Ros Na Run mentioned Recession last week, so who will follow; Fair City, Corrie or Enders? The fitted kitchen guy in Corrie sits in a van and says – things are tight. Hustle mentioned it and C4 have slashed one in five jobs as reality bites. Things are so dodgy at BBC that a contestant from Dragon’s Den has a 4 episode series Caribbean Food Made Easy, about his Reggae Sauce. Griff Rhys Jones, after his Three Men In A Boat programmes, is to feature in five River Journeys as he explores British waterways, as a follow-up to his Mountain series. Should the Beeb be worried that a repeat of Dad’s Army got better ratings than apparitions or Hairy Bakers or Little Dorrit at one point.
Take away all the Union Jack flag waving and Your Country Needs You with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber is not just a song for Europe but another wannabe show, where the great British public get to chose the act and then Sir Andrew will write the magic bullet song. High risk you might think, but consider the BBC find something for Graham Norton to do like replacing Terry Wogan at Eurosong and the Sir gets a new crew of auditionees for his many shows running all over the world. On initial looking, the choice didn’t look all that attractive but I liked the buzz factor of two girl-twins and a classy (too classy) black close-harmony group. Sir Andrew even went to Russia to meet Putin and seek support and publicity and he met a cross-section of Euro-fans. At least the Brits have some plan not like our turkey from last year. What next – Podge And Rodge?
Unless I am very much mistaken, the new ITV, Saturday night series, Demons is a flop. What is Philip Glenister doing in this Primeval meets Doctor Who about an American in UK who is a demon-hunter who wants ghouls with funny noses. On the first episode, it does seem that someone has lost the plot unless they intend to fill the Buffy/Angel vacuum with the good looking relative of Van Helsing (cue, weird gun) and two young and gorgeous girls as well. This is Capt. Jack Harkness with a Jack or Men In Black without Wilol Smith.
It was all slow pace, gentlemen on horseback opening hotels as well as the usual snobs in bonnets as Lark Rise To Candleford eased itself back into the mainstream of sleepy feelgood Sunday viewing with a favourite cast in gaiters and garters to reassure that all is well in the big bad world and with a single silver truppeny piece you could change the world. Nice guff to start the new year with before UTV hit you with a Lynda La Plante serial shocker, Above Suspicion, with Ciaran Hinds as the tough but fatherly top cop and a new star in the female cop stakes, Kelly Rielly as DC Anna Travis, all youth, freckles and innocence. Is she going to be the next Jane Tennison? John Savident, ex-Corrie, was great in a cameo (I say a Cameo) as a washed up wheel-chair confined bent copper. Ex-Heartbeat heart-throb Jason Durr was the character possibly above suspicion etc.
For a moment you could confuse tv programmes about the awful things happening in the Gaza Strip with a singularly sad programme on C4 about Gazza the footballer who once amazed millions. Now he is a confused angry alcoholic still playing his wife off against his three kids in a cruel abusive way. I had a lot of sympathy for his ex-wife, Sheryl, who stood by him for the deluded sake of their three children. Coming out of rehab for his addictions, he partied off with Iron Maiden, the rock heavy-metal band. Even this mega-mayhem band phoned his ex-wife to say Gazza worried them. The title was Saving Gazza but perhaps it should have been called surviving Gazza. Sometimes you have to let a loved one go and self-destruct for your own well-being and survival.
Hurrah, Mickey Bricks or Michael Stone, is back on BBC1 and the scripters keep turning out great situations and this opener where you meet the remains of the old team and put some new ones, is slow but clever. And it has a twist in the tail to keep you on your toes. Thy also have snappy dialogue about recession, credit crunches and dodgy banks.
In this series opener, Comedian Bill Bailey does a visual turn as an egg and chip guzzling down-and-out and the new leggy lady is Kelly Adams from the Kylie Minogue lookalike club.
BBC1 must be worried that the kids in their hit-comedy, My Family, will soon need dentures, not a dentist dad. They have launched a new younger family series, Life Of Riley, with Caroline Quintin as a muddled mummy into her second marriage with kids from both sides of the mix. Pity is, the opening shot was a flat pack variation on the pregnancy test kit. Me? I was confused as to who was the father of the baby she kept mislaying. Still Quintin is a ratings getter, if not a laugh-out-loud-comic.