‘Tumble’ (BBC1) Review

Question: What happens when you toss Strictly and Splash! together and, with some fanfare, stick the end result on primetime BBC1?

The answer is Tumble: a new talent show which requires celebrities to learn gymnastics, of both the floor and aerial varieties. They’re coached by a gymnast, partnered by a gymnast, commentated on by a gymnast, and then judged by a panel of gymnasts; it’s very much a gymnastics-orientated  vehicle. This week, all of the celebrities performed for the  first time and were guaranteed a place in next week’s show – but at the end of the second episode, the two contestants w ho receive the fewest votes will have to take on the Vault, and whoever is deemed to be the poorest will be eliminated. Sad times.

Other than the gymnastics element, there is nothing to set Tumble apart from any other celebrity talent show: the forced drama, mixed bag of routines and tedious judges have all been seen on shows previously. Even the celebrities aren’t new to 'Tumble' contestantsreality TV fans: Andrea McLean competed on the first series of Dancing on Ice; Ian ‘H’ Watkins (the ‘H’ is very important nowadays) has been a Celebrity Big Brother housemate; Emma Samms, as well as being one of the less recognisable faces from Dynasty, was a contestant on Celebrity Scissorhands; and Peter Duncan has been on The Games and Let’s Dance for Sport Relief – as has Carl Froch. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the celebrities – they seem a perfectly amiable bunch – but they’re largely typical reality TV fodder, and are therefore often as disengaging as the training videos in which they feature and routines they perform.

In fact, even the judging panel is quite unappealing, comprising of Louis Smith and three others who, I think it’s safe to say, most viewers of this programme have never heard of, nor have any interest in.'Tumble' judges - (L-R) Sebastien Stella, Louis Smith, Nadia Comăneci and Craig Heap They’re all gymnasts and all are disengaging. I mean, say what you like about Jo Brand’s right to be on the Splash! panel but at least she cracks a few gags and brightens up the mood after her fellow judges have commented on a ten-second belly flop with far more scrutiny than is necessary, or even appropriate, for a Saturday night celebrity competition. Tumble doesn’t even have a Jo Brand figure, though, meaning that the only person who rises above the tedium of his peers is Craig Heap, whose desperate emulation of Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood is painfully obvious and threatened only by mild conceit.

My main qualm with Tumble, however, was that it didn’t live up to its title – we saw very few 'Tumble' host, Alex Jonestumbles. There’s a reason why the public love shows like You’ve Been Framed and It’ll Be Alright on the Night, and in the past have voted week after week for Todd Carty and Joe Pasquale to stay in Dancing on Ice, and Ann Widdecombe and John Sergeant to endure on Strictly: rightly or wrongly, we love to see failure and accidents on TV. It entertains us as a nation! So, when a show like this comes along, which doesn’t involve something that viewers have at least a smidgen of knowledge and can pass judgement on, like singing or dancing, we long for the accidents – the eponymous ‘tumbles’ – and when they fail to come, it makes for quite a boring show, as Tumble proved to me to be.

I appreciate that the celebrities have put a lot of time and effort into their routines, and Alex Jones did a quite admirable job as host, but the result was something bordering on car crash TV. I imagine that during these summer months, it will prove popular with families, and a few years ago could even  have been lumped into the ‘Bearably Bad’ category – but now that that is occupied by shows like Splash! and Your Face Sounds Familiar, Tumble just seems like a bit of a damp squib.

I’m just preparing myself to pity the BBC when it goes up against The X Factor in a few weeks’ time…

 

Tumble is on Saturdays at 6:30pm on BBC1

What did you think of Tumble? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer

‘Siblings’ (BBC3) Review

From the – no doubt currently jubilant – production company behind The Inbetweeners comes this new sitcom about ‘the world’s worst brother and sister’: Hannah (Charlotte Ritchie, Fresh Meat) and Dan (Tom Stourton, Common Ground).

Over the course of the six episodes that make up this first series, we will see Hannah and Dan expose, often unwillingly, their selfishness, idiocy and general ineptitude as they muddle through life with seldom much effort at all. The first instalment served up pretty predictable sitcom fodder, with   Hannah trying to impress her new boss (but, unlike in most sitcoms, actually managing it pretty well for a while) and involving her brother, who agrees to pretend to be disabled in order to portray his sister as a caring person with a difficult home life.

As I said, this is typical sitcom fodder – and even the seemingly novel plot of a character posing as someone in a wheelchair, leading to a very awkward social situation or two, will be familiar to fans of shows like Not Going Out, The IT Crowd and Seinfeld. This barely matters, however, as what writers Keith Akushie and Daran Johnson lacked in originality, they made up for in gags. Admittedly, Siblings only really hit its stride, joke-wise, about half way through the first episode, but once it did it was quite a joy, and Dan and Hannah were instantly likeable; he’s incompetent, and she’s only mildly competent, with an abundance of incompetence always threatening to burst out – and sometimes doing so. Their incompetence, laziness and slight depravity make them nothing particularly new on the sitcom scene but they do are potentially hilarious characters, and although this potential was only partially realised in tonight’s opening episode, I have no doubt that the more time we spend with Hannah and Dan, the more we’ll love them and the funnier we’ll find them.

So, Siblings may not have thrown up anything excitingly original but it did provide a good thirty minutes of the sort of enjoyable, cringe-worthy and often bawdy comedy that leaves the audience in no doubt that it’s the work of Bwark Productions. I’d say it’s been a pretty good week for them, wouldn’t you?

