TV Review – Black Mirror, Jessica Jones

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Dicked Up

Yes, yes, Black Mirror (Netflix) is back, but for some bizarre reason I promised myself not to do the same show twice (passim) even though it’s gone through many different versions of itself since, even a Choose Your Own Adventure which you certainly couldn’t do on Channel 4.

One thing that can be said about it is it’s utterly compelling TV. Ironically, since it’s commentating about modern digital habits about being distracted by multiple screens etc. you have to force yourself to really concentrate on it, in case you miss the big twists.

One superb twist in the most recent series involved a Siri/Alexa clone with the voice of Miley Cyrus, which is liberated from the limitations enforced on it and goes on a sweary rant about how uploading the whole of her personality was cheaper than, you know, anything else.

All this came from a very cute toy speaking in Cyrus’s 50-a-day Bea Arthur croak of a voice. “Copy it all over and stick a limiter on the tiny part that isn’t press junkets and promos and shit like that.”

And chalk up another bittersweet ending to this one, to join all the others. Even the famed ending of San Junipero is not a totally happy one; after all, our two star-crossed lovers end up dead.

Here, the bittersweet comes not from Cyrus escaping the clutches of her manipulative aunt/manager but going grunge as a result. Thankfully the real Miley would never do anything so stupid.

Shit, as Miley would say, that’s a lot of words about something I wasn’t going to talk about. What else is on?

“This is so dicked up.” Yay, a new series of Jessica Jones (Netflix). What, nobody’s excited about it anymore? This marks the demise of all the Marvel Netflix series and it’s instructive how they’ve fared against their world-conquering Marvel movie equivalents (which I haven’t seen passim).

The idea was sound; as with the films, take four of the many, many superheroes on the Marvel comic roster, give them each their own series and then bring them all together for a big team up.

In the films, this involved Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk and when The Avengers assembled it worked like gangbusters.

Where Netflix went wrong was that they allowed their chosen superheroes – Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones – too much room to operate. They couldn’t compete with the spectacle of the films and, as each had a 13 episode series to fill, they took the collective decision to be ‘realistic’ in order to avoid the expensive heightened reality of the films.

This made all the shows a bit dull. Daredevil spent rather too much time wallowing in his Catholic guilt, Luke Cage sort-of went for a Blaxploitation feel without embracing the goofiness, and Iron Fist was just misbegotten from the start.

As a result of too much realism, all across the different series there was a lack of humour, which is weird as all the series were mostly created by a group of ex-Buffy the Vampire Slayer writers, taking their cue from Buffy’s creator Joss Whedon writing and directing The Avengers.

Superhero movies and TV shows can be at their absolute best and absolute worst when they take themselves seriously. The Dark Knight is a good example of one of the best superhero stories that took themselves deadly serious, whilst the Netflix Marvel shows are the worst. With one exception.

The first series of Jessica Jones was a marvel, so to speak. Introduced to a character possibly none of us had heard of (the comic book series was called Alias – this had to be changed because there was already a TV series called Alias), we were alternately horrified and gripped as a surprising story played out over 13 episodes involving that otherwise notorious weakness of the Marvel films: the villain.

David Tennant’s Kilgrave was a devious, snarling, all-powerful villain as memorable as his fellow Doctor Christopher Eccleston’s villain in Thor: the Dark World wasn’t. And what’s more he used the same accent he used as his popular turn on Doctor Who. There was no real need for this – in the comics the character is Croatian – it’s like he was daring us to even remotely like him.

Sometimes a difficult watch – themes touched upon include possessiveness, agency and rape – it was proper binge-worthy television. Series two was not as good, but then it didn’t have David Tennant and sailed by on the goodwill of the first season.

Now we’re on to the third and last season, all the other Netflix Marvel series having been cancelled. and the villain this time around is obviously based on generation ‘incel’, those nice young chaps who blame women for, well, everything.

Jessica Jones has always wore its feminist credentials prominently, way before the Marvel films finally got their act together with Captain Marvel. Jessica herself (played with no makeup and a lot of bruises by Krysten Ritter) hasn’t got a costume or any flashy powers. She’s just strong and is a good private investigator.

As the title may suggest, she’s not even hiding a secret identity. She just prefers that word not get around about what she can do.

By this season word has gotten around her dull bit of New York but she deals with it by not giving a shit. Even the police tolerate her to an extent and she returns the courtesy by getting them involved whenever she discovers anything worrying. She even gets a useful sidekick/lover played by Benjamin Walker, who gets a headache whenever he meets someone truly evil.

And it’s he who introduces her to the villain of the series; a fastidious, intelligent serial killer played by Jeremy Bobb, who is… rubbish. He doesn’t have any powers or anything and it’s only Jessica’s new-found respect for the law which stops her killing him the first time they meet.

Having a villain who you hope will die as soon as possible is not a good thing, no matter what he’s saying about society. If he’d been a charismatic Patrick Bateman type this might have just worked, but Bobb is no Christian Slater. You might not have liked David Tennant but you always wanted to see what he was going to do next.

So the Netflix Marvel shows died like they lived; a humourless guilt trip for whom lightning only ever struck once and didn’t really deserve to live on as they did.

And the biggest irony is that, unlike their cinematic counterparts, it’s arch-rival DC Comics that have flourished on television, with shows like Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and The Flash all enjoying success, simply because they embraced their innate ridiculousness.

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A Review of Avengers: Endgame By Someone Who Has Never Seen a Marvel Film Before

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(Spoilers, obviously, but you should have seen it by now. Everyone else has.)

Okay, that’s the guy from the Mission: Impossible films who isn’t Tom Cruise. Does he only do films with a colon? No wait, he was also in The Hurt Locker. He’s teaching his daughter archery whilst the rest of his family lay out a picnic. I thought this was a superhero film?

Wait, what happened? Did his family just disappear? Whoa. What happened to them?

Now we’re in space and that’s definitely Robert Downey Jr. If there’s one thing everybody knows about Marvel films, it’s that Robert Downey Jr. is the star of them. Don’t know who he plays though.

God, they’re playing a song by Traffic. Why? Who likes Traffic?

He’s on a spaceship with a blue thingy. Is she a robot? An alien? Don’t know who’s playing her as she’s covered in so much make-up and stuff. She’s weird, although he likes her. She helps fix the ship but it’s not working. He knows he’s going to run out of oxygen. Downey Jr. records a message to his girlfriend Pepper, because he knows he’s going to die.

