Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Horse People with Alexandra Tolstoy (Tuesday, BBC 2)

Switched on BBC2 last night to see if there was anything worth watching- I'm not keen on TV at the moment, there have been some good nature shows (Nature's Great Events), Madmen continues to be excellent, and I watch Pushing Daisies for a bit of fun and Desperate Housewives out of habit. But there's nothing on TV at the moment. All the recent dramas have been awful. The Radio Times on Red Riding: "Could this be the best drama about the North, ever?!" No. It is bloody awful, have you ever been to the North!? Clearly no. Last week's efforts the Liam Neeson/Jimmy Nesbit thing was appalling as well, and Have you seen BBC1 on a Tuesday night at 9?! Horror, All the Small Things, makes me want to gag. TV is such a waste of time nowadays.
So Horse People last night, we switch it on to some posh bird with a plum in her mouth saying "I love horses!" Switch off... No, wait. Does that say 'Tolstoy'?
It turns out Alexandra Tolstoy is not a posh bird with a plum in her mouth. She is an extremely intelligent woman who speaks both Russian and English fluently, she is not at all patronizing or offensive, she just has a posh voice. She is related to Leo Tolstoy it said it in the paper not in the show, great granddaughter I think, though I can't remember, I reckon this is the reason the farmers said yes.
The show was Alexandra living with some isolated Siberian Horse Farmers for three weeks basically to experience their way of life. These are men who breed horses, ride horses and eat horses. I'm not a horse-nut, I did go riding as a child, but I never wanted a horse as apparently "all" girls do, but Alexandra clearly is- I've just been on her website, she's married to a jockey!- so I thought she would be horrified and disgusted at the idea of killing horses to eat them. But this girl is highly intelligent, she made no judgement because she understood how it worked. And she had no objection to living that life for three weeks; she helped snap the legs of dead arctic hares, skinned a wolf, cleaned intestine meat, chopped up horses hooves to make jelly, and ate all the horse meat with the rustic farmers and actually enjoyed it. One said quietly to her after mortified she apologised for putting her knife accidentally through the fur while they skinning the fox, "You are not as spoiled as I thought you would be."
She was nothing like I initially thought, I will be watching the next two episodes, not that I care much about horses, and I don't really like seeing skinned animals or horses being killed, I just liked her. She was so natural, so polite- and I don't mean she was all manners, there was nothing forced about her, she just became one of the people who lived there.
Watch it on the iPlayer! You'll like her! She's cute and funny!

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