Archive | January, 2014

Channel 5…Can Celebrity Big Brother Redeem Jim Davidson?

30 Jan

Celebrity Big Brother came to an end last night and was striking in two regards. Firstly it has turned out to be a big ratings winner for Channel 5, peaking at about 3.8 million viewers for the final.

So successful were the ratings for Channel 5 that the programme was extended by four days, and I suspect if it weren’t for fear of charges of forced imprisonment being levied against them Channel 5 would have kept the celebrities ‘locked’ up longer.

The other big surprise was the winner. In a field with reality TV stalwarts like Sam Faiers (The Only Way is Essex – TOWIE) and Ollie Lock (Made In Chelsea), well known figures from Pop Music Lee Ryan (Blue) and Dappy (N-Dubz) plus other older but entirely palatable celebrities like Lionel Blair and Linda Nolan, Jim Davidson would not stand out as your likely winner.

Not when you consider the supposed voting demographic of shows like Celebrity Big Brother, not when you consider media coverage he has received in recent years, but win he did!

I am not not sure what propelled  him to victory? It may be that the voting demographic is not as skewed towards the younger tech-savvy teenagers most people imagine, it may be that with too many celebs aimed at the the yoof it could be that a dedicated brigade of  matronly voters were able to seize the advantage of the divide in the the opponents ranks  provided and voted their man to victory, or it could simply be that viewers of the The Generation Game are just so damn loyal.

Well he has won and and unlike his last appearance on Reality TV on Hells Kitchen, this time around he has done so with little or no controversy. The question is will this mark a turnaround in his fortunes, will his phone be ringing off the hook as offers flood in?

Michael Barrymore went though the same sort of redemption of Celebrity Big Brother, but the revival was fleeting as the reasons why stars are no longer stars do not disappear from the general population simply on the back of a reality TV win. It may they have been mired in controversy, it may be ageism, or it may be the public’s taste has just simply moved on. Ultimately success in Reality TV shows is a “success of now” an ephemeral success that begins to dissipate from the very moment you are crowned.

Even less contentious winners of shows like The X-Factor, The Voice quickly realise how transient their popular appeal can be. So is this redemption for Jim Davidson? No not likely.

 

 

 

BBC2..House Of Fools. Is it a Comedy?

28 Jan

House of Fools. When is a comedy not a comedy?  Easy. When it is not funny!

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer were big in the 1990′s, scratch that, they were huge stars.

Their shows like Shooting Stars were massive and did wonders not only for the careers of Vic and Bob but also their star-dust brightened the careers of  many others like Ulrika “Ulrika-ka-ka-ka” Jonsson, Johnny Vegas, Mark Lamarr and Matt Lucas aka George Dawes.

Not content with being major TV celebrities, Vic Reeves also found time to release a number one single  a cover of the 1969 Tommy Roe hit “Dizzy“.

 

 

That though was the 90′s. Back to the present Vic and Bob are reunited for the BBC2 comedy House of Fools.

I think Comedy years are like dog years and it is clear that the many, many years have gone by since Vic and Bob were really funny and it shows, the show is dire.

Vic and Bob were always renown for being unconventional and their humour always had a Marmite quality to it,  you loved it or loathed it. This is more like Semolina, tasteless, flavourless and clearly only used a filling because BBC 2 has nothing better to show. It was not good.

 

 

BoxSet…The Tunnel (Stephen Dillane, Clémence Poésy )

24 Jan

It is like BBC4′s Scandinavian hit The Tunnel, except it’s not on a Bridge and not Scandinavian.


The Bridge was a big hit in its twin home countries of Denmark and Sweden and also for BBC4 here in the UK. It therefore comes a no surprise that it has spawned quite  few clones including  The Tunnel a joint production between French media giant Canal Plus and British TV production company Kudos Film and Television.

Like The Bridge, The Tunnel brings together detectives from two nations solving a crime that has inexplicably occurred right on the border, in this case the very point in the Channel Tunnel where the Britain ends and France starts (or indeed where France ends and Britain starts).

The Tunnel stays true to many of the aspects of the The Bridge that made the latter a big hit, including pairing a laid back British detective played by Stephen Dillane with a socially challenged but highly effective French female detective played by Clémence Poésy, echoing the pairing from the Bridge of Kim Bodnia (Martin) and Sofia Helin (Saga) in The Bridge.

In some ways the Anglo-French dialogue plus a different take on the character development makes this significantly different that fans of this genre will enjoy it as a series in its own right. If you missed its showing on Sky Atlantic or love to relive what was a really great series then box set is now available.

Channel 4…Benefits Street. Are kids fair game?

20 Jan

Is Benefits Street using Child Poverty for entertainment?

