Let’s get started with another week in TV.
And coming up first what I would consider a win for the blog as The Only Way is Essex triumphed at the TV Bafta awards walking away with the Audience Award. Obviously I’m not going to take all the credit, even though I want to, as Towie has a huge online following but I would like to thank everyone who voted for this nonsense over the far superior Sherlock and The Killing although I was worried that there would be a late surge for Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. The reaction I predicted did to come to light as Joey Essex, Nanny Pat and the rest of the gang made their way to the stage we saw the stunned faces of Benedict Cumberbatch and Gillian Anderson and the sight of Jim Broadbent clapping politely while wondering what the hell was going on. Since the win there’s been so much hoo hah about whether they deserved to win and if the Audience Choice is based on what the best programme is then the answer is a firm no. However, I feel that the award that the Essex mob won was more based around what people actually watch at the moment and I have to say that scripted reality seems to be the way forward with Made in Chelsea becoming increasingly popular and Geordie Shore kicking off this week this sort of programme will be around for a while. My personal views on Towie is that it is entertaining guilty pleasure T.V. of the highest order but is strangely watchable. Apart from the Towie win the night as a whole was incredibly dull and to an extent that has to be put down to the Graham Norton hosting style. I know this is the second knock that I’ve given to Norton this week but apparently his warm-up set, which was a little more blue, was much more entertaining and there has to be an argument there for starting the BAFTAs at nine especially as the whole thing is pre-taped. In fact I would have rather seen Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan host the whole thing as their opening gambit before presenting the first award was possibly the funniest of the whole show. On the whole I was surprised where the awards went there did seem to be a focus on younger talent with the excellent Vicky McClure rightly getting the Best Actress BAFTA while Misfits’ Lauren Socha picked up the Supporting Award. It think the shock of the night was Daniel Rigby picking up the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Eric Morcambe ahead of Doctor Who’s Matt Smith and Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch however the sleuthing show did pick up awards for Martin Freeman’s supporting role as Watson and the Drama Series prize. Another surprise was the complete shut-out of awards for Downton Abbey the most popular series of the year which was beaten by Sherlock in every category. Of the speeches both Steve Coogan and Jo Brand, as Comedy Actor and Actress respectively, were very entertaining while the team behind The Cube were as shocked as the rest of us when they beat The X Factor and Have I Got News For You to their award. The evening was rounded off nicely with a gracious acceptance speech from Sir Trevor McDonald the recipient of this year’s BAFTA fellowship prize. His eloquent manner and humourous patter made you realise just why he’s been an institution on our tellies for so long. I have to say though the BAFTAs need sprucing up especially since the NTAs have become a lot more exciting since they moved to the 02 and had Dermot O’Leary host the whole thing. I feel maybe a new host and a better pace would improve these awards but the abiding memory of the whole thing will forever be the TOWIE victory.
For those of you who have always wished to have a mixture of Deal or No Deal and Antiques Roadshow on your television you’re finally in luck with Channel 4′s latest show Four Rooms. This seems to be 4′s attempt to sex up the antiques programme as David Dickinson can only do this to an extent. The basic formula of the show sees the forgettable female presenter whose name escapes me welcome members of the public who have items to sell which are then displayed to the dealers who all inhabit one of the four rooms of the title. Each dealer can offer a price for the item and the person can either agree and take the money or leave the room and enter another one however if the next offer is lower they can no longer accept the offer from the first buyer and so on. Each of the four buyers try to come off as a character while at the same time try and seem cool and collected but this never really works. After the first episode was over I really could differentiate between two of the dealers, Gordon and Andrew, at all while Emma was only recognisable because she was the only woman and despite trying to prove that she was as ruthless as her male counterparts folded quite easily when it came to haggling. The most memorable member of the quartet is by far Jeffrey Salmon a man who reminds me of those impressions Phil Cornwell used to do of Greg Dyke as Michael Caine as played by a slim Christopher Bigigns impersonator wearing one of those ridiculous scarves that should only be worn by twattish male models. To be fair Salmon did do the best deal of the programme when he acquired a bunch of Princess Diana’s birthday cards from a guy who bought them at auction for less than he paid by doing a bit of gambling with some dice. The fatal flaw at the heart of Four Rooms is that the initial offers seem to go up and up for example the first item, a mutilated Francis Bacon picture, was bought by Emma for tens of thousands of pounds even though her initial offer was 9 grand. The fact that the dealers can change their offer makes this seem a bit redundant especially as the presenter then asks them what they would have offered, how do we as a public know that this would’ve been their final offer. The attempts to make Four Rooms look cool and trendy also fall flat from the futuristic warehouse where the show is based to the title sequence which is reminiscent of a Spielberg sci-fi poster everything is a little bit tacky. Some of the items, including Elvis’ Golf Buggy and a mummified Hitler bust, were interesting but I couldn’t get past the flaws in the format so Four Rooms won’t be one that I will continue to watch.
