The Great British Bake Off For Stand Up To Cancer Rating: Derry Girls Rating: Christopher Stevens says Russell Brand’s greatest talent is his ego. He is testimony to the power of self-delusion over reality Russell Brand’s greatest talent is his ego. He is testimony to the power of self-delusion over reality. On the face of it, he’s an abject mediocrity: a third-rate TV host and unfunny stand-up who, convinced of his own brilliance, blagged a lead role in a Hollywood movie, Get Him To The Greek (it was dire, and then some). Marriage to pop star Katy Perry followed (short-lived and acrimonious), as did a best-selling autobiography (unreadably pretentious) and a moronic foray into politics (urging young people to boycott the 2015 election — I bet Ed Miliband curses Brand’s name every day). Yet he still preens as though he were a demi-god sent from Olympus. He might look like Charles Manson, with his long curls and greying beard, and … [Read more...] about CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Bake Off’s Russell Brand takes the biscuit
15 Days Rating: Victoria's Palace Rating: We're a demanding lot. Time was, any telly audience would be satisfied by a tale of dark family secrets driving spiteful siblings to murder in a remote farmhouse. Now we want more. And we get it in the mystery drama 15 Days (C5), when four resentful siblings gather to scatter their mother's ashes amid the inevitable recriminations over the will. They bring their own children — including little Mabli, a solemn girl with giant spectacles and a stare that would give horror writer Stephen King the creeps. Fans of last year's family suspense chiller, Blood — also set in an eerily remote farmhouse, this time in rural Ireland — will recognise the style. It's all shot with lots of dramatic lighting and deep shadows, in a house full of oil portraits and four-poster beds Mabli scolds any adult who dares to touch her friend Owen's toys, guarding the door to his bedroom like a rottweiler. The worrying thing is, she's about six … [Read more...] about CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews 15 Days on Channel 5
Mum Rating: The Virtues Rating: Sitcom was on the side of mothers everywhere, as two comedies leapt to their defence — from opposite ends of the social spectrum. In a high-rise flat on a concrete estate in London, a furious mum (Shola Adewusi) was laying into her good-for-nothing grown-up son (Samson Kayo) about the unpaid rent, on the Dave channel’s try-out show, Sliced. Lesley Manville was in much posher surroundings but was just as much exploited by her family, as the widowed Cathy in Mum (BBC2) When he was five, she bellowed, he was her little boy. Now he was 30, he was her tenant . . . ‘and you know what they call a tenant who doesn’t pay the rent? A burglar!’ Lesley Manville was in much posher surroundings but was just as much exploited by her family, as the widowed Cathy in Mum (BBC2) — back for a third and final season after being nominated for three Baftas at last weekend’s awards. More from Christopher … [Read more...] about CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews Mum on BBC2
The Name of The Rose Rating: Great British Car Journeys Rating: A primitive pair of spectacles instead of the violin and pipe, a tonsured topknot in place of the famous deerstalker, but still it is plain that The Name Of The Rose (BBC2) is really The Adventures Of St Sherlock. Umberto Eco’s literary detective story, set in an Alpine abbey during the 14th century and starring John Turturro as a Franciscan monk with an instinct for solving crime, owes everything to Conan Doyle’s original. Even the name of the hero is a homage to Holmes: William of Baskerville. The novel has been filmed before, in 1986, with Sean Connery playing the erudite monk with gruff Scottish menace, like Taggart in a cassock. Umberto Eco’s literary detective story, set in an Alpine abbey during the 14th century and starring John Turturro as a Franciscan monk with an instinct for solving crime (above), owes everything to Conan Doyle’s original That movie was forgettable, … [Read more...] about Who does this sleuthing monk take after? Elementary, my dear Watson! CHRISTOPHER STEVENS on the weekend’s TV
Rich House, Poor House Rating: Million Dollar Wedding Planner Rating: Nobody keeps their housekeeping money in a tin on the kitchen shelf any more. Surely that habit ended about the time people stopped putting their false teeth into a bedside glass of water and thwacking carpets with a wicker beater in the park. But every episode of Rich House, Poor House (C5) begins with the home-swap families rushing to the breakfast table, where they prise open the tin and eagerly count the cash that has to last them for the week. Sian and Jason White had a pleasant surprise as they discovered a roll of £20 notes — more than £1,300 in total, which is not so much a household budget as a decent win on the Lottery. 'Mental!' said their six-year-old Oscar as he surveyed the heap of wealth with satisfaction. He wasn't smiling the next day after his parents allowed him and his big brother Jack, 13, to fill a shopping trolley with all the sweets and cakes they wanted. The … [Read more...] about CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: A happy family is heartening, but boozy brawls are much more fun!
Despite the endless warnings about Britain’s obesity epidemic, threatening to bring down the health service, we can’t stop gorging. Dr Michael Mosley might have hit on the answer inadvertently on The Junk Food Experiment (ITV): declare over-eating as our national sport. He met a ‘competitive eater’ or professional greedyguts named Leah who can gobble 12 glazed donuts in 72 seconds, and demolish a 6,000 calorie superburger in the time it takes most of us to pour the ketchup. Dr Michael Mosley might have hit on the answer inadvertently on The Junk Food Experiment (ITV): declare over-eating as our national sport. Pictured: (L-R) Tessa Sanderson, Nadine Dorries MP, Hayley Tamaddon, Peter Andre, Shaun Wallace and Hugo Taylor, who all take part in the show Here at last is a sport we can excel at. The Americans might prove tough opponents, it’s true, but think how easy it’ll be to beat the Russians — they’ll still be queuing for … [Read more...] about CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews The Junk Food Experiment