Well, we have a gap in the summer of sport, people. And amen to that, I say. For all I care, you can spend the whole of the next fortnight or so slobbing out, scratching yourself somewhere personal and sneering at Jeremy Kyle. As long as you eat cake and drink Earl Grey tea, that is. For those of you with short people at home (kids, not dwarves…) there’s just one more week until that happy period in the school calendar, loved and dreaded in equal measure by parents everywhere. So, make the most of your grown-up telly this week, because you may find yourself watching Flushed Away, Bee Movie, A Turtle’s Tale and Ponyo on endless repeat if this infernal wet weather keeps up. That’s when you’re not knee deep in crafts, baking, reading and silly games, of course. But still – much like the peachy skin of a teeny babe – no soap is required. This is a soap-free zone.
Now, I really shouldn’t be doing this, but heck, it’s a dreary Monday in the middle of July and I want some light relief, dagnammit. Transporter 2 (Film4, 21:00) is just about as perfect as antidotes get. It’s all a bit fast/silly but it’s got Jason Statham in it. A LOT. And, truth be told, it’s quite a fun little sequel.
Mardy Tuesday can only end with a promising Brit social drama. London River (BBC1, 23:45) casts Brenda Blethyn in another wistful leading role, unfurling the tale of an unlikely friendship forming between two people from completely different cultures, brought together by a common quest. Poignant and positive, this will hopefully fill you with the warm fuzzies as you enter Hump Day. If you don’t fancy gritty 7/7, then do opt for old favourite, Police Academy (ITV1, 23:10) instead. You can’t go wrong.
There’s an unusually rare Thursday teatime treat in the shape of The Hustler (TCM, 18:25). What better reason to ask your significant other to tuck-up the littlies and make dinner than two and a half hours of the most beautiful blue eyes in the business? I can hardly believe this was made in 1961, but Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson, at the top end of a pool cue MUST be who inspired Alan Parker to pen the craziness that is Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire. Yes, it’s kind of sport. But it’s not the same because it’s also beauty. A girl can dream…
Insomniacs, be gently and erotically thrilled into the weekend on Friday/Saturday with Eyes Wide Shut (ITV1, 02:45). It’s the kind of film you ought to watch once, as most Kubricks are. And actually, I quite enjoyed it when I did. Plus, Tom Cruise before he went totally bonkers makes it worthwhile. This is a signed version, which may be a little distracting if you’re fully hearing, but if you’re up (and especially if you’re alone) then go for it.
Lucky Dip: Welcome to the Rileys (Sky Premiere, 18:00) on Friday may well be a great wind-down movie, however your week has panned out. The delightful James Gandolfini stars in this drama, about a couple who have lost their teenage child. He seeks solace in a young prostitute whilst on a business trip, but in an entirely platonic, ‘missing link’ kinda way. Give it a whirl.
I’ve sacrificed the remote more often than usual this week, so have succeeded only in missing most of my recommendations, but Ice Road Truckers was a fabulous end to my week. Mr W likes his geeky stuff about engineering or science and although I can occasionally be persuaded to dabble, my wizened grey matter struggles to ‘get’ most of it. I have also often considered therapy for my unhealthy fascination with all things disaster. I can’t be alone in my deep passion for TV programmes about plane crashes, train crashes, car chases, major fires and catastrophic weather anomalies, surely? Can’t get enough of ‘em. Of course, this carries with it the burden of being rendered completely unable to travel by air, by sea or over 60mph in a car. It must be me age…
Tonight sees the first of a tea time two-parter which does exactly what it says on the tin. Babies in the Office (BBC2, 19:00) shows us how a US-inspired experiment to improve work/life balance pans out in a London-based cab firm. It continues tomorrow, if you’re intrigued as to the conclusion.
My favourite day of the week (not) offers a little gem tomorrow, with Britain Through a Lens: The Documentary Film Mob (BBC4, 20:00). These lens-tastic insights into British life through recent decades are quite inspirational, I find, yet rarely get much press. Sidled into the scheduling for a non-mainstream channel, this will appeal to so many. Just a missed opportunity. And you don’t even need to expend the energy to change channels when it ends! Stay where you are for Immortal? A Horizon Guide to Ageing (BBC4, 21:00) with possibly THE best choice of presenter. The mighty Johnny Ball is still as energetic as ever and the often-taboo topic of the inevitable growing old process is given a homely, yet fresh perspective.
Serendipitously scheduled for Hump Day, do find time for How to Get a Life (BBC3, 21:00). Are we all working too jolly damned hard? It would seem some of us are, but there are still plenty who enjoy more life and less work. Which is healthier? Watch this and you may gain new insight.
If you get to Friday without even so much as thinking about sport, you’ve worked a minor miracle. But I will back down this once and recommend Olympic’s Most Amazing Moments (BBC3, 21:00). We can’t deny it, it’s creeping up on us at a rate of knots, carried downriver by all the recent floods. So why not put up your tired feet after a long week and relive some of the past, greatest achievements of Olympians the world over? Counting down the top 50, is the unlikely pairing of Richard Bacon and Colin Jackson, so it might make you shed a proud tear and even make you chuckle in parts. Olympic fever forever!
Now, I’m on my holibobblies next week. The likelihood of actually going anywhere is currently wedged between slim and none, but as it’s our ‘family break’ I probably won’t be (a) watching much telly or (b) telling y’all what to watch. But, ye gads, there are a plethora of superb films to rent or buy at the moment, so do take the opportunity to watch stuff before all the sport takes over the world. Inception is creeping its merry way up my all-time faves list and I’m thoroughly enjoying growing older at the same pace as Leo DiCaprio. Yes folks, he’s a serious actor now. Also, enjoy some home restoration, mediocre cookery or garden maintenance tips galore whilst I’m gone, but if there’s really nothing on, then buy yourself a tablet and pretend you’re all modern and trendy. Happy watching, friends.