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Alex Fletcher's TV Buzz: The very best and worst TV this week

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Cheryl Cole from Cheryl: Access All Areas

© ITV / Screenshot


"It's like if I lost my voice, what would I do?" Cheryl Cole, Queen of mime, was delivering the punchlines before anyone had a chance to write them on her self-indulgent ITV2 horror-fest Access All Areas.

Chezza spent the majority of the show being pious about press intrusion and gossip about her private life. All of this came in a Peter Andre-esque piece of toot TV special, where the Geordie Girls Aloud star teased us with details about her new boyfriend (a dancing chap called Tre) and allowed cameras to watch her partying in notorious celeb haunt Whiskey Mist. The hypocrisy was practically seeping out of my remote control.

Aside from the singer's constant griping about pesky papz and silly stories about her private life (because Cheryl has always been most famous for her musical talent, ahem), there was little actual meat or real glimpses of Cheryl Cole in this cheaply cobbled together nonsense.

Like all the other ITV2 reality-docs, this was an incredibly thinly veiled PR exercise. I'm sure Cheryl's fans will have been thrilled to see the popstar in tears at her homecoming, having a giggle with new lover Tre and battling with her anxiety and nerves backstage, but this was merely a box-ticking exercise and was about as close to reality as an episode of Doctor Who.

Cheryl Cole: Access All Areas is available on ITV Player

Chicago Fire

© NBC Universal


If you haven't found the time to check out Sky Living's latest US import Chicago Fire yet, make sure you do. It's hilarious.

Based around the lives of the firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51, it's essentially London's Burning meets Grey's Anatomy.

Every week there are a couple of increasingly convenient emergencies that work as plot devices for the heroic and dashing lieutenant, the drug-taking rescue squad leader with a bad back and a way with the ladies, the honourable chief, the foxy and sassy paramedics and the do-good, wet around the ears new-starter.

Aside from the firefighting action and talk of "venting", "flashing" and "black smoke", there's a brilliant soapy mix of storylines. Jesse Spencer's (House, Neighbours) Matthew Casey is battling a corrupt, cackling bent detective, battalion chief Wallace Boden (the man with the broadest shoulders on TV) is trying to keep everyone on the straight and narrow with his dazzling moustache and everyone else is bed-hopping, yearning or flirting.

It's already been given an extended full season in the US, so we're not the only ones tagging this as a guilty pleasure of 2012.

Chicago Fire continues on Tuesday nights on Sky Living. Catch up on Sky Go

Stephen Fry: Gadget Man and Jonathan Ross, C4, Mon 19 Nov 2012

© Channel 4


Stephen Fry sporting some "crumpled corduroy" and a dodgy beard, Jonathan Ross acting like a prize prat and a load of silly gadgets that no person with reasonable sense would have the money for or ever indeed want; Gadget Man should by all rights have been a tiresome bore of a show.

However, even for a proud luddite like myself (what was wrong with a Nokia 3310 mobile phone?), this new Channel 4 series was a surprisingly enjoyable and fun 30 minutes of telly.

It was Fry's infectious enthusiasm for his subject that transformed what could have been a dry tech series into something that even someone who doesn't know their Galaxy from their iPad could enjoy. Fry was willing to acknowledge that some of the items on the show were ludicrous and silly, but his admiration for the ambition and creativity behind even the most rubbish gadgets (an easily breakable 'unbreakable' umbrella) shined through.

Whether he was driving a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang-style taxi into the Thames, racing skates, electric cars and scooters around the streets of London with Wossy or watching videos of fluffy sheep on cool vision goggles on the commute to Clapham Junction, Fry manages to make gadgets, good and bad, feel like fun rather than a nerd's pastime.

Stephen Fry: Gadget Man continues on Monday nights on Channel 4

Missed it? Don't miss out!
Flintoff: From Lords To The Ring with Mike Tyson

© Sky


Flintoff: From Lords to the Ring - Ex-cricketer Andrew Flintoff isn't the most charismatic of TV personalities, but this documentary about his attempts to become a pro boxer offered a fascinating insight into a man who is clearly not ready to hang up his sporting boots and start cha cha cha-ing or eating kangaroo balls in the jungle. Instead he's happy to get whacked in the face hundreds of times a day.
Still available on Sky Go

Getting On - Jo Brand's bleak-com remains the most underrated comedy on British TV. An NHS Trust hospital ward isn't an easy destination to squeeze laughs from, but series three has had plenty and its all still free to catch up on online. Do it.
Still available on iPlayer

Last Tango in Halifax - A BBC One 9pm comedy drama about a pair of old flames being reunited via Facebook sounded like a duff premise. But thanks to the wonderful performances from Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid, this series teeters on the right side of cosy and sweet.
Still available on iPlayer

What have been your TV highlights and lowlights this week?

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