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Channel 4 : GoggleBox going from strength to strength…

24 Oct

Sometimes  the most ludicrous ideas have a way of defying their critics and going on to become things of beauty.  Thirteen years ago someone once thought “why don’t we plant a big Ferris Wheel in the middle of London to mark the new  millennium”, people around the country sniggered and probably thought how a fool and his money are soon parted.

Today the London Eye, as it is now known, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

Is GoggleBox going the same way,  can a TV program about people watching TV really capture the nation’s heart? Well, Harry Hill’s TV Burp was a big ratings winner, so who’s to say GoggleBox is incapable of achieving the same, and last night it showed why it has become an unsung hit.

In showing the nation’s reaction to TV programmes that ranged from the plain ridiculous to the endearingly tender, it held a mirror on ourselves.

We all would collectively watch opened-mouth that there is a TV programme about collecting sperm from a Walrus (in all its gory detail!),  we all would collectively acknowledge that Cilla Black is no longer even close to the singer she once was, and we would all collectively understand the fears that a partner feels when they realise that their time on earth with their loved ones is about to come to an end.

As we watch the GoggleBox’s household’s reactions to BBC2′s Natural : Two Tonne Tusker, ITV’s The One and Only Cilla Black and on Coronation Street, Hayley revealing to Roy she has terminal cancer. The reactions we saw were the reactions we felt.

 

The Call Centre…It can’t be real, can it ?

4 Jun

If you are watching this “fly on the wall” documentary on BBC what’s the first phrase that comes to mind. For me it was employment tribunal!

I am not sure what the collective noun for employment lawyers is but what ever it is I can see a whole mass of them programming their Sat Navs for Swansea.

I worked briefly in  call centre and it was as far removed from this as Torquay is from Tokyo.  The interview techniques of parading would be call centre agents down the hall way and asking the staff to shout yes or no, organising speed dates to get his staff “laid”,  throwing stuff at staff who doze off in particular boring meetings, were all sailing close to the line and would certainly have had the corporate lawyer nervously fiddling with their briefs.

I suspect a lot has been exaggerated for effect. If the boys and girls of TOWIE went to work for David Brent the result would have been exactly this.

I think I will be keeping an eye on this it has the potential to be quite amusing, and has a similar style to The Armstrongs shown back in 2006.

Soul Rebels on Andrew Marr Show…BBC1

12 May

I just caught the end of the Andrew Marr show on BBC1 this morning, Andrew Marr himself is away recovering from the stroke he had in January and his stand in this week was James Landale.

He was wrapping up an interview with the Education Secretary Michael Gove. The Education Secretary is a ‘Marmite’ man if there ever was, you either love him or loathe him.

I remember once travelling on a suburban train in the depths of Hertfordshire on a weekday afternoon. The train was mainly populated by a smattering of genteel retirees, silently leafing through copies of the favoured broadsheets. Out of the blue one of the lady pensioners let out what seemed by a loud howl of anguish followed by well emphasised used of the f-word. Suddenly the carriage was alive with gentle rustling of the newspapers as people without meaning to be too obvious tried to find out what was going on.

The suspense was short-lived as the lady quickly issued a general apology to the carriage for her outburst explaining “That Michael Gove, he really drives me mad”.

Anyway that was not the may reason for my post. It was to shout out to the Soul Rebels Brass Band who gave a fantastic performance at the end of the show. Their brass band instrumental rendition of Micheal Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall” was class, a little bit of Sunny New Orleans on a nice spring morning.

Here they from another show doing their thing with Jools Holland.

 

Dave…If you’re not watching Suits on Dave I want to know why?

7 Mar

If all TV programmes were like Suits I think I would probably never leave my house. Suits started off brilliantly on Dave last year but has only got better. It is like a fine wine from an award wining vineyard and as time goes by matures into a from just being great to exquisite.

Over the top praise? I don’t think so. A lot of  high concept episodic dramas come to our screen with a single underlying narrative. Recently for instance we had Homeland  with a underlying theme as to whether a prisoner of war had been turned into a terrorist. The challenge for these dramas is sustaining and developing the narrative particularly after a very successful first season.

This is something that Suits has done spectacularly well, the character and plot development has been phenomenal. We have seen the characters develop in believable and engaging ways.  Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) has gone from a infallible legal demigod strutting across the floors of his firm Pearson Hardman to a more humane and somewhat vulnerable man reduced in stature by a change in his fortune as his past coming back to haunt him.

Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams)  the young smart know it all, still smart and still a bit of a know it all but he’s has gradually come to realise  that life isn’t just about what you know but your relationships.

There is Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) smart, sexy and blossoming and she gains higher regard in the firm.  Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty) Harvey’s loyal right hand woman finding  that when reputations and careers are at stake there is always collateral damage. Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) so used to be being the top dog at her beloved firm now finding herself in a war of attrition in which losing may mean losing everything she has fought for.

