April 29. Just watching the leaders debate.
Brown says he understands the problems of the voters. He should
do. He caused most of them...The state of his make-up. He looks
like he's just given his pall-bearers the slip...still, hearing
all three leaders has certainly helped me make up my mind –
I’m voting UKIP.
April 25. It was like the worst ever episode
of Changing Rooms. Lovely Amira dragged her drippy husband into
the bedroom on ’Enders only to find that their wallpaper had
been radically redesigned. Lucy’s tasteful graffiti message,
‘Taliban Batty-Man’, sorry ‘Syed loves Christian’, means that
Syed’s big secret is out – to be followed shortly by Syed himself.
That volcano fall-out is nothing compared to the black cloud
that’ll be hanging over him by Monday. The odd background noises
heard all last week was the sound of Masood’s skin crawling.
He’d seen his son at it with vest boy and was having trouble
keeping down his food. Syed over-heard his parents rowing about
him and wept buckets, inspiring viewers everywhere to respond
with sympathetic cries of “Grow a pair, you sap.”
Nitin Ganatra is terrific as Masood, torn between family and
faith. In fact the only flaw in the story is the idea that Christian,
a bed-hopping Muscle Mary, would have been reduced to quivering
jelly by his uncontrollable love for weak, simpering Syed. The
guy is so wet if you blew on him he’d ripple.
Now Christian has selfishly wrecked his lover’s marriage,
and poor puppet-faced poppet Amira will pay the price. She’ll
be seen as ‘damaged goods’ by her community, although in fairness
if she were an item of clothing she’d be advertised as ‘hardly
worn’. Syed only ever tried her on for size a couple of times.
Masood could still save the family name by knocking up his daughter-in-law
himself. But that’s not how this will play. Amira will leave
and Syed, who’s been painfully outed will no doubt be painfully
clouted by his fierce father-in-law. We look forward to Bushra’s
wise and understanding views on the matter.
*CHRISTIAN, Zainab and Syed: the Iron, the Bitch and the wuss
in the wardrobe.
*ROXY hasn’t shagged anyone for months. Has that rabbit hypnotist
got to her?
* NO! Charlie Slater has been axed. We know him as the idiot
masochist who still lives with his monster-in-law ten years
after his missus died. But actor Derek Martin was once the hard
man star of shows like King & Castle. Why not let him revert
to type? Next time Jean starts squawking like a demented parrot,
Chas could wring her neck, jump in his cab and run down Ronnie,
Ben and Fat-Boy. Silly me. This soap doesn’t do happy endings.
*RIGHT Said Fred sang a version of my song 'Infected' on Newsnight.
What hurt was they adapted it for the Lib Dems. Still if there’s
any money in this, other Gonads’ numbers are up for grabs. Sian
Berry can have ‘Mistress Material’ and Prescott’s ex Tracey
Temple certainly deserves ‘Badly Done.’
*Experts say ‘Infected’ has a sizzling Cole Porter feel. I’m
sorry, that should read sozzled coal porter.
*MORE dross on Britain’s Got Talent, the series that can find
dancers, singers and nutters but not comics, vents or decent
impressionists. Des O’Connor’s Pot Of Gold let useless amateurs
perform for a minute or two. BGT reverses the process. Now the
good acts get two minutes and the wannabes get the whole show.
The gymnasts were well-drilled but the judges’ reaction to them
suggests none of them have ever seen a Cirque du Soleil show.
As for the dog guitarist, strewth! Britain’s Got Talent? Pub’s
*BGT Fact: ITV cancelled the first series in 2006 and only
revived it after Cowell took the pilot to the USA where America’s
Got Talent became an instant smash. They’re so clueless they
could be running the country.
*ANY act criticised by Amanda could silence her with just
two words: Big and Top.
*TYRONE crashed his car on Corrie, leaving us wondering if
Molly, the baker’s daughter with Kevin’s bun in her oven, was
brown bread. And whether Kev had nobbled their SatNav as well
as the brakes. How did they end up in the Peak District when
they were visiting Diggory in Cheshire? They were so far off
course it was still snowing. Molly finally came round upside
down, looked dazed and confused – just like that time in the
hotel with Kev...
