Obviously we love a mystery here at It’s a Crime! This week’s biggest seems to be ‘Where was Gok?’ For yes, this week’s TV Book Club suffered its first casualty, with the absence of Gok Wan. We hope that he was not seriously indisposed and simply had to perform a major emergency makeover on some poor soul about to suffer from a right old pelleting of paparazzi snapping. (It was certainly a one-off, as with Specsavers as the sponsor of both the TV Book Club and his recent show, a ‘Drop-the-Gok’ cannot possibly be permanent.)
On first viewing, this week’s show flew by. And for the first time it was (almost completely) absent of cringe and quite enjoyable. Among the bibliophile brigade, Tweets were appearing with intense voracity during the broadcasting of last night’s show and the consensus was: this is better. Let’s examine why.
First up: a very pertinent guest. Emilia Fox is an avid reader and she was not there to flog a book. In a ‘Five Minutes With’ interview for the BBC, when asked for three things she liked her first was reading. And she read English at Oxford. Our TV Book Club members investigated her reading habits and it was all good stuff.
Secondly, again there was a shift in the balance of features. We experienced a further upgrade in the time spent on the featured book during the episode. Waters had 6.5 mins, Bauer 8 mins, and this week Dunant 9.5 mins. The discussion element has moved from Waters 3.5 mins, to Bauer 5.5 mins, to Dunant nearly 7 mins. The TV Book Club is now delivering more of what it promised on the label.
Thirdly, the book discussion was essentially lively, with all participating to a degree. The absence of one member – given the time constraints – must have been a big contributing factor. There was genuine excitement about the book, or its theme, which led to this lively discussion. However, Emilia Fox still suffered with the ‘get a word in edgeways’ syndrome, going some way to prove the point that when it comes to panel discussion in such a small slot: less is more.
And if that less could be more, it’s time to jettison-the-Jo. Sorry, but her demeanour is now settling into misdemeanour. Her droll may work excellently for comedy and quiz shows, but it’s not working in the book club. If she’s not being negative, she’s constantly referring back to mental health. And I have to admit to laughing out loud in the opening minutes, for the wrong reason. Two twitter comments were read out by her. The first one was credited with a name, the second not. The delivery appeared under duress.
If you feel like a chuckle, do drop by Publishing Talk. Jon Reed made me laugh this morning with this picture and his thoughts on how the show might be employing Celebrity Big Brother tactics.
Episode 3 was a vast improvement and Nathaniel Parker appeared to be the one holding court this week; an appropriate reaction to his skills on the show. Laila Rouass also proved she’s an enthusiastic reader. It really is getting better.
I still believe they missed a trick by not getting Paul Blezard, however. In that man we have a dedicated bibliophile who fizzes energy and enthusiasm for books. Perfect for a book show.