THAT WAS THE BOX – September 2015 (Week Two) | TV Reviews

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I think I only get excited about ‘Strictly Come Dancing‘ coming back because it means Christmas is on its way. ‘The X Factor‘ used to mean the same thing to me, but I have decided to eschew it this year on the grounds of Nick Grimshaw.

After a long, drawn-out opening, in which I lost the will to live, we finally got to meet the class of 2015. So here is my brief run down of them and what I think their prospects are;

We have our token Olympian in boxer Anthony Ogogo. He has been partnered with new girl, Oti, and they make a cute couple. He could be this year’s Louis Smith, or he could have two left feet. Being unfamiliar with Oti, I’m not sure of what her training methods are, so Anthony is one to watch.

Daniel O’Donnell’s speaking voice is so boring, he makes Gary Barlow sound like Michael MacIntyre. Why on earth do women get in a flap about him? He has zero personality. Luckily, I think he will rubbish, and seeing as the producers probably want ‘bad girl’ Kristina off the show ASAP, he’ll be voted off within the first couple of weeks.

I have to say, bookie’s favourite Peter Andre did look good in the Latin dance gear. He’s paired with Janette, who looked very pleased to get him (nothing to do with the fact he has a huge fan base that will keep him in for weeks) and I can bet that sometime during his stint on Strictly, he will throw in a few Michael Jackson moves into his routine.

Ainsley Harriott is going to be this year’s Greg Wallace, I just know it. Ainsley is very lively and jolly, but people like this rarely listen to instruction, and I think Natalie is going to have her work cut out.

Athlete Iwan Thomas is annoying. He picked poor old Ola up like she was a sack of potatoes, causing much awkward laughter on her part, while she tried to return her errant breast to her dress. I think he is going to be another one who won’t listen popped out and there is going to be rumours of them falling out – all of which they’ll deny of course.

Jay McGuinness from ‘The Wanted‘ looks a bit of a hot mess with his Poldark curls, just a shame he hasn’t got Aiden Turner’s brooding sexuality. Instead he looked like an awkward sixth former who had been put in stupid clothes and asked to dance with the sexy PE teacher (Aliona). I fear Jay won’t last long.

Jeremy ‘Tim‘s boring brother’ Vine is dancing with Karen, and all props to him. A few years ago I saw the BBC newsreaders doing ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show‘ on ‘Children in Need‘ and he was rather good as Frank n Furter, so perhaps there is a sexy dance beast lurking beneath that rather stuffy exterior. Personally I’m looking forward to Tim being on ‘It Takes Two‘ to support him. I love Tim Vine. There I’ve said it!

Presenter Anita Rani got new dancer Gleb, and she couldn’t look at him because apparently he is so attractive. Even weirder, thousands of women took to Twitter to express the same sentiment. Personally, to me, he looks like some Russian guy trying to look like Patrick Swayze. Anita seems very bubbly, but somewhat coltish and I fear her dancing might look a little clumsy.

Kellie ‘Linda Carter’ Bright has been paired with Kevin from Grimsby and I think they’re going to get along very well. Kellie has been in the business for a long time, and I think she will prove to be a good dancer. Not sure if she could win it, but I think her ability, along with the ‘Eastenders’ fanbase, will keep her in it for the foreseeable.

Newsreader Katie Derham was behaving a little too excitedly for a woman of a certain age, and didn’t even calm down when she saw she was partnered with Anton. Mr du Beke has never won ‘Strictly‘, which puts him at pretty bad odds. But at least Katie will have a bit more life in her than that lump of wood Judy Murray from last year.

It looks like they don’t want Pascha making it two in a row, as he has swapped Caroline Flack for weather presenter Carol Kirkwood. She seems a very nice, older lady, but I’m not sure she has what it takes to go very far. She seems the sort that a couple of setbacks will knock her confidence and she won’t recover.

Lucky old ‘Loose WomanJamelia has Tristan. Now he is one man who I would find it hard to talk to or look at. He’s gorgeous. As for Jamelia. Like Peter Andre, she’s a pop star so one would expect her to be able to put one foot in front of the other without looking stupid.

Georgia May Foot – formerly known as Katy from Corrie, is paired with Giovanni the new Italian dancer who I fear may be the new Vincent Simone. He seems to love himself a little too much, and once again. He is a blank slate, so I have no idea how Georgia is going to fare with him.

