THAT WAS THE BOX – March 2014 (Week Three)

By on 23 March, 2014

TV REVIEW: Line of Duty Series 2 Final Episode - BBC2

LINE OF DUTY‘ (BBC 2 – BBC iPlayer)

What’s that noise? It’s the sound of me sobbing because ‘Line of Duty‘ has finished. I can honestly say I have not been so excited and filled with anticipation about a programme since ‘Sherlock‘ came back to reveal how he’d faked his death, or if DI Alex Drake really was dead in ‘Ashes to Ashes‘ and if Gene Hunt was indeed an angel or just a figment of Drake and Sam Tyler’s imaginations. All props to Keeley Hawes, she was involved in two of these programmes and now she’s part of the Moffat machine with her up-coming appearance in ‘Doctor Who‘, maybe they should add her to the ‘Sherlock‘ cast. There were times when Lindsay Denton was more scary than Moriarty and Charles Augustus Magnussen put together!!

The ending left me feeling frustrated. I’m not going to give too much away in case people haven’t caught up with it. But someone who was instrumental in the ambush walked away Scott free and another, whilst involved, but not as much so, was sent to prison for life. But hasn’t part of LoD’s beauty been its realism? Well, in the real world bad guys do sometimes walk free and people are framed and sent to prison for crimes they did not commit.

I do have a few final questions though…
What exactly caused Hastings to get into such terrible financial trouble?
What happened to Denton’s cat?
What happened to Denton’s neighbour with the terrible taste in music?
How did the burns on Denton’s hands clear up so quickly?
Why was Fleming sleeping in her car?
When did we find out she had a son?

Series three has been commissioned so let’s hope some of these pressing issues are resolved. If the Beeb have any sense they’ll move it to BBC1 and hype it up a bit more. I for one can’t wait!



W1A‘ (BBC2 – BBC iPlayer)

I was a big fan of ‘Twenty Twelve‘ and was very excited at the prospect of this sequel, but episode one has left me feeling a bit flat. The humour in ‘Twenty Twelve‘ came from the fact that we all were pretty cynical about the Olympics. Most of us were convinced it was going to be a disaster and a waste of money, and the fictional deliverance committee, headed by Hugh Bonneville’s Ian Fletcher, just seemed to confirm everything we feared. As it turned out, the London Olympics were one of the best things ever, but we didn’t know that at the time did we?

Less than two years after the Saville scandal, I’m not sure now is the time for us to take a light-hearted look at the management of the BBC. Filmed in the new Broadcasting House, at times ‘W1A‘ just comes across as an advertisement for the BBC, and I think it would have been far funnier if it had been about a fictional TV channel that was loosely based on the BBC; or even funnier, Channel 5, which straddles the line between decent and trash. The highlight for me was the return of Siobhan Sharpe – played by Jessica Hynes, who I swear is the sort of person Ja’mie, Chris Lilley’s schoolgirl character will be in twenty years time. There were times that ‘W1A‘ felt like a modern version of ‘The Office‘, with young characters giving each other longing looks, which took me right back to Tim and Dawn.

The battle for who is going to be the host of Britain’s Tastiest Village, is quite amusing, but the satire got lost amongst the rest of the programme. There seems to be a bigger cast this time, with Sarah Parish playing a grumpy TV producer, Monica Dolan as a female, Welsh version of the guy in 2012 who always said ‘and I’m from Yorkshire’, and there is an intern called Will who seems to be channelling Matt Smith when he first started playing The Doctor. And honestly, Rufus Jones is everywhere – he’s an annoying twerp in this, an annoying twerp in ‘Edge of Heaven‘ and annoying twerp in the Reed advert. But he’s quite lovely to look at, so I’m not complaining (yes, I am that superficial).

I’ll give ‘W1A‘ another chance because I can remember not being overly impressed by ‘Twenty Twelve‘ when it first started and it went on to be a superb piece of television comedy. But I remain in thinking that the BBC are still not out of the woods and now is not the time for making light-hearted, good-natured fun of itself when the wounds of past misdemeanours are still a bit too raw.



