BUSHELL ON THE BOX
*This is an edited version of my TV column. The real thing, plus contests, goofs, lookalike pictures and more, can be found each Sunday only in the Daily Star Sunday.
April 30. PAUL Burrell conjured up unwelcome images on I’m A Celebrity. “I’m not even in yet,” he squealed. “I’ve got to burst this membrane.” Blimey. You don’t expect that from Princess Diana’s former butler. Prince Andrew’s maybe. Especially with Shaun Ryder shouting “You need to use your fingers, Paul.” Burrell was fannying about in “Hell Hole”. Insert your own Janice Dickinson joke here. The poor woman looks like ITV have just unwrapped her from a pharaoh’s sarcophagus. Shaun hasn’t aged well either. In dim light you could mistake him for a Sontaran.
This spin-off series, set in South Efrika, dilutes the format by not being live and swerving public votes. Contestants are said to be competing as “legends” although some are more accurately defined as “nuisances”. Step forward Gillian McKeith. In fairness ITV have ramped up some of the challenges, with Celeb SAS veteran Fatima Whitbread proving a dab hand at dealing with giant swinging balls (very Total Wipeout). Helen Flanagan handled the balls gamely but didn’t take down the star. (Stormy Daniels’ life-story.) Can-do late-comer Toff Toffolo excelled in her Dreaded Drain challenge “Just keep screwing,” advised Ant. Please! She was Made In Chelsea, not Geordie Shore. Irritations include way too much schoolgirl screaming, specifically from Burrell. And some seriously dull bushtucker trials. Carol Vorderman got her hemispheres mixed up, surprising as her own are looking particularly impressive. McKeith arrived in a box and might have left in a different shaped one if Shaun hadn’t gone early. A shame. At least Ryder had the potential to speak truth to the shower, rupture their eardrums with his snoring or judging by his knee, fall apart at any moment. On Thursday, Contraband divided the camp. Surprisingly, it wasn’t anything Shaun was smoking.
*LOVED Janice asking “What’s your celebrity?” I think that whenever I watch Celeb Mastermind.
IT’S been a rotten month for comedy. We’ve lost two giants – Barry Humphries and Paul O’Grady. Someone put a guard rail around Billy Connolly. Laughter used to be the beating heart of the box but there’s precious little mainstream humour on telly now. Why aren’t bosses negotiating comedy formats with today’s greats? A Peter Kay festive special, a Lee Mack fronted variety format, An Audience with for Jimmy Carr, a sitcom for Kevin Bridges? Can’t they find anything to tempt fearless Ricky Gervais away from Netflix? Good comics get lame travelogues, like Micky Flanagan’s lazy Detour De France. Rob Beckett, hilarious on Celebs Go Dating, has never had a show where he just tells jokes. Sketch shows are gone, sitcoms are dying and satire is thinner than Ian Hislop’s hair largely cos entertainment execs, slaves to failed groupthink, are less on the ball than the Foreign Office. I’d give Russ Abbot a call.
*BARRY’S best one-liner, to Jeffrey Archer: “If you can’t laugh at yourself, you could be missing the joke of the century.”
PHYLLIS Logan plays gang boss Maggie Lynch on the excellent Guilt. Who knew Mrs Hughes from Downton Abbey had a dark side? It’s just a shame Carson isn’t onboard as her enforcer. This brilliant black comedy is set in the drug-fuelled Leith and Edinburgh underground. “Everything is murky in this world, and you are lost within it,” Maggie’s gangster husband Roy warned his intended victims shortly before getting gunned down, leaving her as top dog. Guilt started with McCall brothers Max and Jake accidentally running over and killing a bloke and rapidly turned into Scotland’s answer to Fargo. What chance do naïve record shop owner Jake and his slippery ex-lawyer brother have? McCall!
PS. Great soundtrack too: The Stranglers, The View, The Cramps and We Were Promised Jet Packs. Nice work all round.
HOT on TV: Derren Brown: Showman – mesmerising... The Curse... Richard Dormer, Blue Lights... Shaun Ryder.
ROT on TV: Ruby Wax: Cast Away – if only they would... MILF Manor – stinks like Toff’s Dreaded Drain.
