In the absence of a water cooler to chat over, I’m sharing my current telly viewing habits. This isn’t a trendy share on binged watched Netflix shows. Or my usual flag waving “must watch” life-changing documentary favourites. This is a post about telly. Because normal everyday channel hopping telly, is (IMHO) having a ‘moment’. As the weather turns colder the autumn TV schedule is a giver. Grab a blanket, some dark chocolate and soothing drink and I’m enjoying the fruits of my license fee. This is what I’m enjoying and I’d love to hear what you are watching.
Current top of my viewing list is Dr Foster. I have various views on Dr Foster. I loved the first series and initially found the second series slightly unsettling. Gemma was not the hero I wanted her to be. “Don’t go round to look at the house he is about to rent, Gemma” I tell the TV. Oh! Too late. Everyone has an opinion on Dr Foster, it has been endlessly discussed in the newspapers. I’ve repeatedly seen her described as a psycho, a bitch etc, labels serially applied to women and easily pulled off the shelf. It irks me. Simon is a liar. An obsessive liar, a pathological and compulsive liar. He is manipulative way beyond Gemma, yet I’ve seen fewer comments on him. Imagine, your ex reappearing, inviting all your friends to a party to showcase his flashy new home, young wife and seemingly successful life. Who wouldn’t feel seriously hacked off?
Gemma is an empowered professional woman, who has had the deep pile rug, a whole 15 years of marriage, pulled from under her. She is dis-empowered, humiliated and seeking re-establish herself. Rather than sob in a corner, as is often expected of women. She is such a good character, angry without screaming, strong in a quietly clever way, battling for herself and her child. There is the occasional ‘a drama-too far’: Packing a house takes weeks. To have a house packed and removal van on the drive before lunch, based on a decision Simon’s new wife takes at breakfast was a little far-fetched. Series final tonight. Can’t wait.
There are old favourites aired for autumn Googlebox, which I never tired of. Ditto Grand Designs and Kirstie and Phil – still wandering into hallways for a low-voiced comment to camera. Bake Off, obviously, like most of the nation I considered the move to C4 heresy. It was like a messy divorce. One of those that confirms that you never really liked him anyway. I really didn’t expect to like Pru. In the way you don’t when a new girlfriend, replaces an old friend. I completely still love Mary but Pru! Pru is lovely. She has a great look and soothing tones. They’ve taken the skill level up a notch, adding an extra layer of interest. Noel and Sandy are the new step-children, again I wasn’t sure and I’m learning to love their quirky ways. I totally want Liam to win, but suspect it will be between Sophie and Steven.
TV comedy often makes me want to unplug the TV and give it to a passer-by. It’s just not very funny. Here’s the thing: W1A – an absolutely favourite. Humour in exasperation. The whirling meetings in which nothing is ever agreed upon, while everything is agreed. Controversial is avoided at all costs. It makes me snort with laugher. Yes. Exactly. I’m weaving the word ‘reimagining’ into my daily life.
While W1A is all about suppressed anger and politeness, Back (on C4) is the opposite. David Mitchel, Robert Webb are mostly blunt, rude and it is very dark. I identify with the grumpy Stephen, laugh at the ridiculousness, while wandering who Andrew really is.
Also, cheering me up, rolled out again for the umpteenth time Dr Martin. The miserable GP in pretty Cornish village. Repetitive, predictable formula that requires zero effort for a nice return.
Resurrecting Cold Feet, after 20 years off, has proved unexpectedly good, I remember it the first time around, the vivid shock at the death of Rachel. The updated version with extra hair (James Nesbitt) is as good. I’m completed wrapped up in the lives of the characters new and old. Still loving Karen’s house.
More serious viewing: Russia with Simon Reeve. A travelogue, Simon has an infectious curiosity and doesn’t avoid difficult issues. The first episode was a fascinating range things I didn’t know about Russia. On another documentary vibe, a current family watch (on catch up) is WW11 Great Escapes – The Freedom Trails. Stories of daring escapes across Europe during the second world war. I cried buckets at Episode 2, watching Len reunited with the Italian family who saved him 75 years ago. Ordinary people doing amazing things.
Back on BBC1, and now on the iplayer, the lovely Dr Chris presents How to Stay Young, tips on reversing the ageing process. Which has me seeking saviour by jogging to the supermarket for kale and a yellow pepper.
Looking forward to Barbie the Most Famous Doll in the World with the bobbed wonder Mary Portas. In my childhood you were either Sindy or Barbie, I was the latter. Coming soon Blue Planet and back this week; Have I Got News For You. Thank goodness I have no social life and TV catch up for those inconvenient programme clashes. What are your TV recommends? Whose your Bake Off favourite?