TV is going monster mad this week, in the run-up to Halloween. There are vampires (The Real Vampire Chronicles, Tue 10.55pm C4 – about Allan Menzies, the maladjusted Anne Rice fan who took his Vampire: The Masquerade LARPing way, way too seriously), demons (The Curse Of The Omen, Wed 11.05pm C4 – investigating the supposed jinx that has struck the cast and crew of the son-of-Satan-in-suburbia film), mummies (Egypt, Sun 9pm BBC1 – featuring, in Londonist’s fevered imagination at least, Carter and Carnarvon being chased through a pyramid by King Tut’s mummy … or maybe not; and even if Tutankhamun’s burial treasure is in Cairo, our very own British Museum’s Egyptian collections are hardly to be sniffed at), serial killers (The Real Silence Of The Lambs, Thur 11pm C4 – about Wisconsinite farmboy-from-hell Ed Gein, his rampant Oedipus complex and his rather unusual taste in home décor), the Mitchell Brothers (EastEnders, Mon 8pm BBC1 – yes, Grant and Phil are back, and they’re angry about something, as usual) … It’s monster overload, and will put us nicely in the mood for this Saturday’s zombie pub crawl.
Speaking of pubs, there are a couple of topical programmes this week reflecting the general anxiety that’s in the air before the introduction of the new licensing laws. ITV’s offering, Britain’s Youngest Boozers (Tue 9pm ITV1), does exactly what it says on the tin, Ronseal-style – follows the stories of pissed-up teenagers out on the lash. Everyone has memories of park benches and bottles of Diamond White, don’t they? We thought it was part of the cultural heritage that is the birthright of every Briton, and the lesson learned – that cider tastes the same coming up as it does going down – is a valuable one. Channel 4, on the other hand, are giving us Legless (Sun 10.45pm C4), a drama illustrating the consequences of getting trollied. Consequences? You mean other than waking up in a toilet clutching a Moët et Chandon ice bucket as though it were the baby Jesus himself? Um … Binge-drinking Britain, anyone? Pass us another triple sambucca!
TV Troll has often speculated that Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen must be a secret boozehound – if not on psychedelic drugs – to come up with some of the designs he then foisted on unprepared members of the Great British public over the course of Changing Rooms (RIP); his love of stencils was especially disturbing. Indulge in some Schadenfreude and watch The Best And Worst Of Changing Rooms (Tue 8pm BBC1), and remind yourself why Handy Andy would be chased from your property at gunpoint, were he ever to appear clutching some MDF and a jigsaw. OK, OK, it says the “Best” too, but choosing the ‘best’ of changing rooms is like choosing the ‘best’ genocidal dictator of the 20th century – they’re all horrific, and some are more horrific than others. For examples of rather better taste, there’s always What Not To Wear (Wed 8pm BBC1).
We’re pointing you in the direction of The Running Man this week; it’s an Ahnold film, it’s from the 80s, it’s chock-full of classic Arnie one-liners, and it gives us an excuse to link to these people. The petition to get them to play London starts here.
It’s that time of year again – costume drama season! The Beeb is coming out swinging with an adaptation of Dickens’s Bleak House (Thur 8pm/Fri 8.30pm BBC1). Here in the TV dungeon we couldn’t actually remember whether this version of Bleak House had previously been shown or not – all those 19th century doorstop tomes about winsome urchins, poor hygiene, penniless aristos and ruddy-cheeked maids seem to blur together after a while, into a Bleak North Forsyte Prejudice Saga Of Expectations – but no, it’s a new series. Don’t forget to watch Spooks immediately afterwards, too (Thur 9pm BBC1). How will Adam cope with Fiona’s death? Frankly, we don’t really care – we’ll be far too busy watching Zafar, played by Raza Jaffrey, instead. Mmm.
After the weekly treats of X Factor (Sat 6.15pm/9pm ITV1 – Shayne cannot lose, place your bets now) and Strictly Come Dancing (Sat 6.30pm/8.30pm BBC1 – we don’t know whom we love more, Zoe and Ian or Colin and Erin), watch The Perfect Scary Movie (Sat 9.05pm C4), as it sounds pretty bloody interesting – it promises to “expose the closely guarded tricks and psychological ploys that scary movies have used to make billions of film-goers around the world jump with fright”. Somehow, we reckon that knowing exactly how The Ring or The Blair Witch Project or Saw pushes our minds’ buttons won’t make any of those films one iota less pants-shittingly terrifying.
So, lucky viewer, you have a veritable bloodbath of terrifying TV ahead of you this week. Yet what will be the scariest sight of all? It’s a no-brainer: nothing can beat the spectacle of Paul Danan doing posh (not doing Posh, dear reader, posh – Paul Danan doing Posh would be, without a doubt, enough to make the entire nation commit suicide through stabbing at our eyes with broken bottles and rusty spoons) in Posh Swap (Mon 10pm Five). Oh, the humanity!
TV event of the week has to be the National TV Awards 2005 (Wed 8pm ITV1), hosted by Trev McD. Tune in to discover the country’s favourite drama, comedy, soap, yada yada yada. But don’t forget it’s Lost on at 10pm on 4. Miss Lost? As if …