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‘The Kennedys is as subtle as a child’s picture book’ |

‘The Kennedys is as subtle as a child’s picture book’

Christopher Stevens for the Daily Mail


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The Kennedys: Decline and Fall

Rating:

Doctor in The House

Rating:

Crash! A plate shatters on the wooden floor. Smash! Another plate is dashed to smithereens on the same spot. Whatever could be going on?

Now twangy music begins, slowly at first and getting faster. It’s the theme from Zorba the Greek. The camera pulls out to reveal Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy in a white dress, kicking up her legs as she dances round the crockery.

The visual clues were mounting up in The Kennedys: Decline And Fall (C5), a big-name blockbuster with all the subtlety of a toddler’s picture book, and the flair of an amateur dramatics group performing Mad Men.

Every moment of this overripe costume drama was filled with the kind of facial expressions and sweeping gestures not seen since the heyday of silent cinema

From the opening scene, where Bobby Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan lurked in a hotel kitchen, dripping with nervous sweat and checking his gun every few seconds, we needed no dialogue to tell us what was going on

Damaged dinnerware, Zorba the Greek, white dress . . . why, this is a wedding. Only two minutes ago, a maid answered the jangling phone announcing, ‘Kennedy residence!’ before whispering to another maid: ‘It’s Mr Onassis.’ By now, the most astute viewers will be starting to deduce what is going on.

Shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis (Alexander Siddig) has wooed and won the President’s widow. But all is not wine and roses for the saintly Jackie. Among the wedding gifts, she discovers — a pair of diamond cufflinks!

She reads the card beside them, then hurls the cufflinks as far as she can into the sea. 

This was high drama of the purest sort (though the base thought crossed my mind that some holidaymaker with a snorkel would get a lucrative surprise one day).

Jackie showed the card to her hubbie. ‘You know the handwriting,’ she said. ‘It’s Maria,’ she prompted, to jog his memory. ‘Callas,’ she added, in case he was going completely gaga.

But Onassis knew who she meant — the opera singer, Maria Callas, his former mistress. Yes, that one. He hung his head and pulled his ‘naughty billionaire’ face.

But dialogue was what we got, lines of script hammered home so hard that most of the cast looked glassy-eyed with concussion

Every moment of this overripe costume drama was filled with the kind of facial expressions and sweeping gestures not seen since the heyday of silent cinema.

From the opening scene, where Bobby Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan lurked in a hotel kitchen, dripping with nervous sweat and checking his gun every few seconds, we needed no dialogue to tell us what was going on.

Seasonal show of the week

Nature lovers will celebrate the return of Springwatch

Nature lovers will celebrate the return of Springwatch

Seasonal show of the week: Ten-mile tailbacks on the motorways. 

Thunderstorms and flash floods. It must be Whitsun bank holiday again. 

But that also means Springwatch (BBC2) has returned — which is much more welcome.

But dialogue was what we got, lines of script hammered home so hard that most of the cast looked glassy-eyed with concussion. After Teddy Kennedy drove off the bridge at Chappaquiddick, Jackie stormed into the room with a tabloid clutched in her hand. Five words filled its front page: Girl Dies In Teddy’s Car. ‘What’s all this about?’ the former First Lady demanded.

Matthew Perry from Friends, playing Teddy and looking as bloated as a dead jellyfish, pulled a ‘naughty politician’ face.

The clues that Dr Rangan Chatterjee was hunting on Doctor In The House (BBC1) were far more elusive. This series made a bad start, but the latest pair of cases proved challenging and instructive.

In North London, a sporty 11-year-old called Kiki was mysteriously overweight (due to a lack of pro-biotic gut bacteria) — and despite his moderate diet he was in danger of developing type 2 diabetes. And in the Wirral, a 16-year-old girl named Hoshi was terrified of eating any food that wasn’t beige.

Both wanted to be well. They weren’t seeking attention and they had the courage to try anything the doc prescribed — even when Dr Rangan bizarrely plonked platefuls of dried insects in front of Hoshi and her mum.

Their determination was rewarded. Both got better. This show will encourage any family where a youngster is struggling with an eating disorder.

Matthew Perry from Friends, playing Teddy and looking as bloated as a dead jellyfish, pulled a ‘naughty politician’ face

 


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