Catch up TV review: Taskmaster: Champion of Champions, Bancroft, Word of the Year 2017
Ivan Radford | On 17, Dec 2017
Taskmaster: Champion of Champions (UKTV Play)
That a TV show based around meaningless tasks with no purpose whatsoever can even claim to have a “Champion of Champions” special is testament to just how absurdly confident Taskmaster is in its own brand of nonsense. Yes, one of Dave’s flagship original shows has somehow managed to amass five seasons’ worth of silliness, which means that it can now pit its five past winners against each other for a festive special. With seasonal episodes, you can normally expect something a little extra, or something slightly out of the norm, but Taskmaster triumphs because it simply does exactly the same thing all over again. And so we see Josh Widdicombe, Katherine Ryan, Noel Fielding, Rob Beckett and Bob Mortimer all clash, competing to bring their most embarrassing item to the programme, not to mention blow something off a table and – best of all – performa genuine miracle. Bob Mortimer’s miraculous demonstration alone is worth tuning in for. The festive treat? There’s second part on Wednesday 27th December. Don’t wait to unwrap this first instalment.
Bancroft (ITV Hub)
Cold case thrillers are almost the default for all crime dramas these days, but ITV’s latest has a neat hook: the case that DS Katherine Stevens is assigned to cleaning up years after the fact involves Detective Superintendent Elizabeth Bancroft. After years of impressing in W1A, Sarah Parish sinks her teeth into the part of the potentially dodgy veteran copper, nicely contrasting the sincere, youthful enthusiasm of Faye Marsay’s Stevens. As their paths continue to cross, there’s real meat in their shared battle and support to make headway in a male-dominated profession – and by deciding not to wait to reveal Bancroft’s complicity, this four-parter smartly comes already loaded with tension. Broadcast over consecutive nights, the whole box set is available on ITV Hub, and may well prove just the ticket for your festive crime fix.
Word of the Year 2017 (All 4)
Language is a fascinating thing, shaping our behaviours and attitudes as a society. This look back at the year, not in terms of events or people, but in terms of what new words have become commonplace, is therefore an intriguing barometer of what has happened to Western civilisation in the last 12 months. From “broflake” to “lagom” (having just the right amount of something and not indulging or going short), there are interesting tidbits to be discussed by a typical panel of familiar comedian faces – plus the more recognisable terms, such as “hepeating” and “mansplaining”. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the OED announcing its word of the year, this lightweight 45 minutes is for you.