CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Grayson sees England distorted through his Leftie lens

Grayson Perry’s Full English

Rating: *

The Madame Blanc Mysteries 

Rating: ****

The nonsense that wibbles through the brain of a self-righteous Leftie celeb is hard to fathom. Artist Grayson Perry looked at archive footage of a Boy Scouts parade and likened it to the Hitler Youth.

What is the twerp on about? I was a Scout, aeons ago, and our Thursday teatime meetings consisted mostly of knots, woggles and raucous gin-gan-gooly. We didn’t annexe the Sudetenland once.

But Perry is so programmed to see racism staining Britain’s past that he conjures it out of nothing. His remark was particularly offensive when you remember that those 1930s lads, or their brothers and dads, might well have fought and died to defeat Hitler.

That wasn’t an isolated comment, as he toured the southern counties in a white van (oh, how self-consciously ironic) in Grayson Perry’s Full English (Ch4).

Artist Grayson Perry 'is so programmed to see racism staining Britain¿s past that he conjures it out of nothing'

Artist Grayson Perry ‘is so programmed to see racism staining Britain’s past that he conjures it out of nothing’


Ruper Grint on This Morning (ITV1)

Ruper Grint on This Morning (ITV1)

Actor Rupert Grint announced on This Morning (ITV1) that he’d love to play Ron Weasley again. Yet he has previously distanced himself from Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, describing her as an embarrassing ‘auntie’. Why doesn’t he just admit he owes his whole career to her?

Joining a group of Morris dancers and folklore fans on an ‘organised trespass’ across a country estate, he sneered at the ‘jolly middle-class japes from an overwhelmingly white crowd’.

And, sitting down to afternoon tea in the garden of a posh hotel, he warned his driver, ‘We’re supping on colonialism. There’s a hell of a lot in a cup of tea, a couple of sandwiches and a bit of cake.’

What a pretentious pillock. Does he think an egg sandwich is privileged just because it’s made with white bread?

With his Harpo Marx hair and gargling laugh, Perry poses as a loveable, blokish friend to all. Under that facade, a nastier streak is lurking.

This three-part series is meant to be an investigation of what it means to be English. He nosed around a country house in Somerset, given a guided tour by its owner, former Britpop singer Pearl Lowe.

Pearl was rightly proud of her lovely home and its shabby chic style. 

Perry sniffed at everything, declared himself no fan of William Morris wallpaper, and decided most people would think the place could be ‘nice when she’s done it up’.

It was a horrid, snarky jibe and Pearl looked mortified for a moment. Perry wouldn’t have noticed — he doesn’t seem to look at women when he talks to them, though he’s ingratiating to the men.

Sally Lindsay stars in The Madame Blanc Mysteries (Ch5) where life 'in the sun-kissed Provence town of Sainte Victoire is dangerously short'

Sally Lindsay stars in The Madame Blanc Mysteries (Ch5) where life ‘in the sun-kissed Provence town of Sainte Victoire is dangerously short’

He started in Dover, joining a chap who apparently thought he was still fighting World War II. Jeremy buzzes along the coastline in a little boat, trying to highlight the arrival of illegal immigrants. Perry adopted a pious pose. His heart ached for the boat people, he said, forced to flee across the Channel with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

He didn’t care that France is not a warzone, that Britain has been welcoming and generous to genuine refugees from Ukraine and Syria, or that people trafficking is a lucrative business for organised criminal gangs.

The only thing that mattered to Perry was the opportunity to flaunt his liberal credentials. And that’s all this show is.

France might not be a warzone, but life expectancy in the sun-kissed Provence town of Sainte Victoire is dangerously short. Les Dennis visited, as a newlywed antiques collector in The Madame Blanc Mysteries (Ch5), and was immediately under threat from a deadly curse.

Poor Les was mugged, half- suffocated with a cushion, almost brained by a falling mirror, held at knifepoint and nearly shoved off a cliff. He endured it stoically, until one final insult drove him to fight back. ‘Nobody calls me boring!’ he yelled.

Madame Blanc is packed with didactic detail, like a history lesson with added murders, but it, too, is never boring. If you enjoy Midsomer, you’ll love this.

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