All 29 entries tagged TV

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December 09, 2008

Up the Thames without a paddle

The organisers of the Boat Race look a bit silly now that ITV has, not altogether surprisingly, lost interest in broadcasting it.

They sneakily fled the BBC back in 2004, in order to try and cash in on greater sponsorship opportunities (oh, and more money).

Now, ITV’s said it’s bored of the race, which doesn’t fit with its football, football and boxing approach to sport.

It’ll almost certainly go back to the Beeb.

Barney Ronay at the Guardian reckons it shouldn’t though. He says:

Taken purely as a sporting event it’s not immediately clear why the BBC would have any interest in broadcasting the race. The perception that the crews themselves are a bunch of itinerant third-raters may be out of date; but this is still not a spectacle that demands, on its merits, to be broadcast live on terrestrial TV.

Maybe this is true.

But then it’s also true of ‘International Bowls’, the Great North Run, cross country horse prancing (I’m going to get a kick from the missus for that one), and if we’re honest, any kind of rowing full-stop.

And yet, how many millions stayed up until 2am to watch Pinsent and Redgrave?

How many millions watch the London Marathon as if it’s not just pictures of sweaty people jogging?

TV sport has never been about showing events that are entertaining or exciting. Just look at bowls.

At least in its brevity, the Boat Race offers a Red Bull shot of sporting aggression and 100% effort.

Which is more than can be said for darts.


December 08, 2008

Top Top Gear

Hats off to the producers of last night’s Top Gear. I don’t think I’ve laughed so much in ages.

Jeremy Clarkson did a proper review of the Ford Fiesta. It answered questions like:

  • Can I afford it?
  • Will it break down?
  • Is it economical?
  • Is it easy to park?
  • What if I go to the shopping centre and get chased by baddies in a Corvette?
  • What if I need to launch a beach assault with the Royal Marines?

You know, useful stuff.

Cue one of the best Top Gear films of all time. Clarkson roared around the inside of Festival Place in Basingstoke, knocking stuff all over the place. Being a bit of a dive, the mess was actually an improvement.

Watch it here (48mins in)


December 02, 2008

MI5, not nine–to–five

Leigh Holmwood over at The Guardian takes the words out of my mouth.

Is it just me or is this series of Spooks turning out to be the best yet?

It’s not just him. Last night’s episode was fantastic and recent ones have been brilliant too. I can’t think of one this series that has left me indifferent. It’s like a season of 24 condensed into an hour.

New-boy Richard Armitage is the only disappointment for me. He’s not been given an awful lot to say, and he’s not disarmed quite enough Russian ‘badasses’ for my liking. Maybe next year he’ll get something interesting to do. Ros Myers (Hermione Norris) is getting all the good scenes.

The series finishes, tragically, next week. It’s only eight-episodes long (previous series were ten). Leigh’s article on Organ Grinder drops a cliffhanger by suggesting the next series could also be the last. Let’s hope not! I can think of several BBC shows I’d scrap to make room in the budget for more Spooks.

Incidentally, another show well worth watching is Outnumbered – it’s probably the funniest thing on TV right now and yet no-one knows it. Semi-improvised, the stars of the show are the children.


November 26, 2008

What the f**k?

Check out tonight’s Inside Out England on BBC iPlayer later.

How many people must have watched the programme through before broadcast without noticing the ‘f’ word, clear as day, five minutes in?

Lesson One: If sampling Fatboy Slim songs, don’t use this one. (They used the first five seconds of it.)


November 06, 2008

John Bolton: Diplomat

I quite like Rajesh Mirchandani – he’s got a brighter future than David Dimbleby after Tuesday night anyway – so I found this rather upsetting.

Remember John Bolton was the United States representative at the UN. This is diplomacy for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiPuqvO6qT8


A List

I’m going to start a list. In fact, it’s more of a league table of moronism. Added to it will be MPs who jump on a ludicrous bandwagon.

1. Chris Mole

Chris Mole is the Labour MP for Ipswich.

He’s called on the BBC to sack Jeremy Clarkson for comments he made on this weekend’s Top Gear.

Clarkson was driving a lorry, and in a moment of humour suggested that lorry drivers might occasionally kill a prostitute.

Ipswich, of course, is particularly sensitive to the killing of prostitutes.

There’s only one problem – the Ipswich murders were carried out by a forklift truck driver. Which last time I checked, was quite different.

Anyone with a modicum of a smidgen of a sense of humour would realise Clarkson was taking the piss – even lorry drivers found it funny.

This is obviously all to do with the Brand/Ross, and if Adrian Chris Mole thinks this will get him taken seriously, he’s quite a bit wrong.


October 30, 2008

Who's next in the Tardis?

