Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night

Article excerpt


Unreported World 7.35pm, Channel 4

Another informative but hard-towatch documentary from the Unreported Worldstrand, highlighting the shocking poverty behind India's booming economy.

Ramita Navai investigates the caste system, concentrating on those on itsbottom rung, the Dalits. Discrimination on the basis of caste is illegal, butallegedly the law is largely ignored, and Dalits are starting to protest,demanding political power and a civil-rights movement.

One inherits one's caste, and with that expectations of employment. Forexample, "manual scavenging" is only performed by Dalits. It involves cleaningout the lavatories of the upper classes. With a metal dustpan, a brush made oftwigs and a wicker basket.

Navai also visits Dalits who have found themselves at the receiving end of"justice" from those in higher castes, including a mother and daughterapparently made scapegoats in the suicide of an upper-caste boy, stripped nakedand paraded through their village.

Even though Navai's film highlights issues that surely must be addressedsuch as the

BBC2 educational rights of Dalit children (above, with Navai)it does so from a "gosh, how awful life is in other countries" standpoint,without giving an official response from the Indian government or bringing inthe UK's social divisions as some kind of comparison.

Often distressing but, like all Unreported World films, you will learn from it.

Friday Night with Jonathan Ross 10.35pm, BBC1

Another batch of proper big, famous guests for Mr Ross (although two of themare plugging autobiographies).

Top Gear daredevil Richard Hammond chats about On the Edge, his account of hislife before and after his frankly frightening crash, and of course his amazingrecovery.

Plus, national treasure and all-round thespian good egg Dame Helen Mirren(right) discusses her book, Snap Shots from My Life, and doubtless has topolitely fend off Ross's flirtations. Meanwhile, Christian Slater talks abouthis forthcoming West End appearance in the stage adaptation of Swimming withSharks. Music comes from the Hives. …

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