Most kids these days probably think Nadsat is something you stick to a car dashboard rather than the fictional slang of A Clockwork Orange. But there were strong echoes of the Anthony Burgess classic in the shocking and shameful images arising from this month’s riots.
Though equally partial to ‘a bit of the old ultra-violence’, the rioters aren’t as cerebral as the Beethoven-loving Alex. Still, it’s surely wrong to label them ‘mindless’ when much of the looting was so targeted. All those stolen trainers will boost grass-roots sports on a scale the Olympics can only dream of.
Certainly it was more calculated than the string-em-up frothing of hard-right attack dog Kelvin McKenzie, let off his leash by Panorama (BBC One, Monday 8.30pm) to wax rabid about how police aren’t allowed to hit “revolting little scumbags” with their batons (unless they’re peaceful climate change protestors, that is). Equally perturbed was the brilliantly named Bendor Grosvenor, a Clapham Junction resident who dropped his metaphorical monocle in disbelief at the orgy of violence unfolding before him.
If you followed the riots as they happened in 24-hour smash-o-vision, this was largely recap: packs of hyenas in high-tops and hoodies; proud Turks defending their territory; bereaved father Tariq Jahan poignantly urging restraint amid the hysteria.
There was an alternative to the wearying scenes of torched cars and shattered shop-fronts. The Great British Bake-Off (BBC Two, Tuesday 8pm) is back with more bucolic buttercream escapism, like Miss Marple minus the murder. It could be set for a ratings bonanza as the Bendor Grosvenors of this world seek light relief with some artery-clogging recipes, living legend Mary Berry presiding over a second hunt for the nation’s best amateur baker.
“A village fete on adrenaline,” chortled Gingham-sporting rake Ian, having apparently wandered in from a PG Wodehouse novel.
He was half right. Despite the competitive edge, and Mel and Sue’s rabble-rousing talk of “rolling pins at dawn”, this was a comfortable woolly jumper of a show and all the more welcome for it.
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