Due to unforseen circumstances (i.e a Doctor’s appointment) this week we have an abridged edition this week but we still have a theme tune. This week we have arguably the finest emotional performance of a song ever, by Elvis Presley from his 1968 comeback special.
I always knew that the ’68 special was exactly that, special (My Mum has the DVD and it is spectacular), but it’s only through the recent Elvis documentaries commemorating what would have been his 75th birthday that the true emotional significance of that performance in particular has been illuminated for me. I reccommend you all look up the full details, but basically after years of ‘sellout’ songs and movies chosen by Elvis’ manager Col. Parker, Elvis himself was frustrated and disillusioned because he wanted to be a serious artist again, and to be recognised as the accomplished actor he could be (check out King Creole for evidence of that). The Colonel himself wanted the special to be a Christmas special, but managing to get his own way Presley got into absolutely phenomenal shape (I defy any woman to say he isn’t stunning in the black leather, and any man to deny a serious mancrush) and put out an immaculate performance, ending with the deeply emotional ‘If I can Dream’ written for him especially for that show. After hearing and performing the song, Elvis is quoted as saying “I’m never going to sing another song I don’t believe in. I’m never going to make another picture I don’t believe in.”
The rest of the week’s documentaries highlighted his meteoric rise and his sad demise into prescription drug addiction, and really should be distributed more widely if only to end the mocking parodies of the man that are harsh and ill informed.
That’s my serious intro for the year taken care of anyhow. No ‘THEY WANTED TO DO WHAT!?’ this week, so we’ll dive straight into the highlights and lowlights for the coming week and you’ll be pleased to note the good outweighs the bad today!
We kick off the highlights with two cultural offerings. Firstly The TV Book Club, a new show from Channel 4 which hopefully bodes well for how they’re going to fill their programming hours when the Big Brother series finish. A well judged and nicely varied celebrity panel reviewing books is a simple concept, and one that should span a wide audience, making it more accessible than Newsnight Review or South Bank. Secondly is the BBC’s own overlooked gem, The Culture Show. Ably presented by the excellent Mark Kermode (who’s praises I sung last week) and the lovely Lauren Laverne, this is another show that makes culture accessible and mixes the mainstream nicely with niche interests to cater for all tastes. Two really, really great additions to the schedules.
Also in a similar genre of programming is Charlie Brooker’s Newswipe. Charlie definately looked the least comfortable panel member on the 2009 Big Fat Quiz so it’ll be nice to see him return to more comfortable surroundings. His programmes on BBC4 are always good fun and very interesting at the same time, plus our head honcho Eoin compares my column to his shows, so I have to be nice!
We have the return of one of the BBC’s jewels in the panel quiz crown, Mock the Week also. It’ll be odd to see the lineup without the irrepressible Frankie Boyle, but the rest of the regulars, Hugh Dennis in particular, offer plenty of laughs. It’s also great to see Ed Byrne telling anecdotes about Dara O’Briain only a former housemate and longtime friend could know. Make sure to catch this one!
As far as lowlights go for the week, we have just three.
Extreme Fishing with Robson Green is one of those shows that really could be entertaining, but for some reason, ITV manage to blow it. It’s dull, repetitive and really quite vaccuous when it could be quite informative. Really typical ITV.
Our second lowlight is a quite bizzare return to our screens for Rab C Nesbitt. It was quite successful in it’s first run and I recall it being quite funny, however on re-watching some key moments from the 1990s series I realised just how dated it seems. Very of it’s time and a sitcome style that has long since passed into insignificance. I hope I’m proved wrong as I’m a big fan of Gregor Fisher, but this could be a huge flop.
Our final lowlight for the week is a simple one. Bargain Hunt is back for a THIRTY-FIFTH series! I have two things to say. One is “WHY!?” and the other…
So that’s me for the week, hopefully back to normal next week, but until then, send any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments section below, and remember to always stay safe.