Why do newspapers and weather people call the current awful conditions a snap? As if it would be over in a day or so. Now it looks like a longer process and the Government’s Curly, Brian and Moe have appointed the Green Clone to ration out the salt, so his solution is green waffle and mix in more sand. He won’t be advising us to use more sea sand as that would no doubt damage the environment. They appear on news programmes and tell us we must prioritise but they don’t do much prior work themselves. Snap!
Someone must be dancing for joy in tv land as ITV prepare to bring back a ratings winning Dancing On Ice, this week and BBC1 have a great Saturday slot with the UK version of the American smash hit. So You Think You Can Dance? Its tough stuff as one hundred who passed the initial auditions were whittled down to 14 in once action packed snow slot.
Great judges with the return of Old Popstars Nasty Nigel Lythgoe himself a choreographer of past fame and he is as cutting as Simon Cowell. He is joined by Arelene Phillips, the choreographer who was controversially axed from Strictly Come Dancing. There will also be a guest panellist but Nigel and Arlene call the shots.
You can feel the adrenaline rush as these talented wannabes have to quickly learn a range of styles and techniques. The hip-hoppers who look great as individuals don’t seem to rate as partners or in teams. But this is fun stuff with a hard edge.
Even SKY1 have the dance bug, with Davina McCall hosting another wannabe dance show – Got To Dance. It’s a younger panel and its got XFactor glitzy settings and lots of flash bling wallop with tears and more tears but the energy is great.
Kenneth Brannagh is back on BBC1 for a short second series of the Swedish policeman Kurt Wallander. His version is so rumpled, dishevelled and bleary-eyed you’d wonder how he sees the clues in dense story plots. The acting is moody and magnificent with lots of almost still shots in chairs or in cars. David Warner is also brilliant as his dementia-prone father. Despite all the top class acting, I don’t get much of a sense of Sweden and must admit that I prefer the Swedish subtitled series that goes out on BBC4. Brannagh goes in for the big close-up and the big gesture loaded with symbolism and I think the original is grittier and more down-at-heel.
UTV/ITV have banished the Christmas lull with the return of two biggies, Poirot and Miss Marple and once again there is a new Marple, with fine actress Julia McKenzie as the old dear. Funny, but on digital channels, at the moment there are two other Marples on view. Actors in the role don’t have a lot to do and both franchises seem outdated now.
The opening Marple was packed with big names and it was posh and boring and I lost interest quickly.
Poirot is the same, with a very theatrical return, set on a stage where the episode title Three Act Tragedy gave the plot away too quickly. Good but it’s boring on the little fat low-attention span cells.
The suits are getting razor snazzy and the plots still find a way to impress as Hustle back for a sixth run boosts the BBC1 ratings with an opening episode that sizzles with sexy static as a new copper – a sultry Indira Varma oozes passion, poison and promise to add a new sparkle, a new zip to what seemed a tired formula. Pity Poirot or Marple don’t have any scope for sexy shakedowns and in the words of the immortal words of the Banker – she can shake me down anytime. Robert Vaughn as Stroller is just brilliant. Tony Jordan wrote the wonderful script, a far cry from his EastEnder potboilers.
Rody Keighery of Waterford was the final auction point for the two contestants on the opening show, the return of The Dealers. Nice, pleasant type of home produced RTE1 show, with a message that people do get carried away at auction and pay over the odds for the oddest of items. Money was tight and the only spendthrifts were the contestants who ventured the programme’s money, not their own.
Crime is like a cliché, with UTV running a Lynda La Plante three-parter, Above Suspicion and despite a top class actor like Ciaran Hinds, this was one part too long. Yes it opened well and up to La Plante’s usual form but the mid-plotting was dull and the young female cop had to have an affair with the dodgy journalist, who found the files in her bedroom, as no doubt you would in these style shows. Hey I’m a smarmy copper, let me take home a key file with all the info. Ah come on folks. Then the older copper is kissed by the younger copper – role on the next three-parter.
The main channels brought out their biggest guns to send a salvo for the New Year and part of the BBC1 attack was the thirteenth series of Silent Witness, the death, body parts and forensic show CSI for Brits and it has gone through a lot of changes since its inception. In a way it has used up a lot of plotlines with its three central characters. Apart from the realistic body parts examinations, the show struggles to be more original and the various jobbing script writers don’t help the character variations. Still the trio are easy on the eye and the step by step forensics keep you interested as well as the occasional inappropriate romp under other sheets.