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21 January ‘12

TV Critics: Great Comic Relief Bake-Off; Wild Things; Jaguars Born Free; Catfish; Lewis

“A Great British Bake-Off without Sue Perkins is like an Eccles cake without currants.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

The Great Comic Relief Bake-Off, BBC2

“Everyone knows that a real Great British Bake-Off – the sort of Great British Bake-Off that your grandma used to make – should never, ever, ever have celebrities in it… It’s not about competitive showing off. It’s about coaxing the under-confident into the limelight. Real fans know as well that a real Great British Bake-Off must contain a minimum percentage of Sue Perkins. A Great British Bake-Off without Sue Perkins is like an Eccles cake without currants. And yet both of these offences against precedent were committed by The Great Comic Relief Bake-Off… I suppose it will do in the absence of the real thing, and the cause is a good one… But it still didn’t taste quite right.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“Jo Brand instantly set the slapstick bar high – insisting on softening her butter by sitting on it. Oh Jo. But really, this special was no madder than usual – because the thing about GBBO is it’s always gloriously nuts.”
Alex Hardy, The Times

Wild Things, Channel 4

“Whoever has commissioned this show knows that plants and flowers, however appealing they are to many viewers, aren’t exactly edgy as a subject matter. So they’ve bent over backwards to inject a little youth excitement into British flora. You could call it gilding the lily, I suppose, but for the fact that it isn’t gilt they’re using but a kind of Instagram cocktail of hard rock on the soundtrack and modishly filtered inserts, complete with lens flare and artful lack of focus.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“Danish Scurvy Grass! Is that the best they can come up with? I like a bit more of a wow factor to my wildlife. So DSG can tolerate a lot of salt, and it spreads very quickly … hmmm, quite interesting I suppose, but it’s hardly a jaguar, is it.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

Jaguars Born Free: Natural World Special, BBC2

“It’s pretty much exactly the same story [as Born Free], but with spots… Now I’m definitely a dog man myself but it’s hard to deny the adorableness of a baby jaguar.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

Catfish: The TV Show, MTV

“Its techniques are very of-our-time: an MTV-cool soundtrack; Skype calls; TV-size levels of absurd naivety that will result in TV-size reveals; a mob-size crew lurking in the background for when everything tumbles terribly… Then came that other modern thing: the need for instant redemption.”
Alex Hardy, The Times

Lewis, ITV1

“Though the dinner party starter was as uninspiring as a shop-bought vol-au-vent, this latest in the final series of Lewis was pretty toothsome… Lewis had a new sidekick, DC Alex Gray (Babou Ceesay) although to be honest he didn’t really get a fair outing in the first half of this new two-parter. Lewis, in an ungentlemanly and quite out-of-character fashion, wasn’t nice to his new subordinate… It didn’t sit right, and nor this far did Gray, who didn’t seem to do anything except shrug and waggle his eyebrows.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

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