Taking the fish biscuit
With any show, you are bound to lose a few viewers along the way but when the goalposts move as often as they do in this mystery tale, miss a few episodes and you’ll be totally, erm, lost.
As for new viewers, it must be really difficult to join at this stage but if you are prepared to try it, just bare in mind that you really don’t have to think that you should know everything that’s going on because even those of us who’ve sat through every episode are still perplexed by exactly what’s happening.
The joy of this show is that it’s virtually impossible to predict what’s going to happen next. Indeed if you have been able to spot the twists in the plot before they’ve happened there’s probably something wrong with you.
Sky made the right decision in screening the first two episodes of the show back to back because at least it did give anyone trying the show for the first time something to get their teeth into. What I like about this is that the cliff-hangers are genuine and actually move the story on, though it’s not always clear what the story truly is.
It’s just sad that those without pay TV are missing out here because this is inventive intelligent television at the top of it’s game.
I hope you like jammin’ too
As a sitcom I probably wouldn’t have thought that much of Jam and Jerusalem but as a well observed light comedy drama I’m absolutely loving it, thanks in the main to a marvellous central performance from Sue Johnston and a cracking script from Jennifer Saunders.
Add to this some of the cream of Britain’s actresses in the supporting roles and you end up with a real treat for Friday nights.
The atmosphere is something akin to Calendar Girls meets Doc Martin and the only worry would be that everyone in the extensive cast gets a decent inning before the series ends. I particularly like Pauline McLynn’s doctor’s receptionist and Maggie Steed’s woman’s guild organiser in the opener.
I didn’t feel entirely comfortable with the broadness of Dawn French’s character but that aside this was a very promising opener indeed.
Knickers in a twist
Despite chirpy chappie playing of Bradley Walsh, I’m on the verge of feeling sorry for Danny Baldwin as the sordid tale of Frankie and Jamie’s highly unbelievable “romance” finally reaches a crescendo on Coronation Street.
Quite what the scriptwriters had in mind when they came up with this one is hard to grasp because to be honest, I can’t say it has been in the least bit pleasant to witness and it seems that in the midst of it all the Baldwin men have forgotten how to shave, making the whole thing seem even grimier.
Add to that lines like Les describing Hayley as "The Hairy Godmother" and you have to wonder just what passes for quality control down Weatherfield way these days.
As if things weren’t bad enough we’ve also have to put up with the return of irritants like Vernon and Becky in recent times, making the once jewel in the ITV crown seem more like an endurance test than an enjoyable half hour.
To put the tin lid on things we’ve got a very weird storyline going on concerning Tracy-Love and the hapless Claire.
The whole things just giving me the creeps at the minute.
Funk to Funky
Not much less creepy was the sight of Ruby Allen scraping her dad’s ashes off the pavement before making the old clichéd black cab exit from EastEnders.
It was a dark episode indeed as Sean finally faced his mother in a tense stand off more remarkable for what wasn’t said then what was.
Add to this Ian Beale at his dastardly worst and half brother Ben showing signs that he’s heading down the same street and it wasn’t most comfortable week in soap land even before Pauline turned her house into an indoor barbecue.
Ashes to Ashes
I was very impressed with the sharpness of the picture as I settled down to watch the cricket and I’m only on standard definition so it must have looked terrific in HD. I wish I could say the same for the football coverage, which at times can look more like a computer game than the real thing.
As for the actual coverage, it’s really good with a plethora of great commentators. It looks like they’ve chucked a few quid at this and it’s a top quality production. Unfortunately all that dosh can’t guarantee a great performance from the England but hats off and grudging respect to Aussie captain Ricky Ponting whose near double century was one the sporting highlights of the television year.
I’m A TV critic, get Kelly out of there
I’m absolutely sure that there’s a big future on the box for Kelly Osbourne but she has been woefully miscast in having to host the complicated live show that is I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Now.
To be fair, I don’t blame Kelly for this but the lunatic who cast her in the first place and parachuting in Jeff Brazier in mid-run to try to save the situation isn’t really the fix that was required.
Presenting is actually a skilled job and not just anyone should be dropped in the deep end in the hope that they can handle it. Compounding the error, Sheree’s efforts in the other companion show aren’t much better though the experience of Phillip Schofield stops the whole thing from descending into a shambolic mess.
Eyes and teeth
Late night politics show This Week is normally conducted in a convivial atmosphere with good-natured banter between host Andrew Neil and commentators Michael Portillo and Diane Abbott.
Things turned a little uglier this week when Sir Richard Branson was brought in to discuss Rupert Murdoch on the back of Sky’s swoop on ITV’s shares.
During the discussion Diane mentioned the infamous Wapping dispute, instantly raising Neil’s hackles and souring the atmosphere completely.
Whether or not Sky’s influence over ITV will turn out to be good or bad for viewers remains to be seen but could the BBC be seen as taking sides by giving NTL’s biggest shareholder such a public platform to air his grievances?
Nurse, the screens
There was heartbreak across the nation as the edge of the seat drama played out on our screens on Tuesday night. No, not Manchester United's penalty miss against Celtic which cast their Champions League qualification into doubt. I’m talking about Tricia’s shock departure from Holby City.
First the minor quibble, a quick cross over with Casualty would have enhanced the drama here. Fair play, paramedic Dixie put in a bit of a cameo but why when anybody turns up injured in the Tuesday night show do they seem to bypass the ED all together?
If I’d been in a car crash, the last thing I’d want to see in opening my eyes would be Robert Powell because I’d probably think he was Jesus. Sadly there would be no famous last words from Tricia as she suffered the one soap exit worse than the black cab, having your life support machine switched off.
Tricia’s demise is made all the sadder because it will do little to lighten the demeanour of doom laden Matron Chrissie who always looks like she has a bad smell under her nose, although given the state of the nation’s hospitals, that’s probably just good acting.
Yes on GMTV this week Doctor Hilary bemoaned the money being spent on IT in the health service while the station was bombarded with horrific tales from its viewers about the standard of care. We even had a nurse in silhouette who didn’t want to be identified to verify the frightening stories that emerged.
This was worthy public service broadcasting but it didn’t half put me of my Rice Krispies and the juxtaposition of this and an inanely grinning Chegwin didn’t feel right at all.
Not Brand X
Oddly the problem with The Russell Brand Showisn’t actually Brand himself but the format that expects too much from the featured guest stars.
If they shorten the show, add new features or include more guests they could actually be on to a winner here.