Severe readies

We’re almost at the six-month mark. Telly Addict has been under the new roof of UKTV for almost half a year. We’ll be taking a break after Christmas, but you know what to do if you want it to bounce back in 2017: like, share, view, Tweet, lobby. I’ll be doing a review of the second half of 2016 in two weeks, including a Montage of Zen. Until then, two more “regular” Telly Addicts. This week’s begins with a celebration of Top Of The Pops (BBC Four), currently exploding with moments from 1982. Like this unique leg move from Shakin’ Stevens, which needs to be seen in action to be believed. The past is a foreign country. They do things better there.


Anybody else spot a similarity between Shaky and the translucent tree frog on Planet Earth II (BBC One)? Just me. OK.


Who Do You Think You Are (BBC One) returned for its 13th series with the sort of series opener that money cannot buy. Not even, in the words of its subject, “severe readies.” Investigate this hour of cherishable telly on the iPlayer forthwith. This will involve you putting aside all prejudices about Danny Dyer, who exists in the grey area between reality and fiction, and in many ways plays himself; but as his bloodline back to royalty unspools, his reactions are priceless. And it’s really quite moving. And when Handel’s Zadok the Priest kicks in, your mind will have been changed.



Another song of praise now: a nod to The Coroner (BBC One), back for a second series based on audience love in the Daytime, where murders are committed but not in dark alleyways, violently, by serial killers. Hooray for Sally Abbott, the show’s creator, for taking a route through the whodunit that’s as picturesque as it is involving, and gentle. Not all crime drama can have men drilling other men’s heads with power tools. In the grab above, the coroner (Claire Goose) and the detective (Matt Bardock) are discussing the case, while the rest of us gaze longingly at Devon. It’s Escape to The Country with forensics.

If you fancy something more expensive and self-regarding, there’s always season three of Showtime’s The Affair (Sky Atlantic), which I keep saying is an HBO drama, even though it technically isn’t.


I’ve tried three times now to love it – once with the first season, once with the second, and again with the third – but I just can’t. I don’t buy Dominic West as this irresistible “Mr Lover Man” of New York academia, and that’s difficult to get over. (He shaves that simian beard off in Episode One, by the way, which is a boon, as it isn’t helping.)

The object on the coffee table is an heirloom: the NME cassette compilation C86, from 1986. I treasure it, even though I have no large piece of electrical equipment that will actually play it.

This week’s Moment of Zen comes from The Young Pope (Sky Atlantic), which is quite unlike any other drama I have seen all year, and occupies a special place in my heart. If you just want to look at Jude Law’s torso, you can.


Oh, and I was perplexed by the new Walliams & Friend (BBC One) sketch show, in which its star, David Walliams, takes a humble back seat to his guests, almost wilfully giving up the spotlight. This seems self-defeating for a David Walliams vehicle.



6 thoughts on “Severe readies

  1. Another series which more than justified for the licence fee was “The Missing”, season 2 of which has just finished, but don’t remember you ever mentioning it which is odd.
    I thought that it was brilliant, and it’s also available on the iPlayer.
    One other comment on a different subject:
    Is your success measured by UKTV by the number of subscribers to your email, the number of viewers to your email or the number of YouTube views?
    I only ask because I’d like to support you but your social media strategy (if you have one) is confusing.
    Cheers, Will.


      • Thanks for your completely unprompted review of “The Missing” in your latest episode. 😉
        You’ve done a great job of introducing me to a number of different TV series since you had to branch out on your own, and the Danny Dyer episode of “Who do you think you are?” you recommended was both riveting and joyous.
        So thanks from me.


  2. Glad you picked out the cricket from that episode of Planet Earth II – it had googly eyes like the ones you stick on felt toys!

    What did you make of Rillington Place, is it up for review in the next episode? The opening episode seemed focused on establishing the ominous, creepy setting and character rather than describing much of what Christie actually did, and it certainly succeeded in that. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

    Also, I know you don’t often pick out films from the Storyville stream for Telly Addict but a special mention for Jim: The James Foley Story, which was excellent and is still on the iplayer.


    • I must catch up with the James Foley Story. Yes, Rillington Place is praised for its grisly atmosphere in the new Telly Addict, which should be live later this afternoon.


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