RATINGS: DIGITAL FOCUS
Since Hannibal Lecter told Agent Starling he was “having a friend for dinner”, dinner parties have never been the same.
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One website offering puns of the day goes back to 1999, when apparently April’s best one-liner was about a chicken being poultry in motion.
Not The Nine O’Clock news once famously suggested that Roald Dahl’s mother couldn’t spell Ronald; it seems she couldn’t spell Arnie either, as BBC4’s latest member of its Scandinavian Saturday Night Club continued.
This week, Syfy found that in a post-apocalyptic world, the appliance of defiance brings riches, as the channel’s newest import landed with a thump.
It was a bit like being taken around a surrealist exhibition with a suspiciously strong cocktail in hand when Mad Men returned with a feature-length episode.
Once at a wedding in Copenhagen, a faultlessly polite Dane asked my friend what we might do in Denmark. Go to Malmo, replied my friend; Malmo is of course in Sweden.
Are the ex-chief whip and ITV2 in cahoots? With brilliant, enviable timing, the former government enforcer resurrected the issue of Plebgate just as the broadcaster launched its new show, Plebs. Worth thousands of on-air promos, that.
My first day at the BBC coincided with charity abseiling down the side of the TV Centre by quaking would-be plummetiers.
Manicurists in London may have had a few odd visits from burly blokes on Friday morning: Tottenham fans with no nails asking for falsies.
My childhood companion was a dog called Dougal. On long postschool walks, one of us would always walk through the muddy puddle, and sometimes it was him. We Brits love our dogs, as More 4 finds out with each passing year.
I promised I wouldn’t mention Richard III again, but blow me if More 4 hasn’t made that difficult with more on the car park king.
Every day there’s treachery, manoeuvring and a need to do anything to survive. But enough of TV; it seems medieval England was also a ruthless place.
Brian Cox studying the world’s smallest wasps under a microscope comes to mind when I squint at the table of digital channels’ output.
BBC4 celebrated vinyl this week, but them days are gone. Or not, if ITV2’s new reunion hit is any guide.
Pop music used to be ephemeral, but no longer. For while Liberty X might be more Liberty Why? these days, they can still draw a crowd, as ITV2 found out.
Fresh from demanding that we be ubiquitous with our next phone choice, Kevin Bacon pops up as a washed-up serial-killer hunter; Sky Atlantic will be pleased.
Teenage diaries are full of youthful woe; grown-ups’ tend to be used as reminders to put the bins out.
Whatever ‘normal’ is, E4 will have liked its new version of it, while ITV2’s genuine reaction to repeats will be a grin.
Danes first bothered us when they had horns and beards; their most recent invasion involves sparse thrillers, a brainy female lead, some murdering and, in Borgen at least, another beard.
For one last hurrah, Ms Lund’s pullies are back with some Danish murdering. Meanwhile, one of the biggest shows in the US displayed its credentials here, while in this era of ‘Big History’, there’s more about where on earth we all came from.
It’s a bit like having your birthday party down the road and then not going.
It’s not Harry Potter battling the alien bursting out of John Hurt’s stomach, but CBBC’s tale of aliens and wizards began nicely.
In the US, the fall TV season is under way and the business of wondering what will survive is on. Some of those new dramas launched here this week, from sci-fi to a US take on Sherlock Holmes.
Squeeze, those melancholy minstrels, were indubitably marvellous, if in a more niche kind of way than, say, ELO.
Appropriately in the week the Voyager space ship left our solar system, Red Dwarf returned, crashing UKTV’s website, while Captain Kremmen’s alter-ego was remembered in a BBC4 biopic.
I gave up golf years ago; I couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo. But I was gripped by the Ryder Cup on Sunday.
This week, Tom Jones recounted life from Pontypridd to Las Vegas, while China’s past gave up its secrets reluctantly.
At school, my best, least reliable friend was imaginary, so for me, Sky 1’s Moone Boy was more documentary than comedy.
The Sky revolution continues apace and this week it was The British who were coming.
ITV2 is benefiting from that most citrus of fruits as Celebrity Juice returned in a Thursday night ‘squeeze of Lemons’.
Bad Education – the BBC3 Jack Whitehall sitcom, not the shabby treatment of GCSE English students – has found its feet quickly.
I once worked at the Museum Of London and was party to some pretty interesting secrets, not least a need to obscure the mushroom vol au vents from the then arts minister at a museum do. However, Yesterday’s museum secrets no longer seem all hushed up.
Who needs actual reality when you can have a heightened version of it? That seemed to be ITV2’s thinking as Keith Lemon’s new series joined TOWIE in the schedules to good effect; an alternative to the Olympics.
Growing up near Box Hill, I remember the Dorking mound as a place where the only bikers you saw were menacing angels caressing heavy looking chains; this weekend, sleeker cyclists took on the Hill on one of the plethora of dedicated Olympic channels.
An old bank manager of mine had long sideburns and was instantly nicknamed Sidies – it’s the only thing he has in common with Bradley Wiggins, who helped ITV4 (and ITV1) to some decent ratings.
Unlike the meandering amateur Boris bikers gawping at some distant London landmark, the Tour De France is hardcore cycling, where mountains are meant to be ridden up and over.
If Sinbad had taken Dynamo with him, his adventures might have been made less perilous by the sudden appearance of a baize table upon which card tricks would be performed, arresting the attention of the pursuing baddies.
Sky Atlantic’s comedy night launched strongly with new shows from Alan Partridge, Armando Iannucci and Kathy Burke.
A brace of musical festivals and David Bowie helped BBC3, BBC4 and Sky Arts deliver strong figures.
Marbella: Essex on steroids. The only surprise is that it’s taken the TOWIE gang this long to go. Poor Spain, isn’t it suffering enough? Elsewhere, Dan Cruikshank’s London stories did nicely and ITV4 and BBC3 did well out of the Euros.
ITV4 recently added the French Open Tennis to its sporting roster and the fortnight of Parisian grunting has delivered.
Revenge is allegedly a meal best served cold, and the lead character in E4’s latest import gobbles it up with relish. Elsewhere, BBC4 celebrated punk, BBC3 plugged in the Electric and Challenge TV’sBlockbusters had a P and other letters.
Common wisdom generally dictates a programme title should be short, preferably with the word ‘extreme’ at the beginning to ensure it arrests attention on the EPG.
It comes to something when Chelsea and Essex represent the UK’s cultural bulwarks, but heroically they were in the vanguard this week against a US monopoly of the top digital programmes.