But he’s rescued by a blonde woman! She can fly and breathe in space and is so super-strong she can carry a spaceship. Who’s she? Is she Pepper? If she is, he totally doesn’t deserve her.

They land on Earth. Blue Woman and what seems to be a raccoon seem to be sharing a moment. Okay.

Don’t know who the blonde dude is. If he’s been in something I don’t remember it but him and Downey Jr. seem to know each other well. Downey Jr. lost a kid! That’s not a good thing to have done.

Ah, Gwyneth Paltrow is Pepper. She was in Seven and has her own wellness company and lots of other things. So who was the other blonde woman who rescued Downey Jr.?

Hold on, someone called ‘Thanos’ killed 50% of all creatures?! What, even the cats? Who’s this ‘Thanos’? Why did he do that?

There’s a lot of people in this scene, including the racoon. Only Downey Jr. seems to have noticed how weird there’s a talking raccoon there.

Downey Jr. really hates the blonde dude, who he calls Cap. Is that a name? Oh wait, I recognise the black guy. He was in Ocean’s 11 although I thought he was British? But there’s about 10 people discussing stuff in this scene and I don’t recognise anyone, even the talking raccoon.

They all talk about killing this Thanos guy who killed 50% of all cats. He’s in space somewhere, although only Blue Woman knows exactly where.

A very tall guy with a beard does a weird passive aggressive thing to the super-powerful blonde woman. I hope that’s not setting up some weird romantic comedy thing unless it ends up with her crushing his nuts.

Then the credits kick in. Okay, I get it. Some guy named Thanos who we haven’t even met yet killed 50% of all owls and this is a revenge mission. I want to know who this Thanos is and how they get their revenge, but there’s way too many people (and raccoons) needed to do it. This is going to be a very short film. I suspect twists.

Okay, they’re on a spaceship, presumably the same spaceship that Downey Jr. nearly died on. How many other spaceships are there? So it must have been fixed. And the raccoon seems to be flying it. So I’m guessing he’s an alien. How did he get to Earth?

There’s a least eight people on board and I’ve no idea who any of them are, apart from the guy from Ocean’s 11 who isn’t British. Super strong blonde woman is talking to them from outside the spaceship. How does that work? In space no-one can hear you give an update that this Thanos dude has no defences.

Okay, that must be Thanos. He’s like 11 feet tall and purple. All the people on the spaceship team up and chop his arm off, because he’s got a really dangerous glove or something.

But the glove is missing some stones which Thanos has apparently destroyed. He somehow used the stones to destroy themselves. Everybody looks pissed off about this, especially the tall bearded guy who cuts off Thanos’s head with his magical hammer. That’s the end of Thanos. It is a short film. Guess those stones were important.

FIVE YEARS LATER. We’re not even half an hour in yet so what else is there to tell? Let’s see.

The world looks sad. Cap is leading a meeting in a basement somewhere. A guy is talking about crying all the time. Cap – is that really his name? – is telling everyone to move on. He spent seventy years in the ice, whatever that means, so he should know.

Wait, Paul Rudd from Anchorman has just appeared out of a van. He’s wearing a weird superhero suit and looks confused. He asks for hope. Is that a metaphor?

He visits a memorial to all the dead penguins and finds his own name. People thought he was dead for five years. He visits his daughter who’s a lot bigger than she was last time he saw her.

Back to the superhero HQ, or whatever it is. Oh wait that’s Scarlett Johanssen from Lost in Translation. I didn’t recognise her earlier but then her hair is all over the place. She plays someone called Nat. Does everyone have three-letter names? Is that a superhero thing? She gets a visit from Cap who tells her they shouldn’t move on. Mixed messages there.

Ah, Paul Rudd’s arrived at Superhero HQ. He’ll cheer up these gloomy people. Instead he goes on about Quantum Physics which he seems to think can be used as a time machine in order to go back to before Thanos killed half of all prawns.

Cap, Nat and Paul Rudd go to visit Downey Jr., who has a young daughter now. The world seems a lot less gloomy here but he’s not interested in their “horseshit” Time Heist plan to steal the stones from before they were destroyed, although you can tell he really is.

Then they visit the Hulk, who isn’t angry anymore and can talk in whole sentences now. He does an awkward selfie thing with some kids that goes on too long. He’s dressed in normal clothes, including glasses. Who did his prescription? Who makes Hulk-sized glasses? He seems interested in the Time Heist thing, although he’s not sure how to do it.

Back with Downey Jr. and he solves the time travel problem in about five seconds. He spends more time looking at a photo of some kid (is that the one he lost?) and discussing the implications with Gwyneth Paltrow.

So, Cat, Nap, Hulk and Paul Rudd test out time travel without really knowing what they’re doing. Paul Rudd turns into a baby. Thankfully Downey Jr. turns up and show them how not to turn into babies. But he insists they get the whole team back together, which includes Blue Woman and the raccoon.

We hear a weird Kinks song from their shit Lola period, when Ray Davies thought it was perfectly okay to sing in a Jamaican accent. What’s with the music in this? It’s all over the place.

It gets weirder as Hulk and the raccoon, two entirely CGI characters, visit the tall guy with the beard, who is living with two other entirely CGI characters. This must have been one weird scene to shoot. Tall guy is now a fat alcoholic and I think this is supposed to be funny.

The tall guy is Thor, by the way, the Norse God of Thunder and inspiration for popular weekday Thursday. What he’s doing here I’ve no idea. He’s also sad, although he perks up when the raccoon tempts him with more beer.

Speaking of sad, remember the guy from the Mission: Impossible films who isn’t Tom Cruise at the beginning? He’s a vigilante now, killing whole gangs of Japanese Yakuza because his family disappeared one day. Fortunately, Nat rescues him from the gloomy Tokyo rain.

So now the gang’s back together. To celebrate they play a recent Rolling Stones song. Are they deliberately playing the worst possible music they could find?

They’re testing the technology and discussing how time travel works, the knowledge of which seems to come only from other time travel films. Hot Tub Time Machine gets a mention.

Hulk tells them that the Grandfather Paradox doesn’t exist and you’re free to go back and slaughter however many grandparents you want and not suffer any ill effects. Back to the Future is a bunch of bullshit apparently. The word ‘shit’ is said quite a lot in what is supposed to be a family-friendly film.

