Not too much square-eyed activity this month as I had too much else going on but there was still time for the following treats.
There is something oddly sweet about "THE FRIED CHICKEN SHOP" (Channel 4), where people come and go, in the pursuit of ....fried chicken of course, but the cameras also observe friendships forming and strengthening, relationships developing, and potential boyfriends rebuffed thanks to some dodgy chat-up techniques, watched over with some cheerful confusion by the young immigrant workers behind the counter. Yes of course some of the customers will play up to the cameras, but all in all this show has the all-important feelgood factor and it could run and run. Another series please!
Ditto "BOUNCERS" (Channel 4). As long as there are drunken nutjobs around, this programme will also run and run.
Soggy bottoms didn't really mean anything to me until I was probably the last person in the country to discover "THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF" (BBC2). This baking contest has been very popular over recent years so I decided to check out the new series and am now hooked. Mel and Sue are refreshing hosts, whilst Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry can be tough nuts to crack, but they will also give credit where it's due. This is just what I need on a Tuesday night - it's like a calming comfort blanket, only made of cakes (!?!?!)
"STRICTLY COME DANCING" (BBC1) returned to our screens this past weekend, so at least we'll now have something to watch on a Saturday nght. Lots of new professionals this year, including the chiselled loveliness of Aljaz Skorjanec (gratuitous picture above) It doesn't look like a vintage line-up of contestants compared to previous years, if week 1 is anything to go by, but we love, love, love Dave Myers! Please keep him in! He has such a funny and likeable personality as part of the Hairy Bikers and this translates to the dance floor. He's having fun - a nice change from the usual win-at-all-costs brigade. I'll do a separate post about Strictly in a couple of weeks once we get a better idea of where it's all going.
As a self-confessed shopaholic and retail therapy addict, "ROBERT PESTON GOES SHOPPING" (BBC2) was a must. A documentary series about the history of shopping in this country - its past, present and future, and its highs and lows - was certainly long overdue and worth watching, although Mr Peston (who I believe is an economic reporter on the Beeb) is a bit annoying when subjected to him in such large doses.
Simon Schama's epic series "THE STORY OF THE JEWS" (BBC2) is the kind of programme that the BBC always does well. Schama's own personal insight particularly came across in a recent episode about the Jews of Eastern Europe in the early 20th century.
Even though I know that the end is near, I'm really enjoying "SMASH" (Sky Atlantic) so much more than I used to. The second series has really grown on me and I look forward to each episode. The parallel musicals storyline, focusing on "Bombshell" and "Hit List" which has literally involved 'musical chairs' (apologies for that bad pun) has really boosted the show. I'm probably in a very small minority of "Smash" fans, which is probably the reason why it has been axed.
Maybe I'm just getting old and out of touch with TV comedy, I don't know....I wanted so much to love "LONDON IRISH" (Channel 4) but it ultimately left me cold. Lots of swearing - the success of Mrs Brown's Boys certainly has a lot to answer for! Most of the sweary words don't offend me but I could do without repeated use of the C-word thank you very much. There were some funny moments in the first episode of this new comedy series about a group of young Northern Irish exiles in London, but not enough to hold me beyond that. But then again, I'm not part of that Channel 4 after-10pm comedy 'demographic' I suppose. I think the main problem was that I couldn't warm to any of the characters. Now where did I put my Father Ted box set...?
Finally, to the latest SVT music show "ALLA TIDERS HITS". Now let me see....well-known (and less well-known) singers interpreting the songs of other well-known singers. Ring any bells? Remind you of a certain rival TV4 programme perhaps? Så Mycket Bättre needn't worry too much about this new show stealing its spotlight, (although that show is also maybe past its best now?). Despite promising a lot, I've found it to be rather disappointing. The whole production comes over as a bit amateurish, presumably SVT are blowing its entertainment budget on Melodifestivalen with only the spare change going on this one. The critics haven't been very kind to the show either and I doubt if it'll get a second series.