Thursday, 5 November 2015

"River" and "Unforgotten" both perpetuate the myth that white-on-black violence is the real problem - and that Britons are innately racist

DI Swedish Nutter
Early on in the fourth episode of BBC One’s big new detective series, River, a member of my family assured me that the dead female police detective whose murder is being investigated by her former partner, and who appears to have been up to some form of sinister jiggery-pokery with a Somali migrant now suspected of killing her, would turn out to have been trying to help the migrant out of sheer compassion. The Somali would, of course, turn out to be innocent of her murder, and to be a thoroughly honourable man and a fine, upstanding citizen.

No sooner were those predictions voiced than it turned out that the dead female policewoman had not been jiggery-pokering with the Somali (and had probably been trying to help him out of sheer compassion), and that the Somali, a university professor back home, was a decent man, very much in love with his wife and children. As soon as the Muslim migrant’s purity had been revealed, he was stabbed to death in a public library seconds before our detective hero finally tracked him down. After the detective - who, despite being from Sweden, is called “River” - had washed the innocent victim’s blood off his hands, he got into his police car and the dead victim promptly appeared alive and well, sitting on the  back seat (River sees dead people - all the bloody time) and delivered these heart-rending words in what was presumably a Somali accent:
“You can’t blame yourself. You saw my colour, you saw what was there on the surface, and you made assumptions. Everyone always does. We come to this country so filled with hope, so grateful for the potential, yet still they say ‘Why do we leave our door blindly open… we bring in our drugs, criminals, terrorists, while we breed and breed.’ Yet you migrated here too: you see what people here do not see - you see the loneliness, the isolation, what it is like to be so far from your own country and your family, what it is like to try to fit in, how hard it is just to be.”
Personally, I prefer my left-liberal, pro-mass immigration, anti-British propaganda to be a little more subtle than that - but given that the majority of Britons have begun to question whether willingly drinking the multiculti-flavour Kool-Aid is really the best option, the cultural Marxists of the media world are probably getting a bit panicky. Otherwise, why would Benedict Cumberpratt be haranguing audiences at the end of his performances as Hamlet on the need to let in tens of thousands of extra Muslim refugees (most of whom are presumably professors who love their families and not young single unskilled economic migrant males who’ve heard all about Britain’s fantastically generous benefits system and can’t believe any country could be so wilfully stupid).

I hope that British television viewers are still able to spot politically-biased emotional blackmail when they're subjected to it, and that, despite decades of being browbeaten by people who consider themselves morally superior to the unenlightened hoi-polloi, they are inclined to take offence when some jumped-up leftie scriptwriter (in this instance, Abi Morgan, who lives in Crouch End, and who inflicted The Iron Lady and Suffragette on us) insultingly questions their generosity, capacity for empathy, and sense of fair play.  I mean, how very dare she?

Nicola Walker - she's in everything
I’m still puzzling over the dead Somali’s line that River is also “a migrant”. I think River is meant to be in his late fifties (although the actor is older), and he’s supposed to have arrived in London at the age of 14. My memory may be at fault, but I’m struggling to recall the episode at the end of the 1970s when droves of desperate Swedish refugees were forced to leave their families behind and flee their war-torn, lawless, poverty-stricken country in search of a better life here in Britain, which was then enjoying the benefits of Labour's Winter of Discontent. To describe River (who has somehow managed to retain a heavy Swedish accent despite his four and a half decades here) as a “migrant” is preposterous - and to suggest that being born in what was then a prosperous, peaceful, democratic Northern European country gives him some special insight into what a Somali migrant might be experiencing here in 2015 is just plain silly. Grow up.

River has received good reviews, presumably because it stars the distinguished Swedish actor, Stellan Skarsgård - who really should have known better. In fact, it’s an absolute stinker - a dour, snail-paced Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). Apart from the depressing urban leftiness of the whole enterprise (why do left-wing writers have to portray everyone’s life - especially those of successful, middle-class characters - as so irredeemably ghastly? - are their own lives equally horrible?) the drama is ruinously hobbled by its central conceit. The “ghosts” who appear every few minutes to exchange banter with our detective hero are (obviously) figments of his imagination. They therefore know no more than he does about what’s going on. As a result, they cannot advance the plot - all they can do is to constantly bring the story to a juddering halt. And the fact that River seems incapable of learning from experience - he always ends up either shouting at these phantoms or trying to beat them to a pulp - means that whatever sympathy we might have initially felt for him rapidly evaporates: besides, he’s such a raving nutter, even the Met would have defenestrated him after about five minutes (on full pay, pending an inquiry, of course).