Benefits Street has been one of the most talked about programmes on TV this year.  Largely in part because of its relentless focus on the some of the least attractive recipients of the welfare system. The sort of people guaranteed to drive middle England apoplectic with rage and have the readers of the Daily Mail spluttering into their cups of tea in fury.

I presume most of the participants in the programme have consented to appearing in the programme, the resultant programme may not be what they expected but it is ultimately with their consent (although I am a bit unsure how they got consent from resident drunk Fungi , who in addition to his love for the amber liquid was revealed to be illiterate).

That though only applies to the adults, todays episode focused on the children of the residents of James Turner street. In doing so it took on a more worrying dimension. The kids are in homes that are portrayed as ranging from mildly dysfunction to a point where you are wondering where the hell are social services.

Ultimately the question is even with the assumed consent of their parents it is right to put these kid’s situation at home on the Network TV for the public’s entertainment? It is no surprise the programme has been dubbed by the rest of the media as benefit porn.

 

TV Advert…Guinness brings The Sapeurs to the UK

18 Jan

New Guinness TV Advert : Les Sapeurs

You may never have heard of them, but far away in the Congo Brazaville (not to be confused with its neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo) there is a breed of gentlemen for whom snazzy sharp dressing is a way of life.

These men are know as the  La Société des Ambianceurs et Persons Élégants (the Society for the Advancement of People of Elegance) – Sapeurs. What was cultural niche only known to Congolese and people with an interest in Congolese culture and music is now set to get a wider audience after Guinness launched a new marketing campaign featuring the Sapeurs

 

 

The authoritative book on this phenomenon is The Gentlemen of Bacongo by Daniele Tamagni, Paul Smith and Paul Goodwin. The music in the advert is What Makes a Good Man? – The Heavy.

Channel 4 …Is “Hostages” the new “Homeland”?

18 Jan

“Homeland” was a ratings winner can “Hostages” replace it?

Channel 4 got a ratings winner with the first season of Homeland, the second and third seasons also did relatively well and the lesson for the schedulers at Channel 4 was that a strong US drama has the potential to be winner in the prime time 9 pm weekend slot.

Step forward Hostages, the new Saturday night US drama on Channel 4. The series debuted last Saturday starring Toni Collette as Surgeon Dr Ellen Saunders, who was to undertake a surgery on the President of the United States. In a bit of politicking the President had decided to have his surgery done in a normal public hospital where Dr Saunders worked, rather than using the ultra secure facilities available to the most powerful man in the world.

We are also introduced to FBI Agent Duncan Carlisle (“Dylan McDermott“). Now his role is pivotal to Hostages and he is initially shown to us as all action good guy, foiling a bank robbery. Soon after the drama turns dark as Dr Ellen Saunders suffers a home invasion and as her family are held hostage, she is told she needs to kill the President by botching the Surgery scheduled for the next day otherwise her family will be killed. The leader of the home invaders being none other than FBI Agent Duncan Carlisle.

Has he gone renegade? Why doesn’t Dr Saunders contact the Secret Service? How will the plot keep us engaged for all full series? We shall no doubt find out.

Actor Roger Lloyd-Pack “Trigger” Dies.

16 Jan

Roger Lloyd-Pack, Trigger from Only Fools and Horses passes away aged 69.

It was announced today the actor Roger Lloyd Pack has passed away today. He was most famous for his role as Trigger in the hit comedy series Only Fools and Horses.

Tribute have poured acorss from the entertainment industry  and beyond it.

BBC

Roger Lloyd Pack, who has died aged 69, was best known as the gormless Trigger in the BBC One comedy Only Fools and Horses.

Possessed of a rubbery face, which he used to great effect, he was sometimes difficult to cast but never became typecast.

But it was his depth as an actor that enabled him to make much of the minor roles in which he often found himself.

David Jason (Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses)

“I was very saddened to hear of Roger’s passing. He was a very quiet, kind and unassuming actor who was a pleasure to work with, although he played the simple soul of Trigger in Only Fools And Horses, he was a very intelligent man and a very fine actor capable of many roles. I shall remember him with fondness and for all the good times we had together.”

Nicholas Lyndhurst (Rodney  “Dave” in Only Fools and Horses)

“I’m so saddened to hear about Roger. He was the most accomplished actor and loved by millions, I will miss him greatly.”

As a celebration of this greater actor here are some of his most famous from Only Fools and Horses

On Ghandi

 

Why do they cool him Trigger?

 

Staying Cool with Del Boy in a Wine Bar.

BBC1…Katie Hopkins from Apprentice to Professional “wind-up merchant”

11 Jan

Is Katie Hopkins building a career out of being objectionable?

Katie Hopkins first came to the nation’s conscience as a contestant on the reality TV show “The Apprentice”, even way back then in 2007 her talent for causing raised eyebrows and tut-tutting amongst the chattering classes was quickly established. She famously said of fellow contestant Kristina Grimes – “Kristina is quite frankly too orange to be taken seriously” and of another contestant Adam Hoskins who she claimed over indulged in the odd glass of red wine – “When your best friends are Mr Pinot and Mr Grigio, you want to watch it.”

