What we're watching on TV this week
- Credit: Netflix
Love is Blind, all episodes on Netflix now
If Bridgerton was our pre-pandemic appetiser, Married at First Sight Australia and Love is Blind were the main courses when it came to talked-about telly in 2020.
Both shows were outrageous reality extravaganzas. Welcome light relief to the horror of what was spreading around the world. Something for people to gossip about in lieu of seeing friends and family.
I feverishly watched season one of Love is Blind just before we went into lockdown two years ago and became slightly too addicted to what was surely destined to be car-crash TV.
If you’ve not heard of it, the premise is that a bunch of single men and women essentially speed date, meeting in rather swish ‘pods’ separated by a wall. They cannot see one another at all. The experiment poses the question of whether love really can be blind. Could you actually fall in love with someone based purely on finding common ground and talk, rather than relying on the (often short-lived) chemistry of seeing one another from across a crowded room?
If season one’s anything to go by, the answer is kind of. Two of the five couples from season one are still happily married years later – meaning Love is Blind has, to its credit, a better overall success rate compared to Married at First Sight.
The show is presented (in the loosest sense of the word, they just kind of pop up now and again) by couple Nick and Vanessa Lachey, who are more of a footnote to the series than a major factor. Last week I found myself saying ‘oh, what are they doing here again?’. Would the show work without them? Er, absolutely!
- 1 Weather warning as thunderstorms set to hit Norfolk
- 2 Fears over town gridlock as years of A11 improvement works begin
- 3 'We will always miss you' - tributes to QEH pharmacist who died in A47 crash
- 4 Green light for park and ride, drive throughs and offices near Norwich
- 5 Prince Harry's ex marries north Norfolk hotelier
- 6 Villagers' anger after meadow is mowed causing 'destruction' of plants
- 7 Tractor being used for A11 roadworks had faulty brakes
- 8 'It's a nightmare' - Roadworks leave town 'gridlocked'
- 9 Police called to 'altercation' between pupils at Norfolk school
- 10 'Like a Halloween scene' - huge caterpillar webs engulf hedges
Now back to those experimentees. They’re taking speed dating to the next level. Armed with pen and paper, they’ve got just a few days to feel out their potential soul mate, having to take their chat way deeper than the usual first date fodder – favourite films, music, job.
Instead the pod dwellers need to draw a bigger picture. Does the person on the other side of the wall want children? When? How many? Are they good at handling their finances? Do they leave their underwear hanging around on the floor? What are their religious and political leanings? How involved do their family and friends get in their relationships?
Once they’re happy they’ve found ‘the one’, the guys and gals are encouraged to pop the question – through the wall, usually culminating in professions of true love...accompanied by waterworks. Yes, really.
After putting a ring on it, the chosen couples head off for a sunny holiday – together. And by that, I mean ALL the couples together, upping the drama as the ladies and gents get a glance at what they missed. Awkward. But compulsive viewing.
I won’t give too much away, but there are some truly cute couples in the show this year...and some who’re a ticking time bomb. While I’m a big sop who wants a happy ending, there’s a teensy part of me waiting for those explosions to happen. Bring on the popcorn.
Chloe, whole series streaming on BBC iPlayer
From The Fake Heiress to The Tinder Swindler, con artists are all over TV at the moment.
Whether it’s a documentary or fiction, their audacious trickster moves always make for edge of your seat drama. How far dare they go? Will they get away with it?
Told over six episodes, the BBC’s Chloe, which has just finished its terrestrial run, but is available on iPlayer, is nail-bitingly addictive.
Written by Sex Education’s Alice Seabright, it stars Erin Doherty, who was so brilliant as Princess Anne in The Crown, giving another stellar performance.
She plays Becky – a bored, lonely twentysomething, living in Bristol with her mother who has early onset dementia. Yearning for excitement, she spends her time bathed in the blue glow of her phone screen, scrolling through the flawlessly filtered social media feeds of the glamorous Chloe (Poppy Gilbert).
To while away the time, she steals a coat from one of her colleagues at her latest temp job and tries on another identity - Helena – and attempts to ingratiate herself into the art world.
Events take a turn, however, when Chloe dies in an apparent suicide and Becky becomes focused on finding out why.
As her new alter-ego Sasha, she uses social media to find out who Chloe’s friends were and where they hang out. She gatecrashes her way into Livia’s (Pippa Bennett-Warner) yoga class and before long she’s invited round for dinner and welcomed into the fold.
But here’s the twist. Flashbacks reveal that there’s some sort of connection in the past linking Becky to Chloe – and that she called her twice on the night that she died.
Becky continues to weave her web of lies in pursuit of the truth – but will she find out what really happened to Chloe before it all unravels? It’s a thrilling ride.
Starstruck, ITV, 8.30pm, Saturdays
I’m in two minds about this one. My 16-year-old daughter loves it. But after the thrill and anticipation of trying to guess who was behind the mask on The Masked Singer in the weeks prior, this kind of makes me feel a bit...flat.
I reckon ITV are banking on it becoming a new fandangled, loved-by-the-whole-family kind of Stars in Their Eyes.
With the carrot of a £50,000 prize dangled in front of them, each week members of the public (a lot of them amateur impersonators) get on the glitz, layering on make-up and costumes that transform them into their favourite star.
Unlike the 90s telly classic, there’s no big dramatic entrance as ‘Dave the milkman from Swansea’ (totally made up) appears through a cloud of smoke in rhinestones and eyeliner. Nor is Matthew Kelly in the driving seat. Instead, three wannabes, all playing the same character, end up on stage with an excitable Olly Murs, singing for the affections of the audience, and judges Adam Lambert, Sheridan Smith, Jason Manford and Beverley Knight.
Impersonations so far have included very ropey (in my eyes) Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande (who looked nothing like her), Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury. I’m dreading an appearance from my idol Prince!
Who will cut the mustard? Time will tell.