HOT on TV: Oil City Confidential (BBC4) – best ever rock doc...
White Collar (Bravo)... Elisabeth Mitchell, V (Syfy)... new
30 Rock (Com Central)... Glenn Martin DDS (Sky1).
ROT on TV: Life Of Riley – BBC1 wrong-com, certain to rile
me... A Passionate Woman – a show proving that being stranded
abroad isn’t all bad...ITV spending £6mill on Adrian Chiles
- as sensible as investing in time-share flats under an Icelandic
*DID you see that terrifying stone-faced angel last night?
And as well as Amanda Holden, Doctor Who was good again.
*IF you were the Doc would you be traversing space and time
or would you be happier flying across the Pond?
*THE Whole 19 Yards. By coincidence that’s exactly how close
Vernon has been allowed to get to Tess’s bed since February.
*ADRIAN Chiles has quit the One Show, leaving a gaping hole
in the presenting chair. Hi Christine.
*HOW TV changes, part 97. The Prisoner 1967: “I am not a number.”
The Prisoner 2010: “I am not a viewer.”
*MORE great C4 scheduling: Embarrassing Bodies featuring an
anal abscess, followed immediately by Come Dine With Me. Bon
*TIME Team has been running for so long, one week they’ll dig
up ancient VHS tapes of series one....
TV queries: Vernon Kay’s co-host Caroline, who the Flack is
she? If you dated Courtney Love would you have cirrhosis of
the lover? If Jennifer Love Hewitt married Andy Dick, how funny
would her name be...
RANDOM irritations: The disgraceful absence of St George’s
Day programming. Later with Jools Holland – it’d be better on
earlier, with someone else hosting and a few decent bands. The
painful slowness of Millionaire, and the appalling ignorance
of the celebrities.
SMALL joys of TV: Gene Hunt exposed as the Blue Peter garden
wrecker. Ruth Wilson’s lips (The Prisoner). Mark Valley in Human
SEPARATED at birth: back-in-the-news Jonathan King and Kermit
the frog: one a cold-blooded creature famous for his wide mouth
and terrible songs, the other Kermit. April 18. THEY’RE
back, strange other-worldly beings who seem human but are somehow
different, weird and scary. And if you think the aliens on V
are bad you should see the contestants on Britain’s Got Talent.
Burpers, rubbish ventriloquists, saggy balloon dancers, fully
grown leprechauns... ye gods, is this really the best they can
Still to come are performing pigs, lycra-clad losers and the
first footballing dog in an Arsenal shirt since the Women’s
FA Cup Final... It’s all well and good, but can’t they find
anyone funny? Intentionally funny, I mean. TV is over-run with
young potty-mouthed middle class comics, and C4’s alleged 100
Greatest Stand-Ups was a veritable Who’s That of comedy.
What’s that got to do with BGT? Everything! Previous talent
shows unearthed Les Dawson, Dave Allen, Freddie Starr, Frank
Carson, Victoria Wood, Jim Davidson and Lenny Henry. Yet now
when the country is so deep in the doo-doo we need to laugh
or else we’ll cry, BGT won’t give comics the time of day. There
is more snobbery in TV circles about comedy than you’d find
at a Buckingham Palace garden party.
Back when I was resident judge on ITV’s Big Big Talent Show,
the producer insisted on having a student-friendly comic on
every week. Without fail they’d come bottom of the studio vote.
Mainstream turns who the audiences adored – like the excellent
Andy Leach – were dismissed as passé. Thirteen years on, every
telly exec you meet is obsessed with the Next Big Thing when
all viewers want is someone who can make us laugh. The Last
Big Thing is already forgotten. But comedy doesn’t have to be
dangerous or edgy. For most people funny is enough. I’m amazed
Simon Cowell, with his ear for mainstream pop, can’t see past
fashionable prejudice when it comes to humour. Nutters and wannabes
are one thing (but enough about the judges), if Cowell wants
us to love him as much as Piers loves himself, he’ll cast the
net wider and find a clown with mass appeal. Forget dancing
dogs. Show us the funny!
