My Autumn Television Favourites

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons, it’s a far more welcome sight when it takes over from a glorious summer and this year, us brits have been spoiled, sunny days making staycations the holiday of choice for many. Television isn’t always at the forefront of our minds, when outside looks so inviting we tend to forget the box indoors.

It might be just me, but I’ve long been of the opinion that the selection of television programmes reflects the fact that most of us won’t be lounging on the sofa at the end of a long day at work. However, with the change of season comes a change of TV shows and I am loving the full Sky Box planner. My top 5 must-watch programmes this autumn are a heady mix of variety and drama, take a look:

Strictly Come Dancing

When that glitter ball trophy’s up for grabs each autumn, I’m ready for BBC One to take over my television on Saturday and Sunday nights. I love everything about Strictly Come Dancing, from the judges (Shirley Ballas is a fantastic replacement for Len Goodman) to the inspired mixture of contestants from across sports, television, etc. I also have a thing for professional dancer, Aljaz Skorjanec! So the sight of him cheers me up no end as the dark nights draw in. I am sorry that he and Kate Silverton have been voted off the show, as not only does that reduce my Aljiaz time, but I also really like and respect Kate – she was coming on leaps and bounds. It’s the ultimate autumn AND winter telly, though and much as I miss Sir Brucie (RIP) you’ve gotta love Claudia with her one liners and dry wit. It’s a TEN from every member of the panel at Entertainment Views HQ.

Doctor Who

Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor has stolen my heart and mind! She is everything I hoped she’d be and more. Sunday evenings are so much better for a dose of Doctor Who and together with her band of companions, the Doctor is rocking some exceptional storylines. Chris Chibnall should be congratulated for injecting verve, vibrancy and very current topics into the scripts. The Tardis has never been in better hands. The guest stars are brilliant too, Lee Mack was certainly a favourite (if not short-lived) addition in one episode and I can’t wait to see Phyllis Logan, I think she’ll be awesome as usual. Whittaker is my new favourite since the wondrous David Tennant took over the Tardis. If I’m not mistaken, their characterisation of the Doctor is similar.

I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here

Dingo dollars, Kiosk Kev (ahhh see ya later Kiosk Keith!) and a brand new set of celebrities for Dec and his newly appointed assistant, Holly Willoughby to play with! With Noel Edmonds has been the first camp mate to cause a stir, all seemed fairly settled in both camps until he became Emperor. Harry Redknapp is already established as one of my favourites, his stories are fantastic and he’s such a down to earth bloke. Anne Hegerty is doing a great job of raising the awareness of Autism and actually not handling jungle life too badly, although she does like to use the phrase ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ she has no qualms about it. Nick Knowles is proving himself to be a kind and useful sort of person and Rita Simons is so to the point, I love her. I haven’t picked a winner yet but there are a few who already deserve the crown. A superb line up this year!

There She Goes

This has just finished on BBC Four and it has been gripping yet hilarious drama. In fact it’s been the type of programme you feel it’s disrespectful to laugh at and yet that’s exactly what the script and performances are inviting the audience to do. There She Goes centres around a girl called Rosie who is learning disabled and although she’s age 9 she’s suffering from severe developmental delay. David Tennant and Jessica Hynes play her parents and they’re a great tag team, an ideal combination to take on a challenging drama peppered with light comedy. Watching their daily struggles, flashbacks to when Rosie was born and they were looking for answers and the brutal reality of the consequences of her impairment are at once cringe-worthy and life-affirming. It’s been a must-see series and if you can get it on catch up, I highly recommend you give it a watch.

The Apprentice

You’re fired! Good old Sir Alan is back with his straight-faced sidekicks, Karen and Claude (bring back Nick and Margaret!). Lord Sugar’s in search of a new business partner and as usual, there are a selection of candidates vying for the prestigious position and kicking each other when they’re down in a bid to be the one to win the prize. As much as there are always a number of candidates whom I find perpetually annoying, I always take a step back and remember that editing takes responsibility for the persona of each individual. Although the business world is dog eat dog and that is reflected in their behaviour. Some of the tasks have had me glued, the art gallery in particular was a fascinating watch and I had the fired candidate pegged from the start. Other weeks it’s not been so easy to guess. This series has renewed my love of the show, though and I can’t wait for the next instalment.

Photo Credits: BBC & ITV 

Advertisements

Interview with Casualty’s Cathy Shipton ~ What next for Duffy?

