Monday, 20th August 2018
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OUR GUY IN CHERNOBYL.

Guy Martin has cornered the market in blokey documentaries where he mainly is elbows deep in some sort of mechanical contraption.

In this series of documentaries however he travels to Russia around the time of the World Cup to have a look at what really makes the country tick.

Naturally enough it is again focused around industrial items where he act like a giddy school boy in some of the most intricate and largest industrial mechanisms on the planet.

The last installment of the programme however saw him travel to the Ukraine to the location of the worst nuclear disaster that the world has ever seen to see how people there are trying their best, still, to contain the fallout from the Chernobyl disaster.

The first half of the show focused on the actual site of the nuclear reactor itself which is still a busy hive of activity as people try to contain as much of the nuclear fallout as possible.

Naturally enough it is highly dangerous to be there and there are many protocols that you have to follow to ensure your own safety.

Even getting to the site is a difficult thing and the production team have to go through a number of roadblocks to get into the reactor site with all of the correct credentials on them.

It's quite clear that rather than being slightly scared, or even a lot scared, by all of this Martin is highly delighted to be going into the Chernobyl exclusion zone. He is endlessly fascinated by all of the mechanical work that is going on in the area to keep it as safe as possible. Even when he gets to the reactor with all of the safety protocols outlined to him he shows little concern but is mainly concerned with getting as close as possible.

What is most interesting though is when he goes further out into the exclusion zone and meets some of the people that are still working there as well as people who have come back to live in the Chernobyl area.

Although the nuclear accident happened in 1986 the effects of what was to follow will be felt for thousands of years.

For Guy Martin though it seemed to be one big jolly. Even if he didn't take the bigger message of the disaster to heart it still was an interesting documentary showing an area that has slipped from the headlines but which will be a huge problem way into the future.

INSIDE THE REAL NARCOS.

As much as Channel Four tried to big up this series of documentaries about the drug trafficking trade in Mexico and beyond you couldn't help but feel that you've seen it all before.

It is not as if there haven't been other documentaries and films about the subject before so you had to wonder what exactly would this series bring to the table. Initially very little.

But it was only toward the end of the programme when things took a decidedly darker turn that you really began to feel that you were getting to the real heart of what the drug trafficking trade meant in Mexico.

You were told that over 200,000 people have died due to the drug trafficking trade in Mexico, more than the numbers killed in Afghanistan. Not only that but the killings were not just a matter of shooting someone but they had developed into something much darker.

Then right at the end the team were brought to the location of one of the latest murders in Acapulco and there on the ground was a dismembered body. It was horrific to see but everyday for the police who have to deal with such things.

There is a sameness to much of this documentary but it does have moments that really cut to the heart of the matter which is new and fresh.

FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS.

This film was all about a person who was once described as one of the worst singers the world had ever seen. The sad part is that the person in question thought she was a great singer and needed to bring her talents to a greater audience.

That was her undoing. Being wealthy and pampered her husband was able to shelter her from all of the criticism that her voice would bring her, mainly in having compliant audiences and bribed critics.

But when Florence hired out Carnegie Hall, filled with 3,000 people, the gig was up. This is a really interesting film that doesn't entirely play things for laughs, although there are many.

It humanises Florence, giving snippets about her background which was not all plain sailing. Meryl Streep is great as is Hugh Grant as her husband.

A really interesting movie.

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