Luke on TV – Rock Rivals, Your Mamma Don’t Dance, The Fixer

Rock Rivals

ITV is in complete disarray. Its primetime schedule has been far from impressive this year with Trial & Retribution being the only 9pm drama worth watching.
So you can imagine I went into the highly promoted Rock Rivals with some scepticism. Normally I like you to read my whole review, hanging on my every word, but let’s save you the time ROCK RIVALS IS ONE OF THE WORST PROGRAMMES I’VE SAT THROUGH IN A LONG TIME!

I’ve been a fan of Shed Productions since the days of Footballers’ Wives and Bad Girls and I even really enjoy Waterloo Road but Rock Rivals was just dire. It was fair enough that every character was a caricatures but they were terrible, irritating caricatures The story of the battling Faiths wasn’t interesting enough and story about the obsessed stalker with a life size dummy of contestant Luke (good name I’ll give the writers that) was past ridiculous. Shed Productions have become known for their outlandish series which normally become quick guilty pleasures but I honestly couldn’t believe how awful this was. Ratings for this first episode were poor, too, so I can’t see this getting a recommission.

Simon Cowell pulled out of working with the producers when the plots became too outlandish and I can see why. Even Michelle Collins, who is normally watchable, was completely dull – but better than her carbon copy Cowell husband, played by Sean Gallagher. The only vaguely interesting character was the wonderful Alison Newman but I think I just enjoyed her because it was a throwback to days of Hazel in Footy Wives.
How does tripe like this make it on to our screens? It has always puzzled me how actors, presumably intelligent people, can read the scripts can and envisage this would be a hit. If this really is what it’s like backstage at a talent show, it’s no wonder The X Factor judges are demanding more money. You’d have to pay me to watch Rock Rivals again!

With new shows still thinnish on the ground in the US, I ventured beyond my normal channel comfort zone up into the 200s and stumbled on Lifetime’s new series Your Mamma Don’t Dance – another show spawn from the surprising success of the US remake of Strictly Come Dancing. Any time you’re channel hopping in the States, you’ll come across dancing. MTV has America’s Best Dance Crew; ABC is airing Bruno and Carrie’s Dance Wars; and Your Mamma Don’t Dance is no different except for its dangerously close flirtation with incest. Dads dance with their fully grown daughters in skimpy outfits, caressing them with a sickening chirpy smile plastered across their faces. Just like in Rock Rivals I can’t imagine how this could possibly look on paper. The bulk of the show comprised mums dancing but the father-daughter dancing left me emotionally scarred.

After my rejection of Rock Rivals, I decided to give ITV’s latest drama The Fixer a go. Jody Latham from Shameless and Liz White are among the impressive cast and it is made by Kudos, the creative company that bought us Spooks, Hustle, Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes and The Amazing Mrs Pritchard.

I’m not sure how main character John Mercer (Andrew Buchan) got out of prison but it didn’t really matter. The drama was slick, fast paced and completely watchable which after The Palace, Echo Beach and Rock Rivals is an achievement on its own. The plot for the first episode was a little thin on the ground but it set the scene well and the teaser made episode two look really tasty.
I think Jody Latham stole the show as cheeky sidekick Callum and, while The Fixer had elements of Spooks, I think it did a good job of staying unique. The whole premise might take some believing but I’m willing to believe just about anything if it’s done well and this certainly was. I just hope it stays strong and the impressive first-week rating of more than 6m viewers doesn’t taper off.

Rock Rivals is the most deserving of the BLACK PUDDING so far this year with The Fixer being awarded the CRUMBLETASTIC medal for being something different and decent on a Monday Night.


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