April 27. Tommy Cooper was a colossus of comedy, adored by the
public and out-lived by his jokes. What made ITV want to piddle
on his legacy? Tommy Cooper: Not Like That, Like This wasn’t
bad, just mean-spirited. David Threlfall pulled off an uncanny
impression of the legendary comic, but he couldn’t capture Cooper’s
stature, not his physical size, his off-stage presence or the
jovial essence of the man. By focusing on negatives – Tommy’s
tightness, infidelity and drink problem – the two-hour drama
distorted a national treasure.
On the plus side, Amanda Redman sparkled as his sparky, devoted wife Dove. Gregor Fisher was convincing as his weary agent Miff. And all the jokes were here...
“I bought my wife a wooden leg for Christmas... it’s not her main present... it’s a stocking filler... I was cleaning out the attic with the wife. Filthy, dirty and covered in cobwebs but she’s good with the kids.”
Simon Nye’s script also captured the stage-fright and self-doubt that plague even the greatest comedians.
Yet it’s hard to reconcile the show’s image of Cooper as Bill
Sykes in a fez with the man his mistress Mary Kay (played perfectly
by Helen McCrory) called “absolutely beautiful... full of fun
and love... ” And harder to discern ITV’s motivation for making
this biopic. As Tommy said: “I’m not a thinker; don’t go delving,
there’s nothing there.” So why not just show us the clips? BBC4
started the trend for tell-all shows about cherished clowns
like Hancock, Kenneth Williams and Sid James. Their grim Frankie
Howerd effort was nothing like the Frankie I knew. All turns
are selfish; some are nuts. It goes with the territory, and
so what? I doubt that audiences care. But maybe TV execs resent
these old campaigners who lived for their craft and who the
public loved. Maybe they remind them of their own failure. Having
axed giants like Les Dawson and Benny Hill, they’ve struggled
to build equally loved replacements. Perhaps they think they
can reduce their stature by letting the daylight in on showbiz
magic. Wouldn’t you prefer to remember them through the sunshine
of their performances? I’d certainly prefer to recall Tommy
Cooper not as a miserable old soak weeping whisky-stained tears,
but as a comic so sublime he could even make us laugh while
he was dying.
RACHEL went on Embarrassing Bodies Live because her breasts won’t stop growing, stoking fears/hopes that they might carry on expanding throughout the show like Kenny Everett’s inflatable stunt buttocks.
Mercifully no, but what a dilemma! Rachel’s boobs are 36M, no doubt pronounced 36mmmm by Keith Lemon. The poor woman is more top heavy than Katie Price in a centrifuge.
She could breastfeed every one of those 15,000 Kids & Counting in one sitting. She’d really brighten up Question Time too. Not by speaking or anything; just by hanging out.
ON 50 Golden Years Of Sport, Sue Barker claimed that “BBC2 helped introduce football to the masses.”
Really? So presumably the millions who went to the grounds before then were just there for the fresh air and cups of hot Bovril.
In reality, Match Of The Day, along with snooker, cricket and Ski Sunday helped introduce BBC2 to masses of viewers.
In the process the sports commentary howler came into its own.
‘Whispering’ Ted Lowe famously told snooker fans “for those of you watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green.”
He also came up with one of my all-time favourite goofs, saying of Fred Davis, 67: “Too old to get his leg over... prefers to use his left hand.”
John Virgo continued the snooker blooper tradition informing us that Ronnie O’Sullivan “Sometimes follows through with such force he knocks the chalk out of his pockets.” Blimey.
BBC2’s gymnastics expert Christine Still was great value too, asking “Can you imagine the pressure on the men’s ring when they lower themselves into that Broom Handle?”
Well I could, but if it’s all right with you Chris, I’d rather not.
HOT on TV: Fargo... Bradley Walsh (Law & Order)... Jo Joyner (Trying Again)... David Threlfall as Tommy Cooper.
ROT on TV: Derek – lazy and mawkish, a long journey from The Office, all of it downhill... Jamaica Inn – Jamaica jerk-off... Warren United – no-score bore... The Call Centre – don’t call us.
