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Weekend TV: Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor, The Culture Show and I'm a Celebrity...

Gemma Horton reviews the best of last weekend's TV

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cultureshowcorenAnother weekend has come and gone, the Christmas ads have dominated the television, and there are constant reminders for shows coming up over the festive period; television becomes your best friend once you'd have one too many mince pies. For now, the usual weekend television continues in the run-up to Christmas, and once again, it didn't disappoint.

Strictly Come Dancing

What is a Saturday night without Bruce and Tess presenting the nation's favourite dancing programme? The answer: still a Saturday night, just with fewer sequins. This week it was 'Musicals Week', with each celebrity dancing to a song from a famous musical. After the slump in scores last week, this week saw more tens given than any previous week. Whether they were deserved or not is another matter. Model Abbey Clancy climbed to the top of the leader board with a perfect 40, and the gasp of shock when Craig dusted off his ten panel was louder than the laughs for Brucie's jokes. The leader board was tight this week, but it seemed that 29 points was not enough to save Mark and Iveta from the dance off. They faced Ashley and Ola, who the judges unanimously decided to save. So, after this week's musical week, the six couples who remain must compete against each other in next week's 'Swingathon' where they all dance at the same time and the judge's eliminate them one by one. To paraphrase Sophie Ellis Bextor, it could well be murder on the dance floor.

The X Factor

After weeks of The X Factor, this weekend delivered nothing exceptionally different, only that Tamera remembered her words, which is almost as shocking as Craig dishing out a ten on Strictly. But like its BBC rival, The X Factor also had a theme for its show: Jukebox night. The acts gave the public a chance to vote for which ballad out of three choices they wanted them to sing on the live show. Let's face it; all of the contestants love a good ballad to sing. With Sam Bailey the favourite to win this year's contest because she genuinely is the best, would it be so bad if the talent show packed up early? Probably not. It would have meant that we'd have been saved from James Arthur's awkward conversation with Dermot O'Leary where he quietly apologised for being...well...a bit rude. If were to be polite about it. Oh, and previous X Factor contestant Rebecca Ferguson sang a song about hope.

tamarafosterAfter the judges take what seems like forever to decide on who to send home, Gary Barlow finally sends the vote to Deadlock. It's tense in the studio as Luke Friend and Tamera Foster look down to the floor, almost crying as they don't want their journey to end. Finally, it's announced that Tamera is the one going home. Nicole Scherzinger looks perplexed as Tamera thanks everyone politely for voting for her and giving her an opportunity. More or less the same as what every failed contestant says. But on the bright side, Gary Barlow has said that winning The X Factor doesn't often turn people into stars. Just ask Matt Cardle.

The Secret Life of Marry Poppins: A Culture Show Special

There are some times in life, not many times, when TV can be a cultured thing and not consist of watching celebrities eat kangaroo parts (although those time are entertaining too). This week saw Victoria Coren Mitchell, the host of quiz show Only Connect, take a look at the life of author PL Travers. With Disney's Saving Mr Banks hitting screens, it is unsurprising that a programme would be made about Travers and her book. We learned that Travers hated what Disney did to Marry Poppins. She hated the fact that Disney had wiped away the sadness involved in her book and gave the public a film full of smiles and songs. This is something which Coren explores as she delves into Travers's unhappy childhood and her eventual fall out with her adopted son. But all of this is hidden under the carpet in Saving Mr Banks, a fact which Coren picks up on. Both Mary Poppins and Travers have been airbrushed by Disney's magic, and this TV programme gives a glimpse into the real world where Disney doesn't exist. Interesting and moving, it is most certainly something different for Saturday night entertainment.

I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!

What more can be said about I'm A Celebrity? It gave us the usual bushtucker trial this week, but last night there came the first elimination. The public either wanted Alfonso Ribeiro, i.e. Carlton Banks, to leave or Annabel Giles. After little speculation, for both of them had been moaning that they wanted to leave, it was Annabel who left the outback for the luxury of home. After her constant yelling and crying in the trial earlier that night, it is easy to see why she was voted off. With tempers rising in the camp, this year's I'm A Celeb could end at boiling point between anyone in the camp and model Amy Willerton as she often becomes the centre of some campmates' anger. At least there is Joey Essex there to mellow everyone with his cheery attitude. Never before has anyone been so excited to eat a digestive biscuit. It's no wonder Joey is front runner to be King of the Jungle.

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