A six part series presented by climate adventurer Bernice Notenboom who travels around the world from the Greenland Ice-sheet to Africa, The Himalayas, The High Arctic, Oceania and The Amazon Rainforest.
Runtime: 60 minutes
The Tipping Points - Tipping the Velvet - Netflix
For the TV serial based on the novel, see Tipping the Velvet (TV serial) Tipping the Velvet is a historical novel published as Sarah Waters' debut novel in 1998. Set in England during the 1890s, it tells a coming of age story about a young woman named Nan who falls in love with a male impersonator, follows her to London, and finds various ways to support herself as she journeys through the city. The picaresque plot elements have prompted scholars and reviewers to compare it to similar British urban adventure stories written by Charles Dickens and Daniel Defoe. The novel has pervasive lesbian themes, concentrating on eroticism and self-discovery. Waters was working on a PhD dissertation in English literature when she decided to write a story she would like to read. Employing her love for the variety of people and districts in London, she consciously chose an urban setting. As opposed to previous lesbian-themed fiction she had read where the characters escape an oppressive society to live apart from it, Waters chose characters who interact with their surroundings. She has acknowledged that the book imagines a lesbian presence and history in Victorian London where none was recorded. The main character's experiences in the theatrical profession and her perpetual motion through the city allow her to make observations on social conditions while exploring the issues of gender, sexism, and class difference. As Waters' debut novel, Tipping the Velvet was highly acclaimed and was chosen by The New York Times and The Library Journal as one of the best books of 1998. Waters followed it with two other novels set in the Victorian era, both of which were also well received. Reviewers have offered the most praise for Tipping the Velvet's use of humour, adventure, and sexual explicitness. The novel was adapted into a somewhat controversial three-part series of the same name produced and broadcast by the BBC in 2002 and a stage play in 2015.
The Tipping Points - Sexuality - Netflix
Sexuality and sexual identity is the most prevalent theme in the novel. The title is an obscure Victorian pornographic slang reference to cunnilingus. Nick Rennison in Contemporary British Authors characterises Tipping the Velvet as an “unabashed and unapologetic celebration of lesbian eroticism and sexual diversity”. Donna Allegra writes with appreciation of how the existence of Waters' characters in a heterosexual existence forces an analysis of closeted positions. The sexism of the period puts a stranglehold on women, forcing readers to compare women in the Victorian era with present-day sexual attitudes. Nan never has difficulty accepting her love for Kitty Butler and other women; Kitty's union with Walter, however, “reeks of lesbophobia”, according to Allegra. Music halls could be rough in some areas, but Kitty is shown handling drunken and rowdy audiences with humour and grace. The only instance where she is overcome and flees the stage is when a drunken patron shouts a euphemism for a lesbian at her. This episode leads to the final scene of Part I when Nan stumbles upon Kitty and Walter in bed. Kitty does not display any pleasure in their union, but rather complacence tinged with shame. Allegra compares Kitty's desire for normality overshadowing her desire for love with Nan to “compulsory heterosexuality ... emblematic of and particular to lesbian existence”. Scholar Paulina Palmer asserts that Waters, in Tipping the Velvet and her two following novels also set in the Victorian era—Affinity and Fingersmith—is establishing a literary tradition that has not existed: “Women engaging in same-sex relationships in the Victorian era were on the whole invisible and we have little knowledge of their literary interests.” Waters, however, acknowledges that accuracy about lesbian life in the Victorian era is not her primary goal: “My purpose was not to be authentic, but to imagine a history that we can’t really recover.” Short bursts of lesbian-themed literary activity occurred in 1920s with authors such as Natalie Clifford Barney and Djuna Barnes. Another surge of activity published as lesbian pulp fiction occurred in the 1950s and early 1960s, during which several notable lesbian authors such as Ann Bannon and Valerie Taylor helped to establish lesbian literary identity. These fictions helped to inform readers about the lives and cultural landmarks of lesbians when very little information existed. Waters states that she is not on a deliberate crusade to write about lesbians, but that it is a reflection of what she knows: “Lesbianism is at the top of the agenda for my books because it's at the top of the agenda for my life. It would be bizarre not to write about it.” In 2009, as she reflected on her reasons for writing Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith, Waters said she was searching for her own identity as a lesbian writer. Among Waters' Victorian-set novels, depictions of sexual encounters are also, according to Palmer, the most vivid in Tipping the Velvet. A review in The Advocate calls the book “riotously sexy”, and The Seattle Times suggests the scene where Nan shows Kitty how to open and eat an oyster is evocative of Tom Jones. This follows a marked difference in recently written fiction by and for lesbians. Frank depictions of lesbian sexuality specifically penned by women have been quieted by censorship that equated lesbian sex with aberrant mental behaviour, or employed it as an erotic element controlled by, and for the benefit of, men. Lesbian literary scholar Bonnie Zimmerman writes, “Lesbians have been reticent and uncomfortable about sexual writing in part because we wish to reject the patriarchal stereotype of the lesbian as a voracious sexual vampire who spends all her time in bed. It is safer to be a lesbian if sex is kept in the closet or under the covers. We don’t wish to give the world another stick with which to beat us.”
The Tipping Points - References - Netflix