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I watched Kim Jong-Il's Comedy Club on BBC Four last night. It was a compelling piece of television and it's hard to articulate my reaction to it.

Quoting from the BBC website's description: "A journalist with no scruples and a pair of Danish comedians travel to North Korea with a mission to use humour to uncover the truth behind one of the world's most notorious regimes."

Essentially the three men, Mads Brugger, Danish journalist, and Jakob and Simon, two Danish/Korean comedians, posed as a Danish cultural exchange group hoping to perform a well-known Danish skit as theatre for a North Korean audience. In the process they shone a light on the remarkably twisted and Orwellian life of North Korea, and in so doing they faced the reality of their own lies too.

I was both moved to laughter (painful to me as I have a very sore chest from coughing lately) and tears. The absurd contrast between the edifice of lies and fear that underpins everything in North Korea and the presentation of a sketch about a transvestite called Mrs Kristoff to a solemn audience of North Koreans had me in stitches, while the segment on the show school filled with indoctrinated children stopped the laughter with chilling speed.

I had the greatest respect and sympathy for Jakob, the younger of the two comedians. He has a condition involving a muscular palsy. This let him act as the troupe's voice of truth. No Korean could understand a word he spoke in Danish, so he was able to comment in real time about the regime. A brave and funny young man who, it must be said, was being used for propaganda purposes by both the North Koreans and Mads Brugger, yet managed to stand apart from both agendas.

Best and most troubling piece of television I've watched in a long while.
Mood:: moved
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We watched the first episode of the BBC's new science programme last night. It's not Tomorrow's World, thankfully, though still pop-sci as anything.

However they did show this:

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As [ profile] sammywol posted about here, we watched the first episode of Terry Pratchett: Living with Alzheimer's last night. It's upsetting viewing, but compelling. Pratchett's humanity and pluck are undefeated however, and I admire him for standing up and dragging the spotlight onto the real lives affected by this terrifying disease.
Mood:: sombre
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 12:55pm on 28/01/2009 under , ,
As seen at [ profile] fatal_logic, Empire magazine's greatest 50 TV shows. Bold for those I've watched regularly, italic for those I've seen at least one episode of, strikethrough for pants.

Hidden behind here )
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:28pm on 25/04/2008 under , ,
Ed Byrne has just saved President Bartlett from death by painted tennis ball on Graham Norton's show. TV at its finest. Accent Monkey must be so proud.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:57pm on 10/03/2008 under , ,
Favourite line from the "Things Osama bin Laden is unlikely to say on his tapes"

"This is ridiculous. It must be your turn to hide."

and "Things a TV announcer is unlikely to say"

"Tonight's episode of 'Songs of Praise' contains strong language and scenes of a sexual nature."
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:42pm on 14/01/2008 under , ,
We're watching a re-run of "Long Way Round", Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman's travel documentary, where Ewan gets a face full of petrol and has to go to a Ukrainian hospital to have his eyes checked.

Then they show the poor guy being examined and then show the eye chart he has to look at.

I doubt McGregor knows much Cyrillic.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:30pm on 11/12/2007 under , ,
Well I guess they're a Sci-fi crew )
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 09:11pm on 23/04/2007 under , ,
I've just come downstairs from getting Rowan off to bed and Sam's watching with a sort of hypnotised fascination a show called 'Hair Wars'. It's about international level hair dressing competitions. "These people take this seriously. They're the elite of hairdressing. They're like the SAS of hairdressers."

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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 02:11pm on 15/02/2007 under ,
Yes, we watched The Dresden Files last night.

Wizardly spoilers follow )

Anyway, I thought it was pretty good and I'll watch more.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:08pm on 11/10/2006 under ,
On the show "50 Questions of Political Incorrectness", one of the commentators just said: 'Prince Philip: what happens when Bernard Manning marries well.'

Hee, hee.
mylescorcoran: Teacosy hat (teacosy)
posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 07:18pm on 21/06/2006 under , , ,
We were all sitting in the living room. Rowan brought up a tv show, Pablo
the Little Red Fox, and we ended up talking about the names of the

Mama (that's my darling wife): What was the cat's name?
Dad (that's me): Seamus!
Mama: No, I think it was Finbarr.
Dada: Hmm, no I'm pretty sure it was Seamus. Seamus, definitely Seamus.
Rowan (growling with disapproval): FINBARR!

That's me outvoted then.
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 09:17am on 09/05/2006 under ,
Thanks to the miracle of the internet, [ profile] sammywol and I watched the third episode of the current Doctor Who season, "School Reunion", last night.

It were fab.

spoiler cut )
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posted by [personal profile] mylescorcoran at 10:52pm on 31/10/2005 under ,
Okay, I'm not usually first to a party but in this case I'm coming in after the food's been eaten, the drink drunk and the fights have begun.

[ profile] sammywol and I finally got to see selected chunks of the Eccleston Doctor Who. I loved it. Despite the reruns appearing smack in the middle of my daughter's bedtime we have managed, through the combined magic of taking shifts and UK Gold+1, to see several episodes of the season. We only just managed to see the season's opener after we watched the final Eccleston episode and I was delighted to see that he came on strong right from the word go. I think he made the part very much his own, with just enough of a suggestion of previous Doctors' characters to be obviously part of the same continuity.

I'm keen to see what Russell Davies does with the second season, but I know I'm going to miss Eccleston's Doctor already.



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