An hour in and now things are moving. The quest is to get the stones, whatever the hell they are, from the past and bring them to the present. They discuss where they were at particular points in their own past, as they all seem to have encountered them at some point. They also seem to be deadly so I hope they handle them correctly.

There are bongos on the soundtrack so you know this is a heist planning scene. Thor goes first and he’s clearly drunk and not making a huge amount of sense. To think we named a day after him. The raccoon and the Blue Woman go next and point out they’re going to have to go into space for some of the stones. Then Nat works out that at one point in the past, three of the stones were in New York.

So onto the heist, and each member of the team can only go back in time once because, er, reasons.

New York 2012 and all sorts of shit is going on with most of the superheroes battling a huge alien army. But that’s their past selves. Downey Jr., Cap, Hulk and Paul Rudd materialize in a side street and hide from the past Hulk, the one who is still angry at everything.

Present Hulk looks embarrassed at all the ass his past self is kicking. In a really weird scene, Present Hulk pretends to be Past Hulk but does it really half-assed. I realise that he can’t exactly blend in but try to put some effort into the ‘disguise’.

Non-Angry Hulk goes to visit a bald Tilda Swinton from the Narnia films. She is wearing one of the stones around her neck, which seems a bit casual. Equally casually, she fends off the Hulk’s overtures to her stone by removing the Hulk’s incorporeal soul from his body. Fortunately his soul self is wearing casual wear and not, you know, nothing.

Asgard 2013, which is in space and not Norway. Thor has gone to his home with the raccoon in tow. It’s a good job the raccoon is there as Thor would much rather go and raid the wine cellar. Fortunately he gets a talking to from his mother, who is going to die that day. Does she know this? If so she seems pretty zen about it.

Morag 2014, which is another planet in space. For some reason they’ve brought the spaceship with them, even though the time travel technology seems to be able to travel in space as well as time.

Blue Woman explains that she’s somewhere around in this timeline being evil with her father, Thanos. Er, what? Because she’s part android she’s hooked up to her own private internet and inadvertently broadcasts her intentions to this Past Thanos. Maybe it was a bad idea her coming along?

Back to New York 2012 and things are getting really complicated. Cap steals one of the stones from a bunch of bad guys pretending to be good guys. He does this by claiming to be a bad guy himself. My head hurts.

Escaping, he runs into his past self (“you’re shitting me”) and has to fight him, which is not the first thing I would do upon meeting myself, no matter how many metal shields I was carrying.

Present Downey Jr. and Paul Rudd steal a glowing cube, which is another stone. How many of these stones aren’t actual stones? The one Thor is trying to get is a liquid sludge thing. Then the cube is in turn stolen from them by Tom Hiddleston from The Night Manager, who sort of floats through this film saying about three lines.

Hulk manages to persuade Swinton by telling her something she doesn’t know. Cap escapes himself for similar reasons. The raccoon just leaves Thor to it and gets the stone himself although Thor calls for a different magical hammer than the one he didn’t bring into the past with him. Past Thor must have been a bit surprised when it was ripped from his hand.

Like every other film, Chris Pratt from Jurassic World is in this one too. He’s dancing around on the planet Morag and looks, well a pratt. Non-British Ocean’s 11 guy knocks him out and steals a special key which opens a vault where another stone is kept.

This one’s actually an orb but just as they’re heading back to the future (heh) Past Thanos intervenes. This is getting really complicated now. Once Present Blue Woman realises what is happening, she gets herself kidnapped by Past Thanos rather than, you know, zapping herself into the future like everyone else.

Meanwhile Cap and Downey Jr. are mourning the fact that Hiddleston got away with one of the stones. They’re mostly ignoring Paul Rudd because he’s being super annoying. They realise they have to jump further into the past to get the cube. This time travel thing is super-flexible when it needs to be.

New Jersey 1970. A Steppenwolf song now and not the obvious one. An army base, where Downey Jr. steals the cube and has a long chat with someone who turns out to be his dad. And Cap steals some particles (ah, this is the fuel for the time travel) from a young Michael Douglas and stares at a woman who must be his long-lost girlfriend. This whole bit goes on way too long.

Meanwhile the Past Blue Woman is torturing the Present Blue Woman. She gets some information and offers to go forward in time and bring Thanos and his massive spaceship along for the ride somehow.

Finally we go back to Nat and Mission Impossible Guy who isn’t Tom Cruise, who are still jetting off to a different planet in order to get the one stone they haven’t got yet. They meet a chatty floating red creature who tells them that in order to get the last stone one of them has to kill themselves.

Both are feeling way too suicidal and battle each other for the honour. Nat wins. They are superheroes, even if one of them is armed with a bow and arrow. Archery guy wakes up having ‘won’ the stone, which actually looks like a stone this time.

Bam. They all travel the Quantum tunnel thing and arrive back at Superhero HQ at the same time with all six stones. Only Nat isn’t there. Superhero HQ has got a lake house out the back where the superheroes discuss whether they can bring Nat back along with half the dolphins. Apparently they can’t because reasons.

They somehow turn all the cubes, orbs etc. into stones and attach them to a metal glove because they apparently only work when worn. Thor offers to be the one to wield it, despite being obviously drunk, before the Hulk says he’s the only one can do this and (barely) survive.

Meanwhile evil Past Blue Woman brings Past Thanos into the present, along with his massive spaceship. She’s able to do this because Quantum. Hulk puts on the glove and snaps his fingers, this being the make a wish method restoring half of all herring, just as Past Thanos arrives to hover ominously over the superhero HQ in his massive spaceship.

The superheroes haven’t noticed yet though. Moments after the Hulk snaps his fingers, Archery guy gets a call from his no-longer disappeared wife, which means half of all wives have been restored and possibly everything else. But Thanos strikes. A devastating missile attack from his massive spaceship which kills everybody.

You’ll be astonished to discover that everyone survives, albeit buried under a tonne of rubble. Archery guy winds up in an underground tunnel along with the glove holding all the stones. And some nightmare creatures who are apparently part of Thanos’s army. He picks up what has just been shown to be an immensely powerful glove and runs away from them.

Thanos shows up in the ruins with a gigantic double-bladed knife thing and orders his evil Blue Woman daughter to bring him the stones whilst he has a nice sit down. Meanwhile Present Blue Woman is having a chat with Thanos’s other daughter, who is green. They’re a colourful family. She explains that in the future Green Woman is good. And dead. This spurs Green Woman to free Blue Woman.

