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Rich Hall: You Can Go to Hell, I’m Going to Texas

Sun Jun 30, 9-10.30pm, BBC4

For Texans, the legend has it, the world divides into two parts. There’s Texas. And then there’s ‘TAFT’ (‘this ain’t fuckin’ Texas’). In another of his entertaining and thought-provoking TV essays, Rich Hall probes this most insular of states.

As always, Hall’s approach is that of the semi-closeted intellectual: an aesthete in hick’s clothing. Tonight’s highlights include a bang-on assessment of JR Ewing who, Hall reckons, embodies the average Texan’s ‘metamorphosis from cowboy to urbanite’ and a wonderfully witty deconstruction of the sexual politics of college football. Hall’s trump card is his partiality. Balance is a sorely overrated quality in factual TV and it’s always refreshing to hear an informed, perceptive and opinionated individual letting rip.

Hall doesn’t seem overly fond of many aspects of Texan culture – the myth-making, sentimentality and occasional hypocrisy are all firmly interrogated – but he’s generous too and entirely engaging throughout.