Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas from tv-ooh to you and you and you

You'll have to excuse tv-ooh: those 12 empty wine glasses all over the coffee table, that empty tin of Quality Street and that pile of empty After Eight chocolate mint sleeves (or whatever they're called) - NOISY BURP! - they all belong to tv-ooh.

You see, tv-ooh is indulging - oh hang on, where's the remote, oh it's there, no that's a banana - because it's Christmas.

So far, tv-ooh has watched the Miranda Christmas special, the Have I Got News For You Christmas special and the EastEnders Christmas special. Yeah that last one was a bit miserable, but hey ho.

And, over in 'structured reality' tv land, tv-ooh has also enjoyed the Made in Chelsea Christmas special - an 'ooh' to follow on that, later - and also the Essex Christmas special. Tv-ooh probably won't bother with an 'ooh' on that one; it wasn't great.

There are more televisual delights to come over the next few days; tv-ooh might even write about some of them, given the purpose and intention of this blog and everything.

Tv-ooh is also excited, but also a bit terrified, at the Gordon Ramsey programme that's live on Channel 4 on Christmas morning. The idea is you follow Gordon as he prepares a Christmas lunch, as you do the same at home.

Now, given that he is one of the most frightening men on television - even more scary than Ross Kemp in a randy mood while making a documentary in Afghanistan - who ON EARTH wants that foul-mouthed chef bawling at you through the screen? BASTE THAT TURKEY NOW YOU F***IN ****!

Now that kind of language is only going to add to one's stress levels as one wraps bacon strips around a sausage, isn't it.

Tv-ooh would also suggest, having looked at the image above, that Mr Ramsey means business, and that he's liable to do something unpleasant with those sharp utensils if you misbehave in anyway.

There's also an added frisson because it's live - so people may even just watch in the hope he loses his cool in some way, and ends up shouting and swearing a lot.

Ah, the true meaning of Christmas, eh readers!

But all that frippery aside, most of all, tv-ooh would like to wish you - be you loyal follower or casual browser - a very merry Christmas indeed.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Well I can't think why anyone would want to watch Shipwrecked can you?

Nope. This is all lost on tv-ooh.

(The men in the photos above are named Tristan, Stephen and Joseph and they and their physiques unashamedly form part of the 'cast' of Shipwrecked, which is a 'reality' show on Channel 4 and E4. It's nearing the end of its current series, in which the main attributes for inclusion in said 'cast' appear to be the possession of a tanned and lithe torso (not unfamiliar to being smeared with baby-oil by a giggling photographer's assistant) and also possibly an argumentative nature while also having an inbuilt ability to pose purposefully in an exotic environment in some way. Spotted a branch? Hold onto it and pose like your life depends on it. You'll note that Joseph here has already managed it. Perhaps he has been practising. But that facial hair doesn't look very stranded-on-an-island friendly does it Joseph. Have you smuggled in razors perhaps? How will that be maintained? Will that be a storyline?

So, is Shipwrecked a genuine survival game show with a reality show twist or an example of lowest-common-denominator tv with its main selling points of 1) nice and sunny scenery and 2) young and fit participants with not much clothing on and not much else. In truth, it doesn't matter really, and let's remember this show is on its eighth series so it's doing something right. Furthermore, there is no lowest-common-denominator tv anymore. We live in turbulent times do we not.

Other 'cast' members are available.)

As you were.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2011: Idle speculation and excitable conjecture; a trailer

It's Christmas, therefore it must be the Doctor in Doctor Who.

We've only had regular Christmas specials of Doctor Who since Christmas 2005 but it feels like a tradition that we've always had, like pulling a cracker or drinking too much Baileys until you hear yourself say things like, 'Actually, Downton Abbey's really quite gripping isn't it?'

The title of the Doctor Who Christmas special is The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe which we are told is a 'pastiche' on another book (yes, yes I know) much like last year's A Christmas Carol was a 'pastiche' of the Dickens' book of the same name.

We know that writer and executive producer Steven Moffat is a self-confessed fan of giving his episodes what he describes as 'slutty' titles, by which he basically means 'attention-grabbing'. And while all that's very effective and good for those people who don't normally watch the show and so can see the title as a sort of short-hand and an easy 'way in' to an unfamiliar series, it's not quite as straightforward as calling the episode, I don't know, say, 'The Doctor saves some kids in World War II in Dorset from an alien and grapples with the human emotions of a woman whose husband has died at some point before the adventure began and also there's a forest at night involved somewhere as well as a wardrobe in it of some description plus some cutesy stuff with two kiddies as well', which basically seems to be what's going to happen, but that is just idle speculation based on photographs.

So, The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe it is, then.

Unless - thinking about the wardrobe here, rather than the widow - that title may also suggest there's some sort of bizarre cross-dressing trans-dimensional interplay going on, via said wardrobe. Or not.

Fortunately for everyone, Steven Moffat knows what he's doing, so there's probably no need for any alarm whatsoever.

That's alright then.

Let's watch the trailer.

Monday, 19 December 2011

AMAZEBALLS*! How much is tv-ooh looking forward to Christmas?

That, readers, is what is known in the trade as a 'rhetorical' question, ie a question that does not expect an answer because the meaning is all but given in the question.

But say tv-ooh did expect an answer, say that the question's answer wasn't so clear in its asking, then surely the answer would be something like QUITE A BLOOMIN' WELL LOT THANKS FOR ASKING CHEERS EVERYONE because, birth of the baby b'Jaysus aside, tv-ooh loves the Christmas.

And you know why don't you? BECAUSE THERE'S LOTS OF AMAZING TELLY ON.

Tv-ooh is now unavailable for several hours as tv-ooh is about to get a pen and this:

and circle or asterisk programmes of note that tv-ooh may want to watch during the festive period while one hand is buried deep in a large tin of Quality Street, the other in a tin of Roses.

Tv-ooh may be sometime.

Do you know, it could be the copious amounts of mulled wine talking, but tv-ooh is feeling quite Christmassy. 'Quite' is as far as tv-ooh will go, mind you.