Also on four this week we see the return of Celebrity Five Go To a teatime show that not a lot of people watched the first time around due to the lack of big names, Russell Grant was the most famous person on it which really tells you something and the general failure to advertise the programme. This time around there was a lot more interest due to the fact that Stuart Baggs The Brand was appearing in his big post-Apprentice show and Christopher Biggins and Sheila Ferguson were also present and quite big stars. Biggins and Baggs quickly became adversaries after The Brand picked on the panto fave over his treatment of the staff something that Biggins should’ve been wary about due to the fact that the staff were picking the eventual winner. Despite Biggins trying to outshine the rest of the group the biggest star of the week had to be ex-model and former Simon Cowell conquest Paula Hamilton who kept telling anyone that would listen to her how she was a native of South Africa and about her beliefs, her love of organic food and basically everything else about her to the point of infuriating her other housemates. From the midweek point the group vote in order of who they’ve enjoyed spending the most time with and every day the least popular person gets booted out. While there has to be some kind of elimination this means that the show becomes less interesting every day as both Stuart and Paula left the show early leaving us with Biggins and boring cricketer Ed Giddins talking about how much they enjoyed each other’s company and learning how to do an African Tribal Dance. This means that Celebrity Five Go to really is a show of two halves, an entertaining celebrities clashing show half the week and then a dreary male bonding show the other half of the week. If you ever wondered what it would be like going on holiday with warring celebrities then a) get a life and b) this programme is one for you but personally I was a little bored and also wondered what Ed, as the winner, actually got as his prize.
If one helping of Stuart Baggs The Brand wasn’t enough for you then you were in luck as he was one of the vaguely famous people on this week’s edition of Al Murray’s Compete for the Meat on Dave. A show that I missed on its debut but managed to catch episode two, Compete for the Meat sees four teams trying to compete for a whole chicken by answering a series of pub quiz-esque questions in order to snag the prize. The celebrity involvement is minimal as Baggs along with fellow former Apprentice candidates Raef and James played along and then gave the points they won to one of the other teams. Although this was advertised as a quiz show, Murray spent most of the opening doing bits of his stand-up routine in which he mocked the audience’s appearance and their job choices which everybody expects from him now and he does deliver although I felt he spent far too long doing this so by the time he’d introduced the teams, his mascot Mr. Giblets and glamorous assistant Zoe Salmon there had to be a break before the quiz. Another thing that confused me was the awarding of points as each team seemed to just be randomly handed a set number of points per round. The team who scored the least points had to go into the sin bin accompanied by the audience singing the thick and slow song at them which I found particularly entertaining especially as Baggs was also sent there following a bout of mobile phone related cheating. After several rounds and a losers’ showdown of human skittles the team entitled, ‘When I was in Norwich’ took the chicken home. Although I’m a fan of Al Murray’s I found the format of Compete the Meat didn’t really play to his strengths and I really feel that it would be better if Dave let him have his chat show back that was so popular when it was on Saturday Nights on ITV. I feel that Murray would much rather talk to the public and mock them than ask the quiz questions and that’s why the quiz doesn’t seem to matter than much to Murray and co. Despite this however I still found myself laughing quite a bit and trying to do better than the teams at the various questions so overall it did hook me in.
As we started with Towie, this week we are concluding with the latest in scripted reality as MTV gave us Geordie Shore their take on the massive American hit Jersey Shore. Where Geordie Shore differs from both Towie and the Chelsea programme is that its eight central characters all share a house on the Tyne and also work for a woman called Anna doing various club promotions which the show’s creators hope will lead to more dirty shenanigans in the house’s hot-tub and self-named Shag Pad. As this is a take on Jersey Shore the housemates all look similar to their American counterparts all of the women are brunettes and on the whole have ample bosoms while three of the four men are very muscular and are obsessed with the gym only Greg came across as a bit different deciding not to participate in the first promotions-based task, dressing up as a topless waiter, and constantly talking about wanting to leave the house. The only other member of the cast who seemed to have genuine character was Vicky who was slightly tomboyish but was also a cut above the other shrieking harridans in the house. Although most were fairly annoying I did want to actually rip my ears off every time Sophie opened her mouth she was very small and very loud and I think her house-mates got very sick of her very quickly especially as she got very sick very quickly before passing out drunk on her bed. I suppose the unique selling point of Geordie Shore is that it’s a lot ruder and aggressive than its counterparts, episode one saw Holly get her boobs out in the hot tub and later gobble off Jay despite being the only one in the house to have a boyfriend and not be a proper Geordie, apparently this is because she’s from Middlesbrough. I really didn’t want to like the programme and there were times, especially during a fight in a nightclub, where I was a little disgusted but because most of the cast members are very stupid and self-involved I was suckered into their world. Line of the show has to go to pinhead Gaz who would it seems would do away with the all forms of transport and electrical gadgetry as long as he could shave his chest every day after claiming that Veet was the best thing that was ever invented. Not Quite Gaz, Not Quite.
What did you think of this week’s programmes leave a comment below?
Next Week: Britain’s Got Talent Final, Scott and Bailey and Doctor Who