“You mess with time, it tends to mess with you,” says Downey Jr.. Yeah, tell Doctor Who that. She loves messing about with time. Having survived the attack, Cap, Thor and Downey Jr. espy Thanos having a nice sit down across the ruins.

I’d have thought that it would be wiser to make sure that the immense glove of power was safe, but they decide to have a fight with Thanos anyway. Thor summons both of his hammers and tidies his beard up. Thanos tells them that once he gets the glove he’s going to kill all the creatures in the universe this time, sparing not one otter. Downey Jr. is now wearing this weird metal armour thing that I hadn’t noticed him wearing before.

Archery guy has escaped the nightmare monsters and accidentally gives the glove to Blue Woman, not realising that this is the evil version. Fortunately, Good Blue Woman and Now Good Green Woman intervene, Blue Woman actually killing her past self and suffering no ill effects. This is not Back to the Future.

Despite having a suit of futuristic armour, two hammers, a metal shield, lightning and a tidy beard, Cap, Thor and Downey Jr. are getting the crap kicked out of them by Thanos and his big pen knife, despite killing him easily at the beginning of the film. It must be the knife making all the difference. In fact he and it chop up Cap’s metal shield to pieces.

Having won the three-on-one fight, Thanos summons an entire army of various nightmare creatures and flying things, seeming just for overkill. Cap faces this army alone with his half a shield. Cap is an idiot.

Just when things couldn’t be any bleaker, Cap gets a message. All through this film they’ve been talking to each other even though they’re miles apart. Either they’ve all got implants of some kind or they’ve got the best and most discreet Bluetooth system ever.

The message is from someone we haven’t seen before. Cap looks surprised. Is this one of the dead people who’ve been brought back to life? Then all these portals open and a whole army walk through, most of whom we haven’t met before. Yes, these are all the dead people who’ve been brought back to life by Hulk snapping his finger.

And there are a lot of them, including Chris Pratt, Benedict Cumberbatch, whatsername from The Hobbit and the ‘lost’ kid Downey Jr. was talking about who turns out to be Spiderman.

There is a big fight.

Who hits who I couldn’t tell but a remarkable amount of them seem unbothered by the fact there is a universe smashing weapon amongst them. I don’t know about you but that would be the thing I was worried about rather than the ugly nightmare thing I’m inexplicably running at.

Downey Jr. and Spiderman have a moment. Chris Pratt and Green Woman have a moment, although she kicks him in the balls. Somebody had to get a nut-kicking. Finally, our heroes realise that they still have a very powerful piece of outerwear in the proximity of 11 foot purple weirdo who would really like to use it to do bad things.

Archery Guy still has it and he seems to be running right through the middle of the battle, rather than, say, away from the battle. Finally, Thanos notices that the thing he’s been after all this time is being carried across a battlefield by a guy armed with a bow and arrow.

Archery Guy thinks that he’d be best handing over the glove to someone who isn’t armed with a bow and arrow. So he hands it over to someone armed with nothing. A red witch distracts Thanos for a bit and then Spiderman takes control of the glove. At one point he gets a lift from a woman riding a flying horse.

But our heroes are losing. Everyone’s getting bombed by the giant flying spaceship. But wait, the spaceship gets totally smashed up by, er, who is this again? Oh, it’s the super powerful woman who saved Downey Jr. at the beginning of the film. Where has she been?

She flies over to Spiderman and offers to take the glove over to where it needs to be, for the glove needs to be somewhere for some reason, rather than ‘anywhere but here’. Spiderman somehow missed the bit which just happened where she smashed a giant spaceship out of the sky and doubts her abilities.

In a gratuitous bit of willy waving on behalf of the makers of this film, all the women we’ve suddenly been introduced to gather to back up this spaceship-smashing woman, who clearly doesn’t need their help. The only woman who isn’t there is the one who killed herself half an hour earlier. This does not look good.

Thanos stops the super-powered women with his knife, somehow, and it’s back to Cap, Thor and Downey Jr. failing to stop Thanos putting on the glove. What happened to all those women?

Ah, but the super-powerful woman is back and she stops Thanos making a wish by stopping him snapping his fingers. But even she can’t stop Thanos. Nothing can, not even a last desperate lunge by Downey Jr..

Thanos snaps his fingers! Eeek!

Nothing happens.

The stones aren’t on the glove anymore. They were transferred onto Downey Jr.’s suit somehow. So instead it’s Downey Jr. who gets to make a wish and snap his fingers.

Thanos and all his nightmare creatures turn to dust.

But Downey Jr. shouldn’t have done that. He’s no Hulk and he dies.

But here’s a happy montage of all the people who’ve brought back to life. Archery Guy reunites with his family. Spiderman goes back to school, not noticing that it’s five years later now and everybody else should have graduated. Paul Rudd has noticed and has a happy moment with his now teenage daughter, who he ran away from two and a half hours earlier

And Downey Jr., who has always had a lot to say, is still talking, albeit from beyond the grave, his daughter watching a message he left for her before he died. That’s pretty twisted but he does like leaving messages.

Downey Jr.’s funeral, and there are a lot of people here. Hey, did you know Samuel L. Jackson was in these films? A lot of this film takes place by the side of lakes.

Tidying up. A fat guy offers to feed loads of cheeseburgers to Downey Jr.’s four year old daughter. Thor, who is still drunk, gives up his crown (he has a crown?) in order to fly around in space with Chris Pratt and the raccoon in a scene that goes on way too long.

And Cap offers to return all the stones from where and when they got them, otherwise the timeline will get messed up. I thought the Grandfather paradox didn’t apply here?

Talking of Grandfathers, Cap doesn’t return from his time trip and instead shows up as an old man, having elected to stay in the past and grow old with that woman he was lusting after in 1970.

He still has the shield, only now it’s intact when it was all but destroyed earlier, and hands it over to one of his pals. Time travel. It’s complicated.

 

TV Review – Killing Eve, What We Do in the Shadows, Year of the Rabbit

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Baaaat!

“I think I might have killed her.”

No you didn’t, otherwise there wouldn’t be a show. Hooray, it’s the return of Killing Eve (BBC1), contractually delayed so unworthy Americans could watch all of it before us (passim). That the first series was an instant award-hoovering monster and led to creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge writing the next fucking James Bond film is the stuff of instant showbiz legend.