MUFFLED dialogue in Jamaica Inn is nothing new; it blighted Shetland too, and is the product of actors who think they’re Brando and directors who value style over content.
Sean Harris’s farcical mumbling as Uncle Joss was one irritation of many. Joss was supposed to be a physically intimidating bully nearly seven foot tall; aunt Patience far more browbeaten.
The moody drama lacked pace, re-wrote the plot, and lacked proper Cornish accents. And the ‘wreckers’ were joyless thugs.
No wonder the show shed viewers quicker than a Game Of Thrones trollop shedding cher smalls.
* THE Crimson Field - BBC dialogue that should be muffled.
*THE BBC has commissioned Lady Chatterley’s Lover - again. Their drama execs plan nothing; they just get old copies of Radio Times and stick pins in the listings.
*WHY not set it after she’s had ten kids? Lady Chatterley’s Looser.
*WHAT was more unlikely on Corrie? Maria stalking Tyrone and Fiz, or that hen party going potty over Kal’s torso? He may have the beginnings of moobs and love handles, but he’s no Stan Ogden.
*ON EastEnders Phil gave a sick pup the kiss of life. He didn’t get that close to Stella and they were engaged.
Getting up-close and personal with the panting, dog-breathed creature was a real shock, for the puppy.
Small Joys of TV: Ken Dodd’s Happiness. Harry Houdini’s stunts (Perspectives). Sola Bamis (Mad Men).Tolkien basing his Hobbits on “the village people,” according to Ian Hislop; presumably Tanta Hornblower was inspired by Tulisa...
RANDOM irritations: the BBC limiting its St George’s Day coverage to a news story about the Scottish independence vote. Drama scenes shot entirely in the dark; not enough we can’t hear what they’re saying, we also can’t see what they’re doing. BGT bombarding us with yet more singers and dancers in the name of variety. Biased BBC political reporters’ partisan aggression. ITV having an actor who played a magician’s consultant in a drama front their Houdini Perspectives show rather than an actual illusionist.
SWINGERS’ Wives is the latest sleazy reality show, served up by TLC as nudge-nudge titillation.
Harmless, you think? Perhaps, except one of the featured swingers later topped himself. Shame on TLC for screening this.
HOW about a showbiz version of Amazing Greys? The oldies field Billy Connolly, Clapton, Bassey, Rick Wakeman and Joe Longthorne. You feeling lucky, punk?
SEPARATED at birth: the bearded Dad from the Cravendale milk advert and, uh, me – suggested by reader Leah from Tonbridge. Well I suppose it beats Bluto...
Pendants’ Corner: in ITV’s Tommy Cooper biopic, they had the
wrong theme tune for Live At Her Majesty’s. The Brian Rogers
Dancers did not dress like 1950s Tiller Girls and the production
team didn’t cut to a hastily arranged ad break, Tommy was always
scheduled to close part one. In Jamaica Inn, muzzle-loaded flintlocks
fired repeatedly without re-loading and without the hammer and
frizzen in the correct position. Trees were in leaf at Christmas
time, a woman was working the fields with a 1930s hoe and in
church they were singing a hymn a year before Sir Henry Baker,
who wrote the words, was born. Good work, everyone.
April 20. The Big Allotment Challenge is like watching grass grow - literally. It’s the stuff of village fetes pointlessly promoted to prime time.
Even BBC2 realised viewers might get bored just watching people cultivate veg, so they get them making jam and bouquets too.
To up the excitement Fern Britton is on hand saying things like “It’s judgement day for the radishes”, “It’s the vegetable equivalent of the catwalk” and “I think I’m losing the will to live.”
Though that last one might have been me.
But the producers have forgotten to fertilise the show with the innuendo that made Bake-Off almost bearable. Droopy sweet peas are no substitute for soggy bottoms.
The best we had was “a nice set, a very nice set”, which should really have been a reference to contestant Michelle, a shoe-in for Melon Week.
Granted there is some hope in gardening expressions like “hardening off”, and anguished cries of “Too short! I need something longer!”
