Posts Tagged ‘tv’


Saturday, February 27th, 2016 | Distractions


Scandimania is a 3-part TV series in which Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall visits Sweden, Denmark and Norway to investigate their cuisine.

There is no Finland, but that makes sense given how much duplication there would be with the Swedish episode. While it is in theory about food, it more reflects Hugh’s views on conservation and sustainability. Some of it goes rather darker: discrimination in Sweden, crime drama in Denmark and Anders Breivik in Norway.

Each episode bases itself around a concept of modesty and simplicity. ‘Lagom’ means ‘just enough’ in Sweden. ‘Hygge’ means ‘coziness’ in Denmark. The Law of Jante teaches people to be humble in Norway. Perhaps this is another reason not to include Finland, who have ‘sisu’ which is all about having the stoic determination and guts to beat the Russians – probably not quite the character the show’s producers had in mind.

All of this means that there isn’t actually that much discussion of food. Therefore, while it was interesting, I think the Hairy Bikers did a better job of exploring Nordic cuisine.

The Hairy Bikers’ Northern Exposure

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 | Distractions


The Hairy Bikers in Finland? We had to watch that, of course. We also watched the Swedish episodes for good measure.

I had never seen The Hairy Bikers before I watched it. I have mixed feelings. At first I was put off by the somewhat low-brow comments and humour they seem to display. But I have since warmed to them, and both Elina and I agreed that they did a good job of representing Finland.

The Abominable Bride

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 | Distractions


Good, not great. This New Year’s Day we were treated to a one off Sherlock special. Series four is due to start filming in April, and unlikely to air before next year.

The Abominable Bride is set in Victorian London. I was rather hesitant as to how this would work as, for me, much of the appeal of the show comes from it being a modern take. However, that was worked in reasonably well to fit with the format of the show.

The mystery itself was alright. I did not guess what was going to happen. How much I watch it on repeat over this year will probably be the real test of success though.

Great British Bake Off: Week 9

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 | Distractions

It is too easy to get emotionally involved with Bake Off. I have been saying Flora should go for a while now, and she was the right choice. But it was still heartbreaking to watch. There are no bad bakers here. Look at the technical. Everyone pulled off a reasonable chocolate soufflé. It might have had lumps in it. However, if I had tried to make one, it would almost certainly end in a fire.

Here are my power rankings for week nine…

1. Nadiya

Go Leeds! After another Star Baker award you have to give Nadiya some credit. Importantly, the fact that she achieved that even after coming last in the technical shows that she had survive having a bad round and still bring it home. It may well be that sings are so close now that coming last in a round does not have that much meaning.

If she did win it would be a second year in a row for Yorkshire as last year’s winner, Nancy, was from Hull.

2. Tamal

Still consistently performing on the home stretch, Tamal is in with an excellent chance. Especially if Nadiya does have a bad technical it is likely that Tamal will be right there to take the glory.

Again, referencing last year, one of the things that the judges said about Nancy was that she consistently performed throughout her time on Bake Off. Tamal has had one or two dips, but certainly recently he has put in solid bake after bake, so starts from a very strong position.

3. Ian

Ian shows creatively and excellent preparation, and offers some wonderful flavours. He has come up a little less consistent than the competition though so I think he would really have to nail it to take the crown.

Be a Sky Sports presenter

Monday, October 5th, 2015 | Video

Sky Sports recently ran a competition to be a presenter for some behind the scenes coverage of the British Masters golf tournament. I thought it would be a laugh to enter.

Turns out I am not a fun person. But I am a person with a weird eye twitch. The camera likes that kind of thing, right?

Great British Bake Off: Week 8

Saturday, September 26th, 2015 | Distractions

Aww no, not Paul! Weeks and weeks and bakes and bakes after and we all still remember the lion. Eliminating Paul was the wrong decision in my opinion. He definitely had bad days. However, on the good days he showed real flare, creativity and skill.

Here are my power rankings for week 8.

1. Tamal

Tamal did not do the double for Star Baker this week, but he was up there. He soon recovered him his shaky start to put in another consistent performance with excellent flavours throughout his bakes. So for me, he still maintains his number one spot.

2. Nadiya

Obviously an excellent for Nadiya willing Star Baker, so moves up one place from last week. Now is the time to get hot, so things are looking good for her.

3. Ian

Only a week after I said Ian does well when he goes bold and not-so-well when he doesn’t, he goes bold with his two different kinds of pastry and things do not go well. Whether he did this deliberately to prove most pundit predictions are nonsense, I do not know. he needs another consistent weekend to secure him a place in the final.

4. Flora

Flora’s bakes are consistently boring. They might have a lot of fancy touches on them, but the core bake cannot match the flare of the other bakers. She also achieves consistently mediocre results. Lovely as she is, can you honestly imagine her winning Bake Off? I can’t, which makes her an obvious candidate for elimination.

Great British Bake Off: Week 7

Thursday, September 17th, 2015 | Distractions

Two weeks on from my Week 5 post and we have just had to endure the heartbreak of losing Mat from the tent. He was so lovely. It made me sad.