*MISSING from C4’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups: Sam Kinison, Lewis
Black, Robert Schimmel, Doug Stanhope, Richard Jeni, Bobby Slayton,
Rita Rudner, Mick Miller, Max Miller, Louis CK, Johnnie Casson,
ON V, naive humans are charmed by a suave pretender full of
easy promises – is this based on David Cameron or Tony Blair?
I’m not suggesting Blair ever swallowed small rodents whole,
of course; that was Cherrie. The aliens are secretly giant lizards
(don’t mock – David Icke built a career out of this stuff).
Morena Baccarin sparkles as Anna, the iguana in chief. She’s
like the Galaxy’s Next Top Model. Except, could you imagine
a supermodel noshing a guinea pig whole? Or indeed anything
hairier than a rock star’s privates?
*TV name of the week: V’s associate producer, Brian Wankum.
Odd. I thought he was a runner on the Graham Norton show.
THE Leaders’ debate was dull to the point of tedium. Smarmy
Nick Clegg took to the camera like a manifesto to a recycling
bin, but there was no substance from any of them. And everything
Labour and the Tories are wrong about, the Lib-Dims are more
wrong about. If the audience can’t heckle, at least let’s hook
the bastards up to lie detectors.
HOT on TV: Anna the alien from V (Syfy) – Come Dine ON Me...
World War II Lost Films (History)... Human Target (Syfy) ...
Tricia Helfer in general.
ROT on TV: The First Election Debate – at least the Three
Stooges were funny... A Passionate Woman – Mills & boo ... Midsomer
Murders – more holes than the Augusta National... Goldsmiths:
But Is It Art? – No.
APOLOGY: last week I may have given the impression that the
new Doctor Who was a triumph. After watching him hold off the
Daleks with a jammy dodger last night I realise I was sadly
mistaken. I am still taken with his ginger nut, however – amazing
Amy Pond. How those Daleks could get near her without squawking
“E-jac-u-late” is beyond me. And that’s another thing. Daleks.
Again. He’s beaten them 97 times. Is there any chance we could
IS anyone bothered about Sophie and Sian’s Sapphic adventure
on Corrie? It’s not exactly Anna Friel on Brookside is it? Just
another tired re-play of soap’s greatest hits. Sophie’s lesbo
lust has come out of nowhere, like Odd Todd’s turn did. It’d
be easier to believe in Tyrone winning Mastermind; or Ken getting
shot of Deidre under the Boiler Scrappage Scheme. Audrey getting
off with Rita would have been more of a laugh. And frankly more
likely. Rage often masks sexual chemistry – and Audrey in a
mask would be a huge improvement. At least when Emmerdale’s
Zoe Tate pulled that butch lorry driver we got a few van dyke
gags out of it.
*THAT volcano! Iceland hasn’t seen that much white powder
since Kerry Katona’s last ad shoot.
*THE EastEnders cast have been banned from slapping each other.
No problem. I’m happy to do it for them. Specially if we can
start with Fat-Boy...
*RONNIE was acting concerned when Jack wet himself. Don’t
worry, mate, when Sam Janus tries to act we all wet ourselves.
RANDOM irritations: ITV’s remake of The Prisoner – a cult
classic ruined; everyone involved should be locked up permanently
in a North Wales village. Corrie’s contrived storylines – lamer
than Don Brennan. The Life Of Riley – not so much a sitcom as
a smug gitcom. Frank Skinner’s Opinionated – not nearly enough.
SMALL joys of TV: the Specsavers beach ad. Joanna Lumley enjoying
“a quiet, surging, pounding” with her camel. Patton Oswalt giving
William Shatner a paper bag at his Roast and asking: “Could
you act your way out of this?”
SEPARATED at birth: Daniel Mays in Ashes To Ashes and Joe
Pasquale. One a squeaky voiced irritant, the other Joe Pasquale.
JOAN Rivers is “foxy” say C4. Yeah. But only in the sense
that she’d benefit from having a pack of dogs set on her.April
11. CHANNEL 4 roasts? On the evidence of last week they’d
have trouble roasting a leg of lamb. Sure, some of the shows
were funny, in part, but the tone was all wrong. The classic
New York roasts featured giants like Dean Martin, Phil Silvers,
and Charlton Heston ripping the p*ss out of their friends and
peers. Sean Lock hadn’t even met Bruce Forsyth until the night.
