Incarceration is almost as popular a topic as childbirth for TV these days. With ‘Prisoners’ Wives’ just finished and ‘Soldiers Behind Bars’ airing last week on C5, ‘The Prisoners’ is another series to favour personal tales over in-depth analysis, to considerable effect.
Louise Malkinson’s three-part documentary begins in Holloway women’s prison, where Emma, Crystal and Jayde are regular inmates stuck in cycles of addiction, low self-esteem and re-offending. On their release, all three talk a good game about not wanting to return, but the temptations and dangers of life on the outside prove overwhelming. Prison may offer a relatively safe haven for these women, but it’s self-evidently no holiday camp either.
While it’s frustrating that the obvious systemic failures allowing these women to reoffend are largely left unremarked upon, perhaps such scrutiny is best left to another series altogether. But, as a depressing litany of narratives on human frailty offering the flipside of the standard TV arc of redemption, this is exceptional documentary-making.
Salt Yard, Dehesa, Opera Tavern: three of London’s most enjoyable new-style tapas bars, and they’re all run by the same young company. Ember Yard is the fourth in this growing chain, and builds on the strengths of its forebears, using Italian as well as Spanish dishes and techniques as their inspiration. What sets Ember Yard apart from its siblings is an even greater emphasis on the grill. If you’ve eaten in a charcoal grill restaurant in the Basque country – or even in a Turkish grill in Dalston – Ember Yard should feel oddly familiar, especially if you’re sitting near the glowing coals. There’s a mixture of bar stools, high counters, dining tables and banquettes on the ground floor; the basement has more of the same but with even more emphasis on the list of house cocktails, and a well-chosen selection of wines by the glass, or even bigger selection by the bottle. The bar snacks are among the best in Soho. Smoked chorizo oozed flavour, and was served hot with a smooth saffron alioli. Chips are cooked in pork fat, and arrived perfectly crisp. Cheese and charcuterie platters are divided into Spanish or Italian. Every tapas flavour combination was a winner. Tender octopus was coated in a peperonata sauce, served with a green squirt of the garlic and coriander mayonnaise called mojo verde alioli. Ibérico pork ribs were grilled to melting softness, the flavours of the quince glaze and smear of celeriac purée melding into the warm fat. If we have any caveats at all about the m
Venue says: “Looking for a late-night dinner spot or a quick and delicious post-theatre meal? Our kitchen is open until midnight Thursday-Saturday!”