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Saturday, 28 June 2008

Who Dares, Sings!, ITV1

Did we like it?
There are thousands of people for whom the greatest experience in their lives is standing in a pub performing I Will Survive/New York New York/I Got You Babe and pretending they are on TV/in Las Vegas/popular. Therefore, we must applaud ITV for delivering a programme for such people. We are not like that, though (okay, we'll do Ballroom Blitz under duress) and found this new game show to be a complete bore.

What was good about it?
• Whenever we feel our life sucks, we now have the consolation of knowing that its suckiness is minisucle in comparison with the lives of Ben Shephard and Denise Van Outen who are forced to make a few quid presenting dross such as this. Denise deludes herself into thinking she can sing; Ben deludes himself into thinking he's a right good laugh.
• It gives some airtime to northerners.
* Denise and Ben dancing. They should be forced to watch that back with the threat of being whipped if they blush. They'd have weals for weeks.

What was bad about it?
* There is hardly any entertainment to be had from amateur singers (and 90% of professional ones). If we must suffer karaoke, a pint on the table and one on the way is essential.
• The computer, SAM, which decided which singer hit the "hot" notes best seems to be tone deaf. The bald, fat man who seems unable to read somehow emerged as the winner with £5k in his pocket to invest in more pies. He was only marginally better than "the most entertaining estate agent that I've ever met" (a cheesy Ben Shephard quote) who performed I Believe I Can Fly as if he'd never heard it in his life.
* Why did the audience boo the benefits officer? Most of them looked as if they had benefits officers to thank for providing the money so they could buy something tacky at Primark.
• Whatever happened to the propsoed ruling that phone-in competition questions shouldn't be stupidly simple? Robbie Williams used to be in which band? Even your typical high court judge could answer that.

Nelson Mandela: Happy 90th Birthday, ITV1, Glastonbury Festival, BBC1/3, Nokia Green Room, Channel 4, MTV1

Did we like them?
Music, music, music! You love it, we love it! Everybody loves it! So why is it always so shit on television?

What did everybody else like, and us too?
• Thank Christ Edith Bowman is attached to the lead singer of Editors. We’re not usually approving of celebrity nepotism, but their relationship ensures that after one song from Gossip and one song from a non-descript rap band so nondescript the camera wanders to picking out gluttonous teenagers in the audience, we’re treated to almost a full set from Editors. This means that along with their new uninteresting songs about smokers and hospitals, we get to savour the brilliant All Sparks and Munich.
• The bit when the singer of Foals had to abandon his act of teenage rebellion of climbing on to the outer gantry of the main stage because his guitar lead became taut and he had to sheepishly walk back strumming the chords with extra gusto to cover up his red face.
• The desperate camerawork during Lupe Fiasco’s set to zoom in on the sparse ethnic faces in the crowd to show that Glastonbury welcomes everyone from everywhere. And that black people are only interested in hip-hop.
• The singer in MGMT’s bulging veins on his forearms that resemble unsettling satellite images of underground rivers on Mars.
• The Sugababes are good people. They must be. Who else put themselves out to turn up to every single charity concert held in Britain in the past five years? And they don’t even have a record to promote. You can count on them rain, shine, luxurious backstage facilities – it really just doesn’t matter to these game gals. Well done, again.
• Fearne Cotton interviews Gordon Brown. He, like so many of the other celebrities appearing there, seems to want to praise Mr Mandela as much out of a desire to elevate his own credibility through association as a genuine appreciation for his life’s work. It’s amusing as the prime minister is visibly recoiling from Cotton’s microphone as though it’s a poisonous viper.
• Singing Mandela Day, Jim Kerr of Simple Minds dances like a broken-legged whirlwind to the end of the platform that protrudes from the stage like a pirates’ plank. When his feet reach the end of the platform, his torso penetrates the first five rows with its rotund girth.
• Nokia. The Saturdays are dressed in all different colours and are all slim. Nokia. So they look like the offspring of Shawaddwaddy and Jerry Hall. Nokia. They are “hotly-tipped”. Nokia. One can even play guitar. Nokia.