So who should fill the Doctor’s shoes now David Tennant’s revealed he’s leaving? Here’s my choices…

Julian Rhind Tutt
Julian Rhind-Tutt
Last seen as a baddie in Merlin, he’s probably better known from Green Wing. Importantly, he also went to Warwick University, which has to be a plus. He’s probably got the right balance of experience and ‘up-and-coming’ required for the role, but maybe he’d make a better bad-guy?

Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor
He ticks the Shakespeare box, he’s dressed in drag in Kinky Boots, and he’s starred opposite Russell Crowe and Denzel Washingston in American Gangster. Maybe that makes him too big a ‘star’ now. But he’s probably one of the best British actors to have emerged in the last five years, and he’s got the acting range to make the Daleks weep themselves to death.

Hans Matheson
Hans Matheson
Propelled to fame by the 2002 production of Doctor Zhivago, could he be right for Doctor Who as well? He’s been a bit quiet until a stand-out performance in the recent BBC drama Tess of the D’Urbervilles, but has the ‘look’. Like David Tennant, he’s also Scottish.

Henry Ian Cusick
Henry Ian Cusick
“See you in another life, brother” – or perhaps another dimension in space and time? Another Scot, he’s actually half-Peruvian. Better known as Lost’s Desmond, I think he’d be the ideal choice. He looks particularly dashing without all the island-swept hair. Dominic Monaghan, a.k.a. Charlie, would have to be his companion. One problem though – he’s tied into filming in Hawaii until early 2010, which probably rules him out.

David Morrissey
David Morrissey
But the universe seems to be pointing towards this man. Brilliant in State of Play alongside John Simm and Bill Nighy, he’s also starred in Derailed. His career nearly took that path after a role in Basic Instinct 2, but he seems to be okay. He’s in the forthcoming Christmas special of Doctor Who, which happens to be titled The Next Doctor, playing a character who claims to be… The Doctor.


October 29, 2008

Swearing on TV

What exactly is the problem with Sachsgate – the abusive message left on Andrew Sachs’ answerphone, or the use of the ‘F’ word on a public service radio station?

If it’s the latter, then there’s a big debate to be had.

Swearing on TV (and actually not radio, so much) has exploded over the past few years.

The Brand/Ross affair went out at night on a radio station listened to almost exclusively by adults.

On the other hand, Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food programme was jam-packed with f-words, c-words and other verbal vomit.

For a programme that’s trying to appeal to as many people as possible – families especially – how is that a good idea?

I think the 9pm watershed should be scrapped – swearing, offensive behaviour, sex, drugs and alcohol should be shown or not shown depending on who the audience really is, not just when the programme’s shown.

Ministry of Food was the sort of programme that should have been played in schools – with the kind of language that Channel 4 left in, it never will be.

==

Listening to BBC Radio 5 Live, it’s interesting how people who support Brand and Ross are flooding out of the woodwork now they’ve been suspended. I’m on their side, I have to say.


June 14, 2007

The Apprentice: Season Four Guide

Following last night’s surprise winner of The Apprentice, I thought I’d present my guide to the next season of the show so as to avoid disappointment when it comes around.

1) If Sir Alan nods his head, gives a thumbs up, or an ‘ok’ signal to a contestant at a vital moment, that contestant will lose.

2) If a contestant makes themselves look like a complete fool, that contestant will win.

It doesn’t matter who looked like the better contestant last night. The editing will have made the other look better, so Sir Alan’s decision came as a big shock. If you watched the “You’re Hired” show afterwards, you’ll have seen the bit of Simon’s speech which made him look composed and clever. Funnily enough we didn’t see that in the main show.

It’s called TV editing, and it’s my simple two-part guide to the next – and every – series of The Apprentice. Watch Series 3 all over again and you’ll see how right I am.


May 26, 2007

A Tale of Two TV Shows

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Twelve months ago, I would have told you 24 was the most rewarding TV show that I watched and that Lost was the most frustrating.

Twelve months on, I’d have got it all the wrong way round.

Both series finished their sixth and third seasons respectively this week, and while 24 was annoying, predictable, dull and just awful, Lost was absolutely flipping amazing.

In 24, having had a double Emmy-award winning second season, we were thrown a sort of ‘greatest hits’ series full of rehashed plots from previous ‘days’ in the life of Jack Bauer. Nukes, kidnappings, White House conspiracies and foreign embassy shootouts. All done before, and all done again. It was poor, and the finale did nothing to redeem this season. A pathetic ‘shock twist’ involving a much-loved character was so predictable I nearly fell asleep.

But Lost was sublime. The producers of the show had referred to a “snake in the mailbox” which would bite us when we put our hand in the last episode. And bloody hell, did it do that. Serious spoilers now… The series’ flashbacks have been an integral part of the show, and the non-linear plot has made the show special. So how about a forward-flash? The final scene took us (according to the internet, three years) forward in time, to a meeting between two of the show’s main characters. They’ve made it off the island. But they’re not both happy. One has gone into a major psychological slide, and wants to go back to the island. Not everyone made it off the island. And one of the characters has just got into a coffin. Oh, and did I forget to mention that back in ‘normal time’, they think they’re about to get rescued from the island they crash-landed on? Except they’re not, and it’s a trap.

