CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Grand designs in Prue Leith’s new life

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS testimonials final night’s Tv set: Grand layouts in Prue Leith’s new life but her backyard has a soggy base

Prue’s Terrific Backyard Plot 


Hollington Drive


Prue Leith, the Dame of Bake Off, has a theory for happiness. ‘I actually believe that,’ she suggests, ‘every 25 many years you need to have a revolution in your everyday living and do one thing wholly various.’

That’s worked pretty perfectly for the Michelin-starred restaurateur turned celeb chef turned Television presenter. Now 81, with her rainbow specs and barn-doorway earrings, Prue is forging a new occupation as 1 of the most recognisable faces on telly.

On major of that, following being widowed just about 20 decades in the past, she remarried in 2016 to retired manner designer John Playfair, 8 decades her junior.

It really is all very nicely if you happen to be fizzing with electricity like Prue. She suggests she would like a revolution — effectively, so do we all, but some of us get worn out just changing a lightbulb.

Not our Prue. Her most current seismic upheaval usually means promoting her Cotswold rectory for £10 million and transferring a number of miles up the road, where by she has demolished an aged farmhouse and its outbuildings to substitute them with a sprawling Grand Patterns modernist residence.

Prue's Great Garden Plot (More4) follows her and John as they set about turning their four acres of soggy fields into a landscape of orchards and vegetable patches

Prue’s Excellent Backyard garden Plot (A lot more4) follows her and John as they set about turning their 4 acres of soggy fields into a landscape of orchards and vegetable patches

The aged put, exactly where she’s lived due to the fact the 1980s, belongs in a Trollope novel. The new 1 seems to be a showstopper bake gone incorrect, all lopsided gingerbread and slabs of marzipan. Nevertheless, Prue made it so I suppose it is really intended to look like that.

Prue’s Terrific Yard Plot (Far more4) follows her and John as they established about turning their 4 acres of soggy fields into a landscape of orchards and vegetable patches.

Their issue is that the soil is claggy clay, and the ground drains like a blocked sink. Waterlogged, their fruit trees merely start out to drown.

Even the trees in pots usually are not flourishing. A red acer guiding the dwelling withers till it really is a twig with a handful of leaves, like scraps of previous tinsel. The challenge proves to be twine knotted about the roots, which have to have been there given that the sapling was first delivered.

Prue is refreshingly truthful about her ability as a gardener. She’s an enthusiast, not an pro, she admits. Fairly than fake it all goes efficiently, she talks us by way of her mistakes and passes on guidelines she has picked up from the professionals.

John, who appears to be to have a reward for having his possess way with out ever disagreeing with his wife, provides garden touches that aren’t in fact alive — an iron wigwam to cover the cesspit, a copper water aspect disguised as a tree.

His favourite is a gravel pitch for the French game of boules. It truly is a civilised pastime that can be played with a glass of wine in one hand — perfect, he suggests, ‘for us coffin dodgers’.

The pair are an affectionate pair, no matter if they’re slicing just about every other’s hair during lockdown or bickering about the finest way to gauge an oak tree’s age.

There is important little affection amongst Theresa and her associate Fraser (Anna Maxwell Martin and Rhashan Stone) in the little one murder drama Hollington Generate (ITV).

There's precious little affection between Theresa and her partner Fraser (Anna Maxwell Martin and Rhashan Stone) in the child murder drama Hollington Drive (ITV)

There’s treasured minor affection among Theresa and her lover Fraser (Anna Maxwell Martin and Rhashan Stone) in the boy or girl murder drama Hollington Generate (ITV)

The edgy entente between the duo feels as nevertheless it could shatter at any second like an eggshell beneath a measurement 12 boot.

Bitter, impolite and egocentric, Theresa is an unlikeable character. Her ten-yr-aged son Ben is aggressive and deceitful: even his mom thinks he may well be capable of murder.

The truth that Maxwell Martin someway will make us want to see Theresa escape this nightmare is testament to what an extraordinary actress she is. Rachael Stirling, as her uptight, disloyal sister, is both equally a foil and a match for her, and their scenes together are thrilling.

Increase Jim Howick from Ghosts as a dishevelled detective and this gripping psychological drama is only unmissable.

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