Doctor Who (8.4): We’re going on a Snark hunt…

dw listen[Straight in with the spoilers again...]

It was all going so well. And then the last five minutes came along and let me down. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind sending Hat Jr to bed reasonably certain she won’t have nightmares, but I’m so done with Clara-based paradoxes saving the day. (And, I could even suggest an alternative, benign, creature-based ending…)

Let’s start with the good, of which there is plenty. Having made us afraid of the dark (with the Vashta Nerada), statues (the Weeping Angels), small boys asking if we’re their mummy (the gas-mask zombies) and cracks in the wall, Steven Moffat has (inevitably) turned to monsters under the bed.

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Wentworth Prison: Heating up and dying down

wentworth_s2_ep2_1605444549Season 2 Episode 2

There was a lot going on in Wentworth Correctional Facility this week. Bizarrely, the main focus was on a new foreign inmate’s constipation, which landed Franky in the shit – but not in the way she had wanted.

After breaking down the language barriers, it emerged that the newcomer had a stash of drugs lodged in her digestive system, but they were in no hurry to escape. Franky, having upset a lot of her customers through lack of supplies, was eager for her to go to the toilet, which left Boomer on faecal watch duties.

Well-meaning Liz was on hand to try and keep the situation under control but tragedy struck as the drugs got into her system after a struggle and left her convulsing to death. This gave the underrated Celia Ireland, who plays Liz, a chance to shine as her alter ego broke down in guilt as she wept her apologies to the dying person who had been left in her care. The scene was daunting, dramatic and heavily emotional, sapped somewhat by Channel 5’s warning before it aired that gave away exactly what was going to happen.   Continue reading

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EastEnders: Farewell John Bardon

john bardonVery rarely in soap do you get what would be classed as a ‘golden couple’, that being a pair of characters that are so meant to be and have such on screen rapport and chemistry that they are clearly soulmates. With most pairings of soaps succumbing to affairs or killing each other within the year, it is a treat for viewers and fans to have that solid couple who, no matter what the writers would throw at them, their love would still remain.

Coronation Street’s Hayley and Roy Cropper and Vera and Jack Duckworth were prime examples of this. And so were the irreplaceable Jim Branning and his beloved Dorothy. As news reaches us that the fantastic actor behind the kindly and bumbling Queen Vic potman, John Bardon, has sadly passed away, I reflect on one of EastEnders’ most loved characters.

Jim ‘The Basher’ Branning entered the soap as a brash, cruel and violent character, portrayed convincingly by John, but it wasn’t long before the actor’s natural warmth meant that Jim could not always be written this way. John was an actor who conveyed the decency and humour that Jim became loved for, and it was only natural that the character’s progression would follow this.    Continue reading

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The Joy of Sets: Twin Peaks

twin peaksI haven’t seen Twin Peaks since it originally aired in 1990-91, but I’ve always wanted to see it again. Now, thanks to the channel that currently calls itself Syfy, I can. I settled down to watch the pilot episode feeling a tiny bit apprehensive in case I was disappointed – maybe it wouldn’t have stood the test of time and be as freaky/wonderful as I fondly remembered.

The weirdest thing to begin with was how pin-sharp and beautiful it looked. I remembered it as a bit grainy-looking. This is possibly because I had a rubbish TV back in 1990 and everything looked grainy. And small. Now, on my shiny newish flat-screen model, Twin Peaks looks crystal clear.

It’s the only crystal clear thing about it, of course. Twin Peaks was the first programme I remember watching that made me realise you don’t have to follow and understand every tiny thing that happens. Some things, you just have to go with the flow and trust that some sort of sense will happen eventually. It swings between hilarious and harrowing and you just have to go along for the ride.   Continue reading

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Celebrity Squares: Fair and square

Celebrity_SquaresITV debuted a reboot of classic gameshow Celebrity Squares last night, in which two contestants squared up (let’s see how many of these puns I can get in) to each other to win cash, by deciding whether a selection of celebrities (admittedly in some cases this term is used loosely) were answering questions correctly.

The show is lively, jazzy, bright and doesn’t take itself too seriously at all, but managed to achieve the difficult feat of falling into that hard to reach category between hammy family show and a genuinely witty comedy effort. The token gameshow aspects are there, with a lot of lighting, some strained scripted gags and a few catchphrases thrown in, and it is this side of the show which would make it a better addition to a weekend evening lineup than a Wednesday night.

That said, the show contained some genuinely funny material that allowed it to exceed the format of a generic (and cringeworthy) gameshow. The presenter , Warwick Davis, carries the show like a pro, with an endearing energy that is not too much, and some decent banter with his guests. Having to control  nine celebrities fighting for airtime, whilst looking after two contestants and an audience can be no easy feat but the show is smooth and entertaining in the lightest possible way.   Continue reading

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Casualty: That’ll teach me to miss episodes

charlie casualty(Series 29, ep.2) Dipping my toe back into the waters of Casualty after quite a long break, I found myself a bit confuzzled. I thought Jeff had left? Didn’t he go off with Stella from Corrie? Anyway, it was a pleasant surprise to see his beautiful teeth once again. My sentiments were also shared by the radiant Tamzin, who has dumped her fiancé and was last seen outside The Pub (the one Casualty staff go to because they simply aren’t welcome at Albie’s) with her face firmly attached to Jeff’s. Bless.

Someone who really ought never to leave Casualty is Charlie Off Of Casualty, though in this case my sentiments are not shared by his colleagues, who apparently can’t wait to give him a carriage clock and wave him off. The reason for this is that he’s been behaving a bit oddly recently (how can they tell?), which is partly explained by the angina that Lovely Elliot Hope was diagnosing in the “Previously…” segment – but was there also a hint that Charlie might be heading for a dementia storyline? That would be interesting.

Since I last saw Rita her hairstyle has gone a little out of control and so has she. I’ve obviously missed some big plot point concerning her former/current husband, but she was behaving in a very upset manner, getting very over-involved with a bogus rape case, and hitting the bottle. Obviously I don’t know everything that led up to this, but I found it a somewhat depressing storyline for a woman who was formerly as competent and assured as Rita.

And there was a storyline about an ageing rocker called “Tyger Wicked,” who was Britain’s answer to Iggy Pop in his day, apparently. I was going to say that “Tyger Wicked” was a completely silly and implausible name for an ageing rocker, but then I thought of Alvin Stardust. Anyway, Tyger’s presence made Max get all excited, which took his mind off missing Zoe, who is away doing Strictly Come Dancing.

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Holby City: Digby seizes the chance to shine

digby holby(Series 16, ep.48)  Ooh, Arthur Digby! A man of many fine qualities, including being the top F1 in the world (or thereabouts) and having the most beautiful smile in the NHS. He’s not usually what you would call dynamic, though. Indeed, he was seen sporting a rucksack with wee horsies on it in this episode and I don’t think you’d ever see Michael Spence with that kind of accessory.

But in this episode he had a moment which made me go, “Hell, yeah!” in a way I haven’t done since the aforementioned Michael Spence went on sabbatical. It was when he told Zosia to go home and followed it up with, “It’s not a request, Dr March.” Thrilling! The lad is manning up at last.   Continue reading

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