The week on demand (1 February)
Eastenders. Panorama. Alan Carr. Andrew pushes the envelope of what can be recommended in the Den with the best of on-demand telly this week
First up a programme that I never thought I could stand the criticism to recommend, but Eastenders this week features a devastatingly affecting half-hour monologue from Square stalwart (available until Thursday). Even if the programme isn’t your cup of tea, it’s the most startlingly brave thing that’s been done on BBC One prime time drama is as long as I remember.
Never Mind the Buzzcocks is also worth a look, featuring the fat bloke from Hot Chip who always looks quite funny in their videos. It answers the question, “is that fat bloke out of Hot Chip who always looks quite funny in their videos actually very funny?” (Yes.) Elsewhere from Two this week there’s the shocker that is the really quite good Torchwood episode three, ‘To the Last Man’, until Wednesday (or the really quite rubbish episode two available too). Lastly in the entertainment stakes is Jam and Jerusalem, the driftingly endearing sitcom by a resurgent Jennifer Saunders, featuring the old girls take on the neighbouring village in a series of sports events. Quite hilarious, if you haven’t yet partaken.
Lastly I’ve got another unexpected recommendation, as Alex James presents Panorama, investigating cocaine. If you’re an Oasis fan and have been waiting to see one of Blur get intimidated by his surroundings, then it’s a must-see (available until Monday).
Modern Toss, it transpires, is less amazing than I remember, but that’s still available should you want to try a bit of animated tomfoolery. In a better move for comedy, last weekend’s Comedy Live Presents is a somewhat mixed bag or Russell Brand, Lee Mack, and Michael McIntyre (all good, if you were wondering), versus Roseanne Barr, and Leigh Francis desperately trying to hold on to his career. (If you were wondering about that, he’s failing. Miserably.)
It is potentially a cracking week for comedy on Four, although the next two recommendations I haven’t seen as they’re broadcast on Friday: Alan Carr’s Celebrity Ding Dong features the always-funnier-than-you-remember comedian pitting celebrities against members of the public. It’s the sort of dodgy concept that could be saved by a hilarious host. Alternatively, there’s new Derren Brown in The System, although the frankly daft listing that ‘Derren Brown has a system for winning at the horses’ is certainly not giving any clues away about whether it will be worth it.
Primeval. Thank God You’re Here. TV Burp. Fin.
VBS is the online telly service from Vice Magazine. It can sometimes can way-laid in its own mission of cool (although it also does a very fine line in ground-level documentaries), but there are truffles to snuffle. The best is Bangs, by the camera guy off Jackass, as well as having directed Belle and Sebastian and Arcade Fire videos. It’s not exactly regularly updated but it’s worth a look.