Some fans of this show got a little excited when it was announced last October that Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris would be fronting a US version of the hit ITV show. Just a couple of changes: it apparently won’t be called Saturday Night Takeaway, partly because it won’t air on Saturdays.
Will it work? Well attempts to transplant Top Gear to the States went down like a lead balloon, but if anyone can make it work, the How I Met Your Mother star is as good as any.
And this week, getting some practice in, he’s the guest announcer, so there’s a good chance Ant and Dec will be upstaged for the duration.
Other highlights include Stephen Mulhern at the mercy of the undercover Geordie duo, the sublime Ashley Roberts overseeing this week’s round of Ant v Dec, and another member of the studio audience plays to win the contents of an ad break.
Even some die hard fans of The X Factor found the last run about as dated as 2009, thanks to the return of a couple of key judges. Sometimes less is more, as this fresher, arguably better series has proved.
If you can get past the repeated use of the word ’battle’ as hosts Emma Willis and Marvin Humes seem to mention every five minutes, then this has arguably been the best so far.
Yes, we still have Tom Jones’s sage-like presence, Will.i.am’s tangential metaphors (some of which make sense), the effortlessly cool Ricky Wilson, and sublime rookie Rita Ora doing a fine job as mentors, but there is a danger of them eclipsing the rising stars taking part in the first live round of this year’s contest.
The brilliantly named Autumn Sharif, Daniel Duke and Jake Shakeshaft are already stars in many peoples’ eyes, though it’s anyone’s guess what will happen in this week’s offering.
The thought of winning a cool £25,000 by carrying out four relatively simple challenges – cake decorating, collecting airport baggage, demonstrating film knowledge and serving pints to Coronation Street stars past and present – seems too good to be true.
And if that’s all this show involved, there’s a good chance it would never have been given a green light.
However, things prove a little trickier for the five contestants as they have each been hypnotised by illusionist Keith Barry.
Joining in the fun are Ryan Thomas (Jason), Samia Ghadie (Maria) and Jack P Shepherd (David), along with Nigel Pivaro, better known to millions of soap fans as Terry Duckworth.
This week’s contestants are Jemma, 31, a midwife, Alex, 36, an opera singer and vocal coach, Terry, 27, a personal trainer, Kate, 51, a brewery communications manager, and Taylor, 21, a receptionist.
Your host is the ever reliable Phillip Schofield.
Tessa has the same lust for life as her best friend Zoey, but Tessa won’t live to see her 18th birthday, go to university or raise a family.
She is losing her battle with leukaemia and is painfully aware of the few precious days and weeks that remain.
So Tessa makes a list of dreams she would like to fulfil before she dies, including losing her virginity, taking drugs and going shoplifting with Zoey.
Tessa’s protective father and flighty mother are determined to protect their daughter as best they can in these final weeks, but the teenager wants to take risks.
Based on the book Before I Die by Jenny Downham, the script is laced with dry humour and Dakota Fanning sports a credible English accent as the plucky heroine.
Dakota Fanning, Jeremy Irvine, Paddy Considine, Olivia Williams, Kaya Scodelario, Edgar Canham, Sarah Hadland, Patrick Baladi.
As a lad in Pigeon Creek, Indiana, Abraham Lincoln witnesses his mother Nancy fall victim to vampire Jack Barts, who lives among humans as a slave trader.
Abraham swears revenge and is tutored in the finer points of vampire extermination by enigmatic mentor Henry Sturgess.
Gradually, Abraham embarks on a political course as a fervent abolitionist, using words as weapons rather than his trusty axe.
Henry counsels Abraham against forming personal attachments, but his words fall on deaf ears and Abraham marries Mary Todd and they raise a family. Meanwhile, chief vampire Adam and his sister Vadoma prepare to attack Abraham’s family in order to stop his crusade for equality.
A great idea, shame about the result. Benjamin Walker might look like the eponymous character, but he has no star quality.
Director Timur Bekmambetov gets the feel wrong, with an oh so serious tone punctuated with sporadic moments of action. A missed opportunity.
Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Jimmi Simpson, Anthony Mackie, Robin McLeavy
Osbourne Cox is fired at the CIA and so begins a memoir of his career there. Around the same time, his wife files for divorce and expects her lover to leave his wife.
When the disc containing Cox’s work falls out of a bag in a gym locker room, it ends up in the very gormless hands of Chad Feldheimer and surgery-obsessed Linda Litzke, who then resort to blackmail.
What ensues is a barrage of affairs and misunderstandings and four different paths that ultimately lead to the same destination.
Not one of the best offerings from Ethan and Joel Coen, but even their below-par efforts are still better than most directors’ best work.
With a heavyweight all-star cast (including George Clooney and serial collaborator Brad Pitt), this comedy-drama should brighten up any dull night.
Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Richard Jenkins