Pick of the Day

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), November 29, 2009 | Go to article overview

Pick of the Day


Big Top BBC1, 7.30pm You'd think that the colourful world of the circus, with its accompanying transient lifestyle and death-defying acrobats living cheek by jowl with loincloth-wearing strongmen, would be ripe for a spot of tomfoolery. But this new sitcom, starring Amanda Holden (top, front) as a sort of ring-mistress as styled by Playboy, is unlikely to inspire many viewers to visit their local big top during the festive season.

The laughs (which are as rare as hens' teeth) are as broken down as the cast of characters who people the fictional Circus Maestro, and despite everyone's best efforts, including John Thomson and Sophie Thompson (top left) as an antiquated clown double act and Tony Robinson (top, second from right) as a waspish sound man, it's all more farce than spectacle.

This opener follows Holden's Lizzie trying to raise morale and keep the show on the road when a rival circus muscles in on their patch. But it's a smoothie health-and-safety executive who might sound the death knell for the acts. It's all good-natured enough, and if My Family can find a loyal audience, anything can happpen. HHHHH The Queen Channel 4, 9pm There are no great revelations in being reminded of the disasters of the Queen's 'annus horribilis' of 1992, culminating in the Windsor Castle fire, more a sense of disbelief that so much went so wrong in such a short space of time. Early in the year, the Duke and Duchess of York separated, but that - scandal though it seemed then - was the least of it. …

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