What looks like an attempt by the BBC to capitalize in a sensational “extreme bodies” way on a person’s physical condition, turns out to be one of those extraordinary stories of everyday lives.
That Jasmine, the star of this documentary series, is a 17-year-old who is only the height of an eight-year-old, has very little bearing on quite how compelling this rather lovely show is. The narrative has so many elements: an empty nest, battles with illness, addiction, lost love and sacrifice.
Most moving is the tale of her dad. Once a handsome charismatic figure but also a drug addict, he was dumped by her mother, also of restricted growth, not long after Jasmine was born.
In the course of the series Jasmine decides to track him down, only to find that after years of living on the streets he has cleaned up and is now on a methadone plan.
Jasmine sees it as fate that he has come into her life at this time. Otherwise, with her mum struggling back home with illness and constant worry, she might have had to give up the animal welfare course that has her living her dream – but, as it is, dad steps in to help.
This documentary is all the more charming because of the footage her granddad has taken of all periods of her life.
There’s even a shot of her mum on the birthing bed, rubbing her small but rounded tummy and declaring, “No stretch marks”. It’s a pleasure to see a bunch of people who appear to so genuinely care for each other.
Scotland’s Amazing Comic Book Heroes
BBC 2, 10pm
There are a whole load of real-life comic book heroes in this show, including Mark Millar, one of the biggest comic writers in the world and a Scot. The real thrill of this documentary is not so much his input, rather the quirky historical details like the fact that the first comic in the world was the Glasgow Looking Glass of 1825 or that DC Thomson’s The Amazing Mr X was a superhero who jumped between sandstone tenements rather than giant skyscrapers.
What’s charming about James Fox’s history of 20th-century painting is that it is so celebratory. The painters he talks about, the likes of Wyndham Lewis and David Bomberg, British artists of the period around the First World War, are hardly the most talked about. But there are no comparisons between our guys and the much vaunted French modernists.