The week before we lost Alvin. Another lovely guy, though obvious choice for elimination. After that is when the competition got really tough, and as I discussed last time, this was always when Mat was going to struggle. To go from Star Baker to out though is pretty harsh.

Here are my power rankings for Week 7.

1. Tamal

Wow was I wrong on this one. Two weeks later and he has had two excellent weeks. His creations have continued to impress and winning Star Baker this week was well deserved and a clear choice. If he continues on this form it will be a struggle to beat him.

2. Ian

A couple of dangerous weeks for Ian but his showstopper demonstrated that he can work magic. He actually seems to do better when we pushes the boat out than when he plays it safe. Hopefully, he will realise that and keep pushing it.

3. Nadiya

Go Leeds! I don’t think Nadiya is a likely candidate to win as her performance is a little too inconsistent. However, I think if things stay as they are she could easily earn herself a place in the final.

4. Paul

Paul has had a tough few weeks. He produced some amazing stuff early on but mistakes have really let him down. He does not strike me as mediocre baker though – I think he will go big or go home, and either is clear possibility.

5. Flora

Flora is lovely. However, she is not going to win. Her bakes are just not as good as the competition. So despite being clear of elimination this week, she falls at the bottom of my list. She could find herself in the final, but only by virtue of Paul having a nightmare one week and Nadiya having one the other. Without coasting through though, it will be all over.

Great British Bake Off: Week 5

Sunday, September 6th, 2015 | Distractions

Up until this week, I feel like it has been easy pickings for the judges. Stu, Dorret, Sandy and Marie were obvious choices to leave the tent. As of week five though, things have started to get tough.

This week we lost Ugne. It’s a shame to lose the new Chetna this early on. She did some brave things and they consistently came off. Just not consistently enough to save her from elimination. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying she was kicked off the Great British Bake Off because it’s a racist show that gets rid of foreigners. I’m not saying that…

I’m actually not. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the remaining contestants:


Alvin has had some bad bakes. Watching him cry at his pile of build-it-yourself box pieces was heartbreaking. Then other times he is finished in half the time and sitting around waiting. He does consistently produce excellent flavours though, so I think will hang on in there as long as there are other less-than-perfect bakers. Whether he will go all the way though seems unlikely.


Ah, the token posh girl. She reminds me a lot of Martha from last year. A good solid baker, but a lack of flair and consistently will eventually be her downfall.


I can’t believe Paul described Ian as being in trouble. It would have been stupid to eliminate someone who had so far won three star bakers out of five. He is likeable and modest, definitely a potential winner.


Mat is not the most exciting baker in the world, but tends to perform consistently middle of the field. I think he will continue on until the competition gets really tough.


Yeah, go Nadiya, flying the flag for Leeds! If she can nail more of the technical challenges, she could be a potential winner too. Which makes sense given she is from the town that invented jelly tots and Thai gumbo.


Paul produces some incredible stuff. He had some shaky moments early on but could continue to improve and go a long way.


Injecting cakes with a syringe? This man is amazing! Whether he can consistently deliver with enough flair though, I’m not sold.


If I have learned anything from the books I have been reading it is that predictions are almost certainly going to be hopelessly wrong. However, that is the fun. Here are my top three potential leavers this week:

  • Tamal
  • Flora
  • Alvin


Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 | Distractions

We’ve been watching the TV show Humans. I got it on iTunes series link, in which you pay a couple of pounds more and get all future episodes too. So they better actually make this second series! It was a good chance to dust off my Apple TV.

It is a pretty weird show. It’s partly a science fiction exploring the idea of a future in which most labour is done by robots, and the consequences of sentient robots. However, it is also partly a family drama about the twists and turns of every day life.

This makes it feel a bit stupid. It’s like if a character out of Coronation Street decided to blackmail MI5. Even with my suspended disbelief I thought this was just a ridiculous way to go.

Nonsense aside though, it remains enjoyable overall. Any TV show that references Asmiov is going to pick up points. The story lines connect together a pace that moves fast enough to keep you interested. Plus it’s funny watching Jen from the IT Crowd trying to interact with a comp-ut-or.


The Dales

Thursday, August 13th, 2015 | Distractions

The Dales is a documentary, but I use that term loosely, as it was created by ITV.

It opens with rolling shots and dramatic music. Adrian Edmondson announces he is going to tell us all about this unforgiving place. “Remote communities, isolated farms.” Really? Yorkshire? I’m sure it can be hard, but I’m not convinced it is Lapland, or even the Isle of Lewis.

Despite what Google Maps might suggest:


There is no doubt it is a beautiful part of the world though.

It follows a number of people around including a community-owned pub, a 16-year-old boy who has just quit school to work on his family farm full time, a village brass band and even the local vicar. She doesn’t take herself too seriously:

“The end of the day is feet up with a bottle of beer and a bag of crips”

Probably for the best. She had 8 people at a service, which is a good day apparently, and with no music to sing to all the hymns are a cappella.

Overall it is very light hearted. There is no serious revelations of dramatic problems, just a fun look at some of the interesting people that live in The Dales intercut with shots of Adrian Edmondson looking at beautiful scenery as if he is Brian Cox.

Conveniently, it is available on iTunes for about £8.