TV Weekly: The world has gone to hell in a handcart

Susan Calman is off the menu for some viewers.

The Great British Menu returned to Beeb screens this week, and with the revamped show came in host Susan Calman. The Scottish comedian and recent Strictly Come Dancing contestant was strictly off the menu for some viewers, who didn’t like the format changes. However Calman hit back at the social media critics.

“Seriously. If you’re bothering your arse to tweet me that you hate me on the television. Have a think. Seriously. Have a sodding think. It’s a television programme. The world has gone to hell in a handcart. Be nice for a bit. Or switch off.”

Those who aren’t impressed with Susan’s presenting style will have a further two programmes to turn over from in the future as she slips into Jane McDonald’s sequined frocks for Channel 5’s Cruising With… and Holidaying With…


RTS Programme Awards Winners 2020

The winners were revealed by writer and comedian Paul Merton and streamed live to nominees and viewers at home, via the RTS website.

Tamara Lawrance took the Best Actress gong for The Long Song, BBC One. Stephen Graham took the top spot for Best Actor with The Virtues, Channel 4. Best Arts programme was won by BBC Four’s Bros: After The Screaming Stops. Best Soap or Serial went to BBC One’s Casualty.

Best Children’s Programme went to Children’s BBC and Zog. Tanya Moodie picked up the gong for Breakthrough Performer with BBC Two’s Motherland. Best Formatted Popular Factual Series was won by Channel 4’s The British Tribe Next Door. Also from Channel 4 best History Documentary went to Jade: The Reality Star Who Changed Britain and Best Live Event of the Year was gifted to Stormzy at Glastonbury 2019.

Saoirse-Monica Jackson took top female comedy performer for Derry Girls, Channel 4 while Ncuti Gatwa too top male comedy performer for Sex Education, Netflix. The top gong for Documentary Series went to BBC Two’s The Choir: Our School By The Tower and Best Daytime Programme was bestowed upon The Repair Shop, BBC One.

Top Entertainment Show was won by RuPaul’s Drag Race, BBC Three and Best Drama Series was taken by Gentleman Jack, BBC One. Entertainment Performance of the year went to London Hughes for an appearance on ITV2’s Don’t Hate The Playaz. Best Mini-Series was bestowed on The Long Song, BBC One and the Best Presenter gong went to BBC Three’s Mobeen Azhar for Hometown: A Killing.

Channel 5, who have been placing the news all week on their new and swanky idents, won Channel of the Year. Other winners included BBC Two’s documentary The Parkinson’s Drug Trial: A Miracle Cure? in the science/natural history documentary section, Fleabag won Best Scripted Comedy for BBC Three/Amazon Prime, Best Single Documentary was won by War in the Blood, BBC Two and Best Single Drama was won by BBC Three/BBC Wales production The Left Behind.

Alex Scott took the Sports Presenter, Commentator or Pundit award, BBC, the ICC Cricket World Cup Final won Best Sports Programme for Sky, Phoebe Waller-Bridge too the Best Comedy Writer gong for Fleabag and Craig Mazin took the Best Writer gong for Sky’s Chernobyl. TV executive Jane Featherstone took the Judges Award.


Weekly Quickies

BBC’s Sport Relief paid tribute to their long-term supporter Caroline Flack during the telethon. Paddy McGuinness read out a statement that noted they had ‘lost a much-loved member of the Sport Relief family,’ adding ‘Caroline Flack was always a huge and very active supporter of everything this charity does and she gave so much of her time and talent to help others and she’ll be greatly missed.’ Caroline’s funeral was held on March 10th.

Match of the Day viewers were left scratching their football loving heads to why BBC One schedulers would think Mrs Brown’s Boys was a suitable replacement for the show. Maybe a classic Question of Sport or Match of the 70s could have filled the more sport-focused slot; but instead footie regulars were asked to laugh along with the Irish mammy and her jokes that are so old they made Gay Byrne look youthful. MOTD, of course, was dropped due to the virus situation in the UK that has seen all sports cancelled.

Coronavirus Cancels a whole host of programmes, we probably haven’t the space to list all of them – but key productions halted include over at the BBC EastEnders, Holby City, Casualty, Line of Duty, River City, Pobol y Cwm, Gentleman Jack and Call The Midwife Christmas Special. Other channels have taken precautions. Following on from stateside’s The View who were one of the first to drop having a studio audience ITV’s Loose Women, BBC Question Time and Channel 5’s Jeremy Vine Show all followed suit.

RTÉ soap opera Fair City suspended filming while Sky One’s Tonight Show with James Corden and ITV2 screened Ellen chat shows also brought production to a halt for the foreseeable. Sitcom fans will also have to wait for the Friends Reunion Special, it too is on hold as are the BAFTA TV Awards.

