Inside Obama's White House - Real life will always Trump politics
These days, as Donald Trump careers around America like a dyspeptic Oompa Loompa, it is easy to forget there is an actual President still doing actual governing in the actual White House.
It is a curious phenomenon in American politics that a President only starts governing two months after winning the election, and stops about nine months before the next election campaign – effectively losing a year.
That makes the first 100 days of any presidency particularly crucial, laying down a marker for the years to come.
As Inside Obama’s White House (BBC2, Tuesdays, 9pm) revealed, a president may go into his term with the best of intentions, but they quickly become mired in backbiting, compromise and deal-making – what we West Wing devotees might know as pork barrel politics.
The makers had managed to secure interviews with all the major players, Obama included, and it was a revealing portrait of the behind-the-scenes machinations required to pass legislation through both houses of the US Congress.
However, there didn’t seem to be a balancing voice – the Obama administration was clearly seen as the good guys, with the scheming Republicans the obstructive baddies – but the Democrats undoubtedly made mistakes in their first 100 days, mistakes which were glossed over or ignored.
Still, if Trump makes it to the Oval Office, I think we should expect fireworks.
Away from the artifice of American politics, I stumbled across a slice of real life.
This Farming Life (BBC2, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7pm) looks at farmers across Scotland as they struggle with money worries, the landscape and the weather.
It sounds dull as the farm’s ditchwater, but Monday’s episode, in which farmer Martin Irvine struggled to save a newborn calf had everything – drama, humour, heart-stopping emotion.
The desperation of the farmers to save the calf – which was vital in both emotional and financial terms – was one of the most gripping pieces of television I’ve seen so far this year.