The South Bank Show: The Darkness, ITV1

by | Nov 21, 2004 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

One of Britain’s best and brightest bands are given a worthy profile that rightfully regards their music as precious art.

What to say if you didn’t like it

A bunch of Norfolk chancers and a Scottish vagrant can scarcely disguise their conceit at their abysmal retro-rock being afforded the seal of approval of the distinguished Melvyn Bragg.

What was good about it?

• In LA, the Darkness displayed admirable morality when they were expected to participate in a radio phone-in where the callers, the first of whom was a 15-year-old who had been raped and was bulimic, were mocked and verbally abused. They all walked out in disgust.

• Singer Justin Hawkins made a charismatic and witty interviewee for Melvyn Bragg. The others were less effusive.

What was bad about it?

• The opening shot featured Melvyn introducing the phenomenon of the Darkness from the Lowestoft waterside, where there just happened to be a young boy cockle fishing in the background in a lame vision for urbanites to assume a clichéd rural setting.

• Edith Bowman seeking to add to the Darkness’s credibility by asserting Justin and Dan’s mum “used to hang out with Jimi Hendrix”.

• Colin Murray saying the Darkness are “everything the cool British media dreaded”, which is utterly wrong on many levels.

• Melvyn gamely tried to probe deep into Justin’s lyrics but salvaged only a typically heavy metal song about a hellhound that was rumoured to lurk in a Norfolk church, and a song about drugs that both Justin and Melvyn talked about as if it was the first track ever to deal with taking drugs without resorting to metaphor.

• The documentary rarely rose above the production and analytical values of an MTV piece. The interviews were punctuated with performances from the Darkness’s US tour, while Melvyn had to exaggerate the quality of the debut album as it is far too derivative to possess much artistic value, and is not a classic record in the way Definitely Maybe and The Smiths were.

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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