Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Nick Curtis Looks at the Shows You Should Have Watched (and Still Can) and the Upcoming Must-Sees

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Catch Up TV... Missed the TV Moment Everyone's Talking about? Nick Curtis Looks at the Shows You Should Have Watched (and Still Can) and the Upcoming Must-Sees

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Curtis

in error. James Corden, as his sidekick, plays a variation on the Smithy character from Gavin and Stacey. It's quite fun. So far.

The most compelling 14 minutes on screen this week, though, was undoubtedly Damian McBride's Newsnight interview with Jeremy Paxman (YouTube), in which the sometime thug of a spin doctor guilelessly admitted he'd done "far worse things" than the smears, leaks and fit-ups listed in his current book. It was like eavesdropping on an AA meeting. Creepily fascinating.

Serial box No apologies for writing again about Peaky Blinders (BBC iPlayer), which continues to enthral despite a script that has more signposts than the National Trust. There's something in the atmosphere, the accents and the incremental shifts in power. More crucially, even, it feels different to just about anything else. We've got so used to the canard that TV is terrific at the moment, it's a shock to realise again how much of it is derivative and weak.

By Any Means (iPlayer) is one of those glib, snappy-backchatty ensemble shows where a team of cops or crooks work together to put something over on someone else (cf Hustle, New Tricks). I marginally preferred Orphan Black (BBC iPlayer), which pitched con artist Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) into a nightmare of identity confusion and possible cloning but filled the background with caricatures from Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

THE closest I have yet come to booking a one-way ticket to Dignitas was during the row over the ruddy place settings in Downton Abbey (ITV Player). Were the spoons in the right place? Was it the "nursery" setting that has royal endorsement? Great suffering Christ, this epitomised all that is wrong with Julian Fellowes's toff-u-soap and all that is right with it too. I know radical socialists who hate themselves for watching this feudal pap, and even the fans admit it's rubbish, but it plays so expertly on the British obsessions with class and heritage and just bloodyFUSS AND FAFF that it rolls all over the TV ratings and the national discourse like a tank the size of Highclere Castle. …

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