Have You Been Watching… Titanic?

"Are you sure we should be wearing these sacks stuffed with bricks, captain?"

First of all, a confession. This article asks “have you been watching” and although my answer is “yes, of course I watched Titanic Episode One, TV Event of the Year”, I’d also have to mutter “But I was playing Skyrim at the same time so I’m slightly confused about the vast numbers of ice trolls and draugr below decks. And why those dragons kept hampering rescue attempts”.

So any inconsistencies in this series catch up are my own. In fact, let’s pretend they’re intentional comedy asides, so please chuckle accordingly.

First of all, Titanic (or ‘Drownton Abbey’ as Twitter wag MrsStephenFry cleverly titled it) plays fast and loose with linear storytelling and perhaps it’s still too soon in the series run to see whether it really works. Read more of this post

The Secrets of Everything

The Secrets of Everything is trailed like a programmes for lads, right, but lads who secretly want to know stuff without seeming well nerdy, yeah? Not stuff that matters, obviously, that’s for spods, but cool stuff like “what happens if everyone jumps at once?” and “what does human flesh taste like?”.

A cross between How it’s Made and Brainiac, The Secrets of Everything is presented by Greg Foot. Greg’s… God, what IS Greg? Not memorable, that’s for sure, but inoffensive enough. Read more of this post

Watson and Oliver

The New The Krankies?

Apparently Watson and Oliver are the first female comedy double act commissioned by the BBC in 25 years.

Firstly: surely that’s shameful rather than something to show off about. Secondly, I assume the last pair was French and Saunders, but it might have been the Krankies for all I know (they’re both women, right?). And thirdly, despite the fact no one had ever heard them before last night, Watson and Oliver have somehow wangled a proper, old-school comedy revue show.

We don’t normally review opening credits, but in hindsight it’s useful to see the breadth of comic characters the pair have up their sleeves for future episodes. As this was opening night we only saw a few select cuts, as well as being introduced to the stage personae of Oliver (there’s something of the Sue Perkins about her. Her voice? Her look? The way I’m slightly but insidiously attracted to her? Who knows) and Watson (whose first appearance, rather boldly, featured her in her pants. Works every time). Read more of this post

Have You Been Watching: Obese: A Year to Save My Life?

“My name is Jessie Pavelka, and I specialise in extreme weight loss”.

I mean, MY name isn’t Jessie Pavelka, but I kind of wish it was. Jessie is a muscled Adonis of a physical trainer, a kind of David Beckham where a few small but crucial lines of genetic code haven’t gone wrong.

The concept of “extreme weight loss” is initially, a bit disappointing. For example, I could instigate some pretty extreme weight loss using a chainsaw, but no-one seems to have picked up on the idea. Instead, the participants are tasked to shed – by means of Healthy Eating, Fitness Pantaloons and Physical Jerks – the bodyweight equivalent of a medium sized jockey in just 12 months. Read more of this post

Have You Been Watching… Call the Midwife?

The hiiiills are alive, with the sound of ...er...bikes.

Call the Midwife, adapted from the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, is the BBC’s highest-ever rating drama debut.

Just let that sink in a minute. All those previous classics, knocked into a cocked hat by what might be the fluffiest show ever to not star Rory Kinnear.

I have to confess I missed the first episode because, after all, I am a red-blooded man whose idea of a relaxing Sunday night is a bit of bear baiting followed by a brief football riot rather than, say, watching newly qualified midwives bumbling around 1950s London on bikes. Read more of this post

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

'Watch out darling. Chris O'Dowd off of the IT Crowd looks a bit cross'

I’ve got Charles Dickens coming out of my ears right now. And when I say ‘my’ I mean ‘the BBC’s’. And when I say ‘ears’ I mean ‘its rightly celebrated drama department’. 2012 marks the 200th birthday of the Victorian superstar author’s birth, and boy, are the Beeb intent on making sure we’re aware of it.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they forced everyone competing in this year’s Olympics to wear a frock coat, drainpipe hat and muttonchop whiskers. Especially the synchronised swimmers.

These are glory days for period drama, and recent serials like the stellar Great Expectations (starring a crusty-lipped Gillian Anderson) and The Mystery of Edwin Drood are adept at marrying zeitgeist-snuggling artiness to powerful stories and lovely frocks. Read more of this post

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