Image thanks to: BBC; Bwark; and Ed Miller – ©Bwark

Siblings is on Thursdays at 10:30pm on BBC3

What did you think of Siblings? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer

‘The Inbetweeners 2′ Review

After a three year hiatus, much anticipation and more publicity than Channel 4 could shake Will’s soiled exam pants at, today The Inbetweeners 2 was released nationwide in cinemas – and if the reactions of everyone who joined me in one of the first, packed screenings is anything to go by, has done what was hitherto deemed undoable, and surpassed its 2011 predecessor.

Beyond the worlds of soaps and Mrs Brown’s Boys, you would be hard-pushed to find a TV show with a legion of fans as die-hard and expectant as that of The Inbetweeners. With every new episode on TV and film in cinemas, audiences demand more and more in every sense – but, as we know, for many writers, this is seldom easy to deliver, resulting in very few sequels exceeding, or even meeting, expectations. One can only imagine, therefore, the pressure that The Inbetweeners scribes, Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, were under to create ninety minutes of film that would fulfil every little wish of their loyal fans. We wanted original, ingenious jokes, with the odd nod to old favourites thrown in; we wanted some character development, but no so much that Will, Simon, Jay and Neil had ceased having the traits and nuances for which we love them so much; and, most importantly as this is reportedly the last-ever outing for the lads, we wanted a fitting send-off. Thank God, then, that Morris and Beesley delivered exactly that in abundance.

As would be expected, the lads are no different to how they were when we last left them in 2011: Jay (James Buckley) and Neil (Blake Harrison) are still ‘calling “shotgun”’ and branding others ‘wankers’ (‘briefcase-‘, ‘bus-‘ or otherwise), and Simon’s (Joe Thomas) love life is as beautifully complicated as Will himself (Simon Bird). It’s very difficult to give the film a full review and convey how funny it is while also resisting the urge to reveal some of its best gags – verbal, visual and situational. However, the writers, to reiterate, absolutely deliver the goods by throwing up, as always, a surprise or two – whether that’s the unexpected return of characters, stinging one-liners or a bit of deus ex machina (look it up). Unlike in the original E4 series and first film, however, I felt that the pathos in The Inbetweeners 2 worked only intermittently, being perhaps laid on quite heavy in the latter half of the film. It did, though, show us the gentler side to the characters – particularly Jay – that we seldom get to see. In fact, we learn a lot about Jay in this film – most of all, that his crudeness, brashness and general social ineptitude may be genetic.

I’m sure I need not say it but any fan of The Inbetweeners will not be disappointed by this sequel; while perhaps all but one of the scenes stand-out as much as Neil’s dancing or the loss of Will’s glasses, Morris and Beesley have succeeded in writing ninety minutes of the expletive-laden, sex-fuelled, typically immature, but no less finely crafted, comedy that fans of the show crave and deserve. The companies behind a lot of films pack the best bits into the trailer – but all that you see in that for The Inbetweeners 2 is just the tip of the smutty iceberg.

The Inbetweeners 2 is in cinemas nationwide from today

What did you think of The Inbetweeners 2? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer

‘The Singer Takes It All’ (Channel 4) Review

Described as ‘really groundbreaking’ by its host, Alan Carr, new interactive talent competition-cum-gameshow The Singer Takes It All began on Channel 4 tonight and saw an indifferent celebrity panel of two, some technical problems and a mixed reaction from the Twittersphere.

Despite my faith in Channel 4’s golden boy, Alan Carr, and inference from the much-shown trailer that The Singer Takes It All would be one of the few talent shows that was just out to entertain and wouldn’t take itself too seriously, I was worried. It just seemed to smack of failure straight away – a show that would be much-hyped in the days and weeks leading up to its debut, get a few column inches afterwards thanks to TV critics, and whimper out in six weeks’ time with only a fraction of its original audience, and perhaps someone expecting to see 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, tuning in.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not my prophecy about its fate will come to fruition but I have to say that I enjoyed the first episode. Obviously there are a few teething problems: I’m not quite sure about Lips (the commentator and score deliverer, voiced by 2005 X Factor semi-finalist, Brenda Edwards) and think that the interactive app – which determines whether or not a singer stays or goes, and is arguably the epicentre of the show – should have been tested more thoroughly beforehand. Oh, and I have a hunch that the conveyor belt gimmick will wear thin ten minutes into next Friday’s episode.

The format itself, however (a singer taking to the stage and, depending on whether the majority of the public deems them to be a ‘Hit’ or ‘Miss’, sailing through to the Gold Zone or being put in reverse, and disappearing through a cloud of smoke) is a pleasing one – but it’s not being used to its full potential! I, like many other viewers, found it quite amusing when CCJ and Tara Newton-Wordsworth (no relation, to my knowledge) were put in reverse and vanished through the smoke and agape doors. They weren’t bad singers – they perhaps just failed to live up to people’s expectations or hit a bit of a bum note. It seems that this format was made for bad singers, though: so where were they? The problem appears to be that because all of the contestants are on the show because they uploaded an audition clip to the The Singer Takes It All app and were voted for by its users, we only tend to see good singers, who, more often than not, sail through to the Gold Zone. We, the viewing public, must start to make a few maverick moves and press ‘Hit’ on the app for singers who aren’t as vocally talented (and know they aren’t; I’m not advocating any X Factor-style false hope here) so that we get extra laughs by more people disappearing through the doors, and the format can be used to its full potential!

Thankfully, to the more casual viewer, many of the holes in the show might not have been all that noticeable, thanks to the perfect selection of Alan Carr as host. He injects his trademark cheeky humour at every opportunity – which very few other hosts, even comedians, could have managed, I’m sure. His unwavering enthusiasm kept the fledgling show afloat – just – and he dealt with the all-too-frequent technological failures involving the app (to reiterate, very much the focus of the show) extremely well.

