Monday, 17 October 2016

Week in Telly 7

Last week I was flummoxed by the writing on the side of an ashtray in Man About the House.

I am happy to report my suspicion that it was an advertising slogan was correct. @IAmSimonHarris swiftly informed me the full quote is "You can't beat 'em", a slogan used by Tetley Bitter. As Robin usually orders a pint of bitter, this fits into the pub rather well and I love that we can now take a reasonable guess at which beer he drinks!

Coronation Street Omnibus
Despite saying I hated it a few weeks ago, Vinny and Pat's building scam is starting to grow. They have sucked in Sarah Platt and now lovely Rita too. This could do with becoming something serious and dramatic. One dead body before Christmas at least! Meanwhile David Platt is proving himself as thick as pig muck. He gets posters put up naming his wife's killer, who as a minor is supposed to be entitled to anonymity. The police immediately arrest David because it's blindingly obvious that he'd be a suspect. Once he's released he goes to find the killer's brother in hospital and tries to kill him. The omnibus ends with him looking at the outside of the courthouse on Google Earth, so it appears David plans to try to shoot the killer. What can possibly go wrong?

Man About the House
Chrissy and Robin are left alone together for the weekend in an episode that was awkward to watch at times. Chrissy seems terrified that Robin might try it on with her so he repeatedly teases her. Her reaction is so extreme that it's as though she expects him to force himself on her. If she really believes this about Robin then why on earth is she sharing the flat with him? I found this a very difficult topic to laugh with.

The Space Pirates - Episode 1
See my post here.

Man About the House
Robin gets landed with an adorable Labrador puppy, forcing the trio to go to great lengths so the Roper's don't discover it. A rather enjoyable part is Robin being invited by the landlord into the pub after hours to find himself sat with several coppers. He jabbers on and on, digging himself holes. Quite unnaturally none of them say a word, presumably because no one want to pay the actors.

Two and a Half Men - 2 episodes
It's been years since I've watched any of Two and a Half Men. These were older episodes from the period I remember, with Jake just entering his teenage years. He sneaks out to go to a gig. Meanwhile Charlie goes out with his girlfriend, a hotshot in local government. A little nervous, his mother gives him something to relax. But of course she's mixed her drugs up and whilst we never find out exactly what Charlie has taken it's undoubtedly illegal in most countries. He spends a long time fascinated by the colours in a wine glass and Jake later finds him slumped outside the front door, unable to use his legs. The second episode is built around Alan and Charlie falling out over boundaries in the house, all kicked off by a new bowl. I enjoyed delving into these and found it quite good, easy viewing so may try some more.

National Treasure
"Do you think he did it?" I was asked. Throughout I have been undecided. I changed my mind during episodes but generally finished hoping he didn't. During this episode I began to feel sure. I became almost certain he didn't do it. How could his wife turn round on the day of the verdict and say she thought he was guilty? How awful. I mentioned last week how much I enjoyed the flashbacks but that they often left more unanswered questions. Right before the verdict things were all cleared up and I thought they were superbly done. The actor playing the young Finchley was brilliant for these scenes. We didn't need to see what happened in gory, vile detail. We all have imaginations and they are far worse things than television could ever depict. I was shocked. How awful. The ending was magnificent. Dragging it out and out, leaving it open. Utterly superb.

I want to be on this show. Puzzles and challenges, all of the most pointless nature. It just looks so much fun. This week contestants had one hour then Greg Davies' assistant, Alex, would emerge from a shed and they had to 'surprise him'. Undoubtedly my favourite 'surprise' was Al Murray sitting in his pants, his feet on four airhorns whilst repeatedly smacking a giant gong. The balloon challenge was interesting too with participants simply having to burst a line of balloons on a washing line as fast as possible. Some dived right in with their teeth, others had the foresight to find some sharp objects. My favourite task was the team challenge where they had to follow a series of clues that eventually led them to untie Alex.

Man About the House
This was the first and until last week the only episode of Man About the House I'd seen. With the Roper's away for the weekend the youngsters decide to throw a party. They make this decision on the Friday and have the party on the Saturday. This is absurd. How grim are their friends' lives that they all had no plans in London on a Saturday night? We see Robin begin to start ringing round people on that Friday night so presumably they must all have been in on the Friday too in order to have taken the calls. I'm also astounded that people as permanently skint as them managed to convince the landlord of their local to give them a crate of booze, including ten gallons of beer, on the slate. The party itself has moody lighting and a pile of copyright-free music. It isn't the liveliest party I've ever seen but the living room does get filled up.

The Brain: A Secret History
I've seen a number of Dr Michael Mosley's documentaries. I'm not sure what the number is but it's definitely a number. I was sure I'd seen this one before but when I started watching it I couldn't remember anything. This first episode looks at some of the experiments conducted on brains in order to try to understand the human mind. Pavlov and his dog gets a mention of course but I was considerably more disturbed at seeing the footage of his experiments on children. I was very interested by the experiments conducted about authority. If you say, "Would you give up your seat to a stranger on a train who gave no reason?" most people would respond, "No" but the reality of the situation proved otherwise. They got people to go out and ask for people's seats and most people would give them up. Mosley himself had a brief go at repeating the experiment and as soon as it was over he said he was relieved because he'd found it so awkward. Having been through the utter horror that is asking someone to vacate my reserved seat on a train, I sympathise.

