Harrowing scenes

by
02 November 2006

WHILE THE news was dominated by the thwarted terrorist attack last Thursdaythe children's bulletin, Newsround (BBC1) still found time to reporon the sufferings of the children of Beirut. One boy, with a broken arm, hamanaged to help rescue his brother, who had been buried by rubble. Both, wwere reassured, were all right now. That same teatime (thanks to a motorisesatellite dish), I watched a Lebanese channel.
 
They were showing children's programme called The Club. It showed a sequence called "Ouchildren". We saw close-ups of still-bleeding limbs; a girl trying to smile fothe camera, despite a face savaged by shrapnel; and a whole ward of maimeyoung bodies
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After this sequence (which would have been deemed too disturbing even foan adult British bulletin), we cut to an interview. A lad, aged about 14described the death of his cousin. Eventually, tears overcame him, and he torthe microphone off his dishdasha. If ever a boy can be excused for growing ufilled with righteous anger, it is that anonymous Beirut yout
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Some of the strengths of British television were displayed iTony Benn: Interviewing the interviewers (Channel 4, Saturday). Afte50 years of being interrogated and interrupted, the veteran politician wagiven an hour to interview John Humphrys of Radio 4; Jon Snow of Channel 4Nick Robinson, the political editor of the BBC; and Jeremy Paxma
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The bees in Mr Benn's bonnet meant that he asked them all the same scriptequestions, with a few supplementary ones. It was a perfect illustration of hopoliticians regard the media as a private pulpit. In contrast, the interviewerwere witty, and disarming. All four stressed their determination to "shine light" into the political process, and to serve their congregations so far athe constraints of their medium allowed. Mr Benn said that the interviewerwere "not elected": the viewer was left feeling grateful that anyone shoulhold the politicians to accoun
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It was a relief to escape to the pastoral world oRestoration Village (BBC2, Friday). In previous years, thRestoration series has asked viewers to vote for a grand buildinworthy of preservation.

It is currently featuring more parochial ones. Last Friday's heat featured blacksmith's smithy and a wheelwright's workshop, followed by "the perfecEnglish church in the perfect English village" - namely, All Saints'Beckingham, in Lincolnshir
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The church was pronounced redundant in 2000, and is now boarded up. It iin ill repair, and suffers from "the heavy footprint" of Victorian alterationsThe incumbent hoped that the fabric could be stabilised, and the buildinadapted for the 21st century. This apparently means using it as an internecaf, and placing a cash-machine in its wal
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The third building was also disused: a Victorian village school in Norfolkwith a rare medieval guild chapel stuck on the back of it. The winner of thiheat will be announced tonight, but will be up against other churches in lateheats: Newlyn Trinity Methodist Chapel in Cornwall; Cromarty East Church iScotland; and Cushendun Old Church in County Antri

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