Grayson Perry: All Man

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Hard Man

Series 1 - Episode 1 Hard Man

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Review

You can count on artist Grayson Perry for television that opens cans of worms -then embroiders them beautifully. His can this time is the “tower of power” that is modern masculinity, starting with the macho world of cage fighters in the North East of England.

“A life-long cissy myself,” says Perry, “I wonder whether the need to be hard is what’s holding men back.” He elaborates on his theme via the Durham Miners’ Gala, where he sees the blessing of banners at the cathedral and finds it “a stirring folk-art requiem for a certain kind of man”.

Fair enough, but there are times when Perry’s take on machismo might seem a bit obvious: men build emotional armour that makes them tough but shuts them off. Except, Perry isn’t a social commentator, remember, he’s an artist, and the works he responds with at the end of the programme remind us he’s a brilliant one.

Summary

Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry is not your typical man. As a frock-wearing, mountain-biking father-of-one, he has a unique perspective of the male psyche. In this three-part documentary, he investigates modern masculinity, beginning with the world of cage-fighting, or mixed-martial arts, in North East England. As a self-described `sissy', he has a problem with machismo, but as he spends time with the fighters, many of his prejudices are overturned - especially as he realises the struggles some of these men have faced in trying to live up to these masculine ideals.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Grayson Perry
Director Neil Crombie
Editor Rupert Houseman
Executive Producer Joe Evans
Documentary