“ UKTV Documentary is a digital television channel broadcasting in the United Kingdom, as part of the UKTV network of channels. The output of the channel is, as the name suggests, entirely documentaries, mainly taken from the BBC archives such as Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man. However, the majority of the channel's programming is abridged by the BBC for commercial timing purposes - a policy that some critics consider hypocritical. „
Star – Iceland
Genre – World Cinema > Drama
Run Time –100 minutes
Certificate – N/R
Country – Iceland
Amazon – £10.99 DVD
Awards – 11Wins & 10 Nominations
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So The Deep, Iceland’s entry for the 2013 Oscars. Iceland is an enigmatic place and full of contradictions and so makes for interesting films. You envisage a land of ice, snow and Inuit’s yet its volcanic and very western European, its banking sector so advanced it may have triggered the banking collapse in the U.K, mainly because it was offering absurd interest rates that attracted many British companies, including county council reserves, triggering ugly diplomatic exchanges between the UK and Reykjavik when the islands financial system collapsed. But The Deep is the true story of a fishing trawler that was dragged down into the icy depths of the Atlantic in the 1980s with just one survivor, Norwegian Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, and against all odds for far longer than he should have, perhaps a suitable metaphor for Iceland’s banking system. This story of survival is bizarre, inexplicable, and true and presumably why we finally got the movie.
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson ... Gulli
Joi Johannsson ... Palli
Stefán Hallur Stefánsson ... Jón
Þröstur Leó Gunnarsson ... Lárus
Björn Thors ... Hannes
Walter Grímsson ... Raggi
Thora Bjorg Helga ... Halla
Guðjón Pedersen ... Erlingur Prófessor
Theodór Júlíusson ... Foreldrar Gulli
María Sigurðardóttir ... Foreldrar Gulli
Stormur J.K. Baltarsarsson ... Batman - Bjarni
Martin Halldórsson ... Spæderman - Gilli
Sindri Árdal Bergsteinssoon ... Gulli (Sem Dreengur)
Ólafur Ingi Sigurðsson ... Palli (Sem Drengur)
Þorsteinn Bachmann ... Prestur
Its autumn 1984 as a storm rages off the coast of Iceland, fisherman wisely cowering in port waiting for a break in the weather, mostly by enjoying wine, women and song. The weather does indeed ease and a fishing boat sets out for Iceland’s Western Islands to bottom trawl for fish and crabs. On board is a chirpy new recruit, young Raggi (Walter Grímsson), ready with the hangover cure for the crew of six, experienced captain (Thora Bjorg Helga) at the helm as the boat chugs out of port into the early morning swell.
At first the catch is poor and so the captain takes more risks as the net snares on the rocks down below. Finally, one snare too many, the winch pulls them over and the boats capsizes, going down in 15 minutes, two crew members dyeing quickly on the boat and so no distress signal sent, two more sinking into the depths from hyperthermia, three more clinging on to wreckage waiting for an unlikely rescue in unsuitable clothing as nights deadly claw closes around them. They know they only have 15 minutes life left in the cold churning water and with the lifeboat rusted in its case they are done for. But one man, the rather chubby Gulli (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson), isn’t as cold as the rest and swims for it, the wreck an impossible ten miles from the shore. A seagull seems to guide him on his way as Gulli makes delirious conversation with the bird as the moon and Northern Lights offer hope.
After 7 hours in the water he washes up conscious on the shore and tells the locals of his wreck. Not surprisingly they are confused how he is still alive after the boat went down so far out and what is so special about this guy to survive impossible odds?
I didn’t know what to make of this from the dust cover and had never heard of the news story. But if the guy should have died in 15 minutes or more in that water then how exactly did he manage to survive 7 hours and swim 10 miles? They actually took him to London and tested him alongside some SAS guys in ice water a month after the sinking and they couldn’t live with him. His metabolism was like no other on the planet. He is not far short of a mutant from the X-Men movies.
The film is effective when it explores the social dynamic of a very ordinary and unattractive young man is the only survivor. This not a handsome and superfit hero that got the girls for his amazing feat. He did nothing to deserve his survival terms other than genetics as he was unfit and poorly dressed for the oil black night and churning oceans. This is fat bloke from down the pub. These are the guys that are supposed to go first it. That’s where the film works. Director Baltasar Kormákur plays on the fact that the very ordinary turns out to be extraordinary and tests the audiences to see is they want him to make it or not. We are not used to that on film.
While filmed on the sea for the first half, the action and atmosphere is powerful, scary and interesting, especially as we don’t know the story. Problem is when it goes ashore for the second half it loses some of its power and our hero loses his importance and our interest. His special survival skills are not so interesting on land so he is just an oddity, like the film at this point. I saw another movie about a trawler going down in Scotland and the new crew member was ostracized from the community and blamed for the disaster for being the Jonah on a settled crew. Trawlermen are very superstitious characters and we didn’t really have any of that community tension here.
