It’s a curtailed Troll this week, as, frankly, there isn’t much exciting news in the world of TV. That predictable crowd-pleaser Brat Camp (Wed 9pm C4) is back, and the little treasures this year are just as toxically obnoxious as ever. Somehow, the tantrums of the kids in Rock School (Sun 9pm C4) are harder to take – mainly because for the kids involved, reality TV is giving them a path out of Lowestoft rather than a video diary to whine to in an overprivileged life. In recent weeks, Gene has called in Tommy Iommi and Suzi Quatro in an attempt to get No Comment to rock – they still suck, though, and their date with 20,000 rock fans is closer than ever. It’s captivating stuff.
As you may remember, we love Big Brother here at Londonist; we’re unsure what to make of news that everyone’s favourite Big Sister is to have her own primetime slot on BBC1 (Davina, Wed 8pm BBC1). Talk about high profile. She’s starting off with Chazza Church (who ought to be good – she’s forever running her mouth off in interviews) and celebrity android couple Tess’n'Vernon, who between them have more teeth than ought to be legal. The prospect of a TV presenter interviewing a TV presenter and, um, a TV presenter isn’t exactly thrilling, as the possibility that T&V (even their initials are apposite, how adorable) will be at all original and say something genuinely interesting is vanishingly small. We’ll see, anyway. With any luck Davina’s disarming habit of asking the cheekiest questions in a butter-wouldn’t-melt fashion will come to the rescue.
Documentaries are this week’s big news. I, Samurai (Tue 11.20pm BBC2) is a BBC4 doc with an intriguing premise: Andrew Graham-Dixon, the presenter, gets as close to the heritage of the Japanese warrior-class as he can (see clips here). This looks like it’ll be fabulous. In our tenuous link of the week, we’re sure that Lovely Ben Fogle (yes, the posh one from Castaway 2000 and all those safari park programmes) and James “Six Foot Fit” Cracknell (Olympic hero and 100% pure beefcake) needed the fabled endurance and zenlike calm of the samurai as they near the finish line to their race across the Atlantic in a 24ft rowing boat. TV Troll is no stranger to early mornings on the water, the camaraderie of a crew, and the unutterable agony of pulling on a blade when you have blisters on every square inch of your palms and you leave streaks on blood on your handle, but James and Ben’s ordeal sounds like they break through to a whole new world of pain. Watch, and wince. Oh yes, and they raced utterly starkers (link possibly nws, if your work has a problem with naked gods, as photographed for Cosmo), too. Less chafing, you know. Ouch. We’re going to avoid making the bleeding obvious link to the documentary A Hundred Orgasms A Day (Thur 11pm Five) – aren’t we good? – and merely note that Persistent Sexual Arousal apparently doesn’t sound as fun as one might think. For one thing, job interviews could be awkward.
With not one but two major awards ceremonies being shown this week (The BAFTAs, Sun 9pm BBC1/Brit Awards 2006, Thur 8pm ITV1), those with a fetish for envelope openings will be kept very happy. Who will win Best Make-Up & Hair at the BAFTAs (full list of nominees here)? Will Arcade Fire come out on top in the Best International Album category (again, full nominations here)? We’d've liked to have seen a bit more competition in the Outstanding Contribution To Music class – Paul Weller is a bit tiresome. As everyone (and her dog) knows, past Brits shows have been, er, dogged by controversy. Will Chris Evans, hosting for the second year running, go nuts on stage and try and snog Bono? Has the corporate soul-sucking machine succeeded in vacuuming out the last vestiges of rock’n'roll spirit from the proceedings? They should ask Gene Simmons and No Comment to perform, to inject a little bit of anarchy into the mix. A missed opportunity there. God knows they’re about a million times more entertaining than Human Embodiment of Smug Bono Vox who will inevitably win everything, yawn.
Final snippets: The IT Crowd (Fri 9.30 C4) only really takes off when Chris Morris is on-screen – the rest is decidedly patchy; The Celts (Sat 7.10pm C4) takes us back to a time before invasion quite sensibly pushed our twilight friends to their current fringe; and Holiday Showdown (Tue 9pm ITV1) promises to bring together a military family with an unwholesome attachment to firearms with a “pagan bisexual” couple and their children who prefer to go to San Francisco with flowers in their hair. Pure televisual gold.