With Parliament in recess there’s suddenly a gap in our television schedules where Nick Robinson used to provide his incisive, agenda-setting, ahead-of-the-curve investigative restaurant reviews political comment and analysis. Simply nothing important is going to happen for months (other than the Third World War breaking out in the Middle East, but the BBC won’t be covering that once the Premiership kicks off again). How is Aunty Beeb going to solve this problem?
Well, they’re going to revive some old favourites, that’s how – and you lucky people are privileged to get a sneak preview together with the traditional not-very-good publicity photos.
An important man is kidnapped from his residence in Central London and imprisoned among a gang of weirdos, misfits, rebels, turncoats and traitors in a bizarre place cut off from the real world (The Westminster Village). His tormentors will keep him there until he answers the one question they keep on repeating: Why hasn’t Number Ten resigned yet?
Each week a special guest star will have a go at being Number Two, with the responsibility for devising ever more complicated and ludicrous cock-ups to force Number Ten to resign. At the start of the series, John is Number Two – but it’s clear that despite wrecking the transport system, destroying local democracy and cunningly pretending to be living on a Wild West ranch he’s not hanging around much longer. Lined up to replace him in later episodes are Peter, Harriet, Alan, David……
This surreal and thought-provoking programme will have you arguing in the pubs all night: what does the mysterious symbolism really mean? who is Number One? why does the fourth largest economy in the world tolerate such a pack of frauds and morons as their government?
THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF DAVID LLOYD GEORGE
Serious drama (i.e. dull). Cast against type, Sir Ming Campbell stars as a politician from the Celtic fringes who stabs his leader in the back, trundles out high-flown moralistic rhetoric and takes pots of money from dubious businessmen. Will he form a coalition with the Tories to gain high office? Does any one, frankly, care? No one’s made a programme like this since 1922, and after about ten minutes you’ll see why. Unconvincing; doesn’t hang together; poor choice of colour. Not a bad theme tune, though.
Two talented investigators set out to crack a baffling mysterious intrigue which defies basic common sense. Yes, it’s John Reid’s life story and career: ex-Communist, ex-alcoholic, ex-Scottish Secretary, ex-Northern Ireland Secretary, ex-Chairman of the Labour Party, ex-Leader of the House, ex-Health Secretary, ex-Defence Secretary, ex-tremely over-rated, ex-cetera, ex-cetera.
Viewers will be titilated by an ongoing "will they/won’t they" tension between the two main characters (Mouldy and Scatty). No, they won’t.
THE RENEW AVENGERS
A fantasy adventure series in which a talented team of agents fight to overcome evil plots of world domination. Sounds good, yes? No, it’s just another attempt to breath life into and "renew" a franchise which was quite good in the 1960s but is played-out and old-fashioned these days. All the usual rubbish is there: humourless banter between the principal characters, mad scientists, fiendishly intelligent computers, sinister secret agents plotting to betray the good guys from the inside, weapons of mass destruction, giant rats in the sewers of London, worker control of the commanding heights of the economy, that sort of stuff. The female lead might have a future in a sitcom lampooning the lifestyles of fashion victims, and the male supporting actor should concentrate on doing coffee adverts.
Cheap but surprisingly addictive test of knowledge. You won’t be able to tear yourself away once you become involved (largely because you’ll be inside Colindale police station and they’ll have made you hand over your passport). Inspector Yates is prepared to spend all night quizzing any one within reach as to what they know about money.