The Apprentice is back

By now you would have thought that Lord Sugar would have found his perfect business partner, yet every year he gets the BBC to commission another series of The Apprentice. And every year he seems to find 16 businessmen and women who are as useless as the previous lot. Nevertheless we are stuck with them now, so we should make the best of it.

As it is only week one all the contestants are eager to point out why they are brilliant, and rather than just saying why they come up with pointless phrases. Last night’s example of this was one contestant, called Ricky Martin, declared that he is “the reflection of perfection”. That’s nice dear.

Their first task was to create their own printed goods, so they had to come up with a design and print it onto some blank products. As it is early days in the show they split of into a group of boys and a group of girls and come up with their names. The boys went for Phoenix, so if they went wrong and put it right they could rise from the ashes and the girls went for Sterling, because one of them had a dream about it.

Early on it seemed that the girls had the advantage as one of the contestants, Gabrielle Omar, has started her own print company. So whilst the boys came up with awe inspiring products like a teddy bear with a union flag t shirt on and a tote bag with “This is a” written on it with a picture of a bus to complete the sentence and in the process of managed to colour almost all the bag with the dye, apart from where the design was supposed to be. But the girls knew what they were doing as far as making their baby themed products which had a picture of a rough sketch of some zoo animals.

Although this is where any advantages the girls team had quickly disappeared. For some reason the women started bickering and pointing fingers at who wasn’t doing their work rather than doing their work. Meanwhile the boys were knowingly selling crap products to people for a ridiculously high price. Although they did get picked up on this as someone who had bought ten of their bags for stock in their shop pointed out the imperfections, so the boys sheepishly gave them a refund.

However, the girls who for some reason spent time at the zoo in attempt to sell to anyone then started walking the long back streets of London led by Bilyana Apostolova who insisted she knew where she was going. Eventually they arrived at some shops where the staff weren’t really interested in their products, and ended up getting the hard sell from the entire group leading to them being told off. Honestly if these are the best entrepreneurs we’ve got then we should stop trying to make Britain a place to do business.

After their long, hard day of selling they all met up in the boardroom to be given a dressing down by Lord Sugar. And this is what really annoys me about the show, the boys who didn’t know what they were doing but could sell a broken vacuum cleaner as if it was brand new and just off the shelf won this week’s task, whilst the girls who made a better product lost.

So the boys went off for celebratory cocktails and the girls argued about who should go. Now to be honest I skipped most of this to get a bowl of ice cream. But from what I can tell Bilyana, who walked them round London for no reason, talked herself into a bit of a hole and was the first of the series to be pointed at by Sugar and told that she’s fired.

The whittling down of contestants continues next week on BBC1 at 9pm where they will be making a new household gadget. In the meantime you can catch up with this episode on iPlayer.

Kony satire, commuting woes, phone sex and 3D sheep

With a host of channels broadcasting 24 hours of programming every day you could have easily missed some of the televisual highlights of the week. But have no fear as TV Talk helps out by pinpointing the shows you should have watched this week.

10 O’Clock Live

Whilst I suggest that you should watch this show each week anyway, Charlie Brooker was at his best this week with his satirical rant about the Kony2012 campaign. The rant was sparked off by a 30 minute video encouraging people to get Ugandan leader Joseph Kony out of power. Although this seemed like a good cause it was eventually revealed that a lot of the information was dubious at best and the group behind the video spent more time and resources campaigning about doing good than being good.

Anyway Brooker says it better, so catch up on this week’s take on the news on 4OD.

The Tube

You might think nothing of your daily commute to work, but the BBC’s series The Tube shows what really happens at tube stations all the time.

Whilst showing the in jokes had by workers on the underground, such as the numbering for system for the various things that might need to be cleaned up instead of announcing what really needs to be cleaned up over the tannoy.

Yet it also deals with the harsh reality of train driving too, most notably deaths. This part of the show really demonstrates how when you are travelling if something gets in the way with your destination then most in the heat of the moment don’t really care if it is because somebody was just run over by a train.

It’s also interesting because no matter whereabouts in the country you live you will more than likely have been on some part of the underground network. So when one episode focused on upgrading the Metropolitan Line at Harrow on the Hill it made me think of home as I pass that station to get home.

You can catch up with the whole series so far on iPlayer.

