Ben Barnes and Julia Ormond, one of the couples to feature in the TVNZ show Gold Digger.
OPINION: It’s all a bit contrived.
Gold Digger (TV One, Sundays) wants us to believe Benjamin Green just happened to meet Julia Day at a museum.
You have to suspend belief. But it doesn’t matter. Day is 60, comfortably off, exiting a divorce and alone because her son has stood her up in London. Green doesn’t stand her up. He lies her down.
The chance encounter becomes a passionate affair. It all happens in the dark so you can’t see the wrinkles. The problem is Green, who resembles a young Keanu Reeves, is half her age. He’s a toy boy who’s escaped a factory shipment. Soon Day introduces him to her three children. It’s like Pol Pot meeting a war crimes tribunal.
Two of the spoilt kids fear for their inheritance. Patrick, a lawyer, decides to check Green out. We then fast forward 12 months to Day’s palatial home, somewhere in Devon. Day and Green are getting married and the family is still plotting. To show who’s boss, Green tells Patrick to find another bottle of champers in the garage. If looks could kill, Green’s already deceased and buried in a pauper’s grave.
The story is simple, but will resonate with many people. It’s like granny having a fling with Scott McLaughlin and driving his Ford Mustang GT. No-one quite believes Green is genuine, certainly not the family.
The appeal of Gold Digger is its writing, its relevance and the quality of acting. I’m worried Green might take her money and split. The only person who isn’t alarmed is Day. Her wine cellar and bank balance might be, but she’s having fun.
When does Bradley Walsh sleep? He plays Graham O’Brien in Doctor Who and hosts The Chase.
Now he’s introduced his own creation called Cash Trapped (TV One, Monday to Friday). It’s a complex, slightly weird, quiz game where six contestants sitting in boxes compete through four rounds. They stay until one of them escapes with the money. It’s a civilised version of The Weakest Link.
If they answer questions correctly, they Tyson Fury their most threatening competitor. The opponent’s box turns Labour Party red and they’re muzzled for the rest of the round. The quiz needs lots of explaining from Walsh and the final round, where Cat, one of the contestants, had the chance to escape, was confusing. She claimed a “brain fart” and gave the wrong answers.
Any quiz show featuring Walsh starts with a plus. When it doesn’t have the rapport that the chaser and contestants have, it ends with a minus.
Fair Go takes offence over fences. They’re meant to be built by serial conman Neville Thomson, but instead he takes clients’ money and doesn’t turn up. Now Neville has to mend some broken fences.
But first he must build them to break them and then mend them. The ones he’s done resemble the S bend at Manfeild.
Welcome back Fair Go (TV One, Mondays). You’ve found a genuine ratbag in your first episode. Now you need a repetition of ratbags to maintain the series.
A Confession (UKTV Mondays) is everything Bancroft isn’t. Sian O’Callaghan has gone missing and Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher sets about finding her. It’s thorough, sometimes plodding, police procedural. It’s not flashy, and that’s its strength, not its weakness.
Dr Carol Kenney is incorrigible and insufferable all at the same time. Sadly, in Carol’s Second Act (Prime Tuesdays), insufferable mostly wins. The comedy series wasn’t released, it escaped and, like a new strain of flu, found its way to New Zealand.
Retired teacher Carol Kenney starts at Layola Memorial Hospital as an intern. In her first day she’s a medicinal motormouth. The episode is so annoying that repeats should be shown in New Zealand prisons as punishment.
Kenney’s supervising doctor gives her the job of collecting stool samples. It’s an ideal opportunity to flush the programme and the samples down the loo, but then she correctly diagnoses a patient’s condition when his own doctor can’t.
Her action is a reprieve, but the series has to get better and quickly. I’m sure the courts are poised to order it for repeat offenders.
Malcolm Hopwood is a Stuff columnist