Catch up TV reviews: Trigger Point, Junior Bake Off, The Great Pottery Throw Down, Dancing on Ice
James R | On 30, Jan 2022
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.
Trigger Point (ITV Hub)
It’s been several years now since Sunday night became the big evening of the week for water-cooler dramas, with BBC One’s Line of Duty the key to sparking that fuse. Firmly running it with now is ITV, with new thriller Trigger Point dropping us right into the intense world of bomb disposal. It’s from the same studio as Line of Duty, with Jed Mercurio on board as exec-producer, and even AC12’s Vicky McClure taking the lead role. But it’s newcomer Daniel Brierley who bursts onto our screens, with the up-and-coming writer deftly balancing character and suspense with the kind of electrifying opening episode that many seasoned writers would aspire to. McClure plays Lana, an explosives disposal (“Expo”) officer who has a long-standing partnership with fellow Expo Joel (Adrian Lester). She’s plucky but nervous, he’s wise-cracking but seasoned, and their dynamic is immediately convincing with the chemistry of a lived-in friendship and cheerful remarks about each other’s private life. Brierley allows room for all that, while still peppering the dialogue with jargon like it’s an episode of 24, and putting them both in a situation that’s immediately perilous – a suspected explosive device in a council estate that’s just the beginning of a string of threats. It’s all a bit far-fetched, of course, but that heightened mood fits the extreme stakes looming over each decision – and they collide together brilliantly at a nail-biting climax involving a mobile phone and a car boot. When things do go boom – and, inevitably, they do – director Gilles Bannier (Tin Star, Marcella and a stunt man on The Transporter) captures the chaos with a strikingly dark mix of ash and confusion. The Hurt Locker meets Spooks? Get ready to strap in for another five episodes.
Junior Bake Off (All 4)
Liam Charles has long been one of the best talents to emerge from The Great British Bake Off, so choosing him to host the junior spin-off remains the key ingredient to this cute cousin to the adult edition. Joined by the endearingly effusive Ravneet Gill as his fellow judge, Liam is an encouraging and amusing mentor to each young baker, excited about their ideas and even more excited when they come off. They both have the know-how but also the knack of making that accessible and never patronising – and have the right sense of humour to enjoy Harry Hill’s relentlessly silly hosting style. From giant sweets to wearable biscuits, the mix of tasks is playfully creative and the stakes are suitably low for the age of their contestants, which makes for a wonderfully warm and stress-free competition. Even when Paul Hollywood turns out during one episode while Liam is ill, he’s a twinkly, kind figure. The finale aired this week – just the right time for a binge.
The Great Pottery Throw Down (All 4)
It’s another instance of surprise host this month with Derry Girls star Siobhán McSweeney injured, leaving The Mash Report veteran Ellie Taylor to fill in for her. She’s a natural fit, bringing a fizzing humour – complete with knowingly overdone rhymes – to her introduction and commentary. The rest of the formula remains unchanged, with Keith Brymer Jones and kiln expert Richard Miller judging each round – and there’s something wonderfully low-key about seeing people attempting to make children’s crockery and wall clocks out of clay, even as the suspense begins to climb with every chunk that falls out of place. It’s Brymer Jones who remains the reason to tune in, though, with his habit of being moved to tears enjoyably sincere – and balanced nicely by a sense of humour that always catches you by surprise.
Dancing on Ice (ITV Hub)
Strictly Come Dancing has set the bar high for teatime choreographed contests, and – crucially – it continues to do so with each season, from the choreography and casting to the music and in-studio augmented reality effects. ITV’s Dancing on Ice, well, it doesn’t have any of that. It’s casting is solid – from Rachel Stevens to Brendan Cole – and its presenting duo (Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby) is reliable, but it lacks the sizzle, the spark and the flair of BBC One’s dancefloor showdown. That’s perhaps because it’s hard to jazz up ice skating without accidents happening, and, in a way, that’s the appeal to ITV’s series, as there’s an undeniable sense of risk and nerves that underpins the whole thing – although the addition of Strictly’s Oti Mabuse to the judging panel (which already includes Ashley Banjo and Torvill and Dean) doesn’t hurt.