*Amazeballs! Where on earth did that word come from anyway? (Some thoughts on that, here) Is tv-ooh some sort of teenage girl all of a sudden? No tv-ooh is not.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The Slap series blog

(he's a selfish family man!)
Hector's having a barbecue to mark his 40th, but he has his eye on more than just a snag - 17-year-old Connie. The slap stops anything from happening, this time.
(she doesn't want kids!)
While Anouk's at the barbecue she clocked what was going on between Hector and Connie, but is best friends with Hector's wife, Aisha. Trouble ahead.
(he's got a temper and a pool!)
It was Harry who slapped the four-year-old Hugo. Harry tries to dismiss the incident, but it emerges Harry's life is far more troubled than anyone wants to admit.
(she's a bit of a one!)
Connie finally gets some Hector-time, but it doesn't go according to plan. She tells a terrible lie about him to her friend Richie.
(In court!)
Rosie gets her day in court over Harry's slapping of her son Hugo, but by now it's damaged almost every relationship we've seen.
His father Manolis is the only person Hector has told about what happened with Connie - but Manolis has other things on his mind.
Aisha and Hector go off for a mini-break but Hector starts to cry and admits everything. Aisha heads for Anouk's sofa.
(The end!)
Connie's moved on, but now Richie's fancying Hector too. He tells Gary what Connie said Hector did to her, and, once again, it all kicks off.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Trapped, abandoned or dead: So how might Amy Pond leave Doctor Who then?

Amy Pond is to leave Doctor Who soon, in what has been described by series show-runner Steven Moffat as a 'heartbreaking' exit.

And, knowing Moffat's tendency for epic story arcs and mind-boggling plots, it's likely to be on an epic scale - perhaps involving a threat to the very existence of the universe in some way, perhaps not.

Karen Gillan's Amy has been one of the series' most popular characters, so she deserves a good send-off. But we've been here before, many times.

Over the years, the Doctor's friends have left him for all sorts of reasons - some good, some not so, but several have been similar in style and theme. So, going beyond the teaser of a 'heartbreaking' exit, let us consider what fate could befall Amy by looking at previous methods of departure...

1. An abrupt departure: Sarah-Jane Smith left the Tom Baker version of the Doctor after he received a summons home. Her unexpected exit as he drops her off in a South Croydon cul-de-sac was a rare moment of genuine character-based emotion in the original run of the series. Of course, it wasn't South Croydon at all - it was Aberdeen, which we found out 30 years later when Sarah met the Doctor again in 2006. How's that for a story arc? See also Peter Davison's companion Tegan: The grumpy Australian air hostess left on a whim in 1984, after a gruesome battle with the Daleks about abandoned warehouses in London Docklands awaiting conversion into flats (or something).

2. The memory wipe: Catherine Tate's Donna suffered a fate arguably worse than death - after all the adventures with the Doctor, he had to wipe her mind due to her becoming part Time Lord. She reverted back to the self-absorbed, cocky Donna we met in her first episode. That was reasonably heartbreaking. See also Patrick Troughton's Jamie and Zoe, who also had their minds wiped of all but their first meeting with the Doctor prior to him going on trial for meddling. Those Time Lords again.

3. Trapped in a parallel word or decides to help the needy: Until her return, Billie Piper's Rose Tyler was trapped in a parallel world and was never to be seen again, until, er, she managed to break through, before ending up with a human-copy of the Doctor on a beach. Other companions have left to help others - be they men who look like lions (Romana), space lepers (Nyssa), or dodgy con-men who run massive freezer centres on space ships (Melanie).

4. Falls in love: Technically speaking, Amy's already in love, with her husband Rory, who is in fact a 2,000 year old revived-dead man, or a man-like replica at least. They could go off in the sunset together, but it's unlikely. Too easy. But, in the past, the Doctor's friends have left after meeting a new love interest. Jo Grant and Leela, both from the 1970s, swapped the Doctor for marriage proposals from men they'd only met five weeks previously.

5. Blown up saving the Earth: Adric, Peter Davision's social-skills-free, maths-genius companion from the early 80s died when trying to avert a space freighter that was on a collision course to Earth. He nearly succeeded but a Cyberman blasted the controls before he had a chance to fix the problem, although on reflection that's actually fine. Indelibly etched on the minds of impressionable children who watched this go out back in 1982, the impact of a death of one of the Doctor's friends is as epic as they come - even though Adric himself had few redeeming features, not to mention a horrible costume.

So how will Amy go? Could she die? Death is quite heartbreaking, but also too obvious. With Moffat's tendency for complex story arcs and what he calls 'timey wimey' narrative play, it's anyone's guess  - although, more accurately, it's Moffat's decision - but it will likely be 1) unmissable, and 2) maybe very confusing. Let's all just hope Rory's okay though eh?

Related stories:
Doctor Who - Dinosaurs on a Spaceship review: 'Part comedy romp, part genocide-wreaking villian'
Doctor Who - Asylum of the Daleks review: An 'all-guns-blazing season opener' + surprise
Doctor Who: It's fair to say none of these characters will be in the new series
Two lost 60s Doctor Who episodes found: Fans thrilled, then a bit disappointed ;)
More lost 1960s Doctor Who episodes found? BFI event gives a hint...
Doctor Who movie: an appeal for calm at this confusing time
So did the Doctor Who Confidential film crew capture the meeting in which it was decided to cancel Doctor Who Confidential
Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane: Andy Pandy outfits in space

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Slap episode 8 review - Richie: an ending, of sorts, but the right one

Along with the decision to devote a whole episode of The Slap to Hector's father Manolis a few weeks ago, the choice to have an episode all about Richie's story initially seemed a bit strange - why put an apparently peripheral character in the foreground when there's more central characters we want to know about?

Back in episode one, we saw Richie mainly as Connie's shy, awkward friend. He looked more like a 'supporting character' - just the babysitter of Hugo, the kid who was slapped by Hector's cousin Harry.

Then, after Connie's lie that Hector had raped her, and Richie's growing realisation he liked Hector too, it became clear trouble was brewing - especially after Hector began receiving anonymous text messages calling him a rapist, sent by a confused and self-loathing Richie.

So just like the Manolis episode, Richie's episode turned out to be another well-placed alternative take on the overall story, and, once again, it managed to give an unexpectedly sympathetic insight into the central character's life - but this time the episode also had the additional pressure of wrapping up the whole saga.

Richie's story, like Connie's before him, was essentially another coming of age tale, but once the pressure of Connie's lie gets too much for him, his life takes a turning point after he blurts out what Connie had told him, which in turn causes further drama for him and practically everyone else.

