What have I done? How could I neglect my supposedly weekly TV segment? Okay this might not be as good a column as Grace Dent’s or Charlie Brooker’s but I’d like to think that it has a quiet charm. Of course, it’s the charm of quietly slagging off 75% of shows that I talk about but still…
On with the show. I’ll start with Masterchef: The Professionals (BBC2) which uses the usual format of “who can make the best meal” and uses it to pit wannabe Michelin-starred chefs against each other in a battle royale.
Of course, this battle isn’t as bamboozling or fast-paced as Iron Chef but it was oddly compelling. Seeing a guy make a steak tatare by slicing up all the ingredients and piling them up separately at various corners of the plate was thrilling, if only to see whether or not the celebrity chef’s eyes could get any wider (if they had, they would’ve fallen out if her head).
Some of the chefs were genuinely likeable, displaying amiable qualities but others had the typical, and frankly boring, “I came here to win. And I’m going to” attitude. Who is impressed by this attitude anymore? Brutish arrogance went out ages ago, as displayed when Greg (Greg? The bald one with the glasses) praised one of the chefs for having a lovely friendly attitude.
But, er, does anyone else really dislike the woman who narrates the show? She’s so bland it’s like listening to beige paint drying. Plus that just makes her sound that bit patronising. Particularly when she says for the umpteenth time “the chefs are making rack of goat”. Yes, WE KNOW!!
Arrogance and bitchiness was the dish of the day when it came to The Apprentice (BBC2) where the contestants were all as stuck-up, and in some cases useless, as each other.
I have to admit that this was the first full episode if the show I’d watched: and it was a bit of a baptism of fire. An ex-surgeon decided it would be a good idea to be project manager, there was chaos in the bakery and some contestants seemed completely disinterested, standing around doing nothing for two days.
Perhaps the most shocking thing was that a woman who actually works in the food industry took on the job of project manager for her team and couldn’t get hardly any deals, as well as completely messing up a sales pitch (£1.16 for a bread roll? Seriously?). I have no business experience at all but I have the feeling that a bit if logic and common sense, something that the so-called “entrepreneurs” seemed to lack entirely, would have served me quite well. The final boardroom meeting then descended into chaos when Shibby, the ex-surgeon, and Paloma went at each other like two Tomcats. The other one sat there dead-eyed like a zombie with two MASSIVE eyes (their size was frankly disturbing) as they slugged it out. It was a bit odd.
This week did give me the chance to see The First Men In The Moon (BBC4), a new adaptation of HG Wells’ classic story by Mark Gatiss. Gatiss’ productions are always quite low-key and look a little low-budget but they’re always great fun at the same time. Here there was no shortage if weird scenarios and laughs to keep anyone entertained. I found that perhaps it was a little long but the story was comprehensible (better than most sci-fis) and the performances really good. If you have the opportunity you should try to catch a repeat of it.
Alternatively, you could see Gatiss in his very personal yet very insightful series A History Of Horror (BBC4) – I’m not a horror fan at all but Gatiss does it in an accessible way that highlights some of the major milestones in the genre. The third and final part airs this week.