Gareth Goes to Glyndebourne – shown on BBC2 last night; the first of three programmes about the making of the Glyndebourne opera from Nicky Singer’s novel Knight Crew – is a feel-good production focusing exclusively on Gareth Malone’s heroic task of transforming a bunch of unlikely teenagers ‘who wouldn’t normally be seen dead going to an opera, let alone singing in one’ (as the Guardian puts it) into an opera chorus of professional standard.
He’s a good man. But in making this the Gareth Malone show, a lot gets left out. We see the delight of those who get through the auditions; we don’t see the disappointment of those who don’t. Nor do we learn anything about the novel on which this whole project was based, let alone the extraordinary individual stories of the people Nicky Singer met while writing the book.
Still, the book’s there, isn’t it, for anyone following the TV programme who is curious enough to look for it? And there’ll be a few of those. According to Digital Spy, who track ratings, 1.82 million people watched last night’s programme; which is not bad for a World Cup night on which other programmes included a documentary on Tiger Woods (1.21 million) and one of the Pirates of the Caribbean films (1.07 million). The Arts Desk review of the programme even includes a helpful link to the book on Amazon.
Follow that link and you get to a page telling you the book is ‘out of stock’. (Same message on the page for the Marjorie Ann Watts book.) What is Amazon for?
Buy the book from the CBe website. Write Not Amazon in the instructions-to-merchant box on the PayPal ‘review your payment’ page and I’ll make a refund so you get it at the same price as Amazon charge, if ever they can be bothered to stock it.