Pig Business Review: Bacon Sarnie-Army

June 30, 2009 by  
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PIG BUSINESS: Tuesday 30th June, More4, 10pm Alert Me

At first, it’s tempting to launch into food fascism bashing mode.

We saw Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall sob over culled chicks, and we saw numerous rebuttals; the reality that not everyone can afford organic and free-range food products.

Tracy (Marchioness of) Worcester demands a major rethink over our attitude to food with this documentary.

The expose, years in the making, provides an in-depth look at the effects of intensive pig farming in timely fashion, effects that spread far beyond the factory perimeter. She focuses in on Poland, which is taking the brunt of US meat monolith Smithfield Foods.

As well as buying up vast swathes of fertile Polish countryside, leaving many local farmers in poverty, Smithfield’s method of dealing with the waste products is making people It’s probably not ‘jump for joy’…

Inside Nature’s Giants – The Elephant Review: Getting To The Heart of The Matter

June 29, 2009 by  
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INSIDE NATURE’S GIANTS: THE ELEPHANT, Monday 29th June, Channel 4, 9pm ALERT ME

What does an elephant do? How does a cat work? What is a giraffe?

If you’ve ever found yourself pondering these questions – perhaps ensconced in a cloud of blue smoke in the early hours – then Inside Nature’s Giants should be compulsory viewing.

The show features live-action autopsies of some of the most iconic and extraordinary animals on the planet, quite literally getting to the heart of things to find out what makes them work.

What’s more, there’s commentary on the evolutionary path of these wonderful creatures from none other than the infamous God-disputer Richard Dawkins.

Also, biologist Simon Watt, the dissecting woman’s crumpet, will be seeing how his own body matches up to that of the perfectly engineered animals.

The first episode features one of the most unique mammals on earth Trying so hard not to say SuBo…

Simon Cowell Quits(?) X-Factor, ITV panics

June 29, 2009 by  
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Put those fears of Tesco taking over the world to bed. It appears today that the force that is Simon Cowell is gathering speed.

You may have heard earlier last week that Cowell’s “golden handcuffs? contract with ITV will be ending at the end of this year, and the next series of love-it-or-hate-it X Factor will be his last.

Cowell is to create a partnership with retail genius Sir Philip Green to create and sell all-new TV formats across the world.

Hang on, formats? Plural?

Let’s take a look at Cowell’s grand oeuvre of reality television: X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent… Oh, and he was in Pop Idol before that. You could say they have subtle differences. But hasn’t the cashcow of plucking a random from obscurity, dressing them up, making them sing, granting them a Christmas No. 1 only to send them straight back to obscurity been milked dry?

It has been suggested that Green’s “endgame? is to buy ITV.

Be very afraid.

On Thin Ice Review: Frost In Transit

June 26, 2009 by  
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ON THIN ICE: Sunday 28th June, BBC2, 9pm Alert Me

Throughout our brief history the human race has proved to be resilient, adaptable and inquisitive.

We’ve explored a pretty sizable portion of this big blue planet we call home, from the snow capped peaks of giant mountains to blackest depths of uncharted waters, and Spain.

We’ve all been to Spain.

Yet there are still some places on earth that humans are woefully ill-equipped to deal with. Places that very few people have set foot on – and lived to tell the tale.

And that, I’m guessing, is BECAUSE WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO GO THERE.

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that a place where exposed skin can freeze in Read On..

Michael Jackson Dies

June 26, 2009 by  
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Well there’s no danger of us breaking this one, what with every media outlet going into meltdown at the sad news of Michael Jackson’s untimely death.

And we know it’s not strictly TV, but there’s no way we can let this one slide.

The 50-year-old singer was rushed UCLA Medical Centre last night after being found unconscious in his home.

According to local reports, Jackson died in his Holby Hills home after suffering a cardiac arrest and subsequent attempts to resuscitate him were “completely unresponsive”.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles City Fire Department said: “The call came in because a person was not breathing.

“When the team arrived, they saw that CPR was already in progress by someone at the home. The person not breathing was transported to UCLA Medical Center and remains there.”

The star’s mother and sister, LaToya, are reportedly inside the hospital, where large crowds have gathered.

Jackson was to begin a series of comeback shows at London’s O2 arena from July 13.

He is survived his children, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II.