What didn’t we like, but because more than 200,000 whooped and hollered in blind adulation we felt compelled to appreciate?
• We don’t know what to think about Ting Tings. There are probably 500 better singers gawping up at her from the audience, but they don’t have long legs – which we know as the cameramen keep zooming in on them. They did the same to the keyboardist from Reverend and the Makers’ arse a little later. That’s Not My Name may be single of the year, it may not be, but it’s dumb, iconic lyrics will ensure the royalties keep flooding in from mobile phone ads and reality TV shows about young people trying to be famous, for years to come.
• We keep on hearing about Mr Mandela’s modesty and selflessness, but if we’d reached the grand old age of 90 and was seen as one of the world’s most eminent statesmen, we’d want someone better than Philip Schofield hosting our big concert party. It would be like making Darren Day the next Doctor Who, and be as embarrassing as being dead and the tabloid media pillaging Facebook for personal messages of condolence on your page.
• Sir Trevor McDonald tells the audience that Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner and that apartheid discriminated against black people. Anyone not knowing this shouldn’t be up at 9pm, and instead be tucked up in their cot.
• The problem with the Glastonbury audience is that generally they’re all so very nice. Any bastards attending are either rooting through empty tents for left-behind cash or applauding louder than their neighbour at the Jazz Stage. This means that anything rubbish is lapped up as if nectar handed down by the gods. We Are Scientists are feted with all the exaltation of a returning army, but they are so grey that watching them is like a coach journey to Dawlish Warren when you bite into the seat in front of you to remove the taste of boredom from your mouth.
• The BBC’s interactive coverage so that at one point the five screens represented the true expanse of music with a choice of The Feeling, The Ting Tings, The Hoosiers, The Young Knives and The Young Knives.
• Fearne Cotton interviews Jamelia. “People keep asking me if married life is any different,” Jamelia exclaims incredulously after Cotton has asked her that very question. The reason people keep asking her that question is that with no new music, it’s only her personal life that’s keeping her in the public eye, and such bounteous fruit is the staple diet of celebrity-obsessed ITV. It now even sends capable royal reporter Romily Weeks to cover Wimbledon, viewing the whole spectacle as more human interest/celebrity gossip/ fahion than sport – something compounded by its decision to use photos of lipstick-ridden women players from glossy magazine shoots during the results round-up rather than more unflattering action shots.
• The audience for the Mandela concert are noticeably older than their Glastonbury counterparts and even through the TV screen they whiff of Sunday afternoons spent in IKEA holding the entire Sunday Times under a sweating armpit, perhaps attending either out a love for the music of Annie Lennox or an unsated desire to salve their conscience for having bank accounts with Barclays in the 80s. We’re not sure which is worse, especially as Lennox neglects to sing Sweet Dreams or Love is a Stranger.
• While over on the BBC, the inability to articulate emotions is as much a part of Glastonbury Festival as the Tor and the rain. This year, Zane Lowe asked front row Emily of her views of the festival so far. Kate Nash was “amazing”, The Feeling were “amazing” and The Kings of Leon would be “amazing”. Heralding the imminent arrival on stage of The Fratellis, Zane said “they will be amazing”.
• Lowe will offer the same hyperbolic build-up to Jay-Z tonight. However, we like Lowe as he is willing to sacrifice his dignity in order to get some decent music on TV even if it often means selling your soul to praise the cabaret indie of the Fratellis, do voiceovers for every single indie band under the sun, and host corporate ‘rock’ events.
• The Fratellis are so bad because they are an echo of happiness, the recreation of something good that happened in the past that you can’t quite recall but as this is the most redolent impression you’ll get you might as well enjoy it, however hollow.
• Still, we watch the Fratellis as over at the Mandela concert there’s something much, much worse called Razorlight, an experiment to give apathy a human form.
• On the subject of Jay-Z, we’re glad that hip-hop has made it here, as, even if it’s in a trough at the moment, it’s the only form of mainstream music that has actually progressed in the past decade. But sad that it’s Jay-Z, whose casual sexism, lazy innovation that only seeks to out-do Puff Daddy and, most of all, crap songs makes him as an inappropriate standard bearer for hip hop as Jeremy Clarkson taking a role as envoy for Greenpeace. But, as we’ve said, Glastonbury folk are generally nice and broad-inded so he thankfully won’t get bottled or jeered off.
• We’ve nothing personally against Leona Lewis but with her every performance, it’s like that bit in Doctor Who when people kept spotting “something” on Donna’s back. On Leona’s back we can spy the leering face of Simon Cowell siphoning off cash from Leona’s spinal column and frittering it away on materialistic goods that show just how successful and brilliant he really is.
• Geri Halliwell may have made Mr Mandela pine for the isolation of Robben Island rather than have his ears polluted by the verbal pollution of this relentless harridan.
• Nokia. Mystery Jets ask Swedish DJ Jonah about his “sex tape”, which is as much of a modern media tool for shifting products of insoluble vermin as getting on the Radio 1 playlist. Nokia. It’s 9.05am. Nokia.
• Nokia. Blue Mystery Jet complains: “In Europe, don’t you find they ask you more about music?” Nokia. As opposed, obviously, to sex tapes. Nokia.
• Nokia. We shan’t mention anything about the music on the Nokia Green Room. Nokia. Why should we? Nokia. The producers evidently feel that Keith Lemon asking Katie Melua about bicycles in China is so much more fascinating than mere music. Nokia.
• We couldn’t actually find any music programmes on Music Television to review. It was all chocca with strident-voiced teen skateboarders, spoilt American teenagers, dead ex-music stars trying to resurrect themselves with the power of reality TV and Making Of film clips shows in which semi-actors made from porcelain and glue gush with a greater force than the Niagara Falls about their profound new film centred on a man with a bum on his elbow, He Wouldn’t Know His Elbow…. Oh look, 2am and some music on Music Television. We’re asleep.

What we watched

How TV Changed Britain, Channel 4
This series has specialised in spouting nonsense and claiming it is fact, but the focus on property programmes was shoddier and lazier than before. We hated the spurious narration by Stephen Mangan ("Location, Location, Location is the Debbie Does Dallas of property porn”) but quite enjoyed the clips ranging from Barry Bucknell struggling to remove a tile to Sarah Beeny being ignored by wannabe property developers, with Changing Rooms horror shows in between. Highlight: bitchy remarks about Ann Maurice by Colin and Justin: "She's de-cluttered her own face recently."

MeeBox, BBC3
...which we've reviewed here

Justin Lee Collins: 180, Sky One
...which we've reviewed here

Snog, Marry, Avoid?, BBC3
...which we've reviewed here

The Supersizers Go Regency, BBC2
We're so glad it was Giles Coren and Sue Perkins who were eating jelly made from boiled pigs trotters and other horror foodstuffs, and not us. It's been a great series and, good news, folks, there will be another.

Summer Heights High, BBC3

We're still loving this Australian comedy. Tragedy struck this week when a student died from an E overdose, inspiring the creative juices of camp, chirpy drama teacher Mr G (creator of Tsunamarama: The Musical). Best quote: "She was into the boys in a big way. She was what the kids would call a 'slut'. Which is a terrible thing to say about someone who has just died, but apparently there's no denying she was one". Meanwhile, Ja'mie dates a bashful kid three years her junior and Jonah has cum stains on his trackie bottoms. Fantastic stuff.

On the Ball: The Story of Sports Commentary, BBC1
A snappy wrap of commentating highlights and lowlights, linked by Adrian Chiles, stretching from the posh black and white days to shouty digital action, from the plummy (Raymond Brooks-Ward) to the plebby (Eddie Waring) . The cruelly dumped football commentator Barry Davies, looking like a smiling sun-dried tomato, was best at articulating the skills needed; Murray Walker was not very charming at all (he was described by Davies as "a man who's spent his whole life looking for a full stop and he's yet to find one"); Clare Balding contributed well (and we loved the clip of her in tears after some horse race as she tried to interview her bother and father); and the much-diminished John Motson seemed to be making a plea to carry on commentating for ever. Lowlights: dull contributions by Kelly Holmes and Alistair McGowan.

Gok’s Fashion Fix, Channel 4

Ghastly goings-on with Gok "please love me, please, please, please" Wan and the insipid Alexa Chung (rhymes with dung). Geri Halliwell guested (“Girlfriend! Give me a Gok high five!”) along with her hotpants.

8 Out of 10 Cats, Channel 4
Although we loved Vanessa Feltz explaining how to be shagged quietly, the highlight was Frankie Boyle's Big Brother observation: "I thought the blind guy would be more entertaining. I wanted him to take a shit in the diary room and spend two hours looking for the flush."

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Old Post,2008



Unhitched Thursday 7 Aug 2008, FX – US comedy series about a group of newly single friends learning the lessons of starting over in their 30s. Stars Craig Bierko as charismatic Gator, Johnny Sneed as thrice-divorced Tommy, Shaun Majumder as surgeon Freddie and Rashida Jones as successful attorney Kate. Created by the Farrelly Brothers.

CelebAir ITV2 – Eighty-part reality show in which 12 celebritiers run their own airline, working as cabin crew and customer care assistants.

Dharma & Greg ITV1 – Remake of the 1990s US sitcom about the relationship between a rich lawyer who marries a hippy chick after just one date.
Hotel Babylon 2009, BBC1 – A fourth, eight-part series of the comedy drama with Nigel Harman becoming the new lead character, wealthy businessman Sam Franklin, and Anna Wilson-Jones as his ex-wife Juliet.
Unforgiven 2009, ITV1 – Three-part drama starring Suranne Jones as about a female murderer who is trying to rebuild her life after being released from prison. Written by Sally Wainwright; made by Red Production.

