So, yes, I was expecting Sherlock (BBC1 Sunday, 8.30pm) to revisit the fall at some point over the remaining two episodes. I liked the tease, but begging the question of how he survived did, it seemed to me, create an obligation to definitively answer it. Ah well. Not that I feel especially miffed. His Last Vow was a terrific final episode, all over the place and packed with invention. The final feint, of running, then not running the closing theme, felt Python-esque.
“I was the one who was responsible for making the mask of the Hound of the Baskervilles”. It’s at that point you lean in. Timeshift: How to be Sherlock Holmes: The Many Faces of a Master Detective (BBC4 Sunday, 10pm – and apologies for the double-colons) was a beautifully made documentary. I’m no Holmesologist, so it may be the case that props maker Margaret Robinson is a regular on the convention circuit with her Great Dane hood, but I thought it was thrilling that, during a discussion about the effectiveness (or lack of) of the eponymous canine’s realisation in Hammer’s 1959 film, she suddenly popped up to take the blame. This is someone who could reasonably be considered incidental to the story of the Great Detective on screen, and yet there she was. Evidence of the sheer love poured into the project.
In truth, I had my suspicions from the beginning; a lovely sequence featuring the giant faces of Christopher Lee, Benedict Cumberbatch and Douglas Wilmer addressing the camera with Conan Doyle’s description of his character. It’s that extra dab of colour, that extra touch of care. As were the multiple dissolves between old footage or illustrations and the documentary’s contributors, conspired into similar poses. Lee, in particular, was a glorious talker, versed and enthused – like a fan – in his subject. Mark Gatiss was there, despite a poorly eye, and shockingly generous in his declaration: “My version of Mycroft is entirely extrapolated from Christopher Lee’s version”.
And meanwhile, in the voiceover booth, Peter Wyngarde’s million-year-old tones added both an instant gravity and a slight eccentricity. He, like Churchill, speaks of the “Nazzis”.
The Taste (Channel 4 Tuesday, 9pm) again, because last week’s episode didn’t really count. Scored like Inception, rumbling along full of its own importance, I still like it. Although it is kind of stand-offish. Judges promenading out grandly (and by the way, what is a “maverick food writer” – someone who does it from the back of a motorbike?), the plebs expected to show due reverence. On top of that, extra-reverence – gasps, hands flap to self-ventilate – for guest extra-judge Richard Corrigan. I’m sure he’s good, but why venerate him above Nigella, Anthony and Ludo? Richard, like most chefs, references himself in his first two utterances; talk of “my classic food” and “my humble seafood cocktail”. But once we get going, everything loosens up and it’s fun. Nigella has a catchphrase, “Please answer me!” Anthony wafts around like a fart for a bit, before turning on his heel: “We can drag this out, but I know what I’m gonna do. It’s on you dude”. Ludo freaks constantly.
The only moment where I felt it came undone was the final – and let’s not shy away from the language, here – elimination. The apparent purity of the blind tasting is betrayed by the judges then coming to a consensus on who’s leaving the competition, now in the knowledge of who cooked what. Nigella scolds departee Barry. “You abandoned the concept of taste and went for the concept full-stop.” But Nigella, you and your colleagues abandoned the concept.
This week I only watched shows about Sherlock Holmes or cooking. “It’s time to grease your muffin tray and grab your jugs”. Ah, The Great Sport Relief Bake Off (BBC2 Monday, 8.30pm). And then, in a less perky intonation: “And Olympic boxer Nicola Adams will be in South Africa exploring how the money raised is really making a difference.” These gear changes work absolutely fine, we’re now well used to light fun equaling famine relief on TV. Similarly, we accept celebrity versions of shows aren’t as good as the regular ones, but we love Bake Off so we’ll take the crumbs. Even if it means Johnny Vaughan in a hat he presumably brought from home desperately trying to provide value for money in terms of chat. “Yesterday, where I messed up was really all day.” After sandwich biscuits, tarte tatin and novelty cakes, it ended in sweet form, with the celebs taking phone photos of themselves posing with Mary Berry. As anyone would.