A week in film – 2016, week 40

Oh God, do I wish I had more to talk about this week. But it turns out that four days on a work trip across Scotland with no signal, let alone an internet connection, isn’t conducive to a lot of TV-watching. It also turns out that the same applies to a busy Sunday and Saturday on consecutive weekends. My dream of a nicely organised, composed blog post is in tatters. Still, I’m going to give writing at least a little bit of a go.

Easy to talk about – and always there to talk about – is The West Wing, which continues to be a comfort blanket in amongst a whole heap of busyness. I waxed lyrical about the second series last time, but the fact of the matter is that it’s really bloody good. It’s also the source of a bunch of character-related joy, which is hard to get past. Emily Procter’s excellent Ainsley Hayes, Associate White House Counsel and Republican (the outrage), may only be in that show for a handful of episodes but she’s one of its most memorable people. Also, Donna moves up from being a recurring character to a credited part of the ensemble, which immediately makes this better than the first series. I’ve only seen the opening couple of episodes so far (I mean, so far in this go-around), but I’m desperately hooked AGAIN. The perfect autumnal binge.

Then there’s The Great British Bake Off, which was how I spent my Friday night (living the life). It was Botanical Week – another new Bake Off theme, which I’m not entirely sure isn’t the producers reaching really hard to think of something new for the show. My new fave dynamic duo, Selasi and Benjamina, were on top form this week as they used the same flavours in their grapefruit and ginger meringue pie. Then there was fougasse, a strange herby leaf-shaped bread which allegedly Tom eats in the cinema (I’m all for cinema snacks, but that’s an odd one): a bake resulting in the fantastic and amusing visual of everyone in the tent wafting the bread with whatever they had handy to cool it down. The showstopper, a floral cake, seemed to be an opportunity for some really, really intense piping work. Some looked stunning, some…didn’t. Mary and Paul, though, are harsher than ever and I don’t know why I’m surprised. Even when they’re being nice, they sound begrudging. Still, probably the right decisions were made about Star Baker (even if it was faintly surprising) and who left. But it’s getting tense now!

After that, really honestly there has been nothing. I’ve watched about three hours’ worth of TV over a week. That’s dismal behaviour – and next week will be better, I promise.

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