And then the season ends.

Every time the show gives us an answer, it throws up a billion more questions. And it’s brilliant. There’s only going to be 48 more episodes. And I can’t believe they’ll be anything other than amazing. If you’ve not got into the show yet, you need a box-set or three.


March 22, 2007

An Embarrassment of Riches

The Riches

Take a troubled family of Irish travellers, kill two innocent rich people, and you’ve got a TV show that looks like being the intelligent Desperate Housewives, but with more endearing characters and greater potential for plot development.

The Riches is a new show on the U.S. network FX, and stars Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard – who also acts as Exec Producer and writer on the show. The two Brits may not seem the obvious choice for their roles – nor indeed the perfect on-screen couple – but from the evidence of the pilot, they really work.

The story begins with Izzard and three children travelling to pick up Driver, mum of the ‘household’, from prison, where she’s been doing two years for crimes yet to be revealed. Inside she’s picked up some atrocious braided hair and a nasty drug habit. And they’ve been running the family business, which might be described as “back-pocket cash repository retrieval”.

They travel back to their community where the self-appointed ‘leader’ of the clan wants Izzard’s daughter to marry his son and Izzard to be his bitch. It’s a neat way of forcing the family out of the community and out onto the road. Izzard steals the community’s cash and a chase – of sorts – ensues. This results in a car accident that has far-reaching consequences for the family, who for reasons that become obvious near the end of the episode, become The Riches.

Izzard is, thankfully, brilliant, and the show feels very much his own. His contribution to the writing of the show helps, as he inserts dollops of the comic insanity present in his stand-up shows. Driver, too, is a far more mature actress than the annoying, stiff Brit she was in Good Will Hunting.

I forced two of my housemates to watch the first episode with me, and after their initial reluctance they were won over by its “unpredictability” and “convincing performances”. Izzard’s accent slips occasionally, although from a Brit’s perspective this doesn’t bother me very much.

There’s real potential for this to be a great TV show. I hope the series can live up to its witty and warm pilot.


February 18, 2007

I Hate the Welsh…

...TV Schedulers.

I’m settling down, eagerly awaiting tonight’s Top Gear. It’s the best thing on television in Britain.

BUT IT’S NOT FRICKING ON!!!

BBC Wales, in their infinite wisdom, have replaced it with sodding snooker. It’s not on until 10pm. It’s a Sunday night. I quite fancied an early one. I also wanted to watch the show that’s on afterwards. And they’ve gone and buggered up my evening. And my housemates’ evening. Top Gear is the only thing we all watch.

SO THANKYOU BBC WALES, YOU STUPID IDIOTS. THERE’S A RED BUTTON ON THE REMOTE CONTROL. IT’S THERE FOR A REASON.

And you thought I was going to write some general slur against the Welsh people.

EDIT: It’s getting silly. It’s 10.40pm, Top Gear’s supposed to be on by now, and we’re being treated to A RUDDY GREAT BIG END-CREDITS SEQUENCE!!!! I HATE YOU, BBC WALES.


February 14, 2007

A Surgeon Required at Earls Court…

Joss Stone, sans head...Joss Stone seems to have got her head stuck up her own arse.

Perhaps she misheard the bit where they told her she wasn’t performing tonight. Because ‘cor blimey, she tried.

And failed.

Once of Devon, Stone now seems to have turned into an annoying strumpet of American descent. She has form. She was also the worst performer at 2005’s Live 8. She royally tanked.

Sod off and grow up, love.


January 18, 2007

The government concentrates on the important issues

We [Britain and India] are for countries that practise what we preach, which is a message of fairness and tolerance to all human beings

- Gordon Brown

This is not simply a piece of fun – this is a problem

- Ed Balls

I think this is racism being presented as entertainment and I think it’s disgusting.

- Tessa Jowell

The only people who don’t appear to be taking it seriously are Channel 4.

- Keith Vaz Shilpa Shetty

I understand concerns that there should be a debate and I will do what I can to assist

- Jack Straw

The current vulgarity is a classic example of the case against any kind of public subsidy for Channel 4

- Chris Mullin

And in a rare moment on honesty on the issue:

I have not seen this particular programme so I cannot comment on it

- Tony Blair

Is there anyone who hasn’t expressed a view yet?


January 15, 2007

Drudge and 24

When the storyline of Fox’s hit TV show 24 makes the lead story on U.S. news website Drudge Report, you know it’s gonna be a good episode…

Link to Drudge Report story…

Episodes 3 and 4 are being broadcast in the U.S. tonight.


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