My Phone Sex Secrets

An unexpectedly amazing show and don’t be put off by the title as the show is the furthest thing away from smut imaginable. The documentary looked at people who make a living from doing the naughty talking on sex phone lines. And it is completely different to what you expect – middle aged ladies having a laugh and students needing a bit of cash.
Whilst being an interesting topic it is also worth it to see nonchalant women doing mundane things like making a cup of tea manage to make men … very excited.

Watch the show here on 4OD.

Shaun the Sheep 3D shorts

Now this one is unfortunately limited to just people with Nintendo’s 3DS, but each week Aardman is releasing a free minute or so long 3D video of what Shaun and his farmyard friends get up to behind the scenes.

So far two of these short and fun videos have been released on the gaming device which allows you to see 3D without the need for those ridiculous glasses. But there are another thirteen videos to come out allowing fans of the show to see what Shaun, Timmy, Blitzer and the farmer get up to when the cameras are turned off.

RTS announce award nominees

This year’s Royal Television Society Awards see nominations for Doctor Who writer, Steven Moffat, Educating Essex and Million Pound Drop to name a few.

The best drama series category has the ITV series Scott and Bailey up against BBC’s crime drama Luther 2 and BBC Three’s The Fades.The entertainment category sees Million Pound Drop face competition from The Graham Norton Show and Derren Brown’s latest television series The Experiments.

Whilst the best writer nominees include Doctor Who boss Steven Moffat, Peter Bowker for Eric & Ernie and Neil McKay for Appropriate Adult.

The male actor category highlights Daniel Rigby for his role in Eric & Ernie, Dominic West for his part in Appropriate Adult and John Simm for Exile. The female actor nominees include Vicky McClure for This is England ’88, Ruth Negga for Shirley and Emily Watson for Appropriate Adult.

Comedy series that have been picked up for nominations include Fresh MeatPhoneshop and Rev.

Rev picks up another nomination for Tom Hollander’s comedy performance, as does Darren Boyd for Sky’s Spy and a joint nomination for Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani for their roles in Him & Her.

There are just two programmes up for children’s drama: Sarah Jane Adventures and Tracy Beaker.

Idiot Abroad  has two nominations, one in the presenter category for Karl Pilkington and another for popular factual and features. Likewise for campaigning series Hugh’s Big Fish Fight which also is nominated for popular factual and sees Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall put up for best presenter.

The annual awards, which celebrate the best programmes, actors, presenters and writers, will be hosted by the comedian and actor Rob Brydon who will be giving out the awards on March 20th.

Nominations in full

Actor (Female)
Vicky McClure – This is England ’88
Ruth Negga – Shirley
Emily Watson – Appropriate Adult

Arts
Arena: Produced by George Martin
Graffiti Wars
The Impressionists

Comedy Performance
Darren Boyd
Tom Hollander
Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani

Daytime Programme
Antiques Road Trip
Deal or No Deal Live
Operation Hospital Food with James Martin

Drama Serial
The Crimson Petal & The White
The Promise
Top Boy

Entertainment
Derren Brown – The Experiments
Million Pound Drop
The Graham Norton Show

History
The Life of Muhammad
If Walls Could Talk
Dambusters: Building the Bouncing Bomb

Nations and Regions Programme
Frankenstein’s Wedding … Live in Leeds
The Scheme
Wil a Cet

Presenter
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Gareth Malone
Karl Pilkington

Scripted Comedy
Fresh Meat
Phoneshop
Rev.

Single Drama
Eric & Ernie
Random
United

Writer – Comedy
Sam Bain & Jesse Armstrong
Robert Popper
James Wood & Tom Hollander

Actor (Male)
Daniel Rigby – Eric & Ernie
John Simm – Exile
Dominic West – Appropriate Adult

Children’s Drama
Sarah Jane Adventures
Tracy Beaker

Children’s Programme
Horrible Histories
Newsround – My Autism and Me
The Amazing World of Gumball – The Quest

Documentary Series
24 Hours in A&E
Educating Essex
Fighting on the Frontline

Drama Series
Luther 2
Scott and Bailey
The Fades

Entertainment Performance
James Corden
Keith Lemon
Ant & Dec

International Award
Modern Family
The Killing
The Slap

Popular Factual and Features
An Idiot Abroad
Hugh’s Big Fish Fight
The Great British Bake Off

Science & Natural History
Frozen Planet
Mummifying Alan: Egypt’s Last Secret
Stargazing Live

Single Documentary
Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die
The Life and Loss of Karen Woo
True Stories: Hell and Back Again

Soap and Continuing Drama
Coronation Street
EastEnders
Emmerdale

Writer – Drama
Peter Bowker
Neil McKay
Steven Moffat

TV in 2012

I might be a bit old to make a Christmas list for Santa, but reviewing this year’s telly with Charlotte got me thinking about what I’m hoping for from TV in 2012. So rather than making a list of resolutions I’m never going to stick to, I’ve compiled my New Year’s Wish List instead.

