Happy Easter! I hope you’re all staying safe and well as best you can, and that you’ve had a nice break over this long weekend, with plenty of chocolate goodies or whatever you like to indulge on. I think we’ve earned a few treats at the moment. Or if you’re a key worker – including employees and volunteers in the health service, social care, retail sectors and local authorities, among many others – then thank you! You deserve even more special treats than the rest of us!
Following on from my post last week, here’s my next roundup of the ways I’ve been staying occupied and entertained over the past 7 days, including a video as usual. So I hope you enjoy looking through it. And don’t forget that I also have a huge list of Lockdown Resources that I’m updating regularly, including information, support and entertainment links, that you can check out as well.
As I haven’t been able to go out anywhere exciting, I’ve been posting some memories from my childhood instead. So this week I published a diary of my school trip to Snowdonia, while on Instagram I’ve posted photos from Snowdonia, France, Hampton Court and Duxford Air Museum, with a few more photo sets to come. So do go and check all those out, and don’t forget you can also see videos of my travels on my London and Travel playlists.
What The Golf?
Continuing with my free trial of Apple Arcade, the first game I tried this week was What The Golf?. It takes crazy golf to the next level, by adding all sorts of twists to make it unlike any game of golf you’ve ever played before. Far from just hitting a ball around strange courses, you have to whack all sorts of objects around to hit flags, knock over cats and trees, score goals, race against sheep and lots more. It’s very inventive and funny and the graphics are cute. It did get to a point, however, where it was just too visually difficult for me to keep up with the levels, because of the speed in which you have to do things in some cases, especially as some elements are quite small. So I didn’t complete the game, but I got quite a way through it.
As mentioned in my previous post, I’m still enjoying The X-Files on Blu-ray (I’m now on to season 5), The Flash (which has had big updates thanks to the mid-season crossover), Mister Winner, Family Guy and House of Games, while the next episode of Outlander has been pushed back by a week. But there are a few other shows I’ve enjoyed this week too, all comedic in nature for one reason or another.
The major event this week was Red Dwarf – The Promised Land, a brand new feature length special of the sitcom. And it was brilliant. The extended length gave them a good chance to explore a story involving the race of feline beings that had evolved from Lister’s cat millions of years ago, placing the boys from the Dwarf in jeopardy along the way. There were lots of laughs, action and call-backs, and a very touching moment between Lister and Rimmer that reminds you just how much they care about each other despite their regular disagreements. The Cat has also evolved emotionally too, while still remaining true to the character. And Holly’s back, joy of joys! So I really enjoyed it, as clearly did many others on social media.
There are also some great extras to explore, as you can watch a behind-the-scenes documentary, deleted scenes and smeg-ups on UKTV Play (as well as rewatching the special itself of course), and hear some of the soundtrack on composer Paul Farrer’s Youtube channel (sadly not Howard Goodall this time, but the music was still fabulous). In the documentary it was interesting to see that Doug Naylor is keen to do more specials to examine other aspects of the series in depth, and lovely to know that the cast are also still keen to work on the show. So I’m hopeful that this won’t be the last we see of the Dwarfers, fingers crossed.
Meanwhile Have I Got News For You has returned for its 59th series, and I watched the extended edition on Monday night as per usual. Given the current restrictions, it’s now effectively a video conference, with everyone taking part from their homes, and all brought together in a virtual studio created by a company called Electric Robin. It felt very strange compared to their normal shows, especially with no studio audience too, but it worked reasonably well. It was still funny, which is the important thing, and we need that kind of humour right now.
Russell Howard is also making a new Home Time show from the comfort of his own home, in much the same vein as Russell Howard’s Good News and The Russell Howard Hour. So he gives us his thoughts on recent news stories, talks to celebrities and frontline workers, and has musical guests. Some of his guests will be more of interest to me than others, so I won’t watch every episode in its entirety, but I enjoyed seeing Greg Davies in the first one. The show is being broadcast on Sky every Tuesday and Thursday, with a worldwide release the following day on his Youtube channel, and Russell is generously donating his fee to NHS Charities Together & The Russell Trust.
And on another humorous note, although it was serious at the time, I rewatched the ITV Tonight special entitled Major Fraud, about the infamous episode of Who Wants To A Millionaire?, where Charles Ingram cheated his way to the jackpot. I’m really looking forward to the new 3-part drama called Quiz about it on ITV next week starring Michael Sheen, which is adapted from the stage play, so it was a good excuse to revisit the original documentary. It is on Youtube but keeps getting removed for obvious copyright reasons, so I won’t try and link to it.
I just find it fascinating and hilarious how bad they were at it. If you’re going to attempt something so audacious, you don’t put the dimmest person in the hot seat. Regularly he would say that he’d never heard of certain answers and rule them out, only to then mysteriously go back to them a little while later and get the question right. And once you hear the coughs from his accomplice, especially when they get riskier in the later stages, it all falls into place easily. If they’d had the sense to quit while they were ahead, perhaps around the £32,000 mark or just slightly beyond, they might have just got away with it. But Charles Ingram’s greed made him push his luck and expose the whole scam, and he was later convicted in court. He’s always denied cheating, but given all the evidence from the programme, and his later conviction for an unrelated insurance fraud, I personally find it very difficult to believe him.
