One thing seems to interest all of my friends and family back in America. And that is, what is the television like here? Because of the recent success of Downton Abbey, and a love for some British television shows that make their way across the pond into the U.S., I think many Americans are fascinated with television here. Of course, they might be very disappointed to scroll through my channel listings and find it often contains as many reruns of American shows as it does unique British content.
Since I’m still getting to know television here, I’ll be sharing my observations about it over the coming months. One of the first things I’ve noticed is that there seems to be a British show for each equivalent U.S. show. A few examples:
-If you like Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals, you’ll love Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. Jamie Oliver is enormously popular here, between thriving restaurant chains, bestselling books, and several hit television series. He’s every bit as vivacious and excitable on camera as Ray is in the U.S. And he seems to specialize in quick fix, healthy meals, much like she does. I also enjoy his new show, Save with Jamie. And just like Ray, for every fan, Oliver seems to attract an equally as opinionated hater.
-If you like David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, or any other late night talk show, you’ll love The Graham Norton Show. This is one of my favorite shows here, and I’m excited for it to return from the summer holiday. Norton is funny just like any late night comedian, but he really shines at the interview portion of the show. I love the way he has all the guests on at once throughout the duration of the show. It’s fun to see the celebrities interact with both him and each other. And what I think I appreciate the most is how candid the Hollywood stars are on his show, compared to the interview shows in the U.S. They all seem much less guarded, and almost as if they’ve had a cocktail or two before appearing. It makes for great and funny television.
-If you like Jerry Springer, you’ll love The Jeremy Kyle Show. I honestly can’t write much about this show because I can’t stomach watching it. But if you know the Jerry Springer Show, then just know that its British equivalent is the Jeremy Kyle Show. There is battles about baby daddies, infidelity, and every scandal imaginable. And it seems like it’s on 24/7 here. Ugh.
-If you like cooking competition shows (think Chopped, Top Chef, etc.), then you’ll love Come Dine With Me. Part reality show, part cooking competition, the premise of this program is to follow around 4 strangers as they each throw a dinner party for the other contestants over the course of a week. You’ll get to know them, watch them cook a 3-course meal, and see them rate their fellow hosts. Whoever scores the highest wins 1,000 pounds. The best part of this show is the witty banter by the announcer, who adds snide comments and hilarious remarks as a voiceover throughout the show. British humor at its best.
-If you like Dancing with the Stars, you’ll love Strictly Come Dancing. This ballroom dancing competition show is just heating up, and is very similar to its U.S. counterpart. It is hugely popular here. There’s even a betting pool at my husband’s office as to who wins it all. I’m cheering for Susanna Reid because I watch her every morning on BBC Breakfast.
Like I said, I’m just getting familiar with British television. I’ll have a lot more to say about this in the months ahead. In the meantime, any favorites you think I should watch?