ON Malpractice, a desperate gunman burst into a hospital, demanded treatment for his shot mate and legged it... and not a single cop turned up. Probably too busy writing letters telling kids not to play football in the street. Niamh Algar’s heroic pill-popping Dr Lu drives the drama. Stitched up by an incompetent junior, she accidentally kills her GP supplier making this the first-ever Lu-dunnit. Sorry.
*SPY-thriller Citadel grips like Becky Lynch. The rip-roaring Amazon drama costs an eye-watering £40million-an-episode. Strewth. The BBC could get six new logo redesigns for that.
*GOOD to see Roxy back on EastEnders. They’re obviously feeding her in heaven. Roxy’s a figment of Amy’s imagination (Dawn Swann’s never far from mine), but still feels more real than the plots.
*DID you see all the great St George’s Day shows on English TV on Sunday? Me neither...
*HARRY Belafonte and Len Goodman, gone but not forgotten. Gillian McKeith, forgotten but not gone.
*WHAT would you rather have back, McKeith or the black death?
*RIP Jerry Springer. I had the pleasure of appearing on his chat show once and he was great company. But the best way to meet Jerry if you didn’t have a book to plug was simple – just marry your horse...
Small joys of TV. Anita Dobson & Phil Daniels, Inside No 9. C5’s steam trains. The Sky EPG illustrating a 1958 episode of The Larkins with a pic of Barney Walsh, 25.
Random irritations. Sky News. Clive Myers slowing everything down on Mastermind, and the way the Beeb bloat out the final with pointless films and celeb chat.
TV Maths. Dobby + wig = King Charles.
Filth of the week. Steve on The Repair Shop was talking about a Lifeguard’s headgear when he said, “You couldn’t go on parade with a dirty helmet.”
April 23. SCARED Of The Dark is comfortably the dimmest “reality” show of the decade, in both senses. Think Celebrity Big Brother down a mineshaft in a power cut. Get eight people – former stars and the usual fake-famous flotsam – and plunge ’em into pitch blackness for 180hours. Cue screaming! Cue cod philosophy! And cue more f-words than a bad day on Succession. The language was filthier than the men’s bogs must have been. Gazza made headlines, natch, by revealing he’d got aroused when meeting Margaret Thatcher and had to, ahem, take himself in hand in the Number 10 loo. “That’s pub talk,” chided Chris Eubank, who tried and failed to stop the relentless Lord-Mayor-ing. “Mind your language so your parents would be proud,” he advised Donna Preston (no idea). “My parents don’t give a s***!” she responded. Classy.
Donna has her own catchphrases – “F*** off!” and “No! Unacceptable!” Not exactly Luvly Jubbly but give her time. Whole minutes consisted of “F***!”, “Oh f***!”, “What the f***?” It went on and fucking on.
Donna chummed up with Chloe Burrows from Love Island, a whiney, foul-mouthed nitwit who thought socks were “a basic human right”. On arrival, Chloe, who is 27 going on 12, shrieked “Argh, ****ing dark, that’s taking the piss”, almost as if she hadn’t read the contract. In fairness she did manage to walk into a fence, sadly not electrified.
Blind comic Chris McCausland saved the day, rescuing his housemates and likening Eubank’s gobbledegook to “a self-help audiobook you can’t switch off”. Dapper ex-champ Eubank came with a cane, a fur-coat, and cigar as wide as a baby’s arm. Sadly none of them women stumbled across it in the dark and tried to insert batteries. There was enough screaming as it was. And pranks too. But even Danny Dyer and “Dr T”, in Ant & Dec mode, couldn’t stop the premise wearing thin quicker than Donna ever will. Yeah, yeah. Unacceptable. When Eubank quit so did I.
*WAS Gazza the first tosser in Downing Street? Discuss.
