I am not keen on X Factor though I will admit to having watched Strictly Come Dancing, strictly in the interests of research, and mainly to enjoy Anne Widecombes effort -Though I am unsure that effort is the right word to use.
One piece of weekend TV, I do look forward to seeing is The Secret Millionaire on C4 on Sunday nights
It is certainly true its pretty formulaic.
A rich person turns up, secretly observes community initiatives, hands over thousand of pounds of his or her own money to worthy causes, loads of tears, and goodbye.
As a programme it has its faults, for example, it stretches credulity that sometimes the recipients of the cash have not clocked what is going on long before the cheque is handed out at the end.
The Secret Millionaire has also been criticised for being patronising and even demeaning to the recipients, who are filmed receiving charity . In truth though none of them ever seem to mind.In fact judging by the hugs and tears they are usually overwhelmed with joy.
To my mind it makes for gripping television, but there are 2 things in particular I love about this programme.
One is the chance to see the work of some completely unsung community heroes who seem to devote their whole lives to loving and serving others; whether it be a woman pouring her time,money, energy into helping parents of disabled children, or a guy in Nottingham who has single handedly -until the millionaire turned up- set up a large project to discourage children from carrying knives on the street,or the people who have set up a home near the sea so that terminally ill children can have a holiday.
Some of these people are Christians, some are not, but they are doing some amazing work.They also provide loads of great examples that churches who want to bless their local communities could follow, if they wanted.
The other wonderful thing the programme does is to prove the truth of Jesus words
It is more blessed to give than to receive
The people that are really changed by the experience are not the recipients but the donor millionaires- they appear to learn something of the value of community and the importance of deep relationships.In some cases they appear to have been completely changed
I am yet to be persuaded that X factor ever did that for anybody