Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: August-September 2008

Bit belated, for which I apologise :)

I’m not usually too thrilled with celebrity-presented documentaries and I’m no fan of Joanna Lumley, but despite this even I was captivated by "Joanna Lumley In The Land of the Northern Lights" (BBC-1). She said it was something she always wanted to do, so off she went to northern Norway to find them. I won’t ever complain about the cold again! It was hard not to feel her wonderment and emotion at finally seeing the Northern Lights, which truly look phenomenal. She ended up in Svalbard, just 620 miles from the North Pole: the end of northern civilisation.

It’s been going for a while but only recently, and by mistake, I discovered "Come Dine With Me" (Channel 4) a daily cooking contest where a group of five people take turns to host a dinner party. It’s such addictive viewing, but it was only on for a couple of weeks before Paul O’Grady’s tedious teatime chat show returned. The format also translates well internationally: in France it’s "Un Diner Presque Parfait" and doing very well in the ratings over there.

The anniversary of 9/11 was commemorated by a couple of documentaries on Channel 4: "The 9/11 Hotel" interviewed survivors from the Marriott Hotel which was next to the towers, and "The 9/11 Faker" told the shocking story of a woman who claimed to be a survivor of 9/11 but it turned out that she wasn’t even there.

Saturday night of course is now dominated by X Factor (yawn) and "Strictly Come Dancing" (BBC-1). There will soon be weekly reviews of Strictly on here once all the male and female contestants are together, at the moment it’s males one week (Phil Daniels evicted week 1) and females the next (Gillian Taylforth evicted week 2), then back to males (Gary Rhodes evicted week 3) It’s still a winning format, but my gripes from the last series continue. There is too much airtime given to the over-inflated egos of the judges; Bruce Forsyth may just be losing the plot; and why do we have to wait till Sunday for the results show - which is an hour long! The only good thing about the results show though is the professional exhibition dances which are fab.

Anton Du Beke may have gone out in week 2, but who decided he would be the next over-exposed TV presenter then? As if his big chin and cheesy grin wasn’t enough on "Strictly" we are now subjected to him on "Step Up To The Plate" (BBC-2), in the pre-teatime cookery slot, and as if that’s not enough, those with a nervous disposition can drool over him in silver lycra (!?!?!?!?), on "Hole In the Wall" (BBC-1) which may just be your bag if you like Z-listers in silver lycra. The last straw was a silver-lycra-clad Vanessa Feltz, and by that time my nerves could take no more.

I’ve been enjoying "Don’t Tell The Bride" (BBC-3) where a soon to be married couple are given £12000 to arrange their wedding, the only catch being that the groom has to arrange the whole thing from start to finish.

"Lipstick Jungle" (Living, Mondays) was described as the new Sex And The City, however after two episodes I couldn’t agree with that, purely because I couldn’t warm to any of the three main characters and the whole thing just left me cold.

"Grey’s Anatomy" (Living, Thursdays) is now on series 4 and has got off to a cracking start, mainly because it’s spent less time on Meredith’s tedious dilemmas and concentrated on the whole Izzie-George-Callie love triangle, and introduced new intern Lexie - none other than Meredith’s half sister!

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