THAT WAS THE BOX – March 2014 (Week Two)

By on 16 March, 2014

TV REVIEWS: Line of Duty - Season 3, Episode 5 - BBC

LINE OF DUTY‘ (BBC 2 – BBC iPlayer)

Part of me is glad that ‘Line of Duty‘ is finishing next week. I don’t think my poor blood pressure can take much more. This programme has so many twists and turns and heart-stopping moments that there are literally times when I realise I haven’t been breathing for ages, taking it all in.

This week’s show started with poor old DI Alex Drake Denton being taken somewhere by the dodgy coppers who sprung her from her prison van last week, and taking her off and water-boarding her, followed by her natural resourcefulness getting her out of it, with the imaginative use of a car bonnet. She truly has nine lives, because, despite being escaping from custody, she ends up being granted bail and is a free(ish) woman again. I’m not sure if Arnott fancies her or just feels sorry for her, but his conviction in her innocence is unwavering, whereas Fleming is obviously keeping an open mind.

I still don’t know what exactly Dryden has on Hastings, and if his confession at the end was the complete truth. But I will say that when he was at first accusing Lindsay of being a bunny boiler, I thought it was his way of talking his way out of it. But the last montage, where we see Arnott given Denton’s medical records, and the revelation she had an abortion just before the night of the ambush, and the look of triumph on her face when she was watching the TV and the arrest of Dryden makes me wonder exactly how innocent she is.

** SPOILER ALERT ** – I’m going to put it out here, so if you’ve not watched this episode, it might be best to skip down to the next review.

But I think that Denton played no part in the ambush but she was indeed a possessive lover, jealous of Dryden‘s ‘relationship’ with teenager Carly Kirk and she killed her.


TV REVIEWS: Strippers - Channel 4


This week’s instalment concentrated on Aberdeen which is one of the wealthiest cities in the UK and the wealthiest city in Scotland. For a stripper, working in a city where lots of men work on oil rigs, kept away from the female sex for weeks at a time, and earning a packet in the process, this must be a potential goldmine. We meet Danni and Xena, two very nice middle-class gals who were more like people off Gogglebox than erotic dancers. They’re stripping their way around the world, for the experience and money/inspiration for artist Danni. Xena and Danni should be given their own show, I found them hilarious. You don’t get many eccentric strippers, but they were more like chattering yummy mummies than ultimate male fantasies.

On the other hand, we had troubled teen Vicky who entered the world of stripping to earn money to give to her abusive ex-boyfriend. Vicky was a former tomboy whose dreams and aspirations were slowly drowning in a world of alcohol and sleazy men. She got the sack from Private Eyes – a club owned by a man called Tony who wore an interesting syrup, for being drunk, but after sweet-talking him round she was reinstated. But I still got the feeling she was on borrowed time and it was only a matter of time before drink takes over her life and she ends up in a far darker place. She was taking pole dancing lessons from another stripper, a pretty girl called Lily, who I swear was like a 21st century, stripper version of Trixie from ‘Call the Midwife‘. Lily had aspirations to become a glamour model, and unlike Vicky, knew exactly what she was doing and had her head screwed on.

Finally there was Jody, an ex-stripper who is now making money from doing webcams (clearly followed my advice from a few weeks ago). It’s a shame that some of these women can’t find a way out of making money by selling their bodies, and it strikes me the longer they are objectified whilst working in the clubs, the harder it is for them to stop seeing themselves as pieces of meat.


TV REVIEWS: You Saw Them Here First - ITV Series 2


On the BBC this used to be called ‘Before They Were Famous‘ and was presented by Angus Deayton sitting at a desk. On ITV it’s called ‘You Saw Them Here First’ and is presented by Robert Webb, who used to present ‘Great Movie Mistakes‘ on BBC, which incidentally had the same theme music to ‘You Saw Them Here First‘ (keep up).

It’s always amusing to see stars’ early performances or television appearances, and with this show, we get various celebrities entering a booth where they are presented with embarrassing clips of themselves as very young stars. This week saw the turn of Sue Nicholls (Audrey Roberts), Lesley ‘Dorien Green’ Joseph, Nick Pickard from ‘Hollyoaks‘ and BRIAN BLESSED!!! (you have to have shouty capitals for his name). Blessed was quite handsome back in the day, and it was a treat to see Sue Nicholls playing Miss Popov from Rentaghost (which will mean nothing to anyone under the age of 30 who is reading this).

Other weird sights were a young Andy Murray with bright strawberry blonde hair. Rylan Clark looking like a normal person, but with that same unmistakable voice. Alison Steadman in a play from 1974 which indeed showed the first ever lesbian kiss (revealing that is indeed an urban myth that Anna Friel was responsible for the first Sapphic encounter on TV). Christian Bale seemed to feature quite a lot – bizarrely, at one point being interviewed by Aled Jones, when they were both kids. One’s gone on to become a sexy Hollywood superstar, the other is a prematurely middle-aged man who will probably turn into Harry Seacombe (ask your nan).

You Saw Them Here First‘ continues next week and I’m quite looking forward to it!


TV REVIEWS: Astronauts: Houston We Have a Problem - Channel 4


Out of all the big Oscar contenders, for me ‘Gravity‘ was the best, so I was very excited about this programme which is part of Channel 4’s ‘Live from Space‘ season. It tells of the real-life emergencies that happen in space and if reality is the same as the movies. The answer is no. The whole show was a bit of a let-down. It looked as though it was being beamed from the old ‘Big Brother’s Little Brother‘ set rather than Nasa HQ, and host Dermot O’Leary’s trouser’s were so tight, it was hard to concentrate on anything else.

Obviously none of the stories told were as exciting as Sandra Bullock being stranded in Space with only George Clooney to help her (sort of). The first one was of an Italian astronaut who was trying to fix the International Space Station and water got into his helmet (don’t be rude), this may sound simple, but in space water jellifies and so if it gets stuck in your nose and mouth, you’re dead and you can’t just rip the helmet off and wipe it away, because your head will decompress! All the while the astronaut was sitting chatting to Dermot, so we know there was a happy ending. The other stories concentrated on Nasa making choices between risking astronauts from being damaged by leaking ammonia or them having to abort the whole mission and evacuate the ISS. Naturally, the astronauts are collateral damage, so they would be the ones put at risk.

Much as I love Dermie on ‘X Factor‘, for me he’s not got enough gravitas for a subject such as this. I guess Brian Cox is under contract to the BBC, but I’m sure there’s some other young groovy scientist they could have used. I kept expecting Dermot to stand up and do that silly golfing move he does and tell us who is in the sing-off.


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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