About White Heat
Wednesday 14th March 2012
This week, I caught up with White Heat, the aptly named BBC series which looks at the relationships of a group of young housesharers, beginning in 1965. But it’s an odd 1965. Women’s lib is in full flow, getting the Pill is easy, every girl wears a miniskirt, and the music is all wrong. To anyone who was alive then, or who has read any social history, this is more 1971 than 1965. What the programme offers is not so much an evocation of 1965 as a postmodern mash-up of all the 1960s condensed into one year. In White Heat, the past is not a foreign country so much as a cut-up map. Does this matter? After all, if it was 1865 no one would notice. It is fiction after all. But when historical fiction can’t be bothered to get the detail right, why should we care about its bigger aims?