Duffy and Chuffy fans who tune in regularly to the BBC One drama, Casualty will be in for a few surprises. The popular Nurse, who’s already in the throes of dealing with her diagnosis of Clinical Depression and Anxiety, is set to behave uncharacteristically and become a worry to her husband, Charlie (Derek Thompson) for more reason than one.

Entertainment Views caught up with actress Cathy Shipton who plays the troubled Nurse.

Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Cathy – we’ve seen Duffy diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Anxiety, which she hasn’t revealed to Charlie yet. What are you able to tell us about the latest storyline? 

You’ll have just seen the episode with the CQC inspection where Duffy was called in by Charlie even though she’d just done a twilight shift. Charlie’s been working days while Duffy’s working nights so they’re on parallel lines and not communicating very well. During Duffy’s interview with the CQC Inspector you might have noticed she’s a bit jaded in her response, she’s knackered though and almost pulled a 24 hour shift as well as al the while losing confidence in her abilities.

The miscommunication between Duffy and Charlie almost led her to make a fatal error on that extra shift…

Yes, but did she mishear Charlie’s instructions because of her anxiety which has made her slightly unfocused?

(C) BBC – Photographer:

So her way of dealing with the altercation with Charlie was to call Bill! 

She calls Bill and he meets her at the pub. What you’ll see next at the start of the subsequent episode is Bill and Duffy in a hotel room at a Boutique Hotel! The room is littered with all their clothes, Duffy wakes up not knowing where she is and Bill walks out of the bathroom in a robe!

Is this the beginning of the end for Duffy and Charlie? 

Duffy tells Bill to get out and is clearly angry that it has happened. She’s trying to get away and ends up called back to settle the invoice just as a guy runs out to alert them to the fact his girlfriend’s been in the hotel swimming pool and can’t breathe.

And of course, Duffy is a Nurse….!

Yes, so Duffy goes to attend to the hotel guest and upon calling 999, she’s met by Ian and Ruby who are questioning as to why she’s at the hotel. Duffy says she’s been attending a conference there but she cant look either of them in the eye.

Will she tell Charlie the truth? 

Duffy’s been AWOL over night so Charlie’s been worried about her and wants to know where she’s been. She tells him she had to clear her head and needed space and admits that she spent the night in a hotel. He’s trying to make it up to her by suggesting they do things together, like swimming at the hotel she’s just spent the night at. Duffy is desperate for him not to be nice to her though!

So it hasn’t taken long for Duffy and Charlie’s marriage to hot the rocks,  but is Duffy’s behaviour a ‘side-effect’ of her state of mind? We’ll have to wait and see! Thanks as always to Cathy for a fantastic interview, looking forward to seeing where this storyline will take the character. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Who ~ Series 11 ‘The Woman Who Fell To Earth’

I’m late to the Doctor Who party, although I did watch the first episode of the brand new series ‘live’! I for one was delighted that a female doctor had been chosen when Capaldi hung up the sonic screwdriver so my eagerness to see Jodie Whittaker in the role was bubbling over. The latest instalment not only did not disappoint, but Whittaker has brought a whole new persona to the doctor which hardly relates to the gender at all. There was also a stellar cast to back up the new recruit and it looks as though some famous faces are set to grace our screens in upcoming episodes too, including Phyllis Logan! Here are a few highlight of an episode jam-packed with goodness.

Jodie Whittaker

The arrival of the new doctor was typically chaotic, straight in through the roof of a train without so much as a bye your leave! From the outset Whittaker established the character as whacky, nonchalant, determined and with the kindness streak still flowing freely. I loved the throw away comment of her being an alien, the desire to be a friend to the crowd she found herself mixing with and the clumsiness. One of the defining moments was the costume selection in the charity shop! Chris Chibnall is undoubtedly a fine choice of writer for the series and hand in hand with Whittaker at the helm, there’s a short-hand here that will enhance the much-loved series further.

New Friends

I’d been dubious about Bradley Walsh taking on the coveted role of the companion, however, as Graham he has already shown what a superb sidekick he could be and the chemistry with Whittaker is already palpable in my humble opinion. Sharon D Marshall as his wife of three years was also a superb addition – it’s a pity it was a short-lived role. However, with Graham’s backstory including Cancer and now the death of his wife, he’s got a lot of personal experiences to bring to the table. Setting his back story up so early on will surely make sense of his reactions as we move through each story. He’s a steady influence too, which never hurts when you’re supporting the doctor!

Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Ryan (Tosin Cole) also seem to be a strong addition, each one having suffered loss and with a desire to embrace whatever life throws. Ryan might be a loose cannon though, which might be frustrating and exciting in equal measure, while I’m anticipating a more sensible approach from Yaz. It’s a team de force so far, with the doctor they make a formidable foursome!

 

Alienated

The alien enemy featured in this episode both fascinated and frightened me! It was a sight to behold once the armour was removed and the powers were believable too, as a sci-fi villain he was captivating and almost gained my sympathy once or twice – wholly unexpected.

Chibnall’s Vision

Chris Chibnall has fast become one of my best-loved drama writers, from back in the days of Sunday evening BBC favourite ‘Born and Bred‘ to the mighty ‘Broadchurch‘, his vision is one I can always get on board with and that I enjoy dissecting. By taking the reigns of Doctor Who he’s adding his uncanny ability to characterise a role fully to an already winning formula. His history with Whittaker from the ‘Broadchurch‘ series makes for the right combination to drive forward the new concept of casting a female in the title role for the very first time. So far so good, too!

Catch up here: 

Doctor Who on BBC iplayer

Photo credits: BBC

Our Girl: Nigeria, Belize and Bangladesh Tour ~ BBC One

Star rating: *****

Unusually, I’m going to start this review with the season finale – ‘Our Girl‘ offers Michelle Keegan an opportunity to shine in a role I wouldn’t necessarily associate her with. It’s testament to the casting directors that she was sought after for the character of Georgie and she should surely be in line for an award following the latest ‘tour’. Episode eight is such an action packed instalment that I was gripped by the sheer drama, terror and wonder of the top class camera work. There’s a mass shoot out, Georgie is caught in the middle of it, injured and she still has time to consider a relationship with Captain James (Ben Aldridge). As facetious as that may sound, it’s handled so brilliantly and dropped into the context of the episode with subtlety. Add to the mix that the chemistry between Aldridge and Keegan is simmering to boiling point, almost as heated as the shooting! The finale is not disappointing in the slightest.

The danger encountered by Georgie in episode one is horrific enough, with focused medic throwing herself headlong into training the Nigerians. My heart was in my mouth on more than one occasion and it set the pace and overall tone for the series.

Episode four is one of my favourite episodes, I could feel every ounce of fear from both Georgie and Captain James as they awaited rescue and it was also the turning point for their relationship, with their professional relationship in jeopardy. It’s also clear by this episode that a mere training exercise has become an unexpected mission. They’re helped by a teenager called Ezra (James Baller) and I will be keeping my eyes peeled for this young actor in the future, what an engaging character and an outstanding performance.

Episode five was a notable one as we have moved on six months following an incident involving Captain James (no spoilers!). John Michie’s performance as the Brigadier stepped up gear in this episode, meanwhile Inspector Chowdhrey (Navin Chowdhrey) is a target for assassination. Therefore the Brigadier’s gala is not quite the celebration its designed to be!

The locations used for the series are incredible, I often feel as though I’m in Georgie’s shoes seeing the action through her eyes, so innovative is the filming. If you missed the series on BBC One, then don’t hesitate to buy a copy on DVD, you won’t regret it and if you binge watch, guaranteed you’ll feel like you’re watching a movie.


 

A Very English Scandal ~ Episode Three

On Sunday 3 June we reached the concluding part of Russell T Davies’ A Very English Scandal, and it was a cornucopia of lies, truth and underhanded dealings. Culminating in the greatest shock of all (if you didn’t already know the outcome), that Thorpe (Hugh Grant) got away with it. He was cleared of involvement in the attempted murder of Norman Scott (Ben Whishaw) and his cronies? Similarly ditto!

Frustratingly, we see that Thorpe and his side-kicks get away with their plot to kill Scott, with a Judge who epitomises the word ‘biased’, naturally excellent representation (played by Adrian Scarborough) and stoic support from Marion (Monica Dolan), Thorpe’s second wife. Although Marion must have suspected that there was more to the story than met the eye, she certainly didn’t appear to be stupid and when a letter from Thorpe to Scott was published in a newspaper (a spin doctor move from Thorpe’s advisors) – could it truly be denied? The relationship between the two could be summed up in one ‘dangerous’ word – ‘bunnies’! Of course, Ursula Thorpe (Patricia Hodge) remains in shell-shocked denial and on her Son’s side throughout. While Scott still has the backing and friendship of the aptly named Edna Friendship (Michele Dotrice). Justice isn’t set to conquer and that becomes evident as the episode progresses.

