Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Doctorin' the Hub
MARTH! Torchwood, BBC Two, 9.00pm
MIRTH? Freezing, BBC Two, 10.00pm
Exciting times for viewers in the 'worthless' demographic tonight, as iPlayerphobes and those outside the 25- to 34-year-old age bracket (now banned from watching future modern modern! BBC Three) finally get a look at [officially a] Doctor Martha Jones' first crossover appearance in this week's Torchwood - a typically snappy tale of pharmaceutical research, eyeball injections, alien surgical implements, shocks, surprises, sexual tension, low-wattage light bulbs and, as ever, the Welsh.
And what a crossover appearance! Martha's beatific presence shines light into every corner and crevice of the dingy Torchwood Hub: Owen 'warms up' towards Tosh, Ianto lets slip a few details about his off-duty moments with Jack (incidentally, initial concerns about having two unrelated characters in the same programme with the same surname proved unfounded, as Martha and Ianto are easily distinguishable from one another when sharing screen time), and even Gwen cracks a smile once or twice.
Such is the extent of Martha's divine ethereality, in fact, that her super-refined immune system turns out to be just the incubator Jim Robinson needs to boost his sinister experiments into the development of an all-purpose remedy for human illness, and, yes, that may sound rather a lot like a straightforward lift from a couple of old Neighbours episodes, but it's actually very different. There's also another joyful reunion as Jim catches up with his always-amazing former neighbour Dorothy Burke, now working as a parasitic alien mayfly in deepest Cardiff. Reuniorrific!
BBC Two follows an established series about a bunch of people who are supposed to be doing secret stuff without anybody really noticing despite everyone apparently knowing all about them with a new series about a couple of people who really want people to notice them but in whom nobody seems very interested any more. (Seamless!) 'Urban comedy' Freezing (they're not 'hot' any more, do you see?) follows the disappointments and frustrations of a decreasingly successful fortysomething publisher (Hugh 'Bumbles' Bonneville) and his decreasingly successful fortysomething American actress wife (Elizabeth McGovern) as they attempt to cling to celebrity and garner recognition at an age where new opportunities, credibility and glamour elude them and watching BBC Three carries a mandatory prison sentence.
With a supporting cast of people who seem to be doing rather well for themselves despite being on the verge of, around, or beyond that very age, including Tom 'Bumbles' Hollander, Tim 'Bumbles' McInnerny, Anthony 'Bumbles' Head, Ben 'Trainee Bumbles' Miles, Joely Richardson, Fenella Woolgar, James Woods and Alex 'Bumbles' Kingston, Freezing certainly sounds as if it should be alright, but you might want to ask yourself why it's being rushed out on three consecutive evenings if it's actually that special. There could be a very good reason. We don't know. And THAT'S the magic and mystery of television, RIGHT THERE.
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I watched all three episodes and thought Tom Hollander's portrayal of the Leon character was hilarious and the best thing about it..
By 2:12 pm, at