Friday, July 08, 2011

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: June 2011

I know it was screened in May but I didn’t get around to watching the excellent "TWO GREEDY ITALIANS" (BBC2) until last month. Part cooking show, part travelogue, part cultural observation, with lots of humour thrown in. Hope we see a lot more from Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldoas they make a great double act, with a clear love of their old home country.

Another show which I discovered a lot later than everyone else, and which I devoted a previous post to: "NAETURVAKTIN" a.k.a. "THE NIGHT SHIFT" (BBC4). Personnel on the forecourt! Here's hoping that BBC4 shells out some krónur for "Day Shift" and "Prison Shift" but I'm not holding my breath.

Because most TV documentaries seem to be a bit too sensationalist - "Britain's Tallest, Fattest Polygamist etc etc... and these days ITV's idea of a documentary is "The Only Way Is Essex" so it was very good to see something a bit...nicer. "THE WALTON SEXTUPLETS - MOVING ON" was one final trip to the Merseyside sextuplets who have been filmed all the way through their lives - but they've decided to get on with their lives now, out of the spotlight. What was lovely and reassuring was that despite all the publicity, they have remained a strong family unit - something really unique in these days of dysfunctional families, which would usually be the target of a TV documentary of course. (Photo courtesy of the Daily Mirror)

BBC4’s music documentaries are always well worth watching, and "ANNIE NIGHTINGALE - BIRD ON THE WIRELESS" was no different, despite its trashy title it was just one hour with the Radio 1 legend describing her life in music. A trendsetter, a trailblazer, but still incredibly humble. She is probably one of a dying breed of people to whom the music matters the most - and she is well worth celebrating.

Football films are generally a no-go area. So it's very unusual to find a football-themed film worth watching. After all the good reviews, I expected a lot from "THE DAMNED UNITED" (BBC2) and it was no disappointment. The always excellent Michael Sheen played Brian Clough, the legendary football manager whose self-belief made him the Jose Mourinho of his day, but self-belief unfortunately wasn’t enough to make a success at Leeds United. A fascinating story, and a great film.

No, I didn’t watch the latest series of "BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT" (ITV1) - I didn’t need to, as there were enough people around to tell me what I may or may not have missed. There was some good old publicity-stuntery going on, what with ‘insiders’ alleging that the result may have been a foregone conclusion...of course it wasn’t. The winner, Jai McDowall, may have looked like a rocker but wowed everyone with his terrific voice which should ensure him success in musical theatre. Well done to him, but why did certain sections of the media have to spoil it by going on about the "Scottish bloc vote" - what do you think this is - Eurovision? And in case they didn't notice, there are only 5 million people in this country, whereas there are almost 62 million people in the UK as a whole. Go figure.

Three of my regular series came to an end in June: "BLUE BLOODS" (Sky Atlantic) ended with the 'Blue Templar' thread which ran through the series being brought to a close. There was nothing particularly revolutionary or demanding about the police/family drama, and people will probably love or hate it for that reason. I wouldn't say I loved it, but it was a pretty undemanding way to pass an hour. I found this Guardian review which I had a good chuckle at. You probably won't enjoy it if you're a Blue Bloods fanatic though.... It's been commissioned for a second season so there will be plenty more chances to watch Tom Selleck's acting 2make its journey through the hardwoods"..... :)))

Meanwhile over at 5*, "PARENTHOOD" reached the end of season 1, with that great big group hug of an ending. Again, a second season is on the way. I like the show, but the characters all talking over each other is a real annoyance. Even though there's something pretty real about that, so I'll let it go I suppose. Crosby is still a major irritant, and I can't let that go; but I will always love Lauren Graham and she makes the show extra special. Roll on season 2....please please please buy it 5* !

And so to the long awaited return of "ONE TREE HILL" to E4. Season 8 to be precise, and what would appear to be the penultimate series. You won't be surprised to know that I'm very happy to see it back on our screens...although I could have done without the whole dream/nightmare scenario. After all, I'm old enough to remember the "Dallas" shower scene. I'm really hoping for happier times for everyone in OTH, as there have been too many tragedies over the years :(

Season 1 of "FAIRLY LEGAL" reached its conclusion with a sacking, a pregnancy and enough loose ends to suggest a second season.

Finally, we're in festival season and I'm still wading through BBC's 47,000 hours of coverage of "GLASTONBURY 2011" from a couple of weeks ago. About 46,950 of these mainly consist of irritating presenter links. Just one question: Fearne Cotton - why?

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