Oh Sherlock, how the mighty have fallen.

When it blew onto our screens one winter long ago back in 2010 it was a breath of fresh air. In an age of reality shows it was pure intellectual escapism.

Back then, in that no-so-distant past, Benedict Cumberbatch was merely an unknown actor with a rather unusual name. Martin Freeman was ‘that-guy-off-‘The Office’.

Now they have risen to super-stardom on the back of Holmes’s coattails. Freeman is better known as the bumbling Bilbo Baggins, and Cumberbatch is never off our screens – silver or small.

What made the show (and thus its actors) critically acclaimed, was its writing. The mysteries, lifted straight from Conan Doyle’s masterful works and transported to modern day London were like a drug to the viewer – we were drip-fed clues and hints, both as to the character of the Baker Street men, but also, more importantly, to the solutions of their cases. Our glimpses inside the brain of Sherlock Holmes were beautiful excursions into a superior mind, and whenever the oh-too-brief series ended we mourned to be back once more in our banal reality

Yet this season left me feeling, not cold, but disappointed. Certainly there were good moments; the take-down of the media despot, Molly’s near miss with death, and of course, any moment Mrs Hudson was on screen.

Yet the show, which made it’s actors household names, appears to have suffered from their star-status, and, dare I say it, from it’s own success.

Holmes and Watson, men of mystery, with intriguing pasts we may but glimpse as they scour the streets of London for the criminal underworld, have lost their sheen of secrecy.

What was a show about criminal intrigue is now about the Holmes/Watson Bromance. The show has become, in a sense, conceited, refusing to step away from the looking glass and examine the crimes outside 221b because the leading men are too damn fascinating.

Even Moriarty’s reappearance couldn’t bring life to the love-in.Miss me? He asks. Of course we miss him, but not so much we want him shoe-horned in from the dead with no reason apart from being Sherlock’s sister’s Christmas gift.

Episode 1 was all about the end of Watson’s marriage and the destruction of the bromance

Episode 2 was Watson’s dead wife instructing them on how to get back together

Episode 3 was a trip along the Holmes family tree, tied tp in a neat little bow by the newly dead Mary, who reminds us yet again who these great men are.

What happened to the crime? The puzzles? The clues?

Why did Mary have to reappear to sum everything up like we were all imbeciles?

Why didn’t we get to see more of Molly and Mrs Hudson (the best 2 characters)?

Why, if the game is truly afoot, do we never see it played?

Holmes has gone from scientist to subject, beneath his own microscope. It is far from the worst thing on TV, but it is no longer the best. Step away from the mirror and turn to the window Sherlock – it’s elementary my dear.



Each day in Advent I will be celebrating one of the TV heroines of 2016 -as let’s face it, it has been a pretty sucky year, and we could all use some female fictional icons to take our mind off Brexit, Trump, and the general doomsday vibe!

Why a heroine and not a hero? Well one of the reasons I am such a TV fanatic is that the genre seems to be far more ‘equal-opportunities than it’s film relation. No longer are the fairer sex subjected to the role of love interest or sister – they are now allowed to be rulers, protagonists, and saviours of mankind. This is both forward-thinking and inspiring, as, let’s face it, a story with twice as many complex characters is twice as interesting!
3rd December

Heroine: Stella Gibson

DSI Stella Gibson is the ultimate threat to misogynists everywhere; She is brainy, beautiful, and brave. In her quest to bring the serial killer Paul Spector to justice she tramples the patriarchy in heels, exposes prejudices, schools ignorant abusers, whilst still allowing herself to feel.

Top 3 Stella moments of 2016

1. Stella’s class on consent

2. Stella vs the Patriarchy

3. Stella on justice


Each day in Advent I will be celebrating one of the TV heroines of 2016 -as let’s face it, it has been a pretty sucky year, and we could all use some female fictional icons to take our mind off Brexit, Trump, and the general doomsday vibe!

