TV Highlights

The Sixties

Yesterday - 9pm

Who's in it?

With Tom Hanks on board as producer, this epic new series is clearly one of the biggest new shows to hit the Yesterday channel in a good long while. But why did it have to be about... the Sixties?

In a nutshell

Well-crafted, well-written, well-narrated, and well good in pretty much every respect, The Sixties is one of those "prestige" documentaries which will make you feel like a cleverer person just for looking at it. There's just one issue: why couldn't it have been called... The Thirties. Or The Fifties. Or The Hundreds (as in the 1900s, OK?). Why'd they have to go and make it about the SIXTIES, a decade that's been covered so massively that every last aspect of it is now a cultural cliché.

Hippies. Free love. Sexual revolution. Protest marches. Feminism. Civil Rights. Yes, they're big exciting subjects in theory, but SO familiar, SO endlessly chronicled and commentated on and parodied, that you'd have to be a clueless 11-year-old to perk up at any of it. Last night's opening episode was set before the real Swinging Sixties, focusing on the early part of the decade, but it was still a catalogue of clichés – President Kennedy, the Cold War, the spectre of nuclear conflict, all that malarkey. Saying that, it's always a bit chilling to remember just HOW close we came to killing everyone with nukes back then. Seriously: that close.

What's the verdict?

They say if you can remember the Sixties you weren't there. But someone should tell TV programme makers that actually we can ALL remember the Sixties, and would much rather have a different era brought to our attention. (The music was awesome, though.)

Star rating: 3/5

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07-07-2011