With a consistently considered and measured performance from Grant in all three episodes, a delightfully skittish and self-absorbed portrayal from Whishaw as Scott and equally an excellent performance from Alex Jennings as Bessell, this series was one of the BBC’s most gripping dramas. If you’ve missed it, you MUST catch it on iplayer, you’ll see Hugh Grant as you’ve never seen him before. Who’d have though he would be perfect casting for this real-life role? Not I!

A Very English Scandal – Catch up on iplayer

 

A Very English Scandal ~ Episode Two

The second instalment of one of the best dramas to grace the screens of BBC One (since Call The Midwife disappeared until Christmas) was even racier, more scandalous and has been cast so superbly it’s resonating for all the right reasons.

Jeremy Thorpe (the incomparable Hugh Grant) is still on the warpath and baying for his ex-lover, Norma Scott (Ben Whishaw) to be killed. He’s let another friend and admirer, David Holmes (Paul Hilton) in on the plan he’s in favour of and he’s very clear on the way in which it should be carried out. Peter Bessell (Alex Jennings) isn’t at all keen on the idea and feels that he’s found a perfect get-out clause when it’s brought to his attention that Norman has fathered a child and he’s getting married. It’s a short-lived marriage though and not long before Scott finds himself in the arms of flaky ‘neighbour’ Gwen Parry-Jones (Eve Myles) who sets her sights on helping Scott to frame Thorpe for his misdemeanours. However, first there’s the tragedy of the sudden death of Mrs Thorpe in a car accident to deal with. Followed by Thorpe’s calculated second marriage to Marion (Monica Dolan) which is another shrewd politically motivated move.

I was delighted by the arrival of a new friend for Scott, aptly named Edna Friendship (Michele Dotrice), a character to be reckoned with, who offers bed, board and job to the vagrant when he arrives back in Devon. Too close to home for Thorpe who continues his quest to have his ex murdered. The assailant is selected and not entirely confident with his task, Andrew ‘Gino’ Newton (played by Blake Harrison of The Inbetweeners fame) is not the right man for the job at all, in fact.

The performances continue to be outstanding, it’s got more twists, turns and dark corners than the streets of London and it never ceases to amaze me what Thorpe will stoop to next. The mere idea of even a portion of this ‘story’ being factual adds a whole new dimension and must-watch factor to the series.

Catch up on episode two here: A Very English Scandal Episode Two

Episode Three airs on BBC One on Sunday 3 June at 9pm 

 

Photo Credits: BBC Pictures

A Very English Scandal ~ Episode One

Premise

British Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe is accused of conspiracy to murder his gay ex-lover and is forced to stand trial in 1979.

Hugh Grant plays the role of Thorpe, a closet homosexual who pursued Norman Scott (Ben Whishaw), giving him a roof and keeping him for his own amusement. It’s a wholly different role for Grant and he is an inspired choice. Opposite Whishaw the chemistry was believable and intrigued me from the outset. Thorpe is soliciting the aid of Peter Bessell (Alex Jennings) to ensure Scott’s silence about their relationship when he calls time on their affair. To further his political career and assist the party in currying more favour, Thorpe is plotting to marry and portray himself as a family man.

Although Scott has secured himself a modelling job, he’s not going to keep quiet about Thorpe ‘infecting him’, not only has he been to the police, he’s also written to Thorpe’s unwitting mother, Ursula (Patricia Hodge) revealing all. With a wife, baby and family man public image – there’s only one way to ensure the scandal fails to surface. We were left on a cliff-hanger, however if you are aware of the history (and the premise gives it away, too) there’s further scandal to come.

A cast de force overtly portray this twisting, insightful story. Given the era we’re looking at, it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come where the issue at the heart of the scandal is concerned. It’s an apt time to choose to broadcast such a dramatization.

Missed the first instalment? Catch up here: A Very English Scandal Episode One

Watch the second episode on BBC One next Sunday at 21:00

Photo Credits: BBC Pictures

Weekend Watch List ~ 24th & 25th March 2018

Telly at the weekend is a must for all of us at Entertainment Views HQ, we all enjoy a relax in front of the box and last weekend there was plenty to keep us all entertained. Here’s a few of the top picks from our chilled out couple of days as couch potatoes:

Milkshake!

This is usually the start of our weekend, Saturday morning kids television and I love it as much as my little boy does! Milkshake! is a great ‘magazine’ style show which includes an episode of a number of different children’s television favourites. Thomas the Tank Engine, Peppa Pig, Noddy, Shimmer and Shine, they’re all there keeping the smallest member of the family amused. The presenters are all bubbly, energetic whirlwinds, Amy Thompson is the favourite in our house, though.