Granted most of Bruce’s contemporaries are dead, but where were
Tarbuck, Lynchy and Corbett? The Yanks had Milton Berle, Billy
Crystal, Henny Youngman. C4 trotted out Gok Wan, Jason Manford
and the tediously pointlessly Keith Lemon.
The comics spent more time slagging off each other than their
target. Lock asked why they were bothering with Brucie when
Jonathan Ross was in the room. “It’s like roasting a chestnut
when we’ve got a big turkey sitting there,” he sniped, adding:
“I’m surprised you’ve turned up in person, Jonathan, cos normally
when you’re going to insult an elderly national treasure you
do it on the phone.” He might have added that JR’s neck now
looks older than Brucie does. Jack Dee spent so long attacking
the other roasters Forsyth moaned that he was being ignored.
His syrup certainly was.
It’s well known that Bruce tests positive for hair-piece.
In the 80s he went overnight from Head & Shoulders to Shake
& Vac. Yet no-one mentioned this. Was it a condition of him
doing the show? Most of the gags were about Brucie’s age. Ross
wisecracked: “When the dinosaurs died out, he was taken in for
questioning... ” Carr noted that many of his contemporaries
had been knighted: “Galahad, Lancelot, Percival...” Forsyth’s
telly flops - Slinger’s Day, anyone? - and huge ego were also
swerved. Bruce’s head has always been too big for his wig. But
at least he’s had a long career as our greatest-ever game show
host. He deserved to be roasted by comics he might have heard
of. Bruce dubbed them “a bunch of second-raters” – unfair, they
were definitely fifth-raters. He also hit back at Ross “all
washed up and not even 50” and asked Sean Lock: “How do you
feel about being an absolute nobody?” The format needs the right
roasters, not just what Carr called “a who’s who of who was
*IMAGINE Bruce’s first night with wife Wilnelia. He probably
told her: “Nice to see them, to see them nice”, adding “go on
love, give it a twirl.”
*PAMELA Anderson was roasted on US TV. Ridiculous. She should
have been casseroled – done slowly for several hours.
MY Doctor Who doubts have been ripped apart like a Cyberman
in a magnet factory. Last night’s episode won’t win prizes for
originality – a world powered by a space whale was a tad too
close to Terry Pratchett’s giant turtle. But Steven Moffat knows
what frightens kids. Cracks in walls, sinister funfair ‘smilers’
- it’s terrific. Matt Smith has made the role his own and the
writing is light years ahead of Russell T’s contrived old cobblers.
My only complaint concerns Amy Pond’s clothes. She started as
a kissagram copper; would it hurt her to try the French Maid
look or a mini-skirted Nun? Hey Doc, if I keep giving you rave
reviews, any chance of a dip in the Pond?
* IN episode one, Amy was terrified by a large crack in her
bedroom. Same thing happened to Lenny Henry...
LEE Evans and Michael McIntyre were the stand-out stand-ups
at C4’s Comedy Gala. But Great Ormond Street deserved better
than Gok Wan effing and blinding, Mark Watson waffling, and
Jonathan Ross’s desperate attention-seeking. JR wanted someone
to “f*ck” him on stage. No-one could do it as well as he’s f*cked
his career. The reaction of the crowd was baffling. Jason Manford
wittered on about putting tea-tree oil on his balls and they
roared. Why? Was it because he said a naughty word? Most of
the turns relied on the f-word for laughs. Instead of auctioning
a made-up award at the end, they should have just had a swear
box on stage. It would have raised more money. Patrick Kielty
had the best line about the O2: “a venue twinned with Lisa-Marie
Presley’s vagina – two places that Michael Jackson announced
he was going to perform in, but never actually made it.”
HOT on TV: Doctor Who – that’s more like it... The Pacific
(Sky Prem) ... Orla Brady (Fringe)... Outnumbered – outstanding.
ROT on TV: Justin Lee Collins. Good Times? You think?... Keith
Lemon at Sharon Osbourne’s roast – Lemon turd... Corrie’s latest
love triangle, Audrey-Rita-Lewis – dullest TV triangle since
Kate O’Mara’s... Great British Menu – too many chefs spoil the
*SAD about Dawn and Lenny. But she’s been seeing other men:
Ben. And Jerry. Colonel Sanders. Ronald McDonald...