The Singer Takes It All may have received a mixed-reaction on social media as the TV snobs came out in force and condemned it for being too frivolous and ‘stupid’, just because it had the gumption to buck the talent show trend and not have a panel of judges, or promise of a recording contract for its winners, or wish to do anything other than entertain, but a lot of people seem to be having fun with the app – so perhaps the programme has legs. Or the app does, at least. People just need to approach The Singer Takes It All sensibly: if you’re looking for a serious singing competition, get yourself onto YouTube and watch clips of The Voice, but if a typical Friday night of rowdy fun and interaction is what you’re after, you’re in luck.

'The Singer Takes It All' host, Alan Carr

The Singer Takes It All is on Fridays at 9pm on Channel 4

What did you think of The Singer Takes It All? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer

ITV Encore’s Drama Poll is Here!

We all know that the nation loves a good drama to get their teeth into. The brilliantly crafted characters, intricate plotlines and twists and turns in the narrative are what keep us captivated by the genre, and while other channels have been known to throw up a classic or two, it’s surely ITV that is the home of truly great British drama.

From crime series such as A Touch of Frost, The Sweeney and Whitechapel to cosier shows like Fat Friends, Wild at Heart and At Home With the Braithwaites, and not forgetting period pieces, including Upstairs, Downstairs, Lost in Austen and Brideshead Revisited, ITV seldom disappoints when it comes to cracking drama. Surprisingly, though, none of the aforementioned shows were nominated in either of the categories in the poll; Best Drama Moment and Favourite Drama Character.

The other nominees, however, more than warranted their places in the poll. So, here they are. First up, we have Best Drama Moment.

Broadchurch – The Murderer is Revealed'Broadchurch' - The Murderer is Revealed

In spring last year, the nation was captivated as Chris Chibnall’s Broadchurch had us all guessing who was the murderer of tragic teen, Danny Latimer. My money was always on Mark, Danny’s dad, and in the end it was revealed to be…no, I won’t spoil it. The final episode attracted a staggering 10 million viewers – and that’s excluding audiences for ITV+1 and ITV Player, and with series two due to be filmed imminently, Broadchurch fever looks set to grip Britain once again.

Collision – The Car Crash'Collision' - The Car Crash

Starring Douglas Henshall, this metafictional series ran for five consecutive nights in 2009 and regularly attracted viewers of around 7 million. As the title suggests, the series told the story of a car crash which causes a group of strangers’ lives to become intertwined, leading to the exposition of numerous secrets involving smuggling, government cover-ups and murder. To remind yourself of the spectacular, and very costly, crash, take a look at this report from ITV’s Anglia Tonight.

Doc Martin – Martin and Louisa’s Wedding

One of the most popular ITV shows of recent years is undoubtedly Doc Martin – the story of'Doc Martin' - Martin and Louisa's Wedding a haemophobic doctor who, having quit his job as a surgeon in London, relocates to Cornish village, Portwenn and struggles to tone down his stubbornness and improve his people skills to fit in with the close-knit way of life. Running throughout the six series, which we have enjoyed since 2004, has been the will-they-won’t-they relationship between Martin and local headmistress, Louisa Glasson. It took them three series to even go on a date, Martin called off their wedding in 2009 and then in the last minute of the show’s returning episode in 2011, Louisa revealed that she was pregnant! So, with baby James bringing them closer than ever, Martin and Louisa finally made it down the aisle in the sixth series last year. In true Doc Martin style though, even the wedding was plagued by complications: Louisa was late, the couple had a tiff at the reception and the villagers’ gift of a honeymoon resulted in a shotgun being pointed at the newlyweds by a madman whose life Martin eventually saved when a caravan collapsed onto him. ‘Twas quite an episode!

Downton Abbey – Matthew and Mary’s First Kiss

When Matthew Crawley first arrived at Downton Abbey'Downton Abbey' - Matthew and Mary's First Kiss with his mother, Isobel, sparks flew as he was reluctant to marry one of the Crawley daughters and be the new air of the Abbey. However, when he saw Lady Mary, he instantly fell in love with her – it’s just a shame that she didn’t feel the same, as she displayed open hostility towards the twenty-something solicitor. The Dowager Countess felt quite the same about Isobel – and while the two women continue to be acerbic with one another four years on, Matthew and Mary thankfully got together, with the unlikely kiss that was nominated as Best Drama Moment.

Downton Abbey – The Death of Lady Sybil

Over its four year tenure, Downton Abbey has seen many much-loved characters come and go –'Downton Abbey' - The Death of Lady Sybil sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently. An example of the latter occurred in October 2012 when, during the third series of the show, almost twelve million viewers mourned the death of feisty Feminist, Lady Sybil. Having qualified as a nurse and married Irish chauffeur, Tom Branson, in late 1919, Sybil found herself pregnant – but sadly died during childbirth, making that episode one of the most poignant and best-written of the four series.

Foyle’s War – The End of World War II'Foyle's War' - The End of World War II

Having been axed by ITV Director of Programmes, Simon Shaps, in 2008, it was widely believed that this episode of Foyle’s War, entitled ‘All Clear’, would be the last. The series eventually returned in 2010 and continues to run today, but it is this episode from the sixth series that was nominated for Best Drama Moment.

Law & Order: UK – Ronnie Tries to Save Matt Devlin

Its future may be unsure, as Bradley Walsh has recently stated that he is leaving the show, but for  the past five years, Law & Order: UK has regularly'Law & Order: UK' - Ronnie Tries to Save Matt Devlin attracted and intrigued millions of viewers with the cases that down-to-earth cop Ronnie Brooks comes across. The moment that finds Law & Order: UK in the poll is from the final episode of the fifth series, in which Ronnie attempted to save his colleague and surrogate son, Matt Devlin after he was shot twice by a masked gunman. In a gripping and emotional scene, Ronnie ran to the ailing Matt and placed his coat over him in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding, before the screen faded to black. It would be almost five months until British viewers discovered whether Matt lived or died.