THERE are two dodgy moats in recent memory – one from the MPs’ expenses scandal and Raoul, the spud-faced, steroid-crazed Geordie psycho-killer. ITV’s gripping The Hunt For Raoul Moat didn’t glamorise the scrote. But actor Matt Stokoe was noticeably better looking than the real Moat who blasted Chris Brown with a sawn-off shotgun for the “crime” of dating his ex. Samantha Stobbart had told him karate tutor Chris was a cop – a small fib intended to scare Raoul off, but tragedy ensued. Moat, 37, shot Sam and blinded unarmed PC David Rathband who later hanged himself. Some saw Moat as a working-class hero. He wasn’t. He was a violent bully who picked on weaker people. Moat was banged up for assaulting a kid. He was 30 when he started dating Sam. She was 16. More cradle-snatcher than modern-day King Lud.
*SMALL moans. ITV had a Chief Super doorstepping a witness on his Tod. They made up characters, and played down the role of TV survivalist Ray Mears who led Plod to 20yards from Moat’s hiding place. They also swerved the whole Gazza circus.
BRITAIN’S Got Talent lost the plot with Rubik’s Cube stuntman Thomas Vu who set himself alight last Sunday. Image that on the Royal Variety show. Stronger flames, bigger gasps, two less pipers... What next? Maybe a doddery Joe Biden impersonator juggling Semtex as he blunders his way through Riverdance... If Cowell wants danger, he should’ve booked David Walliams to do a red button commentary. Choir boy Malakai, the black Aled Jones, could win if his voice doesn’t break before the final. But the show’s reliance on TikTok acts is dumb and the judging is awful. If some entitled eco-loon burst in and showered them all with orange dust, odds-on they’d get a golden buzzer.
HOT on TV: Mr Robot (ITVX)... Lee Mack... Blue Lights.
ROT on TV: Bruno – worst talent judge since Kelly Brooks... Laura Whitmore’s Breakfast Show – more of a dog’s dinner.
JOANNA Lumley – My Best Bits featured classic clips of the former Bond girl. We saw Joanna as Purdey in The New Avengers and as Ken Barlow’s hottest-ever conquest, Elaine Perkins. When Frank Sinatra met her at a party, his first question was, “Shall we leave now?” That never happened with Deirdre Barlow. Joanna declined. Unlike Ab Fab’s Patsy, her best bits remained securely covered. JUST for Rishi, here are some TV Maths questions: Does Humpty Dumpty + specs = Gregg Wallace? Why doesn’t ITV1 + ITV2 = ITV3? And if Del-Boy had 23million viewers and Rain Dogs gets 800,000 how long before any BBC exec wakes up and admits they’re killing TV comedy?
*DHRUTI turned down a £69K offer on The Chase saying, “I’m ain’t doing 69.” She must be married... Brad’s restraint was admirable.
*NIK Speakman hasn’t aged well. He looked like Bradley Walsh spent a year on ghost train and then got fitted with elf ears.
*DAISY Jones & The Six got better and better, but did anyone else feel a jolt of excitement when The Jam exploded on the soundtrack? Real energy, real passion, after all that LA soft rock. Why not base a UK TV drama around the Woking Wonders? The Yanks would.
Small joys of TV. One Foot In The Grave: 30 Years Of Laughs. Andi Osho, Blue Lights. Barry. Meet The Richardsons. Will Arnett as Terry Seattle, Murderville.
Random irritations. Imported acts on BGT and the judges’ reactions – hammier than Peppa Pig. Grease Rise Of The Pink Ladies. Soap’s terminal decline.
Garry’s Goof of the month. BBC cricket commentator Mark Church on Ben Foakes: “What Foakes hasn’t tried to do there is open up his legs and pull it.”
April 16. HAS there ever been a lamer start to Britain’s Got Talent? Cowell’s opening act last night was a berk dressed as Darth Vader playing naff keyboards. Talk about may the farce be with you. After Ropey Wan Kenobi we got a twerp playing a pink recorder with his hooter, and a Japanese guy who (eventually) burst a balloon with a fart-powered dart... which is more Jim Royle than Royal Command. A dotty Doris impersonated items through the medium of dance – a stapler, a pencil sharpener, a rubber, a baguette, a brioche... Luckily the objects were displayed on a screen behind her. If they hadn’t, you might have assumed she was being tasered. (Now that’s a show!) If only she’d thought to flash up a falling Acme Anvil when she got buzzed off.
