Catch Up TV review: Beat the Chef, Confessions of a Serial Killer, The Oath
Ivan Radford | On 02, Jun 2019
Beat the Chef (All 4)
If you don’t have much of an appetite for Bake Off: The Professionals, Channel 4’s whipped up a little something special just for you: a new cooking contest that pits amateur chefs against the professionals. It’s a cracking way to bridge the gap between GBBO and its spin-off, chucking a bit of MasterChef while it’s there, and the result is lip-smacking fun: the amateur gets to pick the ingredient for each round and both are assigned an everyday dish to create (roast duck, chocolate pudding, macaroni cheese, and so on), before a judging panel (including bloggers, chefs and foodies) picks the best one. At stake? £10,000. The format is tight, quickly paced and presented with wonderful warmth, encouragement and a sense of humour by Andi Oliver – and the whole thing is served up in 30-minute chunks that are gloriously easy to devour. Say hello to your new favourite cooking show.
The Oath (My5)
If you’re missing Line of Duty and need your bent copper fix, The Oath seems tailor-made to fill that void, and then some: it’s not just a show about one corrupt cop, but a whole gang of them. They’re called The Ravens, a nickname that gives you a hint of the drama’s tone – which is primarily very serious, very testosterone-fuelled and very serious once again. The premise isn’t a bad one – the FBI insert their guy inside The Ravens to use them to bring down a larger gang – and with former LA County Deputy Sheriff Joe Halpin creating the programme, you can believe it’s the kind of absurd, overly complex thing that actually goes on in real life. It’s a shame, then, that the series seems so resolutely uncomplicated, with each character as one note as they come, from gang leader Steve (Ryan Kwanten) to his imprisoned dad, played by Sean Bean (who sadly doesn’t get very much screen-time). From the opening set piece, which recalls the heist from Michael Mann’s Heat, the series moves with a determination to be as gritty and fast as possible, but without the depth to go beneath its surface, that pace isn’t enough to keep you hooked.
Confessions of a Serial Killer (All 4)
Samuel Little may be the deadliest serial killer in US history. The fact that we don’t know for sure is a telling indication of the way his claimed victims were treated – he tells us in this documentary that he targeted women who were less likely to be missed or investigated by the criminal justice system. This is courtesy of a string of audio recordings that are horribly chilling to hear, which are intercut with filmmaker Ben Zand, as he journeys across America to ask police officers about Little’s purported murders. Boasting to have been active for 40 years, it was in 2014 that he was ultimately convicted through DNA evidence – and that gap, whether Little is exaggerating or not, raises compelling, critical questions that Zand isn’t afraid to ask.