So week two of the Olympics and now that the hype has died down the majority of us realise that it’s just endless hours of mind-numbing heats until someone finally wins a medal in the final. For me I’m bored by sports at the best of times but thanks to the Radio Times including a Team GB Medallists charts at least I have something to fill in to give me a reason to watch the Games as I’m always more happy when I’m filling in charts or creating lists. I have to admit though I did get swept up in the excitement of Saturday’s games however by Monday I was suffering from fatigue so curbed this by mainly concentrating myself on the ‘alternative programming’ located on the other channels.
So ‘Super Saturday’ as its known was rammed down my throat by a number of different news websites but as I live with a sports nut, who for most of the Olympics has actually been down in London, I was forced to watch two of our athletes compete for the Gold. Firstly Jessica Ennis somebody who I’d heard a lot about but hadn’t really watched her compete but I think I fell a little bit in love with her as she completed the 800m to win the modern pentathlon event which people went that nuts over that somebody has already erected a postbox in her honour. Now I had previously seen Mo Farah but that’s because he became the first and only person to successfully beat The Cube in the ITV1 gameshow of the same name and one £250,000 for his charity that helps disadvantaged people back in his native Somalia. Personally I didn’t have doubts that Farah would win his 10,000m race but what I did doubt was if I would be able to watch the whole thing as it seemed to go on forever. My only problem with a lot of these sports is they take so long to get down and I can only watch the same thing happening for a short while before I get bored of it so I would’ve been happy watching the last couple of laps which saw Mo storm into the lead to win the race before having a lovely photogenic moment with his young daughter and his heavenly pregnant wife. Let’s not forget about long jumper Greg Rutherford, which I think some people already have, who was also successful on Super Saturday meaning it was smiles all round on the Brit front.
I think my interest levels came to a head on Sunday as I don’t think it could’ve got any more jubilant then one long-time runner-up Andy Murray beat his regular rival and Jimmy Carr look-a-like Roger Federer in a convincing men’s final. The whole Murray camp erupted, as did the majority of the people I follow on Twitter, and rightfully so because after his tear-soaked loss against Federer at last month’s Wimbledon final this likeable Scot has finally become a winner plus he’s got a nice shiny medal to go with. To be fair to Federer he took defeat gracefully and I think he realised it was Murray’s time to shine but I personally believe that he was having an off day after eating far too many of those luxury chocolates that he advertises. Instead of celebrating back in the bar it seemed that Murray still had work to do as he and the young Laura Robson had somehow got themselves into the mixed doubles final against a pair from Belarus who didn’t look like they were going to go down easily so in the end Murray and Robson had to settle for silver. I think this just wore me out and I can only be patriotic for so long and I just feel that I would’ve been knackered celebrating the ten gold medals we’ve received since then my joy levels just aren’t up to it.
Because of this I’ve tried to avoid watching as much Olympics and every night have watched something non-fictional as the channels are all saving their big dramas for next week. On Tuesday Channel 4 presented an unusual story in The Girl that Became Three Boys which told the fascinating true story of Gemma Barker who created three online identities in order to virtually, and later physically romance her friends, Jess Sayers and ‘Alice’ the latter of whom didn’t want to reveal her identity but did appear in silhouette. Jess, who is pictured to the right, was fairly vocal about her adolescent years in which she and Alice would often hang around with Gemma as she had a car while both of them also around the same time met boys online called Aaron and Luke. The odd thing about both boys was that they never removed their hats but that’s because of course then Alice or Jess would find out that their ‘boyfriends’ were actually their friend Gemma who explained away her disappearance from their lives by saying she had a full time job. Jess admits to being quite frigid as a teenager so when Luke started to take things further she said no and he later broke up with her luckily another online friend Connor was on hand he revealed less of his face than the other two boys claiming to have alopecia a condition to which ‘his’ new girlfriend was sympathetic as her brother also suffered from it. Alice was in love with Aaron and she consented to sex with him however soon she discovered a dildo in his bag and began to get suspicious while the same implement was also used on Jess who was essentially raped by her so-called friend but got revenge when she removed ‘his’ cap when ‘he’ slept only to find out that it was Aaron. A lie about a car accident followed and soon the game was up for Aaron/Connor//Luke but it was only when the police strip-searched ‘him’ that they found out it was actually Gemma. A great story was bought to life with mock illustrations of what the conversations between Gemma and her two victims would’ve been as well as exerts from the Korean news animation of the story. I thought the most interesting contributors were Gemma’s other college friends, remember after all that she was a little older than Alice and Jess, who found her to be the life-and-soul of the party although one always found she wanted to be the centre of attention. What none of the talking heads, who also included police and court reporters, couldn’t decide on was why Gemma actually did what she did some thought she was gay others thought she wanted to hold on to her friends but only she will ever know the true motive. My favourite character of the whole thing was Jess’ nan a strong matriarchal figure with a matter-of-fact attitude claiming that she didn’t think much of Gemma and thought that ‘Connor’ was extremely rude. Thankfully the story had a happy ending with Gemma locked up for two years and Alice and Jess now both in new relationships with actual boys this time however the latter knows exactly where to lay the blame ‘this is all Mark Zuckenberg’s fault, if he hadn’t of created Facebook none of this would’ve happened.’
