So 2008 is here and is T.V. stepping up or doing the same thing it does every year?
The answer is yes and no and thank God we’ve god cheery chappy Dermort O’Leary to explain it to us. Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack isn’t a traditional version of Big Brother nor is Celebrity Big Brother (lets thank Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd for that one). Every couple of days a celebrity takes control of the house and doing whatever they want and also the contestants are different. They have to have a specific skill and the process involved sending their videos in including their talent and then something about waiting for a man with a purple umbrella which just sounds like something dodgy that I was once told do in an chatroom but anyway moving on. The first celebrity was Matt Lucas and he kind of made this first programme and I suppose this was the point of putting a very funny comedian on the first night to get people to watch it. Lucas revealed that the first housemate in would be wearing an earpiece and he had to do whatever Lucas said. That lucky housemate turned out to be John Laughton a 20 year old who was a red-haired lookalike of podgy actor James Corden while channelling the spirit of George Galloway because John is a young politician and chair of the Scottish government and therefore in Lucas’ mind the best person to make a prat out of. If John completed his challenge he would win a party for his housemates and get into the final but if he failed he’d be up for eviction every time. To make him look even more ridiculous he was put in a Scotty cap and told to repeat whatever Lucas told him to the next housemate. The next housemate turned out to be likeable 19 year old Singer/Songwriter and classical violinist Calista who was reminiscent of an Asain Mylene Klass. Calista’s biggest hit so far was some really patronising dance number with about three words in it but at least she’s studying violin at King’s College. She is then given the information that John is also a singer/songwriter a fact that bemuses her somewhat.
They are joined by Anthony a 19 year old boxing prodigy who I think wants to be the next Ricky Hatton. Anthony’s name has the soft T not the hard one and John is told to ask him this twice, John also tells him that he’s a boxer a fact that if Anthony saw him on the outside world would challenge him to a fight but because he wants to make a good impression on the first night of Big Brother he keeps his mouth shut. My favourites so far were housemates four and five, Emilia and Victor circus performers who risk life and limb everyday well at least they told us this in their opening VT. I guessed they were picked because male/female sibling duos are shit hot ever since Same Difference came third in the X-Factor Final. But I’m guessing that girl Same Difference doesn’t have a knackered-in spine unless Rhyddian asked her to do some kinky manoeuvres. Next housemate was poncy racing driver Jeremy who wittered on about Lewis Hamilton and I was already yawning before he went into the house. The most likeable housemate by a country mile is conceptual artist Amy Jackson who has shown her artwork at several galleries. But ‘artwork’ isn’t art but it’s just an exhibition of loads of dusters but nonetheless she’s so sweet I don’t care that its a bit pretentious. Probably the most famous housemate was Nathan who’s already Mobo nominated and has released a single and supported Kanye West. Nathan will probably annoy as the show goes on but annoying in a good and entertaining way. Most annoying housemate has to go to ‘entrepreneur’ Liam Young who has one of those really boring internet sites that make lots of money and his hair is so bad it looks like he’s wearing a hair net. Matt Lucas told John to tell him this. Dancer Latoya is quite a non-entity so I focus on John again as Matt Lucas tells him to go up to people and say cake, he then starts doing a Marjorie Dawes impression. Slightly cocky fashion designer Jay who has already shown clothes at New York fashion week and likes wearing scarves is up next. John then falls on the floor screaming like he’s hurt his ankle. Final entry was ‘supermodel with brains’ Jade, the jury is still out on whether I like her or not but putting someone named Jade as the final entrant in the Big Brother house is when things started to go wrong last year. But good news was that John passed his task and go to tell everyone about his super-exciting political achievements.
This kind of works for the moment, most of these housemates are interesting and have got stories to tell about their various lines of work. Also because they’re all aged between 18 and 21 all their achievements have happend when they were young, some started as young as three and so never grew up probably and therefore are a bit weird. These housemates are also a lot more talented than most of the CBB contestants – Danielle Lloyd, Jade Goody, Jodie Marsh, Faria Alam and Lisa I’Anson to name but a few. The thing is 4 doesn’t seem to be that passionate about this show. First it’s all shown on E4 the secondary channel so unless this is an exercise to get everyone to turn digital then it’s just less of a show than the annual Big Brother project normally is. The choice of Dermot O’Leary as presenter also hints at the fact that they don’t give two hoots about this show unless this was kind of his Big Brother send-off (no BBLB for Dermot who’s concentrating X-Factor) the more likely fact is that Davina wasn’t interested to be fair Dermot doesn’t look that interested. This show though will only be as good as its hijackers and while Matt Lucas was entertaining the court is out whether Ian Wright, Jimmy Carr and possible wildcard Joan Rivers will be any good. But for now I’m enjoying it.
