THE Crimson Petal: atmospheric and dreamy, or pretentious
over-blown cobblers - you decide. Either way, Spartacus kicked
it right into touch again. Their orgy made the 120 Days Of Sodom
look like a slow year in Eastbourne.
*THERE were strange patches above hooker Sugar’s breasts on
Crimson Petal; possibly psoriasis. Although you’d have thought
she’d have had enough cream on her chest to have cleared that
*SUGAR and Rackham had sex on a piano. Was it an upright?
What do you think? It was certainly grand...
*IF you ring Candy Cabs to complain that the laughs haven’t
arrived yet, do they say: “Be with you any minute, mate...”,
“They’re just turning into the funny bit now”?
*TWO hundred years ago Paris was one of the filthiest and
smelliest cities on earth, said Dan Snow. Pah, plus ca change...
*JOEY Essex isn’t man enough for Sam. If he got her naked
he’d probably want to play join-the-dots on her vajazzle.
*“MY life isn’t a sitcom,” says Caroline Quentin. No, and
neither is her feckin’ TV show.
*JIM McDonald carried out the worst bank job since Fred the
Shred on Corrie. His disguise was a flat cap. It was laughable.
In fairness, Jim had planned to use Liz’s tights but the aroma
drove him mad with passion, so it did.
RANDOM irritations: David Walliams and his awfully smug mug;
this guy’s so full of himself it hard to laugh even when he’s
occasionally funny. The BBC’s biased, bleeding-heart coverage
of the immigration debate. C4’s rollercoaster indent – looks
good at first but like their comedy output it turns out to be
slow, dull and disappointing.
*IS Breast Best, asked BBC3. Who cares what Cherry Healey
thinks? Let’s ask Berlusconi.
SMALL TV disappointments: that C4’s 27-Inch Man was just a
midget. That no-one thought to stick a Walking Dead poster on
the Lib-Dem election HQ.
GEORGIA Moffett’s real-life mum Sandra Dickinson played her
mum in White Van Man. If she wants to use her real-life stalker,
I’m available Mondays and Tuesdays.
SEPARATED at birth: The Silence and Norman Tebbit, one grey,
bald and quietly menacing; the other a new Doctor Who alien.
April 10. CANDY Cabs was an original idea Jane Lush had while
watching Carry On Cabby. But to give it a fresh, modern slant
she decided to take all the jokes out. BBC1’s latest ‘comedy-drama’
was as funny as a melted head-gasket. Two women make their dead
partner’s dream of an all-female minicab company come true,
buying in a fleet of pink cabs. And like every cab firm you’ve
ever been in they immediately launch their own slimming club,
queuing up to get weighed in their underwear. This brought a
far better cab comedy to mind. I can’t have been the only bloke
thinking, “Roger, Roger... Roger... No, not with yours, pal.”
Most British TV is aimed at women, and Candy Cabs is no exception.
All men are fools and/or bastards, and naturally there’s a soap
star at the helm - Tanya from EastEnders. Now I have no objection
to seeing Jo Joyner in her smalls. My biggest disappointment
last year was realising the headline ‘Jo shows off her miracle
twins’ was just a reference to her babies. But surely she deserves
better than a script that relies exclusively on quaint Northern
phrases (“Eee, look what t’cat peeled up”) for ‘laughs’?
It’s symptomatic of BBC management’s insane conviction that
they can make the Corporation great again simply by moving to
Manchester instead of, say, investing those wasted millions
in high-quality drama.
I’m often accused of preferring US TV to our own. But only
a lunatic or a liar would pretend that Bonekickers and The Deep
come close to the genius of The Sopranos or The Wire. The greatest
myth of modern television is that the BBC is a by-word for excellence.
It actually blows the vast bulk of its drama budget on dismal
soaps and formulaic dross. Forget The Killing, we’ve got Holby!
It’s been five years since Life On Mars and eight since State
Of Play. Sure they scored in the Noughties with HBO co-productions
(Rome, Band Of Brothers) but their best work was decades ago.
For all their fancy Oxbridge degrees, Beeb bosses are patently
as clueless, wet and over-paid as our politicians. Like the
world’s worst poker player ‘Auntie’ sits there saying “I see
your Shield, your Boardwalk Empire and I raise you Outcasts
and Candy Cabs. Eee, look what t’cat peeled up.”
*CANDY Cabs is like no minicab firm you’ve ever known. For
starters, all the drivers speak English.
