When I noticed BBC1 had a new series called The Kennedys on a Friday night, I thought initially that we were going to get a new mini-series on America’s most famous political family, but instead we’ve got yet another comedy that has childhood nostalgia all over it. In a year that has seen Cradle to Grave (the seventies) and Raised with Wolves (the eighties but in the modern day), The Kennedys is a family tale set in the late seventies and is based on writer and actress Emma Kennedy’s life as a 10-year-old growing up in Stevenage. Having loved the other two shows, I was certain that I would resist this one heavily, especially as the opener crammed in a lot of seventies clichés in the space of just a few minutes. But like the other two nostalgia-fests I‘ve mentioned, it’s a jolly old half-hour, with Lucy Hutchinson the show-stealer as young Emma. There’s nothing new, but everybody is having so much fun, it would be churlish to pour cold water on something that actually does offer some good Friday night entertainment.
Prior to The Kennedys, I loved the dry wit of Richard Osman taking Jeremy Clarkson to pieces when he guest-hosted the start of the new run of Have I Got News For You last week, but the entertainment value of it should not mask a blatant piece of double-standards at the Beeb. Some years ago the permanent presenter of the show, Angus Deayton, was removed because of some frankly pretty trivial personal behaviour that made the tabloids. It was rough treatment I thought at the time, yet in 2015, we have a man back working for the BBC just months after he punched a producer in an inexcusable piece of behaviour that lost him his position with Top Gear. Why one rule for Deayton but another for Clarkson?
All hail to ITV for firing some big drama guns in the priceless 9.00pm slot that it seemed to give up over the summer. Old favourites Lewis, Doc Martin, and Downton Abbey this week have been joined by a Thursday night cracker in the shape of Unforgotten which I think is the best new drama that ITV have produced this year with familiar faces Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhasker playing detectives who get involved in a “cold case”.
The X Factor six-chair challenge is a wicked piece of television, but utterly gripping, and I thought Rita Ora did pretty well with her picks as he went up first last Sunday in the girls category. There’s no need to feel sorry for the wanabes as they know what’s coming up, and we’ll get more hysteria come the Judge’s Houses section. But, how hysterical will Cheryl Fernandez Versini get if the rumours prove to be true, and Louis Walsh reappears as a neutral fifth judge come the live shows? It hasn’t been denied and Walsh has allegedly turned down half a million quid to go to the jungle for I’m A Celebrity, so that he can return to his favourite show. I love Louis and his sense of fun, but surely The X Factor has moved on? Meanwhile over on deadly rival Strictly Come Dancing, isn’t Peter Andre the most obvious early favourite of all time?