My Father Was A Mercenary Review: Barmy Army

June 26, 2009 by  
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2FIRST CUT – MY FATHER WAS A MERCENARY: Friday 26th June, Channel 4, 7:35pm Alert Me

There’s a habit among documentary makers of giving programmes the most sensationalist titles that they can in order to bring in an audience.

Often this isn’t representative of what the documentary is actually about.

Take Tears, Tiaras and Transsexuals which at first glance appeared to be some glorified gawk-a-minute freak show but was actually one of the most brilliant pieces of TV in recent memory. Or The World’s Best Diet, on earlier this week which shamelessly leapt on the nation’s food-obsessed band wagon and offered nothing more informative than “put down that cake?.

My Father the Mercenary sounds like an exciting undercover expose about a solider for hire and his grisly adventures in foreign lands. Actually it’s a look at SAS fantasist and all-round Looney Tune Phil Sessarago whose badly decomposed body was found in a garage in Antwerp. Not quite as exciting sounding is it?

Dubplate Drama Review: Grange ‘Street’

June 25, 2009 by  
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DUBPLATE DRAMA: Friday 26th June, Channel 4, 00:35am Alert Me

Urban music based Dubplate Drama was the first show where you the viewer get to decide what happens next time – it’s a kind of TV interactive “choose your own adventure?, viewers voting at the end of each episode for what they want to happen next.

But gimmicks aside, is the latest in the series any good?

In a word, no. We’re introduced to the show by a narrator, slowly walking the streets at night, informing us that life is full of hard choices. It’s supposed to establish a grim mood but it just feels like the beginning of Crime Watch or some ropey reality TV skit like Britain’s Hardest.

It doesn’t get any better when the show gets going: it’s populated by hoodie-clad, baseball-cap wearing walking clichés and the young cast do nothing but make this a “street? version of Grange Hill.

Not only is the acting a bit ropey, but the show has little awareness of how the music business Read On….

Friends Will (Always) Be Friends

June 25, 2009 by  
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It may not seem like it, what with episodes being repeated on some channels more frequently than rolling news, but it’s been five years since the Central Perk gang left our lives after Friends ended.

But according to internet sources, two former Friends co-stars, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox, are to reunite for an online comedy series.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cox has been lined up for a guest appearance in the second season of Kudrow’s Lexus series Web Therapy to be broadcast on July 6.

If you’re one of the millions of people for whom Friends formed an integral part of daily life, just seeing those two girls in action will surely bring a tear to the eye. We’ve come so far!

In the episode Cox, who played neurotic Monica Geller in Friends, will cameo as a psychic who seeks the help of Kudrow’s web-based doctor after beginning to lose her visionary powers.

Kudrow, who played Phoebe Buffay in Friends, won the outstanding comedic performance prize at this month’s Webby Awards for the role of Fiona Wallice, a medic who counsels her clients via webcam.

Charlie Brooker To Host ‘Gameswipe’ (woohoo!)

June 25, 2009 by  
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Television reviewing royalty and lost prophet for our media muddled times Charlie Brooker is to fall back onto his first passion, gaming, his next television series Gameswipe.

Announcing the joyful news via his Twitter feed, even the notoriously acerbic presenter couldn’t repress his little kid at Christmas feelings, tweeting: “Gameswipe is happening, yes. More on that nearer the time.”

Brooker is a successful and some what cult presenter and newspaper columnist whose TV has a huge following as does his column the Guardian’s G2.

If the content of Brooker’s other BBC Four shows, Screenwipe and Newswipe, are any indication of what to expect from his forthcoming opus, there will be laughs, gripes and thought provoking satire.

Excited isn’t the word.

Famous, Rich and Homeless Review: Reality TV Can Spare The Change

June 24, 2009 by  
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FAMOUS, RICH AND HOMELESS: Wednesday 24th June, BBC1, 9pm Alert Me

I’ll admit I approached this review like a soldier in Iraq approaching an unattended car on the side of the road.

“Have we not plumbed the lowest depths of our cultural tourism yet?

Aren’t we tired of seeing ‘celebrities’ shed all sense of dignity in the name of reality TV?’ I wondered as I tentatively pushed the DVD into the machine.

But what started as reluctance soon gave way to curiosity as I found out that the experiment – to have five famous faces sleep rough on the streets of London for ten nights – was organised by Big Issue founder and former rough sleeper John Bird.

With this injection of credibility into proceedings Read on…

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