THAT WAS THE BOX – September 2015 (Week Five) | TV Reviews
‘AUTOPSY – THE LAST HOURS OF AMY WINEHOUSE‘ (CHANNEL 5 – DEMAND 5)
Seriously, this show should have been called ‘No Shit Sherlock’. Other programmes in this series have provided interesting insights into the deaths of famous people. Like how Whitney Houston largely died because the tranquillisers she took numbed her feet and she didn’t realise how hot the bath was, and her body reacted and she fell and drowned. Or that Elvis had a larger heart than most people (and it wasn’t wooden). But what we found out from this episode was 1. Amy Winehouse was messed up. 2. She drank herself to death. That was it.
The new pathologist is someone called Jason Payne-James, and he looked at Amy’s autopsy reports to come to the conclusion of what killed her. What I found distasteful was that it was almost formatted like some sort of whodunit, or in Amy’s case, whatdunit? ‘After the break, the shocking illness Amy suffered from, could that have contributed to her death?’ It turned out she was bulimic, and no, that didn’t contribute to her death. It seemed the vomit in her bathroom was down to the fact that she’d abstained from drink for a while, binged and it made her sick. The lookalike, at times looked more like Dorian Green from ‘Birds of a Feather‘, and it was all rather salacious.
The final conclusion was that Amy had a personality disorder (once again No Shit..etc..) and that was what caused her to swing from these enormous highs to crushing lows, where she would abuse herself by self-harming, drinking etc. I’m sorry, but I haven’t got a degree in pathology, but even I could have told you that one. The saddest fact that this programme brought home was that Amy Winehouse, although phenomenally talented, was not cut out for fame.
‘THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF‘ (BBC1 – BBC IPLAYER)
So it was semi final week and the last four bakers had the absolutely hideous task of working with chocolate. I mean, who would want to surround themselves with melted chocolate, cooking chocolate, chocolate sponge, modelling chocolate etc? I pity them. Anyway, the signature challenge was to create a chocolate tart, and we learnt how a few years in age can make a difference to learning your lesson. Tamal, who has missed his timings so often, decided to keep it simple and bake a basic New York chocolate tart. Flora, his younger, teenage competitor who had been told off for using too many embellishments and cutting it fine, decided to opt for a chocolate tart layered with passion fruit and topped with macaroons and scary swirly things.
Luckily for her it worked (sort of) but Paul did say she’d overcooked her macaroons (as you do).
Naturally Ian had to show off, and make bay infused salted caramel (?), Nadiya also used salted caramel, but as someone with a peanut allergy, the sheer amounts of peanuts and peanut powder she used, truly had me wincing. Her chocolate tart could kill someone, seriously. However, luckily Mary, Paul, Mel and Sue aren’t allergic to peanuts and it was agreed it was delicious. However, Ian’s bay infused whatnot fell flat on its smug face.
The Technical challenge was to make a chocolate soufflé, and because it only takes just over an hour to make, everyone had staggered start times. Poor Flora went first, confessing she had never made soufflé before. Next was Ian who confessed he couldn’t remember how to make crème pat. Next came Nadiya who confessed she had never made a soufflé before, and finally Tamal who confessed he had never made a soufflé before – and there was me watching, feeling inadequate because I’d never made a soufflé before. I always associate them with 1970s dinner parties, and made of cheese. No one really pulled it off properly, the nearest was Flora, who won, and Nadiya came last because it was full of meringue. This was followed by lots of tears from the highly competitive Nadiya who thought she was going home (like that was going to happen).
The Showstopper was to make a 3D chocolate centrepiece that had to have white chocolate in it. Tamal made a bell tower, Flora a cocoa carousel, Ian a chocolate well, with working bucket (show off) and Nadiya decided to make a blue peacock, out of moulding chocolate. Personally, for me, I would not have allowed something blue to be presented at the end. Chocolate is supposed to be brown or white, and whilst Nadiya’s creation was lovely, I did not look at it and think ‘chocolate’. The handle on Ian’s well broke off, but the bucket worked, and Paul claimed that Flora’s carousel was wonky, but some could argue, that at least it was chocolate. Tamal’s bell tower was lovely, but Nadiya was voted star baker, and poor Flora went home. I can’t help but feel that Ian’s previous three star baker awards were what helped him stay, if he hadn’t have got those, he would have been heading home to his home-made verbena and organic bay leaves.
I think it’s pretty obvious that Nadiya is going to win. She is a very good, imaginative baker, and let’s be honest, it will tick the BBC’s diversity boxes. That isn’t to say she doesn’t deserve it, but cynically I can’t help but feel that she was marked down for the final, right from the beginning and would have had to have been a pretty lousy baker not to make it. Winning, however, will be down to her own merit. For me though, it should be Tamal as he has been consistently good and has shown flair without making a song and dance about it like other contestants (Ian). Whoever wins, I’ll be sad to see Bake Off go, it’s such a great programme and what excuse can I find now for reaching for the Kit Kats at 9pm on a Wednesday evening, because the telly’s made me a ‘bit hungry’?
‘THE KENNEDYS‘ (BBC1 – BBC IPLAYER)
I approached this with caution, thinking it would be a sort of BBC rip off of ‘Raised By Wolves‘, which I loved. But I have to say it, I think it worked better. One of the faults with ‘Raised by Wolves‘ is that Caitlin Moran grew up in the 80s and at times the storylines would have been more suited to 30 years ago than 2015. But ‘The Kennedys‘ is set in the late 70s, when Emma Kennedy was a ten year old. Being close in age, a lot of it resonated with me. The fact that pasta seemed exotic and no one had dinner parties, the naff cars and houses that looked awfully modern because they were knocked through and had open staircases.
The star of the show is young Emma, a sweet, sassy ten year old who lives in Stevenage with her parents Brenda and Tony. Brenda (played by Katherine Parkinson) is like a warm Margot Ledbetter, all social-climbing and not wanting to be too suburban, and dad Tony (Dan Skinner) is loveable and easy-going. They are friends with their neurotic neighbours Tim and Jenny. Tim is played by Harry Peacock, who also plays Ray ‘F*cking’ Purchase in ‘Toast of London‘, but he was strangely sexy as randy Tim. Emma Pierson (best thing about ‘Hotel Babylon‘) plays Jenny, who is pregnant by a turkey baster (?). Emma and her parents try their hardest to hide the fact that Tim is knocking off his busty colleague and this results in an almost farcical dinner party.
Not only were the clothes, dialogue and props authentic, it was also filmed in that hazy glow so many 70s films seemed to be made in, and the soundtrack was excellent. As soon as it opened with Rasputin by Boney M, I knew it was going to be good. The first decent BBC1 sitcom in a long time.