MY LIFE AS ROLLING STONE
Full Disclosure: I am a Rolling Stones obsessive. I was born in 1967 (thankfully not in a crossfire hurricane, although south Wales weather can be quite challenging), the year they released Ruby Tuesday and Let’s Spend The Night Together.
I grew up listening to their records; One of my earliest memories is of my father bringing home a copy of Let It Bleed (1969) and becoming obsessed with the cake on the cover – cake was also a lifelong obsession. Their music was the soundtrack to my crazy childhood, from the poisonous masculinity of Sticky Fingers to the full brilliance of Some Girls.
So this BBC four parter available on iPlayer always had to be watched. Coinciding with their most recent concerts in Hyde Park – one of which coincided with Sir Paul McCartney’s performance at Glastonbury, the great yin and yang of British pop music there in a single night – it explores the band’s four core members through surprisingly candid interviews the remaining three (Charlie Watts sadly passed away last year).
Despite all the madness, all the drug geeks and girlfriends, Mick Jagger ran the Rolling Stones like a business, writes Sarah Vine
Of course, Mick is the most intriguing, for the simple reason that he is Mick, the eternal manipulator. Pretty much how a middle-class man like this Kent high schooler managed to carve out a successful career as His Satanic Majesty remains one of rock ‘n’ roll’s great paradoxes.
Sarah Vine (pictured) says the new documentary is a fun few hours in the company of “the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time”.
But as he says himself, the Jagger you see on stage is a performance, a personality based on careful observation of what works and what doesn’t. He talks about studying camera angles for TV appearances in the early days to figure out what worked and what didn’t.
Despite all the madness, all the drug geeks and girlfriends, he ran the Rolling Stones like a business and realized that if the band was to be successful, someone had to be in charge, and he was.
The same is expressly not true of Keith Richards, who is chaos personified. The opposite of the ruthless Jagger, Keef is a shy, warm-hearted dude who just wants to “piss off” and laugh, man.
As vulnerable – emotionally – as Mick is resilient, the couple (the Glimmer Twins, as they call themselves) are like two halves of a whole, which probably explains the chemistry between them. One senses the true soul of a tortured artist in Keith, which probably explains his long struggle with drugs, not to mention his exceptional talent as a guitarist.
The chapter on Charlie is bound to be quite wistful and with a touch of sadness; As for Ronnie Wood, he seems to be reveling in his role as Keith’s jester. He almost killed himself trying to keep up with Keith’s drug use but seems cheerful enough about it.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours in the company of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time, along with wonderful footage and of course the odd banger or two.
JUDI DENCH: OUR NATIONAL TREASURE
FRIDAY, CHANNEL 5
Sarah Vine is enjoying the new tribute to Dame Judi Dench (pictured), from the Oscar-winning eight minutes as Queen Elizabeth I to her popular TV performances on As Time Goes By and A Fine Romance
If you’re looking for an antidote to all that doom and gloom, then look no further than this tribute to one of our greatest artists alive: Dame Judi Dench.
A superb line-up of grand old lovers jostle to sing their praises, from friend and fellow actress Dame Penelope Wilton to Simon Callow (who directs the narration), Richard Eyre, Gyles Brandreth and, ahem, rapper Lethal Bizzle.
It’s all there: the eight minutes as Oscar-winning Queen Elizabeth I, stardom as M in James Bond, her extraordinary performance opposite Billy Connolly in Mrs Brown, and her popular TV performances in As Time Goes By and A Fine Romance (along with her late husband Michael Williams).
Pure, unadulterated loveliness from start to finish. If you missed it, make sure you catch up on My5.
BRIGHTON’S BABY-FACED BOYS IN BLUE
TUESDAY, CHANNEL 4
It’s a cliche, of course, that cops are getting younger every year, but in the case of the stars of Channel 4’s new wall-hanging documentary, Night Coppers, it’s so true it’s actually a bit scary.
It’s not easy to write about your husband. I bit through several pencils
The Duchess of Cornwall on Camilla’s country life, Wednesday ITV
The show follows the fates of Will, 22, his partner Matt, 19, and their various colleagues in blue as they tackle the after-hours waifs and strays of Brighton, the party capital of the south coast. Will and Matt are downright adorable, two fresh-faced cherubs running loose in a Hogarthian hellhole.
Will is the adult (ha!), Matt is the baby. Bless him, he did all his lockdown training on zoom, not exactly ideal preparation for the Kemptown fleshpots.
With good acting looks (he reminds me a bit of Matt Smith), he wears a permanent expression of astonishment mixed with a touch of dismay. Will is more confident: On one occasion, he confidently pulls over a middle-aged lady in her electric G-Wiz on suspicion of drunk driving for erratic driving.
While waiting for a breathalyzer, she turns out to be a newly retired inspector from the Sensitive Intelligence Unit. Needless to say, she passes the test. Poor boy.
The police force has had such a difficult time lately that it’s easy to forget that the vast majority of men and women in the police force are good people. This show, with its lively cut and light touch, is a wonderful reminder of that and a real insight into what they must endure.
Abuse, swear words, violence – all were answered with patience, generosity and humor.