Friday, 29 January 2016

Dallas with balls - an iPlayer exclusive

If, like me, you grew up through the Eighties, there's a very good chance you watched a fair amount of snooker on TV. Maybe you were a Steve Davis fan. Maybe you preferred the more cavalier approach of Alex Higgins. Either way, I think you'll enjoy The Rack Pack, a one-off drama, currently exclusively available on iPlayer here. Luke Treadway and Will Merrick, as the yin and yang of the baize, inhabit their roles; there's comedy too, primarily from Kevin Bishop as Barry Hearn (imagine a Del-Boy who is actually as savvy as Del-Boy thinks he is), and tragedy, not least in the depiction of Higgins's marriage to Lynn (Nichola Burley, also excellent).

The BBC, your BBC made this, lovingly recreating the 70s and 80s with a forensic attention to detail, and breaking new ground technically with their recreation of famous snooker shots (notably Alex's hardly-ever-in-position break of 69 to level his 1982 world semi against Jimmy White). The result is an excellent 90 minutes or so of television, yet they've squirelled it away on the iPlayer, exclusively available there for the rest of 2016. Maybe it's a canny attempt to drive viewing online, I don't know. What I do know is that we should be cherishing the Beeb, and fighting any attempt to mess with it for political gain.

Enough point-making from me. Just go and watch The Rack Pack - you'll thank me for it.

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