Mr Selfridge – Selfridges Opens For the First Time

Based on the book, Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge, the first episode of Andrew Davies’s  critically acclaimed period drama depicted just some of the trials and'Mr Selfridge' - Selfridges Opens For the First Time tribulations that Harry Gordon Selfridge faced when he came to London to create his now famous Oxford Street store. Having had success in Chicago with his transformation of the department store, Marshall Field’s, Selfridge came to England in an attempt to do the same, but unfortunately his business partner pulled out at the last minute. Undeterred, Selfridge soldiered on, recruited the help of Lady Mae Loxley and saw his store built in record time. Of course, many other obstacles would stand in Harry’s way over the coming months and years but this moment, when Selfridges opened for the first time, was a truly great one.

Mrs Biggs

Five-part factual drama, Mrs Biggs aired in 2012 and received instant critical acclaim for its'Mrs Biggs' alternative look at the infamous Great Train Robbery. Told from the perspective of Ronnie Biggs’s wife, Charmian (who helped writer Jeff Pope with some of the scripts), the series saw Daniel Mays nominated for a National Television Award, while Sheridan Smith was recognised by not only the NTAs but also BAFTA and the Royal Television Society. The use of Biggs’s wife to tell the story of the raid was ingenious and offered an insight into her trauma and turmoil that much of the nation had previously not considered. Whereas it could not match the impeccable timing of the BBC’s The Great Train Robbery last year (the first episode of which aired on the same day as Ronnie Biggs’s death), Mrs Biggs was a truly great drama which provided numerous memorable moments.

Poirot – The Death of Hercule Poirot

Last year, after a quarter of a century on our screens,'Poirot' - The Death of Hercule Poirot Belgian detective Hercule Poirot solved his last-ever case. Entitled ‘Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case’, this final instalment saw the immobilised sleuth and his old friend Captain Hastings return to their first case in order to prevent a looming murder. In Styles Court, where the pair first met thirty years ago, Hastings acted as Poirot’s eyes and ears, attempting to uncover, from a long list of possibilities, the killer in their midst. It was a gripping conclusion to the story of Hercule Poirot and more than satisfied the super-sleuth’s fans, even delivering the twist in the tale to which they had become so accustomed. Incidentally, ‘Curtain: Poirot’s Final Case’ will be the first programme shown on ITV Encore at 7:00pm tonight.

Scott & Bailey – Janet Scott is Stabbed'Scott & Bailey' - Janet Scott is Stabbed

Based on an idea by two of the show’s stars, Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay, and written by Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley scribe, Sally Wainwright, Scott & Bailey has been entertaining ITV audiences since 2011. It was in the penultimate episode of the first series that this moment happened; when Janet Scott was stabbed and critically injured after Rachel discovered who killed 46-year-old mother, Lynn Stott. Of course, Janet soon recovered and in the next episode returned to work but she would later interview Geoff Hastings – the man who stabbed her – in series two.

The Widower – Malcolm Webster Drugs His First Wife'The Widower' - Malcolm Webster Drugs His First Wife

The most recent drama on the list, The Widower told the true story of nurse, Malcolm Webster who  is currently imprisoned for the murder of his first wife and attempted murder of his second, and gripped viewers when it aired in March of this year. The scene in which Webster drugged his first wife, Claire, was an amazing piece of television. Reece Shearsmith showed the character’s manipulation, determination and ruthlessness perfectly, making for a fantastic miniseries.

Titanic – RMS Titanic Strikes an Iceberg

Broadcast in 2012 to coincide with the centenary of the maiden voyage of the tragic Titanic,'Titanic' - RMS Titanic Strikes an Iceberg Downton Abbey writer, Julian Fellowes’s four-part miniseries was met with a mixed reception, with critics seeming undecided as to whether or not it was worth the £11m it cost to make and nearly three million viewers fleeing after the opening episode. ITV Encore clearly believed it to be worthy of a place on this list, however, so the iconic moment of the Titanic hitting the iceberg was nominated for Best Drama Moment.

So those are all of the moments, surprisingly spanning only six years of ITV drama. My favourite had to be the reveal of the murderer on Broadchurch - Olivia Colman and David Tennant’s performances in that episode were exceptional, and Chris Chibnall’s writing made it inevitable that the show would have numerous awards heaped upon it. It seems that the 2,000 people polled agreed with me, as Broadchurch was indeed voted the Best Drama Moment, with 25% of the vote! Poirot was in second place, with the wedding of Martin and Louisa in Doc Martin and the death of Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey joint third.

ITV Encore also wanted viewers to vote for their Favourite Character. Those in line for that accolade included:

Broadchurch – Alec Hardy (David Tennant)

Broadchurch – Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman)

Broadchurch – Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker)

Broadchurch – Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan)

Doc Martin – Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes)

Doc Martin – Louisa Ellingham (Caroline Catz)

Downton Abbey – Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery)

Downton Abbey – Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens)

Downton Abbey – The Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)

Downton Abbey – Violet, Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith)

Endeavour – Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans)

Foyle’s War – Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen)

Foyle’s War – Sam Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks)

Law & Order: UK – DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh)

Lewis – DI Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately)

Lewis – DS James Hathaway (Laurence Fox)

Marple – Jane Marple (Julia McKenzie)

Midsomer Murders – DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon)

Midsomer Murders – DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles)

Mr Selfridge – Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus)

Favourite Character Nominees

Those were just some of the nominations for Favourite Character – many more were available. Doc Martin (Martin Clunes) and Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) tied in first place for Favourite Male Character, with 25% of the vote each, while DI Alex Hardy (David Tennant, Broadchurch) secured second place and DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh, Law & Order: UK) and DI Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately, Lewis) tied in third position.

