What’s on the telly?

Here’s my weekly threesome of what we’ve watched over the past seven days.

Military Wives, Netflix

Feel-good comedy drama, something we could all do with right now.

I’d avoided this film so far, expecting it to be a rather twee take on the true story of the Military Wives choir. It’s the kind of comedy drama perfect for an afternoon showing at the Lush Places film club. Gentle, undemanding and very, well, British. Having grown tired of Mr Grigg’s recent choices of all-action films featuring wooden male leads, extensive military hardware and lots of blood, I plumped for this. And we were very glad I did. The ice queen character of Kristin Scott Thomas thawed as the film went on, and provides great dramatic contrast to her nemesis played by Sharon Horgan. The film is a feel-good, moving movie, revealing the healing power of music and how women can be so much stronger when they work together.

What’s to like: female camaraderie, the joy of singing, Greg Wise in uniform.

What’s not to like: stereotypical characters, predictable, undemanding.

The Masked Singer, ITV

Who’s that behind the mask? asks Rita Ora.

The latest series of this lowbrow yet cult TV show comes to an end tomorrow. Thank God for that, some of you will be thinking. Indeed. Light entertainment, especially when it comes to so-called celebrities, usually leaves me cold. Gone are the days when a good Saturday night in meant watching Blankety Blank and The Generation Game. However, we watched this a few weeks ago after hearing that former England footballer and manager Glenn Hoddle had been unmasked as the voice behind the Grandfather Clock. We found ourselves tuning into the show the following week . Late arrivals to the ball but we’re hooked. It’s a completely bonkers show, in which a panel of judges have to guess the celebrity singer behind the outrageous costume. The participant with the fewest votes is unmasked at the end of each episode. The celebrities are people you have actually heard of, such as Lenny Henry,  Morten Harket from Norwegian pop band A-ha, Scary Spice and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. So who will be the winner of the Masked Singer? Tune in tomorrow night to find out.

What’s to like: family viewing, singing, amazing costumes.

What’s not to like: celebrity TV, the cut-away sequences to the annoying judges, the ‘take it’ off chant which sounds like the chorus to a gang bang.

Marcella, ITV Hub

Who’s that behind the new hairstyle? asks no-one, ever.

We very much enjoyed the first two series of this crime thriller in which Anna Friel reprises her role as the emotionally-damaged and blackout-suffering police officer, Marcella. This time, she is in Northern Ireland, working undercover, investigating a crime family led by Amanda Burton, whose trademark scowling smugness annoyed me so much I wanted someone to kick away her walking stick, especially as she clearly doesn’t need it, scuttling along as she does like a mountain gazelle in sensible shoes. After multiple killings in the first quarter of an hour of the programme, we managed to sit through the opening episode to its conclusion. We felt we had to, if nothing else but as a mark of respect for ITV Drama which has brought us some thrilling belters in recent years. At the end of the programme, we looked at each other and agreed this latest series of Marcella was so ludicrously far-fetched with so much blood and nastiness we wouldn’t bother watching the rest of the series. So there.

What’s to like: twisting and twisted plot, constant surprises.

What’s not to like: dead body count, Marcella’s accent, lack of empathy with characters.

A round-up of my television reviews can be found on the What’s on the telly? page of this website.

By Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.


  1. Always interesting how views differ Maddie…..I loved Military Wives with Gareth Malone, and have avoided the film for the same reasons you state, but your review have made me rethink……Interestingly, I read White Tiger years ago and though I ploughed through the book as I really hate to give up on a book once I’v started it, I really didn’t enjoy it…..My husband started watching the TV version and I thought it was so dreadful, I had to leave the room……in the end, he turned it off too!!!! So, no improvement there for me after the passage of time. Otherwise, I think your reviews are spot-on and similar tastes to me and my hubby!!!! Have a great weekend….I shall be watching the masked Singer for the first and last time too….it sounds fun and I’m not sure how come we’ve never heard of it!!!


    1. Hello Lucy. I haven’t read The White Tiger so didn’t know what to expect. I found it really good to watch. As you say, interesting how views differ.
      The Masked Singer is complete lowbrow nonsense but it’s fun, family viewing. And I guess the celebrities have to be well-known, otherwise the big reveal when the mask is taken off would be an anti-climax. Usually avoid anything with ‘celebrities’ in it but I put aside my prejudices and found it really entertaining!


  2. Mostly watch IPlayer these days, have surprisingly enjoyed the following.
    1 THE ANGELS SHARE. Quite violent with a lot of f….. Words , scrolled to the ending just to see if it would turn out well in the end, which it did.😁 An uplifting ending with friendship and kindness winning out.
    2 BREATHE Based on a true story about a young husband falling ill with Polio, His Brave determined wife rescued him from living out his days in 1950’s hospital ward, and together made a wonderful life, ending with his decision to finally put an end to his life. Heart rendering, still brings a tear to my eye. Sounds really sad doesn’t it, but you can see this charismatic person who even so disabled enjoyed every minute of his life with his strong loving wife and son and many many friends. The film was made by his son.
    3 HECTOR About a homelessness and the friendships , the quiet support characters gave to each other when they had so very little themselves.
    We do find out towards the end of the film why Hector is homeless, i will not say why just in case you see the film. I was again sad but uplifted watching this film.


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