THAT WAS THE BOX – August 2015 (Week Four) | TV Reviews

All the Latest TV Reviews - COUNTRY STRIFE ABZ ON THE FARM - Series 1 Episode 2 Winning Bid


This week Abz and Vicky went to see the house they wanted to buy. It has been empty for five years, and the neighbour next door has looked after it. I thought I was alone in not being able to understand what he was saying, but Abz then confessed to Vicky that he didn’t know what he was saying either. Unfortunately the bank refused to give them a mortgage for the house because of the state of it and so they had to find something else, and ended up with a rather lovely property costing £130k. That would buy you a pavement in London!

The trouble is, Hoppy came to visit, and pointed out that the land around their new house was in a dire state, and the only way they are going to be able to afford to fix it, is by selling their horses. Something that did not go down well with Abz and Vicky. But, they have made the commitment, and it looks as though they’re going to have to say farewell to their beloved horses to be able to fulfil their dream. Abz does need to learn how to obtain firewood though, because guitars are a rather expensive substitute.


Your go-to place for the Latest TV Reviews 2015 - GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF 2015 - Dessert Week - BBC1


It was Dessert Week for our nine remaining contestants, and their Signature Challenge was to make twelve identical Crème Brulee. I love Crème Brulee, so I was very curious to see how they turned out. They weren’t allowed to use blow torches to burn the caramel on top and had to instead use the grill, like they did in the olden times. They could make them using whatever flavourings they like, and some people didn’t seem to grasp that mixing certain substances with whipped egg and cream is going to cause curdling. One of these was Miserable Paul, who didn’t realise that adding almond liqueur would turn his Brulee into a cake. Sandy had the revolting idea of Pontefract cakes and lemon, and even though she (apparently) baked them for half an hour, then put them in the freezer to set. They still came out like runny custard. That’s God’s way of telling her that liquorice and Crème Brulee should never be put together.

Both Flora and Tamal went down the more traditional Rhubarb and Ginger route, except for some reason, Flora thought she could make more work for herself by adding twills. Like Paul, Ugne used alcohol, and the custard set (didn’t these people do science at school?) and Alvin made one with Vanilla and Cranberry, with edible pansies. I liked the sound of both Mat’s coconut and like Crème Brulees, and Nadiya’s tea and jam ones, served in little cups. Nadiya shows great imagination and if anyone should win for thinking outside the box, it should be her. Naturally, Ian had to show off, using pomegranate and molasses, and Paul Hollywood reckoned it only just worked. But work it did.

The Technical Challenge was to make Mary’s Spanishe Windtorte (which is actually Austrian), a Meringue thing that looks more like a wedding cake and is filled with fruit and cream. Sounds delicious. Looks a nightmare to make. Most of the contestants managed to wing it – apart from Sandy who couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of a flat disc atop her cake, and instead had it poised like some sort of butterfly ready to take flight. Miserable Paul won the challenge because his was nearest to Mary’s recipe, and I did wonder, after his wonderful lion last week, if he might get Star Baker.

The Show-stopper was a three-layered baked Cheesecake. Seriously, who could eat three layers of baked Cheesecake? Added to this, the weird flavours the contestants threw in, and the whole thing seemed pretty nauseating to me. Some went for relatively traditional flavours, such as Paul’s berry Cheesecake tower with home-made blackberry liqueur (yum) and Mat with his favourite chocolate bars. But at the other end of the scale we had Ian who decided to mix fruit and herbs and spices, which on paper shouldn’t have worked but was apparently delicious. Ugne for some reason decided to put umbre frosting on hers, which surely stopped it being a Cheesecake and turned it into a cake? Once again Nadiya showed great imagination, making syrups from Cream Soda, Ginger Beer and Lemonade and adding them to her Cheesecake to make them taste of fizzy pop, and the pièce de résistance was a drink can at the top of the pile with foamy fizz coming down it onto the Cheesecake. Genius. Poor Flora worried her three layers of Elderflower cordial flavour Cheesecake was boring in comparison to the others. If boring means edible, then yes, it was. Apparently it was over-baked, but at least it sounded nice.