Philippe Starck's School Of Design 2009, BBC2 – Reality series in which young designers compete to work with French style guru Philippe Starck, undertaking projects on a course at Starck's school of design in a bid to impress him.

Benidorm ITV1 – A one-off special plus a third, eight-part series of the sitcom set in the Spanish holiday resort

Would I Lie To You? Friday 11 July 2008, BBC1 – Second series of the comedy panel show hosted by Angus Deayton with teams captained by David Mitchell and Lee Mack. Guests on the opener are Rob Brydon, Robert Webb, Gabby Logan and Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

Britain's Missing Top Model Tuesday 8 July 2008, BBC3 – Five-part series in which eight women with disabilities compete to become a mainstream fashion model. Made by Love Productions.

Make My Body Younger (previously listed as Doctor in the House) Wednesday 9 July 2008, BBC3 – Eight-part series presented by George Lamb in which consultant neurologist Andrew Curran tells youngsters who live life to to the excess what damage they are doing to their bodies.

Real World Awards 2008 Friday 4 July 2008, MTV One – Ceremony celebrating the best moments from the reality TV series featuring a group of American youngsters sharing an apartment.

Trinny & Sussanah Undress The Nation July 2008 ITV1 – A second, five-part run of the series in which the fashion experts offer advice.

University Challenge Monday 7 July 2008, BBC2 – Return of the quiz chaired by Jeremy Paxman.

Mock The Week Thursday 10 July 2008, BBC2 – A sixth series of the satirical quiz presented by Dara O'Briain, with Frankie Boyle, Hugh Dennis, Russell Howard and Andy Parsons. With guests Michael McIntyre and Lucy Porter. Future shows feature David Mitchell, Mark Watson, Lauren Laverne, Ed Byrne and Greg Proops.

Lab Rats Thursday 10 July 2008, BBC2 – Sitcom set in the Arnolfini Research Laboratory of St Dunstan’s College science building, starring Chris Addison, who wrote it with Carl Cooper, as Dr Alex Beenyman, Geoff McGivern as Professor John Mycroft, Jo Enright as Cara McIlvenny, Dan Tetsell as Brian Lalumaca, Selina Cadell as Dean Mieke Miedema and Helen Moon as Minty Clapper.

Superstars Friday 11 July 2008, Five – A revival of the sporting contest that was a BBC hit in the 1970s and a flop when it was revived by BBC One in 2003. It features four teams captained by Steve Redgrave, Kelly Holmes, Roger Black and Darren Campbell. with former football referee Graham Poll overseeing the competition. Guests include Lee Sharpe, Roberto Di Matteo, Graham Thorpe and Mike Catt.

Still Game Thursday 10 July 2008, BBC2 – Return of the Scottish sitcom.

Wild Animal ER Monday 7 July 2008, Five – A 20-part series presented by Kate Gerbeau observing the work of the Tiggywinkles wildlife hospital in Buckinghamshire.

7/7: The Angels of Edgware Road/The Miracle of Carriage 346 Monday 7 July 2008, Channel 4 – Two documentaries marking the third anniversary of the London transport system bombings, featuring the stories of passengers, witnesses and rescuers.

The Charlotte Church Show Thursday 10 July 2008, Channel 4 – An eight-part run of the chat show, with Catherine Tate and David Mitchell guesting on the opener.

Serious Ocean Wednesday 9 July 2008, BBC1 – Reality series featuring eight young adventurers.

CCTV Cities Monday 7 July 2008, Five – Eight-parter in which Donal MacIntyre examines CCTV footage of street crime.

Banged Up Monday 7 July 2008, Five – Reality series in which 10 young men deemed to be "on the cusp of a life of crime" are subjected to the criminal justice system, including a spell in prison at a former jail in Scarborough. The programme features former home secretary David Blunkett as the head the prison's parole board and former prison officer Jim Dawkins.

New Tricks Monday 7 July 2008, BBC1 – A fifth, eight-part series of the crime drama starring Amanda Redman as Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman with James Bolam, Alun Armstrong and Dennis Waterman as Jack Halford, Brian Lane and Gerry Standing, the veteran detectives working for her.

CSI: Miami Tuesday 5 August 2008, Five _ Series six of the US crime drama.

The Hotel Inspector Thursday 10 July 2008, Five – Hotelier Alex Polizzi replaces Ruth Watson as presenter of the show in which failing hotels receive expert advice. Polizzi is the daughter of hotel designer Olga Polizzi and niece of hotelier Sir Rocco Forte.

Bonekickers Tuesday 8 July 2008, BBC1 – Six-part drama series set in Bath following a team of experts working out of Wessex University who extract bodies, weapons and other artefacts, leading to investigations of past mysteries and present dangers. Stars Julie Graham as the team's feisty head Professor Gillian Magwilde, Adrian Lester as forensic expert Dr Ben Ergha, Hugh Bonneville as encyclopaedic Professor Gregory Parton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as eager intern Viv Davis and Michael Maloney as Professor Daniel Mastiff. The opener features guest appearances by Paul Rhys, Paul Nicholls, Oliver Jackson Cohen and Tamzin Merchant. Created by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah and Michele Buck and Damien Timmer.

Heroes Friday 15 August 2008, Sci Fi – A rerun of series two of the action drama.

Law & Order: SVU Friday 8 August 2008, Five – Series six of the US crime drama.

George Gently Sunday 6 July 2008, BBC1 – Two more stories featuring Martin Shaw as Inspector George Gently, a detective working in 1964 Northumberland. With Lee Ingleby as ambitious Detective Sergeant John Bacchus and guest stars Tim Healy and Robert Glenister. Adapted by Peter Flannery and Mick Ford from the novels by Alan Hunter.\

Midsomer Murders Sunday 6 July 2008, ITV1 – Two more films featuring John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby and Jason Hughes as DS Ben Jones.

Private Practice July 2008, LivingTV – A spin-off from the US medical drama series Grey's Anatomy following neo-natal surgeon Addison Forbes Montgomery (Kate Walsh), as she moves from Seattle to Santa Monica, California to start a new practice.

Last Choir Standing (previously listed as Choir Wars) Saturday 5 July 2008, BBC1 – Saturday night knockout competition featuring choirs from around the UK, presented by Nick Knowles and Myleene Klass with judgment by a panel of music experts – singer Russell Watson, Holby City actress/choir aficionado Sharon D Clarke and Suzi Digby, choral conductor and principal of The Voices Foundation – who will choose the 15 choirs from 60 auditions to go through to the studio heats. Six choirs will qualify for the live shows, with one being eliminated each week.

Francesco's Mediterranean Voyage Tuesday 8 July 2008, BBC2 – Series in which architect and historian Francesco da Mosto embarks on a journey across the Mediterranean sea.

Black Power Salute Wednesday 9 July 2008, BBC4 – Documentary about the 1968 Olympic Games when African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved clenched fists in support of the Black Panther movement during the Star Spangled Banner.

