The sheer weight of publicity almost stopped the Earth from spinning when Mad Men returned to our screens a couple of months back, yet despite achieving almost four times as many viewers during Sky Atlantic’s inaugural year, series two of The Borgias will debut this week to minimal fanfare.
Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that Neil Jordan’s historical series didn’t come from the much-vaunted HBO stable, but Sky seem to have put the show on the back burner.
As such, while Don Draper and The Starks have arrived in Britain just hours after they aired in the States, The Borgias kicks-off over three months after it first saw the light of day on Showtime in the States. It’s a strange decision, because the drama in which Jeremy Irons plays power-hungry religious tyrant Pope Borgia, is great fun, yet Sky Atlantic have dragged their heels in bringing it across the Atlantic. Go figure..
Anyway, the first series ended on victorius note for the Medieval Mafia with the hunchback King of France being talked out of laying siege to Rome and instead taking a trip down to sunny (not so sunny) Naples; where attractions included the stunning Castello Nuovo and also a considerable amount of death and despair in the form of the Plague.
TIME WARP – METALLICA: Monday 26th July, Discovery, 10pm ALERT ME
In the latest episode of Time Warp, a series in which MIT scientists Jeff Lieberman and Matt Kearney utilise incredibly high speed cameras to show the world moving at 1000 frames per second; the team have managed to recruit none other than the platinum album selling, geriatric kings of stadium rock Metallica.
At first it’s hard to see where exactly Lars Ullrich & Co. will fit into the show’s format as usually the Time Warp team are mostly only interested in detonating large quantities of TNT and then filming the resulting carnage (and fear not Time Warp regulars, there is plenty of the usual slow motion destruction). However when Jeff Lieberman suggests recreating the incident that left James Hetfield covered in third degree burns in Montreal after stepping into a wrongly placed pyrotechnic display we can see how little the show has changed with the inclusion of Metallica. Read more
GUTTED: Monday 11th January, HOME, 9pm ALERT ME
Mass hoarders beware, Gutted (the makeover show in which collectors are forced to part with the fruits of their life’s work of gathering useless items and them storing them in cardboard boxes in the living room) is returning for a second series.
The premise of this programme is fairly simple, once the house has been stripped and the tears have stopped, the unwilling participant must complete a series of trivia based challenges in order to save their precious collection from the auctioneers hammer at the end of the show. Read More
MARTINA COLE – GIRLS IN GANGS: Friday 3rd July, Sky1, 11pm Alert Me
Comin’ atcha like a slightly less munchkin version of Barabara Windsor, Martina Cole is a woman on a mission – to explore the feminine side of gang culture in the UK.
The crime writer, who has a number of best selling novels and some of which have been adapted for TV, most recently The Take, is curious about the role that young women play in street gangs and is determined to understand what makes them join these potentially dangerous associations.
Nipping down to Peckham, Cole first speaks with a group of young women who like nothing better than to hang around outside their estate at night Read More…
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…
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..
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…
THE TAKE, Wednesday 17th June, Sky 1, 9.00pm ALERT ME
I had high hopes for this show.
Granted they were based on the giant posters in the underground but they are pretty stylish.
For starters The Take is set in the eighties, a decade being made interesting again thanks to programmes such as Ashes to Ashes and Nick Love’s film The Business. There’s a lot to be said for the styles and attitudes of the eighties which, while a very recent memory for a lot of people, are a world away from the Britain of today.
Tragically, if the first episode of The Take is anything to go by this angle has been mostly overlooked by the show’s makers.
Secondly, Tom Hardy is an intense and exciting young actor and I was intrigued to see if he could carry off the lead role in this new drama series.
That answer to that is What? WHAT?!
AIR FORCE AFGHANISTAN, Friday 12th June, Channel 5, 8.00pm ALERT ME
There’s no way you’d get me going over to Afghanistan, and probably not for the reasons you’d expect.
Sure, it’s one of the most dangerous places on the planet at the moment and the constant heat is an unrelenting drain on mind and body; but what has really put me off is what I’ve just seen on TV: Air Force Afghanistan.
The Kandahar Airbase is home to around 10,000 soldiers from around the world who are all on the front line in the war in Afghanistan.
Regiments from the UK are regularly deployed for a six month tour of duty where they are charged with Holding tuppaware parties? Click to find out…
With so many competing mediums these days, ads have really got their work cut out for them.
No longer can you get away with singing the name of the product over a few glockenspiel chimes. If it’s not a drumming gorilla or a giant waterslide ride home, the public just ain’t going to sit up and take notice.
So it’s in that spirit, I imagine, that the makers of Oasis fruit drinks have employed the services of Read on….