Sunday, May 7

How to Cure a Hangover in Just One Channel

Helen Parton finds Saturday on BBC1 is televisual plink, plink, fizz

Channel 4 thinks it has hangover TV sewn up – barely out of school presenters making sarcastic remarks to teeny bands; repeats of Friends etc. But instead of trying to beat them at their own game, the BBC has taken its ball home and come up with Saturday Kitchen (BBC1, Saturday, 10am), the TV equivalent of a damp flannel soothing a booze induced fevered brow. Presided over by everyone’s favourite sentient garden gnome Anthony Worrall Thompson, this gently paced cookery show has people phoning in who’ve been up for hours instead of slumped on the sofa; people who fret over how to make scones or what the best wine for beef Bourguignon is. Marvellous. And aside from Rick Stein inviting viewers to gaze into the mouth of a monkfish – and let’s face it we’ve all pulled worse on a Friday night, this show is not in the least bit nausea inducing – which is more than you can say for June Sarpong.

Even though football has had an unparalled makeover in the past twenty years, there still exists a great dichotomy - for all the glossy good looking Beckhams or armpit shaving Lampards, the game’s supporters still largely consist of an army of tattooed men called Les. The divide is perfectly demonstrated in Football Focus (BBC1, Saturday, 12.10pm). Five minutes in from the fiery footballs swooshing around in the sophisticated title sequence, we have Brian Barwick, chief executive of the FA and also, it seems, half-man, half-bulldog, announcing that the successor to the metrosexual Sven as England manager is going to be the ruddy cheeked Steve McLaren, who looks like he’d never be more at home than nursing a pint of mild in some back street boozer. Then it’s back to the studio with Maneesh Bhasin, whose aubergine satin number of a shirt would doubtless be the envy of estate agents the land over. As well as being a personality-free zone, Bhasin also has the cringe inducing habit of trying to be all matey with the studio pundits – in this case men at Ciro Citterio Lee Dixon and Mark Lawrenceson, rather like a prefect trying to get in with the tough older lads at school. ‘Lawro’ in particular treats every question with huffy disdain as if being asked what the offside rule to which Bhasin then responds with overcompensatory laughter. Not even a clip of the former Liverpool player in his prime could raise Lawrenceson’s spirits. Due to Sky’s dominance of football rights, there’s precious little actual football action to be had. Instead there’s interviews with the significant but phlegmatic Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry, Dermot O’Leary reminding us about some charidee thing and most bizarrely of all, a thirty second snippet of Ray Winstone describing his love for the ‘Ammers. I’d far rather have had more Winstone and less dross about Watford’s manager or any token reference to Scottish or women’s football, which frankly NO ONE cares about. And I’d like to hazard a guess that as filming concludes, Bhasin suggests they all go the trendy wine bar down the road for a ‘cheeky San Miguel’ to which Lawrenceson and Dixon nod solemnly before sloping off to the nearest spit and sawdust to ponder where football on the BBC all went wrong and plot this young upstart’s downfall.

Saturday’s episode of Dr Who (BBC1 7:00pm) continued the series’ good work, with David Tennant this week in the eighteenth century – in somewhat of a reprise of his Casanova role. “I’ve snogged Madame de Pompadour,” he gleefully shouted at one point. Aside from all the time travel guff, the one thing that has me stumped is the way Mickey (Dr Who’s assistant Rose Tyler’s boyfriend) seems quite happy to have been cuckolded by a timelord, whereas if he really had come from 21st century Peckham, surely he’d have given the Doctor a good kicking, filmed in on his mobile and shown it to his mates on the estate before Billie could pipe up ‘happy slapper!’.

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