Say it ain’t so! TV Troll’s two favourite telly talent shows, X Factor (Sat 6.40pm/9.10pm ITV1) and Strictly Come Dancing (Sat 6.30pm/9.20pm BBC1) have their series finales this week. We’ll be stuck in front of the glowing screen, frantically flicking between the two, trying to get as much performance footage and as little Brucie/Tess/Kate in as possible. Expect to see smoke rising from the remote. Predicting a winner for either show is going to be almost impossible; even the once-unassailable Shayne is looking vulnerable to Andy – and who would have thought those Brummie chancers would make it this far? – and there’s hardly anything to choose between Zoe, Darren and Colin. We love Zoe, because she’s so endearingly bewildered in practice, but we love Darren’s transformation into the Yorkshire Cary Grant, and Colin always comes across as such a sweetie … We apologise for the dithering, but, dear readers, it’s just so tough to call! OK, money on the line, here is who TV Troll reckons will win:
X Factor: Shayne (we have faith)
SCD: Colin (has he ever looked in danger?)
Whatever, we’re going to be pretty desolate when Saturday nights return to the arid no man’s land of Ant’n'soddin’Dec, gormless gameshows, and the National Lottery. Why do SCD and X Factor ever have to end, anyway? Can’t we make the celebrity chancers dance and dance until their feet bleed, and the prole warblers sing and sing until they can sing no more, in a Running Man-style endurance test? As soon as the last one standing topples over, more fresh meat can be fed into the always-gaping maw (can you have a maw that isn’t gaping?) of the entertainment juggernaut. What about it, oh gods in charge of programming? At the very least, release the old series on DVD as a small consolation – a sticking plaster to put on the shotgun wound of our bereavement.
Tonight’s star attraction is Opus Dei And The Da Vinci Code (Mon 8pm C4). Now, given that you couldn’t vomit on the Tube without it splashing over some bugger reading that damn book, we’re guessing that this is a subject that will be of interest to Londoners. Opus Dei are a particularly sinister and somehow medieval lot – and everyone knows about the flogging and the hair shirts now. They’re a fascinating subject for a documentary, especially when you consider how much influence they supposedly wield over the Pope. Very S&M. In a trademark TV Troll tenuous link, we wonder how many copies of Dan Brown’s magnum Opus (-Dei) were left on buses (Big Red Bus, Thur 7pm BBC1) and the Tube (The Tube, Thur 7pm ITV1). We’re sure there is a joke to be made somewhere regarding the fact that you wait ages for a programme to come along and explain the inner workings of our bursting-at-the-seams public transport system, then two come along at once, but we can’t for the life of us think what it is. For transport of a kind even less comfortable than the Central line at 6pm on a weeknight, try and catch Cannonball 8000: Destination Rome (Tue midnight ITV1), an account of the absolutely bonkers petrolheads who race across Europe as though an amorous robotic Jade Goody were hot on their heels.
The big new drama this week is Magnificent 7 (Tue 9pm BBC2), with thingie from Fight Club playing a single mother of seven children, of whom four are autistic. Goodness. TV Troll has to confess that Charlotte Church: Confessions Of A Teen Angel (Tue 11pm ITV1) sounds more like our kind of thing; we love the little Welsh warbler, if not her music. We also really liked the Michelle McManus who came across in You Are What You Eat earlier this year; find out how she’s doing 6 months on in a YAWYE special (Tue 8pm C4), although anyone who reads trashy mags will already know about her “amazing weight loss”. Good on her. The other big drama news is Joely “Nip/Tuck” Richardson in Wallis And Edward (Sun 9pm ITV1), which promises to be a “touching” (hmm) drama about a man and a woman who fall in love and cause the Establishment to have apoplexy – always to be applauded.
One final word to anyone who’s given up on Lost: you’re mad, because this week’s episode (Wed 10pm C4) is marvellous, in a they-wouldn’t-would-they-OH-SWEET-JESUS kind of way. We’re no closer to finding out what’s down the bloody hatch (oh, the unbearable urge to give in to temptation and type the words “Lost hatch what the fuck is down it” into Google) but it’s a milestone in other ways. We say: ouch. Desert island life isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be, but at least you haven’t got Sue Lawley chucking copies of The Complete Works Of Shakespeare at your head.