Reviews

This Week in TV: Celebrity Come Dine With Me, Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show and When Romeo Met Juliet

In this fortnight we saw the World Cup kick-off which is something I will address as the tournmanet comes to an end however this instalment does have a football theme.

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That’s thanks mainly to the fact that Come Dine With Me aired two specials to link in with the world famous football tournament kicking off with a celebration of the women who keep the players going as we had the WAG Special. WAGs are a funny bunch sometimes more famous than their footballer boyfriends so for example most of us reality TV junkies remember Nicola T from her Big Brother stint but couldn’t pick her fiancée, Plymouth Argyle and Sheffield United player Simon Walton, out of a line-up. The only WAG here that actually had a partner in the England World Cup Team was Chantelle Tagoe, Emile Heskey’s other half. Also there Stephen Ireland’s partner Jessica Lawlor and Djibril Cissé’s wife Jude. Although you’d think the meals would be atrocious they were actually quite well-produced. The food related highlights basically belonged to Jude who tried to pass cucumber off as papaya and her dessert was Angel Delight which, thanks to her husband’s French roots, was renamed Delice d’ange. But what most of us want to see is the home’s that these WAGs own for example Jessica’s bedroom is deep red and has a TV that appears as if from nowhere as well as a mammoth fish tank. But again it is Jude who wins on this one claiming that because their Cheshire mansion allows them to be called Lord and Lady Frosham this means that they can sit in the House of Commons. Although her title may not make her an MP, Jude may sit well among those politicians after her dinner party lies. This was an entertaining little show and all the WAGs were fairly likeable mainly due to their stupidity making them incredibly quotable. However this was just a starter to the Come Dine With Me main event the next night.

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Yes if the WAGs could do it then the footballers could do it too and I recognised most of them. You had former Gladiators presenter and current presenter of the Nigerian Deal or No Deal John Fashnu, I’m a Celebrity and Celebrity Wife Swap contestant Neil ‘Razor Ruddock, Frank Worthington and Carlton Palmer. Ruddock kicked things off in the elegant style that thing were to proceed throughout the week, by answering the door wearing nothing but his apron. Razor’s menu featured something called Big Boy’s Pasta which seemed to see him throw a lot of stuff into a pot and then add pasta. But his menu was a gastronomic al wonder as compared to Fash’s who served Prawn Cocktail, Shepherd’s Pie and Chocolate Mousse, Fash thought he was a cooking wonder but he ended up coming last. Then there was Frank Worthington a 1970s relic who smoke and drunk during half time and always had sex before a game, which is why Capello didn’t pick him for this year’s England team. He doused an avocado in vinegar and essentially served jelly for dessert but because of an Elvis theme (which saw Razor turn up with an afro) and a bit of Worthington smut he ended up coming second. But the star of the week was Carlton Palmer who seemed fairly stupid but incredibly earnest. He took the competition incredibly seriously even getting cooking lessons, his menu made the other competitors so suspicious they thought his wife had helped and made him swear on the England shirt that he’d actually cooked the food himself. Thankfully his lessons paid off and he won by an incredible margin and this was a fairly enjoyable special that saw four men who were part of football’s past.

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Something else that has a distinctly laddish feel is BBC3′s new character-led comedy Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show. I was dreading watching this thanks mainly to the BBC3 promotional campaign which saw Lee going around council flats on the back of a fat man and telling people to watch his show. But when I actually sat down to watch an episode I found myself quite enjoying it. Nelson is the alter-ego of comic Simon Brodkin and is the anchor of the show. All of Nelson’s skits are broadcast within a studio with an audience whom Nelson uses to rip on occasionally in the same way that Al Murray does. The show consists of him trying to get his fat friend Omelette to do something gross and always ends with his ‘nan’ singing a modern song completely out-of-tune. Nelson also introduces taped sketches featuring other characters who are all played by Brodkin. One is of a fly-on-the-wall show documenting the life of pretentious premier league footballer Jason Bent called 110% bent, we also follow the life of holiday rep Chris Young trying to give young singles a good time in Falaraki Nights and finally Hospital Life a documentary looking at one of England’s poorest hospitals featuring the incompetent Dr. Bob. Although Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show is fairly broad, the mixture of in-studio banter and faux documentaries work quite well. With large brush strokes it does, to an extent, present us with characters who represent modern Britain – the loveable chav, the overpaid footballer, the over-enthusiastic holiday rep and the reality TV star. Although it doesn’t really have that much to say the show managed to get a few laughs out of me which is always a good sign. I think the upcoming second series should focus more on getting laughs out of clever jokes and less from gross-out sequences.

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Finally something for those who want a bit of culture as the BBC tries to get the kids interested in Shakespeare again by having two different schools playing the two families in his classic play in a show entitled When Romeo Met Juliet. The hardest task for National Youth Theatre director Paul Roseby is to get the kids from an inner-city Coventry Comprehensive interested in Shakespeare. You have a lot of the usual ‘Shakespeare’s Gay’ chants going around but eventually he gets enough interest to cast Romeo and the Montague clan including streetwise Gloddy as the titular hero. The other school, a suburban Coventry Catholic school, is easier to be enthused about the play as it is an institution with a large dramatic background. The fight for Juliet comes down to three girls but it is quite obvious from the early stages that 15 year old Beth will get the part over her two competitors who are later cast as her mother and sister respectively. Assisting Paul in his quest to put the play on are Adrian Lester, or to give him his full title ‘Hustle Star’ Adrian Lester, and his wife and fellow actress Lolita Chakrabarti. Adrian’s main job is to help the Montague boys from the comprehensive come to terms with the Shakespearian language. As most of them are Afro-Caribbean, English is not their first language so they find it hard to understand the meanings of the text. Paul’s vision for the play is a 1981 Coventry where the Montagues are rudeboys and the Capulets are skinheads and the two families are rival market traders. As expected after a few rough spots everything comes together and the play is a hit. I’m not sure exactly who the audience is for the show but I quite enjoyed it, seeing the Comprehensive kids actually enjoy the play in the end was a joy to behold. However I don’t think the BBC really knew what to do with the programme and stupidly but the last part out against ITV’s showing of the first England match of the World Cup. But overall an enjoyable little show and I thought it was also a nice touch that the full performance was available on the red button following the final episode.

Next Time: Kerry and Me, Being N Dubz and Mongrels.

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