But as we know, the nature of The Slap in devoting most of the episode to one character means that many of the other characters' stories take a back seat, so here, in the last episode, they had to be wrapped up in a Holby City-style music montage in the last five minutes.

But, it did the job - and it also acted as the reward us loyal viewers needed.

We see Anouska tapping away on her keyboard writing; Harry and his wife looking at the scan of their unborn baby; Manolis and Koula having a family meal, and, er, Connie having a walk with her mother-figure aunt. So they've all got what they wanted, despite however uneasy the truth might be.

But there's less of a clear ending for Aisha. Having sacked Connie and told Rosie to stay away, after Rosie's husband Gary takes a bit too much glee in telling Aisha Richie's belief that Hector had raped Connie, she decides to return home to her kids and Hector, after what we presume are a few nights on her friend Anouska's sofa.

Aisha arrives home just as Hector finds the cricket bat in the garden - the same one Hugo was swinging before he was slapped. They don't speak, but we presume there's a reconcilation beginning.

We get more of an ending for Rosie and Gary and Hugo, as they were directly linked to Richie too.

They've decide to leave for another town and a new house - which Rosie had long been hoping for - with Hugo snoozing menacingly in the back seat of the car: an undisciplined, soon to be uncontrollable, monster in the making.

ABC should revisit him in 20 years when he is actually a monster. He'll probably be very successful in life.

Most of all, episode eight was Richie's story - and it felt right, in the end, to conclude on him.

It gave us a happy ending, of sorts - he found a nice boy, got his friend back and found he has everything to look forward to - and it also acted as a reminder that The Slap was always about much, much more than just a slap.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Charlie's Angels: Is it really that bad?

No-one seems to have anything positive to say about Charlie's Angels, which is a bit of a shame if you like mediocre but undemanding candy-floss drama buckling under the weight of a slightly lame, exposition-heavy script.

This Miami-set, up-to-date remake - oh look the characters all have iPads - has not lasted very long.

Based on the famous mid-70s US detective show about three female private detectives with immaculate hair and groovy clothes and managed by a mysterious and unseen boss called Charlie, the new show was pulled in the US after only four of its eight episodes, and then cancelled.

Here in the UK, it seems far more at home on digital channel E4, so we might get to see all eight (although so far only five have been scheduled).

Which, depending on your view, is either a good thing or a bad thing.

Tv-ooh is in somewhere in between - despite its creator claiming he didn't want to create a 'camp' show, any action/detective show with three female leads with immaculate hair and groovy clothes, and an unlikely man-boy sidekick with muscles ('Bosley'), or where the leads regularly go undercover as cocktail waitresses or fashion models, is going to be in that sort of ball-park.

Angel Eve undercover in a casino: Not camp at all, no no no
If the dialogue wasn't so frequently excruciating, it might have stood a slighter stronger chance of being a bit better - however, if nothing else, it looks good; the acting isn't that bad; and the producers even managed to rustle up a large crowd of extras to add a bit of urgency and chaos to a scene where the Russian First Lady was about to be shot for some unclear reason involving criminals with eastern European accents.

Away from the fighty action sequences and nonsense 'intelligence-sharing' info-dump scenes involving huge touch-screens and that job-lot of iPads, and a split-screen technique which suggests the producers enjoyed watching a Spooks DVD box set quite recently, it's the clunky attempts of dialogue masquerading as characterisation where it really falls down.

"I never thought my heart could hurt this much," says angel Abby, after fellow angel Gloria is blown up in episode one. You see, she feels pain.

"You are angels of justice, not angels of vengeance," comforts Charlie, via conference call. You see, he is a good leader.

And Bosley, a 'security expert' who was about to go down for 20 years for a tax scam, until Charlie offered him 'a second change', offers this advice before the team go off on a job: "Remember what Charlie said. Guys, just be careful. For me."

Fellow angel Kate's response? "Yeah, we're angels. Not saints." You see. She is determined but she also says it how it is.

So at what point, exactly, did US network ABC know they had a bit of a clunker? Did anyone read the scripts? And then did they air the show anyway and hope for the best? Or hope no-one would notice?

Despite everything, it shows you can never truly predict a hit show - or a flop one.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Pan Am: Melodrama hits a new high; gets taken off air. Ho dear

You know how it is. You nearly crash land your passenger plane onto a beaten-up runway in troubled 1960s Haiti because you've got a passenger having a heart attack, and then one of your crew wants to take home a real life souvenir. Happens all the time.

Play-by-the-rules Captain Dean tussles with the well-meaning French stewardess Colette over the orphaned teenager she wants to rescue from roaming rebel gunmen, having found her during a mercy dash in a jeep with co-pilot Ted while looking for a doctor in the jungle - but pilot Dean's more worried about the runway being long enough for take-off.

Later, having off-loaded as much weight as they can, including lots of nice luggage and the heart attack victim (he didn't make it), Captain Dean revs the engines to within an inch of their lives but keeps the brakes on - and in doing so just about manages to power a take-off as rebels with guns come to investigate. Phew.

And the whole thing happened on a stormy rainy night, too,which we all know is tv shorthand for BIG DRAMATIC DRAMA, don't we.

Stewardess and spy Kate nurses a sick passenger - and not very well as it turns out: he doesn't make it.
But it's this sort of plane-based melodrama - on board emergencies, angry or dying passengers, erm, crash landings on a hurricane-damaged runway at Port Au Prince - that many had originally expected of US period drama Pam Am, rather than the pseudo-historical travel show-cum-espionage hokum, but with nice period detail, that it turned out to be.

And that's not a criticism - there's room for this sort of glossy, lightweight drama, but maybe not on a Saturday night at the same time as The Killing or X Factor.

And, unlesss it's just a break for Christmas, perhaps the BBC agree, as it's been taken off after four weeks and eight episodes, but with a promise to show the remaining six episodes from January.

The situation echoes the show's status in the US: Pam Am's network ABC was thought to have axed the series due to poor ratings - it debuted to 10m but that dropped to around 4m over the weeks - and pulled it altogether after episode nine.

It's just said the final five are to be shown in January, too, but it hasn't committed to anymore episodes - althought the network has denied the show's been cancelled.

The on board drama that made episode eight feel a bit different from what had come before would likely become repetitive if it happened too often, like a Casualty in the air, but as a one-off, it made a change from the usual fare: namely, an historically-significant cocktail-party of some sort, in a capital city hotel and with a romantic or espionage subplot delivered by lightly-sketched characters in nice outfits.

