Colin Hogg on television

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Colin Hogg: Grime-time TV desperate viewing

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Stephen Fry's comic quiz show a welcome relief from crazy clean-aholics and talent show train-wrecks.
Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners are teamed up with hoarders and the hygienically challenged.
Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners are teamed up with hoarders and the hygienically challenged.

Lord help the critic, I said out loud, looking at the television shows on offer this last week. Hardly a thing worth mentioning, never mind watching, so I turned impulsively to Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners on TV2.

It's a show (Thursday, 9.30pm) that says it all in the title really, but there seems to be a demand for this sort of thing - the chance to look in on big fat families, people with embarrassing bodies, mad hoteliers and folks so ding-bat crazy, they just want to clean all the time.

It's English, of course, complete with perky voice-over and carefully applied feelgood factor.

Not content with simply focusing on the woes and washing product bills of Britain's crazy clean-aholics, this series plays matchmaker, teaming up its rubber-gloved obsessives with some of that nation's piggier people.

This might have been fun. One of the compulsive cleaners, Hayley, on high, high heels and under alarming layers of make-up, shouted, "I love bleach" before declaring herself disturbed at the thought of cleaning up a flat where the tenant had a pet.

"She's got a cat. Its bumhole will be on the surfaces," she hissed, pulling on a second pair of rubber gloves for safety.

They found a man who vacuumed his bed, they hooked up a mad cleaner called Penny with a huffy hoarder called Paul and they massed a small army of obsessive cleaners to tidy up a grotty old city park.

All rather desperate and probably not half as much fun as Embarrassing Bodies, which was the show before.

Also rather desperate now is NZ's Got Talent (TV One, Sunday, 7.30pm), which is through to its grand final after 12 weeks, though the only grand thing about it on Sunday was its inordinate length.

I haven't been taking much notice of this series, to be honest, knowing that whoever wins will likely be forgotten within months. What, you might wonder, would NZ's Got Talent have made of Lorde?

But on Sunday the show featured 12 finalists - no, make that 13, because the "super-excited" judge, Rachel Hunter, refused to eliminate anyone - many of them dancers.

Rachel Hunter works herself into a frenzy of excitement on NZ's Got Talent.
Rachel Hunter works herself into a frenzy of excitement on NZ's Got Talent.

The judges were moved to tears for reasons that escaped me and really the only contestant with a future was the country-singing girl from Gore - but isn't it always that way?

Desperate for something not involving the phrase "make or break time", I turned to QI (Prime, Sunday, 10.05pm), though at first my brain had trouble adjusting to host Stephen Fry and all his orotund erudition.

QI is that odd and ancient British institution, a comedy quiz show - this one running for 10 years now with its jolly mix of laughs and little-known facts, like how to fold a five-pound note in ways that can make the Queen look happy or sad.

The series has a pretence at being a contest, with its two teams of comics vying for points, but that's less important than the laughs, some of them timeless.

"How," asked Fry, excitable in the midst of some maritime questions, "do they separate the men from the boys in the Navy?

"With a crowbar."

Not the sort of moment you'd ever get on NZ's Got Talent.

- NZ Herald

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