As for the female characters, unsurprisingly, Downton Abbey‘s Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) was most popular, with 32% of the vote. Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman, Broadchurch) and Louisa Ellingham (Caroline Catz, Doc Martin) were second, and DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn, Vera) came third.

Don’t forget to tune into ITV Encore from 6:45pm tonight, when the last-ever Poirot will be followed by a double-bill of Broadchurch and the first episode of The Ice Cream Girls on Sky channel 123.

All images included in this article courtesy of ITV

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ 2014 – Final Review

With more talent than we’ve seen in a long time and more camp than you can shake a feather boa at, the Final of the eighth series of Britain’s Got Talent arrived tonight and saw musical theatre act, Collabro be crowned the winners. Here are my thoughts on the acts we saw, in ascending order of success.

Yanis Marshall, Arnaud and MehdiYanis Marshall, Arnaud and Mehdi

This trio of high-heels-donning dancers were never going to win, were they? They just had too much  competition. Talent, they had. A hope in hell, they did not. Still, at least they can say that they were the first act ever to be buzzed in the Final – and by Simon to boot!

The Addict InitiativeThe Addict Initiative

I love The Addict Initiative’s ingenuity, blending stunning dance with a recognisable fairytale narrative. I don’t quite know where they can go from here – there certainly isn’t a platform out there for an act like themselves but I hope that they do well, no matter what they do.

Paddy & NicoPaddy & Nico  

I was really surprised that Paddy and Nico didn’t do better tonight! They of course had the backing of Amanda but also seemed to be loved by the public. Perhaps they were just unlucky to be in a show with so many other talented performers – as it certainly wasn’t a lack of talent that let them down!

Lettice Rowbotham 

I adore Lettice! I want to be her best friend! Seriously, though, her personality isLettice Rowbotham just a small part of her act, as her violin-playing is exceptional. I loved her singing, too, although it was a shame that we only got a little burst of it – it seemed a bit out of place, really. I think it would have made much more sense for her to sing the ‘Wake me up inside’ line, rather than simply leaving a gap. She’s still an exceptional talent, though, and I really do hope that she does well in the future.

Jon CleggJon Clegg 

Thank God Jon Clegg was given the Wildcard! He is such a talented impressionist; there isn’t one of his voices that isn’t absolutely spot on and it’s a shame that he didn’t win. That’s 50p that I’ll never see again! I’ve little doubt that Jon will do well – we’ll probably see him popping up on some show or another in due course.

James Smith 

I love James! His charisma shines in his performances, he has such charm andJames Smith is not bad looking either. I’m sure he’ll have had the teenage girls of the national fawning over him tonight. Oh, and his voice is amazing too – I mustn’t forget about his voice. I just hope my boyfriend isn’t reading this review, else I’m going to be in a bit of trouble…

Darcy Oake 

Darcy’s an amazing illusionist – probably one of the best we’ve Darcy Oakeever seen on Britain’s Got Talent. I have to be honest, I thought that his audition and semi-final performances were much better and more impressive than tonight’s; the fact that ITV were allowing such a trick to be broadcast in a live pre-watershed slot removed the danger of him being seriously injured somewhat. I’m sure this show will have given him the platform to be recognised and celebrated across the world – not just in his native Canada.

Jack Pack 

Whether or not they actually stole MichaelJack Pack Buble’s crown, as Amanda claimed they did, I’m not sure but one thing’s for certain: they are brilliant! Not only do they look great, they sound it too. I said it when I reviewed their semi-final performance and I’ll say it again: they are a true breath of fresh air and I’m sure Simon will snap them up straight away.

Bars & Melody 

There’s no doubt that these youngBars & Melody singers/songwriters are talented, but I just can’t get over their sycophancy. Last week, they made a huge deal of telling Alesha that she looks beautiful. On This Morning on Thursday, they told Holly Willoughby the same – and had no qualms about stressing the point. A lot. Then tonight, when Simon said that he hoped that his son, Eric, grows up to be like them. Now, to that lovely comment a simple ‘Thank you’ would have sufficed but instead, Leondre (the youngest of the two) gushed that he hopes that he turns out like Simon when he’s older. Don’t get me wrong: I know that that’s better than them being miserable, unappreciative and insincere but…oh, it was all just a bit too much, in my opinion.

Lucy KayLucy Kay 

Isn’t Lucy’s voice just amazing? I’m so pleased that people managed to see past the “sob story” and recognise that Lucy is very, very talented. She more than warranted second place – no doubt we’ll see her topping the classical charts later this year. Watch out, Katherine Jenkins: you have stiff competition.

Collabro

If only some bitter madwoman hadCollabro started chucking eggs at Simon Cowell during  Collabro’s slot tonight, we’d have had a truly traditional Britain’s Got Talent performance! I was very surprised that Collabro won – yes, they have an abundance of talent and are incredibly popular and likeable but I thought that Bars & Melody, James Smith or even Jon might have just pipped them to the post. I am of course very pleased for them, though, and can’t wait to see where they go from here. Worthy winners!

 All images thanks to ITV, ©Thames TV/SyCo

Britain’s Got Talent will of course be back in 2015

If you still need your BGT fix, though, Stephen Mulhern looks back at the past seven years of auditionees in Britain’s Got More Talent Best & Worst on Monday at 8:00pm on ITV2

What did you think of tonight’s Britain’s Got Talent Final? Do you agree or disagree with my review or the judges? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show –@UKTVReviewer

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ 2014 – Final Review

With more talent than we’ve seen in a long time and more camp than you can shake a feather boa at, the Final of the eighth series of Britain’s Got Talent arrived tonight and saw musical theatre act, Collabro be crowned the winners. Here are my thoughts on the acts we saw tonight, in ascending order of success.