But no one has yet unfurled a powerful hose, plunged fingers first into an over-grown bush or offered to provide a good forking.
There’s no equivalent of Ruby Tandoh to make sure the nation’s rhubarb comes up a treat either.
Contenders include worm enthusiasts Alex and Ed. Gary and Pete, who like a pint, invented the “blokequet” (a bouquet for blokes) and have cultivated fine ZZ Top tribute beards.
Kate and Eleanor, who fertilise with llama droppings and look like they might be used to dealing with arid thatches.
And Edd and Harshani, new age nitwits who chant at their plants.
Nice people I’m sure, but can you really relate to anyone who “feels passionate about curd”?
The judges are former royal gardener Jim Buttress, the show’s Len Goodman, “preserves expert” Thane Prince, and flower buff Jonathan Moseley; none of whom deliver the Cowell sneer factor.
The biggest let-down though is Fern, who failed to repeat the sensible gardening instruction “Prick out every six inches.”
In a sane world that would have become the show’s mantra.
*AH, BBC2. Once the proud home of Fawlty Towers, the Likely Lads and Boys From The Blackstuff, the channel is now all about baking and raking, sewing and mowing... daytime dullness in prime time.
What will they delight us with next: Who Darns Wins? Knit The Nine O’Clock News? Who Wants To Be A Milliner? Whatever they dream up, it’s odds-on it won’t be a patch on Q6 or The Fast Show.
OVER on EastEnders, the undertaker has moved in – which makes sense. You’ve got to go where the business is. The soap has seen four deaths in six months; three of them murders. Even Putin is telling his generals: “Swerve Walford, boys, that place is too risky.”
Lucy Beale is the latest victim. An odd girl; Lucy had the face of an angel, the body of a hunger-striker, and the morals of a Blackpool hen party... or her Mum, if truth be told. She was Loose by name and nature.
But no wonder she was mixed up. The poor girl grew up with a gutless miserly weasel for a father, a psycho brother and more new faces than Marti Caine (ask your Nan).
In her final days Luce bed-hopped from Max to Lee and was outted as a cocaine-fiend before meeting her maker on a previously unseen bit of woodland a few minutes’ walk from the Square.
So the chief suspects are jealous Max, jealous Whitney, whoever is blackmailing Max, whoever is supplying the Charlie or a short-sighted lumberjack.
The murder mystery will drag on until next year. Do we care, though? The girl had too many personality (and face) changes to be as big a character as the equally doomed Tina on Corrie.
RIP Lucy. At least her other heads are thought to be safe.
WHO Killed Lucy, the Latest Odds: 100-1 Oscar Pistorius, Colonel Mustard, Nigel Farage (according to The Times), 60-1: the bunch of daffs that shot Dirty Den, 40-1 Nick Cotton (deceased), 33-1 Peter Barlow, 16-1 Lauren, 9-1 Max, 1-2 Anne O’Rexia.
HAVE you clocked Dale Winton’s new beard? It’s nothing like his old one, Nell McAndrew. Winton’s whiskers have divided scientific opinion. Some believe it’s not a beard at all but the kind of unfortunate fungal growth often seen around the nether regions on Embarrassing Bodies.
Others think that it could be a small furry mammal, perhaps a highly-trained pygmy shrew, stoking hopes that it might one day enjoy its own moment of solo fame on BGT. The beard appears to be exactly the same unearthly shade of brown as pioneered by Noel Edmonds. It might even be the same set of whiskers on a time-share.
The odds that it hasn’t come from a Just For Men tube are roughly the same as they are of winning the lotto: 14million-to-one.
HOT on TV: Gina Bramhill (Endeavour)... Darcy Oake... Intelligence (Sky1)... Rob Brydon – shame about his Blankety-W*nk of a show.
ROT on TV: The Big Allotment Challenge – a ton of steaming horse muck... Bamboo – shoot (misprint)... Dirty Weekenders in France – Richard E. Grant on a junket for junk... Tom Daley Goes Global – TV goes to pot.
ONE of the Britain’s Got Talent turns nearly had Simon in stitches last night. He was an eleven-year-old knife thrower. I think I speak for many when I say: better luck next time, kid, and have you ever thought of trying it blindfolded? Or with a heat-seeking missile?
