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Posts Tagged ‘television’

The latest series of Horrible Histories has been full of genius moments and memorable, mischievous songs. When it comes to music, between the classical and the metal I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for that 70s guitar sound. I’ve always loved John Denver and Simon and Garfunkel – and the more I see of Horrible Histories the more I think it’s aimed as much at parents of my generation as the kids.

This alternative take on the Viking story is a little different to their earlier rock-out version.

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I meant to post this earlier, but work and elections got in the way. Sometimes, something comes along on a show like Britain’s Got Talent that makes you stop and think and marvel at just how creative we can be.

Last week it was Hungarian shadow dancers “The Attractions” who dazzled the judges, the theatre audience  and the watching public with their incredibly emotive performance. I’ll happily admit to being one of those left with more than a small lump in my throat.

Sadly, some lame idiots  decided to throw social media abuse at the dancers for not being British. Depressing, yes, but it says more about the abusers and their insecurities than it does about a group of highly talented Hungarians who clearly see Britain as a tremendous place to showcase their mesmerising act. Presumably they hoped we would show some of that tolerance and British hospitality that we like to believe is part of our national character. Or perhaps they just hoped we would share in and appreciate the beautiful telling of a very human story that transcends national barriers.

Anyway, if you missed them, and if you are someone who can see that this is a stunning piece of performance art, and you aren’t going to get wound up about the fact they are Hungarian, please take a look below and enjoy.

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So I realise even before I make this post that I am, in my own small way, contributing to the viral marketing success of this latest advertising campaign from IKEA. So, let me say up front, that whilst I like their tubes of fish paste and their crackers, I’m not a fan of the store. Too big and the whole one-way thing is a bit annoying!

That doesn’t stop me appreciating a good ad when I see one and the latest offering from IKEA is a hoot.  With the current success of The Walking Dead on the telly and The Evil Dead in the cinema, an invasion theme is a pretty canny one. This mischievous take, though, sees an army of gnomes attempting to resist a couple’s determination to transform their garden. Hats off to Mother, London and their creative team.

For anyone wondering about the soundtrack, it’s Mötley Crüe’s Time for Change, performed by The Palace Of Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra and The Heritage Singers.

Brilliant.

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A slo-mo highlights reel from the Danish TV show Dumt & Farligt (“Stupid & Dangerous”) has been posted online. A series of madly hypnotic stunts, usually involving some form of explosive energy, there is something beautifully hypnotic about the results. Shot at 2500 FPS, you get to witness aspects of motion that you would never ordinarily see.

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I admit to finding much of today’s children’s telly incomprehensible. My brother and sister-in-law, who have four scarily bright and funny kids, assure me that it is so much better than when we were younger.

For someone who holds a certain nostalgia for Mr Benn, Trumpton and Finger Mouse, I confess I find In The Night Garden beyond my ken, though The Gruffalo and Room On The Broom have an understated, calm charm.

However, one series that excels at sharing knowledge in a fun and mischievous way is CBBC’s Horrible Histories. It has a wickedly entertaining way of making history fun and accessible, often accompanied by tunes better than those pumped out by better-known acts.

Now, I absolutely know I am not the only one who has found myself in front of a laptop at 3am, having imbibed far too much wine and whisky, playing clips of favourite rock and metal. There is a standard format for such occasions. Both participants (there are usually two, occasionally three) open with a standard metal classic (Nightwish’s Storytime here or AC/DC’s Shoot To Thrill), before choosing more and more classic rock numbers until all semblance of sobriety is conquered by peace songs and revolutionary anthems (from the Dropkick Murphys etc).

To this exemplary canon has been added another clip which forms a part of the “must see, must hear” experience: the Horrible Histories team’s Viking song.

There are rock groups around the world that couldn’t do this – and its pastiche of Queen, symphonic metal and rock ballads is a gem.

Enjoy.

And more from the Horrible Histories crew in due course.

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Every now and then you see a piece of advertising genius. I know it’s not completely new, but I love the style and sentiment in this ad for Twinings Tea (I am clearly feeling soppy after a long day!):

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Last night I stumbled across one of the most inspirational and best-presented documentaries I’ve seen in years. Typically it was on in the middle of the night and a brief summary (a history of statistics presented by a Swedish professor) might make you think it was one from the early canon of Open University spectaculars.

However, Professor Hans Rosling is one of the most exciting and engaging presenters I’ve seen on television in a long time. After a long day in the office, his quirky, amusing and insightful jaunt through the past, present and possible future of statistics was gripping. If you missed it, you can look at The Joy of Statistics on BBC iPlayer.

One of the most engaging aspects was his demonstration of how the stories of numbers are often best told through visual depiction.

For instance, I had no idea that Florence Nightingale was a statistician. It was her meticulous record-keeping translated into startling pictures that drove the changes in nursing that she instituted:

Over a hundred years later, people like David Mccandless make their living finding ways to translate complex information into more readily understandable pictorial form.  On his Information Is Beautiful blog he finds different and exciting visualisations of statistical data. The Billion-pound-o-gram is his way of making those mad, large numbers more comprehensible:

Perhaps the most spectacular use of animation was Professor Rosling’s depiction of the progress of countries in terms of their life expectancy and their income. His enthusiasm, love and knowledge are a real joy to behold. To really see a story told in numbers, watch this little snippet below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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