What to watch on TV this week

Ep3. Noel, Prue and Paul with Freya.

Noel, Prue and Paul with Freya - Credit: Love Productions

The Great British Bake Off, Channel 4, 8pm every Tuesday 

It’s come a little later in the year than usually billed – but with everything that’s been going on in the world I think we can forgive the producers of this hit show a little tardiness. 

We’re coming into one of the best seasons for formulaic, comforting telly. Strictly’s back. And it’ll soon be time for Ant and Dec to grace our screens with the next outing of I’m A Celebrity. 

But, for now, let’s settle in on a Tuesday night, under a blanket, with a packet of biscuits, a slice of cake and a big old mug of tea, to revel in the pure, unadulterated joy of baking. 

Bake Off has its naysayers (including my husband, who comes in the room when it’s on and rolls his eyes). Even Mel Giedroyc admitted in an interview earlier this year she was really embarrassed to be associated with the show after they’d finished filming the first series. 

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But, low and behold, us greedy, afternoon tea-loving British foodie fiends have lapped it up. 

I don’t know what it is that’s so alluring about Bake Off – well, I know for some (not me) it’ll be Mr Hollywood’s piercing blue eyes. 

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Perhaps, like those gentle Sunday mystery series usually broadcast on the BBC, it’s the soporific quality of the show that appeals? It’s something soothing and visually appealing to relax to after a long day. 

It’s an opportunity to learn about cakes and bakes we may not have tried before. 

And then there’s the creative aspect. There is, I think, something quite thrilling about watching a bunch of strangers chuck a load of ingredients in a mixer, and seeing what comes out at the end. Sometimes it’s trash. Other times it’s something to marvel at. 

Whatever. I’ll definitely never tire of the show. And, despite some protests, I rather like the new line-up of snazzily-dressed Prue Leith, and offbeat comics Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding. 

Who do you think could win this year? So far, my money’s on Chigs, Crystelle or Giuseppe. 

Now pass me the biscuit tin! 

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis 

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 28/09/2021 - Programme Name: Blankety Blank - S

Bradley Walsh is the face of the BBC's 80s classic Blankety Blank - Credit: BBC/Thames/Matt Frost

Blankety Blank, BBC1, Saturday nights (time varies) and streaming on iPlayer 

No, I can’t quite believe that I’ve typed those words either. This week I’m recommending a gameshow from the 80s.  

Ah, but no – this is Blankety Blank 2021 style, so it’s completely different – it's presented by a hologram and the prizes include a trip to the moon.  

Not really.  

Yes, the theme tune has been slightly remixed. And it’s hosted by man of the moment Bradley Walsh (who tomorrow night will be seen in another re-boot as Pa Larkin in ITV’s The Larkins) who follows in the footsteps of showbiz legends Terry Wogan and Les Dawson. 

But more or less everything else, right down to the booby prize of a Blankety Blank chequebook and pen – which almost seems like a relic from a bygone age nowadays - is reassuringly familiar. 

The revolving set. The celebrities writing down their answers on a card with a marker pen (there’s no upgrade to tablets here). The slightly underwhelming prizes – although I would have loved the full set of what looked like Le Crueset cookware they were giving away in last week’s episode. And six celebrities are roped in to help members of the public complete a series of famous phrases.  

The result? Probably the most joyously silly half hour of TV you’ll see all week.  

Emma Lee 

Netflix's Squid Games has become a runaway success on the streaming channel

Netflix's Squid Games has become a runaway success on the streaming channel - Credit: Netflix

Squid Game, the entire first season is available on Netflix  

If you’re big into dystopian and survival thrillers, then you need to watch Squid Game – the latest show that’s taken the world by storm. 

This Netflix Original series is a South Korean export, and follows a group of contestants who have entered a competition to play a series of games in order to win the 45.6 billion Korean won prize (which roughly converts to USD $38,700,000, or £28,484,995).  

The twist though? They’re children’s games – with deadly consequences if you lose. Think childhood classics such as red light, green light; tug of war; and marbles. It could almost be described as a cross between Black Mirror and The Hunger Games.  

The tense and gripping nature of the show meant it became Netflix’s most watched drama in a number of countries – and once you start watching, you’ll understand why.  

While it’s dubbed on British Netflix, I wholeheartedly recommend instead watching it with the original Korean audio and English subtitles. I’m not a fan of dubbing as it is, and it really makes the whole experience way more authentic without the cheesy voiceovers.  

With only nine episodes to get through, I guarantee you’ll make your way through the entire series over the course a weekend. 

Danielle Lett 

What are you watching? 

Tell us about the shows you’re enjoying right now. What do you recommend? Email charlotte.smith-jarvis@archant.co.uk 

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