TV REVIEW: Top Gear in Burma, Shetland, Line of Duty, David Beckham in Only Fools and Horses


TV reviewer James Waller-Davies runs the rule over the week’s entertainment on the box...

The travelling circus of chaos and mayhem that was Top Gear Burma Special (BBC2) botched, banged and bleeped its way through Burma this week.

As Stephen Fry, said on QI (Dave) this week: “Little girls grow up to be women - little boys grow up to be big little boys.” And indeed they do.

It was two hours of little boy jokes, little boy pranks and little boy language. Even if we did learn that Thai is not a language that lends itself to family viewing. No one who watched it will forget the Thai for marrow in a hurry.

The show has, however, become one of the few television programmes that is family viewing for families with teenagers.

Readers’ favourite bits included: (Sally via Facebook) May and Clarkson urinating in Hammond’s shower bucket. Beth (via Facebook) thought the three of them drifting down river with bits of their collapsed bridge was hilarious.

We did get a little dabble of culture along the way as the three amigos corrred!, ooooed! and ahhhed! at the truly stunning Burmese landscape.

Culture is all very well, but it can’t compete with May in his tent being suspended from a crane over the river for snoring: “Clarkson! Bleep, bleep, bleep!”

The Beeb’s two crime dramas came to their finales this week. Having praised Line of Duty (BBC2) last week, it was doing marvellously well again this week...right up to the last two minutes.

The decision to add the mock real life captions (“Lyndsey Denton is currently serving a life sentence” etc) was unnecessary. It’s been such a great drama, there was no need to give suggestions of it being a “true story”.

Once upon a time villains, baddies and murders were easy to spot. They had some sort of disfigurement, or had a limp, an eye-patch, or at least a white cat on their laps. Shetland (BBC1) produced a sixteen-year-old girl for this week’s killer.

Shetland proved that atmospheric settings, unusual camera angles and sparse dialogue are not the sole preserve of the recently fashionable “Nordic noir”. Britain can do stylised crime dramas pretty well too.

The series continues on Tuesday when a journalist turns up dead on Shetland. Hmm....

Dave, the multiple repeat channel for viewers who either don’t have a DVD recorder or who suffer from acute amnesia, is now investing in some pretty good new programmes.

Dara O’Briain: School of Hard Sums and Dave Gorman: Modern Life is Goodish show that men don’t have to rely on weeing in buckets, rude-sounding foreign words, or fart jokes to be entertaining.

But, pick of the week? More male idiocy. Dellboy, Rodney and David Beckham. Their Only Fools and Horses special for Sports Relief (BBC1) has just become a TV classic. If you missed it, don’t worry it’s going to get more repeats than QI on Dave. Congratulations Mr Beckham. Top stuff. “You plonker!”