I don’t rely on TV for entertainment, rather it’s music for nourishment, but I did spend a bit of time in front of the box over the Christmas period. What limited scheduling (okay, the making of new programmes was no doubt restricted due to Covid) – BBC One had an overload of animated films and celebrity-obsessed stuff (including an abysmal remake of Blankety Blank – sorry to see Bradley ‘The Chase’ Walsh associated with this horror; original host Terry Wogan remains the master). Only Match of the Day saved the festive spirit. And not forgetting André Previn with Morecambe and Wise on BBC Two.
I know I missed BBC Four’s showing of the Royal Opera’s gala (Tony Pappano presiding) – didn’t realise it was on – but do some channel-hopping and you get more (usually tawdry/self-defeating) adverts & trailers than programmes (fifteen minutes’ worth in any one hour is absurd and yet another reason to ‘switch off’), but there was a highlight…
… namely Dempsey and Makepeace. From the mid-1980s, based in London, brash/gung-ho New York cop Lt James Dempsey (Michael Brandon) comes to the capital and is partnered with sophisticated Sgt Harriet (‘Harry’) Makepeace (the lovely Glynis Barber) on duty with the Metropolitan Police, bossed by the crusty/no-nonsense Spikings (the late Ray Smith) – a fraught relationship at times, but it’s also clear that the named pair respond to and care about each other. I never saw this series when first shown, but I have become an instant fan courtesy of Forces TV (Freeview, channel 96). Good stories and well-made fast-paced productions, I am pleased to have caught up, albeit thirty-five years later. There is a real chemistry between these actors, so it is no surprise to learn that they married soon after the series finished and today remain together. Good luck to them.
Tonight’s TV for me is Mastermind, Only Connect, and two episodes of … yes, you have guessed correctly.