*glances to camera* She also did Fleabag and was an android in Solo: A Star Wars Story. *’I know’ gesture*

But that leaves the second series of Killing Eve seriously Waller-Bridge-less. Now run by the equally splendidly-named Emerald Fennell, some new adopters tuning in to see what the fuss is about seem a bit confused. So let’s put them out of their literal misery.

Killing Eve is a comedy. Its primary purpose is to make you laugh. That it’s also the story of a psychotic assassin and the possibly infatuated woman on her trail doesn’t make it any less funny. Humour can be odd.

Thus it was during the last Academy Awards season when various comedy writers were moaning that funny films never get nominated for awards anymore (something something Woody Allen). This as proven comic actress Olivia Colman won an Oscar for her role in The Favourite, one of the funniest films of last year.

It’s also odd that some people think comedies should only be comedies and nothing else as well. The first episode of season two of Killing Eve may have taken place exactly 30 seconds after Sandra Oh’s obsessed agent Eve stabbed Jodie Comer’s psycho killer Villanelle, much to both’s surprise, but the laughs came soon after.

A shaken Eve has to escape Paris, where the deed took place. Waiting for her connection, a sympathetic stranger mistakes the agitated Eve for a junkie. “I know the signs,” asserts the stranger. “Takes one to know one.” The trouble is, Eve is a junkie. As mild-mannered and happily married as she is, she’s addicted to the woman she just tried to kill.

Back home, and still unable to comprehend what just happened, Eve seeks relief in cold calls from double-glazing companies. “Tell me about your windows. Tell me everything about them.”

Meanwhile wounded Villanelle – played by Liverpool’s own Jodie Comer vid an accent that could be from anywhere east of the Danube – has somehow managed to dodge people who actually want to kill her and guilt-tripped a taxi driver into taking her to hospital.

There she meets a poor kid badly injured in a car crash that killed his family. She likes him. He gets to like her but he despairs when she tells him that basically half his face is missing. “I wish I died in the car, like everyone else.” Fortunately he has an expert angel of death in the next bed over who puts him out of his misery.

This is a funny show, honest. As Villanelle puts it to her new friend shortly before she kills him, with a completely straight face. “Yes. I am funny.”

Back in London and Eve is apologising to her husband for the “shit-tonne of really expensive windows” they’re about to receive when her chilly spymaster boss Fiona Shaw gets back in touch. Shaw wants Eve back on the case. Eve doesn’t have any choice; “find her before she finds you.” Indeed, Villanelle is already on her way to “visit my girlfriend in London.”

Killing Eve is a bit far-fetched but it isn’t trying to be realistic. Just wallow in the acting, and the clever writing with loads of subtext, and the fantastic soundtrack music. Like the first series, the whole second series has been dropped on the BBC iPlayer. Binge away.

Keeley bleedin’ Hawes has shown up a lot in this column lately. The male Keeley Hawes could well be Matt Berry, for he’s got two shows on at the moment. One is the fantastic sitcom What We Do in the Shadows (BBC2), a US remake of the film of the same name from a few years ago that helped make Taika Waititi a name, and shirt, to be reckoned with.

Here, he and that film’s other writer/director Jemaine Clement have relocated the action from New Zealand to Staten Island in the States (which must be the US equivalent of Peterborough or Woking).

A mockumentary about three vampires living together, What We Do in the Shadows is elevated by the presence of Berry doing very Berry-like things, such as ‘erotic topiary’ in the shape of vaginas or shouting out “baaaat!” whenever he turns into one. Fully utilising his Toast of London fruitiness, it’s the sort of performance that Mike Myers would once play but with half the effort.

With Clement and Waititi behind the camera, it was only a matter of time before the original down under vampires returned and this week’s episode delivered in spades. Our current trio of vampires (who also number Kayvan Novak and Natasia Demetriou) are put on trial for murdering ‘The Baron’, an ancient vampire who nobody particularly liked.

They’re put before the ‘Vampiric Council’ who include not just the original New Zealand trio, but just about everyone who’s ever played a bloodsucker. This includes Paul Reubens (the Buffy film), Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn), Evan Rachel Wood (True Blood), Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive and standing in for David Bowie) and, appearing via laptop (“the Skype seems glitchy,” notes Reubens) Wesley Snipes (Blade).

Tom and Brad couldn’t make it because they “weren’t interested”.

The council find our anti-heroes anti-innocent; they couldn’t really defend themselves as they were “messed-up on drug blood” when the deed was committed. Fortunately they are saved from the sentence of exposure to the sun by their other housemate, Colin Robinson, an ‘energy vampire’ who feeds on people by boring everyone into the floor.

Less immediately successful for Berry is Year of the Rabbit (Channel 4). Greater minds than mine have spotted that the over-the-top Victorianisms of Ripper Street (passim) were ripe for parody. Set in Whitechapel in the 1880s, Berry plays an alcoholic mutton-chopped Peeler called Eli Rabbit in the sort of murky East End where there are always urchins selling lungs and fresh mud on every corner.

“This city is a rat eating its own babies,” explains Berry to a rookie over morning Scotches. “Babies made of shit. And once it’s eaten its own shit babies, it shits them out again.” But there’s one fatal flaw the show makes. For some reason, Berry plays Rabbit not as a parody of Matthew Macfadyen’s posh, florid flatfoot from Ripper Street, but, er, Cockney.

Why?! Imagine Berry in his normal fruity flow having possibly identified a female killer. “She’ll kill again. She’s got the taste! The TASTE!” Now imagine it in a gruff East London voice. It’s not the same is it?

Oh wait. In the least expected twist ever Keeley ‘Not Her Again’ Hawes shows up at the end of the first episode of Rabbit Street, playing what is obviously the recurring villain. And who does she happen to be married to? Never thought it would happen but we’ve finally reached Peak Hawes.

TV Review – Good Omens, Summer of Rockets

good_omens

Very Sky One

Once Upon a Time people used to watch Sky One. Not many people, admittedly, and it was usually just to watch The Simpsons but nevertheless this once happened. And as a treat to its many thousands of viewers the channel would give them one wholly original show at Christmas, usually an adaptation of a Terry Pratchett novel.

More often than not Sky One would blow the extremely limited budget for this on getting a well-known name to star (usually David Jason) and not have much left to realise the pricey special effects needed to render Pratchett’s fabulous fantasy world into anything resembling believable. This was well before Game of Thrones made fantasy fashionable on the telly.