Yanis Marshall, Arnaud and Mehdi

This trio of high-heels-donning dancers were never going to win, were they? They just had too much competition. Talent, they had. A hope in hell, they did not. Still, at least they can say that they were the first act ever to be buzzed in the Final – and by Simon to boot!

The Addict Initiative

I love The Addict Initiative’s ingenuity, blending stunning dance with a recognisable fairytale narrative. I don’t quite know where they can go from here – there certainly isn’t a platform out there for an act like themselves but I hope that they do well, no matter what they do.

Paddy & Nico

I was really surprised that Paddy and Nico didn’t do better tonight! They of course had the backing of Amanda but also seemed to be loved by the public. Perhaps they were just unlucky to be in a show with so many other talented performers – as it certainly wasn’t a lack of talent that let them down!

Lettice Rowbotham

I adore Lettice! I want to be her best friend! Seriously, though, her personality is just a small part of her act, as her violin-playing is exceptional. I loved her singing, too, although it was a shame that we only got a little burst of it – it seemed a bit out of place, really. I think it would have made much more sense for her to sing the ‘Wake me up inside’ line, rather than simply leaving a gap. She’s still an exceptional talent, though, and I really do hope that she does well in the future.

Jon Clegg

Thank God Jon Clegg was given the Wildcard! He is such a talented impressionist; there isn’t one of his voices that isn’t absolutely spot on and it’s a shame that he didn’t win. That’s 50p that I’ll never see again! I’ve little doubt that Jon will do well – we’ll probably see him popping up on some show or another in due course.

James Smith

I love James! His charisma shines in his performances, he has such charm and is not bad looking either. I’m sure he’ll have had the teenage girls of the national fawning over him tonight. Oh, and his voice is amazing too – I mustn’t forget about his voice. I just hope my boyfriend isn’t reading this review, else I’m going to be in a bit of trouble…

Darcy Oake

Darcy’s an amazing illusionist – probably one of the best we’ve ever seen on Britain’s Got Talent. I have to be honest, I thought that his audition and semi-final performances were much better and more impressive than tonight’s; the fact that ITV were allowing such a trick to be broadcast in a live pre-watershed slot removed the danger of him being seriously injured somewhat. I’m sure this show will have given him the platform to be recognised and celebrated across the world – not just in his native Canada.

Jack Pack

Whether or not they actually stole Michael Buble’s crown, as Amanda claimed they did, I’m not sure but one thing’s for certain: they are brilliant! Not only do they look great, they sound it too. I said it when I reviewed their semi-final performance and I’ll say it again: they are a true breath of fresh air and I’m sure Simon will snap them up straight away.

Bars & Melody

There’s no doubt that these young singers/songwriters are talented, but I just can’t get over their sycophancy. Last week, they made a huge deal of telling Alesha that she looks beautiful. On This Morning on Thursday, they told Holly Willoughby the same – and had no qualms about stressing the point. A lot. Then tonight, when Simon said that he hoped that his son, Eric, grows up to be like them. Now, to that lovely comment a simple ‘Thank you’ would have sufficed but instead, Leondre (the youngest of the two) gushed that he hopes that he turns out like Simon when he’s older. Don’t get me wrong: I know that that’s better than them being miserable, unappreciative and insincere but…oh, it was all just a bit too much, in my opinion.

Lucy Kay

Isn’t Lucy’s voice just amazing? I’m so pleased that people managed to see past the “sob story” and recognise that Lucy is very, very talented. She more than warranted second place – no doubt we’ll see her topping the classical charts later this year. Watch out, Katherine Jenkins: you have stiff competition.

Collabro

If only some bitter madwoman had started chucking eggs at Simon Cowell during Collabro’s slot tonight, we’d have had a truly traditional Britain’s Got Talent performance! I was very surprised that Collabro won – yes, they have an abundance of talent and are incredibly popular and likeable but I thought that Bars & Melody, James Smith or even Jon might have just pipped them to the post. I am of course very pleased for them, though, and can’t wait to see where they go from here. Worthy winners!

Britain’s Got Talent will of course be back in 2015

If you still need your BGT fix, though, Stephen Mulhern looks back at the past seven years of auditionees in Britain’s Got More Talent Best & Worst on Monday at 8:00pm on ITV2

What did you think of tonight’s Britain’s Got Talent Final? Do you agree or disagree with my review or the judges? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show –@UKTVReviewer

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ 2014 – Semi-Final 5 Review

The last Britain’s Got Talent semi-final of this year brought us perhaps the most underwhelming line-up yet, but it also threw up a few surprises, with previously good acts receiving some criticism, and a couple of ‘novelty’ performers doing really rather well!

La Voix and The London Gay Big Band

Who’d have thought that with David Walliams and Yanis Marshall, Arnaud and Mehdi there, there’d be room for even more camp in the semi-finals? La Voix and The London Gay Big Band are not just a bundle of camp, though: they are in fact very talented musicians. La Voix is a particularly good show-woman as she held the audience in the palm of her hand. They might not have made it through to the Final but I’m sure they’ll have shifted an extra few tickets for their next shows.

Bailey McConnell

It was a shame that Bailey faced Paddy and Nico in the judges’ vote as he would have fitted in extremely well in the Final. His vocal and writing abilities are exceptional, so, as David said, I have no doubt that he will be making music professionally soon. Maybe the fact that James Smith – a performer of a similar age and with a similar voice – is already in the Final also acted against Bailey. If that was the case, it’s a shame as they are both genuinely, and equally, talented. I hope he has a great career ahead of him!

