Paul redux

You might remember that around this time last year, I wrote about my nutty former school-mate Paul, who had just run from London to Dover, swam the English Channel, then cycled to Paris.

Paul is currently to be seen in BBC2's Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week at 21:00 on Sunday evenings. He's the one looking utterly knackered. I appreciate that doesn't help whittle things down a great deal, so here's a screen-grab of Paul doing the ‘Ruck Run’, so you all know who to cheer for:

Paul looking knackered

Paul looking knackered recently.

(I beat Paul at squash once, you know. That would have been before most of the other contestants on Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week were born.)

It has come to something

…when the most compelling thing to be found on television is a live video-feed of a patch of mud at the bottom of a pond:

Stickleback nest

A stickleback nest this morning.

Two Yorkshire residents watching telly last week

Me: Oh look, Tintern Abbey!
Jen: Yes it is!

595 clarification

I take it all you Gruts Gangers have been watching Happy Valley out of morbid curiosity as to what life is really like in Upper Calderdale. Good, isn't it? The show I mean. As, indeed, is living in Upper Calderdale.

But you shouldn't believe everything you see on telly. Five episodes in, and how many hippies, lesbians, or fat blokes with beards have they shown prowling the streets of Hebden Bridge? Zilch, that's how many. How realistic isn't that? Meanwhile, if Happy Valley is to be believed, we can't move for drug addicts, psychopaths, kidnappers, rapists, cop-killers, and (I'm not making this up) ghosts.

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley

Sarah Lancashire searching for kidnapping murderers round the back of Jen's sister's house the other week.

I didn't realise, until I saw the scene where Sarah Lancashire and her grandson come out of Oasis, having bought a bag of sweets, that I actually saw them filming the series. (For the record, Oasis doesn't sell bags of sweets.)

But the real howler came right at the end of episode 5. The seriously injured psychopathic triple murderer and kidnapper climbs on the 595 bus at Tuel Lane and heads off to Hebden Bridge for, we all presume, a final showdown with an unsuspecting Sarah Lancashire.

But here's the catch… The 595 bus doesn't go anywhere near Tuel Lane in Sowerby Bridge. It runs from Hebden Bridge station, down Commercial Street, up Birchcliffe, around Dodd Naze, up Wadsworth Lane, past our house, then takes a sharp left down Nook Lane through Old Town and Pecket Well to the Crimsworth turning circle, then all the way back along the same route in reverse to Hebden Bridge station.

I do wish the BBC would check their facts before airing misleading nonsense about local bus routes.

Tony sleeps with the fishes

BBC: James Gandolfini, Sopranos star, dies in Italy aged 51

By way of tribute, the best opening title sequence ever (from, quite possibly, the best TV drama series ever):


Compare and contrast:

Alien helmet

A helmet visor reflecting a reddish-orange computer display in Ridley Scott's 1979 classic, Alien.

Helmet Dr Who

A helmet visor reflecting a reddish-orange computer display in last Saturday's Doctor Who episode, Cold War. (I'm not sure why the letters aren't the wrong way round.)

Did you watch Doctor Who this Saturday? It was OK, as far as Alien/Das Boot crossovers go. What was not to like? A scary monster running amok, foreign submariners shouting “ALAAAARM!”, a sonic screwdriver, and a cute new sidekick standing around being wet. Certainly a hell of a lot better that the previous week's frankly shite episode.

Particularly effective for me was the sound editing. I loved the way you could hear the alien scrattling around in the ventilation ducts throughout the show—even over the dialogue, when the human characters were trying to explain what the hell was going on. Nice touch, that, I thought.

Imagine my and Jen's surprise, therefore, when the scrattling sound continued even after our heroes had seen off the alien. It was at this point that we realised we had something scrattling around in our living room ceiling. Bats, Jen reckoned. Could have been rodents, though.

Perfect timing. Very atmospheric. And no licence fee to pay! In yer face, BBC!

(And, no, scrattling isn't a word.)

Stense meets her Waterloo

Top tip, Gruts Gang: BBC1, 8pm, Thursday: Waterloo Road.

No, I've never seen it either. But we all have to watch this week's episode, because it was directed by our mate Stense!

Here's the official trailer (it might not play on control-freak Apple mobile devices, which don't allow Flash, in which case, try here):

(Don't be fooled by Thursday's opening credits, by the way: it really is directed by Stense, but she's using her official stage name, Chesty la Roux, or something like that.)

According to the papers, it's definitely the one to watch this week. Put it in your calendars.

Prime time BBC1. I knew her before she was famous, you know!

☆ ☆ ☆

Postscript (25-Jan-2013):


Or, as one viewer tweeted:


STENSE, Amber': the name is STENSE!