Review: The Holiday (Channel 5), Killing Eve (iPlayer), Rock Till We Drop (BBC2) - Aidan Smith's TV week

If The Holiday was a French arthouse movie, it would be slow. Sexy, yes, but slow.

The heat would have got to the director and there would be lots of languid shots of beads of perspiration edging down the sunbathing femme fatale’s legs and lizards by the pool, not moving at all.

Thankfully it’s a Channel 5 drama, so the pace is breakneck.

Hide Ad

In the opening minute Kate (Jill Halfpenny) hasn’t even arrived at the Maltese villa for the university reunion when her husband Sean’s constantly beeping phone makes her think … what, that he’s having an affair? Ah, but who with?

How did this lot ever become friends? The girls from uni reunite in The HolidayHow did this lot ever become friends? The girls from uni reunite in The Holiday
How did this lot ever become friends? The girls from uni reunite in The Holiday

He’s immediately very touchy-feely with Rowan who then asks her husband Russ, jobless and slightly depressed, why he can’t be more like Sean.

Man’s man Sean, good with his hands (obviously). He could have knocked up this villa by himself in a week. If he wasn’t knocking up one of the other women, that is. Well, isn’t he?

Jenny maybe, after she’s ’fessed up to Kate that she and Sean slept together. Before he and Kate became an item, but still.

Then there’s Alistair with his creepy camera and troubled teen Jake with his weed and his knives.

The oldest swingers in town in Rock Till We DropThe oldest swingers in town in Rock Till We Drop
The oldest swingers in town in Rock Till We Drop

Children get lost and stuff gets broken. Everyone drinks too much and says things they shouldn’t.

Hide Ad

And, hang on, who’s this? Latecomer Izzy, and it isn’t long before Kate is suspecting her as well.

Kate is a cop, so you’d think she’d be good at weighing up all the evidence and not jumping to conclusions, but she’s got form for doing exactly that.

Hide Ad

Noses get smashed and diaries get nicked. A stash of condoms is discovered and so is a pregnancy testing kit. How the hell did this lot ever become friends?

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are back for one last game of murderous cat-and-mouse in Killing Eve.Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are back for one last game of murderous cat-and-mouse in Killing Eve.
Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are back for one last game of murderous cat-and-mouse in Killing Eve.

It’s the kids I feel sorry for. And hang on, where’s little Odette? Who was supposed to be looking after her? Who’s turn is it to cook? Who’s turn is it to start a blazing row?

The other day when a chum asked if I’d seen anything good recently I mentioned an earlier drama on Channel 5.

He laughed, saying he never watched the station, believing it only showed programmes about Jane McDonald, the cruise-ship warbler.

At one point this seemed true, but not any more. Channel 5 have been spinning some intriguing yarns lately.

There might occasionally be a soapy element, but give me that over some of those clever-clever dramas billed as "psychological", the ones where the real star is the kitchen-island – and, oh yes, half the stuff that turns up on Netflix. The Holiday is one of Channel 5’s best.

Hide Ad

I loved the first season of Killing Eve (iPlayer), stayed with the second hoping it might be as daring again, but missed all of the third.

Now here’s the fourth and – a good thing, I reckon – last.

Great clothes, great soundtrack, great one-liners, great weird, obsessive girl-on-girl, love-hate, snog-marry-murder? relationship – but it’s all got too much.

Hide Ad

The pop-art stylings rendered each new series like being trapped in a sweet shop. You’d bite into another episode and go: “Sherbet again?”

I like sherbet, but even in its extremes the show got samey. If it wasn’t going to change – it couldn’t have done and it shouldn’t have done – then stopping after the first two might have been for the best.

So anyway, we’re in Russia where right away a guard outside a government building is clobbered by a woman in biker leathers wielding a gun with a silencer.

The helmet comes off to reveal … smirking assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer)? No, actually, it’s neurotic intelligence officer Eve (Sandra Oh).

Minutes later there’s some blunt flirting (She: “Are you looking at my ass?” He: “Yes.”) and a couple of series ago this would have been Villanelle, too, but again it’s Eve.

What’s going on? Eve has got rid of her kind, but boring husband (everyone would be boring compared to an extended game of cat-and-mouse with a sexy psychopath).

Hide Ad

Villanelle is expressing feelings you never imagined of her – “I’ve always wanted to start a family” – and she’s found God.

Are our protagonists trading places?

If so, Eve should love wearing Villanelle’s clothes – hopefully literally, the latter possessing the most stunning wardrobe on TV.

Hide Ad

But then at her local church Villanelle tries to drown someone in a baptism bowl. She’s not changed, though for a moment there I was worried.

How does TV breathe new life into a tired, old clapped-out format like the singing talent contest? Get in the codgers.

Rock Till We Drop (BBC2) is putting together a band to perform at the Isle of Wight Festival. No one younger than 64 need apply.

All the wrinkly hopefuls had rock dreams once. “I want to give them a second chance,” says Martin Kemp, lately of Spandau Ballet, a band who unfortunately were allowed one.

He’s an impresario alongside rapper Lady Leshurr and the first to audition is Robert, 82, who extends a shaking hand. Nerves? “No, that’s the arthritis.”

When Rosemary, 80, sings “you give me fever … ” I’m hoping there will be an ambulance crew on standby at all times.

Hide Ad

Her dream was thwarted by her sexual predator of a manager. Then a poignant note is struck when Carole, 72, mentions having worked for Melody Maker and Lady Leshurr can only offer a blank look – too young to know that me and 250,000 others once lived for that music paper coming out every Thursday.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.