Celebrity Best Home Cook
Secret Safari: Into The Wild
Funny how life turns out. If Labour had won the General Election in 2015, Ed Balls would have been Chancellor — and might conceivably be Prime Minister by now.
Instead, he’s making a lasagne on Celebrity Best Home Cook (BBC1), with the sister of the actual PM among his rivals.
If politics is a greasy pole, Ed’s goes all the way down to the depths of hell.
Funny how life turns out. If Labour had won the General Election in 2015, Ed Balls (pictured) would have been Chancellor — and might conceivably be Prime Minister by now
In the past few years, for travelogues and reality shows, he’s tried his hand as a trawlerman in the North Sea and a wrestler in the American South . . . not to mention that eye-popping display on Strictly Come Dancing.
As he scrapes a living in the land of the Z-listers, he seems relaxed and humble about the indignity of it all — not visibly thrilled, but quietly resigned to his fate.
You have to wonder, though, whether at 3am he has to stuff a pillow over his face to muffle his howls of anguish.
Others embrace the life. Former rugby international Gareth Thomas pops up everywhere you look. In the past few weeks, he has stripped naked in The Full Monty On Ice and solved puzzles on The Crystal Maze.
Tom (sixth from the left) is the agony uncle from E4’s Celebs Go Dating, and he speaks in a mannered impersonation of Joyce Grenfell
He got a taste for the starry limelight on shows including Celebrity Big Brother and The Jump, and is such a reality TV pro that he hadn’t been in the kitchen four minutes before he was in tears — reading aloud a note from his husband.
That’s how you make sure the camera is trained on you. Novice celebs such as Tom Read Wilson could only watch and learn.
ODD BEHAVIOUR OF THE NIGHT
When one of her gangster lovers executed another in Marcella (ITV), Anna Friel was spattered with blood. But her only reaction was to take off her high heels. That made about as much sense as anything else in this demented thriller.
Tom is the agony uncle from E4’s Celebs Go Dating, and he speaks in a mannered impersonation of Joyce Grenfell. As he wiped sweat from his brow, complaining that the heat in the studio made him look ‘like the Wreck of the Hesperus’, he made Mary Berry sound common.
Dame Mary was there, quite literally looking down on them all: social distancing regulations meant she and her fellow judges were perched on a balcony.
But cookery shows usually take place with everyone stationed well apart, so the only person who wasn’t coping well was presenter Claudia Winkleman, who kept wailing that she just wanted to hug people.
‘Gareth, it’s so hard not to squeeze you,’ she moaned, as the former fullback got all teary again over his Glamorgan sausages. Of all the many celebrity shows graced by Ed and Gareth, you won’t find one more frothy and trivial than Celebrity Best Home Cook.
But right now, frothy and trivial is exactly what we all need.
If you tuned in to Secret Safari: Into The Wild (C4) expecting a lightweight hour of animal trivia on the African savannah, however, you got a jolt. This documentary turned unexpectedly red in tooth and claw.
If you tuned in to Secret Safari: Into The Wild (C4) expecting a lightweight hour of animal trivia on the African savannah, however, you got a jolt. Pictured, Abraham Njenga
It started innocuously, in Kenya’s Ol Pejeta conservation park, with a pride of lions lazing in the sun before setting off on a half-hearted hunt for zebra, losing interest and going back to sleep. Then we met an adorable baby rhino called Lottie, just 12 hours old, whose mother Lola had been bottle-fed as a calf by ranger James.
After that, things turned messy. The lions caught a warthog, and one of the lionesses was found badly mauled.
Worse, poor baby Lottie was killed, beheaded and devoured by a lone male lion, with her hapless mum unable to protect her.
The cameras didn’t flinch from the carcass. This is an important series, depicting the crucial work of Kenya’s wildlife rangers, but it could put you right off your celebrity lasagne.