The NHS: A Difficult Beginning Saturday 5 July 2008, BBC2 – Documentary about the creation of the NHS in 1948.

Return to Vets in Practice Monday 7 July 2008, BBC2 – Documentary series catching up with the graduates featured in BBC1's Vets' School.

Alesha: Look But Don't Touch Monday 7 July 2008, BBC3 – The Strictly Come Dancing and Misteeq star Alesha Dixon looks at the 21st century perception of beauty and agrees to become a cover star with no digital enhancement whatsoever.

Sports Mastermind Tuesday 8 July 2008, BBC2 – A sporting version of the quiz show, hosted by Des Lynam.

The Riches autumn 2008, Virgin 1 – Series two of the US drama starring Eddie Izzard and Mini Driver.

The Unit Thursday 17 July 2008, Virgin 1 – Series three of the US crime drama.

The Wire Monday 21 July 2008, FX – Series five of the US crime drama.

The TV week – what's new July 5-11



Saturday
9.45am Dark Angel E4 – Pilot episode of the cult scifi drama.
7.00pm Dispatches Helen Newlove: A Widows War on Yobs
Channel 4
7.45pm Last Choir Standing BBC1 – Knockout competition featuring choirs from around the UK, presented by Nick Knowles and Myleene Klass with judgment by a panel of music experts – singer Russell Watson, Holby City actress/choir aficionado Sharon D Clarke and Suzi Digby, choral conductor and principal of The Voices Foundation – who will choose the 15 choirs from 60 auditions to go through to the studio heats. Six choirs will qualify for the live shows, with one being eliminated each week.
8.15pm Race Across America ITV4 – Documentary about one of the hardest cycle races in the world.
8.30pm The NHS: A Difficult Beginning BBC2 – Documentary about the creation of the NHS in 1948.
8.45pm This Time Tomorrow BBC1 – Eight-part National Lottery game show with wow-factor prizes presented by Tess Daly at BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay studios in Glasgow.
Sunday
11.00am/7.00pm Life Is Wild Hallmark – US drama based on ITV1's Wild At Heart, starring Leah Pipes, DW Moffett, Stephanie Niznik, Andrew St John, S Club's Calvin Goldspink and Atandwa Kani. The series centres on a New York veterinarian who moves with his second wife and their children to a South African game reserve.
3.05pm 02 Wireless Festival Channel 4 – Rick Edwards presents Sam Sparro, The Wombats, The Courteeners, Jay Z and Fat Boy Slim.
6.00pm
Celebrity Gladiators Sky One – A special edition of the game show, with "celebrities" including Danielle Lloyd, Bianca Gascoigne, Harvey and Hollyoaks' Anthony Quinlan.
7.00pm The Truth About Street Weapons Channel 4 – Debate chaired by Jon Snow.
8.00pm George Gently BBC1 – Two more stories featuring Martin Shaw as Inspector George Gently, a detective working in 1964 Northumberland. With Lee Ingleby as ambitious Detective Sergeant John Bacchus and guest stars Tim Healy and Robert Glenister. Adapted by Peter Flannery and Mick Ford from the novels by Alan Hunter.
8.00pm Midsomer Murders ITV1 – The first of two more films featuring John Nettles as DCI Tom Barnaby and Jason Hughes as DS Ben Jones.
8.00pm Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner
Biography
9.00pm TV's 50 Hardest Men Sky One – Countdown presented by Martin Kemp of TV's toughest characters.
9.00pm Damages Hallmark – Rerun of series one of the thriller starring Glenn Close.
9.00pm The Conspiracy Files: 9/11: The Third Tower BBC2
10.00pm Dexter
FX – Series two of the US drama starring Michael C Hall as on Dexter Morgan, a serial killer who works for the Miami police as a blood spatter analyst.
10.45pm Trexx And Flipside BBC3 – Sitcom about wannabe hip hop stars whose music label – Wu Hah Records – is run by Mr Brilliance, a lover of crooning.
g Guest list
• The Charlatans Live at the IndigO2 ITV2, Saturday

• Highlights of the series on The Green Room, Channel 4, Sunday
• David Hasselhoff on The Sunday Night Project Channel 4, Sunday
• Chaka Khan, Steve Carell, Primal Scream on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross BBC1, Friday
• Stereophonics, Colbie Caillat and Joan Armatrading on Live from Abbey Road More4, Friday
Monday
6.30pm Wild Animal ER Five – A 20-part series presented by Kate Gerbeau observing the work of the Tiggywinkles wildlife hospital in Buckinghamshire.
7.30pm Return to Vets in Practice BBC2 – Documentary series catching up with the graduates featured in BBC1's Vets' School.
8.00pm University Challenge BBC2 – Return of the quiz chaired by Jeremy Paxman.
8.00pm Lance Armstrong: The Science of... ITV48.30pm Ching's Chinese Kitchen BBC2 – Six-part series in which Chinese chef Ching-He Huang teaches British people to cook healthy versions of popular takeaway dishes.
9.00pm New Tricks BBC1 – A fifth, eight-part series of the crime drama starring Amanda Redman as Detective Superintendent Sandra Pullman with James Bolam, Alun Armstrong and Dennis Waterman as Jack Halford, Brian Lane and Gerry Standing, the veteran detectives working for her.
9.00pm Banged Up Five – Reality series in which 10 young men deemed to be "on the cusp of a life of crime" are subjected to the criminal justice system, including a spell in prison at a former jail in Scarborough. The programme features former home secretary David Blunkett as the head the prison's parole board and former prison officer Jim Dawkins.
9.00pm 7/7: The Miracle of Carriage 346 Channel 4 – Documentary marking the third anniversary of the London transport system bombings, featuring the stories of passengers, witnesses and rescuers.
9.00pm Alesha: Look But Don't Touch BBC3 – The Strictly Come Dancing and Misteeq star Alesha Dixon looks at the 21st century perception of beauty and agrees to become a cover star with no digital enhancement whatsoever.
9.00pm My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding Biography – Series featuring couples planning extravagant weddings.
9.00pm The King Of Stonehenge History Channel
9.30pm Nick Ross: Secrets of the Crime Museum Crime & Investigation – Series in which Nick Ross visits the Metropolitan's police's Crime Museum at Scotland Yard to examine notorious items collected in evidence during investigations into notorious crimes.
10.00pm CCTV Cities Five – Eight-parter in which Donal MacIntyre examines CCTV footage of street crime.
10.35pm My Family Has 20 Kids BBC1

Tuesday
8.00pm Sports Mastermind
BBC2 – A sporting version of the quiz show, hosted by Des Lynam. Continues Wednesday8.00pm Camilla's Family Affair: Revealed Five
8.30pm Francesco's Mediterranean Voyage BBC2 – Series in which architect and historian Francesco da Mosto embarks on a journey across the Mediterranean sea. Continues Wednesday9.00pm Bonekickers BBC1 – Six-part drama series set in Bath following a team of experts working out of Wessex University who extract bodies, weapons and other artefacts, leading to investigations of past mysteries and present dangers. Stars Julie Graham as the team's feisty head Professor Gillian Magwilde, Adrian Lester as forensic expert Dr Ben Ergha, Hugh Bonneville as encyclopaedic Professor Gregory Parton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as eager intern Viv Davis and Michael Maloney as Professor Daniel Mastiff. The opener features guest appearances by Paul Rhys, Paul Nicholls, Oliver Jackson Cohen and Tamzin Merchant. Created by Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah and Michele Buck and Damien Timmer.
9.00pm Warriors of the French Foreign Legion ITV4
9.30pm Graffiti: From Tags To Riches Sky Arts – The story of graffiti artists whose work is worth a fortune.