Carry On Regardless. While many have wound-down production, ITV have vowed to carry on production of soaps Emmerdale and Coronation Street, while like their BBC counterparts, reducing the number of episodes aired each week. Lime Pictures have also indicated that Hollyoaks will remain in production for Channel 4 presently too, although it will also cut-back the amount of episodes transmitted each week. Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is to continue later today, without a studio audience for the first time.

Eurovisionless. Music lovers however will be rejoicing that the noise that is the Eurovision Song Contest has been canned for 2020.

Dancing with the Stars saw Lottie Ryan and professional dance partner Pasquale La Rocca crowned the champions for RTÉ’s 2020 series. ‘The pair fought back tears when the result of the public vote was announced on RTÉ One on Sunday night.’ the Irish broadcaster noted.


Too Busy for the Neighbours

Former cast of hit-Australian saga Neighbours this past week have been returning to the saga to mark its 35th anniversary, however a couple of faces weren’t able to make it due to their busy workload.

Speaking to the Radio Times Annie Jones, who reprised her role as Jane Harris, spoke of how she and long running cast member Stefan Dennis – the infamous Paul Robinson – had tried to lure Jason Donovan and Guy Pearce back to Erinsborough for the celebrations.

“What a hoot that would be, I’d love to do a couple of scenes in the coffee shop with those guys. Mike could roar in on that motorbike of his and rip off his helmet for the big reveal! Stefan Dennis and I caught up with Jason Donovan (Scott Robinson) and Guy Pearce (Mike Young) when we were all in the UK a while ago,

“We tried to persuade them to do it but they are both so darn busy!”


Caroline Aherne Bursary

BBC Comedy Commissioning announced that the recipient of this year’s Caroline Aherne Bursary is comedian and writer Kiri Pritchard-McLean.

“I’m utterly overwhelmed to be chosen for the Caroline Aherne Bursary. I adore Caroline so much, in fact, I was too intimidated to put myself forward at first, she’s an absolute icon. I’m now so glad that I did. I think the previous two recipients are fantastic and what an honour to be associated with Caroline in any way, now I can pretend my endless re-watching of Mrs Merton and The Royle Family is for work and not just me being a creepy fan girl.” – Kiri Pritchard-McLean

The bursary, which was launched in memory of comedy star Caroline Aherne, is aimed at writer/performers and awards £5,000 to the successful applicant to enable them to fund future development of their work. Kiri will also receive mentorship from a BBC Comedy Commissioning Editor to develop a comedy script.

A regular on BBC radio, Kiri has appeared many times on The Now Show, The News Quiz and is the host of Radio 4 Extra’s Newsjack. She has also appeared on Live At The Apollo, Have I Got News For You, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, Would I Lie To You and The Russell Howard Hour. The latter for which she is also a writer.

Already a hugely popular regular on the comedy circuit, Kiri is director and co-writer of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer nominated Gein’s Family Giftshop and cult hit sketch group, Tarot. Her true crime podcast with Rachel Fairburn, All Killa No Filla, is a phenomenon with over 350,000 monthly listeners.

Designed to find, develop and support rising comedy talent, the bursary was named in honour of the late award-winning comedy writer and performer Caroline Aherne, who created The Royle Family and Mrs Merton. BBC Comedy Commissioning launched the bursary scheme at the Salford Sitcom Showcase in July 2017, calling applicants to submit filmed content of comedy characters. Since it launched the winners have been Sophie Willan and Amy Gledhill.


Netflix confirmed Queer Eye sixth series

Series six will see the show head to Texas, with a base in Austin, to scour the prairie in a search for a whole new roster of heroes in need of a little TLC.

The stateside series stars ‘the Fab Five’ Jonathan Van Ness oversees grooming while Tan France takes care of the fashion, Karamo Brown brings culture to the mix as Antoni Porowski takes care of the food and wine and Bobby Berk casts his expertise over the interior design.

Series five is set in Philadelphia, however Netflix have yet to reveal its streaming launch date at present.


Nasty Bakery

Comedians, presenters, actresses and all round nice people Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins revealed their softer side when talking about their old stomping ground, The Great British Bake Off. The pair told The Radio Times how on their first day in the now famous tent “We resigned, basically,” adding “Because it was not a kind show. They were pointing cameras in the bakers’ faces and making them cry and saying, ‘Tell us about your dead gran.’ So we had very stiff words about how we wanted to proceed. I think we can say that, now we’re out of it, can’t we?”

