Bank of Dave Review: ‘Everyman’ vs ‘The Man’

July 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

BANK OF DAVE: Thursday 12th July, Channel 4, 9pm

Dave Fishwick reckons that “banks are shit” and it’s hard to argue at the minute. The recent Barclays/LIBOR scandal, Natwest’s utter incompetence and the fact that top bankers are still getting massive bonuses while the rest of us are tightening our belts, has meant that the public’s ire has not faded much in the years since they dragged us into a recession. As such Dave’s on safe ground with his bank-bashing.

At first glance, the owner of Burnley’s biggest minibus dealership reminds us of the Duracell bunny; constantly cheerful with thousands of ideas pinging around his head at one hundred miles an hour. He also seems to be the kind of person that would tweet his thoughts and feelings every 0.5 seconds. But as it turns out, he’s a serious man and his plan to set up his own independent bank for the ‘everyman’ is heart-felt and well-intentioned. It’s also quite entertaining to watch him try and defy the “really intelligent people that all say the same thing?: he’s got “no chance.?

Yet we soon find out that Dave Fishwick doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer from anybody.

Even so, he’s set himself a mammoth task and not just because of a mountain of paperwork that will have seen environmentalists choking on their tofu. A large proportion of the programme is spent with Dave being rejected and beaten down by numerous bankers and so-called experts, causing him to insist with just the right amount of cheesiness that he’s “been fighting bullies? since he was “thirteen years old?. It was only when I recognised the Rocky theme tune in the background that I realised that he wouldn’t be going away as easily as some of his detractors had hoped. Read more

Vampires Are Dead Fashionable, So Why Are They All So Miserable?

July 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

Sigh. What happened? When did vampires lose their way? Personally I blame Joss Whedon. Before Buffy, it was okay to say you liked vampires — they were creepy, dark and frightening. But then came Angel — the one with the big forehead who whined about how much he didn’t deserve to live. Well… three tear-soaked seasons and a spin-off later, he was still there; howling about how much better off everyone would be if he was just dead.

And it only got worse.

With the imminent arrival of Breaking Dawn Part 2 in November, I’m reminded that it’s not okay to like vampires anymore. Admitting you like vampires now lumps you with the group of pre-pubescent girls who think Dracula is written in Old English and that being a ‘creature of the night’ is just one big angst-fest.

In reality, there is literally nothing bad about being a vampire anymore. You are super-strong, super-fast and super-hot. Forever. So why, oh why, does the modern-day vampire mope around all day? Why do I always expect Edward Cullen to start ripping out his perfect “bronze? (since when was that a hair colour?) locks, screaming that he doesn’t deserve them?

Perhaps the thing that pisses me off the most is the fact that every story is the same. Twilight: Immortal 17 year-old tries to stay away from mortal 17 year-old because he’s evil and doesn’t deserve her. Vampire Diaries: Immortal 17 year-old tries to stay away from mortal 17 year-old because he is evil and doesn’t deserve her — oh, but this time he’s fighting his even more evil vampire brother for her affection. True Blood: A bit better seeing as the girl in question is now in her twenties, but do we still have a lame 100 year-old crying about how much he shouldn’t love her? Yep. (Why are they always so awkward? Shouldn’t they be Olympians at small talk? You’re five hundred years old, for god’s sake. What have you been doing all this time?)

All in all, it now seems that if you’re a vampire you must long to be human… even though we can be violent, amoral and selfish and we don’t sparkle even a little. But if a vampire realises their life is actually pretty cool, they are immediately the villain and must be destroyed. Hmmm..

Just… give me Lestat back. Please.

Mel C to Judge Andre Lloyd Webber’s ‘Superstar’

July 12, 2012 by  
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Former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm is to become a permanent judge on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new show Superstar.

She will join the music mogul along with other judges Jason Donovan and Dawn French after wowing audiences during the first episodes of the ITV show last weekend. She was originally just signed up for the first week, but bosses were so impressed with her that they struck a last minute, five figure deal to secure her as a permanent member of the team.

The show follows in the footsteps of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do! in which Lloyd Webber found a new Maria to play in the West End musical of the Sound of Music and a new Joseph for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

This time the composer is looking for someone to play the role of Jesus Christ in his hit musical Jesus Christ Superstar. It seems as though Mel C is the perfect judge as she will soon take up the role of Mary Magdalene in the new arena production.

She is said to be “delighted” and released a statement saying: “It’s been an incredible experience so far and I just can’t wait for the nation to decide who will be playing Jesus in the amazing arena tour of the production.”

Jesus Christ Superstar is set for a major revival, with an all-star cast including comedian Tim Minchin, and radio DJ Chris Moyles who will be joined by the winner of the ITV series.

Lee Mead, who won Lloyd Webber’s talent show ‘Any Dream Will Do’ in 2007, has revealed that he originally expressed an interest in a judging role but was shot down by producers.

He said: “I put myself forward but they weren’t too keen. I just thought it would have been quite nice as I’ve been through the process myself.”

Big Brother Investigated After 1,225 Complaints of Racist Abuse

July 10, 2012 by  
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Ofcom is investigating the latest series of Big Brother after viewers have complained over three separate incidents, including racism and aggressive behavior.

More than 1,000 complaints have been made to the show’s regulator in regards to the programme and its spinoff show, Big Brother’s Bit on the Side. Ofcom is currently looking into the three incidents and will decide whether any of them breach the broadcasting code. If this is the case, the material must be justified by context to meet the code’s “generally accepted standards.”

The first incident — which involved housemate Conor McIntyre launching a string of insults against Miss India UK title holder Deana Uppal — provoked 1,108 complaints and caused many viewers to brand McIntyre as a ‘bully’. The show responded by issuing him a warning about his behaviour, where he replied with a series of expletives and more abuse against Uppal.

When contestant Caroline Wharram described African-American housemate Adam Kelly as a “ridiculous gorilla” with “no sanitation”, the show received a further 114 complaints by viewers that saw her comments as racist. Big Brother responded by calling her into the diary room and telling her that her comments were “unacceptable” and that they had a zero tolerance attitude towards such remarks.

In contrast to Conor, she apologised immediately, insisting: “I really didn’t mean it at all. I just didn’t think. That was really horrible. I’m really sorry.”

She also expressed her regret to Adam directly, telling him: “It’s not a personal attack. I do really like you. I just don’t react well and I’m really sorry. I genuinely like you.”

However it seems that her tearful apologies came too late as fans had already taken to Twitter to angrily slam her comments and demand that she be evicted from the house, like Emily Parr was in the 2007 series after using a racist word to a housemate.

Former Big Brother housemate Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace, who appeared as a contestant in series seven, offered her opinion on Twitter, writing: “Caroline would not have used the world ‘gorilla’ to have described any other housemate, therefore it was a racist descriptive. End of.”

In a further incident during Big Brother’s spinoff, Big Brother’s Bit On The Side, former housemate Victor Ebuwa used the words “functioning retard” to describe current contestants, prompting a further three complaints.

Despite this year’s tirade of complaints, Big Brother is no stranger to controversy. Just last year, the show was found to have breached the broadcasting code after airing offensive language just after the watershed at 9pm.

It’s also not the first time the programme has become a racial hotbed — in 2007, Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd were involved in a race row against Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty; an argument which gained notoriety all over the country.

Thelma’s Gypsy Girls Review: Caravan Chic

July 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

THELMA’S GYPSY GIRLS: Sunday 8th July, Channel 4, 9pm

If you were one of the millions of people who found My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding essential car-crash viewing, you’ll love its shamelessly fun spin-off Thelma’s Gypsy Girls — a documentary that’s filled with the same unapologetic, cringe-worthy outrageousness that made its predecessor so famous. What is different, however, is the programme’s misguided hero. This time Channel 4 has swapped bare-knuckle fighter, celebrity big brother winner and godfather of travellers Paddy Doherty for Thelma Madine; ‘the fairy godmother of Gypsy and traveller dresses’.

Read more

What the Hell is.. Sinbad?

July 7, 2012 by  
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SINBAD begins on Sunday 8th July on Sky1 at 7pm.