Mind you, ITV’s current big crime series, Unforgotten (which, disconcertingly, stars the same actress who plays River’s dead partner - to make it even more confusing, she’s a cop in both dramas) is almost as dire. Here, scriptwriter Chris Lang (Peckham) centres his story around a cold case involving the murder of a mixed-race youth in London in 1976. This allows him to focus on white racism, paedophile priests and white gangsters (one of whom has turned into a “respectable” businessman who is now hand-in-glove with bigwigs from what is presumably the Tory Party). One of the female characters - a white social worker now married to a black saint and helping a young black man get an education  - turns out to have once been a racist skinhead!!!! Who the dead mixed-race boy was teaching to read and write!!! Only, her thug skinhead boyfriend robbed the boy and may very well have murdered him!!!! You see? Even anti-racist white people turn out to have racist pasts: it’s simple - never trust anyone with a white skin because we’re all guilty in a very real sense. And even if we’re not actually guilty of bad thoughts or bad actions now - we certainly all were back in London in 1976.

Nowadays, of course, white people - racist or otherwise - are far more likely to be physically attacked by blacks than contrariwise. White-on-black violence hasn’t disappeared altogether, obviously - but black-on-black and black-on-white and black-on-Asian violence are far more prevalent. As for London gangstering, it is now an equal opportunities profession, whose ranks are crammed with a Rainbow Nation of evil-doers from all corners of the globe. Nevertheless, River seems determined to show that Londoners with broad Orish accents are the real problem nowadays - in Unforgotten it’s cockney-geezers-turned-Tory-businessmen, innit (who all have to be played by Trevor Eve - it's the law.)

Oh, for goodness’ sake - are left-wing scriptwriters so determined to blame the indigenous population for all this country’s ills that they have to either give us a distorted view of the past or ignore what’s actually happening here and now? What wretched little children they are.

Final point about River. If you’re casting a murder mystery, don’t choose this actor to play the screwed-up, marijuana-puffing husband of the police chief, and introduce him near the end - because he simply never isn’t the murderer:

Always the killer


  1. I avoid the frustration and anger you suffer watching these programmes by assuming all contemporary British drama is propaganda. I never watch it.

    Late to the party, I'm just starting Lillehammer for my current drama fix. Unpatriotic perhaps, but US-produced TV programmes are so clearly superior to the homegrown variety that they are all I bother with.

    1. ...and Swedish and Danish.

      As for American stuff, Fargo is back for another series, and is better than ever - witty, constantly surprising, brilliantly-acted and directed, great dialogue, lots of dead bodies, but no "sensitive" cops angsting about the victims, and very little sign of politically correct messages. It is infinitely superior to any drama - crime or otherwise - produced here in Britain during the past five or six years, and much better than 99.9% of the rubbish currently being churned out by Hollywood.

    2. Based on that recommendation I'll have to give Fargo a try. I loved the original film - so much that I assumed the TV spin-off would be a disappointment.

      Time to find out.

  2. I'm so pleased I'm not alone in thinking the Beeb's latest cop series, River is unutterably stupid,.
    People who aren't fortunate enough to live in vibrant diverse, enriched London receive one hell of a view of our capital city from watching dramas like River. They would come away believing our police force is full of high ranking ethnic cops and the streets are crawling with knuckle dragging white racists and gangsters.
    If they were unfortunate enough to view the dire BBC soap, Eastenders they would witness attractive Muslim girls regularly propping up the bar of the corner pub and swapping quips with cheeky cockneys. If only...
    You just know that these writers have never been to any of the places they're depicting and they've got their opinions of ethnic London from some pc pamphlet they have to scrutinize before anything can be produced.
    Hopefully most people see through it.

