Broadcast’s Catherine Neilan and Chris Curtis cast their eye over two of the week’s shows.


Educating Essex
Channel 4, 9pm, Thursdays

Educating Essex may have undergone a cynical name change (it was formerly Classmates), but there is nothing cynical about the series, which manages to keep a light and heartwarming tone despite the serious topics tackled.

Episodes have so far dealt with a student going into care, a particularly nasty case of bullying and one pupil falsely accusing her teacher of assault. Yet the teachers remain optimistic that all students can fulfil their potential.

We all know what it was like to have been a student, but here we see life from both sides of the desk - and it is a real eye-opener.

Catherine Neilan


Rugby World Cup commentary
ITV, various times

I pretty much hate all rugby commentators. Eddie Butler is smug, Brian Moore earnest and chippy, and if Stuart Barnes were an ice-cream, he’d lick himself.

But while ITV’s RWC studio punditry has been pretty decent (stand up Sean Fitzpatrick), the commentary has been an exercise in banality.

“That’s the try-line,” Nick Mullins helpfully told viewers as France were camped under England’s posts - just one of a string of insights. And don’t get me started on Phil Vickery bellowing “who wants to be a hero?”.

Zero tactical insight, maximum volume. Where’s the mute button?

Chris Curtis