By far the best act was Canadian magician Darcy Oake who was as good as any pro... largely because he is one. Darcy, 26, has played the Vegas strip, won awards and appeared on heaps of Far East TV shows. He’s more than qualified to appear on the Royal Variety Show as it is.
This week they had seven musical turns, four dance acts and three tourists – including the predicted camp old cobblers put through by Walliams. The Bolddog FMX motorcross display team were stunning, but how will the heck will they fit that act on the Palladium stage?
*I MISSED 15,000 Kids & Counting. Presumably it’s the tally of Cyril Smith’s victims.
*THEY ran six episodes of Birds Of A Feather on the Drama channel yesterday. Fair enough. You’d be hard-pushed to classify it as comedy.
*BBC2’s Escape To The Incontinent. Not to be confused with Stan on EastEnders, he’s more escape of the incontinent.
*ROCHELLE Hume was advising a gay guy how to tell if someone he fancied was his way inclined on Sweat The Small Stuff. “Just slip it in there,” she said. Well he could, but it’d be more polite just to ask.
*C4 reckons a third of staff at Westminster have been sexually harassed at work, propositioned, groped or even flashed at. Hence the expression: a well-hung Parliament.
Small Joys of TV: Joffrey’s fate on Game Of Thrones - Joffrey? Offrey! Megan’s mini-dress and Austin-Healey convertible (Mad Men). Lady Sif (Agents of SHIELD) – the new Xena.
RANDOM irritations: Bank Holiday TV. Pretentious ponces on Restaurant Wars. BBC1’s The Crimson Field reducing the First World War to a feminist soap opera – it’s Holby City meets Horrible Histories, bereft of decent storylines or any sense of the reality of war.
FATHER & Secret Son: Telly veteran Frank Windsor and murder suspect Max Branning? Z Cars star Frank once appeared in EastEnders as Major Charlie Grace. Coincidence?
April 13. Britain’s Got Talent returned with a fake news bulletin,
a fake Queen and a fake chauffeur – played by David Walliams,
the fake comedian. The talent was also largely make-believe.
We got the performing owl that couldn’t perform; the dancer
who couldn’t dance. And the great steaming nitwit who thought
speed-eating a whole raw onion was a performance skill. Fine,
if you’re auditioning to be Gregg Wallace’s understudy, not
so impressive on a variety stage.
The only things 100 per cent real on this show are the male
judges’ monstrous egos. The rest is as contrived as American
wrestling. Especially the conceit that Cowell & co have no idea
what’s coming next. Of course they don’t. It was just pure chance
that Simon moaned about ballroom dancing before a couple came
on looking like ballroom dancers. And coincidence that he asked
a bullied opera singer about bullying.
None of this would matter if we got great turns in the mix,
but even the decent acts were underwhelming: cowboy dancers,
Ukrainian dancers with special FX, the aforementioned opera
bird... Hoofers and singers they can do, comedians? Not yet.
Just ‘funny’ foreigners, like Peter from Germany chirping some
hideous din of his own making while assaulting a violin. And
the roller-skating Wonder Woman who sang out of tune; oh and
Georgiou from Kos who thought he could dance. He was almost
as deluded as that bloke who thought he was funny (Walliams).
Cowell’s watchword ‘current’ doesn’t seem to apply to old
ladies dancing or old-fashioned boy bands. Britain produced
Ray Davies, Weller, Costello and Squeeze, why do we want to
go back to how pop was before the Beatles?
This year’s one innovation is the golden button which isn’t
a bit like Big Brother’s Golden Ticket, honest, and which every
judge gets to press once to send a contender through to the
live shows... Just so David can inflict some fresh camp irritant
on us. I love talent shows, but I’m getting bored with BGT’s
big-head and bad judgement. Even the judges’ will-they, won’t-they
sexual tension (Cowell and Walliams) can’t compensate for the
show’s failings. One Direction saved the X Factor. Who will
validate BGT? Certainly not an imported revolving drummer...