ITV dress up this dross with the usual hype, ham and hysteria, plus the familiar irritation of conveniently mic’d up audience members to tell us what to think and feel. But come on! Cowell is doing to talent shows what Crystal Palace did to Leeds. This was Britain’s Got Talent but we can’t find it. It wasn’t all bad, of course – chirper Amy would’ve turned a chair or two on The Voice, the urban tumblers were decent, and naturally there was another community choir. Best were the dancing kids from Uganda, custom built for TikTok – Britain’s Importing Talent. They got the Golden Buzzer from new judge Bruno Tonioli, a bloke so keen on talent he hadn’t even bothered to watch BGT before. What can he bring that Alesha can’t? The judge they need is an honest realist who knows showbiz inside out. And ITV need to find better talent scouts and create variety formats to build the good turns they find and encourage more. Without that, the ratings will crash down to earth quicker than Virgin Orbit.
HE’S gone. Logan Roy – the man who makes Labour’s attack ads look like Valentines Day greeting cards – popped his clogs on Succession. His heart had stopped. A surprise, who knew he had one? The ruthless tyrant swerved son Connor’s wedding, dying while flying to seal a multi-million-dollar deal. In grief and confusion his kids seemed almost human. Now comes the battle for overall control. Think The Apprentice with competitive swearing and extra layers of incompetence. The good news? Logan now has a 15% stake in Satan’s sphincter, with a view to a taking a controlling interest in Hell.
THERE was much to like about Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, but sadly not the plot which was as easy to follow as Joe Biden rambling on about James Joyce’s Ulysses. It started with a corpse at the bottom of the cliffs by a golf course in the fictional Welsh seaside town of Marchbolt. That’s what I call a handicap. Caddy Bobby and snooty beauty Lady Frankie slowly decoded the murky mess of murder, misdirection, fake identities and forgery. Adapter Hugh Laurie upped Agatha Christie’s original kill rate, made Bobby less dim and turned business bodger Badger into second-hand-car dealer Knocker. Joys included more famous faces than An Audience With, including Gone Fishing’s Paul Whitehouse as the creepy landlord of the Anglers Arms. And a wedding. 19th hole, anyone?
*PS. If Marchbolt was near Wrexham why were ITV’s amateur sleuths driving towards south Wales? The Severn Bridge wasn’t built until 1966.
HOT on TV: The Battle of Brunanburh, The Last Kingdom (Netflix)... Kieran Culkin, Succession... Lucy Boynton.
ROT on TV: Last Woman On Earth – roll on the last episode... Naked Education – full-frontal f***-wittery... Intelligence – as dumb as a Brillo pad.
HOW can this be the 19th series of MasterChef? It’s never off air. Only human misery is more endless, and Gregg would scoff that if it came with custard. I can’t abide the tiny dishes that wouldn’t keep a Borrower alive and unlikely “family favourites”. Rainbow trout caviar garnish? Gertcha.
*SALTY fizz was fermenting, we heard. Blimey. Probably just Roman Roy watching Vanessa.
*STACEY Slater is on OnlyFans! Blimey. Which personality will she come as? And will she live up to her “best baps in Walford” claim? Claudette is the score to beat.
*LOVE Phil Mitchell’s hate-glare. The bloke can intimidate anyone, as long as it doesn’t involve running.
*MYSTIC Meg, Mary Quant, Logan Roy... it’s a sad time and a tense one. Especially for me. I’ve got Dopey Joe Biden in an accumulator.
*CELEB Hunted’s Ray Howard on James Acaster and Ed Gamble: “As funny as piles on a bike ride.”
*SHOCKS on Great Expectations as Pip turned down a whore. No great ejaculations this week, then. You’d find grubbier sex at the CBI, allegedly.
AN academic dissed St George’s Day on GB News scoffing “He was Turkish!” So what? St Patrick was English, snatched and enslaved by Irish raiders, but that doesn’t stop the Paddies sinking a Guinness or ten in his honour. C’mon GB News! Celebrate St Geo properly on Sunday. Deborah Meaden can play the dragon.
Small joys of TV. Colin From Accounts. The 1% Club. Amanda Plummer as Evil Vadic, Star Trek: Picard (Prime). Moonage Daydream (Netflix). Rabbit Hole.