*LENNY started with the Minstrels. Dawn tucked in to the Revels,
Rolos, Snickers, M&Ms... In fairness though she was terrific
as Dr Who’s space whale.
*LADY GaGa can orgasm just by thinking about shagging. No
wonder she changes clothes so often. Heather Trott does it by
thinking about cake. Piers Morgan just uses a mirror.
*FIRST Mike Reid, now Malcolm McLaren... can Suzanne Shaw
survive the curse of The Baron?
*HOW will ITV replace Inspector Frost? Knowing our luck, it’ll
be Alex Reid PI.
*TSK. The state of Amira’s flat on EastEnders: rising damp,
mouse droppings, the giant rat in her bed...
*WHY is Ben Mitchell so worried? Even with Louise around he’s
still the biggest girl in Walford.
*RICHARD Herring on SuBo-style name shortening: “They don’t
do that with Pete Docherty...”
RANDOM irritations: Three women were shot into space and not
one of them was Sherrie Hewson. Dana on 24 being another mole
– CTU has had more moles than a Lemmy look-alike convention.
And the voice-over woman with the lickle girl tones on Masterchef
– I’d like to slap her round the face with a damp haddock. Why
does it need three nights of finals and global travel anyway?
Why must we pick up the tab for forty Indian VIPs to be fed
and watered? Why not cater for pensioners or NHS patients?
SMALL joys of TV: An Extras Night In. I Dream Of Jeannie re-runs
(Living). C4 Comedy Gala’s apologies for absence. Chris Tarrant’s
roast rebuttal. The Mayor of Springfield’s official motto, ‘Corruptus
In Extremis’ – the place must be twinned with Westminster.
*GRAHAM Norton's trip down the Yellow Brick Road would be
a lot quicker if he didn't keep stopping-off at Hampstead Heath...
*RICKY Martin is gay. He was the last to know.
APRIL 4. VAMPIRES, aliens, shape-shifters... our screens
are awash with the weird, wacky and occasionally wonderful.
It's enough to make the Slaters seem almost normal. Last night,
the new Doctor Who made his proper debut. A decent enough start
given that pretty much everything about Matt Smith - his look,
delivery and mannerisms - winds me up like the Go Compare opera
singer on a loop-tape.
The downside of being a friendless Time Lord is that you obviously
have no mates to say: "Are you really going out dressed like
that? Are there no mirrors in your time machine?" That Young
Fogey look is sooo last century.
The episode had exuberance and verve, though, so it's a shame
that new boss Steven Moffat hasn't done away with the babyish
sonic screwdriver. The Doc's magic wand has always been a lazy
cop-out. Give him time. Moffat's a sharp writer with a good
feel for both horror and comedy, and there's definitely some
spark between Smith and Karen Gillan, his hot new red-head companion.
The 'Coming Soon' trailer made the series look unmissable. But
any more of Doc Dork screaming "Geronimo!" and I'll be planting
my boot where the Tardis can't fly.
Heroes started superbly but it's been plummeting like Superman
in Kryptonite pants ever since. The current plot seems to have
been developed by Slo-Mo Man. Hiro once geekishly cute is now
just punchable, and only the Greens recycle more. They're now
replaying Sylar and the Cheerleader - a story that should have
stayed dead, along with Sylar, at the end of the first season.
I like creepy Samuel and his carnival of freaks, but where is
Jump-Start Man to get it all going?
In contrast True Blood grows in confidence every week. Back
for its second series on FX, the vampire thriller has more twists
than a sixties danceathon at Blackjack convention. Death and
sex are the driving forces. Humans are fang-banging vamps while
shape-shifters bring fresh meaning to dogging. It's steamy and
dangerous; a place where creatures of the dark wait to "do bad
things to you." And now we have Maryann who starts orgies by
vibrating (the old Ena Sharples trick). There's a killer Minotaur
on the loose, boss vampire Eric, the possibly bi-sexual Viking
(bi-Vi?) has moved centre stage and sexy church woman Sarah
is laying on hands for dimbo Jason. Can Sam survive? Will Daphne?
