Catch up TV review: Pure, Shipwrecked, Small Fortune
Ivan Radford | On 03, Feb 2019
Pure (All 4)
“Welcome to the fucked up mystery that is my life.” That’s Marnie, a 24-year-old Scotswoman, whom we first meet as she tries to deliver a speech at her parents’ wedding anniversary. Marnie, though, isn’t exaggerating about her life: she is plagued by an acute, extreme form of OCD, called Pure O, which causes her brain to be constantly, consistently interrupted by thoughts of sex. Extreme, inappropriate, never-ending sex. That speech? It doesn’t go well.
And so she hops on a bus and heads to London to try and get away from it all and start afresh – but what we swiftly learn in the opening episode is that it isn’t that simple, and her orgiastic thoughts continue to intrude on her day-to-day life – an intrusion that directors Aneil Karia and Alicia MacDonald capture in the form of disturbingly graphic hallucinations that are unleashed at a distressing rate.
Adapted by Kirstie Swain from a book by sufferer Rose Cartwright, the result is a sensitively depicted, honest account of what’s it like to live with the condition – a brave, bold piece of taboo-breaking TV that addresses an issue that, even as society begins to have conversations about mental health, still doesn’t talked about.
And yet, and this is what makes Pure such a purely remarkable bit of telly, that doesn’t mean that the show doesn’t know how to be funny: this is hilarious, laugh-out-loud viewing, even as it’s unsettling and upsetting. That juggling of tones hinges in no small part on Marnie herself, and newcomer Charly Clive plays our lead heroine with a superb combination of melancholy, anxiety, excitement, hope and resilience. She’s as convincing sitting by the side of the road in tears as she is walking down the street loudly announcing something’s wrong with her. “Sorry if that made you be a bit sick in your mouth,” she tells us in a non-stop voiceover that lets her thoughts spill over us. It will make you be a bit sick. You won’t be sorry. (All six parts are now on All 4.)
Shipwrecked (All 4)
Following the success of ITV’s Love Island, it’s no surprise that Channel 4 should bring back its own beach-centric survival series. And so E4 trumpets the return of Shipwrecked, its reality series that dumps a group of contestants on an island in the South Pacific and sees who will emerge as the most popular. Putting them all into one group at first, the series then brings in Harry to split them into two: the Tigers and the Sharks. Bear Grylls-lite Tom, a trainee marine, emerges as the leader of one group, as he alphas his way to the top of the power chain, but the drama sparks from Big T, a Sloane Square resident, and Liv, a waitress from Manchester, who clash within minutes of the former’s arrival. Capital FM’s Vick Hope tries to stir up the excitement as our narrator, but she lacks the acerbic mockery of Love Island’s Iain Stirling, which leaves the format relying on I’m a Celebrity-like survival challenges to fuel its engine. With the now familiar social bickering not revealing anything new about the way humans behave, reality TV fans’ mileage may vary. The island, at least, looks stunning.
Small Fortune (ITV Hub)
Another Saturday night, another game show trying to unearth fresh teatime entertainment. ITV’s latest effort, Small Fortune, takes its title literally, by creating tiny tasks on a podium in the middle of a studio and getting contestants to complete them. Blowing marbles, flicking objects into bins and even solving buzz-wire challenges in a miniature replica of the actual studio. The latter is the post-modern flourish no doubt designed to offer unique chuckles, and while the trivial nonsense is playful to a fault, the actual reason to tune in here is Dermot O’Leary, who hosts events with the kind of professional informality that made him first stand out on Big Brother’s Little Brother all those years ago. A class act with a knack for keeping guests relaxed, audiences engaged and the stakes clear, any game show that gives him work leaves everyone a winner.