The Rise and Fall of Nokia on BBC4
The Rise and Fall of Nokia (BBC4) with its tale of a Finnish wellie factory suddenly hitting boom-time with its electronics range reminded me of some hippies who renovated a derelict loo in the park near my house.
They started serving vegetarian food in there and it was good, so good that people came from all over… breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then they had to start taking bookings.
The last time I saw Lozza, the young Australian who’d set it all up, he had a suit on and a pressured, frantic look in his eyes.
It wasn’t quite that simple with Nokia but not far off and as well as telling a predictable story, large tracts of last night’s documentary were like the Arctic forests, dense and hard to navigate.
A parade of businesspeople discussing things like market strategy and management structure in Finnish does not make for great film-making, neither for the audience’s eyes nor its ears.
Along the way, though, some interesting tributaries caught the attention for a moment or two. Nokia’s success with telephones was intimately bound up with being a Nordic country with a small population and lots of open spaces.
It’s not just the wealthy who have boltholes in the woods or boats in a remote harbour, it’s more of a way of life and that of course, means a demand for ways to stay in touch.
Geography also played a role in the way Nokia moved into neighbouring Sweden. They blanket-booked advertising space across the country in a way that could only be possible in a country with a handful of urban centres, establishing a vital first toehold on the global market.
It’s possible that distinctively Finnish things such as the rooftop sauna and the cooperative way small communities work together to solve problems played a role in the story.
Yet nothing, it seems, is ever so strong that it can’t be ruined by big profits.
The Voices in My Head: A bold attempt to show us how lives are ruined and limited by mental illness
The Voices In My Head (BBC1) was a bold attempt to show us how lives are ruined and limited by mental illness.
The producers had worked closely with actors, sound engineers and people who heard voices to give us an experience of what this terrifying phenomenon sounds and feels like.
Originally broadcast to the younger audiences on BBC3, the youthfulness of the contributors added an extra sadness to the stories.
Emmalina said she’d been hearing voices since she was in primary school. She had a sort of fraught family triangle going on in her head, an understanding mum-like voice alongside “Katy” who was more like a demanding, critical sister and she seemed trapped between the two.
Yet she’d had a job once, as a nursery assistant, and enjoyed it. Like everyone else who bravely tried to explain their experience of voices, she was too young to be living this kind of half-life.
Perhaps because the voices were brought to life so vividly last night, it seemed clearer than ever as well that the problem was only partly down to the chemistry of the brain.
Why were the voices so critical and persecutory? Why were the ones described as “friends” so demanding and harrying? I wasn’t surprised to learn medication often only turned the volume down.
PICKS OF THE DAY
Sport: FIFA World Cup 2018, 6.45pm, ITV
What a night this could be – Gareth Southgate (left) and his heroic young England Lions could be World Cup finalists by 9pm. All that stands between them and a place in Sunday’s showpiece is a very dangerous Croatia side. After last weekend’s ultra-professional win over Sweden in the quarter-finals, the morale within the England camp is sky-high. The success of Russia 2018 for Southgate has been built on his defence. Jordan Pickford has been outstanding in goal, Harry Maguire has elevated his game to a whole new level and Kieran Trippier has arguably been the player of the tournament. They will all have to be at their best again tonight, though, if football really is going to be coming home.
Film: Taken 3, 9pm, Film4
Prepare for an all-action roller-coaster ride with fight scenes aplenty as Liam Neeson (left) stars in the third instalment of the popular Taken film franchise. His character, rough and tumble ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills, has been making an effort to live a quiet life but that is shattered by the death of his ex-wife. Just when things seemingly can’t become any worse, he is framed for her murder and must fight to clear his name. Also starring Forest Whitaker and Maggie Grace.
Entertainment: Room 101, 9pm, BBC1
Frank Skinner brings the curtain down on the series tonight by looking back at the last eight episodes and selecting his favourite moments. We see famous faces discussing their least favourite things, arguing the case for Skinner (right) to banish them to the infamous room for ever. Choices include sugar lumps, enforced seating plans and life itself. This show often makes us wonder what we would like to see banished given the chance.
Mystery: Picnic At Hanging Rock, 9.05pm, BBC2
We are very excited to see this reworking of Joan Lindsay’s 1967 mystery novel arrive on our screens tonight. It runs for six episodes and centres on mysterious widow Hester Appleyard (Natalie Dormer, above) as she purchases an isolated mansion out in the Australian bush with the plan of transforming it into a school for young ladies. Years later, though, the establishment is at the heart of a dark mystery.
Nature: Secrets Of The National Trust With Alan Titchmarsh, 9pm, Channel 5
The shores of Strangford Lough offer some of the nicest views in Northern Ireland and tonight Alan Titchmarsh takes a trip there. The reason for his visit is to see Mount Stewart, which was home to the Stewart family for more than 250 years. In conversation with the National Trust’s Neil Watt (above), he learns more of the property’s history.