Wednesday
4.35pm Serious Ocean BBC1 – Reality series featuring eight young adventurers.7.00pm Omaha Beach: The Real Horror National Geographic
8.00pm Make My Body Younger BBC3 – Eight-part series presented by George Lamb in which consultant neurologist Andrew Curran tells youngsters who live life to to the excess what damage they are doing to their bodies.
9.00pm Black Power Salute BBC4 – Documentary about the 1968 Olympic Games when African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved clenched fists in support of the Black Panther movement during the Star Spangled Banner.

Thursday
8.00pm Sir Ranulph Fiennes Eiger Challenge ITV49.0pm The Hotel Inspector Five – Hotelier Alex Polizzi replaces Ruth Watson as presenter of the show in which failing hotels receive expert advice. Polizzi is the daughter of hotel designer Olga Polizzi and niece of hotelier Sir Rocco Forte.
9.00pm Mock The Week BBC2 – A sixth series of the satirical quiz presented by Dara O'Briain, with Frankie Boyle, Hugh Dennis, Russell Howard and Andy Parsons. With guests Michael McIntyre and Lucy Porter. Future shows feature David Mitchell, Mark Watson, Lauren Laverne, Ed Byrne and Greg Proops.
9.00pm Life and Death on the NHS ITV1
9.00pm Ax Men
History Channel – Series following lumberjacks in America’s Pacific Northwest.
9.30pm Lab Rats BBC2 – Sitcom set in the Arnolfini Research Laboratory of St Dunstan’s College science building, starring Chris Addison, who wrote it with Carl Cooper, as Dr Alex Beenyman, Geoff McGivern as Professor John Mycroft, Jo Enright as Cara McIlvenny, Dan Tetsell as Brian Lalumaca, Selina Cadell as Dean Mieke Miedema and Helen Moon as Minty Clapper.
10:00 Still Game BBC2 – Return of the Scottish sitcom starring Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill as Glasgow pensioners.
10.00pm Ibiza LivingTV – Docusoap following the party people on the Spanish island.
10.00pm The Charlotte Church Show
Channel 4 – An eight-part run of the chat show, with Catherine Tate and David Mitchell guesting on the opener.
10.30pm Touch Me, I'm Karen Taylor BBC3 – A second, seven-part series of the comedy sketch show including late-night quiz show Cash Cow, current affairs show Glamorama and At Home with The Smithsons. With Anna Crilly, Jalaal Hartley, Clare Warde and Lawry Lewin.

Friday
7.30pm/10.30pm T In The Park 2008 BBC3 – Edith Bowman and Jeff Leach present coverage of the Scottish music festival featuring The Verve, REM, Stereophonics, KT Tunstall, The Fratellis, Kings Of Leon, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Kaiser Chiefs, Amy MacDonald, The Wombats and Scouting For Girls.
8.00pm Superstars Five – A revival of the sporting contest that was a BBC hit in the 1970s and a flop when it was revived by BBC One in 2003. It features four teams captained by Steve Redgrave, Kelly Holmes, Roger Black and Darren Campbell. with former football referee Graham Poll overseeing the competition. Guests include Lee Sharpe, Roberto Di Matteo, Graham Thorpe and Mike Catt.
9.00pm Would I Lie To You?
BBC1 – Second series of the comedy panel show hosted by Angus Deayton with teams captained by David Mitchell and Lee Mack. Guests on the opener are Rob Brydon, Robert Webb, Gabby Logan and Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
9.00pm Carpenters Night BBC4 – Featuring Only Yesterday – The Carpenters Story, The Carpenters at the BBC and A World Of Music – The Carpenters.
g Subject list
How TV Changed Britain Quiz shows. Channel 4, Saturday
Panorama NHS For Sale. BBC1, Monday
Dispatches It Shouldn't Happen To A Muslim. Channel 4, Monday
Inside: Supercops, Sky One, Monday
What Happened Next? They Steal Children Don't They. BBC4, Tuesday
* True Stories: Cafe de los Maestros More 4, Tuesday
The Culture Show David Simon, creator of The Wire, Vaughan Williams, China's building boom, Extra Golden. BBC2, Tuesday
Imagine Anthony Minghella. BBC1, Tuesday
Drama Trails The Jewel in the Crown to Band of Gold. ITV3, Thursday

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Justin Lee Collins:180, Sky One

Did we like it?
JLC takes a brief sabbatical from Channel 4 and jumps to Sky One to take on the challenge of becoming a darts player. The self-styled ‘Bristol Flyer’ he’s going to enter a competition of “the only sport he’s ever been any good at”. Spending 5 hours a day in his double garage, Justin realises how difficult it is to get to the top in the world of darts. A diverting enough hour, but maybe because he’s so determined to do well at the game, this just wasn’t as funny as his previous efforts. Maybe a return to Channel 4 will see him recapture his mojo.

What was good about it?
· As per usual, JLC’s initial efforts are shambolic. He’s got a cheap board from Argos that has staples blocking the score beds, and he’s throwing from an oche two feet closer than it should be. Fortunately, a session with former champion Keith Deller convinces him to invest some money in some decent kit.
· Justin realises that alcohol aids his game, but it’s a fine line between eliminating his nerves and acquiring the DT’s. As he convinces himself that it’s not about will, but total belief in your game, he proves it by throwing a treble 20 with his very first dart. Good times!
· Two or three pints and JLC’s at the top of his game – he can’t miss. But as he reaches four and five pints, he loses the plot and struggles to even hit the board. A harsh lesson is learned.
· We finally got to meet the Collins family. ‘Darts widow’ Karen, new baby and the very cute Archie – who seemed to consistently outperform JLC on his toy dartboard.
· The day of the competition arrives, but it’s soon apparent that Justin is somewhat out of his depth as he loses 3-0 in the first round. However, JLC’s pub darts team have made a trophy for him – Double Garage Champion 2008!

What was bad about it?
· During JLC’s practice sessions, we were a bit concerned that his three-year-old son Archie was sitting within six feet of the board. In a different room would have been a lot safer.
· The ending was pretty anticlimactic as Justin got nowhere near his opponent and was whitewashed in his first game.
· Usually JLC has us in stitches, but here the laughs were fairly sparse.

