Thursday 4 August 2022 12:40 AM CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TV: Catherine the Great's silly ... trends now
The Great (C4)
Susan Calman's Grand Week By The Sea (C5)
The inexplicable thing about old fashions is how their sheer weirdness was invisible at the time. It’s only when we gaze back that we realise how ridiculous we looked.
Last Saturday’s tribute on BBC2 to the fabulous Kate Bush proved that, while her music is timeless, her kooky outfits are now as dated as Victorian bustles.
And if your favourite afternoon indulgence is to spot half-remembered faces in vintage episodes of Emmerdale, Corrie, Casualty and EastEnders, on Freeview’s ITV3 or the Drama channel, studying the historic hairstyles is even more fun.
Bet Lynch’s blonde lacquer was harder than her nails. Can any hairdresser still achieve the rigid beehive that was actress Julie Goodyear’s hallmark?
In years to come, when we look back at the telly of the early 2020s, social distancing is what we’ll notice most. Shot during the pandemic, serials now reaching our screens were obliged to devise ways of keeping the actors apart.
Elle Fanning in The Great in which she portrays Catherine II, the Empress of all the Russias
This works to good advantage in The Great (C4), the high-camp costume drama starring Elle Fanning as Catherine II, the Empress of all the Russias. The first season was often cluttered and confused, crowded with too many actors fighting for the camera’s attention in outlandish costumes. But this time round, a smaller cast with plenty of space between them evokes the grandeur of a royal court.
In one long, often bloody scene, Catherine received the homage of her noblemen, one by one, in a cavernous banqueting hall. Her