‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ – In Defence

Guest blogger Modulor Dave; in defence of Channel 4 reality TV. Very grrr. All the turkey. Much win.

Last night at 9pm unlike the other 64.099 million humans in the UK, I switched over from the red button snooker to catch up with the scantily clad starvation antics of the inhabitants of Bear Grylls’ The Island (Mondays 9pm Channel 4)

I know…  I can almost hear you screaming in the comment section… “WHAT ABOUT GAME OF THRONES???”  Well, I will catch up with that, at my own pace.  I won’t be rushed. There are others who I’m sure pay closer attention to the horrors and intrigue of Westeros, and they will write about it with great humour and verve.  But for me, I’m wrapped up in the human horror-drama on Isla Gibraleón (a suitably Westerosian name!) in the Pacific ocean.

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‘Shakespeare Live! from the RSC’ – On the Box

Wow! The Royal Shakespeare Company and the BBC should get together more often. Shakespeare Live! on Saturday night BBC2 was fabulous heady mix of serious high-brow culture, show tunes and comic relief. The whole format made me think of Comic Relief or Children In Need, a telethon with sketches, songs and dance.

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‘Billy Connolly’s Tracks Across America’ – On the Box

Lesser known states in America have the negative nickname ‘fly-over states’ – the places that you only see from a plane window. Essentially, not much to see and not worth stopping by. Americanophile Billy Connolly wants us to know them better as he travels around the edge of the USA. Chicago to New York, the (very) long way around. 6,000 miles by train taking in 26 states. An epic trip but ITV have packed it all into just three episodes. The mood is quite a laid-back travel documentary but it must have been planned and edited to within an inch of its life. (Los Angeles appears on the route map but isn’t actually visited, which seems a shame.)

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‘Shakespeare Live! From the RSC’ – Seeing the Future

It’s been a loooong week. But yay, the weekend is finally here and it’s nearly Saturday night. Going out? Gonna party hard? Getting so drunk you mistake your shoe for you phone? Nope, not me. I’m staying in and celebrating – it’s a strange sort of birthday party. And I’d be very surprised if the birthday boy turned up.

The BBC and Royal Shakespeare Company are getting together to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth with his dramatic best bits and song, dance and comedy celebrating his legacy. It’s a star studded event featuring such big names as Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench, Joseph Fiennes, Ian McKellan, Tim Minchin, Helen Mirren, the cast of Horrible Histories, English National Opera and Birmingham Royal Ballet (to name but a few) hosted by David Tennant and Catherine Tate. A little something there for everyone, wouldn’t you say?

Why the exclamation point? I don’t know. But if anyone deserves a little dramatic emphasis and poetic licence I think it’s probably the Bard himself. This event had been plugged for ages as a live event in Stratford (with a complicated ballot for tickets) and a live cinematic event, with cinemas across the country getting involved and charging a pretty penny for the experience, so I’m delighted to find out it’s on BBC2 tonight at 8:30pm. Culture on the cheap! I’m a happy little groundling.

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Many groundlings at The Globe Theatre, London (photo ayoungertheatre.com)

 

I Have Been Watching… A Telly Tribute to Victoria Wood

I read a quote today that went something like, ‘Is George RR Martin writing the script for 2016?’ Too many people who enrich our lives have been lost this year, most far too soon. But that all goes without saying.

I always felt that Victoria Wood was a champion for those of us who were painfully shy in our youth. But she overcame it; big time. How could she not with her absolute genius talent bursting inside of her. Was there nothing this woman couldn’t do? She was a musician (self-taught), songwriter, comedian, dramatic writer and actor. And yet it was all so self-effacing. Quietly producing work that was quite frankly, genius.

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Photo: theguardian.com

Being an avid telly watcher myself I remember her from As Seen On TV . There’s a great quote from that: “I said to my friend – and she watches telly from Wincey Willis through to Gardener’s World into the Open University” (those were the days) “Do you think TV is killing the art of conversation?”
She said, “Errrrmmmm….”

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I Have Been Watching… SitCom Thoughts

This week I have been thinking about all sorts of telly. Comedy in particular, which is a pretty all encompassing description when you think about it. What is it? In Shakespearian parlance it meant a play that ended in a marriage. It could be farce. It could be sketches. It’s very often character driven. It’s so many things. On reflection I prefer a sit com to dramas. I sat through the much lauded Doctor Foster because Hubby wanted me to watch with him but it just was so …well…miserable. Suranne Jones stropping around just didn’t do it for me (a little bit controversial there). I tried The Night Manager because, well, Hugh Laurie ­and just the other day, Undercover because well, Adrian Lester. But I know I won’t stay the course. Heck I couldn’t even invest in Downton Abbey. I’m saving my concentration for Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic, 9pm 25th April).

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‘The Reassembler’ – On the Box

Well now, as you might imagine this was not on my list of shows to watch. But Mr H put it on and I wondered what it was about. It’s really a simple premise – spread out a bunch of parts, assemble an item, turn it on and see if it works – fronted by well-known presenter James May, of Top Gear fame. Mr H assures me you can’t actually judge a person by the company he keeps, or can you? If the men you worked with were famously nobbers, I might think you were a nobber too. But all that nonsense is in the past and while James has been out of work he’s been cultivating the indoor hobo look and now he looks a bit like a speccy chinchilla.

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