I have enjoyed similar films about people in the water with no hope, ‘Adrift’, The Life of Pie and All at Sea with Robert Redford coming to mind, films about you, the viewer, joining the survivor alone at sea with their regrets as they face the end. The survival from impossible odds adrift always makes for compelling drama. But this film doesn’t quite sit in that genre as the dust cover explains his fete and the intrigue comes from the second half of the movie but that part the least interesting. It’s not bad though and any movie set in Iceland is always mesmeric, interesting and atmospheric. The foreboding feel of the first half grips you and the soundtrack powerful layered on top. But its not quite as exciting and gripping as you hoped and perhaps one to wait for on TV.
Imdb.com – 6.7/10.0 (3,345votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 96% critic’s approval
Screen International –‘The film's gorgeous, nearly monochromatic visuals, haunting sounds of nature at its cruelest, and rare, appealingly anti-heroic storyline should entice a large chunk of viewers’.
Globe and Mail –‘Kormakur's film suggests that the enigma of Gulli can somehow be found in his peasant humility, his connections to his community’.
Daily Telegraph –‘[Gulli's] story's pretty remarkable. But this film achieves a real kind of lonely magic when he's bobbing on the waves under the night sky, talking to a gull’.
Iceland Times –‘It's an unexpected but provocative direction by Kormákur, who's placed himself in exactly the right elements to make this masterful film’.
Toronto Star –‘Even knowing the outcome ... doesn't diminish the intensity and awe of watching it recreated in this deftly framed docudrama by prodigious Icelandic auteur Kormakur’.
Radio times –‘A film as uplifting, dramatic and mysterious as the startling events on which it is based’.
The Independent –‘ a film which, much like its unassuming protagonist, conceals the extraordinary deep within the ordinary’.
Sun online –‘A beautiful-looking tale of survival, which is both harrowing and uplifting in equal measure’.
Launched in 2004, UKTV Documentary is a UK digital television channel, and is part of the UKTV network, which also includes UKTV Drama and UKTV Food, amongst others. Prior to its existence the channel UK Horizons fulfilled much the same purpose.
The output of this channel is solely documentaries (hence its name), and most of them are BBC programmes. Much of the programming is abridged in order to fulfil the requirements of commercial broadcasting, and sometimes the position of the adverts really distracts from my concentration when watching the programmes. The person making the decisions about where to put the commercial breaks clearly do not watch the actual programmes as the edits seem quite random at times, and this is one of my criticisms of the whole UKTV network.
UKTV Documentary is available on both the Sky (on channel 532) and Virgin Media (on channel 208)digital platforms. Timeshifted channels are also available, showing the same programmes but an hour later.
Some of my favourite programmes on the channel include:
A programme showing stories about animals and their health, which ran during the mid to late 1990s and into the 2000s.
A programme that explores the coastline of Britain which reminds us that in Britain no-one is ever more than 72 miles from the sea. The question is - why do people not visit it more!!?
This is one of the longest-running documentary programmes in the world, which began in 1964. Unfortunately UKV Documentary doesn't show episodes from the early years of the programme, but it is always an interesting watch.
The award-winning documentary series narrated by David Attenborough, which was described by one of its producers as being the definitive look at the diversity of our planet. This is an absolutely fascinating series which I watch over and over again.
POLE TO POLE
Michael Palin's early 1990s travel show is one of the better ones, and shows him travelling from the North Pole to the South Pole. I like all of Palin's travel programmes, but this is perhaps my favourite.
Overall, if you can put up with the intrusive adverts then this is definitely a channel to return to again and again.
UK Horizons is available on digital television (Sky and Ondigital). It is basically a channel that shows BBC repeats. (This of course costs less than showing new programmes.) The good thing about these repeats is that they are all documentary style broadcasts. Most of need to be watched more than once before you really absorb them anyway. Michael Palin must have the record for the most repeated documentary programmes on this channel. As soon as a series is finished we start yet another Palin adventure. I do enjoy these broadcasts but I must admit that even I am getting tired of the repeats. It seems as though the BBC, having established a very popular documentary series, then set about 'doing it to death'. Apart from that particular gripe, I don't have much to complain about when it comes to UK Horizons'programming. They show a good variety of documentaries on history, politics, natural phenomena, etc. The best offerings just recently (in my opinion) have been 'Viva las Venice' which was about an American who is trying to recreate a perfect replica of Venice in his Las Vegas casino-hotel, and 'The Tourist Trap' which documents tourists from different nations at their holiday hotels. An excellent channel with lots of variety.