So, for the New Year I would like:

A new series of…

Torchwood

I was really worried about Torchwood being Americanised and new characters introduced, but unlike Charlotte I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the slick new vibe and the new members of the Torchwood Team. Best of all the series was now one long-running story you could get your teeth into.

It was exciting and fast-paced, spoiled only by the episode where nothing happened except that Jack enjoyed a lot of sex and then was repeatedly killed, which seemed to bear very little relation to the rest of the plot.

It’s come in for quite a lot of stick but I’m really hoping for a new series. Maybe put back a little more of its Welshness – PC Andy and Rhys and the good old Millennium Centre- so it doesn’t forget its roots and keep really focussed storylines and it’ll be great.

No more…   

Dickinson’s Real Deal

After deciding Bargain Hunt wasn’t good enough anymore David Dickinson has installed himself on ITV. His role is…well what exactly is his role? To greet the viewers and call things ‘bobbydazzlers’ or ‘cheap as chips’ at random intervals and to poke his nose in when it’s not wanted during bartering by the public and the dealers.

The Duke as he is called- (why is this?  No real Duke would ever be that mahogany. The Duke of Cambridge only looks faintly golden even after an exotic holiday and do you think the Queen would put up with Phillip blending in with the woodwork? I think not…) – predicts the prices of items and is then proved wildly off the mark in the auctions.

It’s also unfortunate that virtually no one on this show is able to pronounce the word ‘auction’. It’s pronounced in a different way seemingly every day. My least favourite permutation is ‘u-ction’ which has spread amongst the dealers like plague. For goodness’ sake, discussing auctions is half your job. Get it right! Or better still….get it off my TV!!

 Changes to…

Doctor Who

Please please please mend Doctor Who. I’ve moaned about it here before so I won’t go on but it really is far too confusing and even when the story is ‘explained’ it doesn’t make sense. Not even ‘Doctor Who sense’.

Amy and the Doctor

I like Matt Smith. I like Karen Gillan (don’t get rid of her!). I like Arthur Darvill (or him!). Just strip it back to basics, the way it used to be in the days of ‘The Empty Child’ and ‘The Weeping Angels’ etc and let Doctor Who be Doctor Who. Funny, exciting, scary but understandable for everyone (even thickos like me).

Please make…

Strictly Come Dancing Joe Public

I realise this is probably never going to happen because apart from ITV which likes to laugh in the faces of the public trying to sing or dance, the other channels are only interested in seeing celebrities being bad at things and will only show ‘normal people’ if they’re world champion of something or hold a world record.

The judges love the idea

But still, it’d be a brilliant opportunity for superfans like me to have a go with our pro dance idols! Most of the “celebrities” we’ve never even heard of anyway, but that never matters, we still grow to love them. The same would go for members of the public. Celebrities already have a successful (well…arguably successful) career but this could be the start of a whole new direction for some people.

Come on BBC! Give us a chance!

End the year on a TV high

If like me you can’t stand the idea of spending New Year’s Eve in a packed pub full of drunken strangers or at a big party packed full of drunken strangers (cause let’s face it, you usually get there and find you only know the host and they’re off their face as well), why not just stay home?  A few close friends or family, tasty drinks and nibbles and some good TV is all you need for a special evening. After all, Staying In is the new Going Out.

Charlotte and I have been looking ahead at what televisual treats New Year’s Eve has to offer. Here’s what we’ll be watching tomorrow night:

Emma

 4:30pm – 6:30pm  Come Dine with Me, Channel 4

I’ll be having a CDWM marathon to watch while I prepare the snacks, to give me extra ideas of what to make and get me into the party mood.

 6:30pm – 7pm  TV Burp, ITV

This is the festive edition from Christmas Day, a compilation of Christmas clips and best bits. If like me, you missed it this is the perfect opportunity to catch up. Harry Hill never disappoints.

