There’s nothing new about blind-tasting comparison tests – countless TV shows do them. But this is entertaining as well as informative.
Michel Roux Jr is joined by Jay Rayner, Stacie Stewart, Lucy Alexander and Fred Sirieix (as well as a few food specialists) at a conveyor belt circulating colour-coded plates of food. So it’s bit like a certain chain of sushi restaurants, except that these plates are loaded with a supermarket own label, a top seller, a frozen version and an artisan-produced dish. Could be lamb shanks, stuffed pasta, sausages or prawn cocktail. The panel taste, compare and pronounce.
“That’s as rough as a gravel path!” says Rayner about one whisky, while Stewart says, “That’s got Marks & Spencer written all over it,” as soon as she sees a posh apple pie. The tasters look as if they’re having fun, although I bet they had indigestion by the time filming ended.
The first rule of building a new home/renovating a property/setting up a hotel for the first time would seem to be inviting a TV film crew along for the journey. So we join a family from Brighton as they personally renovate and remodel a former nursing home 600 miles away on Orkney, turning it into a luxury six-bedroomed bed and breakfast.
Art teachers Anthony and Aine obviously have a creative flair and are a dab hand with a paintbrush, but they don’t have experience of DIY on this scale. “I think my parents are mad,” says their youngest son.
Although she only appears in the introduction, Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi narrates, pointing out the perhaps rather obvious pitfalls of renovating historic properties, especially when the workforce is basically you and your 19-year-old son. And as always there’s the pressure of getting it finished before the paying guests arrive and the money runs out.
For Sarah, 32, who is expecting twins with partner Stephen, 37, giving birth is essentially just another day at the office – she’s a midwife at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, along with her mum, Pat. But their shared expertise proves unhelpful, as they’re both aware of all the things that can go wrong during labour.
Ignorance may be bliss for 19-year-old Holly and 20-year-old Nick, who planned their pregnancy; Holly’s mum Michelle is clearly still not quite ready to become a grandmother at 41. And after a difficult birth with their first child, Tasha, 27, and Jonny, 31, hope a planned C-section will mean their second baby arrives a little more serenely.
Experience contemporary dance at its most emotionally resonant with a cutting-edge production filmed at Sadler’s Wells in London. Drawing on tragedy in his own life, actor/dancer Jonathon Young stars in a theatrical hybrid co-created by maverick choreographer Crystal Pite.
The nostalgic appeal of Jerome K Jerome’s Victorian trio is undimmed, perhaps even enhanced by a rather childish approach to their messing about on the Thames with a scene-stealing dog. Despite a pretend feud between Jimmy Edwards and Laurence Harvey kept up throughout filming for publicity purposes, the ensemble, including David Tomlinson, is amiability itself, while the parasol-toting girls (Shirley Eaton, Jill Ireland, Lisa Gastoni) are as radiant as the golden days of yesteryear. It was a time when British studios could turn out frivolous material like this and know that audiences would love it.