I’m A Celebrity… is back on television, but I am not stuck to the screen. Not even an old Post-It-note’s worth of glue keeps my eyes adhered to the jungle programme.
But I know it’s on because a daily skim of the newspaper headlines reveals the usual lazy-arse ‘what’s popular on TV’ headlines, along with pictures of the contestants without their tops on. This year, the uncovered one has mostly been Noel Edmonds, whose neat physique at the age of 70 has inspired headlines and how-to-look-like-Noel features.
Having little interest in the programme, and no desire to look like Noel, here is my best guess: he keeps trim by being annoying. Those muscles are kept taut by years of causing general irritation.
Yes, life’s too short to watch I’m A Celebrity. But it isn’t too short to fray the hours on Netflix. Here are some of the fritter-some shows I have watched lately.
I would like to recommend Borgia, only it has stopped. A deadline warning started to pop up on screen during this lurid and loosely historical tale. Rushing through, I finished bang on time. Whether this was an achievement, or a waste of time, is open to debate.
Sensible me: You could have put those hours to more productive use.
Netflix-watching me shrugs: it was good to start with, and anyway there’ll be something else along in a moment.
And so there was.
Next up was The Method, a Russian crime/psychological drama that is well made, interesting and satisfyingly bizarre.
A young law graduate begins a strange apprenticeship with the famed investigator, Rodion Meglin – a mentally ill sociopath man whose ‘method’ is mysterious and dangerous.
Method is well made, bonkers but compelling, not least down to the central performances from Konstantin Khabenskiy and Paulina Andreeva. To say more would spoil a good and occasionally gruesome plot.
My latest find is Four Seasons In Havana, a Cuban crime drama (never tripped over one of those before). Jorge Perugorria (pictured) plays Detective Mario Conde, a Cuban amalgam of all the messed-up, lonely detectives you have ever seen. But don’t let that put you off because this character is great…
• A rumpled, booze-sodden, nicotine-stained man (tick, tick, tick);
• Who breaks the rules (tick);
• And is strangely irresistible to the gorgeous women of Cuba, despite looking like a crumpled brown bag that once contained a bottle of cheap rum (more ticks, line them up in a row).
An interesting twist is that Conde fancies himself a writer. This gives the cases an intriguing mix of fact and fantasy. And you are never sure if the improbable sexual conquests have happened or been summoned up by his cigarette-fuelled imagination. Best of all, Conde’s like a rough-edged Cuban Morse, but with rum for beer, and writing for crosswords.
Havana looks fantastic, dark and brooding – although our much-travelled American Airbnb guest took one look and said: “Havana’s nothing like that: it’s light and open and spacious.”
It’s a good look though, and Four Seasons In Havana is my top tip if you want to relax and put time through the Netflix shredder.