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TV Review

Proper Gander: Home Truths

Proper Gander

Over 11 million people in Britain live in rented accommodation, mostly owned by private landlords, as opposed to Registered Social Landlords (councils and housing associations). The two kinds of landlord differ in the way their organisations are structured. RSLs don’t have shareholders to swallow up profits, so any surplus from rents collected is supposed to be re-invested into maintaining properties and building more social housing. The rents which RSLs charge are shaped by government, with the aim that they are more affordable to people on lower incomes. Private landlords are individuals who own the properties they rent, so they can choose the amount they charge and wait for the profits to land directly into their bank accounts. The terms of a tenancy agreement may or may not differ much between the private sector and social housing, depending on how closely the landlord sticks to the law and accepted practice.

Proper Gander: Maid In America

Proper Gander

Lengthy, weighty, glossy dramas have become a speciality of US television producers in recent years. The more interesting examples have had some political slant: The Americans follows the increasingly complicated lives of Soviet agents undercover in 80s Washington DC, while House Of Cards depicts the power games and machinations in Congress. The premise behind The Handmaids Tale (Channel 4) is less familiar, but its themes have wider relevance to society today. The series is an adaptation of the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, who is one of the show’s producers and makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo appearance. Leisurely dramatised over ten episodes (with a second series already commissioned), the series has more time to explore its setting than previous stage and screen versions and, arguably, the novel itself.

Proper Gander: Slave to the Algorithm

Panorama’s recent expose of Facebook’s darker side was scarier than Doctor Who, and like a Black Mirror episode come true. In What Facebook Knows About You (BBC1), reporter Darragh MacIntyre looks into what information about us Facebook gathers, and the sneaky ways it’s used.

Proper Gander: The Vegan Revolution

Proper Gander

SIMON AMSTELL is carving himself an interesting career, graduating from presenting Popworld and Never Mind The Buzzcocks to writing and directing for television, alongside gigs as a stand-up comedian. His work often draws on his ruminations about his own life, and his vegan diet has drawn him to his latest work. Carnage (BBC iPlayer) almost pulls off the tricky feat of combining sci-fi, comedy and satire in the mockumentary format to raise some important questions about societal change.

The film is made in the year 2067. By this time, the populace is vegan: peaceful, polyamorous young adults can’t understand how people used to eat animal products, while some older people join support groups to deal with their guilt and shame at having been carnivores in the past.

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