Why a heroine and not a hero? Well one of the reasons I am such a TV fanatic is that the genre seems to be far more ‘equal-opportunities than it’s film relation. No longer are the fairer sex subjected to the role of love interest or sister – they are now allowed to be rulers, protagonists, and saviours of mankind. This is both forward-thinking and inspiring, as, let’s face it, a story with twice as many complex characters is twice as interesting!
2nd December

Heroine: Caroline Penvenen

Caroline could so easily have been yet another bimbo fashion-plate heiress, dancing through life believing that love and politics were ugly words. Instead she scorned the fiancé who wanted her to decorate his arm (and his bank balance), for love of the true Poldark hero – Doctor Enys. Caroline is both stylish and bright, able to enter into verbal sparring bouts with Cornish men whilst wearing the best selection of coats known to womankind. Does she mope when her heart is broken? Does she bananas. She picks up the adorable Horace and relocates. And let’s not forget her loan to the eponymous Poldark cad who was ready to drag his whole family to rags and ruin through piracy, adultery and sheer stupidity. What a woman.
Top 3 Caroline moments of 2016

  1. “And now, no doubt, you hate me”

      2. Caroline’s gift

        3. Caroline’s Choice


First it made headlines for its astonishing viewing figures. Who knew kneading, proving and well endowed squirrels would be such a TV hit?! But hit it was. And the bigger the buzz around the bakers and their gingham alter, the greater the viewership became, until the good old Beeb was moved to transfer their culinary phenomenon – their number one TV show moved to their number one channel.

Nadiya’s victory was the cherry on their bakewell – a passionate baker with a tremendous range of facial expressions who became beloved of the nation when she fused her family heritage with her adopted country by making the wedding cake she never had. I may have cried at her victory speech. Just a little.

Yet all great empires may fall so they say (much like a flawed lemon souffle) and so rather a different kind of dough has proved to close the curtains on the heartwarming tale of bread, cake and soggy bottoms. Love Productions wanted more money for its BBC baby, or it threatened to sue for sole custody. Of course, the BBC could not match the bottomless pockets of a commercial giant like Channel 4, and so parent and favourite child were separated, just after the Beeb had painted a pretty picture of the bake off stars on its canteen wall.

What is truly startling is that none of the stars of the show were consulted by the production company before they jumped ship. More than any other show the Bake Up is a sum of its key ingredients – without them the recipe will surely fail to rise to its former heights.

Yet the memo got lost in the post, and none of the stars were consulted before the producers followed the money. Within 24 hours of the announcement Mel and Sue had quit in style, declaring ‘we’re not going with the dough’. The public cheered – the Bake Off has never been about glitz, glamour and cash, so their refusal to move from their public funded home proved a hit with audiences.

Then this week the heart of the Bake Off, St Mary Berry, pinned her colours to the mast by also staying with her BBC home, declaring her loyalty. This was no big surprise – Berry is  the embodiment of the BBC – its patronus against all things commercial.

I too firmly believe that the Bake Off belongs on its mother-ship. Why? Because no one wants an ad break before the star baker is announced. Because product placement would cheapen the tent’s value. Because Channel 4 is American sit-coms, gritty dramas and the founder of Big Brother, not the wholesome home the Bake Off tent needs to thrive.

However I do not understand why Paul Hollywood is being crucified for ‘following the money’. While it would be nice for the entire team to stand together, Hollywood has the most to loose if he leaves. Brand Berry has lasted for decades, and the BBC will crown her queen before losing her name from their list. Mel and Sue had a great career before the bake off began , and will continue to delight us with  their endearing craziness for years to come. Yet Hollywood was unknown before he became the Bake Off Bread Master. Suddenly he was beloved, a ‘silver fox’ and a wealthy celebrity with cookbooks and TV appearances galore.

Do I think the next  Bake Off will retain the secret ingredient which keeps viewers screaming for more? No. But I don’t blame Paul for hedging his bets to ensure his next paycheck.

While Paul tucks into his millionaire shortbread, lets hope Berry and the BBC will create their own celebration cake very soon – there is a gateaux shaped hole in my heart.


The day has finally dawned. Soggy bottoms beware, The Great British Bake off has returned! Fans of well-endowed squirrels and complicated puddings rejoice!

Many questions were raised by the first episode of season seven:
Is Val merely eccentric, or actually a little unhinged?

Is Selasi arrogant or simply one chilled dude?

How is Candice’s lipstick game so on point?

How come the Bake Off editors are suddenly obsessed with a pheasant?

