CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Sorry Kevin, there’s no way we’ll start scoffing centipede on a stick
Kevin McCloud’s Rough Guide To The Future
A Very British History
The great thing about the future is how obvious and inevitable it appears in retrospect.
None of us was expecting Phillip Schofield’s revelation on Twitter last week, for instance, but now the This Morning presenter has come out, it all seems to make sense.
Kevin McCloud lacked the advantage of hindsight on his Rough Guide To The Future (C4) so what he was predicting was actually the present. All of the innovations he foretold exist right now: they have to, or he wouldn’t have been able to show them to us.
Kevin McCloud (pictured) lacked the advantage of hindsight on his Rough Guide To The Future (C4) so what he was predicting was actually the present
Nothing he envisaged resembled the futurism that James Burke and Raymond Baxter used to explore on Tomorrow’s World. This was Channel 4, so Kevin had two basic questions: will we have to eat insects in the future and will we have sex with robots?
And because it was Channel 4, the answers were yes and yes.
Kevin despatched comedian Phil Wang to a market in China, where he tucked into fried spider and centipede on a stick. Delicacies like these used to exist only in Monty Python (remember their chocolate-coated ‘crunchy frog’?) and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld (where street vendors do a brisk trade in delicious rat-on-a-stick at public executions).
Soon, according to Phil, we’ll all be eating them.
Or perhaps we won’t, because in the wake of coronavirus, no one in their right mind would visit a Chinese market, let alone tuck into a potentially diseased spider. But the viral pandemic was still in the future when this show was filmed, and sadly Kevin didn’t see it coming.
Radio 1’s Alice Levine was staying in a Tokyo micro-apartment so cramped that the only place to sit was in the shower cubicle. After the next population explosion, she implied, everyone will live like this.
Radio 1’s Alice Levine was staying in a Tokyo micro-apartment so cramped that the only place to sit was in the shower cubicle
At least we won’t need space for a double bed, if we become ‘digisexual’. Alice met a shy young man named Mr Kondo, who married his pop star wife Miku in a £13,000 ceremony last year.
Miku is a cartoon character, visible as a hologram in a jar on Mr Kondo’s table. Alice tried to talk to her, but the hologram could only wave back: apparently her personality was accidentally deleted in a software update. And she was so young . . . it’s tragic.
Speaking of predictions, I wonder whether as a rising TV star Kevin ever foresaw that one day he’d be presenting bilge like this?
Musician Angela Moran was looking backwards as she explored her Irish roots on A Very British History (BBC4), but what she found out offered genuine hope for the future.
Uphill battle of the week:
The scariest bit of White House Farm (ITV) was not the brutality of the Bamber killings, but the refusal of police chiefs to admit errors. Anyone hoping to overturn injustice must despair.
Her father was born in Birmingham, shortly after his parents left their rural cottage in post-war Ireland.
Angela visited its ruins, and marvelled at family stories of dancing in the parlour — it was barely bigger than a Japanese micro-apartment.
Her grandad found it hard to shake off country ways. He used to follow the milkman’s horse-and-cart with a shovel, to collect manure for his rhubarb.
One old boy remembered how his landlady in the Fifties didn’t want the other lodgers to know she took in Irish tenants — so he had to stay in the pub all evening and come home after midnight. That was his excuse, anyhow.
The documentary took a dark turn with IRA recruitment in the city during the Troubles, and the horror of the pub bombings.
But two generations on, ‘Brummagem’ loves its Irish families and celebrates St Patrick’s Day with enthusiastic revelry. Divisions have healed.
Here’s hoping that’s how the real future will always look. Slainte!