Let's hope it gets picked up for more episodes (it won't).

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Two lost 60s Doctor Who episodes found: Fans thrilled, then a bit disappointed ;)

Two 'lost' episodes of Doctor Who from the 1960s have been found, much to the delight of the show's fans everywhere.

The episodes, Galaxy Four part 3 ('Airlock'), featuring William Hartnell as the Doctor, and The Underwater Menace part 2, featuring Patrick Troughton, were shown to surprised fans at the Missing Presumed Wiped event at the BFI, earlier.

It is thought the episodes were discovered earlier this year from a private collector in Hampshire.

The owner was apparently aware he had episodes of 1960s Doctor Who in his possession, but did not realise they included two of the 108 episodes that were missing from the BBC archives.

The news follows largely-ignored hints in the official BFI event information ahead of the event, reported here earlier on tv-ooh, which referred to 'one or two very special items' of 'BBC sci-fi footage' from the 1960s, while fans on Twitter became increasingly excited at the prospect in the hours before today's announcement.

The team at the BBC on the never-ending hunt for missing episodes of 60s tv often receive hoaxes from not-very hilarious members of the public about missing Doctor Who episodes ('I've got Tenth Planet part four - in colour!'), so speculation on today's news was restrained - in Doctor Who terms, at least - until confirmation from the official BBC Twitter account of Doctor Who that 'something special' would be coming soon.

Tv-ooh is of course excited and pleased at the news that one of our best loved shows now has two less missing episodes, and also that the announcement comes so close to Christmas, but really we would've much preferred an episode or two of Fury from the Deep if it's all the same to you, cheers.

Tv-ooh is joking; it's great news.

Related stories:
More lost 1960s Doctor Who episodes found? BFI event gives a hint...
Doctor Who movie: an appeal for calm at this confusing time
So did the Doctor Who Confidential film crew capture the meeting in which it was decided to cancel Doctor Who Confidential
Doctor Who - The God Complex review: Nice touch with the Nimon as it all gets good again
Doctor Who: Let's Kill Hitler review - the only River in the, er, River, is a River?
Doctor Who: Episodes 8 - 11 trailer: 8 fatuous observations
Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War review: 'Epic', ' Blimey', 'quips'
Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane: Andy Pandy outfits in space

More lost 1960s Doctor Who episodes found? BFI event gives a hint...

The annual Missing Believed Wiped event at the BFI later today - where recently rediscovered episodes of classic tv programmes are shown again for the first time in decades - may include something quite significant, especially if you're a Doctor Who fan.

The latest timetable for the event refers mysteriously to BBC Sci-fi footage (Title TBC} (BBC 1960s).

Of course, it might not be Doctor Who - but previous information on the event also hints at 'one or two very special items'.

What else could justifiably be described in that way? No-one would drop those sort of hints for a rediscovered episode of relatively obscure 60s sci-fi such as Quatermass or A for Andromeda? Would they?

Organisers have given no more information - it's likely they'd want the identity of the episode or episodes to be kept secret, and for it only be revealed as it's shown and not a minute before.

We should hear soon after though: no doubt the audience will all be armed with smartphones and have their Twitter posts at the ready.

There are 108 missing episodes of early Doctor Who, partly due to a once-routine practise of 'junking' old episodes after opportunities for overseas sales had diminished. Episodes do occasionally return - over the years they have been found in the lofts of private collectors or in forgotten cupboards of foreign tv stations.

Episodes from the first two tv Doctors are mostly affected - and as a result many lost episodes by William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton have gone down in fan folklore as 'classics'. While some episodes may deserve that title, or show key parts of the series' history, in reality many have only a curiosity value that doesn't stretch far beyond the completist hard-core fan.

If this BBC 1960s sci-fi footage is indeed revealed to be rediscovered Doctor Who, it will be interesting to see what it is - a lost classic like Power of the Daleks or more from The Web of Fear would be much more welcome than, say, something regarded as a bit more ho-hum, like The Macra Terror or Galaxy Four.

Either way, a DVD release shouldn't be too far behind...

Related stories:
Doctor Who movie: an appeal for calm at this confusing time
So did the Doctor Who Confidential film crew capture the meeting in which it was decided to cancel Doctor Who Confidential
Doctor Who - The God Complex review: Nice touch with the Nimon as it all gets good again
Doctor Who: Let's Kill Hitler review - the only River in the, er, River, is a River?
Doctor Who: Episodes 8 - 11 trailer: 8 fatuous observations
Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War review: 'Epic', ' Blimey', 'quips'
Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane: Andy Pandy outfits in space

Friday, 9 December 2011

The Slap episode seven review - Aisha: Another part of the jigsaw

Another part of the jigsaw clicks into place in episode 7 of The Slap, as attention turned to Sophie Okonedo's Aisha.

We know now that Harry, who is Aisha's husband Hector's cousin (the guy who slapped the four-year-old Hugo back in episode one) once broke his wife's jaw.

Aisha had known all along, but through family loyalty had kept it from Hugo's mother Rosie, who is one of her oldest friends.

So Rosie is furious when Aisha decides to confess to her during their first meeting since Rosie's court action against Harry, in which information about Rosie Aisha had previously shared with her family was used against Rosie in court.

It seems an odd decision for Aisha - who argued it wouldn't have changed the case because Harry's wife would have denied it, and also because Rosie appeared to finally be moving forward.

Guilty secrets

But perhaps Aisha's motivation matched that of Hector, when he too made his own confession earlier - telling Aisha, during an anniversary weekend up on the Gold Coast, about his brief affair.

They both unburdened their guilty secrets, but in doing so probably caused much more damage.

Slightly more comically, also in the mix this episode was the dashing Dr Art: Aisha attends a veterinary conference - well known for drama and seduction - in a swish hotel. She is wooed then seduced by the smitten Dr Art, who tempts her with talk of caring for primates at a friend's sanctuary in Borneo.

She considers it - but later she deletes his follow up email, and we assume her forgiveness of Hector is not far off, as the episode ends with the narrator (presumably reading parts of the original novel), talking about marriage as negotiation.

