10 June 2012 4:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Welcome to the weird – but rather wonderful – world of talking with your hand up a puppet

That's an awkward title, isn't it? Nina Conti – A Ventriloquist's Story: Her Master's Voice (BBC4, Sunday). Too long, too many parts to it, very hard to include in any sentence. In some ways it's an awkward film, too. And self-indulgent, luvvie-duvvie, rambling, a bit weird. It's also – also weirdly – touching, brave, honest, imaginative, self-aware, hilarious.

Conti became a ventriloquist after her mentor and lover, Ken Campbell, the maverick theatre person and "truffle pig for other people's talents", snorted out this old-fashioned and unfashionable stagecraft for her. It could have been worse, I suppose; she could have got juggling. When Campbell died, he left Conti his collection of dolls (including one of him). She's been doing it for 10 years, and is now having doubts about whether to continue or not.

Thing is, even though it may be unfashionable (she's right, »

- Sam Wollaston

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