Tag Archives: The Voice

Channel 4…The Taste. If The Voice were a cooking programme, it would be this!

7 Jan

The Taste. ‘The Voice’ meets ‘Masterchef’.

  • Three judges…Check!
  • Can’t see the contestants at the beginning…Check!
  • Have to trust their senses alone…Check!
  • Judges compete to select the best and become mentors…Check!
  • Contestants decide when more than one judge wants them…Check!

Sounds like The Voice, looks like The Voice, feels like The Voice, but certainly does not taste like The Voice. The Taste, Channel 4′s much heralded gastronomic reality show hit our screen today and for me it gets a big thumbs up.

I love the judges. Nigella Lawson was imperious despite her recent problems. Anthony Bourdain of Kitchen Confidential fame was suave and urbane, a culinary equivalent of George Clooney. Ludo Lefebvre was a Gallic tour de force. I loved the interaction between the judges, it was competitive without being bitchy. You would expect that though, as all three judges are very accomplished in their own right and really have nothing to prove by grandstanding.

The food, yes it comes out it single bites sizes on a spoon, but some of those dishes looked absolutely mouth watering.  I love the format of the show, judging by taste is what it should be about, not the ‘journey” the contestants have been on – I am talking about you MasterChef!

I think my Tuesday nights are sorted.

BBC Parliament – How Magaret Thatcher Came to Power.

13 Apr
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

One of the unspoken joys of multi-channel satellite and cable TV is that there is a good chance that there is always a channel which you could end up watching and you’d probably be the only person in the whole of the United Kingdom watching that channel as that time. Whenever I stumble across channels like this I always come away with that special feeling that the entire channel is being broadcast solely for my benefit for the few seconds, minutes or hours that I indulge in what the channel offers.

One of the channels that often leaves me with this feeling is BBC Parliament. A channel you can imagine even at its best would struggle to hold the viewing interests of the great British public and on a cold Saturday night with the Voice on BBC and Britain’s got Talent (and its sibling Britian’s got more talent) on ITV you expect it viewing figures to be almost statistically immeasurable.

It may not have had many users tonight but it had me. Why was I watching it? Well one of the big news items of the week is the passing away of former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and as I was channel surfing I passed by BBC Parliament and their transmission caught my attention.

It was a re-run of the 1979 election result night, the election night that gave Europe it’s first female Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher. It was like opening a televisual time capsule. Britain in 1979 looks a much grayer place that it is today. No flashy Jon Snow graphics, no snazzy studios, old style phone calls to correspondents in the field, lots of middle aged men and precious few women and ethnic minorities about, a much different and visually more austere time. One constant was the presence of Mr David Dimbleby who if you are even mildly interested in politics will know he still covers the election night for the BBC 34 years on.

That however was not what caught my attention it was the discussion they were having about the fall of James Callaghan, the then Labour Prime Minister who had called the election in 1979. He had to call the election because he had lost the support of the Scottish Nationalists in Parliament and in a minority government which is what he was running that is a death sentence.

It turns out the Scottish Nationalists were unhappy about the plans for a referendum on a Scottish Assembly. They wanted the referendum to pass or fail on a simple majority of the votes cast. However a Labour MP, George Cunningham himself a Scot but opposed to Scottish devolution, pushed that the referendum should be only pass if 40% of the registered voters supported it.

A subtle but important change especially given the traditionally relatively low turnouts in British elections, so it was not a shock when the referendum failed to pass. Enraged the SNP pushed for a vote of no confidence. Given the rules of the Parliament as the the the official opposition, the Conservatives led by Margaret Thatcher, also pushed for a vote of no confidence which with the support of the SNP and brought down the government.

Paradoxically this brought in 11 years of Conservative government and almost a wipe out of the SNP’s vote in that elections. Today the Conservative party is almost extinct in Scotland due mainly to the reaction of Scotland to policies of the Conservative Government in the 80′s and 90′s and the Scottish Nationalist Party heads a devolved government in Edinburgh, kind of ironic.

There were of course other issues around the whole situation, such as the Winter of Discontent which also had and influence on the situation back then, but I found this little snippet of history quite interesting.

Celebrity Juice…Is it just Benny Hill for the Facebook generation? [ITV2]

1 Mar

Ah Celebrity Juice, Leigh Francis aka Keith Lemon at his inimitable best.

I sometimes wonder how this programme was pitched  to ITV execs? Was it pitched as a post modern humorous, but ironic take on celebrity culture and ingrained misogynistic behaviour in the entertainment industry. Or was it sold as a Quiz show with loads of banter, piss taking, celebs and loads of nicely stacked ladies for the lads.

I suspect it was sold as something close to the former but what we have got is definitely close to the latter.  Leigh Francis in his role as Keith Lemon revels in his role as probably the most politically incorrect TV celebrity since the late Benny Hill. Alongside Keith are regulars Holly Willoughby or as she is known on the show  Holly Willough-booby (no explanation needed here) and Fearne Cotton seemingly less favoured by Lemon for being less favoured in the ways that appeal to him.

Celebrity Juice has been phenomenally successful for ITV2, bringing in close to 2 million viewers per show. It has however divided wider opinion, while clearly a lot of people love its humour and banter, there are also people who worry about what they see as its over indulgence in lewd school yard humour the sort we last saw with the late Benny Hill.

If the lewd humour offends you, then last night’s episode would have left you apoplectic. Fearne Cotton is off having a baby, and drafted in as her replacement was Kelly Brook.  Now Kelly Brook is ample in a similar way to Holly Willoughby possibly even more so and the appearance of both of them on the show seemed to send Keith into an overdrive of bawdy behaviour.

Does it matter that Holly and Kelly both seemed “up for it”? Holly in particular I would assume doesn’t have to do this show. She co-hosts two of ITV’s flagship programme’s This Morning and Dancing on Ice, and even managed to get a gig on rival BBC as well as the host of The Voice.  So why you might ask does she feel  she needs to take part in a programme where she is blindfolded and a prosthetic male organ waved in her face?

She is either operating on a level of irony that we mere mortals can only aspire to  or she is pretty much ready to do anything for a laugh.

Personally I enjoy Celebrity Juice but I am not sure I should. It is like having a double cream filled chocolate doughnut from Krispy Kreme, lovely but you somehow know it is not to be encouraged.