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TONY ON TELLY: Tony talks The Jump, Call The Midwife and Dragons' Den

By NDJJournal2  |  Posted: January 27, 2014

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TONY ON TELLY 27/01/2014

Has anyone else been missing Davina McCall standing outside, LIVE, with a mic, LIVE, and a crowd making a racket behind her, LIVE?

Well have no fear, she’s back in fake-laugh action with The Jump, and it’s live.

Throughout this week, 12 celebs will be fighting it out again – this time through the medium of winter sports. Last night was the boys’ turn and, refreshingly, there wasn’t much time for the usual squabbling, tears and unlikely friendships because, amazingly, the focus was on the contest.

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The slalom race featured was certainly a test of agility and stamina, and unlike those dancing shows wherein salad-dodging couch monsters can avoid defeat by winning public affection through humour or tears, the only way to win was by getting the best time. No judges. No opinions. Just facts, recorded by clocks.

But just when I thought this could be something lovers of sport may enjoy, along came an attempt at melodrama with hairdresser Nicky Clarke declaring: “It’s just a game, why does it get so emotional?”

My answer would be: “Because you’re a drama queen Nicky, to everyone else it’s just a bit of a laugh.”

But stay tuned, for without wanting to sound sexist but being aware that I am being outrageously so, tomorrow is the turn of the women.

Man of steel and national legend Sir Steve Redgrave, who was twice as old as everyone but still managed to win last night, makes way for one-hit whining sensation Sinitta, who was shown in the preview weeping and wailing and saying “It’s probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life”. Probably forgetting about Simon Cowell there Sinitta.

Seeing as though it appears to be quite popular, I thought I’d tune in to Call The Midwife. Being a bit of a silly billy at times, can you believe I actually thought this was that programme which was highly controversial last year – you know the one with lots of screaming and causing women to dread giving birth? But Mrs On Telly tells me this was called One Born Every Minute, and then made the same comment on my place in the world.

Call The Midwife is a usually-pleasant look at life in the 1950s world, when everything was innocent and you could leave your back door open. But before you can fully say “ooh wasn’t it all so lovely back then”, it reveals a few of the harsher realities that today, thankfully, aren’t as easy to see.

Being a series that focuses on women, through women’s eyes, it presents a male-dominated society and – at least in the case of one storyline – husbands who thought they owned their fearful wives. But there’s a sense of camaraderie too, and older viewers may get a good nostalgia kick from its scenes.

The fifties were an optimistic time, and not just for women but society as a whole. You can smell that optimism.

Speaking of optimism, Dragons’ Den has returned. Now call me cruel, but isn’t it much more fun when the aspiring entrepreneurs are fully humiliated and their pitiful hopes dashed? Of course it is, glad we sorted that out. The new batch got off to a flying start with Freddy Vasilev, who declared himself a genius and asked for a million quid. And for what? Why the blueprint for “the bathroom revolution in this country” of course. What else?

Vasilev, like Archimedes before him, is a genius for whom baths are an inspiration. But unlike Archimedes, Vasilev’s Eureka moment was not in realising that water is displaced by weight but in discovering that – here in 2014 – people just simply don’t have time to turn taps on and off. His solution? Why a self-filling bath of course! It’s a revolution indeed.

Yet incredibly, the Dragons did not share his vision. It started off well with Bannatyne agreeing that he indeed was a genius, but then Peter Jones announced that he already had a self-filling bath (because he’s rich), Deborah disputed his figures and business plan (because she’s like that) and Kelly – whoever she is – politely pointing out that the invention was completely pointless (because it is). Ah well, can’t blame a bloke for trying. Unless you’re Deborah Meaden and the new Dragon Piers Linney, who were outraged beyond belief instead of tickled pink like I was. What a character. Suffice to say, Bannatyne retracted his genius comment and was “out” before anyone else. Was he being sarcastic at first or did he actually need it pointing out that a self-filling bath is as useful as a remote-control toilet flush?

A quick nod to And and Dec, who won their four millionth award at The National Television Awards on Wednesday. This one was special though, as it was a sort of life-achievement-award-although-they-are-not-dead-yet type thing. It’s amazing to think they’ve been around for 25 years though (that’s a full 100% of a quarter of a century), because I remember them when they were wee snappers in Byker Grove and Ant went blind. Then they were PJ and Duncan for a bit, although for the life of me I don’t know which was which. And since then they’ve been on telly almost every day and the nation loves and expects them to be there. Yet I’ve hardly noticed them become so huge, as if they’ve just started out. Weird that isn’t it? Why is that exactly?

Coming Up:

Coronation Street (Mon, Wed, Fri ITV1)

After the dramatic demise of Hayley last week, this week sees the funeral. Will Roy confess all? What’s to become of him?

The Jump (All this week Ch4)

The 11 remaining celebs will be wittled down to one champion through winter sport challenges. Just watch it ok, it’ll be good.

Putin’s Games – Panorama (Mon, Ch4)

The Winter Games in Russia may not be all they seem. The budget has gone up significantly and there’s allegations of dodgy contracts and unpaid workers. Panorama investigates.

Celebrity Big Brother: The Final (Wed, Ch5)

After a month or so, the remaining celebs fight it out desperately for the coveted title of the celebrity most likely to be remembered out of the celebrities this year. Who’s your money on? What have been this year’s highlights?

Outnumbered (Wed, BBC1)

The delightful, non-scripted family comedy returns for a final series, seeing Karen having trouble fitting in with new classmates and Ben auditioning for the school musical. A small problem? He cannot sing.

The Last Leg (Fri, Ch4)

Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker bring back the comedy sports review show, joined by star guests and having a look at the Sochi Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games.

Live Six Nations Rugby Union (Sat, BBC1)

Until March 15, the BBC will be awash with Six Nations rugby. The 2014 tournament kicks off in earnest with Wales v Italy (2.30pm) at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Can Wales do it yet again? If so, here would be the perfect place to start their campaign.

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