ROLAND WHITE reviews last night’s TV: The tills are alive with the sound of Tesco being praised to the skies
Inside Tesco: 24/7
One of the mischievous pleasures of Inside Tesco: 24/7 (C5) was wondering what was happening inside Sainsbury’s and Asda as they watched this lavish hymn of praise to their greatest rival.
How they must have fumed: unexpected jealous rage in the bagging area.
This profile and history of the store couldn’t have been any more favourable to Tesco if Julie Andrews had skipped down the frozen foods aisle singing: ‘The tills are alive.’
The tone was set from the start as the manager of Tesco Extra in Northampton — safely masked, of course — patrolled the aisles, cheerily greeting his staff by name. Oh, brave new world that has such people in it.
One of the mischievous pleasures of Inside Tesco: 24/7 (C5) was wondering what was happening inside Sainsbury’s and Asda as they watched this lavish hymn of praise to their greatest rival
The chain, which now has 3,627 stores in the UK alone, was founded as a group of market stalls by Sir Jack Cohen, and the company is still run on fairly simple principles. So simple that the current UK boss Jason Tarry explained: ‘Our job is to serve customers.’
Mansplaining at its finest.
Jack Cohen’s big innovation, which he pinched from America, was the idea of self-service.
In post-war Britain, this was a bit of a risk because people rather enjoyed being served. Apparently, it made them feel posh. Yet self-service proved hugely popular and sales boomed.
As a business expert explained: ‘The move to self-service is the first time the customers were co-creating the service experience.’ Remember that next time you are trudging along with a recalcitrant trolley. You are not shopping — you are co-creating.
Even the mundane parts of the business were lifted somehow by good camerawork and editing.
At a distribution centre in Daventry, we watched fork-lift trucks gliding to and fro, hauling trains of wire cages behind them.
It was hypnotic, almost balletic. All it needed was the music from Swan Lake.
In The Footsteps of Killers
In The Footsteps Of Killers (C4) pairs Silent Witness star Emilia Fox with Professor David Wilson, a criminologist, and asks them to tackle unsolved crimes.
The trouble with this idea is that crimes remain unsolved for a reason.
It’s well known that the first hours of a murder investigation are crucial, so what hope was there of tracking down the killer of RAF cook Rita Ellis, who in 1967 was strangled with her own underwear near the Buckinghamshire base where she worked? Especially when a follow-up police investigation in 2007 also reached a dead end.
In The Footsteps Of Killers (C4) pairs Silent Witness star Emilia Fox with Professor David Wilson, a criminologist, and asks them to tackle unsolved crimes
The professor looked determined and serious. Emilia offered wistful staring and intelligent nods. And it got them pretty much nowhere.
They concluded that Rita — seen shyly saluting in home movie footage — probably knew her killer, and that this might be a sexual encounter that went wrong.
Yet we’d been told earlier that this was a shy, timid teenager. Would she really have agreed to a sexual encounter in a remote copse, especially when she was supposed to be babysitting for a wing commander?
The investigators had all the tools of successful television crimebusters at their disposal. There were pin boards with maps and pictures linked by bits of coloured string.
There were interviews with retired detectives, and visits to the crime scene.
They even deployed the sort of haunting piano music which usually indicates that Inspector Morse is thinking very deeply, but in the end we weren’t any closer to finding the identity of Rita’s killer.
TRAIN-SPOTTERS OF THE WEEK
How times change. The Flying Scotsman: A Rail Romance (BBC4) showed packed crowds on platforms to wave off the country’s most famous locomotive.
These days the biggest attraction on the railways — with a distinctive and brightly coloured livery — is Michael Portillo.