TV Times – 18th December 2011

If you’re outside the UK, here’s a link to be able to watch UK TV programmes:  bit.ly/oVMz60

The X Factor

Little Mix - X Factor - Jane Reynolds' weekly 'TV Times' reviewSo, Little Mix won the X Factor. I haven’t read about it this week (I’ve been too busy), so don’t know how the Press are reacting/portraying them, but I just hope that the girls go on to be really successful and that Jesy doesn’t lose a load of weight and become yet-another ‘stick-insect’.

One of the things that seem to have endeared them to the public has been their sincerity and genuine thrill at getting through each week, and it would be so nice to have a Girl Band that set a good example for young women in the UK. Time will tell, but I was glad they won, and I thought that Tulisa seemed like a good mentor.

I still think that John Adams would have walked it if he hadn’t been airbrushed out though …

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE X FACTOR WEBSITE

MasterChef – The Professionals

BBC Professional MasterChef - Jane Reynolds' weekly 'TV Times' reviewThe first couple of Episodes of this Series were achingly dull, but it certainly picked up once Claire arrived. That girl was amazing, and all three of the finalists were very impressive.

You know when Dolby Stereo came out – or when CDs replaced vinyl? There was (and still is), such debate about the quality of the sound, but no matter how expensive your stereo system; there comes a point where your ear simply can’t hear any more.

I would contest that the same is true of food. In the last few Episodes, Michel and Greg increasingly stuggled to find ever-greater superlatives to describe the candidates’ dishes. Could they REALLY taste every nuance and flavour on those plates? Some of those dishes contained so many ingredients that I struggle to believe it would be possible to appreciate anything over a certain level of ‘deliciousness’.

Just HOW good can one plate of food taste? Aren’t we just getting a bit too far away from ‘real’ food (with all this sous-vide and molecular gastronomy etc), and simply being hoodwinked with a big case of The Emperor’s New Clothes? It feels like Nouvelle Cuisine all over again to me.

Twenty-five years ago I was a serious ‘Restaurant Junkie’ and regularly ate out in some of the top places of the time. I subscribed to Caterer magazine, and was totally ‘up’ on all-things chef-y. I haven’t got money to eat out in good Restaurants any more (so am speaking from perception and not experience), but I struggle to believe that food could taste THAT good.

It’s like wine: once you’re at a certain price/quality level, it’s all ‘good’, but just HOW good can it be? Does a bottle costing £1000 really taste that much better than one priced at £500, and would most people honestly be able to tell the difference?

I’m also a bit perturbed that a ‘foreigner’ has won for the second year running. Ash Mair is an Aussie, yet he’s won our UK MasterChef. Has a UK chef won MasterChef Australia? No. I just feel that it should be for UK Chefs only, as a ‘foreigner’ winning – to me – devalues British Chefs (ie we’re not good enough to win our own competition).

Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts. I’d be interested to hear whether you feel the same, or whether it’s just me being an old fuddy-duddy!

I still loved it though, and it’s been such a relief to be rid of India Fisher’s narration. Sean Pertwee sounds vaguely bored by the whole thing, but at least he doesn’t read every line in exactly the same way like she did (dropping her voice down at the end of every sentence).

All we need to do now is to get them to turn down/cut down the OTT dramatic music and that ‘Jaws-type’ drone that accompanies every plate of food put down in front of the judges and we’ll have got a pretty-good show!  CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE MASTERCHEF WEBSITE

Young Apprentice

It was the final of Young Apprentice too. I was still in mourning from the shock of losing Harry H (and Harry M), so it had lost most of its spark for me. I’d expected slimy James to win it, so it was a nice surprise to see Zara (who’d not been THAT influential throughout the process), suddenly come into her own and grab the prize.

Zara reminds me of myself. Quiet on occasions, but when put ‘In Charge’ of something and allowed to be the centre of attention, displays confidence and is – frankly – in her element!

I’d tweeted that she’d be able to treat herself to a new dress with her winnings, but one of my tweetie friends told me that Zara is her friend’s Grand-daughter, and that they only had a few clothes with them while they were at the house apparently.

It was all jolly good stuff, and I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself until either The Apprentice, Apprentice USA, MasterChef, or one of Michel Roux’s ‘Young Waiter’ shows come on again. Roll on 2012!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE BBC YOUNG APPRENTICE WEBSITE

Radio Times

I’ve listened to The Archers for more years than I care to remember, but I’ve really struggled this year. There’s some very poor child Actors, Wiww-yum Grundy’s whiny voice does my head in, and the hours of time devoted to the death of Ivy Horrobin (a character that was never actually in it in all the years I’ve been listening – as far as I can recall), is just wearing me down.

We need a good old affair to liven things up …

Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 Series Sounds of the 20th Century is on 1987 this week. It’s the best thing ever on the radio. (See TV Times 30th Oct for a full review).

(Sounds of the 20th Century Radio 2 10.00 pm every Thursday, and available on BBC iPlayer)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION 

Don’t forget. If you like a laugh, listen to Going Out with Alan Carr on Radio 2. A perfect accompaniment to your Saturday evening dinner/going out preparations. He and Mad Mel Sykes are guaranteed to have you in stitches.

(Going Out with Alan Carr Radio 2 6.00-8.00 Saturdays)

I won’t be watching much TV over Christmas – apart from Soaps and the Morecambe and Wise Christmas shows (they’ll be dotted-about all over the place!), but there’s one thing I’ll be glued to, and that’s Absolutely Fabulous on Christmas Night.

It’s one of my all-time favourite shows. Let’s hope it hasn’t lost its edge …

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