Random irritations. C4’s puerile nude obsession. Farage dropping Talking Points. Interior Design Masters, although Monika’s gothic splendour is worth surveying.
Separated at birth: Agatha Christie’s Mr Angel and Mr Benn? One caught up in a hard-to-fathom world that makes little sense, the other’s a cartoon.
April 9. THWACK! A sturdy whip smacks the sturdier buttocks of Mr Pumblechook on Great Expectations. Talk about Bleak Arse. What more proof do you need that BBC drama has hit rock bottom? The blow, delivered by Mrs Gargery, was intercut with shots of her blacksmith husband Joe who was hammering away shirtless and sweaty. Just like young Pip would be minutes later when he gave Mrs Gibbons a good Dickens. The kid went from Great Expectations to David Cop-A-Feel.
Obliging Mrs Gibbons was a respectable looking saucepot from the local church. “Every man in the front three pews of the Sunday congregation has availed himself of my services,” she revealed. Amen! So many prayers answered. But does the vicar like it up the rectory? She didn’t say.
The surprise sex was an 18th birthday gift from Pip’s barmy benefactor, Miss Hailsham. Yet the shagging was oddly overlooked by Charles Dickens who also missed Miss H being off her nut on opium, S&M sessions, a “sodomite” judge, Pip selling drugs, and the slave trade (banned decades earlier). But what did Chas know? He was only the author.
By sexing up and dumbing down Dickens, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight has generated Great Exasperations. He’s diluted the plot, rewritten characters, changed Pip’s surname and ditched (better) original dialogue, throwing in clunky digs at the empire. In the process, he’s made most of the characters utterly hateful. Even Miss Estella. You might drink in her beauty but you’d soon tire of her snobby company. The result is less Peaky Blinders, more Weirdly Bonkers.
*PAYBACK will come when some hot young future writer decides to “re-imagine” Knight’s classic Selby clan as faithful, clean-living pacifists utterly devoted to the onward march of free enterprise.
*IF Mrs Gargery serviced Mrs Gibbons, would she be spanking the monkey?
UNLIKE most gormless “celebrity” travelogues, Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown is full of real insights. In Myanmar (Burma), the ever-curious late US chef sampled local dishes while giving us a taste of life under the country’s former military dictatorship. In Yangon, he learned how tea shops had become places for uncensored conversations in between sampling exotic salads and pastries. He also rode a railway so suicidally risky you’d never moan about Avanti West Coast again.
*LOVED the religious festival where 30-foot Ferris wheels were powered not by electricity but by agile teams of acrobatic spinners. Or as Grant Shapps calls it, the future.
THEY found a new level of hell on Succession – a karaoke bar where Connor sang Leonard Cohen’s Famous Blue Raincoat. The night was so miserable it made EastEnders seem like Billy Smart’s Circus. Highlights included Logan prowling around his ATN TV newsroom, “with the slight sense that he might kill someone – like Jaws if everyone in Jaws worked for Jaws”, observed cousin Greg. Logan also crashed son Connor’s stag do to tell his four kids, “I love you, but you are not serious people.” He’s right. He clawed his way to the top from nothing. These sneering spoilt brats – shallow, despicable, rich-as-Croesus twerps – have always had it easy. Best line? Kerry telling Greg: “I’m going to take you apart like a human string cheese.”
HOT on TV: Billy Connolly Does (Gold) – funnier than the rest... The Good Mothers (Disney+)... Blue Lights.
ROT on TV: Naked Education – utterly nuts... Strangers On A Plane – come yawn with me.
ALLEGED black comedy Rain Dogs is a cliched misery-fest built around unlikeable gits. Evicted by bailiffs, single mum Costello could’ve immediately applied for emergency housing. Instead, she knocks a hardworking cabbie for his fare, breaks into a car, and tries to kip in a laundrette with her daughter. She blows their last fiver on scratch cards and ends up staying with a drooling pervert before being rescued by her psycho pal, an aging rent-boy. Is “society to blame” for the workshy chancer’s predicament, or is she? I felt for the daughter, the only level-headed character.
