It was a menu of winkles, cockles and parsley on toast, an Indian-inspired roast lamb and a delicate take on rhubarb and custard that won Jane Devonshire the title of MasterChef in 2016. “Stunning” was John Torode’s verdict on her main course; “A piece of modern art” was how Gregg Wallace described her dessert. So she’s a tough act to follow, but the contestants this year have certainly reached a formidable standard.
There have been mistakes along the way, though: not just Fumbi’s honey cheesecake that became a sweet puddle, and an apologetic Selwyn’s raw loin of lamb, but also ill-advised innovations such as custard ravioli, tomato water and sweet potato chocolate mousse. And, of course, there was Bramblegate, when the description of contestant Brodie’s partridge dish as containing brambles rather than blackberries got everyone in a twitter.
No such diversions now: just an intense bout of cooking and a divine three-course meal stands between the finalists and victory.
Buddy Holly: Rave On
As pop stars go, he was no obvious sex symbol, with his dorky looks and horn-rims – or he doesn’t seem it to us now. But one of the surprises in this wonderful documentary is how lean and cool Buddy Holly looks in the few precious home movies he appears in. Amazingly, it was less than 18 months between topping the charts with his first hit That’ll Be the Day (inspired, his drummer recalls, by John Wayne in The Searchers) and his death in a plane crash aged 22.
“But boy, he changed the world in that time,” sighs Brian May, who does a great breakdown of things Holly did as a guitarist that nobody had done before. Elsewhere, Don McLean, Duane Eddy, Robert Wyatt and Buddy’s widow cast light on an incredible songbook and a brief moment in pop culture that won’t fade away.
The Graham Norton Show
He sexed up Sherlock Holmes and is soon to give Aladdin the live-action treatment, but right now Guy Ritchie’s back in the spotlight because he’s the latest to tackle the tale of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. Ye olde Camelot gets the medieval Lock Stock treatment with Charlie Hunnam as young Arthur (or should we say “Arfur” for Snatch-style authenticity?) so the director and his leading man join Graham to talk about Legend of the Sword.
Speaking of all things sharp, the delightfully witty Imelda May is on hand to sing for her spot on the red sofa.
Master of None
Aziz Ansari makes a welcome return with season two of the amiable but politically sharp sitcom where he plays a lazy, unlucky, good-hearted actor trundling through New York life with his friends. As we rejoin our friend Dev, though, he’s in Italy, and he’s in black and white…
Little Red Riding Hood meets The Bourne Identity is probably the easiest way to describe this thrillingly original film from Atonement director Joe Wright, but even that doesn’t really capture its unique, oddly surreal tone. Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a 16-year-old girl who has never left her remote Lapland home, where she has spent her life being tutored in the deadly skills of the assassin by her ex-CIA father (Eric Bana). When the Agency comes looking for the pair, Hanna finds herself navigating unfamiliar territory, pursued by the ruthless Marissa (a brilliantly icy Cate Blanchett), who’s determined to terminate her and her father. Ronan’s character is utterly fascinating, a kind of holy fool who sees the modern world through innocent eyes, but who could also break your neck with a flick of her wrist. Wright also succeeds in blending the strange, almost fairy-tale atmosphere with some expertly conceived action and unusual, well-sketched supporting characters, with Tom Hollander’s shell-suit wearing, peroxide-coiffed thug a particularly exotic pleasure.