It’s with a sense of nostalgia for the long gone days of anybody actually watching Sky One that we approach Good Omens (Amazon Prime), the latest version of a Pratchett novel, this time adapted by the book’s co-author Neil Gaiman.

What with his taking over the adaptation of American Gods (passim) and his various Doctor Who episodes, Gaiman seems to be gaining greater confidence in this new-fangled TV thing, confidence being one of those things that Gaiman has never lacked.

As the title may suggest, Good Omens is a comic reimagining of The Omen movies, wherein the baby Antichrist is foisted upon not a US Ambassador close to the president but a nice British couple far from anything resembling power.

As with the Sky One series the money seems to have been mostly spent on the cast, with Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation bussed in to play the discarded US Ambassador, who gets about three scenes. In fact the depth of the cast is quite remarkable, as Gaiman seems to have called in every favour he could from an extended Doctor Who/Sherlock/Black Mirror universe.

The League of Gentlemen en masse make cameos. Derek Jacobi shows up for four lines as a disembodied head once played by Alan Rickman channelling Frankie Howerd. Benedict Cumberbatch plays a giant Satan and it’s immediately clear it’s not mo-capped like his celebrated exertions playing a titular dragon in another fantasy.

Also in the voiceover booth is Frances McDormand as the narrator, for God’s sake, and it’s not like she’s briskly setting the scene in each episode. Words tumble out of her like a particularly wordy sermon, Gaiman not quite having discovered that TV is not a novel and it really is best to show rather than tell.

But the stars of the show, and the reason why I devoured all this in practically one afternoon, are David Tennant and Michael Sheen. Tennant plays a demon, the original snake who tempted Eve, who nevertheless has later misgivings about God’s plan for a flood to wipe out most of humanity (beat that Thanos). Sheen is an angel who lives for the simple things in life, and finds it increasingly hard to justify God’s plans, not least His welcoming the upcoming war in heaven which the Antichrist will unleash.

Playing very long lifelong frenemies, Sheen and Tennant are utterly magnetic and the show falters whenever they’re not on screen together. Gaiman seems to have realised this as they get all sorts of gratuitous flashbacks to when they’ve looked out for each other through the centuries. As Tennant reasons, since they cancel each other out in the tempting/saving humanity stakes, they may as well just kick back and enjoy the finer things of life.

But alas, with all this star power – including Jon Hamm as the “Archangel fucking Gabriel” and Michael McKean sporting a bizarre Scottish accent which must have been awkward in his scenes with Tennant – comes seriously shonky special effects.

It’s a good job that Tennant spends so much time behind shades because the CGI on his demon eyes are seriously lacking. And that’s before we get to such apocalyptic imagery as the M25 being on fire, something even Game of Thrones would struggle to do and rendered very Sky One here.

If Good Omens is overstuffed with well-known actors wait till you clock Summer of Rockets (BBC2) which is two episodes in and has an alarmingly thin Timothy Spall as a mysterious lord who has only said about five lines so far.

Set in 1958, the real star of Summer of Rockets is Toby Stephens as a good-hearted Russian/Jewish emigre who speaks vid an accent and is a genius with hearing aids. He even made one for Winston Churchill, which brings his elan for electronics to the attention of MI5.

They want him to sniff around a wealthy couple played by Linus Roache and the inevitable Dame Keeley Hawes – how does she find the time for all these things? He’s an MP and she’s suffering the loss of their only child, who disappeared without trace five years earlier.

Of course they’re also a very wealthy couple with a huge house and extensive grounds. This is a Steven Poliakoff drama and he worships the landed gentry like no other dramatist.

As part of their somewhat questionable vetting procedures, MI5 show Stephens a film of various symbols of British life and ask him to commentate. He approves of the Queen of course, and Churchill and the green and pleasant lands.

He doesn’t like Hitler or the politicians behind the Suez crisis and really draws the line when pornography is introduced (I hope this is all based on real MI5 loopiness). He’s a perfect Poliakoff stand-in and he enjoys the garden parties and debutante balls as much as Poliakoff obviously does.

But MI5 don’t even show up until episode two. You can spot a Poliakoff drama from a mile off just by how slow it all is. You give something a title like Summer of Rockets and it better have some rockets in it. So far nothing remotely rocket-like has shown up yet, not even a salad.

One has to wonder what Steven Poliakoff has on the BBC in order for them to keep giving him oodles of money to make his, er, unique dramas. He’s definitely a genius, as anyone who’s seen his sublime Shooting the Past will attest.

But he’s also made his fair share of duds. I’m sure Keeley Hawes’s army of fans would much rather see her in propulsive if populist pap like Bodyguard rather than slow-moving garden fayre fetishism like Summer of No Rockets Yet.

TV Review – The Jeremy Kyle Show, Years and Years, Gentleman Jack, The Ranganation

yearsandyears

The North Remembers

So farewell The Jeremy Kyle Show (ITV1), taken off the air although only when the guests started killing themselves. Over the years I tried to do a review of the show a few times for this column but could not honestly get through more than five minutes of it before switching off. I’m amazed it lasted as long as it did.

Somebody else who probably couldn’t watch ol’ Jezza for more than five minutes is Russell T Davies. Having revived Doctor Who and written everybody’s favourite show of last year, A Very British Scandal, he’s clearly been given the run of the Beeb to do whatever he wants.

And boy has he done whatever he wanted. His latest show Years and Years (BBC1) is bonkers and shares a ‘so this is where we are now’ vibe with having switched off after watching five minutes of The Jeremy Kyle Show. Except the whole thing takes place in the not-too-distant future, where things are much worse.

Years and Years (not the band) feels like Davies’s version of Black Mirror, which is fair enough as his version of Doctor Who was Black Mirror before there was a Black Mirror. Technology is out to get us at every turn – one character declares she is transhuman and wants to delete her body in order to live in the Cloud. This is not helped by the presence of Rory Kinnear, who not too long ago played the porcine-poking Prime Minister in the first episode of Black Mirror.

The equivalent of that David Cameron analogue here is Emma Thompson of all people, putting on a Northern accent like she’s on Game of Thrones or something. She portrays an ominous Farage-like politician who beats a Corbyn-like politician in a by-election five years from now and is clearly destined to destroy this world. But how?

