I have been watching on the Internet the weirdest BBC programme ever!
Weird because it is so unlike any film made in the post-MTV world of convoluted plots, manic commentary, loud soundtracks and three-second-long scenes. In fact, the film consists of a single uncut shot of almost two hours, no commentary at all, and a soundtrack consisting purely of the natural noises picked up by the camera. It’s called ‘All Aboard – The Canal Trip’ and it is simply is the outlook of a camera fitted on the bow of a narrow boat chugging along the Kennet and Avon Canal. It’s not speeded up or time-lapsed, just a walking-pace view of the canal and its immediate environs. All you hear is birdsong, the quacking of the odd duck and the wind in the trees. The sole nod to modern technology is the occasional graphic on the water ahead of the boat giving snippets of the canal’s history, and a few fade-in-and-out old sepia photographs. One critic called it ‘the perfect antidote to this mind-numbing election and all the other trials, tribulations and irritations of our frenzied modern world’, and I agree; it calms and mesmerises. Watch it in full screen mode and you’ll almost feel you are sitting on that bow yourself.
I propose that the BBC initiate a project to film the complete English canal network in this way. As a canal-lover I would watch every minute.
You can find it (for the moment; let’s hope the Beeb judges it too unimportant to take down) on YouTube at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tm4_vC9AU8

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