it when I get the chance, it might improve - who knows? But I won't be making an effort to stay in for it.

What about the rest of you?


max said...

So far it's been a galley of human types, very entertaining and probably quite well depicted but of course it should do something more than that. What it hasn't done is any analysis. To be optimistic one hopes that it paints a picture and then you make your own considerations. If that is the intention the result will be determined by editorial choices of poetic nature if we're lucky, viewers ratings if we're unlucky.

As you also say, where are the relocated? Apart from the clown, that was shown as the odd one rather than the sample tenant we don't know anything of them and they are crucial to understand the effect of the whole operation.
Top marks for sparing us the Council man.

kate said...

It also seems to be avoiding talking about Lewisham council, with only minor mentions that deptford is in Lewisham borough.

bob said...

I guess "The Tower" is a bit of a misleading title, in that it doesn't follow any ex-residents, as you say (apart from Les the clown). But Marlowe block was evacuated ("decanted") too, and the people there presumably had similar trajectories - Edith, the mother of 7, for example.

In one way, I agree that there is no analysis - you're given enough info to come to your own judgement. But in some ways, you could say there is too much analysis, as they make a big deal of the "tale of two cities" strapline, and rather over-egg the contrast between the posh bimbos in the new tower and the poor junkies down below (leaving out the "ordinary" majority on the estate).