FILTHY Cities reminded us that London streets were once awash
with stinking human waste. Nowadays of course all of that festering
muck is simply delivered to C4 where it’s re-processed into
comedy scripts. Like Campus, a steaming great mess of pathetic
grotesques, unbelievable situations and witless dialogue. British
universities are crying out to be sent up, but instead of satirising
‘What Is’ this show relies on unlikely monsters and bad jokes
(Lydia turning down a randy Prof: “I’d rather be raped by a
pig, and that’s speaking from experience”). Vice Chancellor
Jonty is like a mad racist David Brent or The I.T. Crowd’s Reynholm
channelling the spirit of Goebbels. Are Uni people really like
this? Aren’t you more likely to find campuses over-run with
spoilt rich kids spouting politics that make Galloway sound
like a LibDim, and achingly PC lecturers who talk like Harriet
Harman? And isn’t there more to “cutting edge comedy” than saying
“vagina” a lot? Incredibly it took eight vaginas, sorry, writers
to churn out this garbage. It only takes one viewing of A Very
Peculiar Practice to see how to do it properly.
*CAMPUS is from the team behind Smack The Pony, including
writer/director Vicky Pile. Technically it’s a Pile of Pony...
SO to clear things up: Marc on Corrie is a cross-dresser,
Audrey only looks like one. And Gail is just permanently cross...
What they really need is a dominatrix, if only to thrash some
sense into the writers. Salon give-aways, ’kin Xin, Jim turning
armed robber (so he is), Steve planning to abduct his kids...
none of it rings true. Like True Blood’s Sookie Stackhouse,
my favourite soap is currently away with the fairies. Let’s
hope it comes back soon.
HOT on TV: The Event... Romola Garai (Crimson Petal) – fanny
by gaslight... The Runaway (Sky1)... Paul Merton – still quick
on the jaw.
ROT on TV: Campus – coarse work... Candy Cabs – a crashing
bore... After Lately – Chelsea Lamely... A Different Breed –
dog-rough... Supersized vs Superskinny – super-soppy.
*JOEY should stick with Lucy on The Only Way Is Essex. With
his brains and her colouring, they could breed traffic cones.
*IF Jeremy Clarkson has had an affair, will his next Top Gear
item be star kipping on a reasonably priced sofa? Possible Clarkson
excuses: 1) I thought she was The Stig 2) Mistook her for an
Escort 3) The going was wet and I finished in 57 seconds.
*BRUCE Forsyth still isn’t sure if he’ll be appearing in the
next series of Strictly. In truth, the poor old sod isn’t sure
if he was in the last series...
*DON’T miss the Eddie Stobart tribute documentary. You’ve
all seen the trailer.
*THE earth didn’t move for newly-weds Tamwar and Afia on Enders,
but the restaurant did. On the plus side there are now three
new dishes on the Argee Bhaji menu: plaster pasanda, masonry
masala, ceiling phall...
*WHAT caused the Bhaji disaster? Shoddy workmanship, Heather’s
flatulence, or just aliens coming for their leader, Ronnie?
*A MUSLIM wedding is called a nikah. You don’t get quicker
than a Walford nikah.
*FAT Pat was shocked that Whitney was on the game. That’s
Pat the former madam who once pimped out Mary...
*WE got a blow-job and some back-scuttling on BBC2’s soft
porn outing The Crimson Petal & The White. Not bad, but it’s
*THE difference between Annie the Elephant and Fern Britton:
one’s a lumbering, saggy-skinned jumbo who’s been put out to
grass. The other one’s an elephant.
RANDOM irritations: BBC4’s bleeding-heart take on capital
punishment. TV ‘satire’ completely ignoring the EU. Anyone who
pronounces asks as “arks”. Unfunny gut-bucket Katy Brand – she
gave up sod-all for Lent. But hey, if Gaddafi is looking for
a decent human shield...
SMALL joys of TV: BBC4’s Corporal Punishment expert, one Professor
Slapper. Horace Andy’s ‘Skylarking’ on the White Van Man soundtrack.
Nanny Pat as the Queen (Essex). Neil Diamond Night (BBC4). Ted
Danson (Bored To Death).
April 3rd. SEX & The Sitcom? Don’t make me laugh. Classic
TV comedy was built on failure and frustration. Sitcom geezers
have always been useless. Hancock couldn’t get a date with a
calendar. Rigsby thought the erogenous zones were somewhere
near the equator. And George Roper was terrified of wife Mildred,
although unfortunately for her he was never actually scared
stiff. Alf Garnett’s sex drive was permanently in park. “I never
attempted to touch your mother until after we were married,”
he told daughter Rita. “Well after,” added Elsie ruefully. Well-adjusted
people with perfect love lives aren’t funny. Flawed losers are.
That’s always been the case.
Sex & The Sitcom set out to show how comedies “reflected the
sexual revolution.” Mercifully there was no sign of Mr Ed, the
talking horse. But many series featured were either obscure
ratings flops or just not that funny. Casanova 73 starred Leslie
Phillips with a decent Galton & Simpson script, and still lost
its primetime slot after just three episodes. Comedy was all
about double meanings back then, the documentary claimed: “If
you liked innuendo, Seventies sitcom would give you one”. Not
true. The best 70s sitcoms were Porridge, Rising Damp and Fawlty
Towers. Basil’s claustrophobic relationship with his little
piranha fish probably put more people off marriage than even
Terry & June.