    1. Left-liberal "creatives" think that they're seeing the world for what it truly is - a vicious capitalist nightmare composed of oppressors (people like you and me), victims (anybody from the Third World, women, gays, transexuals etc) and the Enlightened (i.e. people like them). In fact, they see the world through a series of distorting filters which essentially turn reality on its head. The Guardian brilliantly parodied itself and its readers in 2013 with a spoof video advert for Guardian Goggles - even convincing Michael Gove to do a turn. TV scriptwriters evidently didn't get the joke, and wear them all the time:

    2. Can't wait to view this series on Sveriges Television-Malmo.

    3. I managed to find the second series and via some withcraft with Chromecast watched episode one last night. Thoroughly enjoyable but I always come away from the Coen brothers' oeuvre with the sense that a pair of smart New Yorkers are sneering at hicks.

      There's a fine borderline between affection and condescension and I'm not sure they know where it is. All the same, I will push on. Despite my reservations, it confirms the general theory that we Brits have lost the ability to make good television drama (Wolf Hall excepted)

    4. I worried about the Coens patronising the hicks during the first TV series, given that America's liberal-left elite has been doing the same to Sarah Palin for years - but, in the end, the locals (especially the cops) came across as the nicest, most decent people you could hope to meet - true American hinterland heroes. That, I think, is the thread that runs through both the wonderful film and its two spin-off TV series - which share nothing except a general location, an atmosphere, outbursts of extreme violence, and one or two quietly heroic policemen and women who have to deal with a seemingly senseless act of evil from within, which in turn sucks in a more powerful force of evil from without (in this case, Kansas City), resulting in chaos which is eventually quelled by courage, decency and an effective, if somewhat slow-moving, intelligence - i.e. modern Westerns.

      As for the "foreignness" of it all, I wonder if it all seems oddly familiar to rural Scandinavians watching the programme.

      I particularly enjoyed the line spoken by the cheerfully menacing black Kansas City gangster Mike Milligan to state trooper Lou Solverson when the latter suggests that the locals are pretty friendly (Milligan's two henchmen are pointing guns at Solverson, who has one aimed at Milligan): "Pretty unfriendly, actually - but so polite about it."

    5. I would have thought that Swedes might have had enough of gloomy Swedish detectives - and their home-grown version(s) are infinitely superior to River. Like sending inferior coals to Newcastle. And the residents of Malmo have probably had enough pro-immigrant propaganda (not to mention actual immigrants) to last them several lifetimes.

    6. By the way, Az Iz, regarding your Sveriges Television-Malmo remark - the excellent Swedish cop show "Arne Dahl" recently featured a bomb exploding on a late-night Stockholm subway train. You'll be amazed to hear it wasn't the work of Islamic terrorists - the terrorist was the son of a senior figure in the Swedish security service. Obviously.

  3. New comedy and drama in your exciting BBC Winter Season. Returning for its 43rd series, "Have I Gone Stale for You" provides comedy fans with a difficult choice. Which is the more outdated - the audience-ingratiating easy target satire of Ian Hislop or the carefully-scripted wacky spontaneity of Paul 'man of mirth' Merton?

    And in a new series of the Bridge, the drama takes a new turn as the Swedes close the bridge to stop the flow of asylum seekers from Copenhagen. A tense series of meetings set in the exciting locations of Brussels and Luxembourg pits bureaucrat against bureaucrat as they struggle unsuccessfully to resolve the crisis. Warning: may include scenes of extended torpor.

    A new hard-hitting, gritty, uncompromisingly tedious turn of the century drama "Porky Blenders" traces the struggle of working class Northerners to develop a handy kitchen device for making bacon soup, as they strive to escape the shackles of unemployment clamped on them by the corrupt and degenerate capitalist system. Starring a lot of men wearing caps.

    1. I refused point blank to watch any programme with a title as silly as "Peaky Blinders" (which I seem to remember was its name). Just another excuse for middle-class lib-leftists to celebrate the sort of class-based "victimhood" violence that makes their tight little pants stick out.

      Hislop and Merton must have surpassed The Two Ronnies in the longevity stakes by now, surely. The only HIGNFY I've watched in the last five years was a recent one hosted by Jeremy Clarkson: it featured that long streak of wee from the quiz show, Pointless, Richard Osman - proving that the BBC, which claims not to be able to find a single comic writer or performer with conservative or right-wing views, can find as many unpleasant, snarky, self-satisfied, unfunny, left-wing tossers as it would take to fill the Albert Hall. Oddly, Osman didn't seem to like either the Conservative Party or UKIP. How original! As for Merton and Hislop, it's money for old rope - but I'd prefer to watch some old rope for half an hour.