Sunday, April 05, 2015

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: January-February 2015

This month I'm finally getting round to those long-overdue blog posts!

As someone once asked: "so why'd you wanna go and put stars in their eyes??"  ITV only went and revived a TV classic "STARS IN THEIR EYES" or should I say, a complete reboot: Stars In Their Eyes a.k.a. "tonight Harry, I'm going to be TV Burp".  I'm a big Harry Hill fan but even my patience was tested by the unfunny "Adele's baby" segment which was even worse than Wagbo.  Viewers switched off in droves, critics condemned it as the worst TV show of the year, and the original premise of the show - ordinary people impersonating famous singers - was sidelined as an afterthought.  Shame, really.  If you need a reminder of the glory days of the show, Challenge has been re-running some of the original series presented by Leslie Crowther.

"MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM" (Sky Movies) was a very impressive bio-pic of Nelson Mandela, from his early days as a lawyer through to his lengthy prison sentence.  The often disturbing scenes proved this to be more than just an average biopic.  An excellent performance by Idris Elba acting as Mandela through the ages.

In January, A number of documentaries commemorated the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, each and every one distressing but absolutely necessary.  It's the smallest of details which are often the most terrifying.  Apart from the documentaries I watched a landmark drama on BBC2, "THE EICHMANN SHOW" which focused on the efforts of two American TV producers/directors to televise the 1961 trial of one of history's most evil people, and bring the story of the Nazis' death camps to the world.  The darkest moments of this programme were unbearable beyond belief, but this drama was an outstanding piece of television, about an outstanding piece of television.  With anti-Semitism dand the extreme right on the rise across Europe, all of these programmes are very timely indeed.

I never watch daytime TV but was tipped off about a daytime docusoap which proved to be very interesting.  "OXFORD STREET REVEALED" (BBC1) looked at the retailers, the tube staff etc etc and I just wonder why this fast-moving show didn't get an evening slot when you think of all the celebrity rubbish etc. polluting our screens.

I wonder how ITV would survive if the TV authorities brought in a rule that there should be no more celebrity shows.  We would probably have to look at a blank screen every night.

That is of course when they're not showing "CORONATION STREET" which continues on the slippery slope.  The minibus crash was a pretty dire storyline and the show continues to focus on storylines about forgettable characters.  Where are the iconic characters of the present and future? This was brought into focus by the recent sad death of Anne Kirkbride, who played Deirdre Barlow, one of my favourite characters over the years.  She will be much missed.

There was a very high level of secrecy surrounding the long-awaited second series of "BROADCHURCH" (ITV).  Maybe that was just as well, as if we'd have known in advance how disappointing it would be....The only thing you needed to know about S2 is that you really had to watch series 1 to understand who everyone is, otherwise it could be a very confusing experience.  TV being TV, the backlash was inevitable (especially with those court scenes) and it wasn't long before it was being renamed "Boredchurch". The main problem for me was much of the storyline focusing on the hideous Lee and Claire, two new characters which the programme could clearly have done without.

I haven't read JK Rowling's "THE CASUAL VACANCY" so it was all new to me when it came to BBC1 as a 3-part drama serial.  Set in an idyllic English village, around a parish council election, all was not what it seemed, and there was a much darker side to events, with sympathetic characters in short supply. This series had its critics, however I liked it.  Guess I'll need to read the book now!

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