What we're watching on TV this week

MAFSAU's Jackson and Olivia

MAFSAU's Jackson and Olivia - Credit: Stu Bryce

Married at First Sight Australia, series 9, on E4, new episodes Monday to Thursday evenings 

I like to try and convince myself I don’t like reality TV. But...in reality... 

I’m not a fan of the tantastic likes of TOWIE or Ex On The Beach, but I will race to the sofa to yelp, scream and squeal at this Aussie outpost. 

If you’ve not watched before, a panel of relationship experts conduct a series of ‘experiments’ with a bunch of guys and gals, trying to ‘scientifically’ match them with ‘the one’. 

The couples then meet at the altar, before going on honeymoon, and spending time living together. At the end comes the big decision – are they ready to commit, for life? 

Quite honestly, the British version pales in to comparison to what’s being produced in Australia and the States. This show is drama central – and really upped the ante when it introduced the now-infamous Dinner Party, bringing all the explosive and slightly bonkers contestants together around a table with dangerously copious amount of wine. 

In lockdown MAFSAU (as it’s also known) kept us on the edge of our seats. Especially the still-married Bryce and Melissa – ‘leave him!’ we all shouted at the telly. 

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This year’s show has already seen knives out and sparks flying. While you can see the instant connection between some couples, with others you wonder exactly what those experts were playing at? Take Selin and Anthony for example. He’s clearly quite needy, which has grated on Selin from the start. His romantic gestures seem carried out more for praise than to please his partner. It’s not long before he walks out. 

Cody told Selina he thought she was “gorgeous” but that he wasn’t attracted to her while clutching the ‘honesty box’ in his hands. 

Texan Andrew basically insinuated his bride Holly was crap in bed. 

And 27-year-old fashion brand manager Sam has been matched with 25-year-old serial bachelor Al, whose own mother outed him as being lazy and useless at the wedding – hell, he even made her tuck his shirt in for him! 

I have high hopes, however, for some. Beautiful souls Olivia and Jackson seem very loved up and it will be interesting to see if the tragedy in both their pasts makes them stronger, or drives them apart. 

The stars aligned for Domenica and Jack, who have bonded over their love of dogs, veggie lifestyle, and Italian heritage. 

Ella and Mitch can barely keep their hands off each other. 

And, I’ve got a strange feeling serial complainer Tamara and entrepreneurial Brent are going to get along, despite the fact she likes to pick a fight. He certainly took her day-long rant about a cake knife well.  

Tune in if you want to tune out of what’s going on in the real world. 

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis 

Tom and Jessie in Starstruck

Tom and Jessie in Starstruck - Credit: BBC/Avalon UK/Shamil Tanna

Starstruck series one and two, streaming on BBC iPlayer 

Some distracting, comfort TV feels in order this week. And if you haven’t already watched it, prepare to fall in love with BBC Three’s rom-com Starstruck. 

Not to be confused with ITV’s singing competition of the same name, it was BBC Three’s big breakout hit of last year and has just returned for a second series. 

Rose Matafeo co-writes and stars as Jessie, a New Zealander in her late 20s who is living a slightly aimless, but generally happy, life in London, juggling jobs as a nanny and at a cinema to pay the bills. 

Things take a turn for the Notting Hill when she meets Tom (Nikesh Patel) in a nightclub on New Year’s Eve and goes back to his place.  

The next morning, Jessie discovers that he is, in fact, a huge movie star. To make the point, as she sneaks out of his swanky movie star apartment, she’s met by a wall of camera flashing paparazzi – but gets away with it when they mistake her for Tom’s cleaner.  

What follows is a series of will-they-won't-theys and near misses as they try to navigate their feelings and the complications caused by Tom’s fame. 

Matafeo and Alice Snedden’s script is warm, witty and full of heart. The leads have great chemistry, and there are brilliant turns by Emma Sidi as Jessie’s housemate, Kate, and real-life movie star Minnie Driver as Tom’s fearsome agent, Cath.  

With its short-ish episodes clocking in at just over 20 minutes, Starstruck is a perfect binge watch.   

By the end of series one, I was swooning. 

Emma Lee 

 Ashley Roberts leads a dance in the gazebo on The Real Dirty Dancing

Ashley Roberts leads a dance in the gazebo on The Real Dirty Dancing - Credit: C4

The Real Dirty Dancing, E4, Monday and Tuesday nights, 9pm 

This is proper car crash telly. It’s utterly cringeworthy. So bad it’ll probably end up on one of those Worst TV of All Time shows you get on Channel 5 at Christmas. 

I watched episode one purely out of journalistic interest – it being set at Fritton Lake in Suffolk – and despite the fact I thought it was terrible tripe, I have to admit I’ve seen them all now. 

Ten celebs (in the loosest sense of the word) have been transported to a newly imagined Dirty Dancing setting, where they take part in very strange challenges in a bid to be named the best Johnny and Baby at the end. It doesn’t work, despite having telly heavyweight Leigh Francis (as Keith Lemon) hosting. And I still don’t think it would work with the starriest of A-listers attached. 

My eyes certainly can’t unsee the bizarre mix of University Challenge contestant Bobby Seagull, James Argent, and comic Darren Harriott trying to bump and grind in episode one. 

Although I have to say, I’m quite drawn to former Blue star Lee Ryan, who has a certain je ne sais quoi when he dons a black wifebeater vest. And Anthea Turner is my new role model - I want to look like her when I’m 61. She is gorgeous! 

It’s not going to win any awards, but you should watch this just once for a laugh. 

Charlotte Smith-Jarvis