Hitsville. The making of Motown.
A two hour documentary made in 2019, on Sky Docs, shown yesterday.
The sort of documentary I like, no "in your face presenter."
Interviews with Berry Gordy the founder, recorded in the old MoTown head office and studio, a two story house in a suburban Detroit street. It is now the MoTown museum. Much of the dialogue was between him and his lifelong friend, Smokey Robinson, together with contributions from former Motown artists and musicians, contemporary singers and of course a lot of performance footage.
Gordy was vey self-effacing and showed no anger over recalling the racial problems which often beset him and musicians and singers back in the day.
I liked his comment on his childhood.
His first job whilst still at school was as a street vendor of a black newspaper. One day he decided he'd go into the white neighbourhood and try to sell more papers. He was so successful he said to his younger brother who also sold the paper, "Next week we'll both go together, we'll sell so many papers we'll be rich!" So they did, but didn't sell any.
He said he learned his first lesson.
"One black kid is cute, two are a threat to the neighbourhood!"
Contrast this with the latest BBC documentary on paintings, presented by Andrew Marr.
There was so much "Andrew Marr" I deleted the recording after ten minutes.
The BBC and some other channels are obsessed with the "celebrity presenter." They often include their name in the title of the programme, not always someone you'd associate with any knowledge of the subject.There are exceptions, but they think they'll get more viewers, maybe they do, but I'm rarely one of them. If it isn't going to be "watchable" with just a "voice over" then it's usually not for me.
Last week Fiona Bruce, about whom there was a letter in my paper the other day about how she dominates "Question Time" and expresses opinions, introduced and closed Antiques Roadshow, and popped up twice in the middle. She even gave someone a "valuation."
What does she know about antique valuations?
Maybe I'm doing her a disservice, perhaps an expert had previously valued it and she did what she's best at, read it off the autocue.
Let's see less of her and more about the items people queue for hours, for the chance to have them valued.
Anyway. Here's the Motown trailer.