I got up turned on my TV watched the screen listened to the words being spoke and this is what I saw.
Dragon’s Den, Sunday, BBC2, 9pm
We live in a world where everyone seems to want to be a businessman. People sound very important when they’re banding around phrases like ‘gross net profit’, ‘overhead costs’ and ‘market share’. This must be one of the fundamental appeals of Dragon’s Den, with its primetime slot on a Sunday. In the den to face the dragon’s this time around was an inventor of a revolutionary coffee lid (a coffee lid with a bigger mouth hole… It got refused investment), two ‘businesswomen’ trying to set up a business to teach children how to sing in a choir (refused), and a hairdresser who had invested 170,000 pounds of his own money (which he didn’t actually have) into the DIAO (Daily Appliance Intelligence Organiser). Again, refused. The successful entrepreneurs were partners selling a range of coconut products; milk, snacks etc, but that doesn’t interest me. What interests me is the way the show gives insight into what running a business actually involves, highlighting the contender’s mistakes, whether it be they haven’t got their numbers right or their forecasts were wildly exaggerated, or whatever. This is also the crux of the enjoyment- watching other people’s dreams turn to dust in front of the scowling suited oddly shaped dragons. However, the main thought that crosses my mind when watching the show is ‘a den?’ Isn’t a den made of wood and damp and something you find in a forest? The dragon’s set is more akin to an abandoned warehouse. An abandoned warehouse that isn’t actually abandoned, but has been done-up to a host a BBC television programme about entrepreneurs trying to get investment in their fledgling ideas from wealthy businesspeople.
Ripper Street, Monday, BBC1, 9pm
Welcome back to Whitechapel 1888, where everyone speaks back to front- ‘I didn’t do that’ translated into Victorian English is ‘that, I did not do’ (moronic), but the show isn’t. In the first episode of season 4 we’re introduced to Whitechapel’s new police station (the former crashed into by a train in the last series). Inspector Edmund Reid (the restrained Mathew Mcfayden) is retired in the country trying to raise his unruly/Peeping Tom of a daughter. Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake now runs the force in London and is (finally!) settled with his beloved Rose. Whilst US army surgeon and go-to pathologist Captain Jackson is in yet another pit of despair; he’s been denied custody of his child whose mother (former brothel owner Madame Long Susan) is in jail awaiting the gallows. All of these backstories revolve around a premise clearly influenced by the present. Drake and Jackson have to track down and stop an Islamic extremist from spreading his rhetoric at wanting to kill the infidel. It’s not the best of stories- a little obvious and clutching at straws. You’ve established a show based in 1888 London with primetime funding, let your imagination run wild! Let’s hope they do in the episodes to come.
The Great British Bake Off, Wednesday, BBC1, 8pm
The biggest show on UK TV returns! in the white tent in the heart of Berkshire where Paul Hollywood’s glare lurks and Mary Berry stalks around grimacing at mere mortals baking attempts. Everyone seems on form and ready to go in the first episode of the new series. There’s Paul and Mary and Sue and Mel and Jennifer Saunders monotone commentary about waiting for ovens to heat up, and kneading dough, and…buttering…bowls… In the first show the contestants had to bake a lemon drizzle cake, produce a plate of Jaffa Cakes and, for the showstopper, make a mirror glaze cake. The season has only begun but already characters are emerging; Candice looks nice, Selasi hides a secret, Val is a character, Jane was starbaker, and Lee’s out. Let the fun and games begin.
Watchman, Wednesday, Channel 4, 9pm
I don’t have Netflix I do have Sky but don’t have time to get into Sky Atlantic so what peaks my interest are shows that are short, sweet, well-made and well-rounded. Channel 4’s Watchman ticks most of these boxes. It also stars the brilliant Stephen Graham (Combo, This is England). It seems to be in vogue at the moment to produce something that involves people stuck in rooms looking through screens controlling the action from faraway (Eye in the Sky, Money Monster). In Watchman Carl is a CCTV operator determined to make a difference after being continually fobbed off by the police operator during his shift. So he spots a mate on the street through one of his cameras, contacts him and convinces him to follow his direction to prevent a drug deal. Good idea in theory, bad in practice. Carl’s advice leads to his pal getting captured and him having to leave his ivory tower in order to save the day. I’m conflicted about this. I chose it cause it was an hour long but my complaint is that it was too short for the story to develop without coming across as rushed. Which is what I think happened. Stop sighing Harry let’s make this simple, it’s a UK produced TV programme made for free-to-air TV that stands up to the multi-million pound projects being produce on Sky and Netflix. Clever, quality, thought-provoking TV.