CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TV: Money can't buy happiness, but it could at least pay for a razor

The Decade The Rich Won (BBC)

Rating:

Secrets Of The Krays (ITV)

Rating:

George Osborne is a cartoonist's dream, but he's difficult to photograph from a flattering angle.

The former Chancellor's nose has a bulbous, bifurcated tip. It's an unfortunate feature.

The cameraman for The Decade The Rich Won (BBC1) didn't even try to help him. George was filmed from above, sweltering under the lights. As he tried to explain the aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis, that perspective gave him the look of a guilty suspect buckling under police interrogation.

Ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, by contrast, was presented in a pale linen suit in a white kitchen, with soft dappled light falling from the window behind him.

He couldn't have looked more kindly if bluebirds had alighted singing on his shoulders.

Let's face it, we shouldn't expect balanced, impartial reporting from a documentary with such a lurid title. And we didn't get it.

The cameraman for The Decade The Rich Won (BBC1) didn't even try to help George Osborne. He was filmed from above, sweltering under the lights.

The cameraman for The Decade The Rich Won (BBC1) didn't even try to help George Osborne. He was filmed from above, sweltering under the lights.

This two-part history of Britain since the banking crash of 2008 is a manifesto for anti-capitalist tub-thumping. The tone was set by a contributor who raged, 'there is one rule for the rest of us but a different rule for the elite. It is deeply unfair.'

The contributor was Mervyn King, chairman of the Bank of England from 2003-2013. Lord King is an unlikely anarcho-Communist, but perhaps he has fallen under Saint Jeremy's spell. Merchant bankers, brokers and politicians queued up to denounce the system and bemoan the way it benefited a corrupt 'elite' of 'the one per cent'.

The more unkempt they were, the more hollow their lamentations. A company executive called Paul Marshall, who looked like he'd slept in his car, confessed, 'full disclosure, the hedge fund industry was a big beneficiary.'

Perhaps this combination of contrition and scruffiness was a carefully assembled image, to convince us money can't buy happiness, or even a Bic safety razor.

One bearded former Citibank trader, Gary Stevenson, pledged that after making more money in a day than his father did in his lifetime, he saw the error of his ways. Gary is now an 'inequality economist'. 

These unconvincing penitents were contrasted against the truly righteous, the protesters of the Occupy movement — camping out on the steps of St Paul's cathedral, in a noble crusade for justice.

They were the 'voice of the people' . . . unlike the 17.4 million Brexit voters, who in this version of history were goaded into an act of national self-harm as a direct result of Tory austerity.

Apparently, the deciding factor in Brexit was the revelation in April 2016 that David Cameron's father had some dodgy offshore tax dealings. 

At the end of the hour, a voiceover urged us to click on an Open University link 'for an illustrated look into the wealth gap and how it affects us all'. It all felt like a party political broadcast on behalf of the Socialist Workers.

Secrets Of The Krays (ITV) is a smoothly made, three-part series, packed with psychological insights from those who knew the twins.

Secrets Of The Krays (ITV) is a smoothly made, three-part series, packed with psychological insights from those who knew the twins.

East End gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray had their own method of dealing with the wealth gap. Building their protection racket, they gathered a coterie of glamorous chums from the arts, as they sought celebrity status.

Britbox subscribers have been able to watch Secrets Of The Krays (ITV) for the best part of a year. It's a smoothly made, three-part series, packed with psychological insights from those who knew the twins.

Their former lawyer, Nemone Lethbridge, recalled that in their Italian suits, 'they looked like two owls. They were very solemn and extremely polite.' They were also, she added, 'terrific snobs'.

As a teenager, Ronnie used to have an Italian barber come to the house and shave him every day. No man-of-the-people scruffiness for the Krays.

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Money can't buy happiness but it could at least pay for a razor 

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