BBC iPlayer is now accessible outside the UK, and the prodigious and wonderful output of the BBC is such that one can be hard-pushed to choose the best of the week, but these top my current list:
The Natural World
These two hour-long films show us close-up the lives of penguins all around the world, from the parched heat of the Atacama desert to the minus 50 degrees of blizzardy Antarctica, as they undertake their difficult journeys to their breeding grounds, find their mates, make their eggs, go off to replenish their tums after weeks without food, have their babes born, and the early lives of those babes.
They use cams disguised as penguins and eggs (the programme-makers use them, not the penguins necessarily 😉 but oops yes one of them is courted by a lonely male Emperor) and the quality and mesmerisingness (a word?) of the resulting material is astonishing. Perfectly apt music, and great voice-over by ex-Doctor Who David Tennant.
If you like wildlife, or if you like cutie things, and don’t like these films then you’re nuts.
The former is 89 minutes of fascinating stuff showing the casual behaviour and attitude of Google towards copyright ownership when they created Google Books. If you’ve ever written a book, booklet, pdf file or had your writing published in a book, booklet etc, and thought the content belonged to you, you might find this unbelievable; but true.
The Pirate Bay film is 70 minutes about four disorganised young men (whose website contributed to half of everything on BitTorrent) who were sued by Hollywood and others for millions in their native Sweden in 2009 and threatened with jail, and what happened next. At least one of these young men is distinctly unsavoury but don’t let that put you off – a gripping tale that may have you gasping at some people’s naivety or jigging in your seat willing them on.
A few days ago, a Finish piracy site had a go at inviting Pirate Bay to sue them – which they are doing – exciting times!
The third in this Storyville internet-related series, How Hackers Changed the World: We Are Legion is up there now and my money’s on it being as good as the first two.
Sarah Millican is the funniest lady around. Make your coffee/hot chocolate/cake/whatever-takes-your-fancy, put your feet up and enjoy. Don’t slurp.
Dad’s Army is a comedy-drama series from the 1960s and ’70s and is the sitcom most endeared by the British public, including comics and comedians, and is simply the best, still attracting about 2 million viewers a week.