Tag Archive: Channel 4

For the last few Tuesdays, we’ve been faced with a dilemma. When the clock strikes ten, do we tune in to Fresh Meat on Channel 4, or Cuckoo on BBC Three? Having spent all year watching and re-watching The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother to the point of over-saturation, it’s a little frustrating that when two genuinely amusing British comedies hit the screens, their programming slots collide.

The return of Fresh Meat heralds a new term at the fictional Manchester Medlock University. There’s a new Dutch housemate, a tiny triangular beard – sorry, soul patch – and boozy-bix has downgraded to meaty-bix, thanks to Howard taking a job in an abattoir. The success and appeal of Fresh Meat undoubtedly lies in the fact that almost anyone who has been to university can identify with at least one of the characters at some point in every episode. JP’s appropriation of biros and mouse mats, for example, could have been scripted by my boyfriend, who once collected seventeen free pens and a wooden spoon at a societies fair.

Competing with the students for screen time is Cuckoo, a new sitcom starring Greg Davies as a middle-class, Lib-Dem Dad whose daughter returns from her gap year with an American ‘spiritual ninja’ called Cuckoo – who she has married and brought home to live with the family. Andy Samberg, of The Lonely Island fame, plays Cuckoo and is a brilliant counter to Greg Davies as Ken. Whether he will save the world by selling baked potatoes remains to be seen, but even the more cringe-worthy scenarios have been more funny than painful and I’ll be happy to watch a second series if it gets re-commissioned.

Of course, it’s not as if the decision of which one to watch on Tuesday at 10pm negates ever seeing the other, as we have the wonders of Virgin Media’s catch up service at our disposal. It just means I have to decide which regular tea-time show gets relegated in Fresh Meat or Cuckoo’s favour: that Big Bang episode I’ve seen three times already or the HIMYM that was originally broadcast two seasons before the episode I watched only yesterday?


Four Rooms

Meet the Dealers Behind the Doors

Four Rooms first aired on Channel 4 last summer and has returned for a second series this week. The format is vaguely reminiscent of Dragon’s Den, except objects rather than inventions are brought under the scrutiny of a quartet of dealers.  From Elvis’s golf buggy to a hangman’s noose, no item is too obscure to be showcased in the hope of making big money for its owner.  The inevitable catch? Each dealer makes an offer on the item in question, but this is only valid for as long as the owner of the artefact is in that dealer’s room.  If they exit without accepting the money, they cannot return and there is no way of knowing whether a more profitable offer will be made.

It’s an interesting study in tactical game play, on the part of the owners as much as the dealers.  Some people enter a dealer’s room with no obvious strategy and appear clueless of worth, whilst others gain an edge because they’ve done some research. Of course, there are also those who appear not to respect the dealers’ specialist knowledge and then lose out because greed gets the better of them.

Take the man in Series One who was offered over £1000 for a piece of tattooed human skin preserved in a jar. He hadn’t paid a penny for it, yet refused to accept this offer from dealer Emma Hawkins, despite the fact that her specialism is all things macabre. Each to their own, but a grand certainly sounds more appealing to me than a somewhat grim mantelpiece ornament…

Emma is not appearing in Series Two but has been replaced by another female dealer, Celia Sawyer. She joins Jeff, Gordon and Andrew from Series One and has already purchased a piece of artwork by Marlon Brando for £5000. Wednesday’s episode also featured a chair that J.K. Rowling sat on whilst writing her first Harry Potter novels, Francis Bacon’s paintbrushes, the original music score for Psycho, and an antique dildo. The chair failed to sell despite offers in excess of £50,000 whilst the stainless steel dildo was bought by Jeff for £1100.11 and a kiss, no tongues. All in day’s work!