The Great British Bake Off
Tudor week? This is getting ridiculous. I certainly wouldn't have turned down one of Andrew's pies though. The marzipan showstopper was interesting and by interesting I mean surprising and by surprising I mean dull. There wasn't anything huge and 'WOW' inducing for me. I was also a little put off as I've recently decided that marzipan is, well, a bit meh. Marzipan belongs on a Christmas cake, sandwiched between fruit cake and icing. Benjamina's exit was disappointing and I still think Selassi will be next. It's close enough that I can start making winner predictions now. I love Jane but I don't think she has quite the ambition or consistency to win. I think it will come down to Andrew or Candice.

Man About the House
I continue to enjoy this. In this episode Robin has to decide whether to face up to an intimidating and very large bloke in the pub.

The Sweeney
I'm struggling to remember much of this as it was some winding ,down bedtime telly after I got back late. Things kick off with a good old The Sweeney bank job, stockings over their faces and everything. Did banks used to get robbed a lot more in the seventies or is it just that I never hear about it happening now? Did the arrival of tights over stockings have an impact? Did it just start to look like too much hassle? Did potential blaggers get put off by how easy it was for a sawn-off shotgun to accidentally go off in some poor bank clerk's face? I'll probably never know. This episode feels different as it starts to look like a bloke who's already inside has been set up to take the fall for the blag. Reagan isn't keen and starts to look elsewhere. A nice change. It was also nice to see The Sweeney portraying a genuinely reformed criminal, as they are few and far between in this series. It's usually a case of 'once a villain, always a villain'. I only have one more episode left to watch in my BluRay box set of series one of The Sweeney. This is concerning and though devastating feels too strong a word, I am gutted. I've stretched it out but this is almost it. I am of the firm opinion that it would be a travesty if the other series were not released too. I may be writing to the people at Network Distributing or perhaps just continue to drop not-so-subtle hints in tweets to them.

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares
This follows Gordon Ramsay coming to the rescue of a failing restaurant in the U.S. I was never particularly fond of watching Ramsay because on the few occasions I tuned into his programmes it was obvious they had been edited to showcase him swearing and shouting. No swearing, not even a beep here in this pre-watershed offering. The owner/chef in this French restaurant was arrogant and vain. It was quite clear that the sous chef hated the guy's guts. I was amazed anyone bothered to continue working for such a tosspot. Of course this all made it even better to see Ramsay bring the bloke down a peg or two. Your restaurant is empty! You are going to have to change some things!

Saturday Kitchen's Best Bites (part)
I was in a hotel on Sunday morning and I was struggling to drag myself out of a large, comfy bed so I put it off for a little while longer. What grabbed my attention was a clip of Keith Floyd, whom I love watching. I like his presentation style, I like how friendly he is with those he's cooking with, I like how appetising all his food looks. He was making pizza with a lovely baker and it looked so good that I went to have pizza shortly afterwards. The other clip I saw was the first ever omelette challenge! Exciting indeed. The participants weren't quite as competitive originally and took 57 seconds and 1 minute 29 seconds.

Red Dwarf
Another new episode that I'd been looking forward to. This one saw Rimmer printing multiple versions of himself and whilst the story was good, there just weren't enough laughs for me.

Inspector Morse
I'd stopped recording these but somewhere somehow a series link popped one back in. As it started up a little man doing sign language appeared in the corner. My mother cried out, "What's that?!" and I replied, "It's a little man doing sign language." "Will he be there all the way through?" This question took me aback. "Erm, well, yes because...some people would need him to be." Mother's face fell. "Can't you get rid of him?" No. Of course I couldn't. Television people long ago decided that deaf people primarily watch television in the early hours of the morning so if you record a programme on then, you get a little person doing sign language in the corner. It would be good if, like subtitles, you could choose whether to have a little person doing sign language in the corner for every programme. I'm sure some people would appreciate it. I certainly would, as it would mean I didn't have to explain to my mother how the little person doing sign language in the corner actually works.
The episode of Morse itself was excellent with twists and turns right up to the end. A man was found strangled in his car on a multi storey car park. I'd started to feel quite smug as I guessed a few things throughout the episode, sometimes just before Morse brought them up. But the last twenty minutes threw enough curveballs to leave me baffled until Morse had demonstrated it all. One aspect of the episode I rather liked was Morse going on a date with the pathologist. Not a word is said about their age gap. She has to make it blindingly obvious before he takes the plunge to meet up with her. Before this he had found himself spending the evening with a prostitute. I think the word 'escort' would probably be used now but she chose 'prostitute'. Morse sits in her swanky living room, drinking decent whisky. Half the time he seems fine, the other half he is incredibly uncomfortable. It was intriguing seeing him hesitate so much before he spoke. He remains politeness to a tee.

17 programmes
10 new
7 old

Best: National Treasure - tough decision this week as Taskmaster continues to be great fun and Morse was a corker.

Worst: The Space Pirates

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