IT really is the silly season.
On Monday I was the journalist who first alerted ITV to a problem surrounding Malcolm and Barbara: Love’s Farewell.
A few hours later, they came back to me and confirmed the true facts – reported first here in this blog that night.
Less than 24 hours later ITV issued a general press release to the rest of the media.
Now MPs are seizing the opportunity to go on the attack.
“We are very disappointed to learn that yet another documentary appears to have been doctored,” says Shadow Culture Minister Ed Vaizey.
“I hope this is now the final lesson to be learned by production companies who often make good programmes that are undermined by misleading publicity campaigns.”
Film maker Paul Watson is in the firing line, when he appears to have done nothing wrong.
He explains: “There was no attempt on my part to say, ‘Today I will film a man’s death.’
“But by the time I had finished shooting on a particular day, I said they must mourn on their own.
“It has been turned into something where it looks like I am trying to pass off a shot as a death scene … I was not there for the moment of death, quite deliberately.”
The problem seems to have arisen after staff at ITV assumed the film included the moment of death.
That was then picked up on by journalists, all too eager to run with the story.
Did anyone ask Paul Watson? It appears not.
“If anyone had bothered to call me I would have told them the situation. I just feel that I shouldn’t be reprimanded for something I haven’t done.”
Barbara Pointon has also explained that she considered the moment her husband Malcolm went into a coma to be the point of death, hence her subsequent comments defending the film.
Now the same newspapers that got it wrong in the first place are attacking the film for being “faked”.
Which is absolutely ridiculous.
“We haven’t, I haven’t and I don’t,” says Paul.
“In the film it will be very clear that you are not seeing a death.”
This fine documentary is about over a decade of an Alzheimer’s sufferers’ life, which happens to end on his death bed.
Don’t let this spot of media nonsense put you off watching it.
Malcolm and Barbara: The Original Blog