TONY ON TV: Giving voice to TV criticism

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FIRST, the good news . . . If you aren’t among the millions who switched off over the past few months ‘The X Factor’ (ITV1) -- yes, it’s parts 25 and 26 this weekend -- will soon be coming to an end.

Now, the bad news . . . ‘The Voice’ (BBC1), where the judges twirl round and seem to get in a spin, is coming back next spring. And, if that isn’t bad enough, it’s the same four coaches -- Sir Tom Jones,, Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue -- who will be presiding over the good, the bad and the desperate in their bid to emulate the success of this year’s winner, Leanne Mitchell, whose song I have already forgotten.

So, until then it’s the usual Saturday night rubbish, the only light relief coming from the dancefloor disasters that are one of the delights of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (BBC1) or another loved-up couple getting a ticket to the romantic Isle of Fernandos that makes for must-see “bad TV” in ‘Take Me Out’ (ITV1).

More often than not it’s not a dream date in the sun, but what surprises me at times is how ungrateful some of the lucky winners are when they deliver their verdict on their “partner” after dinner on the hotel verandah.

Horror stories of a different kind are the core of the supernatural drama ‘The Secret of Crickley Hall’ (BBC1, Sunday), which sees Suranne Jones and Tom Ellis as Eve and Gabe Caleigh who, on the first anniversary of the disappearance of their five-year-old son, Cam, aim to start afresh by moving north.

But as in all good haunted house mysteries, the couple and their two remaining children find that Crickley also has a dark past to the time when it was an orphanage during World War II as can be seen in this Sunday’s episode, the second of three, as Eve begs a psychic for help in a seance which provokes the ghost to further violence.

But if all this drama is too much, check out ITV next Monday at 4pm when it starts a 20-episode search for ‘Britain’s Best Bakery,’ which is not so much a competition as more a celebration of the different and delicious breads, cakes, pastries and pies that can be savoured and enjoyed around the UK.


Hunted -- Thursday, BBC1. Final episode of this puzzling, violent thriller sees Sam (Melissa George) exposed as a spy, and trapped inside the house after an assassination attempt fails.

The Joy of the Single -- Friday, BBC4. Noddy Holder and Suzi Quatro go back to the time before the digital era to reminisce about the magic of music on 45rpm discs. This is followed by a star-studded line-up celebrating the 60th anniversary of the UK singles chart in ‘Ultimate Number Ones at the BBC.’

Gadget Man -- Saturday, Channel 4. Clever clogs Stephen Fry checks out all the latest hi-tech inventions that are supposed to make life easier, including an unconventional electric car, an unusual bicycle and a 3D headset.