Mandela’s Story Was Inspiring, So Why Smother It With Syrup? Christopher Stevens Reviews Last Night’s Tv

<img src='; width='200px' alt=''Mandela was celebrated as a cuddly teddy, the kindly grand-father of Africa, who deposed a racist regime with warm chuckles and Werther¿s Original sweeties” style=’float:left;padding:5px’ />

Mandela is pictured leaving prison after 26 years But it is false to paint him as a lovable big softie. If this spirit of sentimentality keeps oozing out of reality shows and into the rest of television, well soon have weather forecasters puffing out their cheeks with a twinkle in their eyes to warn of impending hurricanes. Here comes a great big huffly-wuffly wind to jolly well blow our hats off with a whooshy-whoosh-whoosh! theyll say. The spirit of Enid Blyton has not reached the Met Office yet, and Britains Killer Storms (C4) was straightforward reportage, telling individual stories from a succession of gales, tornadoes and floods that have battered the country. The most frightening, as dramatic as a Hollywood movie, was the rescue of Vanessa Glover, 46, who was trapped in her car with her husband Paul and seven-year-old son Silas when a river broke its banks at Umberleigh, Devon. UNLIKELY TECHIE OF THE WEEKEND Ann Rowley, 82, on the Great British Sewing Bee Christmas Special (BBC2), revealed how she spends her time when shes not making clothes: she gets weaving on the web. Ann runs a sewing website. If people dont behave I can delete their stuff! she chuckled. Paul managed to climb out of the window and haul Silas onto the car roof with him. But as Vanessa tried to scramble out, she was swept away by the torrent. For a few seconds, she clung to Pauls hand but, realising she might drag him into the water and perhaps leave their son orphaned, she let go. She was swept downstream into a branches of a tree, where she clung with her face above water for more than 30 minutes until she was rescued. Vanessa didnt hide how much she admired the volunteer lifeboat crew who saved her, but there was a refreshing lack of sentimental guff about her own courage: it was instinctive and maternal.
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