Thursday, August 24

TV Will Eat Itself

Helen Parton finds plenty of food for thought on yesterday’s TV. Just avoid that yellow snow.

Rather like a gastronomic Coach Trip, Come Dine With Me (4:30pm, Channel 4) features just as odious a collection of characters but in a slightly less picturesque setting, unless you’re a particular fan of living rooms in the Midlands.

In the process, it does nonetheless go someway to sating the daytime TV viewer’s appetite as Countdown concludes and Richard and Judy await. For the uninitiated, five people (I think they’re strangers, but given the ructions between them, they quickly act like long lost friends)
cook for each other and rate each other’s dinner party and at the end of the week, one wins £1000.

Today it was the turn of Patsy, a jolly therapist who was determined to show off her West Indian cooking heritage. Tiger prawns, jerk chicken, ginger cake - so far, so yum. Her guests were Danny (nondescript Hollyoaks type good looking student); Kenny Rogers lookalike Graham, (according to Michelle that is, but presumably only if Kenny Rogers had fallen on hard times and was forced to play Phoenix Nights type working men’s clubs instead of crooning Islands in the Stream with my country and western aunt Dolly).

Michelle, another therapist, also caused huge offence to professional clown Julia when in the other day’s programme she rather astutely suggested Julia was barking and was using her humour and childlike demeanour to cover up a whole range of psychological ills. Politics and religion don’t even get a look in as conversational topics round this dinner table here.

This programme has attempted to steal different bits from the winning formulas of other shows – the bitchiness of the Weakest Link, the pointlessness of Deal or No Deal - and only succeeded in a corned beef hash of a show. The worst element is the double entendre laden voiceover, which makes the whole thing look like a low rent Terry and June. With no collapsing sunlounger gags in the title sequence either.

Bruce Parry and his team could have done with some Caribbean cuisine and weather to match in Blizzard: Race to The Pole (9pm, BBC2), an entirely pointless recreation of the Scott vs Amundsen race to the South Pole, but done in Greenland because, oh I forget, but it’s probably an equally tedious reason. Fresh from jumping over cows in Tribe, Parry returns with some intrepid pals to see how many fingers they can turn into frostbitten Alphabite-like stumps in some snow driven wasteland.

Unfortunately, just like Scott, they don’t pack enough food and underestimate how much weight they’ll lose, ditch their theodolite, an instrument I didn’t think existed outside of GCSE maths coursework, at a key moment, get lost and have to be airlifted out. Meanwhile the Norwegian team is miles ahead being pulled along by their trusty huskies, cracking jokes and chomping on biscuits and chocolate along the way. Sorry Bruce, but with that snack provision and your team taking a sh*t inside the tent, ‘cos it’s too cold outside, I know which group I’d rather have a tea break with.

No comments: