Thursday, 14 July 2016

Reasons To Be Cheerful

It doesn't seem like there's an awful lot to be cheerful about in Britain these days. We're in the middle of Brexit and, though the pig fucking PM has took to his trotters and left Number 10, we're witnessing the ascension of Empress Palpatine to that position. Meanwhile the knives are out for the only decent, honest and capable man in politics; Jeremy Corbyn.

International events are much better either. America seems to be tearing itself apart just as much as the UK with its mass killing sprees and Donald Trump's presidential campaign gaining ever increasing momentum. The rest of Europe rightly seems to despair of us following our vote to leave the EU, and don't even start me on the poor refugees who are just looking for a place of safety, whilst at the same time becoming hate figures for bigots everywhere whilst the people who are making these innocents leave their homes are largely ignored or even unknown in the minds of these racist, jingoistic idiots.

It seems like every time you turn on the TV there's more news to despair of or get angry about. The news is a no-go area that manages to depress with the events and, in the case of the BBC, infuriate with its right-wing bias. 

It's a tough, tough time alright. But there are beacons of hope appearing on our TV. There are examples of escapism from the horrors of reality in the schedules. There are reasons to be cheerful, and this blog today intends to list them for you in no particular order.

Chicago Fire and Chicago PD; I got hooked on the endlessly exciting exploits of Firehouse 51 last year and hungrily devoured seasons 1,2 and 3 on DVD. Now Sky Living are showing the latest season, season 4, Thursday nights at 9pm. Also on Thursday nights on 5USA is the excellent police spin off Chicago PD now in its third season and another series you will easily get hooked on. The third hospital based spin off, Chicago Med, is also available on the Universal Channel but that's one spin off too far for me.

Taskmaster; now in its second series on Dave, this series hosted by Taskmaster Greg Davies and his assistant Alex Horne pits Doc Brown, Joe Wilkinson, Jon Richardson, Katherine Ryan and Richard Osman against one another in a series of hilarious challenges.

Man Down; staying with Greg Davies, his laugh out loud sitcom Man Down returned to Channel 4 last night for a third series.

The Great British Sewing Bee; OK it may have finished now, but episodes are still available on iPlayer. This is utter comfort viewing, a calming hour watching talented creative people create absolutely brilliant outfits from scraps of fabric. Charlotte was the worthy winner of this fourth series, and the good news is that The Great British Bake Off, Sewing Bee's big sister, is back soon!

Boy Meets Girl; BBC2's groundbreaking sitcom about a transwoman finding love with a younger man and their respective quirky families. It's a deeply positive, sweet natured sitcom and exactly the kind of fluffy goodness we need right now.

Friday Night Dinner; the hilarious almost Mike Leigh-like sitcom returns for a new series to Channel 4 next Friday.

Red Rock; impressive Irish police drama/soap opera that has made its way across the water to find a home in the daytime schedules on BBC1. Started this week, with a total of 40 episodes in this series. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth catching up with on iPlayer.

Brief Encounters; a glorious, empowering '80s based light drama about how women stepped up to the plate when rising unemployment saw their husbands and boyfriends forced into the dole queues through hosting Ann Summers parties. Monday nights, ITV.

Only Connect; The best quiz show on TV, a great exercise for the brain hosted by the divinely beautiful and ultra-witty Victoria Coren Mitchell.

Top of the Pops; Treat yourself to a bit of nostalgia most Thursday and Friday evenings on BBC4 as we go back in time to the chart hits of 1982. Edited half hour broadcasts air at 7:30pm, whilst the full 40 minute original broadcasts air later, in the post midnight slot.

The One Show; because the natural, unaffected charming personality of Alex Jones each evening is always guaranteed to raise a smile. Co-hosted by the ever-genial Matt Baker.

Countryfile; an oasis of calm every Sunday evening, hosted by that man again Matt Baker. The depiction of the countryside and rural matters help to remind you that their are some constants in our country that we can gain pleasure from.

The Women's Football Show; BBC2's highlights package of all the action from the WSL, a reminder that football doesn't have to be a soulless venture about overpaid, sports car driving borderline rapists with no talent. England may have been ridiculously poor at the recent Euro tournament (no surprise there) but England Ladies remain a team to be proud of and they play their hearts out for their league teams each week. And if sport floats your boat, lets remember that Andy Murray once again won Wimbledon (not my cup of tea, but its something to be proud of in these dark times I guess) and that the Olympics are just around the corner.

The Secret Agent; Starting on Sunday night, BBC1, Tony Marchant's adaptation of Joseph Conrad's classic tale of a reluctant bomb planting anarchist in the heart of London boasts a fine cast including Toby Jones, Vicky McClure, Stephen Graham and Ian Hart and promises to be a prescient tale for our times.


  1. We have got into RED ROCK - nice to see an Irish drama series for a change, I usually check THE ONE SHOW to see who is on, and we enjoy BRIEF ENCOUNTERS, tried ONLY CONNECT and afraid I didn't take to it, so will stick with MASTERMIND and UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE; THE SEWING BEE didn't seem my thing despite Claudia - I may have missed out there, but looking forward to more BAKE-OFF and STRICTLY should be getting its act together though a lot of the great professional dancers have gone (no more Aliona or Kirstina or the wonderful Flavia ....) COUNTRYFILE is soothing on Sunday as is ANTIQUES ROADSHOW - gosh, I'm getting old. Horowitz's NEW BLOOD amuses with its every cliche in the book version of Youth Television - flashy isnt the word!

    1. I tried New Blood but gave up after one ep, it seemed like a flashy tourist film for London with the occasional snippets of a murder mystery thrown in! All those freeze frames etc, you're right - every cliche in the book.