TV Troll: What's Up Down Brick Lane?

By Jo Last edited 154 months ago
TV Troll: What's Up Down Brick Lane?

Estate agents, Tess Daly, and racists - sounds grim, doesn't it? Yes, perhaps to reflect the unrelenting yuckiness of the weather (look, it's almost April - please can we have a little, just a little sunshine?) the TV schedules are about s appetising as day-old tramp sick. Apart from the old stalwarts (Footballers Wive$ Thur 9pm ITV1 - Tanya is back! With Joan Collins!, and Desperate Housewives Wed 10pm C4 - getting better again after an early-season slump, how will Bree deal with George's death?), there's pretty much sod-all on.

So, estate agents. They're almost too easy to hate, aren't they? Not that that ever stopped us. Whistleblower (Tue 9pm BBC1) promises to uncover their excesses and expose their sharp practices. Don't watch it if you're prone to high blood pressure, although it may be a good idea to tune in if you're thinking of moving (and in London, who isn't?) so you can know what to look out for.

We're ever so slightly depressed at the thought that the BBC is giving some proportion of the dungeon's licence fee money to Tess Daly; we felt much the same when Jim Davidson was on the telly. There are bad presenters, and then there's Our Tess. We might have taken a look at All-Time Greatest Movie Songs (Sat 5.45pm BBC1) otherwise, although the egregious use of the word "Movie" is enough to put us off, to be honest. What's wrong with "Film"?!

His Big White Self (Thur 10pm C4) gets its analogue showing this week. The Nick Broomfiled film is an update on the life and times of Eugene Terreblanche (that has to be a pseudonym), white supremacist extraordinaire. Now, we aren't saying à la Spitting Image that we've "never met a nice South African", but Eugene and his kind aren't exactly making us think more kindly of the place. His time has well and truly passed, but that doesn't stop the disgusting old bigot posturing and puffing like a wind-up inflatable turkey. It's a good thing he's all piss and wind these days, which makes the film perhaps a little pointless - Broomfield might have been better advised to look more widely at South African society and the changes it has undergone, as it's a fascinating subject, but that's not really his style.

Much more intriguing than vapid Tess or racist Eugene is A Night In Brick Lane (Sat 9.10pm BBC2), followed by Banglatown Banquet (Sat 10.10pm BBC2), a documentary followed by a drama looking at life in one of the country's "iconic" streets. Associated in the popular mind with a certain book - and with rather good curry - the history of Brick Lane goes back around 500 years. Did you know it used to be a haven for Huguenots fleeing France? Us neither. Banglatown Banquet puts the focus on tensions between east and west, through the microcosm of one woman's quest for self-realisation (although that's probably too wanky a way of saying it), and her husband's reaction. It's certainly a better bet than celebrity beautician Jade Goody on Celebrity Stars In Their Eyes (Sat 9.10pm ITV1) - bile is rising at the very thought.

The Family Man (Thur 9pm BBC1) is yet another medical drama about a doctor who can help others, but can't cure the ills of his own family life; the twist is that he's a fertility specialist, so he is creating happy families while his own life goes down the drain. IVF seems to be TV's new favourite subject; we're hoping that this isn't drowned in a spermy wave of clichés (baby being born intercut with scenes of people being miserable is always a good one). Onthe subject of sticking to formula, however, we hope that The 1970s: That Was The Decade That Was (Fri 9pm Five) doesn't deviate too far from the template; just let Ekow Eshun, Miranda Sawyer and Martin Bell do their talking head thing without too much interruption, kthx.

Unlike Zig and Zag, TV Troll does not like to "move it move it" - a good thing, then, that we weren't planning on running the London marathon. Unlike the nutters highly motivated challenge-seeking achievers in Run For Glory (Thur 7pm BBC1), a mixed bunch being coached by Steve Cram and Sally Gunnell. Having watched last year's marathon hung over as a dog, clutching a pint of Coke and a Snickers (they tasted better when they were called Marathon, as the blatantly misleading name gave them a certain edge) and shaking, ever so slightly, we'll be trying to recreate that feeling on a smaller scale. Thank goodness for TV, eh? There's nothing quite like curling up on the sofa and watching idiots injure themselves in the pursuit of transitory victory. See also: A Very British Olympics: BBC4 On BBC2 (Fri 9pm BBC2) which documents the gloriously shambolic 1948 London Olympics. Actually, we're hoping for a little of 1948's make-do-and-mend spirit to infect our own forthcoming Olympic games: how much better would the opening ceremony be if the UK team were to misplace their flag just before the start, as happened 64 years ago? We can but hope.

Last Updated 20 March 2006