The UTV/ITV hype for their new doctors in suits, Harley Street, would have you believe this is the glossiest series since Footballers’ Wives with soap stars and ex-sudsers. Apart from Doc Martin and the short lived/forgotten Sweet medicine, there has been a gap there since Peak Practice peaked and pooped in 2002. So, now we get Suranne Jones as a lip-glossed but business-like boss of Harley Street private practice, with Paul Nicholls, a randy doctor with a conscience, who works in the NHS, so we will get the operations tension and in the posh shop as sex in a suit and stethoscope. Old Doc James Fox accuses Nicholls character of being a classic leg-over artist and slyly grins that all the pretty girls forget their knickers for a man with a stethoscope. Post docs don’t say big stethoscope.
There is also a black doctor with a suitcase full of botox and a dodgy conscience and Leslie Phillips from Carry-On (past the grave) did a cameo in the second episode. Nicholls is more buffed and matt finished than Jones and Nicholls character has sex in a wine bar and his consulting room. Will it run as long as Peak Practice? Probably not, but it will be lipglossy fun like Footballers’ Wives and Hotel Babylon.
The man in the hat, Paddy O’Gorman, in his new programme O’Gorman’s Summer, had a gentle gem of a programme when he visited the grave of Joe Dolan for RTE 1. It is wonderful, the easy way that Paddy manages to get people to speak so intimately about their lives. A brother of Joe Dolan, Paddy, spoke about visiting the grave everyday just to talk to Joe. A Chinese woman sang a Buddist song of peace to Joe, and it was a sad sort of wonderful moment. O’Gorman also spoke to other people about their families and the custom of annual graveyard Sundays. This was good television.
The popular BBC2 series, Dragon’s Den, returned with some weird items like a pillow to rest against a window, a bedsheet with a dividing line – a layline – down the middle. But one Dragon invested STG£75,000 in a pop group called Hamfatter – a theatrical term meaning third rate or worse. The band are trying to control their future recording career by using a Dragon to go where a reputable record company would not. Could it work? Do self-produced records work? Consider two Waterford projects; Liam Merriman, who went to Nashville to make his cd or Shane Barry, of Shane and the Distractions, who is soon to release his self-produced cd. Can ambition pay for itself? Must you make your own luck?
The new BBC2 mini-series about Big Oil and global issues, Burn Up, is a real hotch potch of good guys and bad guys in a glossy Big Oil suits versus ethnic Inuits who care about Life and Values. Stephen Segal has done this stuff much better, then again, Michael Caine was his baddie. What Spooks good looker in a suit, Rupert Penry-Jones, is doing in it, I don’t understand except that Anglo-Canadian producers love his posh accent. However, it’s great to see Bradley Whitford from The Wet Wing as Mack, a baddie with a scary crew-cut, who thinks that the melting of the polar ice-cap will be good for shipping business. But it gets funnier when a carbon dioxide emissions protester douses herself in petrol to burn in a black cloud. Oh and there’s a bit about solar panels saving the world as well.
Over 450 nominees were announced in Los Angeles for the 60th anniversary Emmy TV Awards. Mad Men shown on BBC4 got 16 nominations for its sex and cigarettes story about 1960s admen in New York. Glenn Close got a best actress nomination for Damages, the legal and dodgy show. 30 Rock on TV3 got 17 nominations. Fifty years ago cowboy shows dominated these awards, now it’s office politics or water-color shows as they call them in America. Dexter, the good-guy serial killer, got a best show nomination as well as leading actor Michael C. Hall for best actor. 90 awards will be announced in September with a list of British actors in the running like Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Ricky Gervais, Ashley Jensen, Tom Wilkinson and Hugh Laurie.
Surprise exclusion once again is the Baltimore cop show The Wire. Barrack Obama recently named Omar Little as his favourite character in The Wire, his favourite show. Omar, the gay stick-up man who robs drug dealers for a living, is played by Michael K. Williams. His scar is real as a result of a slashing when he was 25 and knuckle-headed as he describes it. He appeared recently in The Incredible Hulk, and the new Spike Lee war epic, Miracle At St. Anna.
Londoners watch the least tv in Britain – about 3 hours 17 minutes but time shift 41 minutes and watch this stuff on Sunday mornings. Their favourite shows are EastEnders, The Apprentice and Doctor Who.
Heroes is the most recorded show in Scotland and Scotland watches the most arts programmes.
Welsh people watch the most films made-for-tv. Average viewing per day is 2 hours 45 minutes but 43 minutes are time-shifted. Playback or time-shifted programme statistics are relatively new idea showing the increase in DVD recorders, Sky+ and Cable Dodgyboxes.
There are no official stats on Dodgyboxes but their use is growing despite issues of legality and viewing codes.