Thursday, April 17, 2008
SERIOUS! Looking for Dad, BBC Two, 9.00pm
FRIVOLOUS! The Graham Norton Show, BBC Two, 7.00pm
We thought we'd just take a moment today to celebrate BBC Two. We like all the telly channels in the world, generally (except, at the moment, ITV1 and their refusal to show the full series of Pushing Daisies but we're sure we'll get over it in time), but there's something quite special about BBC Two and the way it has perhaps the most diverse programming line-up of all the channels right now, yet pretty much all its shows manage to feel at home there. No mean feat.
Tonight is a perfect example of the diversity of the channel. At 7.00pm, we have a one-off documentary, Looking for Dad. Let's overlook the fact that the title was used for a Channel 4 documentary a few years ago and accentuate the positive: it's a journey of filmmaker Charlie Russell and his brother to try and find out something about their estranged father (WHO IS DEAD. Ahem. Sorry). They use clues from his flat, meet his friends and family and try to discover who he really was. It's an unusual choice for this timeslot, and if you're bored of the drugs and incest shenanigans in Hollyoaks and the never-ending wedding saga in EastEnders, this may be worth a shot. It will almost certainly have more heart.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the return of The Graham Norton Show. Although it is essentially So Graham Norton with fewer vibrator jokes, it still works as a format - partly because Graham can still be funny when he wants to be (the interludes in the group songs in I'd Do Anything not so much), but mainly because most of his guests are good sports who are up for a laugh and thus there tends to be a great rapport between Norton, the guests, the audience and the assorted strange people on the phone or internet. We much prefer this show in short, weekly runs like this to the nightly, years-long marathon that was V Graham Norton, too. Tonight's guests are Tony Curtis, Kevin Bacon and Robyn. How eclectic. How very BBC Two.