Celebrity MasterChef 2013: Who’s Cooking?


It seems like John Torode and Gregg Wallace have only just put down their forks, but MasterChef is coming back.

The new Celebrity MasterChef line-up has just been announced, and it contains the usual random assortment of grannies’ favourites, sports stars and the odd “who he?”.

After a few years in the wilderness, airing first in the afternoons and then in the evenings on BBC Two,  Celebrity MasterChef  has been welcomed back into the BBC One prime time fold.

Battling it out three nights a week for six weeks will be: entertainer Les Dennis; actors John Thomson, Denise Black, Brian Capron and actor and musician Ade Edmondson; comedians Katy Brand and Shappi Khorsandi; TV presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff; triple jumper Phillips Idowu, cricketer Matthew Hoggard and boxer Joe Calzaghe; organic entrepreneur Jo Wood; singer Heidi Range, Mercury Award-winning rapper Speech Debelle and Boyzone’s Shane Lynch; and writer and broadcaster, Janet Street-Porter.

Executive producer for the BBC, Carla-Maria Lawson, says: “The return of Celebrity MasterChef to this BBC One peak time slot sees thrills and spills and some extraordinary cooking from our line-up of well known faces.  In this series, the contestants’ enthusiasm in their pursuit of the MasterChef trophy is palpable, often inspiring and sometimes very, very funny.”



‘It’s Ghost Time!’ Doctor Who: ‘Hide’ Preview Clip


It’s Hammer Horror Time in Doctor Who this week.

The upcoming series/season 7 episode, ‘Hide,’ finds The Doctor and Clara in a posh house.

Cue thunderclaps, candelabras and a nervous-looking Dougray Scott. They’re on the trail of a ghost. Lady Grantham, if you’re there, rap three times on the table…

Come on Who fans, time to pull up (or jump behind) a sofa and watch the new preview clip, courtesy of the official Doctor Who website.

And as if that wasn’t enough, click over to RadioTimes and check out the latest sneak peek photos from the set of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode: Matt Smith, David Tennant, old-school TARDIS and a Zygon!

In the UK: Doctor Who airs Saturdays at 6.45pm on BBC One

In the US: Doctor Who airs Saturdays at 8pm ET on BBC America

Ripper Street Gets a Second Series

Get your tweed on: Ripper Street will be back for more in 2014!


The BBC has commissioned an eight-episode Series/Season 2 of the bawdy, violent drama, due to air on BBC 1 and BBC America in 2014.

Starring Matthew Macfadyen (Spooks/MI-5) as technology-loving, forward-thinking Inspector Albert Reid, steampunky Ripper Street is not your grandma’s period piece.

Created by writer Richard Warlow (Mistresses, Waking The Dead), Ripper Street is set in the East End of London in 1889, just after Jack the Ripper’s infamous unsolved murder spree. It follows the fortunes of Reid and his motley band of policemen and hangers-on at 72 Leman Street, E1. (My first ever job was in Leman Street. I wasn’t a copper though.)

Never seen it? In brief, think: Deadwood with cockneys. But it’s more than that. Ripper Street has been building momentum over the first series with its grim, warts and all depiction of life in Victorian London.

The drama boasts a great ensemble cast — special mention has to be made to Jerome Flynn — ably abetted by an excellent roster of guest stars such as Iain Glen (Ripper Street is “what I did on my summer holidays” for Game of Thrones stars), Lucy Cohu, Patrick Baladi and Hugh O’Connor.

Announcing Series/Season 2, BBC drama commissioning controller Ben Stephenson said: “Quality and ambition run through Ripper Street, from Richard Warlow’s original scripts, the incredible cast and the captivating direction. … All combine to create a period series with a modern and gripping edge.”

For his part, Warlow said: “I am enormously grateful to have been given the opportunity to return to ‘H’ Division once more and will be working tirelessly to ensure that those who have joined us each week will find ever more compelling crime-fighting thrills down on Ripper Street the second time around. The series will move forward into the 1890s: the death rattle of a century coming to a close, the labour pains of a modern world on the rise. It is this sense of climax and calamity that, week by week, our heroes will confront with conviction and heroism.”

In the UK: Ripper Street airs on Sundays, 9pm on BBC1

In the US: Ripper Street airs on Saturdays, 9pm ET on BBC America

Doctor Who Recap: Asylum of the Daleks

Doctor Who S07/E01 — Got Milk?

Doctor Who Season 7 got off to an explosive start with “Asylum of the Daleks”. As showrunner Steven Moffat had tweeted earlier on in the day, the premiere episode was a case of: “Doctor!! Daleks!! Divorce!! Soufflé Surprise!!”

First, viewers with long memories were required to suspend their disbelief as the irrepressible Daleks had survived annihilation yet again. This time they wanted to ask the Doctor (Matt Smith) a big favour. Could he go down to their secret prison planet and blow it up? Please?

