There is always a deadline difficulty in writing about reality tv in advance of public votes, but let’s presume that the Grimes Twins survive and there seems to be big money riding on that scenario. Already this series is bringing in an average of 11 million viewers as against 9.2 million last series. One recent show topped 15 million and had over 31 million web hits.

If this frenzy continues up to the 13th December finale, possibly with those twins, ITV can make close to £20 Million with 20 million viewers and 30-second advert slots selling at £150,000 a piece. Britain’s Got Talent topped 19 million viewers for its finale and £100,000 an advert slot.

Watch this space folks.

Law Tales

Andrew Buchan seems to be the BBC hunk of the month in the new series of wigs and gowns – Garrow’s Law: Tales From The Old Bailey. He had a smaller part in Cranford and he was all tense and moody as the State killer in ITV’s The Fixer. Pundits predict he could be a Bond in ten years time. Garrow’s Law is penned by Tony Marchant and looks at the 18th century, before defendents were allowed legal representation in court. But this is no dry history lesson, with a top drawer cast and a female interest played by Lyndsay Marshall, who is Lady Somebody who takes a shine to the bit-of-rough barrister Garrow. Buchan doesn’t impress me but this short series has lots of stellar names like Alun Armstrong, Rupert Graves, Aidan McArdle, Julie Hale and David Barrass

Island Tales

Hard to believe but the BBC series An Island Parish is now into its fourth series since 2007, with increased viewer interest. I love the homely way it features people on the isolated Isles Of Scilly. At the end of series three, some of the more influential Methodist community voted to renew his contract. This is a curious but democratic aspect of Methodism. Many of the islanders were shocked by this decision and we saw the Rev. David get ready to finish out his ministry and seek a new parish on the mainland. So far, the viewer gets to see the loves and deaths on the island and it is great to see the vet Heike, who arrived in series two, now about to wed in this series. The series has done wonders for the precarious tourism season and surely RTE could do a similar series about an Irish island? 

Brendan Gleeson

It is one of the vagaries of television that Albert Finney played Winston Churchill in The Gathering Storm, but it is Ireland’s Brendan Gleeson who took on the old bear in the follow-up. Both won Emmy Awards. Gleeson looked taller but his huge presence was so impressive in a show that, despite its big names support cast, was a bit boring and so very very worthy. Iain Glenn was a ramrod King George VI and I loved the scene when Churchill was unceremoniously voted out in 1945 and the King offered him a Knight Of The Garter. Churchill replied it would not seem proper after the British people had given him The Order Of The Boot! What a contradiction, and a salutary lesson for politicians as to their usefulness on a continuing basis.

Would I have watched it, if Gleeson wasn’t in it? I doubt it.


News At Ten on ITV is undergoing a facelift and for some reason, best known to programme planners, they decided to get rid of the visual image of Big Ben but not drop the familiar bongs of the clock. Insiders said the clock face might be alienating to viewers not familiar with London and they didn’t want the news to be London-centric. But there will be an almost recognisable clock face in the studio. Go figure.

Black Holes

Now that television has practically given over midweek primetime to soccer, or not competing with soccer, you get oddities cropping up like BBC2’s Are You Afraid Of Black Holes? It turns out to be a science, maths and astronomy programme about the theory that the galaxies are racing away from some Big Bang and that stars, who are billions of light years away and are a million times bigger than the sun, that is a million times bigger than earth and the mind does a loop-de-loop. Wayne Rooney doesn’t have it this hard to score a goal.

Apparently, these very bright and very distant stars explode long before we see them and leave a black hole that we cannot really see, but astronomers say is there. Yadda yadda yadda. Who cares? Man United drew and went on to another midweek clash.


Bck on BBC1 is the eighth series of that curiously British spies and explosions series, Apooks. You may remember at the end of last series, Harry was captured by the bad guys looking for a stash of uranium. We took up where we left off as the vicar said, with Harry at the mercy of dark forces. Not an explosion in sight, as we got re-familiar with the spies in suits and leather jackets. Hermione Norris is as frosty and deadly as before. Sure, the storylines are posh tosh but they do it with old fashioned Avengers style. Even at its hairiest, the cast behave like To The Manor Born.