Kathryn Flett’s My TV Week: Will survivor survive? (It’s touch and go…)
‘Thirty-four days, 18 people, one survivor… this is the most physically demanding and emotionally draining show on TV,’ announced Survivor host Joel Dommett (The Masked Singer), portentously.
My first thought: ‘What, even more physically demanding and emotionally draining than The Traitors? Bring it on!’ So I enthusiastically signed up for weeks of ‘Woo-hoo! We got this!’ shouted by the gung-ho castaways seeking shelter, fire, food, water and £100k for the winning individual in the Dominican Republic.
In case you’re having deja-vu, yes, this is a reboot of the global reality franchise that aired for two seasons on ITV way back in 2001 and 2002 before the broadcaster somewhat bafflingly pulled the plug despite the show attracting bigger ratings than Big Brother. There have been more than 50 versions worldwide since, with a whopping 45-season run in the US.
‘Thirty-four days, 18 people, one survivor… this is the most physically demanding and emotionally draining show on TV,’ announced Survivor host Joel Dommett (pictured)
Survivor contestants Nathan (left) and Sabrina (right)
However, ITV went straight on to launch I’m A Celebrity, presumably just one of the reasons why Survivor is now on the BBC.
So far, our likeable host is successfully wrangling, cajoling and interviewing members of the Orange tribe, aka Caleton and the Blue tribe, aka La Nena – named after the respective beaches they’re calling home for a few weeks. La Nena got off to a flyer in the first three trials – basically building, unlocking, burning, swimming… pretty much whatever you’d see in Celebrity SAS or I’m A Celebrity, albeit without quite so many critters or, indeed, celebrities.
However, Caleton have now broken back and there’s still everything for everybody to play for.
Or nearly everybody. No surprise that portly pensions manager Richard, 36, from Dalkeith, had his torch extinguished at the first Tribal Council. Having failed a challenge, leaving Caleton a man down, Richard answered Dommett’s question, ‘Do you think you’re vulnerable tonight?’ with a mildly delusional, ‘I think everybody here is vulnerable!’ and was immediately voted out by his tribe.
Less predictable an exit was ultra-marathon runner Sabrina, 45, on the grounds that she was clearly and unapologetically in it to win it. Which, let’s face it, just isn’t very British, right?
Though it’s still early days, you’d be mad not to keep an eye on Manchester fitness instructor Nathan, 35, and ‘flood risk consultant’ Doug, 32, from the Isle of Mull, and not just because they’re very easy on the eye; the physicality of the format seems likely to favour male contestants. But I do like the attitudes of ‘professional roller-skater’ Tinuke, 30 (as a keen former skater myself, how did I miss that career path?), and ‘network data scientist’ Ren, 28.
Ultimately, though, victory will come in seeing whether or not the format still feels fresh enough for a Saturday and Sunday night. As the show is pre-filmed there’s no Strictly/I’m A Celebrity-style viewer interaction.
And while that didn’t stop The Traitors from being gripping viewing, this isn’t a brand new show. Based on the evidence so far, I’d say Survivor’s own survival is a definite maybe.
Sorry Mary, it’s just silly
It’s impossible to dislike anything about the Dame of Dough, however the mighty Mary Berry’s new show (Mary Makes It Easy, Thu, BBC2) is a silly format. With such good food there was no need to pretend that Berry (above) and her former Bake Off compadre Mel Giedroyc (whose friendship is genuine) were ‘camping’ riverside.
Mary’s predictably no-nonsense response, when asked recently by this paper if she and Mel had really camped, says it all. ‘We had a tent and we put it up. Well, Mel did.’
The meals all looked perfect (count me in for ciabatta tricolore) but the premise was even cheesier than Mary’s tartiflette.
It’s impossible to dislike anything about the Dame of Dough, however the mighty Mary Berry’s new show (Mary Makes It Easy, Thu, BBC2) is a silly format
I was wrong to write this off
Ashley Jensen can walk into the first episode, replace Douglas Henshall’s Perez as the detective-in-charge, and own the show from the get-go
I haven’t seen Shetland for a while, since the days when Succession’s Brian Cox popped up in a cameo, but I can’t quite remember why I stopped.
Given that I found the multiple Scots-BAFTA nominee (which returned last week for an eighth series) to be a satisfying watch, there’s really no excuse, other than perhaps a sense that I’d already seen the best of it?
Originally based on the DI Jimmy Perez novels by Ann Cleeves, after ten years Shetland has reinvented itself so successfully that Ashley Jensen can walk into the first episode, replace Douglas Henshall’s Perez as the detective-in-charge, and own the show from the get-go.
Backstory: in the Metropolitan Police, Ashley’s character DI Ruth Calder (right) had, both personally and professionally, moved a long way from Shetland, where she’d been born and raised. ‘I couldn’t wait to get away, like two days after my 18th birthday,’ she tells the young female copper with whom she’s now investigating the disappearance of another young Shetlander, Ellen, witness to a London gangland murder.
Beautifully photographed and acted, with dialogue written in the easy staccato in which real people actually speak (rarer than it should be!), this series is already both beguiling and haunting. So I was very clearly wrong to write Shetland off – and you would be too.
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