Since adapting Pride and Prejudice for British TV back in 1995, Andrew Davies has become known as the go-to guy when it comes to bringing classic novels to the screen. Davies’ latest work is another Austen adaptation – Sense and Sensibility, a novel that already spawned a 1995 feature film. However, Davies wasn’t a fan of the film and felt it was quite tame as it left certain parts of the novel out. Judging from the first scene of his adaptation, Davies isn’t worried about being tame as we kick-off with a full on saucy opener. For those unfamiliar with the novel, the opening scene features Dominic Cooper’s John Willoughby seducing a young woman who will become prominent later in the story. Willoughby himself only features briefly in this first episode as we see him famously swoop in and save Marianne Dashwood when she goes walking during a storm. Obviously the majority of us know the story, or maybe we don’t, as it involves the decampment of the Dashwood women from their family home following the death of their patriarch. Sisters Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, along with their mother, eventually move to a cottage in Devonshire where the story continues. Sense and Sensibility is primarily about the sisters’ romantic entanglements with Elinor falling in love with Edward, the sister of her half-brother’s wife who she meets in the last days of living at her family home. Meanwhile, Marianne is courted by the well-meaning yet brooding Colonel Brandon however her head is later turned by the more youthful Willoughby.
Anybody who’s familiar with the film version of Sense and Sensibility will notice that Davies has tried to cast the sisters a lot younger than Ang Lee did. For example, I feel that Hattie Morahan is a much more believable Elinor than Emma Thompson was while Charity Wakefield’s Marianne comes across as a lot more immature than Kate Winslet’s. Indeed the ensemble cast is incredibly strong here and I particularly liked Claire Skinner as the social climber who wanted the Dashwood women out of their house sooner rather than later. Janet McTeer, as Mrs Daswhood, was also incredibly engaging and Linda Bassett gave some great comic relief as the match-making Mrs Jennings. In addition the three male leads are both talented actors and men who I’m sure will have a more aesthetic appeal to the female sex. Indeed, David Morrissey, Dominic Cooper and Dan Stevens all have the look of a literary hero and I’m sure at least one of them would love the same sort of publicity that Colin Firth received following his now famous dripping shirt scene. While the acting is superb, I feel that Davies’ adaptation is equally impressive as he has made the story easy to follow for newcomers without alienating any lovers of the book. The exterior locations have all been well sourced while the cinematography is incredibly sumptuous. All in all, while not original in the slightest, Davies’ latest adaptation looks to be as successful as his previous outings. I believe that Sense and Sensibility has been ideally placed at the beginning of the year where it has little competition from new and returning dramas. Whether it will stand the test of time in the same way Pride and Prejudice has remains to be seen, but I for one believe that it will do just that.
Finally, we look back at the now traditional year-ender that is Channel 4′s Big Fat Quiz of the Year. Now in its fourth year, most of the contestants are regulars – last year’s winners Russell Brand and Noel Fielding were back but unlike last year weren’t awarded 25 points for a single question but there comedy kind of made the show. Rob Brydon is one of two who comes back every year and does his – this isn’t a proper quiz show thing. Brydon is usually joined by David Walliams but this year he’s switched Davids and Mitchell was with him instead, David Mitchell has done two of these already if you count the anniversary quiz. Two-time winner and all round cock Jonathan Ross is the other player who plays every year and joined this year by Lily Allen. This is all a bit of fun at the end of the day – the best bits are Jon Snow doing song lyrics as news bulletins, John Hurt doing readings from Peter Andre’s autobiography and the kids from Middlebrook primary acting out various news stories. This is a good annual event and the quality never dips.
Next Time: The Only and Only, Honest, Echo Beach and Moving Wallpaper