Slow pace, fast pace

The pace of The Slap changes on a whim. For the first 30 minutes or so this week, the pace is mainly relaxed, domestic, almost documentary-like. It has a confidence like it knows it's able to cash-in on the six week investment many of us have made in the multi-character storyline, which itself gently hints and unfolds - and sometimes with a slightly maudlin piano soundtrack that can veer on over-use, sometimes not.

And then, suddenly, the pace picks up again - when Hector and later Aisha make their confessions - voices are raised, and it all becomes emotionally charged.

And you're not sure where you are or where your sympathies lie. Again.

So as the final episode approaches, we know it will be about Ritchie, but several questions remain: Will Aisha discover Hector's brief liaison was with Connie, her assistant and babysitter? Will we discover the identity of the mysterious texter (presumably it's Ritchie). Will Rosie find any peace? Or will The Slap conclude on an uneasy, 'sort-of' ending that leaves lots of questions unanswered, in a reflection of how life actually is?

We'll see.

What next?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Slap episode 6 review - Manolis: It's all still quite bleak...

We all know by now that The Slap is not going to be a barrel of laughs by any stretch of the imagination.

In fact it sometimes feel bleaker than an EastEnders omnibus on a cold Sunday in December.
But unlike our favourite Albert Square miseries, there’s often a glimmer of charm somewhere too.

Still, episode six of The Slap, focusing on Hector’s father Manolis, felt like the gloomiest yet.
It was both dark and gentle - a meandering profile of an ageing Greek patriarch tiring of modern life. He's missing the country of his birth and he's mourning the passing of youth and his friends, and all while growing weary of his outspoken wife.

He’s been pulled in different directions for years and the result is there to see on screen.
Through Lex Marinos' measured performance you can see it all: torn between regret about missed opportunities, the struggle to always do the ‘right thing’ for his wife and family, and having to deal with a repressed rage (which he does so by examining a growing damp patch on the ceiling above his bed, but then lashes out at a smug contemporary while at a funeral).
Of course, we also know by now not to expect too much movement with the overall plot, even though the in-depth character studies of each episode are centred around the slap from Manolis' nephew Harry on four-year-old Hugo back in episode one.

But the moments where things do develop promise much bigger things to come.

The brief front-seat fumble between Hector and his babysitter Connie in episode four, and her subsequent drunken lie to her friend Richie that Hector had raped her, is starting to bite – Hector’s receiving anonymous texts calling him a rapist.
Hector confesses his guilt to his father, and the revelation reveals the sacrifices Manolis made for his family as a younger man.
Suddenly, Manolis' story makes much more sense to the overall series - Hector's not so different from his father after all, even if their methods and actions vary: they're both torn between their own ambitions and desires, and their role as father and husband.
Later, Manolis meets Hector's wife Aisha, to persuade her to take part in a family holiday. He tries to put his foot down but his 'traditional methods' no longer work, and it back-fires.
We hear she’s in tears but that’s good news to Manolis’s wife, Koula, who doesn't like her daughter-in-law.

Koula can't hide her pleasure so she makes her husband some Turkish Delight as a reward.

They eat them together and then later in bed they hold hands for the first time in a long time - it's not perfect, but it's who they are and it's what they've got, and, well, maybe it's enough for Manolis after all.

Great tv - again.

What next?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Desperate Scousewives: There's something beneath all the fake tan (but it's likely to be just more fake tan)

There's a lesson, probably, somewhere underneath all the rollers and fake tan in new so-called structured reality soap Desperate Scousewives, about not judging people by appearances.

The characters are all so impossibly glamorous they may only ever be minutes from death due to extensive self-coverage of either fake tan or make up; tv-ooh can only trust that there are parts of their bodies that remain untouched, therefore allowing them to continue breathing unaided.

And if that isn't the case, let's hope there's a team of medics on standby.

Kicking off

It's likely those medics will be needed anyway, if not to perk up some of the performances, then because of the inevitable conflicts and rows that generally characterise this form of soapy telly.

Anyone who has seen Lauren G in Essex let rip knows how vocal and hate-filled they can be, and here in Liverpool, by the looks of it, things might end up kicking off regularly too.

So we see 'professional journalist' Elissa kicking off at her ex, Joe (described as 'a player'); Layla (a shop assistant/model) kicks off at Joe too because she feels he's using her (he is) (because he's a player); while Jaiden, already marked by tv-ooh as being truly awful and almost unwatchable and therefore competely and utterly watchable (and described as a 'bitchy blogger' - sample: 'you're shit!' - gosh!), is confronted by Amanda (described as 'a local celeb') about bad things he's written about her.
Joe from Desperate Scousewives: He's described as 'a player', but not because he plays football.

So in many ways, it's reality soap as usual. In fact, many of the elements that make tv-ooh favourites Essex and Chelsea are here in Desperate Scousewives - the bad boys, the glamour girls, the extensive soundtrack of well-known music tracks as short-hand for mood indication, plus contrived party-type events in the last quarter of each episode designed to bring the cast together and create tension and aggro resulting from their complicated relationships with each other - producers call it 'drama'.

'Off-screen producer'

But there's differences too - the characters sometimes look like they're speaking to an off-screen producer who's goading them into annoyance ('tell me how angry you are!').

We see them reacting to conversations they've just had - a documentary technique, which so sort of breaks the soapy/drama feel and emphasises the 'reality' of it.

Maybe it's also a technique to simplify the story telling process (given that about 70 per cent of the main characters are near identical-looking young blonde women) or to minimise the need for other scenes to be set up for 'plot recap' purposes, or even because the cast aren't quite up to scratch with their 'acting' yet.

Jodie from Desperate Scousewives: She'd 'wake the dead'!
That might also explain the narration from fog-horn-voiced beauty-therapist (and chief comedy element) Jodie, whose return to 'the 'Pool' from London and her search for a job, begins this modern day urban story.

'Volume control'

"I want to like her, that's the thing," says salon owner Mark to his husband and fellow owner Chris, after they've interviewed Jodie for a job, "but there's something missing."

Chris knows what it is: "Volume control."

"She'd wake the dead."

"She probably does."

But let's give Desperate Scousewives a chance, eh. Let's try and get past the WAG'd up appearances, the oblique reference to something mysterious called 'anal bleaching' that tv-ooh really doesn't want to know about, and the fact that Elissa has a wall-mounted Economy 7 heater in her flat, because, let's remember, tv-wise, the city's got pedigree.

