The BBC documentary, Ted Hughes: Stronger Than Death, was mind-blowingly good save for one small flaw made possible by ever-burgeoning improvements in technology. The flaw in question lies with the programme’s relentless use of drone cameras. At every opportunity it seems that the director/producer (or whoever else is responsible for such things) requested that every location used in the documentary be filmed by drone. Once or twice might have been okay, but not every time there’s outside footage: Ted Hughes’ childhood home in Mytholmroyd, Cambridge University, Heptonstall churchyard, and various other “Yorkshire shots” involving industrial chimneys (and if you’re thinking of flying a drone over such a chimney the very least you should do is fly over it in a precise manner so that you get a shot right down inside the chimney, not just a slightly skewed view of it).
Anyway, that being said, the rest of the documentary was flawless. The many contributors added insight to Hughes’ life, and Frieda Hughes‘ decision to speak about her parents’ relationship for the first time in public was somewhat moving, and needs no further comment as enough has been said over the years – Ms. Hughes should be able to have her say at last without critics picking her, or her words, apart. So, for those with an interest in Ted Hughes and/or Sylvia Plath’s works, and/or poetry in general, this documentary is a must – but be warned: drone cameras in use.