It seems I wasn’t the only one watching a lot of shit last night. Although, I have to say Filthy Cities was excellent TV, even if it was up to its ankles in poo. (Well, technically the fabulous Dan Snow was up to his ankles in poo, animal dung, rotting fish, wee and entrails.)
If you’re thinking, thank god they haven’t invented smellovision yet, then for God’s sake don’t use the scratch ‘n’ sniff cards the BBC have sent out to accompany the series. The smell of medieval London’s sewage sludge nearly made me (and Dan, by the looks of things) throw up.
This isn’t for the squeamish, though Hat Jr (just turned 6) sat entranced through the whole thing after school today. Famous for her poo-fixation, she was enthralled by Dan mixing up mud, dung, wee, fish etc to recreate the genuine, revolting underfoot experience of the average medieval Londoner.
Equally fascinating, to my daughter, was the butchering of a ‘poor pig’ (um, hope she doesn’t make the connection when she finds ham sandwiches in her lunchbox tomorrow…) and the rats and Black Death section. Her favourite bit, however, was watching a leech engorging itself on the sanguivorous contents of Dan Snow’s (rather lovely) forearm.
Back to the grown-up review: Filthy Cities was rarely less than fascinating (the horse-poo-shovelling section went on a bit, frankly I’d have settled for an extra 30 seconds of Dan in his swimming shorts). I know now way too much about the filth on London’s streets in the Middle Ages, but also know that it’s better to catch bubonic plague than pneumonic plague (the latter has a 100% fatality rate). I’d still like to avoid bubonic plague though – it’s so dangerous that the MoD scientists wouldn’t even let Dan Snow hold a sealed petri dish of it inside one of those sealed glass units that have gloves attached to them so you can do your important microbiology stuff safely.
Entertaining and educational – full marks BBC! Next week: Revolutionary Paris. Mon dieu! etc.
Posted by Jo the Hat