Possibly the best documentary of the year so far in my eyes is 24 Hours in A&E which is set in and around King’s College Hospital and follows a day in the life of staff members and patients. Every episode primarily centres around one specific case and this week saw nine year old Tino bought into Kings after slumping at her desk and becoming disorientated. Her consultant Liz was a formidable woman, if she were ever captured on screen I would imagine her to be played by Juliet Stevenson, and claimed that she didn’t mind if she wasn’t like she just wanted to get the job done adding that the biggest complement she receives is when one of her colleagues’ children is ill and they ask for her to treat them. Liz only works one day a week however that day happened to be when Tino came in with her teaching assistant, her mother did eventually arrive later on, and the mystery of what was wrong with her took a while to solve. Tino was failing to answer most of the questions that were asked of her even though Liz could see that she was taking her time thinking about them and eventually a diagnosis of encephalitis is reached but even then the consultant isn’t sure if that’s correct. Though I hate to use the word I feel that this documentary is life-affirming stuff and there were some truly tear-jerking moments such as the one where Tino’s mother recounts the moment where her daughter stared blankly at her as she didn’t recognise her at all. 24 Hours in A&E did have other stories this week, including a beloved matriarch still struggling to get over the death of her father and a boy hit by a slow-moving car, but mostly it was all about Tino who finally regained all of her thoughts and was seen bright and happy telling us what she remembered first. I’m just sad that this programme is leaving us this week but due to the rise in ratings I don’t think it will be the last time we see King’s.
Thursday slipped into lifestyle viewing as I tucked into a Chinese Takeaway to watch the new Hairy Bikers show only to be annoyed that in this series Si and Dave were going to be losing weight which made me suddenly feel very fat indeed. Kingy and Myers, which they referred to each other as, were stunned by the fact that both were heading on the road to be morbidly obese a fact that was seemingly a surprise only to them. The gist of this show sees the pair try to drop the calories by creating dishes that don’t include adding a slab of butter to them. I do love the Bikers so this show was good for me as we got to explore more of their home lives with Si’s young ginger kid telling us that his dad loved his Sunday roasts while Dave’s step-daughter bet him a large amount of money that he couldn’t fit into an old pair of jeans. Though first and foremost this was still about recipes, they have got a book coming out after all, they all fit in with the theme of the show that was that everything was made to be as low in calorie content as it possibly could be. In addition we saw the boys attempt a workout with a personal trainer something that Si didn’t enjoy but he did imply that he may well soon be back on the rugby field alongside his son who seemed to be the worst player on his school team by a long margin. One thing both men had resolved to do was to perhaps give up the motorbikes in favour of bicycles but wouldn’t that just be sacrilege? I personally couldn’t imagine The Hairy Cyclists but I do applaud them for this programme as it will alert the general public to the fact that even our tubby TV chefs sometimes don’t realise they need to shift the pounds until is pointed out to them in drastic terms. I’m just worrying if they can keep the weight off or not especially considering the fact that they’ve got a new show on the Good Food Network in a couple of weeks entitled The Hairy Bikers Mississippi Adventure in which the boys go on a music and food odyssey which I can’t imagine being that low in fat.
Also on Thursday we had the latest from the BBC’s Wonderland strand with a look at Conservative groups at the two most prestigious universities in a programme entitled Young, Bright and On the Right. 20 year old Oxford student Joe Cox caused controversy after he revealed several racist and sexist incidents in the university’s conservative society causing the institution to sever all ties with it. Joe is a great subject for a documentary as he walks around in his slightly softened Yorkshire accent spouting lines like ‘I don’t see it as a dirty tactic if the results are so moral’ while we also see him try to decide where to hang his pictures of Thatcher and Churchill in his new accommodation, just like every 20 year old student then? Though the documentary initially mocks Joe some trips to his hometown of Barnsley reveal a troubled childhood as he couldn’t speak till he was five due to severe dyslexia, his father was jailed when he was young and he always came bottom in every class until one day he decided to turn things around. Joe then went about studying and became one of the best students at his school acheiving full A* grades before heading off to Oxford and getting slightly wrapped up in the insider world of student politics. His decision to get in bed with the enemy, his terminology for the student newspaper, may have ended up costing him a work experience spot in Washington however thankfully it didn’t. Though Joe would’ve filled up enough documentary time on his own it seems the Wonderland crew wanted a second subject so instead chose 19 year old Chris Monk who looked like a pale Ron Weasley and was also a Tory boy though this time he went to Cambridge. Chris’ story was a lot less interesting than Joe’s as we basically saw his struggle to fit into the inner-circle of the Cambridge conservatives due to his lack of connections which he believes down to the fact that he went to a state school. According to Chris the most important thing to know in certain circles around the Cambridge Conservative Society is what cheese best goes with port and how to get said port out of a dress shirt. Wonderland always do a brilliant job with these sort of documentaries and in the case of Young, Bright and On the Right Joe Cox proved to be a wonderful subject who I thought was a little bit of an idiot until I learnt of his past and grew to quite admire him as the week went on. It’s telling that the less interesting of the two boys, Chris, had already left the world of politics as he didn’t seem like he was cut out for it constantly looking a bit nervous while Joe was completely principled even when involved in underhanded tactics so I guess he’ll probably become an MP in the very near future.
If you’re not into sports, don’t really want to concentrate on documentaries and just want a nostalgia-fest then there was only one show for you this week and it was ITV1′s The Hit Factory which explored some of the successes that the Stock, Aitken and Waterman had over the years. I love these music shows as there were some big revelations such as Rick Astley’s manager was still working in an office on top of a fancy dress shop when he made it big and that they helped make Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round’ a club classic. We heard of the tragic story of Mel and Kim, set to become the next big duo until Mel got ill and sadly passed away, as well as the happier success stories of Kylie and Jason. Though this was entertaining 45 minutes what really made it fly by was listening to all the classic hits from my youth such as ‘I Should be So Lucky’, ‘Too Many Broken Hearts’, ‘Especially for You’ and the first single I ever bough Sonia’s ‘You’ll Never Stop Me From Loving You.’ Yes I am a 1980s child and very proud of that fact.
Next Week: The Olympics Closing Ceremony, The Great British Bake-Off and Sharon’s return to Eastenders.