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Maureen Lipman: If Memory Serves Me Right

Maureen Lipman: If Memory Serves Me Right

Thu Apr 18, 9-10pm, BBC1

By Gabriel Tate
To what extent do our memories determine our identity? Having watched her father’s decline after losing his short-term memory, Maureen Lipman is concerned that the same fate may befall her: can she prevent it? A sombre opening couple of minutes imply that this could be a pretty heartwrenching documentary, but then Dean Martin kicks in with ‘Memories Are Made of This’ and we can all relax.

Just like Victoria Wood last week, Maureen Lipman is a safe pair of hands for this sort of thing, and her enquiries into the brain from childhood through to old age prove engaging and enlightening. Michael Mosley pops up with some advice (it’s all about visualisation), Paul McKenna gets a lengthy plug for his own brand of mind manipulation and Larry Lamb takes on Lipman in a few memory feats.

But there are also more sober illustrations of ‘the brute strength of a memory’, as survivors of 7/7 and army service in 1970s Northern Ireland movingly describe struggling with their demons ever since. Pop science at its most palatable.

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