While we're on the subject, I didn't stick with "Popstar to Operastar" the latest variation on the reality-talent format. Did watch the first couple of weeks though out of curiosity to see Darius again (and faithful travelling companion's Saturdays-Vanessa obsession) however I lost interest pretty quickly. Anyway big congrats to Darius who won it....
The British version of "Wallander" made a brief but reassuringly bleak return to BBC-1. In the hands of its Swedish cast it always makes for a watchable ensemble piece; but the British version is far too reliant on Kenneth Branagh pushing the misery-meter up to 10 and far too much time is wasted on sighs, close-ups and long non-verbal stretches of gloom. Still worth watching though, but the Anglicised pronunciation of Swedish names is laughable. Good news for fans of the vastly superior original: BBC4 will be showing a new series of the vastly superior Swedish series in the spring, and fhey’re currently re-running the first English language series, if you’re interested.
"Strictly" may be gone for another year, but this month it's all been about dance. I didn't tune into Sky One's "Got To Dance" - a 'Britain's Got Talent' for dancers, you might say - mainly due to my aversion to Davina McCall (but that's another story) anyway a few of my work colleagues did though, and seemed to enjoy it.
Hot on the heels of that show, Sky One has brought us "Pineapple Dance Studios" which is a mix of reality TV and the fly-on-the-wall docusoaps which were a popular fixture of British TV during the early part of the 90s before the reality-bug bit....anyway this is a very entertaining way to pass an hour, helped along by the reassuringly flamboyant Louie Spence (pictured above, courtesy of Sky One), who would probably have reached the dizzy heights of, say, Jeremy "Airport" Spake or Maureen from Driving School had it been 10 years ago: I'm not sure if he'll achieve cult status now, although he became an instant hit at EuropeCrazy HQ.
Still on British versions of ‘foreign’ TV shows, I’ve been a fan of the American TV show (which admittedly was a British idea) "So You Think You Can Dance" for a while. Our home grown version was recently screened on Saturday nights on BBC1, and what I particularly liked about it was that there were no "celebs" involved - just ‘ordinary’ people (well, the kind that compete on reality talent shows anyway). It was a clash of egos on the panel: ‘Nasty’ Nigel Lythgoe and Arlene Phillips, both of whom now look younger than ever, dare I say? If this goes on Ms Phillips will look even younger than Alesha Dixon, whom she was axed to make way for on "Strictly " :) Anyway there was an extremely high standard of dancing throughout, not to mention some drama, as the (IMHO) overrated Mr Hudson-lookalike Robbie was floored by injury, leaving Lizzie, Tommy (från Sverige!) and Charlie to contest the final. I would have been happy with any of these contestants winning, but in the end the viewers (helped along by, dare I say, a bit of encouragement from the judges) chose Charlie Bruce (pictured above) as the winner. There will be another series, which is good news....but does Cat Deeley really need to tower over everyone in those six-inch heels?
Finally, I like to see a good music documentary, and BBC4’s "Latin Music USA" series certainly fitted that description. Week by week it has told the story of how the Latino communities in the USA have influenced the country’s music over the last century - and there were some fascinating stories to be told.