Snog, Marry, Avoid?, BBC3



Did we like it?
We had hoped this might valiantly take a stand against the facile inducements for women to go out and spend more money in the high street on beauty products they don’t need. It didn't. It was merely yet another facet of this global con as it sought to humiliate its victims into abandoning their debauched existence for another controlled, but no less adherent to the Ten Commandments of Cosmo, lifestyle.

What was good about it?
• The use of a computer (called POD, the Personal Overhaul Device) to make the fashion ‘decisions’ reminded us of sporadically amusing celebrity 80s quiz show Star Test.
• Anyone who wants to instigate a campaign to get BBC3 axed as part of the BBC cuts instead of News need merely distribute this programme about the country to provoke the most incensed mob since the Timisoara uprising in 1989 to march on BBC headquarters.
• The central theme of the show – to stop some women looking awful because they read too many celebrity magazines – should actually be lauded, but to stay true to this it would need the women to actually think for themselves. And sadly, autonomous thought and BBC3 mix like oil and water.

What was bad about it?
• Jenny Frost (remember Atomic Kitten?) didn’t really offend in her role of ‘host’ – certainly not as much as Ladies’ Night offended the sensibilities of music – but perhaps if she had done she might have stamped her impression on the show instead of having all the corporeal identity of caterpillar snot.
• “Welcome to the world’s first, and only, makeunder show,” proclaimed Frost. Given that ‘makeover’ is the most despicable addition to the English language in the past 20 years – other than ‘meh’ and ‘smirting’ – substituting the anticipated refreshing rejuvenation with dogmatic dictation, ‘makeunder’ must recognise and therefore validate ‘makeover’ as a concept and as a consequence act as a sorry extension to its lies.
• And anyhow, the ‘makeunder’ works with the same insidious coercion of Nicky Hambleton-Jones’ lipglossed witchcraft on 10 Years Younger. First the victim, often an insecure, obnoxious, over/underdressed young woman plastered with so much make up it could be used to cement the Great Wall of China, is brought ‘face-to-face’ with POD, a ‘computer’ character that, through a mask of robotic impunity, allows baseless rudeness to appear as clinical pseudo-objectivity.
• POD then ritually degrades each victim by asking male members of the public to say whether they’d, for instance, take them to dinner, the pub or greyhound racing, or whether they’d snog, marry or avoid, and initially the overwhelming answer is always the most insulting (and as only about five men are shown, there’s no proof this is a true and fair test).
• As in 10 Years Younger, this weakens the previously hyped-up resistance to change, so Levi – “I’d rather give up my house than fake tan” – soon is impelled to wipe away her make-up and Tamsin – “Less is more, I wear less and get more attention” – wrenches out her hair extensions and slips into a flowing dress, before each is ‘made under’ with new hair and different make-up. Sure, they look much better than they did, but a bombsite would look better if adorned with elephant spunk.
• And it’s the manner in which each ‘makeunder’ is conducted that is perhaps the worst element of the show. Rather than emancipate them from the harmful pinion of celebrity culture, POD merely demands that Levi switch her idolatry aspirations from Jodie Marsh to one of Alexa Chung, Cat Deeley, Kate Bosworth or Scarlett Johansson, three of whom are just different facets of the same senseless corporate fashion culture as Jodie Marsh (we don’t actually know, or care, who Kate Bosworth is, but we imagine she’s a teen actress from America with about three thousand make-up contracts and on the adverts sensually swishes around on a white satin bed exuding all the alluring sexuality of a pick-up truck).
• Whereas say, Gok Wan strives to liberate women from the enslavement to Cosmo and Marie Claire (but even he isn’t totally pure), Snog, Marry, Avoid? simply attempts to guide them down the right hole like a hunt master crooking his hounds down the right part of a sett to flush out badgers.
• Instead of simply encouraging each victim to have some independence and think about how they would prefer to look (perhaps impossible under the avalanche of women’s celebrity/beauty magazines), they are told to choose from a narrow selection of styles, each of them in turn caked with as much hyperbole as the make-up they have just scraped from their faces. For example, Tamsin is given a hair colour choice of dark chocolate, deep gold, velvet plum and mahogany brown, and once she has been dressed up she is told that the “moss green” dress she is wearing “flatters olive skin tones”. Utter bollocks.
• Once the ‘makeunder’ is complete, there follows the predictable transformation in the public’s perceptions of the victim, as they now mostly either want to ‘snog’ or ‘marry’ her.
• The ‘madeundered’ Tamsin rushed into her boyfriend’s arms to Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars.
• But neither of the ‘makeunders’ seemed to do much good. Levi returned three months later with just as much make-up as before, the same, old long hair and her skin a darker shade of tree bark with only her hair a different colour. And while Tamsin retained more of the changes forced on her, she failed to become “a natural beauty” in her original ‘makeunder’ because between being selected for the show and her ‘makeunder’ she had mutilated herself by enlarging her breasts (kindly paid for by her dad), and so any changes she kept were always going to be undermined by this gravest submission to contemporary ‘beauty’ trends.
• A man was also chosen to undergo a ‘makeunder’, Eshan, 20, declared that he didn’t want to lose his ‘crown’ – his hair was moulded into six or seven vertical spikes – and so was let off because “POD loves your independent style”. We’re not sure why this was even broadcast.
• Frost was eager to hear the opinions of both Levi and Tamsin, but what intrigue is there from the mouths of two people who can’t think for themselves, while anything they feel is also as irrelevant as how is it possible to feel emotion in such a numbing environment?

MeeBox, BBC3



Did we like it?
Considering The Adam and Joe Show is one of the TV shows we miss most, we were bound to like a Joe-less Adam Buxton's return to TV. And we did. With a few reservations.

What was good about it?
• The funniest item featured a fervent choir singing nonsense as if their lives depended on it. Their rousing hymn featured lines such as "There's a naked czar in my mouth" and "I need my branch to hold my teacup."
• 10,000 Things That Are Sooo Crap, a spoof of talking heads-laden list shows was a great idea – under fire came fish ("They swim, that's about it") and buildings ("what's the point of stairs?") – although it dragged on a little.
• The arrogant US actor called Famous Guy, who had starred in films such as Horse Chase and Furious Andrew, being subjected to an earnest T4-like interview (soft questions aplenty) as he plugged his his new movie They Crashed From Space There ("I pretend to be the Cockney captain").
• The return of Adam and Joe Show legend Badaad (Adam's real dad) pontificating on punk rock. The likes of Emerson, Lake and Palmer "said nothing about one's life," he insisted, claiming punk was "a clarion call to all the working classes."
• The return of Adam and Joe Show legend Ken Korda in his vodcast Talking Independent Film, joined by the star of Shooter Close. "It's very long and depressing," was Ken's enthusiastic verdict. "I really hope somebody sees the film."
• The Software Tutorial testing out a program that delivers hit movies (Shooting Geff in this instance).
• Footage of Trooping The Colour doctored to feature space aliens and soldiers wearing brain-sucking busbies. Totally surreal.
• The Carmen Miranda-like sausage song.
• The captivating title sequence.
• The bonkers sign language.

