Monroe doctoring

Andrew Billen (The Back Half, 19 June) was right to cast a sceptical eye on Marilyn Monroe, the first of four programmes in ITV's The Final Day series; it was a happy contrast to Nicola Upson's complete lack of scepticism in her review of Donald H Wolfe's book on Monroe (13 September 1999). Wolfe was one of the many ignoramuses in ITV's "crockumentary" (a documentary rendered immobile by lack of brain parts?). In it, he says: "Marilyn knew of the satellite surveillance system over Cuba"; none existed in Monroe's lifetime.

The title sequence of the series comprises still photographs of the four subjects. Monroe is in the billowing Seven Year Itch dress, and her substantial 1950s knickers have been airbrushed out. ITV prefers bare buttocks to the real thing.

Michael Meadmore
London W12

This article first appeared in the 17 July 2000 issue of the New Statesman, Special Report - Lost souls in the city in the sky