I don’t know if you remember, but back in June I posted a list of things I wanted to do before I turn 25. One of those things was to watch 52 documentaries. And by documentaries I do not mean Made in Chelsea, or Man V Food, or Lizard Lick Towing… I mean real documentaries.
These are the ones I’ve watched so far:
Princess Diana’s Dresses: The Auction
I’m going to say something a bit controversial… I’ve never been a Diana fan. I think I was too young to be swept up in the national hysteria she seems to have inspired… but I actually really enjoyed watching this. From an artistic perspective, I love fashion, so it was quite interesting to see some of the things people used to wear, and also the things that shocked them. I thought that the way they told her story, in a timeline of striking outfits, was quite innovative, and it seemed a lot more ‘real’ than a lot of the ‘perfect princess’ propaganda that I’d been subjected to previously. It also made me want to see the film (but I haven’t got round to that yet…)
Rip Off Food
This was just emotional. Essentially it showed three families used to feeding themselves on a pittance – it was shocking! There was a single working mum and her daughter, and the mum would live off sugary tea so that she had enough food to feed her child; the second family had two incomes and yet really struggled at the end of the month. The third family was an old man, who lived on his own, and I really had to concentrate to stop myself from crying. He would frequently split a Cup A Soup across two days, as he really couldn’t afford anything more. I thought it was hilarious that the three chefs that were supposed to help each family were insistent that they would be able to make nutritious, filling meals on such stringent budgets, and not one of them managed to stick to it. Never again will I ignore the food donation trolley they have parked in Tesco.
I am quite literally in love with Nev and Max, the presenters of this show. It’s just amazing. In a nutshell, the guys are contacted by people in online relationships (specifically people who have never met the person they’re ‘in love’ with), and they then track them down and introduce the couple. 9.5 times out of 10, one of the people involved has lied about who they are, which makes it addictive, entertaining and heartbreaking all at once. It is definitely worth a watch, because sometimes people really do get a happily ever after!
I only saw the first in the series, but it may well be one of my new favourite guilty pleasures! Essentially, a handful of Amish teenagers are uprooted and dumped in New York City… you just know it’s not going to end well! The worst part is that when a few of their families realised they were being filmed, they completely disowned their children. I’m not sure if the producers fully thought through the effects on their subjects before trying something so insane, but I do know I’m eager to watch more!
Caitlin Moran Meets Fay Weldon
This programme was a mutual interview by/of two of my favourite female personalities. Because I’m a nosey soul, I really enjoyed hearing about their early lives (and the occasionally terrible things they used to get up to!) I also found it quite interesting that, although both would be described, and describe themselves, as feminists, they both have totally different mentalities. All in all, watching this just made me want to read more of their books.
Carl Pilkington: The Moaning of Life
I have never seen An Idiot Abroad, so I didn’t entirely know what I was getting into… but after watching this I can honestly say I love this man. He’s just so wonderfully grumpy… he kind of reminds me of Nick from New Girl (with slightly less Lumberjack-y beauty), and nothing will ever be more hilarious than watching him send a pair of dwarves for an American couple to practise their child rearing skills on. Genius.
I’m a little bit behind schedule – according to my calculations I should have watched seven by now… but I feel like I’m on my way! I really have no excuses – I have Sky Unlimited and so have access to tonnes of On Demand documentaries, but a lot of the time I get distracted by other stuff (I’m in the throes of a Grey’s Anatomy obsession at the moment!) So are you a fan on non-fiction on-screen? Do you have any recommendations for me? (As you’ll have noticed, my tastes are quite varied…)
(NB If I have watched a whole season of a documentary, it still only counts as one)