The stiff words saw production company Love Productions – the same who gave us ‘poverty porn’ with Benefits Street – change tact and make the baking contest a kinder offering.

“We’re quite cheesy and homespun and we just want to have a laugh. Who wants to see people crying? I don’t. Especially if you work in television and you know the mechanisms that have been used to make them cry.” – Mel speaking to the Radio Times

The pair also recalled how they only found out the series was moving to Channel 4 when a news programme reported the BBC had lost the series. Mel and Sue did not follow the money move, remaining on the BBC over several projects.


More Quickies

Good Morning Britain this past week proved woefully why Piers Morgan and the ITV News brand should not be seen on-screen together. The rambling of a man who took the show to new levels of irresponsible broadcasting and unprofessional presentation has no medical experience so, as many viewers felt, should cover his mouth with a mask and mute it.

Susanna Reid explained why, on Tuesday, she decided to self-isolate, and frankly the behaviour of Morgan on the Monday would have been enough to drive anyone at ITV Daytime into a bunker, however Reid says it isn’t her gobby co-host behind her isolation, its government advice. The same advice saw Matt Baker on The One Show co-present the programme from his home.

Coronation Street has six full-time actors over 70 and while the show continues to produce episodes all the over 70s are staying away from the ITV studios in Salford to stay safe. Bill Roache, Sue Nicholls, Maureen Lipman, Rula Lenska, Barbara Knox and Malcolm Hebden have all been temporarily written out of current plots.

Corrie also note they have been chopping out ‘kissing scenes’ from forthcoming episodes to show ‘common sense’ in these times when people should be keeping distance from others. Obviously the other thing noted for all the soaps is the ‘real life’ time line of events will now fall out of sync with the real world. Days will be wrong, holiday dates out of place and so on. But we were supposed to believe Bobby Beale was a murderer so viewers are expected to not take it all so seriously when it comes to soap.

EastEnders ‘actress Jessie Wallace attracted some backlash for a coronavirus joke’, the Metro paper reported. Pictured holding a packet of Dettol she captioned it on Twitter ‘Clutch bag for this evening’ She was said to have been ‘insensitive’ to the viral situation by some social media users.

Linda Lusardi knows just how serious the situation is having been revealed to be suffering with COVID-19. She took to social media to inform her fans she was currently fighting the infection. The Bill, Emmerdale and Dancing on Ice personality noted she was ‘extremely ill’ at the present.

Tom Hanks had noted he was suffering with coronavirus while in Australia, and also this week Idris Elba revealed he had also tested positive for it.

Saturday Night Takeaway won’t be heading to Disneyland Florida for their annual finale special this series. The resort closed amid the current issues surrounding spreading illness. Other factors such as flights being grounded and no large crowds have all factored in the spectacular being scaled back to basics.


Keep Cooking and Carry On

Jamie Oliver is set to show the nation some easy-to-follow recipes, tips and hacks, specifically tailored for the unique times we’re living in with so many people staying at home.

In Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On Jamie will show viewers how to make the most from kitchen staples and how to be creative with whatever ingredients they’ve got at home, and whatever their budget. From ingenious ideas for frozen food, to recipes drawn entirely from the store-cupboard, Jamie will be on hand to show home cooks how to make nutritious and delicious food using simple ingredients.

“Cooking nutritious meals for yourself and your loved ones has never been more important. This show will be packed with easy and delicious recipes that the whole family can enjoy, plus loads of tips, tricks and hacks for simple swaps and ways you can make the recipes work with what you’ve got. Let’s big up those store cupboard and freezer faves and hero recipes you can take lots of ways.” – Jamie Oliver

The series starts Monday, 23rd March 2020 on Channel 4 at 5.30pm


All Change for Queen Vic

A tabloid has reported that Danny Dyer and Kellie Bright are to depart The Queen Vic in EastEnders as their characters move ‘elsewhere’ in Albert Square.

The Sun note that Mick and Linda decide to quit the boozer to help her with her alcoholism battle. With news of the pub being up for grabs it could see some Walford favourites touting to take over the iconic boozer that has previously been home to legendary landlord Den Watts and his vodka-loving wife Angie, matriarch of the square Peggy Mitchell and her family including sons Grant and Phil and daughter Samantha and even for a spell wheeler-dealer Frank Butcher and big-earring loving Pat.

Related Feature: EastEnders35: The History of the Queen Victoria

“With Linda struggling to quit booze it makes sense Mick moves the family out the pub. His decision will spark a bidding war between some of the residents who fancy taking on the biggest job in Walford. Viewers will be sad to see Danny no longer behind the bar, but that doesn’t mean he won’t return at some point in the future.” – An ‘Enders insider speaking to The Sun

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