‘It’s Not Rocket Science’ – On the Box

As of last week ITV has a science entertainment show! I know! Shocking right? This from the channel that regularly brings you live testicle-eating on I’m A Celebrity. But science is having a moment right now (which I can show with graphs and equations stems directly from Professor Brian Cox’s beautiful hair), so why the hell not? Science isn’t the preserve of the BBC alone.

Stand-up comic Romesh Ranganathan, Countdown mathematician and general cleverclogs Rachel Riley, and comedian and actor Ben Miller seem on paper to be a strange selection of presenters, but they all have maths and science backgrounds. And they were all sparky and enthusiastic. Even their Top Gear style banter seemed quite natural. You can tell Rachel Riley has been taking notes after working with Jimmy Carr – her comedy timing is on point!

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The Power of Comedy – Viewpoint

I read a really inspiring blog post last week about the importance of tv comedy. Sarah at Gracefully Falling Upwards wrote about how comedy changed her life; how it helped her laugh and feel ok during a particularly dark and difficult time in her life. She says:

“Comedy was there for me when I didn’t have the words to tell anyone how I felt. Comedy was there to make me laugh on the days that I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Comedy made me feel like the world wasn’t always so dark and painful and that eventually it does get better.”

This really resonated with me. When I was little I was pretty awkward and quite lonely. I found solace in books, rather than tv. I still do. Along side trying to keep up to date with great tv shows, and finding the time to write about them for you folks, my challenge is to read 70 books this year! (You can follow my progress at GoodReads). Basically I’m going to spend so much time sitting this year I might develop DVT!

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‘Trapped’ – On the Box

A cold and bitter welcome to my new Saturday night drama obsession, in the coveted Euro drama slot on BBC4. This is Trapped, a murder mystery, police procedural type-drama: the first Icelandic drama on British tv – dark, cold and wintery. There’s been a gruesome murder, Andri the local cop with serious family problems has to save the day and a terrifying storm is setting in.

From the start the weather looks authentic – not a single flake of fake snow. I genuinely wondered if the producers had waited for a real storm to begin filming. But commenters on the internet who live quite a bit further north than me have pointed out it looks like summer with the characters running around with no hats on. A tell-tale giveaway, if you know what you’re looking for.

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‘Trapped’ – Seeing the Future

On BBC4 tonight in the same slot as The Bridge, The Killing and Borgen. Now that’s a mark of quality. Stark, cold, bloody and suspenseful – I can’t wait!

Mrs. Peabody Investigates

BBC4’s weekend crime slot moves from Montalbano’s sunny Italy to a chilly northern Iceland on Saturday 13 February. Trapped, the channel’s first Icelandic crime drama, begins with two back-to-back episodes at 9.00pm (there are 10 episodes in total). This RVK Studios series will give many British viewers their first taste of the Icelandic language (subtitles also at the ready, of course).

Trapped

Trapped is set in Siglufjörður (the same fishing port featured in Ragnar Jónasson’s ‘Dark Iceland’ crime series). The opening episodes show three events happening almost simultaneously: a ferry with three hundred passengers arriving from Denmark, the discovery of a corpse in the water, and the onset of a violent snowstorm. The storm prevents the ferry from leaving and blocks roads in and out of town, trapping the passengers and townsfolk with the killer. Step forward Police Inspector Andri, who is tasked with investigating this high pressure case…

Here’s a trailer, which looks quite brooding and scary (may need to…

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‘Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands’ – On the Box

Dear readers, I hope you know that I suffer so you don’t have to. I watch the shows that gets a lot of excited previews but leave you confused and disappointed. I’ll haul the coal, deal with the pressure and present to you the diamonds. As we all know, your telly time is limited and you don’t want to waste it on stinkers. Treat this blog as a (highly subjective) guide to avoiding the stench.

I was really looking forward to Beowulf Return to the Shield Lands (ITV) but what in the fuck was that all about? It didn’t help that I was watching it with a fan of the poem. Immediately Mr H was saying “nope” to all the characters and plot developments that weren’t true to the original. The first five minutes made him sound like a beatbox. From the get-go it was like a class of primary school children had decided to do scenes from Game of Thrones as their school play. Their teacher should be fired.

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‘Artsnight: Nina Conti’ – On the Box

I am not a regular viewer of Artsnight or Newsnight. I guess I’ve always thought it was a bit pretentious for my tastes, on the other side of the culture divide to me. Sure I like a bit of Shakespeare, I wander round art galleries every now and then, and I’ve been to see the ballet once, but I’m happiest at the low end of the culture scale. High culture is for people who learned Latin at school and not for the likes of me.

Obviously this is ridiculous, and a series of stereotypes that need to be overturned, but it’s a rich vein for comedy. The co-presenter of Nina Conti’s Artsnight was keen to play with this whenever anything troubled her finely-tuned bullshit meter “I know this is Artsnight Nina, but there’s no need to sound like such a pretentious wanker”. Good advice, especially coming from a glove puppet monkey.

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Blog Business

Hello blog fans!

This is an unusual post, not strictly telly related, but a matter of business that I’m excited about. I’ve just started the super-popular WordPress Blogging 101 course to learn how to write a better blog. These past five months I’ve really enjoyed the experience of writing a blog because tv is a genuine interest of mine, something I do as part of my daily routine. It’s a pleasure to focus on one interest as opposed to past scatter-gun attempts where anything and everything could be a blog post. That just got overwhelming and it was easy to give up and forget about writing altogether.

People have been really kind and told me they like my writing, but I know it could be better. I worry that as I’ve not really written creatively since I was in school my writing style might be a bit stunted. Like y’know… I don’t want to like… sound like a sixteen-year-old forever OMG! I’ve tried to break the habit of calling everyone dude, so I need to do that in the way I write too.

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