Of course, these were not your dad’s Daleks. These ones were bigger and more eloquent, and they even had their own parliament complete with a non-armoured Borg Queen Dalek President in a perspex case. They also had some next-gen leather-clad skin jobs who didn’t know they were Cylons Daleks until something (a sighting of the Doctor, for example) triggered their latent programming.

And, in a continuation of the Russell T. Davies reboot, stairs and ladders hold no fears for these super-villains, even though some of them were clearly older models of the type that had me diving behind the sofa in the ’70s. I loved the way their signature threat began haltingly at first: “Eggs …”, “Eggs-stir …” and so on until it became the full-on Dalek war cry of “Exterminate!” (Top marks to Moffat for the “eggs-stir”–souffle concoction.)

So, Rory (Arthur Darvill) and Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) were on the brink of divorce and she seemed to have a burgeoning modelling career. We didn’t really get much in the way of explanation of why they were on the brink of divorce until Amy revealed that she’s incapable of having children and so had nobly decided to sacrifice her marriage and set Rory free to meet someone else and procreate.

To be honest, that scene felt a little clunky to me. Yes, it was a surprise to see that maybe Amy does actually love her husband rather than just enjoy pushing him around, but of course perennial doormat Rory is going to take her back. I mean, come on… Much as I love Rory (and the vastly underrated Darvill), he’s been punching above his weight for years. There’s no way he’d let Amy get away.

I’m perfectly willing to concede that I may have missed something in the morass of intricate storylines and plot devices in the last season, so Amy’s barrenness may already have been explained away as a consequence of giving birth to River Song (Alex Kingston). But although it felt out of place and awkward, at least she didn’t pull a Martha Jones and declare that she was dumping Rory in favour of trying to get some hot Time Lord action instead.

There were special effects galore and only a wisp of Cardiff in this episode, which also managed to cram in an Empire Strikes Back homage in the Imperial probe/Dalek eye peeking up through the snow. No Tauntauns, though there were some scary renanimated skeletons/zombie Daleks hiding in a crashed ship.

Attentive viewers will have noticed that Jenna-Louise Coleman, the actress playing the next companion was unexpectedly front and centre in this episode. While it’s not unknown for actors to pop up in Doctor Who in more than one role (hello, Eve Myles), it is unusual for a highly publicised addition to the cast to feature so prominently and so unheralded. (The famously spoiler-averse Moffat later thanked the advance screening audience for keeping schtum.)

Coleman was great, and I’m looking forward to seeing her join the series later on in the year.

Lots of critics have offered their theories as to why she was there and what’s her connection to the Doctor. Here’s my tuppence ha’penny-worth: Oswin the souffle-making Dalek-in-denial is the descendant of the next companion, Clara, who is played by the same actress (again: hello, Eve Myles). And the S&M skin job at the beginning was Oswin’s mother, which is why she was able to call the Doctor for help, and why he answered the call.

As for Oswin not knowing she was a Dalek, that’s a device Moffat used before to great effect in the “Forest of the Dead” episodes in Season 4. Remember Charlotte/CAL and Doctor Moon?

So, what’s next for the Doctor? Next week we get Dinosaurs! On a spaceship! Plus a fantastic guest roster boasting the likes of Rupert Graves and Mark Williams. I can’t wait.

Follow me on Twitter: @TVClaw

Doctor Who: Five Essential Episodes

New to Doctor Who? Not a sci fi fan? Don’t let that put you off. Doctor Who has all the components of a truly classic TV drama series: Compelling storylines, outstanding performances from some of the best actors around, great scripts, a wry sense of humor, and moments that will make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

Here’s my Who retrospective ahead of the upcoming Season 7 Premiere. This comes courtesy of the vastly talented crew at AOL TV.

We started a “5 Essential Episodes” section to help viewers who were ready to take the plunge into an existing show but didn’t have time to catch up on multiple previous seasons.

"Doctor Who", BBC
“Doctor Who”, BBC

We trained our spotlight onto five episodes from some of the best scripted comedies and dramas on TV that you need to see, including Fringe, The Good Wife and Doctor Who.

NB: I wrote “Doctor Who: 5 Essential Episodes” in August 2011 as an introduction to the series ahead of Season 6, so it doesn’t include any episodes from that season.

Looking back, I’d now add at least an honourable mention to Season 6, Episode 5, “The Doctor’s Wife.” Penned by the always terrific Neil Gaiman it explores the Doctor’s relationship with the enigmatic TARDIS, and hints at the complex personality and emotions concealed within the blue box.

Doctor Who Season 7 premieres in the UK on Saturday 1 September, 7:20pm on BBC1.

UPDATE: Doctor Who Season 7 premieres in the US on Saturday 1 September, 9pm ET on BBC America.

BBC America is launching Doctor Who Season 7 with “The Destinations of Doctor Who” special on Saturday, 25 August 2012 at 9pm ET. “Leave the beach towel at home and take a trip to the end of the earth this Saturday!”

Catch Up With Doctor Who: 5 Essential Episodes