Catch Up TV review: Taskmaster S8, When I Grow Up, Planet Child, Sex on Trial
Ivan Radford | On 12, May 2019
Taskmaster: Season 8 (UKTV Play)
Taskmaster is back, and Season 8 is off to a tremendous start, with a fresh bunch of contestants competing for the most trivial prize imaginable in the most arbitrary challenges conceivable. The show’s success rides and dies on the line-up of people, and while Season 5’s selection of Aisling Bea, Bob Mortimer, Mark Watson, Nish Kumar and Sally Phillips remains the undeniable peak, Season 8’s array of comedians continues the return-to-form standard set by Season 7.
This time around, our contenders are Iain Stirling, Joe Thomas, Lou Sanders, Paul Sinha and Sian Gibson. Stirling, who is mostly known for his narration of Love Island, is an enjoyably loud stickler for rules (as long as it benefits him), brilliantly juxtaposed with the clinically minded Paul Sinha, whose brash determination sees him constantly finding ways to cheat. In between them are the laugh-out-loud Lou Sanders, whose solution to bringing in a striking smell is wonderfully creepy, and the brilliantly surreal Sian Gibson. The Car Share star emerges as the MVP, thanks to a disturbing, bizarre interlude with a puppet. Greg Davies and Alex Horne, as ever, oversee proceedings with whip-smart one-liners.
When I Grow Up (All 4)
Can experience in the workplace help young children to grow? That’s ostensibly the question behind Channel 4’s new social experiment, which takes a group of kids from diverse backgrounds and gives them time in a real life company to do an adult’s job – starting with a magazine and then moving on to a chocolatier. Of course, the question is really whether experience in the workplace results in uber-cute footage of kids pretending to be grown up. The answer to that is a resounding yes, and this three-part documentary series the perfect light-hearted balance between sweet, silly observation and the lingering suspicion that, just maybe, young people are a million times smarter and more capable than most adults.
Planet Child (ITV Hub)
90 per cent of our brains are developed by the age of seven, this new ITV documentary informs us, and it gamely uses that statistic as the excuse to jump into a string of experiments to look at the current state of our nation’s youthful cognitive development. With so many under-fives having their own tablet computer, but with most parents not willing to put a child under seven on public transport by themselves (well, duh), doctors Chris and Xand Von Tulleken decide to do just that, and see what happens. The answer, wonderfully, is that the kids simply get the bus without any problems. Their giggling excitement at being so independent is proof that braving scary scenarios can be good for kids’ own self-esteem and growth, but also that children are smart and resourceful. That doesn’t mean you should leave your child on the train, of course, but it does mean this makes for adorable, heart-warming viewing. Next up? How kids develop a sense of right and wrong.
Sex on Trial (All 4)
Channel 4’s new documentary series explores the stories behind high-profile student sexual assault cases. It begins with Nikki Yovino, who reported that she was raped two months after starting university. The two students accused of raping her claimed the sex was consensual. Detective Walberto Cotto investigated the case. The resulting exploration doesn’t give us much in the way of definitive answers, but does highlight just how complex sexual crimes can be to investigate, and how much work still needs to be done in terms of listening harder to victims and advising them better on how to prosecute and when not to retract allegations. A serving of statistics only emphasises the importance of changing the way the criminal justice system handles such cases.