7:10pm – 9pm Porridge (FILM), Channel 4

It only gets two stars so it might be a load of rubbish but for fans of the sitcom starring the hilarious Ronnie Barker it’s something you’ve got to at least watch once. So I am.

9pm – 11:35pm Alan Carr’s New Year Specstacular ,Channel 4 

I can’t get enough of this man.  And this sounds especially fun being a selection of chat, sketches, games, parodies and music all fronted by Specsy Beast, Alan. Guests include Jonathan Ross, Micky Flanagan, Gok Wan, Olly Murs, Bruno Tonioli and Alesha Dixon.

9pm – 10pm Brand New It’ll be alright on the night 2, ITV

This will be recorded in my house. If you’re not an Alan fan (I’ve heard some people aren’t- what’s wrong with you?!) then this is the perfect alternative if you fancy a laugh.

After all, presenters falling over, animals misbehaving and actors fluffing their lines never fails to raise a smile.

10pm (– 2:35am) QI, Dave

To bridge the gap between Alan Carr/ It’ll be Alright on the Night and my next choice without having to resort to the tedious Hootenanny, there is a handy QI marathon happening on Dave. They’re all repeats of course but always a treat to watch again. Just don’t get too engrossed and forget to raise a glass at midnight!

12:15am-1:15am Lee Mack Going Out Live, BBC 1

To end the night…morning…on a high switch to BBC1 for some more comedy firstly from Lee Mack giving us a sneaky peak of his stand-up tour when he performed at the Apollo.

1:15am- 2:15am Michael Mcintyre’s Comedy Road Show, BBC1

A repeat of the brilliant Christmas special. If you missed it, or like me just want an excuse to watch it again here is Michael in all his glory, joined by Rhod Gilbert, Sean Lock, Jack Dee, David Mitchell and new double-act Miranda Hart and “Smithy”. Very very funny stuff.

Charlotte

Emma has covered most of the bases but I would like to mention Jools Holland’s annual Hootenanny I think it is an enjoyable watch of artists you have never heard of and are unlikely to again. Also the awkward behaviour of a group of celebrities bringing in the New Year when in reality it is an afternoon at the beginning of December.

It is also always nice to bring in the incoming year to the chimes of Big Ben and watch the fireworks along the Thames. This year New Year Live 2011 is hosted by Jake Humphrey and starts on BBC1 at 11.50.

Then if you want a thorough review of the past year I say catch Charlie Brooker’s 2011 Wipe on BBC iPlayer. If nothing it will make you thankful for a new year.

TV highlights of the year

2011 has been a good year for TV Talk, seeing as it was the year we started wittering on about television programmes that we loved and loathed.

As we start thinking about 2012, Emma and I are looking back over the year to find out what our best shows of the year were.

Charlotte

Drama – Black Mirror

This creepy trio of dramas from the excellent Charlie Brooker caused shock when the first episode The National Anthem was all about Britain’s Prime Minister having sex with a pig. But my unlikely favourite episode was 15 Million Merits which showed a future dystopia  dominated by our *love* of reality television shows and technology and how bloody depressing that would be.

Comedy – Mongrels and Fresh Meat

I couldn’t wait for the second series of Mongrels to start and it didn’t disappoint as it followed the adventures of a middle class fox and his group of friends as they sang about killing Justin Beiber and how smoking makes you look cool.

And Fresh Meat may have started off a bit hit and miss amongst some viewers but its awkwardness made the characters endearing, loveable and quite true of some of the characters that you meet at university.

Also a quick mention for another university based sitcom Campus which I loved, but sadly is no more.

Documentary - Page One

This documentary looked at the on goings at national newspaper, The New York Times and how it coped with all the things that are set out to destroy print media. It looked at their time working on Wikileaks, the end of the war in Iraq and how they were dealing with online newspapers and the iPad.

It also looked at the journalists who had to leave after many years of work at the paper when cuts needed to made, and the friendships and working relationships that can only be formed in a newsroom.

Reality television – Great British Bake Off

In amongst all the cookery shows on television at the moment there was one show that simply beat them all – Bake Off. It gave the top amateur bakers a chance to show off their baking ability, like dropping cakes on the floor.

It also inspired Junior Bake Off where a group of extraordinarily talented children got to show off that they know what a ganache is and that they can beautifully decorate cakes at the age of 10.