Kings & Queens

I’m with Simon. I really enjoyed Kings & Queens’s first audition but tonight I too thought that it was a mess and ultimately underwhelming. There was nothing in it to make them stand out from the crowd – except perhaps the Peter Andre segment and music changes, but even they didn’t work as well as perhaps they should have.

Peat Loaf & Elaine

‘Peat’ said in his VT that Meat Loaf is gobsmacked every time he sees him. The implication was that this was because of their striking resemblance but I wonder whether the great Michael Aday is actually just shocked to see his stalker again. Like Alesha, I just can’t get excited about Peat Loaf & Elaine; I’m bet that they’re entertaining in a club once you’ve had a few bevvies but on Britain’s Got Talent? I’m not so sure.

Andrew Derbyshire

I saw Andrew performing in Thriller Live at the Sunderland Empire last year and was really impressed with him even then. For some reason, I remembered him, so when I saw him audition for BGT, I was over the moon – and tonight I thought he was brilliant. Alesha, Amanda and Simon exhibited such an unnecessary lack of tact when giving their critiques. Yes, at some points, Andrew’s performance might have shown signs of weakness as he perhaps reached for notes which were beyond his capabilities but the judges surely could have pointed this out without being so terribly rude! I hope that their comments and him not getting through to the Final hasn’t dampened Andrew’s spirits too much. I wish him every bit of luck for the future.

Jenson Zhu

Jenson is without doubt one of the funniest acts I’ve seen on Britain’s Got Talent. Granted, his talent to make us laugh is unintentional, as his actual impressions are, to say the least, poor, but he was great entertainment and I think that the Final will be a more sombre affair without his presence.

Kieran Lai

Kieran’s initial audition was fantastic – he looked like he could be the next George Sampson (winner in 2008) and I couldn’t wait to discover what he had lined-up for the semi-final tonight. I, like Simon, was left very disappointed, though. His performance was quite disjointed and really failed to showcase the talent that the nation knows he has. I truly believe that if he had created a better routine, he’d have at least been in the top three tonight.

Paddy and Nico

If it wasn’t for the fact that Nico throws and spins Paddy around so violently and so often, they probably wouldn’t have got through to the semi-finals or caused the hype that they have. They are fantastic, though. The injury clearly held them back somewhat tonight but they still did considerably well, bearing in mind they only had twenty four hours to choreograph and rehearse the routine. I hope they come up with something even more spectacular in the Final!

Jack Pack

The music was as perfect as Alfie’s face. Jack Pack are such a breath of fresh air, mixing their youthful looks with swing music. Their voices are beautiful and I am sure that they will go far beyond the Final. Could we perhaps be looking at the next Overtones?

 

So, the Britain’s Got Talent 2014 finalists are:

Illusionist, Darcy Oake

Singers, Collabro

Singer, James Smith

Dancers, The Addict Initiative

Dancers, Yanis Marshall, Arnaud and Mehdi

Singer, Lucy Kay

Singers and songwriters, Bars & Melody

Violinist, Lettice Rowbotham

Singers, Jack Pack

Dancers, Paddy & Nico

Plus, of course, the Wildcard. My money’s on either Jon Clegg (impressionist) or Light Balance (futuristic dance act)

 

The Britain’s Got Talent 2014 Final is on ITV next Saturday (7th June) at 7:00pm

What did you think of tonight’s Britain’s Got Talent? Do you agree or disagree with my review or the judges? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show –@UKTVReviewer

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ 2014 – Semi-Final 4 Review

Among the usual in-jokes between Ant & Dec and the judges, and Simon and Amanda’s tragic attempts at usurpation of David Walliams, a few examples of the talent that this great country of ours has to offer were squeezed in during tonight’s BGT. Here’smy opinion on them:

Innova Irish Dance Company

For some reason, I loved Innova Irish Dance Company’s first audition – and I wasn’t disappointed tonight. Simon’s so wrong: the girls don’t need a ‘lead’ dancer, they’re absolutely fine the way they are! The way that they bring Irish dancing to a contemporary audience with modern songs is ingenious! It’s a shame that they only just missed out on going through to the Final, but I’m sure that this exposure will do wonders for them.

Kieran and Sarah

Kieran and Sarah are undoubtedly fantastic singers and in my opinion, contrary to what Mr Cowell purports, are capable of being recording artists, rather than just ‘cruise ship singers’. I really didn’t like the staging tonight, though – I found it corny and thought it really undermined their talent, which was a shame.

Pyroterra

Pyroterra present a spectacle when they perform, with their elaborate use of – as their name suggests – pyrotechnics, and don’t get me wrong: their talent really is impressive. However, to me, the act was just a bit disjointed tonight and I was ultimately left somewhat disappointed.

Toju

I just don’t get it. Of course, comedy is subjective and if Ant & Dec and the judges saw fit to rave about Toju, then that’s fine. Who am I to question their sense of humour? For me, though, his jokes were weak and crying out for cohesion, he addressed the judges far too often in an attempt to appeal to them and even his impressions weren’t strong enough to warrant his place in the Semi-Finals. I was hoping that he would make me laugh even slightly tonight but sadly he did not.

Eva Iglesias

Thankfully, we have now almost moved on from her tragic story of a love lost (read ‘last ditch attempt to get through her audition’) and we can focus on her amazing talent. The song that she sang tonight was perfect for her voice and she clearly wowed the judges and audience alike. Obviously, though, not enough to get through to the Final.

Light Balance

Debate may be rife as to whether or not acts from outside of the UK should be allowed to enter Britain’s Got Talent but there is surely no doubting that Light Balance are extraordinarily talented. The complex nature of their act, which leaves the audience (or me, at the very least) amazed is truly commendable. Sadly, their nationality may have caused them to fall at the final hurdle.