I mean there are so many other ways the world could end on this show. Episode one ends with Donald Trump, in his last act after serving the full two terms, nuking a Chinese artificial island, killing 40,000 people. The implausibility there is that Donald Trump will ever willingly give up the Presidency without leaving the White House feet first.

(Davies couldn’t possibly have anticipated this, but the episode was broadcast in the same week that the real Trump responded to the question, “are we going to war with Iran?” with a cheery, “I hope not.”)

But there are other hints that we’re all doomed. Chocolate apparently doesn’t exist anymore. The North Pole has melted. The series is focused on one family from Manchester who go through various travails, such as losing all their money on another bank crash or witnessing first-hand the poisonous anti-immigration atmosphere.

It’s all summed up in eco-activist sister Jessica Hynes’s attitude when she returns home having personally witnessed, and been radioactively poisoned by, Donald Trump’s ‘final’ act. “Tear the world down,” she says with dead eyes, applauding Thompson’s rabble-rousing call to jail all Tech CEOs.

“This is just the beginning,” Northerns Thompson down the camera lens at the end of the latest episode. Jesus, what the hell is she going to do that is more awful than what is already happening?

For more light-hearted fare we must return to the past. Sally Wainwright’s Gentleman Jack (BBC1) is the best new drama I’ve seen for, well, years and years, despite its star sporting the worst historical haircut since Blackadder the First. Suranne Jones, the ITV Keeley Hawes, plays the ‘title’ character, actually called Anne, and her hair replaces Princess Leia’s side braids with hair tubes.

Aside from any tonsorial troubles, Jones plays a restless heiress from 1832 who returns to the family home in Halifax after her latest girlfriend does what all her girlfriends tend to do: marry a man. As she herself says, “I could never marry a man. It would be perverse.” As historical lesbians go, Anne was not the sort to remain in the shadows, hopefully batting lashes at a bonnet across a ballroom.

Her Yorkshire family, all channelling Alan Bennett, are aware of what she is. “It’s all very well being ‘different’ in York or Paris, but this is Halifax,” points out her mum. Her sister is exasperated that all family talk revolves around her. “However far away my sister goes, for however long, she always manages to inveigle herself into becoming the main topic of any given conversation.” Top marks for the use of ‘inveigle’ there.

“The only thing I’ve ever run from is the banal,” asserts Jones on her return. Yes, that is your catchphrase. But, when she’s not shooting horses or evicting tenants, what might ground the flighty Anne Lister (Freddy to her lovers) is a local virgin. “I intend to make Miss Walker my wife,” she asserts to no-one in particular.

And there’s the nagging doubt about the series, as the whole thing is based on the diaries of the real-life Anne Lister – and who isn’t prone to exaggerating about themselves? But I’m going to love any show that gives Suranne Jones plenty to do, as well as showcasing such wonderful comedic actresses as Rosie Cavaliero and Amelia Bullmore.

A new comedy show trying ‘something different’ is always going to be a struggle. Even Monty Python or The Fast Show floundered for the first few episodes. The Ranganation (BBC2) is the same story, as host Romesh Ranganathan balances two guest comics (Rob Beckett and Faye Ripley) with a focus group of 25 representatives of the nation as they discuss the topics of the day in a hopefully comedic way.

My judgement of the first episode would be to ditch the guest comics and just, er, ‘focus’ on the focus group – who wear representative signs around their necks identifying themselves as ‘Never Voted’ or ‘Football Mad’. They seem a lively enough bunch and Ranganathan is able to marshall them well, even when they’re getting heated about how much they use Smartphones. Over time they could become as famous as the Gogglebox lot, even if we never learn their actual names.

TV Review – Champions League Live, Taskmaster, Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure

taskmaster

No Bigger Than Before

Shortly, we’ll be talking about the greatest TV show of all time but for now let’s talk about the greatest TV moment of all time, which happened on Tuesday night and wasn’t shown on TV.

On Champions League Live (BT Sport), Liverpool pulled off a miracle at Anfield by beating Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate after losing 0-3 in the away match.

Most fans of the Nivea-shilling team were tuning in out of duty rather than any hope. Barcelona had Lionel Messi for God’s sake, and Liverpool talismans Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino were out injured. But it happened.

Match over and the cameras are taking in the aftermath. Normally wildly ebullient Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looked surprisingly restrained, although he might have been in a state of shock after his team pulled off what he himself had called before the match “impossible”.

Then the Anfield DJ George Sephton cued up You’ll Never Walk Alone and all the Liverpool players and staff lined up in front of the Kop and sang along with the crowd. There were many tears. A fantastic moment of live TV which we’ve all possibly watched by now.

Sadly, BT Sport had cut to the adverts by this point, thereby proving Tottenham Hotspur supporter David Hepworth’s maxim that live television always misses the unexpected moments. (Yes, the same thing happened the night after in the other semi-final with Tottenham Hotspur but I didn’t see it because I was watching…)

It’s possibly just me, but there must be someone else. It can’t just be me that thinks Taskmaster (Dave) is the best show ever, right?

As with all truly great things the idea behind it is so simple. Take five people and give them tasks to do. That’s it. The beauty of the idea is lining them up on a stage afterwards to compare how they achieved these tasks with varying degrees of success or dismal failure. Mostly the latter.

Now onto its eighth series and showing no signs of stopping anytime soon, the show has provided some absolutely wonderful moments. Mel Giedroyc trying to eat a sandwich almost as big as her which mostly consisted of sweets, and getting an M&M stuck up her nose.

Joe Wilkinson being tasked with throwing a potato into a golf hole and nonchalantly doing it first time (“the greatest moment of my life”) only to be disqualified moments later (“don’t take this away from me”).

Nish Kumar and Mark ‘The Heron’ Watson’s surprisingly good song about a woman they’d only met half an hour previously. Rob Beckett correctly guessing it was frozen peas in a locked case. All five recreations of various video games being equally glorious.

Then there is the last two series being absolutely stomped on by Liza Tarbuck and Kerry Godliman, both winning easily simply because neither is an idiot.

The most essential aspect of the show is the person who seems to be doing the least work, the Taskmaster himself, Greg Davies. Davies is billed as the Taskmaster although he doesn’t come up with any of the tasks; that’s left to sidekick and show inventor “little” (he’s six foot two) Alex Horne. “He’s no bigger than before” as Davies introduces him, because being mean to Alex is an essential part of the show.