Current affairs - 10 O’clock Live

Think of it as an hour long Have I Got News For You but with more sketches and a corner where you put a ranting and raving Charlie Brooker. Channel 4 attempted to bring satire into their schedule with an hour long live show bringing together Brooker, David Mitchell and the unlikely Lauren Laverne and Jimmy Carr.

Each presenter played to their strengths making it feel a bit like a mash up of four successful already existing shows but as it will return for a series two next year hopefully some lessons will be learnt to make the show better than before.

Family - Doctor Who

It was again brilliant television, beautiful looking with fun plots but also scary. Yes it may have been confusing but that is the beauty of it, not knowing what is going on but knowing that you will get an answer soon but then that will be just as confusing as before.

And although a bit weird, it is nice to know that the companion of the Doctor is now more than just a lost person who wanted to go travelling as it was revealed that not only is River, Amy and Rory’s child they are now the Doctor’s in laws.

But less River Song next year would be good…

Disappointment – Torchwood

I admit I was looking forward to the latest sci-fi offering but it just didn’t feel right, as I said almost every week in our Torchwood review. The lack of characters anyone could care about, the plot which one week stagnated and the next went at about 100 miles per hour and also the fact that Torchwood had very little to do with the plot made it a disappointment of the year for me.

Emma

Drama - Doc Martin and The Mentalist

The sadly-underrated Doc Martin gets my pick in the drama category. Sure, it’s not serious drama but it’s a lot of fun. Starring the ever-loveable and excellent actor Martin Clunes as the grumpy Doc, it never fails to get the right mix of gentle and interesting drama, clever character writing and plenty of comedy.

The Mentalist has been another treat, combining your typical US whodunit story with the psychological angle plus comic characters and clever and one-liners which make it amusing and different. It doesn’t hurt that Patrick Jane is pretty easy on the eye either.

Comedy – Come Fly with Me 

Ok, so this only just counts as this year, since the series was all done and dusted by the end of February, but still it deserves a mention as one of my stand-out favourites.

I never liked Little Britain so Matt Lucas and David Walliams had their work cut out to win me over. But their mockumentary following the airport staff of Fly-lo (and others) achieved the impossible with its hilarious mix of true-to-life characters. I can’t wait for series two!

Documentary – Educating Essex

This isn’t a particularly high-brow documentary (notice a pattern emerging here?!) but this Channel 4 offering was something I really enjoyed. Instead of doom and gloom, this series followed troubled youngsters being helped enormously by the dedicated and inspirational staff at the Ofsted “outstanding” Passmores School in Essex. It would be nice to see more of these incredible funny and caring teachers next year.

Reality TV – Strictly Come Dancing

Unlike the X Factor which has experienced its most rubbish year ever, this year saw what must have been one of the best series of Strictly yet. It started with a good line-up and good pairings and continued that way.

Ok, so the wrong person won (should have been Chelsee!) but the final has never been so tight between three such excellent dancers, which made it all very exciting and brought us some amazing dances. My one wish for 2012? Please GOD give Anton a decent partner!

Family – Total Wipeout

Not much to say about this, except its perfect family entertainment. Watching every week it gets a bit old but it’s a must-see at least once just to point and laugh at people falling into the water and losing their dignity by being punched in the privates then getting thoroughly coated in mud. The human catapult in the Christmas Special was an exciting new development.

Disappointment – Doctor Who

Unlike Charlotte I have been bitterly disappointed by this series. Matt Smith has done an admirable job of making the role his own and Karen Gillan’s Amy has really grown on me but it’s the writing that’s the problem.

I agree that not knowing what’s coming next is fun but not when it’s due to plot holes, things left unexplained and the viewer being left thoroughly confused from start to finish, which is what’s been happening recently. Being confused without a surprise twist to explain everything in the end isn’t fun. It’s annoying and is the result of sloppy writing. Anyone can write a random string of nonsense. A well-crafted plot ties everything together coherently.  I don’t think I’m particularly dim but I’ve been left baffled by some plots, as has my mum and many friends, and this is meant for kids as well.

I miss the simpler plots of the early days. Stephen Moffat wrote two of the best eps ever – ‘The Weeping Angels’ and ‘The Empty Child/ The Doctor Dances’. More like these please or I’ll turn off all together.

