It’s pretty weird being in England this month. Last year, I spent August in Edinburgh at the Fringe Festival, and the year before I was in the US gallivanting around Pennsylvania and New York state having all kinds of ridiculous fun. This year, I’ve been working in rainy Manchester. It was probably time I started learning how to be an adult and fend for myself a bit more though and earn my holidays, wasn’t it?
TV wise, summer is just really odd for TV. This post features a has-been Sky comedy, two (shock horror) reality format shows and, returning to the norm, a drama. However, now we’re getting to the end of August you can see the good TV start to resurface as the kids go back to school and we settle down to prepare for those long winter nights…
Long Lost Family
No. of episodes: 8
UK air date: Mon 14th July on ITV
Presented by Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell, this poignant reality series documents the reunion of people separated from their biological family. Usually, it features mothers who got pregnant out of wedlock and were forced to give up their child by their family or through some other tragedy. It’s absolutely wonderful seeing a parent and child be brought together after so many years and finally be able to get rid of their regret/guilt and move forward and have a relationship. However, it’s always the stories that are the most interesting.
One woman from this series was looking for her french father after her mother had become pregnant whilst being an Au Pair in France. Another woman lived in Kenya when she got pregnant. When reunited with her child, the child decided she wanted to go looking for her father as well. You can absolutely see why at this year’s BAFTA TV awards it won the award for Features Programme as the stories are generally pretty amazing. You can’t make that stuff up!
The Great British Bake Off
No. of episodes: 10
UK air date: Wed 6th August on BBC1
I bloody love The Great British Bake Off. Who the hell doesn’t? I can’t believe I only got into this show 3 seasons in. I’m awful at baking, but it makes me want to bake. I don’t live in Berkshire or Hertfordshire of Gloucestershire or whatever South England ‘shire’ it’s set in, but this show makes me want to live there. It makes me want to kick up my wellies and settle down for a life of village fetes and housewife florals.
Honestly though, where do they find these people from? Who knows that much about baking such a range of desserts? How are there even that many baked goods to choose from? The format is just spot on, and this really is a formula that doesn’t look like it will ever tire, even in it’s 5th season. I think they’ve found a format that really doesn’t get old. And it’s about 12 people in a tent in the middle of a field, baking. Genius.
No. of episodes: 6
UK air date: Sun 10th August on BBC1
I think when The Village was first aired last year, they were calling it Downton Abbey from a different point of view. A very different one, clearly, but it is set around the same time in a North East(ish) county in the countryside. Last season, we saw John Simm’s character, a drunken father, cause all kinds of havoc, SPOILER ALERT we saw the elder son get shipped off to war and never come back. Maxine Peak’s character got pregnant again, which caused great concern considering they were already pretty broke.
Now, it’s maybe 10 years later? Bert is all grown up, his father’s gotten all religious and sober and he’s got a cute little sister. All the trouble of last season seems to have disappeared and the start of this series has been all about the new calf who won’t survive the winter. They can’t afford the rent for the cow shed and Bert wants to be a photographer. That’s about it. It’s still enjoyable, but everything going perfect in a drama really doesn’t add up. Maybe I need to wait a few more eps for it all to go tits up, eh?!
No. of episodes: 20
UK air date: Thurs 3rd July on Sky
When Series 5 started airing in the UK last Christmas before it took a mid-season break. I was told it was the last season, but it’s not. So I was like, “Okay, so it’s getting bit crap now. But, it’s the last season and you’ve watched all of the others, so you might as well watch them all.” Sigh. Well…
This season sees the end of the Glee Club, however, they’ve done a very, very smart thing in moving the show to New York. See, I don’t know about you, but I could probably watch any bad TV show if it’s set in an exciting place. The whole ‘carrying on with a load of musical friends in the city of musicals’ is genius. Suddenly, a sub-par TV show turns itself into an exciting show again. Granted, it will never be as good or the same as it was when it began, but I unashamedly can imagine myself still watching Glee in its sixth season! Ask me again when it gets renewed for an eighth though…
What have you been watching this month? Have I actually been missing some great telly that’s been right under my nose?