CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TVFebruary 8, 2019
Moved to tears by the selfless courage of a grieving mother: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV
Tucked away in a workaday documentary on BBC2 was a story of human love and courage so emotional that this cynical old hack found himself with an ache in his throat for the next half an hour.
And at the same time, on ITV, a convict serving life for multiple murders gradually revealed that he was incapable of any meaningful feelings at all.
What strange creatures humans are — the best of mankind brimming with kindness, the worst hollowed out by evil. We’re all roughly similar on the outside, and shockingly different within.
The tale of hope came in Hospital (BBC2), a low-budget look at the strains facing the NHS. I quite often have my hands over my face during Hospital, but that’s usually because the operating theatre footage is too graphic, not because I’m wiping my eyes [File photo]
The tale of hope came in Hospital (BBC2), a low-budget look at the strains facing the NHS. This time we were at the Royal Liverpool, where 27-year-old first-time mother Lauren was expecting twins.
She already had names for them: Albie and Bobby.
Tragically, one of her unborn boys had a fatal illness. Albie’s skull hadn’t formed properly and he was badly brain-damaged. He wouldn’t survive outside the womb.
With astonishing courage and compassion, Lauren decided to carry him to full term, rather than abort him, so that Albie could spend his few hours of life with her and his twin brother Bobby.
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She fervently hoped, too, that he could posthumously be an organ donor, and help other babies to live.
I quite often have my hands over my face during Hospital, but that’s usually because the operating theatre footage is too graphic, not because I’m wiping my eyes.
Lauren went into labour at 35 weeks, which meant an emergency Caesarian. It also meant, heartbreakingly, that Albie was too small to be a donor.
The camera watched from a respectful distance as this selfless young woman grieved over her dead baby.
Consultant neonatologist Fauzia Paize is pictured above in an episode of the series. Christopher Stevens writes that delaying and postponing has been a constant theme of the series [File photo]
Her calm dignity made the scene all the more affecting. Thankfully, Bobby was born healthy. He’s a lucky little boy who will have a wonderful mother.
A parallel story followed a 38-year-old man with organ failure, whose loving little sister was ready to donate one of her own kidneys to save his life.
She was adamant, yet the operation was in doubt till the last minute because other emergencies kept claiming the surgeons’ attention.
That has been a constant theme of the series, though its power to shock diminishes each week: at first it seemed outrageous that ops were so frequently postponed, but after five weeks it now feels inevitable.
This probably wasn’t the effect the film-makers were aiming for.
Confessions Of A Serial Killer (ITV)
Piers Morgan had spent months setting up an interview with convicted murderer Bernard Giles in a Florida jail for Confessions Of A Serial Killer (ITV).
But, after an hour, the man’s reptilian coldness left him only too glad to call an abrupt halt — not an effect that Piers had anticipated either, probably.
Giles’s testimony chilled the blood because it was so matter of fact. He said he regretted killing five girls, some as young as 14, in late 1973 . . . yet he was incapable of finding the words for an apology.
His sole mitigation was that ‘I never killed anyone I knew’.
Piers Morgan had spent months setting up an interview with convicted murderer Bernard Giles, right, in a Florida jail for Confessions Of A Serial Killer (ITV). But, after an hour, the man’s reptilian coldness left him only too glad to call an abrupt halt [File photo]
The last time he’d felt real sorrow, he said, was 20 years ago, when a Hollywood movie had him welling up with self-pity.
Yet he was an articulate man, who still vividly recalled his crimes and relished them. He described the killings with passionate excitement: ‘You are so there, it’s like you can see the atoms vibrating.’
That testimony was shocking enough; the show’s subliminal flashes of photos and bursts of electronic interference were a needless distraction.
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