Griff Rhys Jones' television series 'Greatest Cities of the World'. For those who have not seen it, Rhys Jones spends a notional 24 hours in a number of great world cities where he goes through various slightly off centre local experiences which are off the tourist trail.
The first four cities visited - New York, London, Paris and Rome - were self evidently 'great' and when I heard that the next city was to be my home city of Sydney I was both surprised and delighted. The program was screened in Sydney tonight and was, frankly, embarrassing. Certainly, Sydney and its harbour glistening in brilliant sunshine looked magnificent, as they always do, and a peek at some of the older convict era residential areas, workers on the arch of the bridge and the Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club were all interestingly quirky.
Where Sydney looked awful in comparison with its television predecessors was in the night-time selection. These were in turn;
- a suburban rugby league match,
- a meat raffle at a RSL Club before crocheting and bored spectators, and
- the rescue of an owl from the womens dormitory at Sydney University.
Well, I suppose the last of these was quirky but, boy, these would scarcely have you placing Sydney at the head of your must see list.
Most embarrassing of all was Rhys Jones' commentary which repeatedly made reference to Sydney's aspirations to greatness. There were no such references in the episodes for the preceding cities; the question of 'greatness' not being an issue for them. In fact I wasn't certain whether it was Sydney that had the aspiration or Rhys Jones' attempt to justify his selection of the city for the series.
I'm Sydney born and bred and very proud of our city which in many ways is wonderful but - weather and water aspects aside - I don't think Rhys Jones had us looking 'great' tonight.