And most importantly – where can I find jaffa cakes at this time of night?
As well as delicious calorie-filled concoctions and Mary’s effortless Paul put-downs (‘we don’t do that in the south you know’), Bake Off is also famous for it’s dirty sense of humour. Buns make way for puns, and this week was no different.

My top five this week were:

1.”Only 2 hours to achieve ultimate moistness”

2. “I’m gonna insert some custard – I’m gonna poke it in!”

3. “the drizzle absorbs, rather than runs straight down my little grooves”

4. “If you take them out too late they go really rubbery”

5. “Come into the Mel / Sue sandwich”

And finally, saving the best until last, the preview for episode 2 contained the following gem:

“Do you need a pair of warm hands? Either on your bag, or on you?”

Over-baked, or enjoyably saucy, I’m just glad Queen Berry is bake on our screens again. Now, as the lady once said, let me eat cake.


*yes I know the actual quote it let THEM eat cake, but THEY already had some, and why should THEY have all the fun?!*

54 Thoughts on ‘The Night Manager’ – Episode 1

*Here be spoilers*

  1. This is proof I can never get enough of Olivia Coleman
  2. Or Hugh Laurie, for that matter, who is currently sporting a marvellous R.P. accent
  3. Wow – chaotic war-zone to smug luxury in 60 seconds.
  5. All this fire is making me rather nervous
  6. Nervous for myself, and for the dog
  7. The dog’s owner is rather glamorous, it must be said
  8. Tom Hiddleston is rather good isn’t he
  9. Those documents look RATHER incriminating
  10. “If anything should happen to me” so she is basically dead then
  11. So is he an investigator pretending to be a Night Manager, or a Night Manager trying his hand at investigation?
  12. That is not something you want to read in your dressing gown
  13. I don’t trust the dressing gown man
  14. OLIVIA!
  15. Only briefly though 😦
  16. Oh God – the exotic lady’s face has been pummelled
  17. I’m liking her more and more – so she’s definitely going to die
  18. The pummeller is threatening Tom Hiddleston – that is not allowed
  19. So now Tom is a knight in shining armour – just in case he wasn’t attractive enough
  20. You can’t really blame her for propositioning him considering
  21. Cue romantic sex shot
  22. Back in Blighty with a feisty Miss Coleman
  23. Wow her bearded colleague is truly patronising – ‘Headstrong’ indeed!
  24. “apparently the food’s shit!” you tell him sister.
  25. “I can’t believe you’re still a member of a club that doesn’t admit women” – my heart just exploded
  26. The dressing gown man is disguised in clothes
  27. He can’t hide his inner bastard though
  28. Using the changing of the guard as a metaphor for shifting personalities is rather beautiful
  30. She wanted to go to England THAT badly?! There ARE other countries lady
  31. Love how casual yet intense Coleman’s office is.
  32. Run Tom run! Save the damsel!
  33. OH
  34. I knew this would happen, but that only makes it worse
  35. Bye bye Sophie. I only pray they didn’t kill your dog too
  36. I blame dressing gown man. He barred the way to safety
  37. And that would be the definition of a corrupt policeman
  38. 4 years later?!!!!!! Slight jump there….
  39. Tom is in Switzerland. I guess because it’s neutral? Horror hotel scene less likely?
  40. Or not, seeing that Roper, the puppeteer with untraceable strings, just arrived. Coincidence?
  41. And now another glamorous girl. Are they going to kill her off too?
  42. It’s hard to take Hugh Laurie (Mr Roper) seriously as a villain with that accent
  43. Ooooh grand staircase and the Queen’s English – how very Downton
  44. Tom (sorry Jonathan is the character’s name) just lost his lunch due to being UTTERLY PETRIFIED
  45. I would be too if a cruel, rich, drug-addled weapons dealer followed me across the globe
  46. Yet he is so civil to the villains – true customer service, a better man than I
  47. Well I’m not a man, but you get what I mean
  48. Ooooh he kept Olivia’s number – he just gets more and more brilliant (Olivia’s character is called Angela FYI)
  49. Oh I think the worlds are colliding…
  50. YES! Progress
  51. Yes, good question Olivia/Angela, why did you do it?!
  52. “Anyone would do it”, uh, no, no they would not
  53. Oh, he’s ex military. That accounts for the heroic bravery
  54. “What are you prepared to do about it” the million dollar question, which of course is what we end on