This is a proper show: a ring full of sawdust, sparkle, plate-spinning clowns, horses and ponies trotting with dogs on their backs – and then, in case such earthbound glories aren’t enough, high, high above, sequinned trapeze artists wink and glitter, and high-wire acts lace the air.
We go behind the scenes. “Lotta shit for a Shetland,” grins Amanda Sandow, glittering artist by night and horse trainer by day, now tracksuit-clad and shovelling away gamely to clear the boxes of equine effluvia. The big top takes eight hours of hard labour to put up, and the generators go off at midnight to save fuel.
The Circus, ITV1′s new documentary series, is a gentle and gently melancholy look at Paulo’s Circus, one of the few remaining traditional setups left in the country – if not, it appears, for terribly much longer. Kenny Darnell is the paterfamilias. His family have owned Paulo’s for around 200 years. He has three sons. Kenny Jr is married to trapeze artist Teodora (Teddy) and does the wheel of death act. “He was always a climber,” explains his mother, who hasn’t been able to watch his act since he fell 30ft and smashed his leg to bits aged 14. Patrick, AKA Patchy the clown, is 18 and delighted with the way life has worked out. “I get paid to be me! What could be better?” They had to let him sleep in his clown clothes when he was little, says Mum. And Leigh is the ringmaster, but always had his nose in books as a child. Now he is engaged to a veterinary nurse and dreams – literally – of being a security guard.
But audiences and takings are down every year. Kenny Jr and Leigh are beginning to pull away; by the end of the episode, Leigh has found the courage to tell his father that he will probably only give it another year before he starts a settled life with his fiancee. “I’m not going to stop you from doing whatever you want,” says Kenny Sr. It’s the best he can do as the wink and glitter of the future slowly fades.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
Seit 1996 bin ich freier Mitarbeiter der Salzgitter-Zeitung, als Experte für das Geschehen im hiesigen Kreisfußball. Daneben sind meine Kolumnen seit 2005 fester Bestandteil im Lokalteil der Salzgitter-Zeitung. Zusammen mit Frau und Tochter sowie zwei gefräßigen wie faulen Stubentigern versuche ich das zu meistern, was das Leben, das Universum und der ganze Rest an Absurditäten für uns bereithalten.