Tonight's TV tips: Rock ‘n’ Roll Guns For Hire, Corrie & Crystal Maze

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Tonight's TV tips: Rock ‘n’ Roll Guns For Hire, Corrie & Crystal Maze

July 07, 2017 - 14:56
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What to watch and review on Friday, July 7.

Coronation Street

Coronation Street (ITV, 7.30 & 8.30pm) Sex, extreme violence, coke snorting in loving close-up… all way before the family viewing watershed. Welcome to Weatherfield, 2017. In tonight’s X-certificate double header, jealous Johnny spots Jenny and Matthew at the Bistro and flies into a rage.

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EastEnders (BBC1, 8pm) More low-rent antics from the irritating Taylors, a calamitous clan it’s impossible to care less about. Meanwhile, strange Steven continues to spy on Lauren at work. There may be trouble ahead.

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Crystal Maze: Celebrity Special (Channel 4, 9pm) Droll new host Richard Ayoade presides as a minor star-studded line-up tackles the trickiest challenges on TV. Into the zones go Joel Dommett, Jermain Jenas, Adil Ray, Tamara Wall and team captain Rylan Clark-Neal. Big names.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Guns For Hire: The Story Of The Sidemen (BBC4, 9pm) After 40 years as David Bowie’s brilliant but unsung guitarist, Earl “Slicky” Slick examines the role of the musicians in the shadows who make the superstars sound so good. The key qualities are loyalty and humility. Featuring new interviews with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

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SquareEyes's picture

Back when my son was a wee sprog, he had three favourite tv shows. Thomas The Tank Engine (possibly Ringo Starr's only decent contribution to society, post-Beatles); Countdown (more because of an inappropriate crush on Carol Vorderman than any desire to make words out of a random set of letters) and The Crystal Maze. So enamoured of the Richard O'Brien-helmed game show was he, that he insisted I record every episode on our VCR (ask your parents!) so he could watch them over and over. And over. And over.

Time has moved on since those halycon 90s days. Ringo left Thomas; Vorders was replaced; The Crystal Maze was mothballed; and my son got a beard, a job, a car, a house, and a girlfriend. But his love for The Crystal Maze has remained. And now it's back for a proper, no-messing-about, honest-to-goodness series. Can it be as good? Abso-gold-token-lutely, it can.

Ok, there is no Richard O'Brien with his to-camera asides, flights of fancy, and withering put downs of any contestant he deemed to be stupid. But someone at C4 has played a blinder in giving the gig to Richard Ayoade, who does the same sort of thing as his forerunner, but with added disdain, and a touch of Howard Hughes-like weirdness in his refusal to touch the contestants' hands. We've only seen 'celebrities' so far in this series and so we will have to see if he is as cutting to Joe Bloggs as he has been to the likes of Joey Essex, Joel Dommett or Joe Swash. You can only hope so, because there is a lot of joy in those cutting remarks.

There is also a lot of joy to be had in shouting at the screen as idiot celebrity after idiot celebrity fails to work out the simplest of tasks and gets themselves locked in. I mean, how difficult can it be to use different weighted cloth bags to make a set of scales be equal? Don't ask Joey Essex who found the whole Crystal Maze idea to be more complex than quadratic equations. All the puzzles are new, all the sets have been brought into the 21st Century - even, paradoxically, The Medievil Zone - but, the drawbridge that used to lead into the Crystal Dome itself, has been left behind meaning we don't get to hear the command 'Lower the drawbridge'. But that - like Joey Essex's brain - is a small thing, and can't detract from the overall feeling that this reboot is an unqualified success.

Now, lets try and get Carol Vorderman back in front of those letters and numbers!