Amy Winehouse; What Really Happened, Channel 4

by | May 9, 2008 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

It seems to me that it needs more than half-baked musing, hearsay, speculation with all the substance of a Scooby Doo villain and a conceit that bubbles and simmers like Louis Walsh’s neck spilling over his collar to form a coherent, cogent argument that establishes the absolute veracity of Amy Winehouse’s life and career.

What was good about it?

• It seems to me that Blake Fielder-Civil’s father Lance concerns for his troubled son were especially moving. His dignified disquiet was a poignant pealing, muffling all the facile efforts into barely audible chatter at establishing the truth of Winehouse’s traumatic lifestyle.

What was bad about it?

• It seems to me that hailing Amy Winehouse as “the greatest singer of a generation”; while not absent of substance this is the sort of impetuous irrationalism that presaged the supposed world domination of Ms Dynamite, Slipknot and the millions of other singers/ bands (not “artists” as this word has been debased to the gutter by Simon Cowell) before whom the music press genuflected and garlanded with bouquets of 100% proof hyperbole until they found someone else to slobber over.

• It seems to me that it also encapsulates programme maker Jacques Perreti’s habit of presuming his views are automatically are soaked with irrefutable truth simply because he’s expressed them in a commentary on a national TV show . We don’t think that Winehouse is “the greatest singer of a generation”, at the moment we think that’s either Karin Dreijer Andersson or the resurgent Beth Gibbons – but what do we know, we’re not Jacques Perreti.

• It seems to me that the adulation of Winehouse’s Grammy Awards have also been exaggerated as these are voted for by a panel of people who are mostly dead and whose votes have to be collected by unreeling a fishing hook into recently exhumed coffins to extract the vote from decaying skeletal claws.

• It seems to me that: “Amy and Blake are the most compelling and self-destructive couple of our time” is simply another of Perreti’s blind assumptions. Whenever a ‘couple’ becomes part of the tabloid culture they (or at least the talented one) are stripped of any mystique and intrigue as their fame metamorphoses from fame earned through wonder and awe to fame earned through a self-perpetuation of their own fame, appealing only to sub-humans who describe that they only listen to music “in the background”. And on the “most” self-destruction front neither is thankfully dead yet, so that’s another misappellation.

• It seems to me that Perreti is one of this breed, or he at least assumed such a position to make his observations tingle with purloined truth. “Our obsession with Amy has changed,” he preached. “It’s no longer about her talent but her downfall.” By ‘our’ he means that self-serving, servile morass of sticky turds that float past magazine shelves absorbing gossip magazines into their scatological bosoms.

• It seems to me that “What’s compelling to us is that they seem to loathe the attention and crave it” is firstly assuming that every human being alive shares the same squalid interests as Perreti, and that Winehouse and Fielder-Civil are the first people to ever loathe and crave press attention simultaneously and that by making such an observation it’s enough to base the rest of his hogwashed analysis on..

• It seems to me that there are few worse people than journalist Joe Mott. He shared how he once employed Winehouse as a journalist, but did it in the same jarring, thudding language of a tabloid reporter that would be put to more effective, albeit reprehensible, use in clubbing seals to death with than disseminating world news. “Amy was very into sex!” slavered Mott.

• It seems to me that the second-hand use footage, interviews and, in some cases, opinions degraded the whole programme from a perspicacious exposé into a YouTube tribute, capable of nothing more than febrile guesswork and inferences worthy of Inspector Clouseau.

• It seems to me that either Neil McCormack’s anus is in his mouth and he regularly farts moronic platitudes such as “Amy is obviously an emotional creature” (‘creature’ being the word that distinguishes the sentence from plebeian insipidity), or, more likely, his contribution was distilled down to such a soundbite by an editorial team striving to avoid profundity.

• It seems to me that “Amy looks like she will only sing in Blake’s presence” was a theory devised to collude with the concert footage they had of Winehouse smiling at her husband.

• It seems to me that Perreti’s portrayal of Fielder-Civil’s hometown in Lincolnshire as “quintessentially English” was nebulous posturing because the phrase ‘quintessentially English’ has ceased to have meaning because of its lazy misappropriation by TV presenters as a catch all term to describe any place with a village green and elderly men looking suspiciously over their fences regardless of its other manifold attributes.

• It seems to me that the interludes when the documentary slipped into Heat-style fabrication, bereft only of Mark Frith’s pseudo-beatific, conniving tones were typical of the rest of the programme. “It was reported Amy had her stomach pumped and a life-saving injection. It was also reported that Blake left her side to get more drugs.” And who ‘reported’ these ‘facts’, the same rancid scrum who had formed the inky bedrock of this documentary to determine ‘what really happened’ to Winehouse.

• It seems to me that Winehouse’s anointment as being “voted the women most girls under 25 would like to be” is utterly worthless, firstly because the poll is too vague. Should the ‘girls under 25’ be aspire to be Winehouse because of her talent then this is a far more laudable goal than being Jordan, Kerry Katona or, God forbid, Myleene Klass – all three should be ranked below ‘a corpse six feet under with a spade buried in my cranium’ – as it exhibits an appreciation of talent rather than a wish to be a dumb puppet.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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