All I want for Christmas is lots of television

As we are only seven weeks away from Christmas Day it is time to speculate about what will be on our television screens for the big day and look at some of the highlights so far.

The BBC has the usual big players with the Strictly Come Dancing special, Doctor Who  and a Top Gear special which this year is in India, according to Jeremy Clarkson.

ITV so far has been keeping most of its Christmas plans as secret as Santa’s naughty and nice list. All that is known so far is there will be a Christmas episode of Downton Abbey.

However, there are a few surprises slipped away in our seasonal stocking. Channel 4 will be showing what Gypsy King, and Big Brother winner, Paddy and his family do at Christmas and of course some snowy weddings take place as well.

There is the usual fill of cookery and craft programmes with Jamie’s Christmas, River Cottage Christmas and Gordon’s Christmas Cook-a-long Live just on Channel 4 alone, with Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Britain series, which is on at the moment, culminating with two Christmas themed specials.

The BBC’s big drama adaptations include a three-part special of Great Expectations and The Borrowers, with Stephen Fry, Victoria Wood and Christopher Eccleston. Whilst ITV has Lawrence Fox in the depressing sounding Christmas drama Fast Freddie, The Widow and Me, which follows a car salesman who is found guilty of drink driving. Channel 4 has a yuletide edition of This is England 88.

And Christmas would not be complete with a good laugh, the Beeb has a Christmas edition of most of its big comedy series such as QI, Rev, Mock the Week and Outnumbered. But making another return is Absolutely Fabulous with a Christmas and New Year’s Day special.

Channel 4 has the, now well established, Big Fat Quiz of the Year hosted by Jimmy Carr, Chris Moyle’s Christmas Quiz as well as a Christmas and New Year edition of Alan Carr’s Chattyman.

However, my highlight will be the Aardman special. No Wallace and Gromit this year but there will be a 30 minute Christmas Eve special of Timmy Time.

Halloween Howler spells the end for Nancy

Someone should probably have told Nancy dell’Olive Oil that arriving in a coffin was never going to end well. But since it was the anything-goes Strictly Halloween special no one batted an eyelid.

Risen from the dead: The 50-year-old chose to begin her routine in a coffin as she danced to Dusty Springfield's Spooky

Nancy opens the dance by rising from the dead

There was far more weirdness on show than Nancy’s glitter encrusted coffin-  judge Craig swooping in on a broomstick, Russell Grant dressed as the devil complete with forked tail, Anton du Beke ashen faced and covered in dust, Lulu ending her dance by taking flight and, quite frankly Alesha’s hideous dress (not to even get me started on those ridiculous 10s she dishes out like sweets!)

But it was Nancy who ultimately came off worst. Though she tried hard, her lacklustre and floppy rumba with partner Anton du Beke to ‘Spooky’ certainly had a grave ending, with a slating from the judges, Alesha commenting ‘you should have stayed in the coffin’ and a score of 14.

Despite a poor performance from Audley Harrison jiving leaden-footed to ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ notching 20 points, a sloppy samba from an injured Russell Grant and a wardrobe malfunction dubbed the ‘nip slip’ during her tango which left poor Chelsee Healey in tears, it was still Nancy trailing at the bottom of the leader board.

Head-to-head: The dancing couple were up against boxer Audley Harrison and his professional partner Natalie Lowe

Audley and Natalie and Nancy and Anton await their fate

Quite justifiably (and unusually!) the bottom two consisted of the two couples with the lowest scores, Nancy and Anton and Audley and Natalie. But after being saved by the public twice running, Nancy’s lucky streak had ended and it was announced that she and Anton would be leaving the competition.

At the other end of the spectrum, highlights of the spooktacular night included a lively ‘Bewitched’ inspired Quick Step by Jason Donovan and Kristina which scored a whopping 37 points propelling them to the top of the class and a beautifully balletic American Smooth to ‘Swan Lake’ from Holly Valance and Artem dressed as black and white swans.

Torchwood Talk: The Blood Line

As expected the last episode of Torchwood Miracle Day was fast paced to catch up with the lack of plot in the past nine hours.

As the team are split up between Argentina and China both have to find the blessing and figure out how it works in a limited time frame. This leads to Gwen shouting at a door in an attempt to get past it and Rex and Esther have their small package of Jack’s blood blown up. I see who got the more exciting deal then…

The point of Oswald Danes is also discovered as everyone is still disgusted at his features and aspects as a human that he is now essentially useful as a terrorist bomber as he wears explosives throughout the episode and says he will pull the trigger if they don’t give Torchwood what they want.