When I got onto Digital I was very impressed by the number of documentry/science channels available and had not realised that this was also that type of channel. I watch thids channel quite a bit now as it has a good mix of entertaining programs and also keeps my grey matter ticking over nicely. I prefer the evning lineup as there are only so many programs on the mating habits of the brazilian toad that you can watch before they all merge into one big orge. The mix of science and fly on the wall that appears here in the evenings is far more to my taste and so this channel gets a look in most nights. I think Discovery has a more varied line up but this isn't bad either
UK Horizons is made up of entirely repeats of BBC docu-soaps and documentaries, such as Animal Hospital, Airport, The Cruise, Pleasure Beach etc. It is OK, and the programmes on it are usually of a high standard, but the problem is that you will probably have seen many of them before. Shows like Top Gear GTI and Tomorrow's World Plus are basically made up of items from the weekly BBC shows stiched together into an hour long programme which is dubbed as "specially made for UK Horizons" which is far from the truth. However, this channel does feature many good repeats of great programmes that if you missed first time around on the BBC are well worth watching.
This channel is pretty cool! It's format is based on entirely the BBC's very good list of fly on the wall documentary programmes over the last 20 years. It has started to import programmes from Australia like 'The Learners' which is an Australian version of Driving School! Yes, the scheduling is a bit pants at times and they tend to repeat the repeats but everyone has a favourite documentary or fly on the wall programme. They are found on this channel! It is not a dedicated tv channel that you would watch all night. You could catch something interesting from about 7pm to 12pm. It is a channel where you would tune in to watch something for 30 mins whilst nothing really exciting was on the main terrestrial channels. We love reliving the great events like Ray on the Camp Clamper; Mr Trebus on the Life of Grime; Michael Palin on his travels around the world; the Boy David getting plastic surgery for the umpteeth time; Marleen on Sylvanian Waters moaning about her family whilst reaching for another fag; Ruby Wax on her look at American culture; Jezza Spake on Airport insulting his passengers; or as recent as this year with all the programmes on Castaway 2000! It is a very enjoyable channel where you are bound to find something to watch which you've seen before and enjoyed. It is highly recommended.
OK, this channel is exclusively devoted to program repeats, but they are of a high enough quality prgrams to want to see them again. A large section of the scheduling on Horizons is filled with 'docusoaps', for example, The Clampers, Back To the Floor, Paddington Green, Soldiers To Be, The Builders, Holiday Reps. All good stuff. The only docusoap they show that I personally wouldn't watch is The Cruise. I didn't like it first time around, (can't stand 'raughty singers, you know pub singers got lucky - Jane Mcthingy)and therefore have no desire to watch any of them again. Apert from this fly on the wall type of program however, you will find on horizins such gems as Ruby Wax's American Pie, Tomorrow's World, Living With The Enemy, Top Gear, ocasionally Modern Times. All good stuff! There are of course one off programs dotted throughout the schedule too. This is the channel we always tune into if there's nothing worth watching elswhere. You can always find something to watch, if not now, then in 30 minutes because most of the programs are half an hour slots. Very convenient. Definitely one of the better satallite channels.
Uk should drop a hint this has no new programmes at all its a repeat channel no a repeat of repeats channel. Don`t get me wrong this channel is smart with some good programmes like the clampers, pleasure beach, michael pailin. With no new programmes they must fill the time up somehow and this shows you can often see the same programmme every week just in a diffrent timeslot. If you like repeats then this is a channel for you I stay clear
UK Horizons offers the best of BBCs documentary output re run all day long. It has no new shows, but a collection of really great old stuff. Classic TV moments like the wildlife shows from David Attenborough are intermingled with entertaining recent shows like The Cruise and Airport. When there is nothing worth watching on the seventy two other available channels I usually find something fascinating on UK Horizons. If you are the kind of person who can lose themselves in a show about Brazilian street children one minute, then South London street cleaners the next then UK Horizons is for you. The only downside is that sometimes they schedule a whole day of one series so you might get eight hours of Airport, which may drive you to murder the first fat camp Russian you see. Whilst UK Horizons is still great my affections have been won over somewhat by the Biography Channel which offers in depth profiles on anybody and everybody, and the Discovery suite of channels offers some superb output. It is available free to air but you will need a basic cable or digital subscription to receive it. Use UK Horizons as a bookmark and spend some time cruising the documentary end of the digital spectrum. You'll find it tough to escape.
Not so long ago, my partner and I were watching this channel quite a bit. Every night there were interesting documentaries or docusoaps. Some of the most interesting being the series about the twins and the docusoap about the womens prison. Now whenever we check whats on it is always 'Michal Palin around the world' and other mediocre crap. Who want's to watch that? Every night? Not me. Bring back those decent programmes UK Horizons so we can once again watch what used to be a great channel.