Belfast Telegraph

TV View: Wolfing down helpings of sumptuous drama relieves winter blues

By Joe Nawaz

The National TV Awards may have been all a-gush as bake-offs, jungle celebrities and even fellow goggleboxers made off with gongs.

And save for Sheridan Smith missing her award thanks to being stuck in traffic, there may have been even fewer surprises here than in the revived Surprise Surprise. But it did help highlight one thing: for all the frequent dross so rudely smeared across our screens, there is genuinely some great TV out there (a lot of it featuring David Tennant).

It was fitting, then, that this was also the week that Wolf Hall (BBC2) started its epic jaunt through the life and times of Thomas Cromwell - King Henry VIII's fixer (and something of a Danny Dyer of his day).

Hilary Mantel's stunning book, mercifully, made for some stunning TV.

Sumptuous, twisty, brilliantly acted, this was a televisual shoulder massage for those who love proper, rich, well-written drama.

Meanwhile, across TV town on the dowdier side of the tracks, Harry Hill continued with his own take of Stars In Their Eyes (ITV). It might actually be the cleverest pairing up from the channel since it 'stole' Morecambe And Wise from the beeb.

Harry Hill, as you all know, is the man who has single-handedly transformed ITV into something more than Coronation Street plus adverts.

Programmes like this make all the Mrs Brown's Boys, Number 2s and even Benefits Streets just about tolerable.

They're for snuggling up with a hot mug (or failing that, a hot beverage) in front of the box.

It's what winter evenings - and kindly TV criticism - was made for.

Belfast Telegraph


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