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Channel hop

Mark Peters

 

Look out folks! It's that time of year, again, when all the single people are made to feel like loveless losers and florists gleefully prey on the desperation of the forgetful married man. Yep, it's the ridiculously insensitive Crap Husband and Single's Awareness Day! It's a little sad that some people need a day of vulgar mass consumption to act as a kick in the trousers to show their love for that special person in their life, so it's only fitting that, as Valentine's Day rolls around once again, this week's Channel Hop is brimming with seduction, despair and naked buttocks.

The cheeky flesh belongs to ex-British Army captain Ed Stafford, who, this week, takes on the almighty challenge of Naked Castaway (Discovery Channel, Tuesday at 10pm). He must survive alone, for 60 days, on the remote, uninhabited island of Olorua without tools, imported food and water, or skinny jeans.

Living in a cave in the tropical Fijian paradise on an unsatisfying diet of snails, coconuts and raw geckos, the charismatic Stafford, the first person to walk the length of the Amazon river, taking 2½ years, manages to last barely a week before reaching the end of his tether. The engaging explorer, filming the quest himself in total solitude, is soon screaming with frustration as he struggles to maintain a regular supply of food and fresh water, but when, on day nine, he creates fire for the first time, Stafford's tears of relief and joy would surely have even the most neanderthal of cavemen blubbing in empathy.

Next up I had a fantastically witty passage for you (seriously, it was Pulitzer Prize winning prose) but TVB Pearl belatedly noticed there's an Olympic event thing about to start in wintery Russia, so they have now delayed illusionist Derren Brown's forthcoming Apocalypse until next month. Instead, we'll just have to stick two rainbow-coloured fingers up at Putin and his macho nipples every time a gay athlete wins a medal.

So it's straight onto the love and soppiness with two new relationship shows on the BBC. First up is romantic drama series Love Life (above; BBC Entertainment, Friday at 7.30pm), penned by Lark Rise to Candleford writer Bill Gallagher and dealing with the trials and tribulations of modern love and family life. Eternally childish Joe (Rob James-Collier; Downton Abbey) has just returned from abroad hoping to get back together with Lucy, the girlfriend he abandoned when she dared hint at his making a commitment. But it turns out that as Joe was finding himself a persistent new admirer, Lucy was having a fling with her married boss and is pregnant. Unfortunately, that's as exciting as it gets, the characters being dull and predictable and the struggles of middle-aged family planning failing to deliver their intended emotional punch. Which is more than can be said for Me and Mrs Jones (BBC Entertainment, next Sunday at 7.30pm), a sitcom starring Irish heartthrob Robert Sheehan (Misfits). In a tweak of the older-woman-seduces-younger-man scenario made famous by The Graduate, Sheehan's Billy pursues his best mate's mum, the titular Mrs Jones (Sarah Alexander, Coupling) with predictable consequences. Add in a few poo and puke gags along with some over-the-top acting (Sheehan aside) and you have a rom-sitcom that would struggle to ignite a flicker of passion in even the most amorous of lovers.

Kiss, kiss for now …

 

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