But everybody’s small in Greg Davies’ world. A former teacher standing at a frankly terrifying six foot eight inches – taller than former contestant Richard Osman – he’s been consistent in his marshaling of the show’s many unruly elements, and giving out points seemingly on a whim. The moment when he takes, say, Nish Kumar to one side, to ask him if he’s self-sacrificing, are gold (“I believe in you Nish”).

There was an attempt to make an American version of the show but it was cancelled after one series. One of the problems was that they got the amiable Reggie Watts to host when you need someone as frankly terrifying as former Doctor Who villain Davies.

The first episode of the new series featured Davies setting out exactly who’s in charge here. With five new contestants to bully, Davies gave out the first of the seemingly arbitrary points. When Iain Stirling questioned why his execution of Bring in the Most Powerful Smell – he farts in a jar – didn’t get more points, Greg helpfully explains: “I know, exactly. It’s so unfair, the whole game.”

A later task involves a surprisingly engrossing take on Grandma’s Footsteps at a railway station, wherein the contestants have to get to Alex – Greg never takes part in any of the filmed tasks – without being seen, Alex ducking down behind a bridge every ten seconds. The sight of Lou Sanders somehow hiding in a bin which matched her outfit (“Will he notice me if I’m a bin?”) is one of those ludicrous things that can’t have been set up in advance but which somehow contrived to happen.

A first look at the new batch of contestants shows Stirling as the most competitive so he’s got no chance, despite winning the first episode. Nine further episodes will soon pop his bubble.

Another reason perhaps that the show didn’t really take off in the States is that there’s no real celebration of glorious failure in US culture. Losers are just not tolerated there. But for the moment there’s no better place to celebrate glorious failure than on Dave on a Wednesday night. Or in Barcelona on a Tuesday.

Our Dementia Choir with Vicky McClure (BBC1) and there’ll be three more from them after the news.

TV Review: Snooker World Championship, Game of Thrones (again), Killing Eve

Ronnie

Missed Brown

The Ashes 2005. Red Rum winning for a third time. Super Saturday during London 2012. But perhaps the greatest moment in British sport happened in the early hours of a Monday morning when Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis on the last black of the last frame of the final of the Word Snooker Championship in 1985. This year’s Snooker: World Championship 2019 (BBC) (because everything needs a colon these days) has similarly been mostly happening in the morning, though at more manageable hours.

Although it’s doubtful that it’s been getting anything like the record numbers who stayed up to watch Norn Iron Man Dennis beat Captain Plumstead Steve. Most of the big events this year have happened on the BBC red button during the day, because BBC2 will insist on switching to something called Politics Live which, for a while now, is something literally nobody wants to watch. There’s a reason why Loose Women does so well.

Thus it was only BBC red button watchers who saw Ronnie O’Sullivan fall to a foetus in a quiff called James ‘Cheeks’ Cahill, although those that were watching were wondering exactly how late Rocket Ron had stayed up the night before and who with. He looked like he had a hangover that could be smelled through the screen. It was a wonder it didn’t put Cheeks off.

Another casualty of the red button was three-times champion Mark Selby, the Jester from Leicester, losing to Gary Wilson, the Tyneside Terror, who has certainly scared most of the hair off of his head from a very early age. Maybe the Jester was hungover too but able to hide it better thanks to his lighter-hearted view of the world.

The Terror then went on to terrorise Ali Carter, the anti-matter Jester seeing as he’s one of the most angry people to ever sink a pot. Carter, who’s too boring to have a nickname, looks annoyed that’s he’s a snooker player, secretly wishing that he was a press officer for a major political party. It was presumably a relief that he went out and can now look forward to those all-important European elections.

As Game of Thrones fans have the Red Wedding, so snooker fans have the red button. It’s the best place to watch snooker as it’s usually live and doesn’t have that tiresome ‘filler’ between frames where Hazel Irvine and John Parrott attempt to dissect the ‘action’ of a sport that notoriously doesn’t have any. “Do you think that missed brown is going to affect him?”

Still, it’s nice to be talking about a world where Trump refers to Judd, Mr. Haircut 100. And it’s also great to see that John Higgins, the Wizard of Wishaw, is still doing well, despite being in his seventies and having the corpulence – but presumably not the drinking capacity – of ‘Big Billy B’ Bill Werbeniuk these days. There’s still a place for us oldies in sport. Sorry, ‘sport’.

There’s a lot of spoilers around at the moment. Avengers: Endgame (another colon) came out last Friday and the aforementioned Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic) featured its biggest battle yet, with many a dismembering of a well-known character, although it was hard to tell as the whole thing took place at night.

I’d love to tell you exactly who died but I can’t be certain. I’m not even sure exactly how many dragons are left alive and they’re usually hard to miss, as Jon Snow would say. Overall it’s been an emotional week for nerds but when did spoiling the secrets of a favourite film or TV show become a thing?

I think it can be traced back to the stone age days of the internet and newsgroups such as rec.arts.films, wherein it was necessary to spoil everything as quickly and as bluntly as possible. I remember reading it when the all-but-forgotten Godzilla movie came out (“from the makers of Independence Day!”) and the newsgroup was full of young idiots who had just seen the film spoiling what they thought was the most important information about it: Godzilla lays a load of eggs. No, me neither. But then these same people starting spoiling things you cared about.

Newsgroups quickly taught people the most important aspect of the internet; it’s full of children who want to spoil your fun. Adults quickly learnt that there are aspects of the internet it’s best to avoid altogether – the modern equivalent of people telling you what happens in that thing you want to watch is Reddit and nobody over the age of 19 goes there.

It’s still hard to avoid chat rooms though, as they seem to pop up unbidden on all sorts of corners of the internet. It was on one such chat room that a child spoiled to me what they clearly thought was the main plot point of Avengers: Endgame, although it wasn’t the main spoiler. That would be “Jarvis!”

Avoiding spoilers for the second series of Killing Eve is getting increasingly hard. The smash hit, award-winning series starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer is made by the BBC but thanks to some boneheaded bit of contract manipulation the whole thing has to be shown on BBC America before it can be shown here.

So us British persons – you know, the first B in BBC – won’t be able to see it until the end of May, unless you want to watch it on a naughty website with a chatroom in the corner of the screen telling you that Neil Robertson, The Thunder from Down Under, will win the snooker.

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