Review: The Accused: National Treasures on Trial put justice in the dock but failed to reach a verdict
What a time it was to be alive in 2012 – the Olympics, the Queen’s Jubilee, a summer like no other – unless you happened to be a middle aged male celebrity, as The Accused: National Treasures on Trial (Channel 4, Weds, 9pm) made clear.
Then, in the wake of the appalling revelations about Jimmy Savile, the police launched Operation Yewtree, investigating of historic sexual abuse against an array of big names, including It’s a Knockout’s Stuart Hall, This Morning weatherman Fred Talbot and sundry other actors, comedians and disc jockeys.
Three stars that came under Yewtree’s unforgiving gaze were featured in this rather slight documentary
Singing star Sir Cliff Richard, Radio 2 DJ and pop music trivia ace Paul Gambaccini and former Pop Idol judge ‘Dr’ Neil Fox were all arrested after allegations were made against them, with the BBC notoriously giving a South Yorkshire Police raid on Richard’s home live news coverage.
The programme gave all three men plenty of room to vent at the injustices they faced over months on bail – and in Fox’s case, a magistrates’ court trial – but there was little analysis on the issue of whether those accused of sexual offences should be granted anonymity, in the way the victims – quite correctly – are.
Similarly, there was little reflection on the real changes wrought on society through Yewtree, bar a brief couple of minutes at the end, allluding to Jeffrey Epstein and #MeToo.
Ultimately, it left the impression that the scales of justice are tipping, but gave no real clue as to how to rebalance them.
Jamie’s One Pan Wonders (Channel 4, Mon, 8pm) was Jamie Oliver’s way of tackling the cost of living crisis – sort of – a few ingredients and one pan to make ‘super-tasty’ meals. Some of those ingredients are fairly expensive – fresh herbs for example – and it doesn’t take account of the energy needed to cook it. Faintly patronising.
I may have been a little too hasty in judging Marriage (BBC1, Sun/Mon, 9pm) on the basis of the first two episodes. This seemingly banal drama was redeemed by the natural, empathetic performances of Sean Bean and Nicola Walker, and episodes three and four are well worth watching.