Tony on TV - 28th March 2012

Titanic starring Linus Roache
Titanic starring Linus Roache

IF you’ve got that queasy feeling from weekend TV, it’s not all the fault of ‘Titanic.’

The much-hyped launch of new and old TV talent shows churned up the Saturday night schedules as Sir Tom Jones and his fellow coaches turned their backs on newcomers in BBC1’s ‘The Voice,’ while overlapping an hour later on ITV was the sixth series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ where pop guru Simon Cowell has rejoined the ship to cast his expert gaze on up-and-coming new acts.

Given his personal fortune, he would, in another age, been an ideal passenger for a luxury life on the high seas, which is part of the story of the legendary ‘Titanic,’ which has been given a new coat of paint and set sail on ITV.

The four-part mini-series, penned by Julian Fellowes of ‘Downton Abbey’ fame, has stayed nearer to the truth of the liner’s ill-fated maiden voyage as it makes its way steadily over the next three Sunday evenings, ending the day after the 100th anniversary of it hitting an iceberg and sinking in the North Atlantic with a loss of more than 1,500 lives.

We all know the outcome of this TV blockbuster, but Fellowes gives a new edge to this “above and below decks” story that still shocks and saddens 100 years after making headline news for all the wrong reasons.

This well-crafted and acted international drama, the majority of which was filmed in Budapest, will no doubt repay its big budget cost of £11m, unlike the massive movie flop from Disney whose sci-fi ‘John Carter,’ about a military captain transported to Mars, has wiped more than £120 million off the company’s balance sheet.

Profit and loss is one of the main themes of the ever enjoyable ‘The Apprentice’ (BBC1, Wednesday), which got into top gear straight away with the shock exit of roller-blading Bilyana Apostolova, who will now be free to pursue her hobbies of travelling, dancing and baking. She might even have time to use her risk analyst skills in assessing when the council will be calling to collect my brown bin.

The 25-year-old Bulgarian (sounds like a line Arkwright would have said in ‘Open All Hours’) talked her way out of the running ahead of an assorted line-up, many of whom seemed to have been recruited from central casting, whose fates will also be decided by Lord Sugar and company over the next 11 Wednesdays.

WORTH WATCHING

Titanic with Len Goodman -- BBC1, Friday. Timely addition to the Titanic centenary as former Harland & Wolff welder Len, who is as clever with rivets and he is with rhythm, explores the liner’s 100-year legacy.

WHAT A WASTE!

The Million Pound Drop Live -- Channel 4, Friday. Why Davina waste her time doing this every Friday evening is beyond me? especially when Chancellor George Osbourne achieved the same effect with his Budget speech.