Over the weekend I’ve watched hours of top class drama on ITV, worryingly all of it 30 years old and all on ITV4. Mostly through a lack of effort, the network seems incapable of producing anything to match the heights and longevity of perma-hits Minder or The Professionals.
So instead of even trying to offer any drama, ITV1 gave most of it’s Saturday night schedule to the ghoul-fest which is X-Factor, as some of the least inspiring wannabe’s ever seen on TV begged for votes so they could win the right to be unheard of in a year’s time.
Sunday’s showing of Peter Kay’s Britain’s Got the Pop Factor (Channel 4) proved nothing is so crass as to be beyond parody. If it’d been screened in place of X-Factor only the superior talent of the spoof contestants would have tipped off the audience.
BBC One’s Merlin spluttered to an embarrassing ending with yet another painfully slow and dreary non-adventure. Earlier on Saturday The Muppet’s Christmas Carol (Five) provided a more enjoyable and realistic telling of a much-loved classic story.
Saturday’s Casualty provided the expected decent hour of drama as the Nick/Ruth and Toby/Ben love plots took turns for the worse. The next few episodes sound unmissable as one of the four makes a major decision about their future.
As it continues to expand the focus of plots beyond the confines the ED, the show gets better but remains under trailed and promoted, like some tolerated but unloved distant relative.
Most weekends I find myself catching up with at least one show I missed during the week, this weekend it was the turn of Apparitions, BBC One’s supremely impressive exorcism drama. Virtually every show on TV could learn from the way it handles character development and story arcs and this week’s season finale looks set to be a cracker.
Thursday can’t come soon enough.