Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night

Article excerpt


Elvis by the Presleys 9pm, ITV1 THE clue to what sort of story to expect from this documentary is right there in the title. It's a film made by Elvis Presley's surviving family - so don't expect any shocks, scandals or dirt. This is a celebration of the man who invented rock 'n' roll.

It is also the first time that the two women who knew him best have talked frankly: his former wife, Priscilla, and daughter, Lisa Marie. And, as it is a family film, there is plenty of previously unseen home-movie footage and lots of private photographs.

However - as anyone who has ever got stuck watching someone else's holiday video will know - family home movies are hardly riveting viewing. Not even when they're by the Presleys.

So, parts of this documentary (mostly at the beginning), are little more than a ragbag of old images and memories.

Priscilla recalls how she met and fell for Elvis and her parents explain how much they were against the relationship - which is no surprise, as she was just 14 at the time and he was the hipswivelling sex-god of rock 'n' roll.

She remembers how they spent time together in Germany (Elvis was sent there by the army), where the singer "revealed a lot to me" (stop sniggering at the back).

The programme comes more alive after the dreary Hollywood years (when The King made a series of dire films, which his family, understandably, prefers to forget).

There is some electrifying outtake footage of Elvis in his TV rebirth show, 68 Comeback Special. A friend recalls: "He was 168 pounds, the best he ever looked in his life." There aren't many men who can get away with a black leather cat suit, but on that day Presley looked amazing. (In stark contrast to when he wore a white stretch catsuit in his later years.) Perhaps the most moving moments come when Priscilla explains how Elvis got so wrapped up in his own life, that she had to leave.

"I walked in and I said, 'I have something to tell you.' And I told him I was leaving. I just remember looking at his face, and him sitting there in disbelief. I don't think he believed what I was saying was true."

She also remembers how, later, she was in the audience at one of his Las Vegas shows. "He very rarely dedicated songs, but he looked over and mouthed, 'This is for you.'" Then he sang Always On My Mind.

Priscilla says: "I still loved him very much - I still do."

As I said, don't expect many criticisms.

Imagine - A Short History of Tall Buildings

10.50pm, BBC1

In last week's opening episode of Alan Yentob's series, everything in the world of tall buildings was shiny and bright. The competition to build the highest skyscrapers gave us such marvellous creations as the Chrysler and the Empire State buildings.

In this week's episode, all that alters, and we enter the era of dark, dank and soulless tower blocks. …

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