The show’s full title should be Britain’s Got Talent, So Why
Can’t ITV Be Bothered To Find Any?
*PETER the German wrote that song especially for his wife.
He must really hate her.
*THIS week on BGT – dancers and singers. Next week – singers
and dancers! And maybe a few more tourists. BGT: Brand Getting
GAME Of Thrones mixes House Of Cards cunning with the brutality
of The Sopranos and the unbridled lust of a Krankies swingers’
party. Just as it was for Peggy Mitchell, with this show the
bar is always set high. It’s a place where no character is safe,
where the propositions make Corrie’s Phelan look like Mr Darcy
and where conscious uncoupling is likely to involve a battle
axe. Series four returned with no dip in standards. Stand-out
moments included the Hound – who looks like Tony Livesey with
a hangover – in fighting mode and Arya getting her first taste
of bloody revenge. To disprove rumours of a bastard shortage,
there are new nuisances on the horizon – cannibal tribe The
Thenn, and pervy Prince Oberyn a Lannister wedding guest out
for vengeance and any sex he can get. His missus, Luther’s Indira
Varma, is equally rampant, unlike Joffrey’s Mum who has gone
off shagging her now one-handed brother Jaime. Thones is as
complex as Star Trek’s tridimensional chess, but it’s never
dull; it’s the best thing on TV right now.
WHEN ITV got the go-ahead to launch TV-am, BBC1 beat them
to the punch with Breakfast Time. Despite inflicting Russell
Grant and the Green Goddess on us, the lively format piddled
all over the worthy but ponderous ITV effort. TV-am belly-flopped
like Davro on The Games... until Greg Dyke hit back with Roland
Rat. The rude, furry-faced buffoon was always proud of Roland.
The Battle For Britain’s Breakfast recalled the morning glory
of waking up with Anna Ford or Selina Scott... And reminded
me how much better The Big Breakfast did it in the 90s.
HOT on TV: Game Of Thrones (Sky Atlantic) – ’king brilliant...
smart, sexy Suzy Klein... the True Detective finale.
ROT on TV: The Guess List – guess again... The Treasure Hunters
– bury it... Masterchef – as bland as tofu, as repetitive as
a curried radish.
THE BBC has more front than Katie Price. They now want everyone
to pay the licence fee - even if we don’t watch telly at all.
That’s despite them squandering our dosh like a drunken lotto
winner, and doing for quality drama what Ronnie Mitchell does
for pedestrians. Why should we be forced to shell out for shows
about sewing, baking, raking and stock-taking? You can count
the BBC’s must-see TV on the fingers of an accident prone chippie.
The last one was Line Of Duty and they naused that up by cutting
scenes from the final episode.
*ON Rule Britannia, Suzy Klein told how audiences frequently
rioted in London theatres and shagged in the aisles. Extreme,
yes, but it’d certainly liven up The Voice.
*SUZY showed us the “giant nut-cracker” used at the time to
castrate male sopranos. You can still buy them today, from Jo
*ON Masterchef, Gregg told Janice he wanted her to spread
her wings, adding: “I just want to see you soar.” Let’s hope
the TV subtitlers spelt that right.
*THE Call Centre returned. I’d rather have Black Death back.
Nev might be a character, but telephone cold callers are a pox.
Why reward them?
*PATSY Palmer is off to pursue her Hollywood dream. Expect
to see her at the next Oscars, the organisers always need good
*YOU can get Spotted Dick for £2 in Walford’s caff. In Mandy’s
day, you could get one for free...
Small Joys of TV: Rev. Jim Davidson telling Matthew Wright
he models himself on Boston Legal’s hard-drinking, meat-eating,
womanising conservative Denny Crane (Can’t see it myself, Jim).
It’ll Be All Right On The Night clips, not least Holly Willoughby
saying “I’ve still got a mouthful of beef”, and Schofield, corpsing,
quipping “Not again.”
RANDOM irritations: multimillionaire Simon Cowell’s tales
of “depression”. Continued diving in top flight football, yes
you Touré. Challenge booking Brian Conley for Timeline and then
editing out his banter with the guests – what a waste.