Brookside, The Liver Birds, Bread, and the inexplicable thrill of wondering when the next loon might appear to make rude signs through Richard and Judy's This Morning dockside window are all great examples of Liverpool's contribution to good tv. Well, ok, maybe not Bread...

And Liverpool is probably due another bite of the popular culture cherry - although right now tv-ooh is just not sure if Desperate Scousewives is it.

But really, an Economy 7 wall-mounted heater!

You wouldn't get that in Chelsea.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Ooh it's Saturday night! Hands up who fancies a bit of densely-plotted Danish crime drama with subtitles?

Everyone say welcome back to The Killing shall we, now called The Killing II, because a) it's the second series and b) it's a lot easier to say than it's original Danish name, Forbrydelsen.

Since the four-episode-a-week repeat of the first series over July and August on BBC Four - and oh what a cheery summer that was - it seems the world and his wife have all picked up on the fact that The Killing's main character, the quite mysterious and very focused indeed detective Sarah Lund, likes to wear a particularly type of sweater.

And so everything you've ever read about the programme, including here, and, erm, here, on tv-ooh, have been blethering on about it until the cows come home. But then, who doesn't like a bandwagon?

Well, guess what. Those cows? They've come home. Because series two is here, AND YES SHE'S IN THE JUMPER ONLY IT'S RED NOW ALRIGHT, but in episode four it turns into a black and white one similar to the one in series one. It's like the same but reversed? White patterns on a black knit rather than the other way around you see.

So if we can all just get over the sweater - or jumper, if you prefer - and remember that actually The Killing II is one of the best things on tv at the moment, despite the apparent un-attraction of watching two hours of subtitled and densely plotted crime drama on a Saturday night (because, as everyone knows, Saturday night is about entertainment and showbiz and The X Factor).

But that just shows how good it is.

Ulrik Strange (Mikael Birkkjaer) and Sarah Lund (Sofie Grabol) in The Killing episode 4,
not talking about her jumper
So, The Killing II is much like The Killing I except:

1. There are only ten episodes this time, rather than twenty. BBC Four are showing two a week so we'll be done for Christmas. Merry Christmas.

2. There are multiple murders this time. And some of them (well, all of them, so far) are horrific and not very pleasant, if murder is ever pleasant come to that, which of course it isn't - tv-ooh ain't some sort of sicko you know.

3. There's a military theme - a soldier escapes from an institution after his former colleagues are mysteriously killed, and all of them are connected in some way to something that happened while they were on duty in Afghanistan. The soldier's wife has a father who is also a soldier, so you see: military theme.

4. Sarah's mum is in it again. She's engaged to a man who has a nut allergy. She rings Sarah just as Sarah's thrown up after seeing the horrific charred remains of a murder victim, incinerated in his wheel chair. On this call, Sarah's mum tells her not to be late for coffee and asks her to bring cake, and to make sure there's no nuts in them. A quick, funny moment and, among all the nerve-jangling gloom, something tv-ooh is seizing upon to cheer tv-ooh up a bit. Oh that's not actually a difference is it.

Some similarities with The Killing and The Killing II

1. The characters still aren't bothering with umbrellas. As anyone who has ever watched The Killing will know, it rains in Copenhagen. It's Denmark, it's wet. But there are no umbrellas. What to do?

2. There's some politically-charged sub-plot or other which frequently oscillates (ooh! oscillates!) between fascinating and occasionally a bit 'can we get back to Sarah now please?', and makes tv-ooh think that if you take your eyes off the subtitles for one second or start thinking about what you're going to have for dinner tomorrow you face certain doom, or, at least, get a bit confused about what's going on.

3. In other words you have to concentrate a bit.

Update (contains spoilers for episode 10): The last episode? Some of the best tv this year without a doubt: but seeing the 'end of case' beers with 20 minutes still to go, tv-ooh knew something big was about to happen.

What an amazing climax. And what an amazingly effective bullet-proof vest.
Related stories:
What next?

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Slap episode 5 review - Rosie: confusing sympathies in the toughest episode yet

More lurching emotions and characters contemplating their dramatic-navels while having a thoughtful bath - that was basically episode five of The Slap.

It was all about Rosie, as played by Melissa George, and it's fair to say that Rosie's divided both the characters and the audience. She's certainly divided tv-ooh.

Rosie's been fiercely protective of her four-year-old son Hugo - who was of course slapped by Harry in episode one at Hector's 40th birthday barbecue - and her determination to see her idea of justice brought about has caused all sorts of shouty scenes and characters slamming doors a lot.

But episode five almost managed to make Rosie sympathetic as we took a closer look into her life.

She's devoted to her son of course - in fact she still breastfeeds him; but her discipline is non-existent (she tries once but then apologies), and her house is scruffy with the bath in an outhouse, and is no match for the houses her friends have.

Most significantly, her partner Gary's a bit of a beardy deadbeat with no ambition (and an alcoholic), who doesn't think she should still be breastfeeding, and didn't think the case should have gone to court.

After Harry was found guilty but not punished, Gary disappears to the pub and Rosie unravels a bit, causing her to seek comfort in her friend Shamira, a Muslim convert, and her husband Bilal.

But he tells her to stay away from his family - her chaotic life and skewed but well-meaning values are things he doesn't want influencing his wife.

Looking at the hard time she got in the dock, on one hand Rosie got the comeuppance she deserved,  but on the other - it's hard not to feel sympathy for her too.

She doesn't have very much, but is kind to Anouk's sick mother, and loves her son, but her determination to not listen to her closest friends' or partner's advice came at a cost to herself.

The result, as usual with The Slap, was tense and involving - but this was the bleakest and gloomiest of episodes so far. Even Hector in his speedos, seen emerging from a dip at the local pool, didn't really cheer things up.

Three episodes to go.

Where next?

Related stories:
The Slap episode seven review - Aisha: Another part of the jigsaw
The Slap episode six review - Manolis: It's all still quite bleak...
The Slap episode five review - Rosie: confusing sympathies in the toughest episode yet
The Slap episode four review: Connie - this week it's a coming of age drama, with scenes in a vets
The Slap episode three review - Harry: TV drama as washing machine (in a good way)
The Slap episode two review - Anouk: It was good; we liked it
The Slap episode one review: Where logic and emotion collide, sort of, at a barbecue

Thursday, 24 November 2011

James Landale on BBC News: That thing on your top lip better be for charity sunshine :)

This is James Landale. He's the respected Deputy Politics Editor from BBC News.