Will Sookie be, umm, pierced by Eric or will he hedge his bets
with Lafayette? I don't know, but I'm too hooked to stop watching.
* SEPARATED at birth: Lydia, the painted lady on Heroes and
Jodie Marsh? Pretty, heavily tattooed, a beacon for nutters,
and up for anything... yep, that's both of them.
*IS Karen Gillan any relation to Ian? She's certainly a sweet
child in time (machine).
* GOOD Friday TV opened The Door. Chris Tarrant's new show
featured Dean Gaffney throwing up and other micro-celebs crawling
through faeces... if this is how ITV marks the resurrection,
gawd only knows what they're planning for Christmas. Possibly
they'll molest some nuns. Who will they offend at Ramadan? Trick
* JACK got gunned down on EastEnders. Exciting stuff, on paper,
I guess, but haven't we seen it all before? All soaps recycle
constantly - Owen's only buried under a tree because no-one
in Walford has got a patio. To stay ahead Enders needs bigger
bolder storylines. Here are my suggestions: 1) Mad Ronnie Mitchell
adopts a baby which turns out to be a whippet wearing an ill-fitting
wig. 2) Winston from the market comes out as a Terminator sent
back from the future to garrotte Janine whose grandchild is
the new Hitler. 3) Alien life-force Jean Slater gets recalled
to the mother-ship. 4) Proven shape-changer Peter Beale spends
a pleasant week relaxing in the park as a unicorn. 5) New neighbours
arrive but turn out to be in the control of evil Martian seed
pods; hilarity ensues. If you need any more ideas, chaps, you
know where I am.
HOT on TV: Gene Hunt (Ashes To Ashes) - Gene genius... Breaking
Bad (FX)... Karen Gillan's legs (Doctor Who)...Jersey Shore
(MTV) - for all the wrong reasons.
ROT on TV: The Door - slam it shut, on the commissioner's
head... Ask The Chancellors - you might as well ask Pinocchio...
Push The Button - Generation Lame.
*COURTNEY Cox plays a middle-aged man-eater on Cougar Town
- a show possibly inspired by Northern Ireland's Iris Robinson.
The jokes aren't up to much but the real problem is that Cox
would look hot at 60. Pull a real cougar, lads, and by morning
when the Botox and make-up have worn off you'll be waking up
with a moose.
* MELINDA has quit Live From Studio Five but there are still
a pair of gigantic tits on the show.
* FROM the start of Over The Rainbow, the studio was filled
with excited squeals and girly laughter. Graham Norton really
needs to calm himself down.
*FACT: Over The Rainbow is based on the classic film starring
Judy Garland who was regularly over the limit. If Norton visits
the Emerald City he should ask the Wizard of Oz for a decent
*GENE Hunt quote of the week: "If you come in here again dressed
like a maths teacher, I will paint your balls the colour of
hazel nuts and inform a bag of squirrels that winter is coming."
*DO female suicide bombers also get 72 virgins? Watch out for
a bloke with a net outside the next Doctor Who fan convention.
*BLOOD & Oil? Good drama, lousy cocktail...
*MIKE on Jersey Shore calls himself The Situation. I'd like
one of the other guys to come on to him so he'd have to change
his name to The Awkward Situation.
RANDOM Irritations: the way Anne Robinson winks - it's like
she's got something stuck in her eye. Mariella's eerie grin.
BBC1 describing Pauline Quirke's character on Missing as "charismatic"
- you'll have seen bread puddings with more charisma. Wonky-eyed
Russell Howard, comedy for people with no sense of humour.
*RANDOM things politicians resemble: Cameron/Orville the duck
(it's the forehead). Gordon Brown and Cavity Sam from the kids'
SMALL joys of TV: Eartha Kitt on The Simpsons. Big Dan Sullivan
with Stallone in Cliffhanger - get him back in Enders! Cougar
Town's Courtenay Cox - putting the puma in puname. And Suzanne
Shaw (Emmerdale) - how they gonna keep 'em down on the farm?
*IRON Mike Tyson is making a show about pigeons for Animal
Planet. So now when someone asks what planet Mike's on, you
can tell them. Let's hope his cooing techniques have moved on
since the time he met Desiree.