What was bad about it?
• The ragbag approach didn't serve MeeBox well, with some ideas repeated throughout; and others appearing in one-offs in a TV evocation of YouTube culture.
• The scheduling. Was BBC3 embarrassed by this commission? If so, how could it then shove Snog, Marry, Avoid into primetime when it is one of the worst programmes ever to make the TV screen?

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Doctor Who: Turn Left, BBC1



Did we like it?
In the womb of a pregnant Great White shark, the unborn foetuses cannibalise one another in a desperate scrap for maternal sustenance, the narrative elements of Turn Left packed into a meagre 50 minute pouch engaged in a similar duel with clarity, logic and episodic flow among the first elements to be devoured. Thankfully, the dominance of alluring enigmatic dialogue and fine and economic characterisation were enough to make this an engaging, if not wholly fulfilling, chapter.

What was good about it?
• Catherine Tate delivered yet another brilliant performance as Donna. Here, she reverted back to her Runaway Bride persona of “shouting at the world” in futility. And it was the return of this bolshy, unpleasant yet utterly impotent Donna that was in stark contrast to the development we’ve seen over the past 10 episodes.
• Yes, there were times when we suspected that Russell T Davies was showing off his alchemic characterisation, metamorphosing Donna into a fully rounded companion, perhaps with even more depth than both Martha and Rose, but occasionally he would elicit glimpses of Donna’s growing compassion and selflessness in this parallel world to show that the Doctor merely drew out her best points rather than fundamentally changing her as a person.
• This was best seen when Donna realised that Rocco and the other refugee occupants she shared a house with were being ferried off to labour camps in the new Britain that had evolved from the irradiated wasteland it had become without the Doctor there to save the day.
• Bernard Cribbins as Wilf was magnificent, perhaps his most affecting performance so far, especially in the scene when he saluted the departing Rocco. We suppose there’s no chance of him becoming the Doctor’s next companion?
• The skilful way in which Rocco, who resembled a benevolent Pop from The League of Gentlemen, and his clan were introduced. Donna’s fury at their non-stop singing was quelled by Wilf’s collusion, and they all ended up caterwauling Bohemian Rhapsody not performed with such comic ineptness since Father Noel Furlong led a sing-a-long in the Scary Caves.
• Billie Piper’s confident return as Rose Tyler. The way in which she flickered in and out of Donna’s alternative life, and her refusal to reveal her name actually made her resemble the Doctor. She did seem to mumble rather too much, but this just made her return more unsettling.
• The innocent manner in which Donna imparted what Rose had told her. Her ignorance of the importance of the message and the Doctor’s growing horror was the perfect introduction to the finale.

What was bad about it?
• The scene when Donna and Wilf were gazing wondrously up at the stars, and then they started to disappear from the night sky was dramatic. However, as starlight takes thousands of years to reach the Earth, they were looking at events that happened thousands of years before. This has already been addressed with the planet of the Pyroviles, but the fact that stars were winking out of existence at the same moment from Earth’s point of view of time and space didn’t make sense.
• It might make sense next week, but we’d be surprised if there was too much exposition amid all the carnage caused by yet another Dalek invasion of Earth. We wonder if on Skaro there’s an equivalent legend to Robert the Bruce and how he was inspired by the spider that kept trying and trying again to build its web, and that this is what steels Dalek resolve for yet another doomed attempt to colonise the Earth.
• The mystery of what was on Donna’s back, which has been rumbling on since episode two, was finally revealed. It was a beetle that looked so plasticy it seemed more like a homage to Planet of the Spiders than any effort to create a realistic giant insect.
• It was also a tool of someone called The Trickster, who was apparently a foe in the Sarah Jane Adventures, which meant there was no satisfaction in learning who was responsible for it. And the idea of the beetle feeding off time was a little too similar to the diet of the Weeping Angels from Blink.
• The weird paradoxes caused by this episode. If Donna wasn’t kidnapped in time by the Trickster, or whatever, then would Rose have been able to warn the Doctor about the impending collapse of the multi-verse, leaving the Doctor to continue his galactic impression of Alan Whicker he’s been perfecting for the past four episodes? If, so, was the beetle in fact a force for good rather than evil?
• And, assuming Doctor Who is basing its principles of parallel universes on a single decision branching out into a whole new universe, then wouldn’t there also be a universe where Donna declined the offer to have her fortune told, and therefore not disrupt the Earth’s timeline caused by the Doctor’s death in the Racnoss adventure? Or, as we’ve mentioned above, was the intervention of the fortune teller actually the pivotal moment in alerting the Doctor to the nefarious deeds of Davros and his new Daleks?
• For the specials next year, is it possible that the really big, widescreen stories occur somewhere else other than 21st century Earth? This is the third year in a row and the whole point of Doctor Who is that adventures can take place anywhere, anytime.

Old Post,2008

Britannia High 2008, ITV1 – Series combining two 60-minute documentaries, and an eight-part stage school drama and a live 90-minute performance. Take That's Gary Barlow heads a team of songwriters who will write for the pupils of a fictional arts school, while Strictly Come Dancing's Arlene Phillips is the head of choreography, and Grease is the Word judge David Ian will help select the performers. Stars Mitch Hewer, Georgina Hagen, Sapphire Elia, Marcquelle Ward, Matthew James Thomas, Rana Roy, Mark Benton, Michele Austin, Lorraine Pilkington and Chris Jarvis.

My Zinc Bed autumn 2008, BBC2 – Drama based on David Hare stageplay about penniless but gifted poet Paul Peplow (Paddy Considine), a recovering alcoholic who is sent to interview wealthy internet entrepreneur Victor Quinn (Jonathan Pryce), whose wife Elsa (Uma Thurman) is a recovering alcoholic.

A Number autumn 2008, BBC2 – Drama based on Caryl Churchill stageplay starring Tom Wilkinson as Salter and Rhys Ifans as his son Bernard, who learns he is one of an unidentified number of clones.

Dharma & Greg ITV1 – Remake of the 1990s US sitcom about the relationship between a rich lawyer who marries a hippy chick after just one date.
Hotel Babylon 2009, BBC1 – A fourth, eight-part series of the comedy drama with Nigel Harman becoming the new lead character, wealthy businessman Sam Franklin, and Anna Wilson-Jones as his ex-wife Juliet.
Unforgiven 2009, ITV1 – Three-part drama starring Suranne Jones as about a female murderer who is trying to rebuild her life after being released from prison. Written by Sally Wainwright; made by Red Production.
Identity ITV1 – Six-part drama series about a police identity theft investigation unit, written by Ed Whitmore (credits include Waking The Dead).

The Tunnels Show BBC – Japanese entertainment show featuring crazy games, pranks and unpleasant challenges.

