High Brow/Low Brow: Dogs vs. D’Ascoynes

A purely subjective opinion on the best of what’s available on catchup TV this week.

High Brow

Film: Kind Hearts and Coronets

A British black comedy depicting, according to the tagline: “A hilarious study in the gentle art of murder.” Starring Dennis Price and Alec Guinness, the plot follows family outcasts Louis Mazzini (Price) and his mother who were excommunicated from the aristocratic D’Ascoynes family when Louis’ mother ran off and married an opera singer. In revenge, Louis decides he must become the head of the D’Ascoyne dynasty by killing of the eight other heirs to the Dukedom. Cue a sort of melodramatic The Royal Tenenbaums.

It’s worth watching for the soundtrack featuring Il mio tesoro intanto from the opera Don Giovanni and Alec Guinness’ turn as all right heirs to the D’Ascoyne family throne. He pops up on screen to play The Duke, The Banker, The Parson, The General, The Admiral, Young Ascoyne, Young Henry and Lady Agatha, at on point playing six characters in one scene, which apparently took two days to film.

Watch it on BBC iplayer here.

Low Brow

TV: Doggy Styling

Watch, or cringe, as a potty for poodles British woman travels to the super bowl of dog grooming championships in Hershey, Pennsylvania to try and win the extreme dog grooming crown from the Americans. Poodles might be second most intelligent dog but for the purposes of this competition they’re blank canvasses for their owners to go, well, mad with dyes, clippers and ornaments. According to the contestants: “These are the Picassos and the Monets of my industry.”

A window into a canine-obsessed beauty pageant, it’s narrated by the lustrous and soothing tones of Simon Callow and is in turns fascinating, laughable and vaguely grotesque. Catch up now on 4OD here.

Download now: The final two episodes of David Attenborough’s phenomenal Africa series are still available to download on BBC iplayer. Episode 5 Sahara expires today. Find them here.

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