Catch up TV review: The Diana Interview, Educating Greater Manchester, Don’t Rock the Boat
What’s available on-demand on Freeview? Keep up-to-date with our weekly catch-up TV column, including reviews of shows on ITV Hub, new releases on All 4 and a guide to My5.
(For BBC TV reviews and round-ups, see our weekly Best of BBC iPlayer column. Or for reviews of the shows on All 4’s Walter Presents.)
The Diana Interview (ITV Hub)
Princess Diana was back in news headlines again this past week, not because she was about to feature in Season 4 of The Crown, but because the BBC announced it would be investigating the circumstances surrounding its landmark Diana interview conducted by Martin Bashir – who, apparently, faked bank statements to make Charles Spencer believe that people near Diana were selling stories to the press. ITV’s The Diana Interview, then, is perfectly timed to relive the whole thing. The two-part documentary is a gripping and candid portrait of a gripping and candid piece of TV – including Diana’s famous remark of there being “three of us” in her marriage to Prince Charles. It not only covers the attention that surrounded the interview – with talking heads such as Diana’s biographer, her former butler, Paul Burrell, and the editor of The Sun – but also the secrecy required, as BBC executives weren’t even aware that the chat was taking place. The result is an interesting study of media morals as well as a reminder of how much Diana broke down the mysterious barrier between royalty and the public. In other words, it’s an ideal companion piece to Season 4 of The Crown – and might as well be a trailer for Season 5.
Don’t Rock the Boat (ITV Hub)
What do Freddie Flintoff, Craig Charles, Jack from Love Island, Victoria Pendleton and former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson have in common? This improbable reality TV ordeal from ITV, which chucked 12 celebrities into a boat together (and a pandemic bubble to boot) and challenged them to row, in teams, from Land’s End to John o’Groats. The result is plainly ridiculous, but also visibly tough, and Don’t Rock the Boat manages to tick all the boxes that make these kind of programmes work: semi-A-list participants, check, pun-heavy title, check, arbitrary physical ordeal, check. But there’s a bizarre camaraderie that emerges between the stars that avoids the kind of political drama that reality TV loves to contrive, leaving you with an improbable show that’s improbably entertaining, but without any nasty taste in the mouth afterwards. If the prospect of I’m a Celebrity… in lockdown is a bit too daunting for you, this five-part race is just the ticket.
Educating Greater Manchester: Season 2 (All 4)
Channel 4’s fantastic behind-the-blackboard series returns for a second season. Filmed before 2018, it takes us back to Harrop Fold School and follows the challenges facing both the pupils and the teachers as they all try and make it through the academic year. From the inspiring head teacher who opens up about his own grappling with dyslexia to the young teen whose behavioural antics were once a loud, disruptive force, this is a warts-and-all fly-on-the-wall affair, and it’s heartwarming to see the effort the grown-ups put in to support their students – almost as heartwarming as it is to watch a snapshot of life before the coronavirus outbreak. Schooldays have rarely felt so nostalgic.
McFly: All About Us (ITV Hub)
Hands up who had McFly in the 2020 comeback bingo. This ITV documentary is timed to join in with tween boyband’s launch of their new album – and arrives hot on the heels of their participation in Children in Need, where their single (released this summer) was performed in a mass singalong. The one-off programme delves into the re-formation of the band, 10 years since their last album, taking us back to their initial teaming up and what went wrong later down the road. It’s relatively candid and the boys are all good sports, but the real prize here is the treat for fans at the end: a cute gig performed at London’s gorgeous Union Chapel, which, in lieu of the tour that has been postponed due to the pandemic, sees them playing to a tiny audience of their own family members.