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ChrisVJ
21st Mar 2014, 05:23
Just watched "Tudor Monastery." It wouldn't normally be something I'd watch just from its title but compared to USA Docus it was so good.

The narrative is down to earth and informative.

Ideas and techniques explained clearly and simply with good demonstration

Doesn't keep repeating itself to pan out the content.

Doesn't do the hushed reverential voice over the the Americans use to fake up the importance (or lack of it) of the content.

Doesn't create fake drama, eg. By creating a false deadline and then saying "We might not make our deadline."

Apparently good documentary isn't dead in the UK.

fujii
21st Mar 2014, 06:34
The British documentaries are also presented by experts in the field. Not by an actor reading a scripted voice over.

TomJoad
21st Mar 2014, 22:56
If you are able to access it check out BBC 4, carries some of the best documentaries going. An excellent series was fronted by Professor Brian Cox on first broadcast on BBC Two, "The Wonders of the Solar System" followed by "The Wonders of The Universe". Prof Cox is a leader in his field of astrophysics, lecturing at University of Manchester and working at CERN. He makes a point of not dumbing down but he is able to get the concept across in a way that you can at least have a chance of understanding what he is talking about. As you would expect the visual techniques are stunning but not pervasive and overwhelming. Great series, highly recommended.


BBC Two - Wonders of the Universe (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00zdhtg)

RJM
22nd Mar 2014, 02:52
It's on YouTube: 'Tudor Monastery Farm' if that's the one. It looks excellent.

Ancient Observer
22nd Mar 2014, 10:58
The best Brit documentary that I remember was all about the daily life of being in the Brit navy.

It was called The Navy Lark.

Remarkably accurate.

Nearly as accurate as Spitting Images and Yes Minister.

tony draper
22nd Mar 2014, 11:07
My interests have switched from the sciences to our glorious History of late,and we are well served with documentaries Historical at the moment, History is apparently the new rock n roll thank the lord, the last few years it seemed to be bloody cooking.
:rolleyes:

Tankertrashnav
22nd Mar 2014, 11:33
I was watching Gogglebox last night and they were featuring a Channel 4 programme which showed views of the earth from the International Space Station. One of the viewers asked "Why is Dermot O'Leary presenting this?" to which his brother replied - "Brian Cox was busy."

I know what he meant - having burst on the scene not many years back Prof Cox seems pretty ubiquitous now.

Lon More
22nd Mar 2014, 11:44
A number of the old British Transport Films have been released on DVD (http://film.thedigitalfix.com//content.php/id/57647/british-transport-films.html?contentid=57647); well worth watching.
The British Council documentaries can be found

here (http://film.britishcouncil.org/british-council-film-collection?film_query=&search=&year=Any&series=Any&genre_old=)


Night Mail
They don't make them like that any more.

Blues&twos
22nd Mar 2014, 11:47
All the David Attenborough BBC wildlife stuff is very good indeed, in fact, largely responsible for my choice of degree. Top bloke.

aviate1138
22nd Mar 2014, 11:50
"I know what he meant - having burst on the scene not many years back Prof Cox seems pretty ubiquitous now."

Sadly Professor Cox thinks so called Global Warming/Disruption/Disaster/Climate change is really going to happen - based on garbage in-out computer modelling.

Academics!

Little cloud
22nd Mar 2014, 11:50
I'm looking forward to them making 'Common Agricultural Policy Farm'!


Alternatively, Google 'Oliver Walston' for some detailed insight into present day farming.

awblain
22nd Mar 2014, 11:54
Sadly Professor Cox thinks so called Global Warming/Disruption/Disaster/Climate change is really going to happen - based on garbage in-out computer modelling.

Shows that Professor Cox knows quite a bit about reality and energy.

And about looking at measured sea surface temperature changes.

tony draper
22nd Mar 2014, 12:17
You can watch all those old British Transport Films for nowt on youtube Mr More.:)

603DX
22nd Mar 2014, 12:27
I agree that there seems to be a sort of "golden age" in the field of British-made film and TV documentaries, with a tendency for the best to be made by the BBC. Strongly influenced by the character and presentational skills of the presenters, the current crop are of a pretty high standard.

It wasn't always thus, particularly a few decades back, when the producers of TV documentaries liked to have controversial themes, with a marked axe to grind about a topic of the day. Factual accuracy was not a paramount concern, the obsession was to present "good TV", which had little to do with informative presentations of genuine value.

Back in that misguided period, I was working in London on the structural supervision of construction of a major public building, at a time when inflation was running sky-high due to the oil crisis. Soaring materials and labour costs caused delays to the project, beyond the control of all those directly involved, and a TV company seized on the situation to stir things up with an unfair and slanted documentary. The site based architect and I were asked to take part in this programme, and we both declined because it was very clear to us that its aim would be to denigrate those concerned. When the programme was aired, it was a heavily biassed hatchet job, as we feared, but no doubt those listed in the end credits felt they had done a good job. Thank goodness that negative approach is no longer fashionable, and honest relating of the whole story is more often applied.

B Fraser
22nd Mar 2014, 12:42
All the David Attenborough BBC wildlife stuff is very good indeed, in fact, largely responsible for my choice of degree. Top bloke.

