Catch up TV review: Cold Feet, Go 8 Bit, Paralympics
Ivan Radford | On 11, Sep 2016
What’s available on-demand on Freeview? Keep up-to-date with our weekly catch-up TV column, including reviews of shows on ITV Hub, new releases on All 4 and a guide to My5.
(For BBC TV reviews and round-ups, see our weekly Best of BBC iPlayer column. Or for reviews of the shows on All 4’s Walter Presents, click here.)
Cold Feet: Season 6 (ITV Hub)
“Have you lost weight?” “No. Have you got more hair?” “No.”
From Gilmore Girls and Full House to The X-Files, 2016 has been a year of TV reboots and reunions. The latest is Cold Feet, which first aired almost 20 years ago in 1997 – when Tony Blair won the election to become Prime Minister. When ITV are bringing back the cast of a TV show 13 years after it ended, you know this reunion business has gotten out of control.
At least, that’s what you might think, but Season 6 of Cold Feet turns out to be absolutely smashing. Written once again by Mike Bullen, he catches up with Adam (James Nesbitt), Pete (Robert Bathurst), Jenny (Fay Ripley), David (John Thomson) and Karen (Hermione Norris) like they’ve never been away. Except, of course, they have – and those 33 episodes and five seasons can be felt behind each gesture and glance.
The cast ease back into their roles superbly, from Bathurst and Ripley’s married couple, still sticking it out, to Norris and Thomson’s divorced partners, still stuck in each other’s lives. Nesbitt, perhaps naturally, takes centre stage, as he returns to Manchester after several years of working in Singapore – and even more years after the death of his wife, Rachel. He’s now about to get married once more, a prospect that he relishes like a young man and the rest of them eye up with the wariness of life experience.
Cold Feet has always been excellent at giving each character equal screen-time, as well as the dialogue to go with it, and the witty back-and-forth between the quartet is as rapid, amusing and heartfelt as ever, whether it’s Adam trying to reconnect with his son or David attempting to get on the good side of Adam’s new partner. That nuanced understanding of each person’s foibles and feelings – coupled with the fact that, a generation on, they’re facing problems that don’t seem like retreading old plot lines – gives this revival an emotional heft that not only justifies getting the gang back together, but leaves you wanting more. Fortunately, there are another eight episodes to go. Who says reunions are always a bad thing?
Photo: Big Talk Productions / ITV
Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit (UKTV Play)
It’s 2016 now and video games are officially a thing. But so are YouTube and Let’s Play videos, so do we really need an old-fashioned telly box show about them? Anyone who watched Challenge’s Videogame Nation, cancelled earlier this year, would say yes – and you’re likely to get the same response from those who try out Go 8 Bit too.
Dave’s latest original commission surprisingly proves one of their best, as it combines the small screen’s familiar panel show format with the age-old fun of frantically pressing buttons in your living room with your mates.
The people pressing buttons here are a wonderfully odd couple of celebrities: comedian Susan Calman and goalkeeper David James. She really likes Chuckie Egg and he likes Tekken. Watching them geek out sincerely (“Don’t get me started on Street Fighter”) makes for a hugely likeable atmosphere, as the show makes it clear that it’s not there to mock or deride gaming. The fact that they’re joined by Steve McNeil and Sam Pamphilo, who came up with the show, is testament to that positive attitude – rather than replace them with more well-known faces, the duo are made team captains and both prove entertaining.
Fresh from hosting Robot Wars, O Briain is in his element here, with excellent games journo Ellie Gibson also bringing laughs (and nerdy knowledge) to the table. The result is a fun balance of watching people play games (badly) and watching them talk about them. For people who aren’t Let’s Play lovers, this is well worth booting up.
Photo: UKTV Play
Rio: The 2016 Paralympics (All 4)
The Paralympics are officially underway and, like the Olympics, the best way to keep up-to-date with events is by watching on-demand. All 4’s got you covered with handy 30-minute highlight videos every day, presented (of course) by the omnipresent Clare Balding. That gives you a concentrated dose of impressive sporting action, such as Jonnie Peacock winning the 100m in a record 10.81-second sprint and Ellie Simmonds competing in the pool, but also means you can sample their “We’re the Superhumans” string of shorts, which offer an equally inspiring window onto some incredible true stories, from Bartek Ostalowski, a professional racing driver without arms to Johnathan Bastos, a pianist without fingers.