Is this something to do with the Lion King?
Erm, no. Not Simba, Sinbad. Completely different story. Sinbad was written a teensy bit earlier than the Lion King.
How much earlier?
Just a century.
Yes. The show does have a character called Nala in it though — that could get confusing…
Oh fantastic. Well, I’ll try to keep up. So what’s it about?
Well my old land-lubber, this is a tale of adventure on the high seas, centring around a charming young man named Sinbad whose reckless street-fighting has tragic consequences, causing him to be banished to the sea and basically cursed never to return to land again. Kind of like Bill Nighy in Pirates of the Caribbean.
Davy Jones wasn’t a street-fighter, was he?
No… I just meant the whole not being allowed on land — can we move on please?
Alright then. I suppose there’s going to be loads of action..
Aye aye, matey. It’s action-packed. There’s plenty of scrapping and the (probably really expensive) CGI visuals create some surprisingly convincing monsters and beasts for our hero to fight.
Hmmm… I tend to like my programmes to be a bit serious…
Don’t fret, my friend. While the opening episodes contain giant water monsters and huge flying dragons, there’s definitely a more sombre element to it. Some parts are pretty grim actually.
It’s on at 7 o’clock though so it can’t be too gloomy.
True. If you enjoy family-orientated shows like Merlin, you’ll love Sinbad. Most of it is colourful fantasy suitable for the whole family to watch. However the opener in particular does have some blood and gore that might freak out very young or very sensitive children a bit..
Sounds like it has something for everyone.
So who are the stars> Will I recognise anyone?
Excellent question. Elliot Knight who plays Sinbad himself is a newbie but elsewhere there’s a familiar face for every generation. Ever seen LOST?
Have I?!
Well you’ve got Sayid, but this time he’s even gloomier. Meanwhile being an ex-Eastender, Sinbad’s brother will be recognised by Albert Square-lovers. And even if you’re a teenager who’s been hiding from soaps their whole life, he’s also the kid in that Kerching! programme you used to watch when you were about eight.
Nice. Anyone else?
Glad you asked. For the oldies, there’s Denzil, a character from everyone over 40’s favourite programme: Only Fools and Horses.
Well, what more could you ask for? Turns out Sinbad really does have everything.

Watch the SINBAD Trailer here..

US ‘Sherlock’ Comes to Sky Living

July 6, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Elementary, an upcoming US series offering a modern twist on the Sherlock Holmes tale, will air on Sky this autumn.

The American equivalent hopes to follow the success of BBC1’s Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, without being a straight copy.

In fact, this interpretation of the classic tale will brand the legendary detective as a recovering alcoholic and will swap the character of John Watson for Joan Watson, played by Lucy Liu.

The programme, which also swaps Baker Street for New York, will air on Sky Living.

The series will revolve around ‘Trainspotting’ star Jonny Lee Miller as he fights against his addiction and is assigned to live with Dr Watson after coming out of rehab. Over time, they evolve to become a successful crime-fighting partnership, solving some of NYPD’s most challenging cases by combining Holmes’ skills of deduction with Watson’s intelligence and medical expertise.

Although the series is tipped to do well, not everyone is thrilled by its release. Earlier this year, Steven Moffat, writer of the Bafta winning Sherlock, expressed that he was “annoyed” by the new show and insisted that if it didn’t stay true to the Sherlock brand, it could “degrade” the story.

He showed his irritation by saying that “It isn’t a version of our show. They’ve just decided to go off and do one of their own, having been turned down by us to do an adaptation of our version.”

Sherlock producer Sue Vertue also revealed that she had rejected CBS’s request to remake the hugely popular British show for American audiences, resulting in CBS deciding to produce ‘Elementary’, their own unique spin on the tale.

“We understand that CBS are doing their own version of an updated Sherlock Holmes.” she said. “We have to assume that their modernised Sherlock Holmes doesn’t resemble ours in any way, as that would be extremely worrying.”

The character of Sherlock Holmes already holds the record for being the human literary character most portrayed on screen and Miller will join a list of over 50 actors, including Robert Downey Jr who has recently played Holmes in two films directed by Guy Ritchie.


Lifers Review: Inside Story

June 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

CUTTING EDGE – LIFERS: Monday 25th June, Channel 4, 9pm

Can a murderer ever really change? More importantly… can we ever forgive them?

These are two of the thought-provoking questions raised by this evening’s intriguing Cutting Edge documentary. Over the course of an hour, the heart of the programme is revealed to be an examination of the psychological impacts of killing — how a prisoner deals with their crime with varying degrees of remorse and additionally, how each one comes to terms with the fact that they could spend the rest of their lives incarcerated in Gartree Prison.

I found myself hooked as the programme began with a frank narration of one man’s crime — the first in many that would get me thinking “who would do something like that? Why would someone do something like that?? Read more