Pointless Celebrities

Grange Hill week on Pointless Celebrities! I think this should be a monthly thing, it was fantastic to see all the old favourites, including Mr Robson who hasn’t changed one iota. An amazing episode and worthy winners, too.

The Voice UK

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and I have no idea who will win, there’s no front runner in my humble opinion. Some of the judges’ picks for the final have been a surprise, there are three artists in the final line up who may appear too similar to one another and therefore would they stand the best chance? If I were to back a team at this point? Team J Hud!

Casualty

Robyn (Amanda Henderson) and Glen (Owain Arthur) got married and then tragedy struck! Argh!! I suppose it was always going to head in that direction when the episode kicked off with Glen having a scan due to his worsening condition. At least the pair made it up the aisle without a hitch… almost. It was certainly a lovely moment with Duffy (Cathy Shipton) and Charlie (Derek Thompson) part of the big day. I know there’s been plenty of excitable fan comments about the ‘selfie’ that Duffy insisted on, too!

The Durrells

I’m late to the party with this one, The Durrells has long been a favourite of my husband’s however I’ve really got on board this series. I like the comedy elements and the absurdity. The location is pretty extraordinary too. I now need to binge watch the episodes I’ve missed. See you on the other side! I have a connection to the show because I have visited Jersey Zoo many times as a child so I’m delighted to have ‘discovered’ this.

Requiem, Episodes Four, Five & Six ~ Review

Feelings on BBC One’s Requiem? It’s still creeping the daylights out of me! However, my over-riding feeling is that it’s been shot to appear like a movie and that watching the episodes back to back would create a very long yet highly engaging movie. Here are a few highlights from the final three episodes:

Upon reflection…

As the pieces start to fit together, mirrors continue to feature as one of the methods of communication favoured by the spirits (for want of a better term!). One of the most horrific uses of mirrors came when Hal (Joel Fry) was driving and spotted something so awful in the rear view that he crashed his car. Then he went missing, and when he reappeared in the series, he was feasting on sheep! Yes – it got weird and weirder!

High spirits

When Matilda (Lydia Wilson) comes to realise that whatever is wreaking havoc can be found in the caves she takes her life into her own hands to face the consequences of throwing herself into their path. What follows is entirely unnerving as she has no recollection of what’s just happened. The plot thickens.

Danger

David Morgan (Brochan Evans) is walking into danger when he is babysat by Stephen Kendrick (Brendan Coyle) and Sylvia Walsh (Tara Fitzgerald). As Matilda uncovers the truth about their involvement in her disappearance and that they were responsible for the death of another child before she was taken. It’s a race against time to get to David, but he’s part of the plan to lure Matilda to the truth, albeit unwittingly.

The Truth

Walsh, Kendrick and the Satlows (Pippa Heywood and Simon Kunz) are all at the heart of the mystery, with their claim that they require a child’s innocent mind in order to contact the ‘spirits’ who they believe will bring marvels beyond wildest dreams. Walsh finally confesses that this was always about Matilda though and while David is asleep under the influence of a ‘sedative’, Matilda is sent to confront the reason behind her kidnap. Meanwhile Walsh, Kendrick, the Satlows and Nick (James Frecheville) has been dragged in to join them. We see an extraordinary transformation occur in Matilda’s eyes as she falls prey.

The Reality

It feels like not much has changed at all given the build up to the finale, however, once Matilda gains consciousness when ‘the cult’ have fetched her back – we become aware that something is unfolding and there is unrest in the house. First, Matilda approaches Nick, who is apologetic for his part in it. The episode is mostly based round what we don’t see as the ‘cult’ are nowhere to be found.

The reunion with Rose (Claire Rushbrook) in hospital is glorious, beautifully played out, similarly with Matilda’s brother, David – it’s implied that they will be a family again. However, once Matilda is alone in the hospital toilets, we see the dirt on her hands and there’s a sinister turn. Leaving way for a second series? I hope so!

Verdict

Writing of this calibre has been lacking in recent dramas and Requiem had me glued to the screen, running for a hiding place and gawping, frozen in abject horror at times. Cast superbly, directed like a film rather than a television drama and with a plot packed with twists, turns and uncertainties. If you purchase this on DVD (see image below for the link) you won’t regret binge watching, it’s a seamless series.

 

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: