11 January 2011
The BBC’s German series was, on the whole, cliched and unwatchable. I started with Al Murray visiting the country – he having made a career out of parodying Gemans. He claimed that he would not resort to parody in his programme and then immediately did having found some crazy Germans swimming in the Baltic in mid-winter.
Then there was Julia Bradbury’s Wanderlust exploiting the German’s real sense of excitement about the great outdoors (unfortunately, this often involves hunting with guns). There are some great walks to be done, for sure. But after the first programme where she walked along the Rhine, the rest were too much to contemplate. Dreadful woman. It’s not surprising she was alone.
However, the pearl in this series of programmes was Andrew Graham-Dixon’s The Art of Germany (following briskly on from his earlier The Art of Spain). This is what television should be about. Informative, energetic, watchable and imaginative. Well written, presented and produced, this was a gem of a series. He’s now doing some BBC4 documentaries about individual artists, the most recent being Vermeer.

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