Like Antiques Roadshow, Fake or Fortune (BBC1, Wednesday), is obsessed with how much an object is worth in grubby old pounds and pence, but everyone involved is too polite to say so. Both shows are fronted by Fiona Bruce, a BBC1 presenter with a dusting of BBC2 smarts.
The new series began in Norfolk where Neil and Barbara, lovely couple, had a sculpture in their back garden that an arty pal had named “Henry” because it looked like a Henry Moore. The lump of something (its make-up would form part of the investigation) had been used as a doorstop for years. Later, we met another couple who had used a similar looking piece as a doorstop.
Neil and Barbara and Fiona and her art expert pal Philip Mould (groovy scarf, tick), set out to trace the origins of the piece. It was either a Moore, or it could have been the work of sculptor Betty Jewson, who had lived in the same area. The former meant a fortune, the latter a few thousand perhaps. Either way, more than the £50 Barbara would have pocketed had she gone ahead with a plan to melt it down. Fiona and Philip were shocked.
For the next hour we were marched up the hill of believing the piece to be a Moore and then marched back down again. The result was never really in doubt, but we had to go through the manufactured motions anyway. The moral of this story? Check out your doorstops. One of those toe-smashers could change your life. Or not.
“We’re fleeing the urban life in droves,” said Kate Humble in her introduction to A Country Life for Half the Price (Channel 5, Tuesday). A dream of many in normal times never mind Covid days, the show set out to discover the reality for one family of three generations. In their move to the Welsh countryside, did Richard and Dawn luck on a Tom and Barbara Good Life, with endless japes involving chickens and wacky neighbours, or was it a backbreaking slog full of, as mum put it, “effings and jeffings”?
Alas, we didn’t see the effings and jeffings. Despite the work and the cold everyone was surprisingly cheery, which rather took the drama out of proceedings. While commendably up front about the hard life ahead, Humble ultimately fell in with the upbeat tone. By the time the lambs rocked up it was all over: Rural living 1, urban 0.
A trail for next week, featuring a family from Reading taking on 18 acres, looks more promising on the misery front.
There are usually tears before bedtime in Long Lost Family (STV, Monday). Tears before breakfast, lunch and dinner too. The story of Paula Stillie, a 51-year-old mother from Cullen who had been adopted as a child, was no exception.
Paula, of mixed ethnicity, had a very happy childhood but was always aware of something missing. “I could come from anywhere in the world, I just don’t know.”
She had succeeded in tracing her birth mother, only to be refused a meeting. You could only begin to imagine the depth of rejection she must have felt, and the courage it took to try again, this time to find her father.
It was a cracker of a tale. I won’t say too much more, because this was definitely one to seek out on the STV Player if you can. Though emotions were high throughout, presenters Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell made a very difficult job look deceptively easy.
Hands up who sees Bradley Walsh and Holly Willoughby more often than their own family? I’ll bet every time you watch them you think, “If only someone would invent a new Saturday night quiz show so we could clock this multi talented pair at weekends as well”. No? You sure?
In Take Off with Bradley and Holly (BBC1, Saturday), lucky contestants competed for places on a flight to LA and Las Vegas. How very in keeping with the Covid times.
Take Off took a little bit of the Generation Game, a bit of Catchphrase, Candid Camera, and every other quiz known to man, to make up the ripest plate of mince in many a day, and that’s from someone who lived through BBC Scotland’s WonderBall and still suffers the flashbacks.
If the aim was to recreate the airport experience in all its misery they nailed it. Presumably given the teatime slot there was meant to be something here for all the family (despite one off colour joke), but really the only people it was doing a turn by were Holly and Bradley. At least your licence fee went to a good cause. Oh wait …
Hugely disappointed by this week’s The Great Food Guys (BBC Scotland, Thursday). Apart from a stomach- churning look at the making of black pudding, it was the usual tasty smorgasbord of clips from past programmes plus an interview with a guest, in this case Andrew Cotter, the human who made Twitter superstars out of Labradors Olive and Mabel.
The girls were there – hurrah – but they failed to stage a pitch/worktop invasion to snaffle the food. A disgrace to Labradors everywhere.