You will have often seen him standing outside the Houses of Parliament at various times of the day, but often at the times of the main BBC News bulletins.

He's very knowledgeable about the political news of the day, especially when the Politics Editor Nick Robinson isn't on shift.

All in all, tv-ooh admires his work greatly.

But look closer. Listen, closely.

Huw Edwards is in the studio asking a question like this:

But! To the disappointment of everyone watching the BBC News at Ten, Huw Edwards failed to ask the question on everybody's lips.

Never mind the top political news of the day - it couldn't have been that big anyway, it was 20 minutes in - what we all wanted to hear was:

"So James, what IS that above your top lip?"

So let's pretend Huw did ask that question. James would smile, and maybe give a small laugh, because he's on air don't forget, and do something with his hands and face like this:

As he begins his answer, we can only imagine he'd stick to the facts and only the facts, because he's a journalist don't forget, but he'd also lightly pepper it with his 'personality', because some journalists on the tv like to do that, too.

"Well Huw, it's a moustache," he'll say, "and I've grown it here underneath my nose and above my top lip, as that's often regarded as the best place for them to grow but that's in no way set in stone."

"Right," says Huw, "And what do we know of the wider implications of this decision as it stands?"

James might then put his moustache into some sort of wider political context; he might not.

He might tell us what Theresa May thinks of it; he might not.

He may even venture to make a connection with the Euro in some way; he might not.

We just don't know.

But what's important here, in this imaginary live report on the BBC News at Ten, is that the question on the minds of everyone watching James Landale at this time has been answered, if not addressed.

All we need now is a close up, like this:

It is a truly, if slightly distracting, thing of wonder.

(In truth, James Landale has grown his moustache in support of 'Movember', a charity event where, during November, men grow a moustache to raise funds and awareness of cancers that affect men, such as prostate cancer.

James himself beat cancer (non-Hodgkin lymphomas) back in 2009 so that's probably partly why he's doing it too.

That, and the fact he looks almost sort of dashing with it - which is quite a feat in itself.)

Tv-ooh feels all confused.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Made in Chelsea: Series two episode ten - Champagne, fireworks and, like, FIREWORKS

In the achingly glamorous world of Made in Chelsea, season two has come to a dramatic close - and we know it was dramatic because there were FIREWORKS. IN THE SKY.

All the cast, and some extras too but we don't care about them, all gathered outside the inevitable country house in which they were partying and drinking Champagne.

They were all thrilling at the fireworks, as the fall-out from the other fireworks - dramatic ones - continued to explode. Or do what dramatic fireworks do.
Millie from Made in Chelsea, waiting to drink some Champagne at a party.
 Note bottles of Champagne in foreground awaiting said drinkage (Pic: Ch4/Jules Heath)

So we had Millie - which tv-ooh maintains is primarily a name you'd give to a dog - sobbing into the arms of her best pal, the equally amusingly-named Caggie, who has a pout that looks like she's always moments away from bubble-blowing, even during times of emotional stress.

Mils was upset because she'd just found out from Cags that Millie's ex, Hugo, had had it away with Millie's friend Rosie during a trip to Monaco earlier in the series.

It was Monaco because that's a reminder of how jolly well jet-set and well-to-do everyone is. If this was The Only Way is Essex it would have happened in Magaluf. Or Weymouth.

But what makes this infidelity particularly bad is that Rosie had denied it to Millie recently, and also the fact that Millie and Hugo were on course to be reunited after other infidelity, because infidelity seems to be all the rage in Chelsea.

So Millie, in the middle of this 1920s-inspired, Great Gatsby-themed fancy dress party, took to the microphone and publicly 'thanked' Rosie for betraying her with Hugo, before swishing out of the room, all hurt and emotionally forlorn, like some proper soap actress in some proper climatic soap scene, only with better costumes.

So where are we at? Let us examine the facts!

Ra ra ra! Jamie from Made in Chelsea opening a bottle of Champagne
and enjoying the process enormously (Pic: Ch4/Jules Heath)
Season three and a 90 minute Christmas 'spesh' has been 'commished'

Argh, tv-ooh has that irritating habit of abbreviating words to sound all cool and 'moderns'. Shoot tv-ooh now.

But if that Christmas special doesn't have super-toff Mark Francis wearing a bright red sweater and organising some amazing party or other while drinking Champagne, tv-ooh will demand a notional refund.

And the commission for a series three shows that it isn't just tv-ooh watching the thing either, which is a relief.

It's all totes-amaze!

Yar, it like so is? But what's best about Chels is the regularity and amazingness of the parties they have, pretty much in EVERY EPISODE now. The parties are the results of schemes usually hatched by Amber and super-toff Mark Francis, who in fairness don't have very much else to do in the show now that their 'entreprenuerial business projects' storyline failed to be of any interest whatsoever.

So what we've come to expect is that in part one of the episode, they have the idea, possibly while drinking Champagne, and then in part four, barely 20 minutes later, it's all been amazingly organised, with staff, fancy dress and every last cast member free to attend, and the whole thing goes without a hitch.

If the pair of them are that good at organising stuff they should pop down to number 10 Downing Street, see if they can't sort out this here economic gloom - Mark Francis would insist on Champagne but Cameron would have some Cava in the fridge upstairs so it's fine.

But having said that, in Made in Chelsea there is no economic gloom so there'd be no problem to solve in the first place. Result!

Louise and Spencer not drinking Champagne but some sort of cocktail -
a mojito perhaps - during a roulette game. The drama! (Pic: Ch4/Jules Heath)

Big parties as gigantic ruse

But in reality those events and parties are probably just the result of the producers realising what their plot function is: they are in fact a gigantic ruse to bring the cast together in the same scenes to create fireworks - dramatic ones, remember (see above) - so the characters can have some awkward interplay and look at each other blankly for a while.

And so it came to pass. At this party, Cheska confronted the barking-mad Gabriella, Jamie cleared the air with the barking-mad Gabriella about their 'drunken fun' (tv-ooh feels queasy), while the will they/won't they storyline between Spencer and Caggie limped onwards since its mid-series resurrection. FOR GOD'S SAKE CAN SOMEONE KNOCK THEIR HEADS TOGETHER PLEASE CHEERS.

Chelsea vs Essex

If tv-ooh had to choose, tv-ooh would go for Made in Chelsea over The Only Way is Essex.