She didn’t win the Apprentice, in her words turning down the Sir Alan Sugar’s offer, although it was extremely unlikely she ever stood a chance. Rather being a dampener on any ambitions she had, failing to win turned out to be the beginning of her rise to some sort of fame.

Along the way she appeared in “I Am A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, castigated people for naming their children after places, even though she has a child named India, was outspoken on how ‘soft’ mothers have left us a nation full of obese children, and openly expressed a distaste for ginger-haired children.

Her love of the controversial has meant she has found a niche in the media as the go-to person when you need someone controversial on social issues. Not content with that she is increasingly branching out with her controversial opinions into the world of politics.

She brought her particular brand of rabble rousing to BBC’s topical news programme – This Week. Incensed by what she had seen earlier this week on the Channel 4 programme – Benefit Street – she came to do battle with Labour MP and regular pundit on the show, Dianne Abbot.

Despite Dianne’s patient attempts to explain to Katie that the bulk of welfare payments are made to pensioners and people who are in work, Katie, not one to have her prepared rant swayed by statistics and considered detailed, ploughed on. She ensured that she used the right words guaranteed to wind up middle England, peppering her ill thought position with repeated mentions of “scroungers”, “skivvers” and “work-shy”, tried to bait Dianne by being particularly obnoxious and rounding it of with a ridiculous anecdote on how on a recent cruise she took half of the people boasted about how they were claiming benefits.

Just the sort of controversy that producers of bland late night political shows love.

BBC4…The Bridge. The second series is the hardest.

9 Jan

Can the second series of the Bridge capture our imaginations?

The Cat Stevens song from the seventies goes “the first cut is the deepest” but if he was a TV executive he would probably have been singing how “the second series is the hardest” because it truely is.

How do you take a great idea, spin in it out into however many episodes that make up the first season, give it an engaging story arc and a  satisfactory conclusion, but still leave just enough untold from the original idea to spin out one or more series. The answer is with a lot of difficulty because often a satisfactory conclusion to the first season often conflicts with have a meaningful second season.

I loved the first season of Danish-Swedish drama co-production The Bridge (Boen / Broen) with the kernel of its storyline focusing on a crime committed at the centre of a bridge that links Copenhagen in Denmark with Malmo in Sweden.  The unusual location of the crime brought together Swedish detective Saga Norén (Sofia Helin) and her Danish counterpart Martin Rohde (Kim Bodnia) in a gripping series of episodes that saw them track down a serial killer  who turned out to be a former colleague of Martin.

So how do you follow on from that, given that crimes on the bridge that require cross-country investigations are not an every day occurrence?  Well series 2 has created another crime that coincidentally happens again in the middle of the bridge.

In season one it was a dead body found in the middle of the bridge, this time around it is a mystery ship crashing into the pillars of the bridge at its centre. So guess what? Saga and Martin are reunited for series 2.

A bit contrived you might say, weighing in against that is the relationship between Saga and Martin. Saga in particular who is so lacking in social skills to the extent that she may be autistic, although it is never explicitly stated, is the star of the show. The success of season 1 was largely built on this relationship and with both characters reunited in season 2 it gives it a good chance of success.

The Bridge Season 2 is available on BBC iPlayer

BBC…Clare Balding to lead Winter Olympics coverage.

9 Jan

BBC announces Sochi Winter Olympics coverage

The London 2012 Olympics produced two winners for the BBC. The first was acclaim for its unparalleled multi-channel coverage of pretty much all sports at the Olympics, and the second was Clare Balding.

Well for fans of multi-sport extravaganzas the goods news are that both are back for the Winter Olympics which starts in Sochi, Russia in four weeks time.

The BBC has promised that its programming will consist of Six HD streams across digital platforms to deliver over 650 hours of live action, covering every moment of Sochi 2014. New digital approach brings world-class live event coverage to audiences with over 200 hours on network TV plus two red button streams.

650 hours of sport over two weeks should keep even the most die hard sports junkie well taken care of.

Clare Balding’s informative, engaged and enthusiastic presentation during the Olympics was a ratings winner. So exemplary was her coverage that she was awarded a special BAFTA in  for outstanding achievement in factual presenting in recognition of her coverage of the Olympics.

Say what you like about the BBC, but they know a good thing when they see one, so no surprise that Clare along side Hazel Irvine and Jonathan Edwards will lead the BBCs team to Russia. She will no doubt be looking forward to another Olympic commentary gem like the now famous Bert Le Clos interview.

The 2014 Winter Olympics games runs from the 7th of February, 2014 to the 23rd of February, 2014 in Sochi, Russia