I don’t generally think of myself as a telly addict, but I’ve been incredibly excited ever since I flicked through the TV listings on Saturday.
Yes, we all know that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant will be making their return to BBC2 this Thursday with Life’s Too Short, but it was actually the arrival three other shows that caught my eye.
First of all, Masterchef: The Professionals and figuring out when you can watch the next episode doesn’t get tougher than this. The first went out on Monday at 8.30pm. On Tuesday it switched to 7pm before it moves to 8pm for Wednesday and Thursday. Next week’s transmission times are a closely guarded secret but boffins are dusting off the machines at Bletchley Park in the hope of catching Greg Wallace performing unspeakable acts with a spoon.
Watching the first episode proved to be very distressing, and not just because Monica has a stare that could turn stone to stone. For some reason the voiceover who has been making Masterchef her own for the past six years, India Fisher, has been replaced by some bloke. This one small change has – to my mind – changed the programme beyond all recognition. I felt as though I was watching a badly dubbed version Masterchef originally intended for a distant land. It remains to be seen whether this new chap will rise to the occassion or sink like so many souffles.
Returning for a second series on Thursday night is Rev. (BBC2 9pm), the sitcom about an inner-city Church of England parish. The first series was bloody marvelous, though perhaps unsurprisingly given the subject, gained a small (but loyal) audience. However it did receive a good PR boost when the following photo taken during filming went viral. I await the return of Tom Hollander, Olivia Coleman and Miles Jupp with much anticipation.
Last and by no means least, this week saw the return of Gareth Malone with his new series The Choir – Military Wives. I appreciate I’ve already ventured into homoerotic territory this week with my ramblings about my hairdresser, but I make no apology for my adoration of Mr Malone.
The basic premise of every series is that Gareth will form a choir in an unlikely or disjointed community leaving everyone with big smiles on their faces and warm fuzzy feelings inside. This time he has set up camp on a military base and created a choir from the wives and girlfriends left behind whilst the men are on duty in Afghanistan.
As the episode began, I wondered whether what is basically a well-trodden formula could survive another outing. I became further concerned when I noticed more and more cliches spilling out of Malone’s mouth. Then the narrator started to get on my nerves. By now, I was getting very worried that my love affair with The Choir was reaching an end.
And then the choir sang their first song and all my fears were put to rest. It’s not that they were amazing, but it’s a simply beautiful watching these people coming together to sing. Thank you Mr Malone, once again you’ve made me a very happy man.
For more choir fun…
My favourite choir from The Choir.
Who thought watching loads of youngsters singing about feeling suicidal could be so sweet?
For the record, I’ve just noticed that each one of the programmes I’ve mentioned is on BBC2. That is delivering quality first, not cutting back on creativity.