Helen George from ‘Call the Midwife‘ has been paired with Aliajz. He is a former winner and seems very patient, given how he was with Alison Hammond last year, and Helen comes across as someone who will require a lot of understanding. She may surprise and be a whizz on the dancefloor, but she seems somehow self-conscious and a bit ‘English’ which usually equates to reserved. We shall see.

Kirsty Gallacher is dancing with Brendan, and I think she might be the dark horse of the competition. It is about time Brendan regained his crown, and Kirsty might be the girl to do it. She seems with it, and not in la la land, like some of the others, and she’s just come through a marriage break up so she can put all her anger into attacking her performances!

It was amusing to see Caroline Flack on the show, dancing for one last time. After all, she won’t be able to make the final, she’ll be presenting the Flop Factor and weeping inwardly.


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It was a bit of a mid-series slump this week, with nothing spectacular happening. After losing Ugne and her ugly creations, last week, everyone who’s left is just a bit…dull. Nadiya started on a high after being voted last week’s Star Baker, but things went a bit downhill for her.

The signature dish was a frangipane tart, and I admire anyone who can make pastry. Mine always comes out tasting like cardboard. We got the first soggy bottoms of the series and lots of jokes from Mel and Sue about Alvin’s plums. The biggest debate was to blind bake or not to blind bake, and those that weren’t, seemed to have come out tasting more like sponge, where the moisture from the frangipane seeps in.

Ian – who is possibly the poshest person on television – used eggs from his own guinea fowl. Seriously, who keeps guinea fowl man? Is he like a prince or something? (yes, I was thinking in Abz’s voice as I wrote this). But all Ian’s showing off was to no avail, as Mary and Paul were underwhelmed with the resulting tart. Nadiya used something called Rong Tea, and Mat made a Pina Colada tart, complete with rum (which excited Mary) and it was a success. Most of the others were just meh.

The Technical challenge was to make a Flauona. Which sounds Scandanavian, but is actually a cheese and sultana pastry from Cyprus. Paul H, helpful as ever, gave the contestants the scanitest of instructions, to make something they’d never heard of, and that they all came out edible was credit to them, in my eyes. Mat won the challenge, but even his were only passable. Everyone else seemed to produce cakes or pizzas.

The Show-stopper Challenge was to produce forty-eight vol-au-vents of two different flavours. Some of the creations were truly vile, like Ian’s bacon and vermouth and squid ink, whilst others, like Flora – attempting to make chocolate puff pastry, was inspired. Poor Nadiya had a disaster when her first batch of pastry went wrong and she had to do it again, which didn’t leave her enough time to fill the cases. Lucky for her, Alvin’s was raw and he’d done so badly in the other challenges that he was asked to leave and she got to stay.

I sense the contestants have hit a bit of a wall this week and need to get their mojos back as the finish line approaches, and I would imagine many viewers feel the same way. But still, next week they have to cook the Victorian way, so expect lots of aspic and turtle soup!


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This was the last episode of the series and I hope it comes back for a longer run. I read an interview with Abz where he said they were offered a load of money by Sky to make this programme, but instead they went with BBC because they wanted it to be educational, and I have to say they fulfilled their brief. As a townie, I didn’t know that you could make an axe out of an old bit of wood and an axe head, or that rooster chickens aren’t satisfied with just two hens. What makes you want to learn is that Abz wants to learn as well, and if the rumours are true, and he has managed to sell his Brit award for £1m on ebay, then I know he will invest the cash into renovated his dilapidated farm rather than spending it on drink, drugs and plastic surgery.

Star of the show for me though is his loyal girlfriend Vicky. She is so devoted to Abz and always manages to look amazing even though they are living in a house with little in the way of amenities.

By the end of the show, they had drainage put into their boggy field (by a contractor called Roger Moore, phnar phnar) and they had started to clear out their poly tunnel with a view to planting fruit and veg. They were also babysitting a lamb, and had bought more chickens. If they had internet, Abz could do a weekly update on Youtube, but seeing as they have to drive halfway up a mountain just to get reception, then that’s out of the question.

Who knows, if he sells that award, he might even be able to afford his own mast!


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