In addition to the many online recommendations from my previous lockdown post, here are some more goodies to enjoy.
- Beno – London Underground Coronavirus Service – This is a fascinating look at how deserted the Tube is during the lockdown. It’s incredibly eerie to see the stations and trains so empty compared to what we’re used to. The only time it will be somewhat busy now is during the rush hour, when key workers are travelling. It’s very encouraging to see that everyone else is obeying the rules and staying away.
- Jay Foreman – Unfinished London – This is an excellent series of videos about the city, which are extremely well edited and very funny, as well as being highly educational. The latest video asks why does London have 32 boroughs? There are many other great videos on Jay’s channel too, he’s wonderfully creative.
- London Transport Museum – Hidden London Hangouts – As the name suggests, the museum’s Hidden London tours show you parts of the city that you’d never normally get to see. As those tours can’t take place during the lockdown, however, they’re doing the next best thing, with a series of interesting videos discussing a variety of different places. The first video looks at the history of Aldwych Station.
- Fern Lulham – What online dating looks like when you’re blind – Fern is a wonderful motivational speaker, who like me has the eye condition aniridia. I first met her at the Aniridia Network conference when she gave a speech there, and she later interviewed me about the Naidex show for a radio programme. She does a lot of public speaking, and regularly posts Youtube videos. And a few months ago she had the honour of speaking at a TEDx event in Kingston Upon Thames, the video of which has just been posted. It’s an interesting and inspiring talk in which she discusses her experiences of online dating, and shares what she’s learned about self acceptance, so it’s well worth a watch.
- Juan Alcazar – Audio Description Awareness Day – The first Audio Description Awareness Day will take place on the 16th April, with a challenge to demonstrate the feature to people who aren’t already aware of it. I’ve written about it in the past, but do check out Juan’s video for full details of what the day is about and how to take part.
- RNIB – Urgent Appeal – Many blind and partially sighted people are finding it very difficult to cope at the moment, for a variety of reasons. By donating to RNIB’s urgent appeal you can make a big difference, by enabling them to support those who need it most. So please do give what you can.
- Andrew Cotter – Dog World Series – This is so adorable. Without any real sport going on, commentator Andrew Cotter is now reviewing the performances of his labradors instead. He’s only done 2 videos so far – The Dog’s Breakfast and Game Of Bones – but given their popularity, we can only hope he does more, they’re great.
- Mandy Dassa – Choose Your Own Adventure – Help resting actress Mandy make the most of her day by telling her what to do, in this interactive comedy sketch show. I can only imagine the amount of time and effort required to make a series like this, but it’s good fun, and she clearly enjoyed putting it together.
- Noel’s House Party – Unseen Studio Recordings – I mentioned Noel’s House Party last year in my list of childhood TV favourites, as it remains one of the greatest Saturday night TV shows of all time, with its wonderful mixture of games, gunge, Gotchas and general mayhem. And I wanted to mention it again because of Andy Pearman’s channel, which I’ve been following for months now. Not only has he been uploading complete episodes of the series (along with other programmes too), but more excitingly he’s gained exclusive access to the full studio recordings, so we can finally see what happened after the show went off air each week. His most recent upload gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse from the final episode of series 3, with Mr Blobby causing even more chaos than the viewers at home saw at the time.
- Tim Vine Televisual – I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again int the circumstances. If you like a bit of silly comedy, this weekly series of bitesize videos by Tim is a delight to watch.
- David Jason – Moral Support & Trigger’s Broom – The legendary star of Only Fools And Horses has put out a lovely message of support, with some special advice for social distancing.
- Muisc Performances & Parody Songs – It comes as no surprise that a lot of very creative people have been producing charity songs, uplifting music and amusing parodies in response to the current situation. So I’ve put together these playlists of some of my favourites that I’ll be updating regularly. See which ones you like!
- Do You Hear The People Sing from Les Misérables – One music video that particularl caught my eye – or ears – this week is a powerful performance by 70 stars of West End theatre from their own homes, as a tribute to the NHS, and in support of the Acting For Others fundraising campaign.
- Youtube Spotlight UK – Youtube have put together lots of regularly updated playlists to keep you occupied, on topics including music, theatre, sports, exercise, dance, cookery, studying, journals, crafts, drawing, reading, cleaning, meditation, health and more. Have a look through them to see if anything takes your fancy.
And that’s it. I hope you found that enjoyable, and that there were things amongst it all that you want to check out as well. I don’t know when my next post will be – it could be a week or a fortnight, depending on how much I have to talk about. We’ll see what happens.
So until next time, I hope you stay safe and well, and I’ll leave you with a couple of random but fun Queen related videos I stumbled upon this week. 🙂