It all seems to be coming to a head. In tonight’s episode we see Harvey narrowly escape a law suit that could have left him disbarred and the firm mortally wounded. The price to be paid though is higher than he might have wanted his friendship with Donna seemingly dead, his reputation as a ruthless focus legal rotweiller torn to shreds. and Jessica in a perilous position as her nemesis Daniel Hardman (David Costabile) attempts a coup d’etat

So the question remains if you aren’t watching  why aren’t you watching? If you missed it you can catch up with Season 1 on DVD. Thank me later

Dave…Suits…Why can’t Mike Ross just not say anything to Rachel?

7 Feb

Mike Ross has everything going for him, he is clever, has a great job, more money than he knows what too spend it on, and a woman (Rachel) he is in love with and who also clearly loves him.

He does have one problem though, he had the opportunity for a relationship with Rachel and walked away, why because he can’t hide the truth from her and the particular truth he wants to hide – that he didn’t go to Havard – a prerequisite for working at the law firms of Pearson Hardman.

So that is dilemma, so why is this is a problem? Why does Mike have this overwhelming urge to tell Rachel the truth. He is pretty much living the lie every day. Even if she found out much later in a relationship she should understand why he would have been hesitant to share it.

I love suits but this does not make sense to me.

On another minor note is Season One of Suits was about Harvey Specter and Mike Ross, but I can help but think that in Season 2 the focus seems to be shifting more to Harvey. Is anyone else feeling this or is it just me?

BBC4…Nordic Noir TV Fans..Borgen is back for Season 2

5 Jan

It is the depths of winter, the days are short and the nights long, what better time for our seasonal dip in the latest dark haunting drama from Scandinavia. Season 2 of Borgen is back on BBC4 on Saturdays at 9pm.

If you loved ‘The Killing’ (Forbrydelsen) couldn’t wait for your daily fix of ‘The Bridge’ (Broen) and find ‘Wallander’ unmissable then your are almost already a fan of ‘Borgen’. For those who aren’t here is a quick synospis of Season 1 from wikipedia.

With Danish elections to begin soon, Birgitte Nyborg, leader of the Moderate Party is interviewed by Katrine Fønsmark, a journalist for the broadcaster TV1. Both women are unknowingly connected by Nyborg’s media advisor, Kasper Juul, who is also Katrine’s ex-boyfriend. Katrine has been having an affair with Ole Dahl, the communications chief for Prime Minister Lars Hesselboe.

When Dahl dies of a heart attack whilst in bed with Katrine, she panics and contacts Kasper for help. While removing evidence from Dahl’s flat, Kasper comes across sales receipts showing that Hesselboe has made expensive personal purchases using his official credit card. He offers these to Nyborg as a possible bargaining chip for use in the upcoming general election. When Nyborg declines, Kasper gives it to opposition leader Michael Laugesen. After Laugesen reveals the information in a television debate, Nyborg deduces the source and fires Kasper.

Laugesen’s action backfires, however, and many voters reject both him and Hesselboe in favour of the minority parties, including the Moderates. This puts Nyborg in the running for prime minister, a development even she didn’t expect. Although the obvious choice for the office, Nyborg faces condescension and chauvinism from other party leaders, but is buoyed up by the support of her deputy, Bent Sejrø.

Laugesen refuses to support her as leader of a coalition government, but is undermined by his own resentful colleagues, who leak information that leads to his own resignation as party leader. With delicate navigation Nyborg is thus able to form a centre-left coalition government with the Labour and Green Parties, along with support from the far-left Solidarity Party. Laugesen is appointed head of the Ekspres tabloid newspaper, and uses his new position to become the government’s fiercest critic.

Nyborg continues to rely on Bent and her husband Philip for help making her premiership a success. She appoints a new P.R. assistant to replace Kasper, but he quickly proves disastrous during a TV interview with Laugesen. Nyborg re-hires Kasper, who is still troubled by his break-up with Katrine. Kasper learns from Katrine that she became pregnant by Dahl and had an abortion, becoming heartbroken when she begins a short relationship with her fitness instructor. He faces more problems when Laugesen writes a memoir revealing details about the personal lives of several politicians, including Kasper’s role in exposing Hesselboe’s receipts. Katrine realises that he took them from Dahl’s apartment and angrily confronts him.

Nyborg and Kasper manipulate the facts and dismiss Laugesen’s book as “gossip”.
As the parliament prepares to convene, Kasper struggles to write Nyborg’s opening speech. He half-heartedly flirts with Nyborg’s personal secretary, Sanne, who loses her job as a result. Meanwhile, Philip, unhappy with his own position, finally loses faith in his marriage with Nyborg when he is forced to resign as the CEO of a major electronics company to avoid a conflict of interest; he begins an affair with a recruitment consultant. Nyborg attempts to disguise their marital crisis by agreeing to a television documentary about her official and personal life, but calls it off when Philip, unable to stand the subterfuge, insists on a divorce. Katrine, learning that Kasper has obtained editorial control over the programme, resigns from her job with at TV1.

A poor showing in the polls results in Nyborg’s Labour allies approaching her to get a bigger share of Cabinet seats. They focus on Bent, who is obliged to resign as finance minister to make room for a Labour politician. Nyborg’s opening speech is a resounding success, but she is close to an emotional breakdown as the season ends.

The Bridge is in my opinion lighter than its compatriots being as it is focused on the politics, but it does have so fairly heavy emotional moments and definitely worth a watch.