This Time Tomorrow Saturday 5 July 2008, BBC1 – Eight-part Saturday night National Lottery game show with wow-factor prizes presented by Tess Daly at BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay studios in Glasgow.

Trexx And Flipside Sunday 6 July 2008, BBC3 – Sitcom about wannabe hip hop stars whose music label – Wu Hah Records – is run by Mr Brilliance, a lover of crooning.

Ching's Chinese Kitchen Monday 7 July 2008, BBC2 – Six-part series in which Chinese chef Ching-He Huang teaches British people to cook healthy versions of popular takeaway dishes.

Make My Body Younger (previously listed as Doctor in the House) Tuesday 8 July 2008, BBC3 – Eight-part series presented by George Lamb in which consultant neurologist Andrew Curran tells youngsters who live life to to the excess what damage they are doing to their bodies.

Touch Me, I'm Karen Taylor Thursday 10 July 2008, BBC3 – A second, seven-part series of the comedy sketch show including late-night quiz show Cash Cow, current affairs show Glamorama and At Home with The Smithsons. With Anna Crilly, Jalaal Hartley, Clare Warde and Lawry Lewin.

T In The Park 2008 Friday-Sunday 11-13 July 2008, BBC3 – Edith Bowman and Jeff Leach present coverage of the Scottish music festival featuring The Verve, REM, Stereophonics, KT Tunstall, The Fratellis, Kings Of Leon, The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Kaiser Chiefs, Amy MacDonald, The Wombats and Scouting For Girls.

Carpenters Night Friday 11 July 2008, BBC4 – Featuring Only Yesterday – The Carpenters Story, The Carpenters at the BBC and A World Of Music – The Carpenters.

Celebrity Gladiators Sunday 6 July 2008, Sky One – A special edition of the game show, with "celebrities" including Danielle Lloyd, Bianca Gascoigne, Harvey and Hollyoaks' Anthony Quinlan.

TV's 50 Hardest Men Sunday 6 July 2008, Sky One – Countdown presented by Martin Kemp of TV's toughest characters.

My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding Monday 7 July 2008, Biography – Series featuring couples planning extravagant weddings.

Nick Ross: Secrets of the Crime Museum Monday 7 July 2008, Crime & Investigation – Series in which Nick Ross visits the Metropolitan's police's Crime Museum at Scotland Yard to examine notorious items collected in evidence during investigations into notorious crimes.

Ax Men Thursday 10 July 2008, History Channel – Series following lumberjacks in America’s Pacific Northwest.

Alesha: Look But Don't Touch BBC3 – The Strictly Come Dancing and Misteeq star Alesha Dixon looks at the 21st century perception of beauty and agrees to become a cover star with no digital enhancement whatsoever.

Am I Beautiful? BBC3 – Comedian Shazia Mirza looks at the incredible lengths women go to achieve beauty.

Konnie Huq's When Beauty Goes Wrong BBC3 – The stories of people who inflcited beauty treatments on themselves.

Addicted To Changing My Body BBC3 – Fashion journalist Louise Roe meets four women who have had repeated breast enhancements.

Double Your Money ITV1 – A possible revival of the classic quiz show. Richard Madeley may present.

Mock The Week Thursday 10 July 2008, BBC2 – A sixth series of the satirical quiz presented by Dara O'Briain, with Frankie Boyle, Hugh Dennis, Russell Howard and Andy Parsons. Guests include David Mitchell, Michael McIntyre, Mark Watson, Lauren Laverne, Ed Byrne and Greg Proops.

Britain's Missing Top Model Tuesday 1 July 2008, BBC3 – Series in which eight women with disabilities compete to become a mainstream fashion model. Made by Love Productions.

Sunday Schools: Reading, Writing and Redemption Thursday 3 July 2008 BBC4 – Documentary investigating the impact Sunday schools had on British society. Contributors include Patricia Routledge, Roy Hattersley and Anne Widdecombe. Narrated by Huw Edwards.

Good Bid, Good Buy Monday 30 June 2008, ITV1 – Daytime property auction series presented by experts Michael Holmes and Clare Reid.

Daily Cooks Challenge Monday 30 June 2008, ITV1 – A second series of the programme hosted by Antony Worrall Thompson in which two UK chefs battle it out to win the praise of a celebrity guest.

Crash Scene Investigators Tuesday 1 July 2008, ITV1 – Series following Devon and Cornwall police's team of accident investigators

Bannatyne Takes On Big Tobacco Tuesday 1 July 2008, BBC2 – Duncan Bannatyne of Dragons' Den fame travels to Africa to investigate the tobacco industry's power in getting more children to smoke.

On the Fiddle? Monday 30 June 2008, BBC1 – Series following the work of benefit fraud investigators.

All New You've Been Framed! Saturday 28 June 2008, ITV1 – Return of the hidden camera clip show narrated by Harry Hill.

Who Dares, Sings! (previously listed as Pitch Perfect and Fever Pitch) Saturday 28 June 2008, ITV1 – Karaoke singing talent show presented by Ben Shephard and Denise Van Outen in which contestants are called on to sing a variety of songs.

Drama Trails Wednesday 2 July 2008, ITV3 – A 10-parter tracing connections between classic ITV dramas, narrated by James Nesbitt. The opener concentrates on Coronation Street.

Marco’s Best Ever British Meal Wednesday 2 July 2008, ITV1 – Series in which chef Marco Pierre White shoots, fishes and forages for food around the UK before creating his own dishes.

Britain's Closest Encounters Wednesday 2 July 2008, Five – Documentary series examining UFO stories from around the UK.

Gun and Knife Crime Season Monday 30 June 2008, Channel 4 – Featuring a drama called Fallout, a Street Weapons Commission chaired by Cherie Booth, a five-part series called The Truth about Street Weapons, two Dispatches investigations, a special edition of Cutting Edge and a series of 3 Minute Wonders.

Kids, Knives and Broken Lives Monday 30 June 2008, Channel 4 – Investigation into why so many young people in Britain carry guns and knives.

The Truth About Street Weapons Monday 30 June 2008, Channel 4 – Four-part series of discussions, airing on consecutive nights, chaired by Cherie Booth, with contributors includinf Ian Levy, whose son was killed in a knife attack, and the former West Midlands chief constable Lord Geoffrey Dear.

Independents Day Monday 30 June 2008, Channel 4 – Four-part series following a mix of artists including Charlatans, Editors, Maximo Park, Futureheads, Jay Sean and Feeder as they record an album of classic indie covers.

Personal Services Required Wednesday 2 July 2008, Channel 4 – Four-part reality series in which families are given a chance to road test candidates to become housekeepers, personal assistants, au pairs or companions.

Fallout Thursday 3 July 2008, Channel 4 – Single drama by Roy Williams starring Lennie James as Joe, a policeman returning to an estate he grew up on to investigate the murder of black teenager Kwame (Lanre Malaolu). With Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jerome Holder. Based on a play staged at London's Royal Court theatre.

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