When the teams are standing in front of the blessing and are overwhelmed by the terrible green screen effect of a bloody hole going through the centre of the universe both Rex and Jack start feeling slightly worse for wear. It is revealed that Jack’s mortal blood has to go either end of the blessing to stop the miracle. But after Jack’s blood was blown up in Argentina that means they are screwed but in fact Rex had a sneaky transfusion. Both are prepared to give themselves up when the mean families shoot Esther.

So when they killed Doctor Vera they made a point with it over the ovens and cooking the category ones but Esther was unnecessary as the team quickly decide that they need to go on ahead with the plan even if it means killing Esther as they need to save the world.

So they save the world, and everyone who should have died dies including Gwen’s Dad, and Oswald explodes whilst holding Mother and Jilly Kitzinger is disgraced (symbolised by her no longer being allowed to wear her red lipstick, coat and bag).

But that is not everything wrapped up nicely, Jilly Kitzinger begs for a second chance and a plan B is alluded to and Rex gets shot but lives as the transfusion of Jack’s blood has made him immortal.

It felt like what should have been the mid series peak where the team felt they had beaten the bad guy and then tried to get on from this. That would have made the whole ten hours more exciting and worthwhile rather than having episodes earlier in the series that dragged and revealed one piece of information.

Also there are things in this episode that would impact on the whole Doctor Who world, if Jack is such a dark spot for the Doctor then surely that means Rex is too? And also now the centre of the Earth has a creature that can turn death off but I can guarantee it will never impact on the Doctor’s, Amy’s and Rory’s adventures.

Also the endings of Torchwood are usually poignant. Series one Jack sacrificed himself for his team even though they betrayed him.Series two Tosh and Owen die together finally sorting out the many issues they had. Series three Ianto died and Jack sacrificed his own grandson. Series four not much really, only Esther and she wasn’t even treated the same as the other characters.

So a little summary of this series

Worst moments: Charlotte’s acting as the mole within the CIA. She was so suspicious and how the CIA did not realise what she was up to is beyond belief.

And coming up in a close second is Gwen’s shocked face when she discovered Rex’s immortality.

Best moments: Wales, seeing the Welsh characters that make Torchwood Torchwood.

Andy was beautiful in the last episode awkwardly sitting with people that he knew nothing about but was sad that these people were dying in horrible ways and nobody even cared to find them. He also managed to get Rhys final access to Gwen’s Dad to say their goodbyes before he died.

Overall it wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great. The story over ten episodes was going to be hard to keep interesting all the time and moving location did not give it a different feel but I think Russell T Davies just found it harder to relate the story to surroundings that he did not know much about such as LA, China and Argentina so they did not have as much character as RTD’s beloved Wales.

Saying that if a series five was commissioned I would probably watch it. Maybe because I hate myself…

Torchwood Talk: The Gathering

The end is almost upon us, and we were giving plenty of development but so much in such a small amount of time that a lot of it was just absurd.

So after weeks and weeks of the gang living the life in LA Gwen was back in Swansea harbouring her ill father and Jack, suffering from his gun shot wound, was hiding in Scotland.

Even though Gwen was trying to keep her profile low the police kept barging in trying to find her father, who was living in the basement along with the rats, men were spying on her home and Oswald Danes just walked in.

Oswald, who had nabbed Jilly Kissinger’s laptop before she was made Queen of PR, and had been following her movements noticing some odd behavior, which with Esther they figured out that blood burning was happening in Shanghai and Buenos Aires.

So they split up between Argentina and China to find out what was happening and much to Jack’s surprise they found blood was being pulled to a site in China, I am not making that up.

The answer to what the blessing is came from Jilly Kitzinger, who was told that she was to rewrite history for the families, being let in on the secret. And it was a gaping hole sucking in blood cells, which apparently running through the earth between Argentina and China.

Again if this had been introduced beforehand it would have made a lot more sense but now just a mere hour before this is all wrapped up nicely many more strands have been added and now that the blessing has been revealed it sounds very weird.

I also have a suspicion that the last episode will mostly be Rex and Oswald getting ready to die, and Jack coming back to mortality. I fear it will be confusing but it has to be action packed now.