TOWIE‘ (ITV – ITV Player)

I hope Michelle Keegan is watching this programme. For those of you not familiar, Michelle plays Tina McIntyre in ‘Corrie‘ and she is leaving shortly (and her character being killed off to boot) to move down to Essex to become a fully-paid up member of the Wright clan, due to her engagement to Mark Wright. For her sake, I’m hoping the current conflict within the family regarding just how manly Ricky Rayment is and if he is worthy of dating Jessica, is stage-managed by the producers of the show, because the way the mighty Wrights are homing in on him reminds me a lot of Lauren Goodger’s treatment when ‘TOWIE‘ first started in 2010. It seems to me that if you date a Wright, you date the whole family. Mother Carol seems convinced that Jessica is somehow on the shelf at 28 and if Ricky doesn’t marry her soon, she’ll be left childless and undesirable and her only hope of becoming a mother is by freezing her eggs. At times watching ‘TOWIE‘ I am absolutely convinced that the Women’s Liberation Movement did not make it along the M11 back in the 1970s. It appears to be a world where girls are valued purely on their relationships or how ‘girly’ they are, and men can only talk about sex, pulling birds and going to the gym. Most mothers these days would be proud of their daughters buying flats on their own, but in Essex it appears to be a sign that you’re one step away from becoming a cat-lady.

In other ‘TOWIE‘ news;

Lockie and Danni got back together, only for them to split up because some girl put a picture on Twitter.

• They live their lives through Twitter. Is it mentioned constantly in an effort to obtain more followers?

Gemma told Arg that she loved him and she always had (so much so she became engaged to Rami at Christmas).

Mario is still celibate. He’s apparently making a big deal about not having sex for a couple of weeks. Are we supposed to forget he was in the ‘Celebrity Big Brother‘ house for three weeks last year without so much as a sniff and he did perfectly okay.

• Why do they all have such little dogs? Can’t anyone own a German Shepherd for a change?

• Can someone cure me of my crush on Charlie Sims? I can’t help myself, he just looks as though he would be really dirty (and I don’t mean in a non washing way).


TV REVIEW: Undercover Doctor: Cure Me Im Gay - Channel 4


There has been a lot of criticism in the press about this show, in that Dr Christian had no intention of renouncing his gayness or whatever you do, and therefore all the tests he endured were invalid. Honestly, please, are we back in ‘TOWIE‘-land? Is it 1965 or something? Of course he knew darn well none of these stupid procedures would stop him being homosexual. The point of the programme was to highlight the ridiculous and sometimes dangerous “cures” on offer – largely in the name of religion. It is frightening that in the twenty-first century, there are still young people out there who are convinced that homosexuality is the work of the devil, and that by going to see some self-appointed ‘parson’ they can be exorcised of said demons. It is also shocking that up until the mid-1980s, the NHS still offered Aversion Therapy, whereby people were given emetics and made to live in their own waste for three days whilst being told that their sexuality was disgusting and they had to change etc.

The highlight of the show for me was Dr Jerry, a US ‘doctor’ who claims that by analysing a diagram of the brain you have coloured in with crayons, he can tell where the trauma is centred, which is causing you to be gay. Worryingly, Dr Jerry is also convinced the thyroid and adrenal glands are also located in the brain, so I’m not sure where he trained, but I suggest he gets a refund. Still, he’s charging poor, desperate saps hundreds of dollars to sit colouring in all day, so he hasn’t done badly has he?

I thought this programme would make me angry, but all I was left with was a feeling of overwhelming sadness that in an age that calls itself enlightened, there are still people out there who are unable or unwilling to accept themselves, and of course there are those all too happy to exploit these insecurities in order to make lots of money. It will come as no surprise to discover that Dr C ended the programme just as gay as he started.


About Karen Mason

Karen Mason is a London-based writer. She has published fifteen historical fiction novels and is currently working on her sixteenth. She is also an avid movie goer, with a particular preference for gritty British cinema and a weakness for Jason Statham films! Her music tastes stretch from Muse to the Cinematic Orchestra and she loves discovering new acts.

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