1980s man-eater Dorien in Birds Of A Feather was presented
as something bold and new, although she was predated by Hot
Lips Houlihan (MASH) and Blanche Devereaux (Golden Girls). Voracious
women have been a comedy staple since Chaucer. Even in Benny
Hill, still dubbed ‘sexist’ by nitwits, the men are the real
losers. It’s Benny at the end who turns tail and runs.
Today’s comedies may be more explicit but the reasons the
best ones are funny remain the same: cock-ups and inadequacy
(cock-downs). Jay in The Inbetweeners brags about shags that
have never happened. One night with Nessa and a toilet brush
left Smithy traumatized (Gavin & Stacey). While Mark Corrigan
in Peep Show is as socially useless as Rigsby, as trapped as
Harold Steptoe and as cynical as Blackadder “Life is all pain,”
he moaned. “Pain, rejection and gloom.” Yep. And that’s why
*ALL-time Top 5 sexiest sitcom women: 1) Yvette (’Allo ’Allo!)
2) Big Suze (Peep Show) 3) Gloria (Modern Family) 4) Ellie May
Clampett 5) Miss Thing (The Grimleys), although I accept that’s
probably just me.
*TOP 5 under-rated British sitcoms: 1) The Grimleys 2) Dear
John 3) The Brothers McGregor 4) Brush Strokes 5) Time After
JAMES Dream School unintentionally exposes the nightmare of
modern schooling. The trappy teens are bad enough, with their
constant chat and lack of respect for anyone or anything. But
what about that weak, wet headmaster who lets pupils text in
class and smoke on the premises? “You think you’re higher than
everybody else,” gobby Harlem told him. If only. He’s too busy
bending over backwards to keep the little sods’ happy to assert
any authority whatsoever. This well-intentioned series won’t
confront the real problem: these kids have no self-discipline,
no self-control and no sense of responsibility. No-one has ever
taught them the rules. Consequently they’ve gone off the rails
like a Weatherfield tram. Our ailing, failing education system
can’t be quick-fixed by celebrities. It needs root and branch
*ROBERT Winston took sperm samples from two of Jamie’s Dream
School boys. Finally something they were good at... It was difficult
in the circumstances, though – they’d just spent an hour with
HOT on TV: Martina Cole’s The Runaway (Sky1)... Bored To Death
(Sky Atlantic)... Marisa Ramirez (Spartacus).
ROT on TV: Anna Nicole the Opera (BBC4) – just one pornetta...
Women In Love – geezers in pub...$#*! My Dad Says – mostly just
$#*!... Three In A Bed – Come Whine With Me.
*ALFIE tried to leave Albert Square by tube last week. Idiot!
Everyone knows the only way out of that hell-hole is in the
back of a black cab. The one exception was taxi driver Charlie
Slater. He did get out by underground, leaving his cab behind.
I’m still trying to work that one out.
*KAT didn’t enjoy her boxing ring meal, so she pulled out
early. If Michael Moon had done that a year ago, we wouldn’t
have had to suffer this joyless baby saga.
*MAX said he was happy with Tanya but only “content” with
new love Vanessa. Must be because she hasn’t buried him alive
and left him for dead yet.
*MEN Heather drools over on dating sites: Colonel Sanders,
Ronald McDonald, the Burger King...
*WELL done Sam Attwater. You’ve gone from being “that nobody”
to that nobody who won Dancing On Ice.
*NEW diet slogan from The Only Way Is Essex: ‘No carbs before
Marbs’ (Marbella). See also, no pie before Dubai, no beer before
Tangier, no Scotch no reason to watch... My tip for Arg: stop
eating lard, you chunky retard.
*JOEY Essex’s hair looks so much like a walnut whip it’s a
wonder Arg hasn’t eaten it.
*THAT’S who Chloe Simms reminds me of – one of those shape-shifters
on Fringe... half-way through changing faces.
*ON Spartacus Batiatus enjoyed a leisurely threesome with
wife Lucretia and gorgeous Gaia. Memo to Brian Cox, that’s one
big bang I’d like to peer back to.
*BRIAN Cox says the speed of light is “the speed limit
of the universe.” Give me Clarkson in a DeLorean and we’ll
see about that. Fact: the speed of dark = the walking pace of
RANDOM irritations: 140 minutes of Dancing On Ice – a load
of old boleros. Alastair Campbell’s TV career, rewarded for
lying about Iraq and surviving Chilcot (the biggest cover-up
this side of Jason Gardiner’s noggin). Lembit Opik – ’opeless
SMALL joys: Keith Allen’s crazy syrup (The Runaway). The Simpsons’
awards show send-up. Phil walking out on Kirstie ‘All-strop’
Allsopp (Vacation Vacation Vacation). Eminem (Entourage). Kelly’s
SEPARATED at birth: Musa Kusa and Stanley Baxter – one a fugitive
from a hostile regime (the BBC), the other Gaddafi’s foreign