CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews the weekend TV show: Hot sex scandal amid a world-changing uproar

India 1947: color score

Evaluation:

Van der Valk

Evaluation:

The most messy divorce in history, between India and Pakistan, caused countless thousands of deaths and created two future nuclear superpowers.

One of the main triggers for the deadly breakup, as in so many divorces, was extramarital sex. And the sinister story India 1947: Partition In Color (C4) makes an even more sensational claim. It portrays Lady Edwina Mountbatten, great-aunt of Prince Charles, as a woman whose rampant libido has changed the map of the world.

His burning affair with India’s most powerful man dashed any hope of keeping the country together after independence from the British Empire. The wife of India’s Viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, and her lover, Congress leader Pandit Nehru, were sleeping together days after they first met. She was 45, he was 57.

This two-part documentary strongly implied that Mountbatten not only knew about the affair, but had actively participated in it. His biographer, Andrew Lownie, pointed to a photo of the trio in an open-top sports car, looking like they had been taken to bed together, “almost like some sort of threesome”.

This two-part documentary strongly implied that Mountbatten not only knew about the affair, but had actively participated in it.  His biographer, Andrew Lownie (pictured), pointed to a picture of the trio in an open-top sports car, looking like they had been taken to bed together,

This two-part documentary strongly implied that Mountbatten not only knew about the affair, but had actively participated in it. His biographer, Andrew Lownie (pictured), pointed to a photo of the trio in an open-top sports car, as if they had been taken to bed together, ‘almost like a trio of sorts’

Nehru made no effort to conceal his closeness to the couple, which infuriated his arch political rival, Muslim League leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The causes of partition, its heroes and villains, are still hugely controversial. This version places the majority’s blame on Nehru and his followers, saying that anti-Muslim violence across India left Jinnah fearful of genocide.

Mountbatten is portrayed as a superficial and vain blunderer, whose snobbery made negotiation impossible. He dismissed Jinnah as “a psychopathic case” and “a clot”.

Edwina’s behavior in bed was not considered shocking “by the standards of their time and class”, according to journalist Lakshman Menon, the grandson of Mountbatten’s senior assistant.

But while this documentary is knowledgeable and entertaining, it doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, Lady M’s antics had already prompted an outrageous libel suit in 1932, after a Sunday newspaper revealed her affair with black American actor Paul Robeson.

“The couple were caught in compromising circumstances,” the newspaper reported. “The Society woman has been hinted to leave England for a few years to let the matter blow, and the hint comes from a quarter who cannot be ignored.”

In other words, George V and his wife, Queen Mary, intervened. This was all true, although the newspaper issued an apology anyway. Edwina hated the royal family for the rest of her life. How she and her husband could have been tasked with overseeing the Indian handover defies belief.

On the return of the taciturn Amsterdammer, hypersexual women threw themselves on the Dutch detective Van Der Valk

On the return of the taciturn Amsterdammer, hypersexual women threw themselves on the Dutch detective Van Der Valk

Nothing in the series is original, certainly not the murders of young women.  Van Der Valk Isn't Unassailable, But Nor Is It Memorable

Nothing in the series is original, certainly not the murders of young women. Van Der Valk Isn’t Unassailable, But Nor Is It Memorable

Women like her are not uncommon in the world of Dutch detective Van Der Valk (ITV). When the taciturn Amsterdammer returned, hypersexual women threw themselves on him. He was first chatted in a canalside bar by a pair of eager Eastern Europeans. A complete stranger came in, kissed him and brought him back to his. A day later, she had moved into her houseboat.

That didn’t deter one of the suspects in his murder investigation from hanging around, hopefully, chain-smoking cheroots. “I was hoping to at least be handcuffed,” she purred.

Van Der Valk (Marc Warren) is devoid of charm or chatter, so it must be his walking stereotype status that women find irresistible. Every character in this detective series is cliché.

Nothing in the series is original, certainly not the murders of young women. Van Der Valk isn’t unassailable, but he isn’t memorable either.

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews the weekend TV show: Hot sex scandal amid a world-changing uproar

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