Chelsea's deliberate colour palette of whites, creams and beige dominate the screen - there's no bright Essex reds or neon blues here - so the whole thing often looks and feels a bit more filmic - a bizarre statement perhaps but you can't argue with those seductive shots of London landmarks. Try it - they'd just look back at you blankly as London landmarks can't speak.

Made in Chelsea looks great on-screen, although scenes of Mils and Cags having their toenails done are admittedly not quite as thrilling (insert joke about watching paint dry here, ho ho).

Also, the character interplay and (ahem) 'storylining' is perhaps stronger in Chels, and the comedy has been beefed up this series: deliberately with Mark Francis, Ollie and Francis, and by accident with the arrival of Jamie, the amazingly named Gabalicious (not to be confused with the barking-mad Gabriella) and Binks and Cheska, now that they've made up again.

Of course, none of that stops it being total nonsense - but tv-ooh's a bit partial to some nonsense now and again.

Perhaps you've noticed.


Related stories:

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Who, exactly, cares who the presenters of Daybreak are...

...apart from the presenters of Daybreak themselves?

You see, tv-ooh only asks because tv-ooh has been reading all the gleeful newspaper reports about the apparent sacking of Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley.

In case you're not up to speed, the pair, who, you may remember, were 'poached' from BBC One's 7pm 'random reports and guests' soup The One Show for millions of pounds last year to join ITV1's GMTV replacement, but then were constantly criticised - by those newspapers again! - for how few viewers they were apparently winning.

'A million less than the BBC,' said one.

You'd think that people were actually interested.

But everyone's missing a trick: if the pair of them are so bad at their job, then isn't this good news all around - not least for Chiles and Bleakley.

We won't have to watch them, and they'll both get to have a lie-in now. Who doesn't like a lie-in?

'Actually pretty good at the lighter stuff'

What with their ITV contracts still being legally binding and all, probably, it looks like Bleakley's off to do Dancing on Ice and Chiles gets to keep his other programme about football and that one he does on a Sunday night that tv-ooh has never seen.

And actually, although Bleakley did often look uncomfortable when doing serious news-based interviews with her empty eyes but quite frankly amazing hair, she's pretty good at the lighter stuff - give her an axed X Factor contestant or The Wanted and she's as happy as can be.

You only have to see how some of the Daybreak news reporters struggle when they stand-in for her to see how easy she makes it look.

Everyone's favourite curmudgeon

While Chiles, well, he's everyone's favourite curmudgeon but with an acutely trained journalistic instinct, like a sort of news sniper or some other vaguely-military comparison like that, despite being unable to sit in a way that never looks like he's entirely comfortable. Think of your coccyx man!

In many ways the pair were doomed from the start with their big money transfers and becoming the public face of a brand new programme, but actually tv-ooh never really objected to them at all, and found them both rather watchable, all told - certainly more so than when they were both on The One Show.

And let's also remember that Daybreak is a hundred times better than what it replaced, despite the genuinely dreadful money-making minor-celebrity-endorsed phone-in competitions every ten minutes.

Despite its knockers, Daybreak is a reasonably convincing alternative to the sometimes dry and serious Breakfast: the BBC One choice is good with the straight news but there's often too many random 'lives' from gurning reporters in schools in Durham or on beaches in Devon in the dark where we hear about 'real concern' or, tv-ooh's favourite, 'growing concern' - used as an excuse to turn a vague story idea into something topical to create a reason to do the piece.

But what does tv-ooh know anyway? The editor from Breakfast's on his way to Daybreak in January so who knows what's going to happen next - it's said there's a statement due at the start of December.

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Slap episode four review: Connie - this week it's a coming of age drama, with scenes in a, er, vets

Right now the only thing jarring in The Slap is the 'and starring' billing for Melissa George in the opening credits.

It jars slightly because The Slap is an ensemble piece, and each week a different character takes a turn to lead.

And so episode four belongs to Connie, played by Sophie Lowe.

Connie's a 17 year old veterinary assistant and has a huge and potentially dangerous crush on Hector, the 40-year-old husband of her boss.

Connie's also got a thing for moping about his house and going through his old photo albums, while she babysits his kids.

She checks out old black and white snaps of Hector in his shorts being all young and handsome, and as she does so she moons about with her big doe eyes and long blonde hair not really knowing what she's doing.

And, as is the custom in The Slap now, there's lot of eerie, plinky plonky musical keys striking a sympathetic yet also a disconcerting note as she does so: there's trouble ahead, the music tells us, and the characters are having Deep Thoughts.

Quick fumble

But then when Hector gives her a lift home, she knows exactly what she's doing - enticing him in for a quick fumble in his car. He should know better of course, but doesn't. And she's in the driving seat (not literally; figuratively).

And so, as is also the custom with The Slap, the episode is a total gripper from start to finish.

The troubled, clever, orphaned, sexual, confused, manipulative and kind Connie is there in all her contradictions, and her eventual guilt about her brief tangle with Hector, and his eventual rejection, which makes her briefly say Hector raped her, lead her to a friend's party, and discovering a more wild side to teenage life, before ending up with a younger-Hector lookalike.

Seventeen year old girls feature in tv drama all the time, and Connie's part in the 'slap' didn't seem that significant to begin with - but her 'journey' (if you will) - a sort of coming of age story but with scenes set in a vets - made for the kind of engrossing and character-led episode we've all come to expect from this series.

And as for that star billing for Melissa George? Okay, she's done some films in the US, but here in the UK we still know her mainly for her role as Angel in Home and Away and it seems odd she'd trump, say, Oscar nominee Sophie Okendo in the billing stakes.

But no matter - when the only thing you've got to criticise is the billing of the cast you know you've got a good show.

Perhaps Melissa George just has a good agent.

We'll soon see - it's her episode next.

Related stories:
The Slap episode seven review - Aisha: Another part of the jigsaw
The Slap episode six review - Manolis: It's all still quite bleak...
The Slap episode five review - Rosie: confusing sympathies in the toughest episode yet
The Slap episode four review: Connie - this week it's a coming of age drama, with scenes in a vets
The Slap episode three review - Harry: TV drama as washing machine (in a good way)
The Slap episode two review - Anouk: It was good; we liked it
The Slap episode one review: Where logic and emotion collide, sort of, at a barbecue

What next?