This Week in TV: Chickens Hugh and Tesco Too, Jamie Saves Our Bacon, Being Human and Not Going Out

Hello, welcome and here’s hoping you won’t get too hungry reading this week’s instalment of TWIT.

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And after last week’s kick off to the food season, with Heston taking on Little Chef this week we have two more offerings from Jamie and Hugh. I know that Gorden Ramsay also had a programme on but I couldn’t care less, he only decided to put on some more of his Kitchen Nightmares rather than do anything new like the other chef’s involved so let’s get started with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The River Cottage legend last year was campaigning for better quality of chickens in supermarkets. After a year Sainsburys, Marks and Spencers, Waitrose and many more had got behind him as he visited Waitrose to see how they were getting on but as the title: Chickens, Hugh and Tesco Too suggests there was still one very big retailer which he had to convince. Yes Tesco were still selling their standard chickens at 2 for a fiver. Hugh tried to stop this by trying to get a meeting with Tesco, he was unsuccessful in his efforts so tried to buy a share of the supermarket. Succeeding here he then tried to sign up share-holders to sign up to get his resolution heard with hours to go he did what he wanted to do. Then he had to convince other share-holders to his cause including a part where he had to raise thousands of pounds just to post his motion. Tesco seem to be presented as the bad guys with Hugh in the middle and the Chicken Farmers being right. As Hugh faced his critics a Chicken Faemer who had slagged him off in the press and a single mum who refused to buy the overly expensive chickens over Tesco standard chickens they had both changed their minds to his way of thinking. The most cringeworthy moment of this show was when Hugh got an interview with Tesco but it turned out to be with a very smarmy Yes-Woman who answered all Hugh’s questions with jabber and nonsensical company bullshit. Unfortunately in the end only ten percent of share-holders backed Hugh’s motion but he’s not stopping there. I thought like Heston’s programme last week that this would be a two-parter or spread over the week but unfortunately not. I have a lot of time for Fearnley-Whittingstall his River Cottage programmes are great and his chicken campaigns are just as good it’s just a shame he’s not given the same fanfare as Gordon and Jamie when his new show’s come out. And this one only got so much hype as it was tagged onto series containing the other two chefs.

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Saying that Jamie’s programme was a campaign again this time trying to get people to buy British Bacon and not European bacon where the pigs are raised in sow carriages where they can’t move around. He is trying to get people to buy pork and bacon coming from pigs raised in sheds where there is hay and straw for them to play around in. During the studio-based show he sticks members of the public in these sow carriages, goes to Denmark in search of someone to have a go at and even ropes in Hugh Fearnley to wax on about how wise the pig is. To illustrate this point further there is a scene where a woman shows a pig doing basic mental agility games as well as playing a keyboard. Jamie tries to be both political and sympathetic to the cause of the farmers also enlisting Joanna Lumley to come and be appalled generally in the way only she can. During the show we also saw a live piglet birth which was harmless, a pig death which was quick and a pig castration which was one of the most horrific things I’ve seen on T.V. since Pat Butcher’s sex tricks box on Eastenders. This being a cookery programme there was also Roast Pork and Pork Shoulder recipes and Jamie was assisted by his Ministry of Food prodigy Natasha, who was know an adept hand in the kitchen. We all now what we’re going to get from Jamie Oliver’s food programmes a telling off and something shocking. But his heart’s in the right place and overall this food season has been a compelling one even if Gordon Ramsey can’t be bothered with anything new.

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Also starting this week was BBC3′s Being Human, adapted from a pilot last year in which a ghost, werewolf and vampire live together. It succeeds in being both charming and funny and horrific at the same time. Russell Tovey is the only surviving cast member from the pilot present as George the werewolf trying to convince Mitchell the vampire to lead a normal life, Tovey was brilliant in Little Dorritt and as the slightly nervous and awkward George he’s perfect to play a werewolf as the transformation scenes are truly horrific. Aidan Turner as Mitchell brings a smooth, sexy edge to Tovey’s nervousness trying very hard to resist female contact knowing that he’ll bite and kill the woman he sleeps with. This has already happened and know that woman, Lauren is stalking Mitchell and kills his current girlfriend following a date. Also new to the team is Lenora Critchlow as Annie the ghost taking over from Andrea Riseborough, Critchlow’s Annie is more free-spirited (pardon the pun) but still has a vulnerable edge because of being dead and all. Being Human is the ideal show that BBC3 needs to air, to get away from the image of being a channel that just show programmes like Naked, Don’t Tell the Bride, The Undercover Princes etc. similar in tone to the excellent Bodies being human has a great young cast and should succeed in being ideal for BBC3’s demographic.

not This Week in TV: Chickens Hugh and Tesco Too, Jamie Saves Our Bacon, Being Human and Not Going Out
I’ll end this week with shock news of a good sitcom or at least the return of a new good sitcom with Lee Mack’s Not Going Out. For those who are new to the sitcom it sees Mack playing the imaginatively titled character of Lee, sharing a house with landlady Lucy who he secretly harbours feelings for and sharing a drink with Lucy’s brother Tim (played by Tim Vine) this is a very scarcely-plotted old-school sitcom which works on the gag-respond format rather than the observational humour we expect from the likes of Outnumbered and Gavin and Stacey. But there’s nothing wrong with gag-based sitcoms if they’re done right I just think with years of My Family as well as Last of the Summer Wine and recently After You’ve Gone and even more recently The Life of Riley, we’ve got used to the canned laughter shows being crap. But thankfully Not Going Out is quick enough to keep going with gags involving an unwanted pregnancy resulting from an aromatic bath oil, a broken bathroom lock and a bit of man juice. All three members of the cast as well as Miranda Hart as deadpan cleaner Barbara are spot on with their delivery times and there’s no horrible child acting to get in the way, as long as it keeps its viewership up Not Going Out should survive for years to come.

Next Time: Whitechapel, Moses Jones and The Old Guys

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