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After last week’s iffy Suchet-on-Marple affair, the awkwardness of ITV’s ‘Perspectives’ strand once again reasserts itself. As if the story of the Ovitz family – a septet of Jewish dwarfs who, astoundingly, survived (and even capitalised upon) the death-camp attentions of Dr Mengele to live long lives – wasn’t enough on its own, we have to endure a celebrity host and a hopelessly unsuitable narrative hook conflating fairytale and reality. As amiable as Davis is, his fame proves a distraction, and the middle-distance gazing and ham-fisted attempts at empathy occasionally excruciating.
It’s not Davis’s fault (he’s required to spout lines such as ‘it was the 1930s and dwarfs were everywhere’), but you can’t help wondering if some stories should be allowed to speak for themselves. Ultimately, it’s testament to the Ovitz family’s formidable instinct for survival (recalled in an interview with the youngest Ovitz from 1999, used extensively and effectively) that this still grips as much as it does.