Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night

Article excerpt

Million Dollar Pigeon

Rounding off his series of gentle, passionate and slightly nostalgic documentaries, Morgan Matthews follows Britain's top pigeon-fanciers in a world where birds sell for thousands and winning one particular race in South Africa can net a millionpound prize.

Modern pigeon-racing is a far cry from the stereotype of flat caps and back-street lofts. Derek Nicholls (right), from South Wales, is a pigeon auctioneer who follows pigeon-racing around the world, investing in other people's birds and gambling on big races.

In Dagenham, Eddie Thompson is a little calmer in his approach, combining pigeon welfare with caring for his wife, Anne, who has Alzheimer's (Matthews captures some of their tender moments).

Matthews' film is not simply about the popularity of a traditionally suburban sport on a global stage, though; his camera is on hand to record the stress and alarm caused among the pigeon community when bird flu is all over the news.

Where Matthews' documentaries have stood out is that they allow their subjects to explain themselves without these individual passions being mocked off-camera by a sarcastic voiceover.

He also adds excitement to a film mainly composed of people talking with some stunning visuals; for example, watching 2,000 pigeons taking off in South Africa at dawn..

Cutting Edge: Blind Young Things

It must be a tough call for a documentary-maker to produce a film about kids with partial disabilities without coming across as condescending.

Director Zac Beattie seems to pull it off in this latest Cutting Edge film, which follows students at the Royal College for the Blind in Hereford perhaps because, at one point, after he congratulates 18-year-old Selina Litt (right) for crossing an unfamiliar road, she has a go at him for being patronising.

The teenagers at the Royal College are studying A-levels, performing arts and Cutting Edge: Blind Young Things 9pm, Channel 4

Braille, but also key life skills such as how to survive away from the parental home, whether this involves slicing cheese or finding the steps up to the pub.

Beattie concentrates on three students: Selina, Daniel and Steve. …

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