Allan Turner-Ward

Well Allan Turner-Ward might be something of a novelty act but I think that if Simon Cowell wanted, he could release that song tomorrow and make it a monster hit. Honestly. Well, ok, perhaps not ‘a monster hit’ but it certainly would be popular, I’m sure. Let’s face facts: there was no chance of Allan progressing into the Final but I’m sure it was nice for him to leave the confines of Radio Wimborne and get his fifteen minutes of fame.

Bars & Melody

These young lads have both huge likability and terrific talent. Their songwriting ability is to be admired and their stage presence is impressive too. It was evident from the audience’s reaction at their audition, when Simon chose them as his Golden Buzzer act, that Bars & Melody were, and still are, adored. I can’t wait to find out what the topic of their rap will be in the Final!

Lettice Rowbotham

Violinists’ answer to Stacey Solomon, Lettice is an incredibly creative and musical individual. I’m overjoyed that she’s through to the Final: she brings a ray of sunshine to proceedings while also managing to dazzle with her musical capabilities.

Tomorrow night is sadly BGT-free but on Saturday, the last, and seemingly weakest, of the semi-finals will consist of the following acts:

Musicians, La Voix & The London Gay Big Band

Singer, Andrew Derbyshire

Dancers, Kings & Queens

Singers, Peat Loaf & Elaine

Impressionist, Jenson Zhu

Musician, Bailey McConnell

Dancer, Kieran Lai

Singers, Jack Pack

Now, you may notice that there are only eight acts there. Sadly, Amanda’s Golden Buzzer act, Paddy and Nico, have had to pull out of the competition due to an injury.

Britain’s Got Talent is on at 7:30pm and 9:30pm, with Britain’s Got More Talent at 10:00pm, every day this week (exc. Friday)

What did you think of tonight’s Britain’s Got Talent? Do you agree or disagree with my review or the judges? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer

‘Britain’s Got Talent’ 2014 – Semi-Final 3 Review

In possibly the campest, most bizarre Britain’s Got Talent Semi-Final in the show’s seven year history, we were treated (well…) to an array of acts. Here are my thoughts on what we witnessed…

Crazy Rouge

Burlesque groups on Britain’s Got Talent all too often fall into the trap of providing entertainment only for the dads but tonight, Crazy Rouge gave something for everyone – the guys, girls and gays of the nation. I imagine this would look great in a pub or club but on the BGT stage, it was somewhat underwhelming, unfortunately.

Ellis Chick

It’s great to see young performers with confidence but Ellis Chick has it in excess. Granted, he has a great voice and stage presence and seems very likeable but I do worry that he’s in danger of crossing the line between confidence and cockiness. I really wasn’t sure whether or not he’d be voted through to the Final, and I hope that the fact that he didn’t make it hasn’t dashed his hopes of a future in singing.

Sam Jones

Well the judges said it all where Sam was concerned: the material was not as good as it was in his initial audition and he really needed to work on his enunciation. The ending was also particularly poor; Sam’s audition built up, with his cries of ‘Stop it!’ eventually bringing it to a crescendo and causing a satisfying ending, but tonight is just tailed off. Perhaps if he’d had a huge ending, we’d have forgiven what we’d seen before and been left with an overall good impression of him. Alas, however, that was not the case.

Reaformed

When Alesha chose Reaformed as her Golden Buzzer act, I was a bit confused; they just didn’t really stand out to me, so I didn’t quite understand what she had seen in them. However, tonight they really proved themselves to be worthy contenders in the competition. When I saw them in the Semi-Final, I felt as if I was watching an established girl group perform! I really hope that they have a great career ahead of them.

Brian Chan

God, that was terrible! I’ve never understood the whole thing of experimental fashion and Brian’s painting on the wall just made it all the more puzzling. I mean, what was the point? Why was he put through? Sorry, not for me.

Cartel

I don’t know what on earth Alesha and Simon are talking about! Jamie’s place in the group is as valid as any of the other members. All of them are incredible movers, the surprise of Jamie’s return to the group worked brilliantly and, just like The Addict Initiative last night, they stood out from the crowd of other dance groups. It’s a true shame that they didn’t make it through to the Final – so near and yet so far, eh?

Kitty and Rosie

I really enjoyed this mother-and-daughter duo’s first audition but tonight, although they sang as well as expected, I felt like I’d seen it all before. Simon hit the nail on the head when he said that it was like a karaoke performance on a hen night – which isn’t to say that it was bad, but it was just a bit disorganised.

Lucy Kay

She is and the song was beautiful! Even Simon sounded choked when he gave his critique. She has an exceptional talent and I wasn’t surprised in the slightest that she made it through to the Final. I can’t wait to find out what she’ll wow us with a week on Saturday!

Yanis Marshall, Arnaud and Mehdi

These men are hugely talented – they’re fantastic dancers anyway, but the fact that they do it in (very) high heels is incredible! It’s just a shame that I couldn’t hear the music over the sound of Putin spinning in his grave. What’s that? He isn’t dead? Oh well, we live in hope.

The acts taking to the stage tomorrow night are:

Dancers, Innova Irish Dance Company

Singer, Eva Iglesias

Variety act, Pyroterra

Singers, Kieran & Sarah

Comedian, and Ant & Dec’s Golden Buzzer act, Toju

Alternative dance act, Light Balance

Disc jockey, Allan-Turner Ward

Violinist, Lettice Rowbotham

Rappers, and Simon’s Golden Buzzer act, Bars & Melody

Britain’s Got Talent is on at 7:30pm and 9:30pm, with Britain’s Got More Talent at 10:00pm, every day this week (exc. Friday)

What did you think of tonight’s Britain’s Got Talent? Do you agree or disagree with my review or the judges? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer

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