Friday, September 18, 2009

Screensnaps #2

Another recent offering from the Beeb was The Frankincense Trail presented by Kate Humble. When it was good it was fabulous, but when it wasn't so good, our toes began to curl a bit.

The trouble was that Humble's natural personality is the nice-but-dim charming English chump that Louis Theroux likes to affect to good effect.... just without any of the ironic knowingness. In many of the circumstances this trip deposited her in, this persona was just what was needed, but occasionally, when allowed to wander off the prepared script, her otherwise disarming gaucheness became a bit of deterrent to insight.

Episode one covered Humble's trek from the gnarly-tree source of frankincense in Oman through the desperately unstable nation of Yemen. It's perhaps rather a shame that country is so dangerous, as it features the extraordinary mud-brick cityscapes of Sana'a and Shibam. In the latter some of these structures rise to 16 stories.

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