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8 January ‘13

TV Critics: Undateables; Death in Paradise; All You Can Eat

“It is near impossible to assess whether it is voyeuristic or a social breakthrough.” Read on for the verdict on last night’s TV.

“The Undateables so violently throws the ball into the viewer’s court that it is near impossible to assess whether it is voyeuristic or a social breakthrough. Here’s my conclusion. It is just an extreme dating show: Channel 4’s answer to ITV’s Take Me Out and Sky’s The Love Machine. Its interest in its contestants lasts as long as the dates. About the difficulties and joys of a relationship in which one or both partners is disabled, it has nothing to say.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

“I don’t think there’s anything exploitative about The Undateables. It’s sensible, sensitive, kind…It’s actually very revealing about what it’s like to live with autism, Tourette’s syndrome and the fallout from a stroke. It’s warm, it’s sad, it’s touching, it’s sometimes very funny. Pitched just about perfectly, I’d say.”
Sam Wollaston, The Guardian

“You’d have to be a sociopath not to have felt for Brent, who has Tourette, or Sarah, a pretty 22-year-old who’d been left with aphasia after suffering a stroke…We accompanied both of them on blind dates, persisting through the early agonies of first encounter to a point at which it was at least clear that the occasion wasn’t a humiliating failure.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

“This outrageously outdated detective series, also back for a second run, is devoted to providing its star Ben Miller a Caribbean suntan. As this develops, viewers can savour the complete lack of chemistry between Miller, who plays the buttoned-up English detective, and Sara Martins, who plays his Caribbean sidekick. What’s in it for us? Not a ticket to paradise, but passage to the undemanding days of Begerac, an age in which plots were hammered home like stakes in the ground.”
Andrew Billen, The Times

“Death in Paradise is a show that stands or falls on the quality of its plots. That’s a polite way of saying that everything else about this fish-out-of-water/cop abroad show is rather flimsy.”
Matt Baylis, Daily Express

All You Can Eat, ITV1

“At least you feel The Undateables has a conscience, not something that can be said of All You Can Eat…While other channels address the obesity crisis with programmes such as Embarrassing Fat Bodies  or Weight Loss Ward, ITV gives us this cheery documentary about supersize food challenges and eating contests.”
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent

 

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