Indeed ! My boys were given David Attenborough documentaries to watch from the age of 3, none of this Tellytubby Peppa Pig shyte is allowed at Fraser Towers. The result is that all manner of toads and bugs are collected at every opportunity.

When the lads started school, the reception class teacher asked the assembled 4 year olds who could tell her something about a crocodile. Boy number 2 shot his hand in the air, "A crocodile is an opportunistic feeder !".


.....I think I may have pushed things a little too far. :rolleyes:

Windy Militant
22nd Mar 2014, 12:59
Have just started to watch the remake of Cosmos which seems to be a fairly true update of the original series and there was an excellent programme about filming giant squids not long ago.
I have the feeling that UK documentaries are heading the same way as US products.
Take for example the Hampster Hammond build a planet series from last year.

However there is hope as the best programmes seem to be Internationally funded.
including stuff made by the National Geographic and Discovery channels which seem to dribble down to BBC 2 after they've been aired on the cable channels.

However there is on the History channel H2 a worrying number of programmes which are probably watched avidly by our chem trailing chums which states the Roswell crash as fact and that man has not been to the moon and the pyramids were built by aliens. :ugh:

However I must confess to liking the Absolute Genius programmes presented by Dic and Dom who are it must be said absolute idiots. :O However the fragrant Fran who is the science dolly bird adviser to the show, more than makes up for that!

Mechta
22nd Mar 2014, 14:44
I'm looking forward to them making 'Common Agricultural Policy Farm'!


Alternatively, Google 'Oliver Walston' for some detailed insight into present day farming.

A recent very good BBC documentary about changes in UK arable farming over the last 60 years or so featured interviews with the retired farmer and his son who has take over the farm. The best for me was when the son mentioned how, right at the start of the harvest one year, the combine harvester driver went down with a serious illness. The son, then aged 12, was given a quick lesson on driving the combine, and then spent the next couple of weeks cutting the whole harvest!

RJM
22nd Mar 2014, 17:57
Best practice in Oz for reaping and sowing is to use GPS to reduce wasted time and seed. I think they still have to wake up to steer at corners...

Lon More
22nd Mar 2014, 17:59
Thanks Mr. D

The SCWS and the CWS produced a number of interesting films about their products back in the 1950s I was in one of them but can't find hide nor hair of them anymore. Even from CWS in Manchester. All that remains was a list of titles

The son, then aged 12, was given a quick lesson on driving the combine, and then spent the next couple of weeks cutting the whole harvest Today's X-Box generation would be the same with a modern machine. Have you ever seen the electronics?

tony draper
22nd Mar 2014, 18:27
You probably finished up on the cutting room floor Mr More,twas ever thus.:rolleyes:
One notes a lot of the younger Documentary front men are a tad keen on having themselves filmed posing aginst the glorious setting sun or looking pensive into the distance on top of mountains against spectacular landscapes.

con-pilot
22nd Mar 2014, 19:01
The British documentaries are also presented by experts in the field. Not by an actor reading a scripted voice over.

Sadly in the US, it is not that way. The vast majority of documentaries in the US come from Hollywood and all have a political bias. They are scripted and use unknown actors.

Michael Moore is a perfect example.

I watch BBC America and they do have the occasional fabulous documentaries.

TomJoad
22nd Mar 2014, 21:33
In the UK it is becoming ever more popular to criticise funding of the BBC via the licence fee - especially so around charter renewal time. Seems to me that a lot of the complaint is simply the populist bandwagon but this time round they appear to be more determined to do away with the licence fee and move BBC funding to a subscription model. BBC output goes way beyond terrestrial broadcasting; the quality and breadth of their educational output and web content is unassailable. I honestly think that a lot of the criticism comes from envious competitors, I understand why. Whilst the corporation does have problems - predilection for overpaid so called celebrities (Jonathon Ross etal) I do believe we would be the worse off it moved to a subscription based service. The licence fee, considering the totality of what the BBC provides, is in my opinion very good value.

Lon More
22nd Mar 2014, 21:39
the corporation does have problems - predilection for overpaid so called celebrities (Jonathon Ross etal)

The open market system at work. Don't pay the demanded salary and they go to ITV who pay for them by jacking up the advertising fee for slots around and in their programmes. Now even following the US example and allowing sponsorship. The end result is the consumer pays as the advertisers raise their prices to pay for the advertising

Out of interest; did sales of any of the proud advertisers "who brought you the day's weather" drop during the last winter?

TomJoad
23rd Mar 2014, 00:09
Ah the argument that if you don't pay ridiculous money the talent will walk - same argument used to defend the bankers bonus. The same bankers that played fast and loose with the nation's finances. Let them go. Like the hand removed from the bucket of water they will quickly be replaced. As for Ross in particular, his fame was largely off the back of the BBC; and whilst taste is of course subjective, I would question the value of his so called talent. He was certainly no loss to the licence fee payer.

Wingswinger
23rd Mar 2014, 00:16
Quite so. I have enough experience of leaving large organisations to realise that the day after you walk out of the door that organisation I getting along very well without you. No-one is indispensable. No-one. And so-called "top talent" can actually be replaced quite easily.