WHAT sort of “heart-warming comedy” gets put on the telly on a Monday night, just after the regional news?
The answer, sadly, appears to be: Not a very good one.
Being Eileen (Mondays, 10.35pm, BBC 1) finishes its run next Monday, and it’s probably best all round that it gets locked away for a while.
With a cast of great northern actors including Sue Johnston (who, incidentally, is brilliant in Corrie at the moment), Julie Graham and Dean Andrews, the writers should be on to a winner.
Something, however, has gone wrong. The basic idea, should you be doing something else at 10.35pm on Mondays, is that aging matriarch Johnston is trying to maintain a fully functioning family following the death of her husband.
For her children, that involves trying to keep her happy and involved in their lives, while at the same time coping with demanding spouses who want to build their own families.
And then there are the grandchildren – some spoilt, some sweet. It’s a recipe which sounds familiar, but is also proof that you aren’t guaranteed a great cake even with the best ingredients.
On Monday, the episode revolved around a trip to a small DIY store to buy a shower. Eileen’s son Pete promised to install a new shower for her, but his wife Mandy - seemingly irritated by the amount of attention mum gets – thinks she is getting a new bathroom.
Randomly, daughter Paula turns up with her family too – because DIY shopping is something the whole family should do together, right? Over the next 30 minutes, gobby Mandy gets into a row over a bath, Eileen ends up doing career development for a shy shop manager and the grandkids get into trouble in the drill aisle.
The problem with Being Eileen is that in an attempt to be heartwarming, it forgets to be funny. And in trying to set up humourous situations, it loses its heartwarming touch.
It’s one of those comedies you really want to be good. Which makes it all the more disappointing when it fails to deliver.
Another disappointment over the last week has been the return of CSI (Channel 5, 9pm, Tuesdays). The original CSI franchise has arguably always been the best, but the season opener left me feeling cold – without a corpse in sight.
You know how you can have too much of a good thing? I think, in season 13, CSI has reached that point. It’s become the friend who was good for a laugh in your early-20s but who makes you sigh when he bounds into the pub when you reach your 30s.
To argue that CSI has become far-fetched is a bit daft – a bit like complaining that the dialogue in Waybaloo has gone downhill lately. Or that the contestants on Come Dine With Me have become a bit over the top.
But CSI has done gritty realism against the backdrop of the glitz of Vegas very well in the last few years. Seeing a cast of big-name actors locked in a plot which involves dodgy coppers trying to kill crime scene investigators who in turn take the law into their own hands just felt a bit daft and silly.
I predict season 13 will be the last.
What I’ll be watching next week:Shetland (BBC 1, 9pm Sunday and Monday): Looks very promising as two part dramas go.