Predictably Ian was awarded Star Baker again and Sandy was asked to leave. I can’t say I’m sorry. Her vying for screen time was becoming a little tiresome.

Next week the bakers have to contend with Free-From baking, so that’s no sugar, no dairy, no gluten. I’ve made gluten-free cake and it isn’t that difficult, but I get a sneaky feeling we’re going to see some dramas and disasters before the episode is finished.


Read the Latest TV Reviews 2015 - FRIED - CARLOS FROM SPAIN - BBC3


Oh no, another dismal comedy. A friend warned me that the trailers for ‘Fried‘ made it look crap, but I thought I would give it a go. I should have taken her advice. The ‘comedy’ set in a Fried Chicken Shop, somewhere in London was like ‘Phoneshop‘ put on by a group of Infants school children. Katy Wix is seriously wasted as manager Mary. A character so stupid that she goes undercover in her own shop, to find out who has been sending complaints to head office. Her disguise? A Spanish man who has got breasts and a stick on moustache. That bit was actually funny, but everything around it just brought it down. We have sensitive Joe who seems to have been cloned from Simon from ‘The Inbetweeners‘, Amara, his love interest who is spookily similar to Sinem from ‘Count Arthur Strong‘. Ed the dozy one who is a poor man’s imitation of Jewayne and Ashley (more later), Shontal, the stereotypically stroppy West Indian lady, and Derek, the gay, neurotic, spiteful deputy manager who is out to get Mary.

Stereotypes can work, but this was verging on Mind-Your-Language territory. Much comedy was made from Derek’s ignorance about Amara’s cultural background (David Brent anyone), but lots of other stereotypes were in play anyway. Derek was so horny that he fancied the first new man (woman) who walked into the joint. And Ed is Asian, so he’s got to talk street and eat chicken all day. The comedy with ‘Phoneshop‘ was the cast’s input into the scripts. So the street-talk of Jerwayne and Ashley was full of proper south London nuances. Javone Prince’s skills at comedy writing has been recently showcased in his own show, and he clearly has a lot of talent. The dialogue in ‘Fried‘ reminds me of when ‘Eastenders‘ do a storyline about gangs and all the kids are about as scary as Bonnie Langford as Violet Elizabeth Bott. It’s not proper “street” it’s how white, middle class writers think “street” sounds.

I won’t be watching ‘Fried‘ again. Like ‘Top Coppers‘, it’s been consigned to Karen’s dustbin.


All the Latest TV Reviews 2015 - MUSLIM DRAG QUEENS - CHANNEL 4


It goes without saying that this controversial documentary caused a twitter storm when it was broadcast. After all, who really knew much about the ‘Gaysian’ scene? Homosexuality in the Muslim community is deemed as a mortal sin, and one only had to see some of the truly heinous comments on twitter afterwards, to realise it’ll be a long time – if ever – before LGBTQ people are as accepted as they are in wider society.

Star of the show was Asifa Lahore, the UK’s first Muslim drag queen. He was beautiful, smart and a pioneer, but I fear for him. He is pretty much a lone voice, as even with his encouragement, other gay Muslims are afraid to come out of the closet for fear of reprisals.

I fear even more for young Ibrahim, the student from Mauritius who wants to be the next big drag queen. Even the very liberal Asifa was shocked when Ibrahim was happy to pray in a pub. I’m not sure being seen praying in a place where alcohol was served would be well received by Muslim viewers. Frankly, I’d be shocked if I saw a Catholic priest holding mass in a Wetherspoons!

Saddest of all, for me, was Zarina, the transvestite who was looking for love and lived a lonely life using her neighbour’s house for sex with closeted men who are only looking for one thing. She’s optimistic about finding Mr Right, but I’m afraid she may need to either move to London or look outside her faith to achieve her goal.

The programme ended on a touching note with Asifa‘s mum turning up to witness her son win a Pride award, clapping proudly, and telling him he’s beautiful. Unfortunately, I think family support may not be enough and it will be a long time before the likes of Asifa, Ibrahim and Zarina can hold their heads up high in a community that finds it hard to understand them.


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