Review: Junk Mail Britain is, ha, rubbish! (Seriously, I just get funnier…)

October 10, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

junkmailbritain1.jpgChannel 4, Friday 10th October, 7.30pm  Alert Me

You know those fairly annoying folks who think they’re really quite eccentric and have a story to enrich the world?  You know, the ones where it turns out that actually their ‘story’ is nothing more than the ramblings of some reasonably normal individual who, if anything, simply needs to get out more?  Welcome to Junk Mail Britain.

Channel Four’s First Cut season continues tonight with director, Mark Craig’s portrayal of his local community, Willesdon, as he shows how the area has changed using the medium of junk mail.  Having collected every scrap of paper that has found its way through his letterbox over the past five years, he goes on a quest to find the real people behind them.  Cab drivers, takeaway pizza owners and Jehovah’s witnesses are just some of the people he interviews.

Like a random splicing of vox pops, the show lacks depth and true direction.  It’s clear he’s trying, but not only does Craig come across as fairly uncharismatic, he just never really delves right in.  Though he thinks he’s solved the grand mystery of junk mail on high and valiantly recognizing that it comes from decent, hardworking individuals, the documentary, in reality, leaves you feeling that he’s only just begun to scratch the surface.

You find yourself constantly going “so what?? like some stroppy teenager.  Not only does this cause some mild self-loathing, but mostly you feel that your time is being wasted by some joker, who actually thinks they’re entertaining you with the hollow tripe they’ve captured on film.  Yes, so every bit of junk mail comes from somewhere and Willesdon has changed (just like everywhere else) in the last five years, but why do we want to know about this?

Had it been filmed over a few episodes, Junk Mail Britain may have been richer, realising its, at present, positively hidden potential and perhaps even making us care.  As it is, you feel as if a poorly created, sprawling piece of irrelevance has just landed on your doormat.

By Susan Allen

CJ Crenshaw says:

What a shame, this guy did a great job on “Talk to Me” and his Jackie Stuart film. Must have been some bad producers behind it or something this bloke seems to really know what he is doing if you check out his other flicks.