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the samuel johnson prize for non fiction on bbc 4/ a documentary about VS naipaul

From:     finke
Category: TVBooks
Date:     21 July 2008
Time:     02:01 AM


Kirst Wark and Rosie Boycott giving out prizes at an upmarket school fete. It's all read these books 
speeches which are meant to sound enthusiastic, and the judges half heartedly talking about them as 
though writing a very lukewarm essay for the teachers. The winner was some recreation of a Victorian 
Murder, yawn, and the approach makes you long for Big Brother. 

After that a documentary which messed up the rich subject of Naipaul, a years worth of footage had 
been condensed into an hour of banal. His former editor Athill, strangling every vowel while reading 
his words with immense self-satisfaction. Indian sitar music playing whenever we saw pictures of 
India, and inexplicably they kept repeating bits as though to make the whole thing a bit more arty. The 
new Mrs lady Naipaul added the only spark, and a much better documentary would have had only 
Naipual and his wife speaking.

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