New BBC Series - Empire <Grrrrrrr>

I expected moe of Paxman, but it's chock full of 'Weren't we (the British) evil to everyone' and hand wringing. It doesn't help that almost everyone he interviews is thrown the 'Don't you feel that your former colonial rulers were nasty and wrong?' type questions. To their credit, most think about this and try and be a bit more prqactical about their replies. I'm only half an hour in (on iPlayer) and it's not looking good.
It's a very biased and one-sided documentary, and it's only episode one!
As its Paxman - its probably not factually incorrect though... asking people how they feel about the empire and its actions seems reasonable?


Are you surprised? the fact that this prog was a BBC production should have sent alarm bells ringing. I was watched the Channel 5 thing hoping to see some Taliban/Afghan getting zapped-sadly none were injured in the making of the episode.
As its Paxman - its probably not factually incorrect though... asking people how they feel about the empire and its actions seems reasonable?
It the leading questions he asks though i.e. all of them tryign to get all those interviewed to describe us as the devil incarnate. There is also no historical context and takes everything from modern viewpoints and sensabilities.


Book Reviewer
I agree - Paxman can do a lot better. A lot of wandering about, no structure to the programme and a lot of handwringingly wet mea culpas. My son was asked to watch this by his history teacher. I finally gave up and turned it off when Paxman started walking around the King David Hotel in Jerusalem interviewing one of the terrorists who planted the bomb. I bet they didn't interview any of the survivors.
<BBC bloke speaking English> Tell me formerly oppressed foreign Johhnie, what do you think of the British Empire?

<Foreign Johnnie speaking English> I think the British Empire was a very bad thing!

<BBC bloke speaking English> So what are your plans for the future in your independent from the evil British Empire country?

<Foreign Johnnie speaking English> I am going to move to Britain!

<BBC bloke speaking English> But the British are evil!

<Foreign Johnnie speaking English> Yes, but if I live in Britain, I can claim benefits using my excellent command of English, brought to my backward tribal country by the evil British Empire!
Paxman is a spent force as is Dimbleby, Marr and large sections of a BBC elite whose critical faculties only extend to broadcasting their world view.

Paxman is not covering any new ground but then again as another poster has said, what did you expect from the BBC?
Ah well, In The Highest Tradition is now on the iPlayer and since it's been 23 years since I saw it last it makes great viewing, and it's amazing to see how impartial and factually correct BBC programs used to be!


The thought of how many Brits died in Europe in WW2 did cross my mind more than once. I'm not suggesting that we alone saved the Jews, but we did help put an end to what was happening to them, only for them to start killing Brits 3 years after the war ended. We may very well have outstayed our welcome there but the attitude of the old lass, who responded in English in the main, but Yiddish when they became too uncomfortable sort of fucked me off a bit.
A decent series on empire would show how things were stable and reasonable under British (and French, Italian, etc) rule, and then show how massively fucked up everything is after the locals took over.

They could start with Zimbabwe, for example.
I'd be very disappointed if Paxo discovered natives who regarded the British Empire with nostalgic affection, that would suggest it was very sloppy, sentimental business rather than a hard nosed commercial affair that made London spectacular richer and kept many a son of the Irish, Scottish and Welsh upper middle classes in clover, after all they got to administer it.

The only Indian I've ever encountered who spoke well of it was a Muslim who thought Mountbatten should not have scurried away so quickly, leaving carnage behind him.


Book Reviewer
And that "interview" with the officer from the Madras Regiment was embarrassing. As the officer is proudly showing their battle honours as part of the British Indian Army Paxman is asking if the emire was bad for India.
Seriously Paxman gets off in his guilt trips. Look back at some of the stuff he has done, he's blaming himself or his class. Never sees the good or the "shit happens" side of things, there is always blame. Thats why he gets the BBC glitterati moist.
Miserable git.
The look that the officer gave him was great though. He can't understand why anyone would want to denigrate their past acheivements. It doesn't help that Paxman is talking to them all as he would a weasly politician squirming on the opposite chair on Newsnight.
Paxman reckoned the Brits "Ran away from Palestine................." my book says our Mandate was up and it was time for us to go, Palestine was never a British overseas territory or possession, we were handed it to look after ex WW1.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Slightly off topic so sorry, but this is really about Paxman, which reminds of the "Where are you from" programme that he did going back to his family roots. When it was discovered that he had a Scottish background the look on his face was priceless. Never seen a man look so gutted while still trying to look as though he was enjoying the programme :)
I assume this show is similar to/ plugging the book he recently released? A couple of friends of mine went to see him give a talk up at the University on the Empire just before he brought it out. Aside from the fact that they accidentally got merry before getting in, all I remember is them saying it wasn't brilliant.
Er we did roam around stealing other peoples countries.
While a fantastic feat of arms and a major achievement keeping the thing running as long
As we did.
It was hardly "nice" or reasonable or fair.
Fact that unlike the roman empire if you weren't Britshh you could never become British you'd just be a wog was one of its fatal flaws.

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