Thursday, 28 June 2012

Idle speculation and uninformed pondering about the title of the first episode of the new Doctor Who series

A while ago, back in April, tv-ooh speculated about what this here picture could possibly, possibly mean - given that it showed the Doctor and Amy from Doctor Who and a dusty old-style Dalek, which may or may not have been the result of some over-keen props kid on work experience going a bit mental with the cobweb aerosol. (You can read that story here. You should - it's good, if you like that type of thing.)

Well, now a little bit more information has been released, and it's as good a reason as any to write a bit more about it all and use the picture again.

So what do we know now? We know that the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who, due late August or September (and following its first showing at the BFI Southbank in London on August 14) will be called Asylum of the Daleks. We already know that the episode is to feature every possible type of Dalek we've ever seen on screen, but now we CAN PUT A TITLE TO THE MADNESS.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A magazine about soap operas has decided this scene from EastEnders' 'Sharongate' storyline is the best soap scene of the last 20 years

Tv-ooh remembers it well, and it was all Michelle Fowler's fault.

It's 1994 and she's started doing a degree at her local university in east London (but not the actual University of East London, as it was at pains to point out at the time).

And, via getting together with her tutor Geoff in one of the show's most unlikely pairings ever (it was this that the real university was unhappy about), Michelle set about on some sort of local 'oral history' project, which meant she went around interviewing people from the square about their lives - and recording the conversations on tape.

So this was how an otherwise private conversation, carried out over a bottle of wine for added tongue loosening, between Michelle and her best mate Sharon - married to Grant Mitchell, but with feelings for his brother Phil, who was married to Kathy - came into existence.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Spartacus: Blood and Sand: 'Lashings of saucy romping here there and everywhere'

Blood-spattered potty-mouthed live-action comic book Spartacus: Blood and Sand, made by US cable channel Starz in 2009 and getting its first UK terrestial showing on Freeview's Pick TV (that's number 11 to you and me), would be quite a fun little fantasy drama, if it wasn't for the gratuitous decapitations and fountains of blood everywhere.

Of course, if you are going to slice someone's head or leg off in a series about a Gladiator in Roman times who fights a lot, fountains of blood are probably inevitable, but the slo-mo vivid 'fetishisation' of the action is quite something to behold - if you can bear to look, that is.

Equally arresting is the liberal use of the 'c' word, lashings of saucy romping here there and everywhere, and numerous nearly nude bodies, many smeared with grease and baby-oil to indicate toil and sweat, and none of which seem to feel the cold.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Mark Wright's Hollywood Nights: Episode 2 - We're sort of having quite a good time, despite ourselves

Almost despite ourselves, we're having quite a good time on this so-called 'lads holiday' with Mark Wright and his four boys, over in LA with a film crew for five weeks for no other reason than just because.

Lovable geezerboy Mark, now starring in his own reality series like some kind of post-modern take on the old idea of the emperor's new clothes - as in, we're not sure why we like him but everyone else seems to so why not us too - is having almost as good a time as the audience, or at least that's what he'd want you to believe.

Because remember, if you're mates with Mark, Mark's the boss, and you'll instinctively let him tell you what to do, where to go, what to wear: Mark Wright is in charge at all times.

In return, however, he's sometimes like a more accessible version of the Dalai Llama. Mark will show you love; he'll sort you out: Need a home? Mark's on it. He'll put you in touch with some hot local girls and give you an all-encompassing cuddle every time you threaten to pack your bags and go home, which, if you're young Tommy, will be at least once an episode.

Monday, 18 June 2012

True Love: No script, some drama, Tennant/Piper tv reunion opportunity missed, probably for best

There's a good reason why television drama has scripts, and there's a good reason why actors need them.

It generally makes better tv.

With a script, the actors know what to say and when. They don't end up talking over each other or missing the dramatic point of the scene they're acting in. It also probably gives them something to moan about in rehearsals, or something to do with their pink highlighter.

Scripts - at least, good scripts - mean that what we hear will do justice to the story it's telling, whether it is funny or scary or sad, and that each scene will work as part of the overall narrative.

And so no script means we're relying on the talent of the actor to wing it a bit.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Spiral on BBC Four: There's quite a lot to take in isn't there

As much as tv-ooh enjoys the grittier corners of tv drama - I don't know, say, a foray into shouty interrogation scenes or seeing a horribly charred corpse disintegrate as so-called police officers clumsily remove it from a car boot without any protective clothing - BBC Four's repeat showing of the second series of the French police thriller Spiral might take a bit of time to understand.

That's not because of the subtitles - the channel has neatly carved itself a niche for high quality European language drama, all spoken 'in foreign' and beloved of people who like good tv and/or secretly like to think they might be a bit clever, so that's not the problem - but because there's just a lot to take in.

Of course, that's often the deal when you start on a new series, whatever the language. There are so many questions: What will it be like? Will I care about these characters? How will the plot unfold? Will there even be a plot? Will I want to watch next week? Who will I want to imagine naked or feeding me a chocolate eclair?

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Revenge: We're worried about Sammy the dog

In some ways, glossy US drama Revenge is like a mix between the undemanding picturesque teen drama of Dawson's Creek and the glamorous big business and politics bitch-offs of an 80s super soap like Dynasty.

Or, at least, it would be if Revenge's main character wasn't basically an enormous sociopath.

However, it would appear there's room for a sociopath in glossy tv drama - particularly when played by a beautiful young woman with a chilling stare and surprising ability for martial arts: Revenge has been a massive hit in the US, while here in the UK it's doing well for E4, the home of all things teen.

It's about Emily Thorne who is intent on avenging her father's death. He was imprisoned after he was framed for a terrorist act he had nothing to do with, which in turn, she believes, ruined her own life too.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Mark Wright's Hollywood Nights: 'A kind of lads on holiday-styled 'structured reality' fry-up'

Likeable Essex escapee Mark Wright has got lucky with his new series, a kind of 'lads on holiday'-styled 'structured reality' fry-up. Lucky in the sense that's he's presumably getting paid for it.

Given that he seems to be ITV's golden boy, watching Mark doing stuff is almost a tv no-brainer, if you like that sort of thing. And he's probably realised that too, as he has a 'devised by' credit for the programme.

You can imagine the pitch, down at Sugarhut: 'Yeah basically it's me having a laugh in Hollywood'.

Of course he'll need a gang to make him look kind and funny and handsome. So there's Tommy, Neil, Nick and Georgie - cunningly disguised as his entourage, and given job titles such as driver, or bodyguard or, ahem, 'business advisor' and 'cousin' - and they are spending five weeks in LA, with Mark firmly in charge at all times.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Made in Chelsea series 3 episode 10: No cat fight but lots of unanswered questions as Cheska discovers she quite suits 'big hair'

Hopes of an aggressive cat fight between Cheska and Kimberley in some sort of country house showdown during the obligatory end of series party, maybe involving hair-pulling or crashing into a live chocolate fountain while somehow remaining immaculate, while the all but physically immobile Richard looks on blankly, proved fruitless.

Instead there was a 60s themed party - ostensibly organised by Ollie in his Union flag suit - and lots of so-called '60s dancing' (basically pretending to swim elaborately) while Francis sang 'Wild Thing' - and Cheska finally worked out she quite suits big hair.

But despite the so-so resolution of this series' two bigger plot lines - the Jamie/Louise/Spencer so-called 'love triangle' and the whole Cheska/Kimberley dyed-blonde hair bitch-off 'interface' - the conclusion of Made in Chelsea series three actually left several pressing questions unanswered. Pressing questions that until addressed will give tv-ooh absolutely no peace.