MOTHER & secret child: Anna from Corrie and baby Gerald from
The Simpsons... Runners-up: Sharon Rickman and Candy Kong.
I’VE turned up on another old Celebrity Squares episode wearing
a red, satanic suit. No idea why. But I do recall telling Emmerdale’s
saucy Malandra Burrows that she could have the devil in her
that night. Unlikely I know, but let her dream...
April 6. The Top 40 Ultimate Action Movies was a three hour
rampage of guns, puns and derring-do. It packed in adrenalin-charged
clips and quality one-liners, most of them Arnie’s: “Stick around”
after he impaled a bad guy on a machete in Predator. “Let off
some steam, Bennett”, when he pinned another scumbag to a pressurised
tank with a metal pipe on Commando. And of course his classic
“I’ll be back” catchphrase, although now he’s 66 that’s more
likely to be “Ow, me back”...
Small joys abounded. Who could forget Mel Gibson’s mullet,
Drew Barrymore’s naked tumble on Charlie’s Angels, or Dolph
Lundgren’s grunted dialogue? The big Swede with the turnip brain
made Arnie sound like Sir John Gielgud. Erika Eleniak burst
out of a cake topless in Under Siege, proving birthday wishes
can come true. While Amy Smart added something to high-speed
driving on Crank that we never see on Top Gear - a very different
way to blow a gasket.
All TV list shows wind up viewers, though, and Channel 5’s
marathon effort was no exception. No reasonable person could
object to Die Hard being No 1. And The Matrix, Predator, Raiders
Of The Lost Ark and Enter The Dragon all deserve their berth
in the Top Ten too. But where was First Blood? They had Rambo:
First Blood Part II at 25, but not the brilliant, smarter original.
Independence Day made the cut, but not Avengers Assemble. There
was no Iron Man, 300, Mad Max or Roadhouse (I accept that last
one might just be me). Yet they found room for The Italian Job
– cracking, yes, but more crime caper than action film. Including
The Expendables while passing over Peckinpah’s brutal gem The
Wild Bunch was like choosing a horse meat burger over a Porterhouse
Talking heads ranged from respected director John Carpenter
to, um, Mark Wright, specialist subject the bleedin’ obvious...
(Though Wrighty might just have been doing a clever impression
of Charlie Brooker’s Barry Sh*tpeas.) At least Melvin O’Doom
offered fresh insights. Mel speculated that living with Kill
Bill’s sexy but ultra-violent The Bride would be hell: “Imagine
if you didn’t take the bins out... she’d just kung fu kick you
in the neck.” Some blokes would pay good money for that. But
no-one answered the big question everyone at home was asking:
what the hell has happened to Gary Busey’s boat-race?
*RICKY Grover on the Predator alien: “It made Andrew Lloyd
Webber look good-looking... well, not good-looking, acceptable.”
THINGS we learn from action movies: 1) Bad guys are rotten
shots 2) They’re mostly Eastern European 3) No situation is
ever too dire, no struggle too taxing, to rule out a snappy
LUCY and Max? Really, EastEnders? What is this, an attempt
to boost national sick-bag sales? It’s not exactly illegal,
in fact it’s a moving love story according to some authorities
(Bill Wyman, James Franco... ) But Max’s fling with his daughter’s
best friend is as hard to swallow as an all-day breakfast would
be for stick-thin Lucy. Even if she is only after his big, bulging
wallet. Elsewhere to punish Stan Carter for his ‘homophobic’
remarks, son Mick left the old sod (briefly) stranded in his
wheelchair late at night in Stratford. Was this really unnecessary?
To make Stan suffer, all Mick had to do was jam his brakes and
leave him watching My Gay Wedding: The Musical... Timothy West
plays Stan as a tactless old git with a malicious streak; I
like him a lot. He’s already controlling Shirley, who apparently
once tried to drown Mick, played by Danny Dyer. Tsk, everyone’s
a critic. Odds on, they’ll water the character down, as they
did with grandad Jim. But it’d make better telly if they kept
him barbed and nasty.
