Channel Four’s new comedy Derry Girls, set in the nineties in Londonderry, is an instant hit for me, as we follow a group of teenagers growing up amidst the background of the Northern Ireland troubles. Yes, we get the odd political gag in there, but it’s more of a nostalgia fest that is a total treat. The youngsters (though one of them amazingly is played by a 31-year-old) are full of fun and some rough language, but it plays well in context as everything moves at one heck of a pace.
Derry Girls oozes likeability and with both BBC 1 and ITV seemingly incapable of finding a brand new scripted comedy success, I strongly recommend you to give this is a shot, as you will be impressed. The only very slight critique is that the teenagers are rattling away at a fair rate and at times I found it tricky to pick up every line, but that’s the only negative I could find in a joyous half-hour where the fun just oozes out of the screen.
It’s as rare as rocking-horse proverbial to find The Queen speaking in an informal situation, but there she was in Sunday’s splendid documentary, The Coronation (BBC 1), looking back at her big day in 1953, and talking about all the royal crowns, including the Crown Jewels. The stories from other people involved were fascinating, but The Queen stole the show with her dry humour, though I was dying for interviewer Alistair Bruce to ask her something totally off-script! I also kept thinking of Claire Foy’s portrayal of HRH in The Crown, and how well she had cracked her!
I thought it was a bold move for ITV for give over two and a half hours on Tuesday night for Britain’s Favourite Dogs. The good news was that it was totally justified in an entertaining and informative show that had high production values and imagination, which made a change from the usual cheap concessionary rubbish that ITV put out on a Tuesday as they wave the ratings flag of surrender in BBC 1’s direction.
Ben Fogle and Sara Cox were good hosts, and I learnt a lot about the top 100 breeds (the labrador came top). It was the heart-warming and heart-breaking stories from the owners that really got to me, and as a relative newcomer to the dog-owning fraternity, I knew exactly where they were coming from.
If you are interviewing the lovely Miriam Margolyes live on a Sunday morning TV show and she asks whether you can use a naughty word, and you say yes, well what can you expect? The actress popped up on the ITV political show Peston on Sunday, and the awkward Robert Peston amazingly gave Miriam the green light to say some naughty words. It was a case of whether it was the f-word or c-word, and Miriam duly obliged with the f-bomb concerning a sexy inappropriate move made on her by actor Warren Beatty. I was in stitches watching it, as Peston seemed to be the only person who did not know what was going to happen (hasn’t he seen her on the Graham Norton Show?), but in a sign of the times, there was no switchboard meltdown at ITV on Sunday morning, and it did give us a classic TV moment. Thank you Robert and Miriam.
Olly Murs has fitted in well with the coaches on The Voice, which is giving ITV a deserved ratings runaway triumph on a Saturday night. He brings bags of enthusiasm as we continue to shout at the coaches for not turning round when they should. The opening two shows seem to have had both Jennifer Hudson and will.i.am appear to be relatively restrained, but there’s time yet. Much as I love the UK version of The Voice, the US version (which featured Hudson in the autumn) is much better because the coaches really do slog it out in the pitching to bag an act, and that’s something that is a key element that we don’t have on ITV (and previously on the Beeb). Check it out, if you can, for yourself and you’ll see what I mean…..and the US singers are also miles better.