A new series of six 1-hour programmes about the London Underground has started on BBC2. In the first episode they showed some of the worst features of passenger behaviour at night and weekends, contrasted with the cheerful maintenance men at Ruislip depot and the engineers working frantically over a weekend to replace a section of track at Harrow. This last segment had a special meaning for me since I travel over that piece of track every time I go into London. It's reassuring to hear the crew reckon it should be good for another 40 years use.
It was also revealing to see the pressures on the staff at Leicester Square, trying to sort things out after a stabbing and a woman flung onto the track (not electrocuted or hit by a train, fortunately) and faced instantly with huge numbers of people unable to travel as planned. The police decided to close the station but it was the staff who had to explain it to the throngs milling about outside.
The funniest piece was on the sleepers on the last train to Morden - passengers who had dropped off on their way to somewhere else and who were woken (very gently, or was that due to the presence of the cameras?) and informed that they were now miles from anywhere and the pleasures of the night buses were awaiting them. This is so regular an occurrence that a standard routine has evolved for those who refuse to wake up - you move their luggage a little and they automatically stagger after it.
This looks like a well-made and balanced programme and I look forward to learning more.