* WALFORD is supposed to be half a mile from Canning Town
– wouldn’t Stan have noticed Mick taking a detour up the A12?
NIGEL Farage drew first blood in his TV rematch with Nick
Clegg, accusing him accurately of “willfully lying” about the
laws Brussels imposes on us. Clegg started strong, but burnt
out fast, falling back on cheap shots. Farage winded him by
pointing out that open borders have been a disaster for the
British working class – a point made forcibly from the Left
by the late Bob Crow. Clegg’s weak, pre-scripted gags were no
match for Farage’s transparent honesty. And his claim that continued
membership of a failing club dreamed up fifty years ago was
“forward-looking” cut no ice. Viewers scored it 68-27 to Farage.
It would have been different on BBC1’s Question Time, mind.
Odd how right-on their audiences are -100% pro-EU in Lewisham,
solidly pro-immigration in Boston... A cynic might call that
HOT on TV: Timothy West (EastEnders)... True Detective...
The Walking Dead finale – next series, cannibals!
ROT on TV: New Worlds – history lessened... Zoe Ball – louder
on 2, better on mute... Jon Snow’s singing (My Gay Wedding:
The Musical) – not so much Glee, more FLEE!
IT’S a shame an action movie team didn’t get their hands on
New Worlds, they’d have cranked-up the clunky dialogue and made
the plot easier to follow. We’ve got Puritan settlers v Native
Americans, Protestants v Catholics, and renegade Abe, a latter-day
Robin Hood who kidnaps sweet, innocent Beth. She’s the dishy
daughter of original Devil’s Whore, Angelica, now a dippy 17th
century hippy. England’s Protestant King Charles II, known at
the time as the Merry Monarch, is painted as a ruthless wrong’un,
as is the Earl of Shaftesbury who’s out to shaft and bury Charlie’s
Catholic brother James. In Massachusetts, preacher’s daughter
Hope is scalping Injuns, and king-killer Goffe is hiding from
Charles’s avengers. It sounds exciting but the drama is clogged
up by excess yapping. On Game of Thrones we wouldn’t have heard
a torturer say “I’ve seen a man’s eyes bleed and his brain fall
through his nose like custard”; we’d have seen it.
STEVE McDonald was shocked when Peter confessed he’s been
playing hide the sausage with Tina on Corrie. But unlike any
other bloke on the planet, his first reaction wasn’t “You lucky
bastard!” followed by the questions: “Are they real?” and “How
the hell can you keep up? He’ll choose Tina over croaky Carla,
surely. You’d never tire of McIntyre.
*THE Voice has been running an appeal ‘If you want to take
part next year’, and as well as judges, I believe they’re also
looking for singers.
*NIGELLA wept while talking to Michael McIntyre. So did I
– remembering a time when chat shows hosts knew how to ask coherent,
searching questions and how to belt up while they were being
*AFTER some gentle prodding, Nigella finally relaxed and opened
up... oh sorry, that was just in my dream; the interview was
*COMING soon from the makers of My Gay Wedding: The Musical,
My Gay Divorce: The Bitchfest.
Small Joys of TV: About A Boy. Marvel’s Agents Of Shield.
Killer Magic. XIII fight scenes. Roger Allam (Endeavour). A
BBC reporter claiming that newly-wed gay couples were “excitedly
twiddling their new rings”.
RANDOM irritations: Max & Lucy – make it stop. Jeremy Vine
exhorting Revenge Of The Egghead contestants to build up the
prize pot and then rabbitting on between every question so they
SEPARATED at birth: Masterchef South Africa judge Pete Goffe-Wood
and this beluga whale? Both bald, both eat fish by the ton,
both appear to have a blow-hole in their head...
*THE EU is setting up its own TV station. No doubt for shows
like Merkel She Wrote, Mock The Greek, Challenge Ankara, Breaking
Vlad (a fantasy), Maastricht Mind, Keeping Up With The Kazakhstanians.
And of course Have I Got Bruges For You – whether you want it
TOM Jones was talking about his mentoring on The Voice when
he told Zoe Ball: “I put myself into them people.” Let’s face
it, it wouldn’t be the first time.