*A 68-year-old Spanish TV star has had her late son’s baby. Remarkable, yes, but imagine being there when her dust broke...
*EATING a seaweed butty, Gordon Ramsay advised contestants “Close your eyes and imagine it’s the arse-end of a Berkshire pig”. I do the same whenever he speaks. I find it helps.
*SUBTITLE cock-up of the week. Nigel Farage apparently announcing “My husband joins me on Talking Pints”. He actually said, “Mike Osman”. Phew.
*THE Yanks have turned Pooh Bear evil. Poor show. I dunno. Pooh, Boris, James Corden... all our cuddly favourites are breaking bad...
Questions. Is Trump the first man ever to pay a soft porn star not to open her mouth? Was Magpie Murders inspired by Tony Hancock’s The Missing Page? If pain-loving Pumblechook was also into bondage, would he be bound to come?
Small joys of TV. Beef (Netflix). Hollywood Bulldogs (ITVX). Jane Badler, V (Sky Sci-Fi). Magpie Murders. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (Yesterday).
Random irritations. Joe Lycett. Endless kilometres on BBC travel shows. ITV’s Unforgotten teaching us it’s okay to frame someone for murder if they’re a Tory.
I’M teaming up with Ustreme to find new gag-telling comics. Over 100 have applied. Is the next Billy Connolly out there? Or the new Freddie Starr? Unlikely but here’s hoping!
Father and secret son? John Humphrys and John Simm’s DI Grace?
Classic clanger. Pat Glenn talking about weightlifting. “This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning and it was amazing.”
April 2. LIKE an early morning flasher, the end is in sight for the warring Roy clan on Succession. Will ailing lion Logan finally peg it? Or will his revolting kids – “the rats” – crash like a self-driving Tesla? The Roy family are loosely based on the Murdochs, but not closely enough for Rupe to sue. Tough-talking boss Logan has risen from working class roots to preside over a global media empire. The rats are self-centred smart arses who in normal life would struggle to get through a day without being punched. Kendall is a walking irritation who has (so far) got away with killing a waiter. His idiot brother Roman talks like a pervert chatbot programmed by a tripping Keith Lemon. They make sister Shiv seem almost pleasant. But all the uncivil siblings are as trustworthy as Cain Dingle on a dating app. The berks bid $10billion they haven’t got to stop Dad taking over the failing Pierce Media Group. “Congratulations on saying the biggest number you f**king morons,” growled Logan down the phone.
They knew about his plans because Shiv’s ex, two-faced Tom, leaks like a colander in a rainstorm. Creator Jesse Armstrong is right to pull the plugs because the plots got stuck in a rut a while back, but the show still bubbles with biting one-liners. Logan is the sharpest, raging about a presenter on his Fox News style ATN channel like a potty-mouthed King Lear: “Who is this f**king lunk anyway? He looks like a ball sack in a toupee.” But he looks numbed by his kids’ betrayal, asking arse-licking guests at his gloomy birthday party to roast him. He’s not happy but he’ll go out fighting. The only question is how dirty is Dad prepared to go? Nine episodes left...
*SHIV on Logan: “He wouldn’t make a good torturer; he doesn’t have the patience.”
AIMEE Fuller said she was “channelling my inner bush” on Celebrity Hunted. Thank God the camera moved on before she beat about it. For channelling the inner dick, see Nish Kumar. The celeb version feels more contrived than the civilian one. But hunter Ray is sharp, saying the Speakmans “look like Hansel & Gretel grew up to be serial killers”. Odd he hasn’t noticed his boss Lisa Theaker looks like Paul Weller threw on a wig and stuffed two balloons down his jumper.
*ED Gamble looks set to do a stand-up set in Brum. They’ll have a good chance of catching him if he waits for the crowd to laugh.
THERE’S so much swearing in Great Expectations that for a moment I thought they’d moved the location from Kent to Effing Forest. In fairness, Dickens’ melancholy classic has been adapted so often there was no point Stephen Knight sticking to the text. Then again, there’s also no point adapting it if you muck it up. Magwitch is one of scariest characters in English literature, a desperate, menacing escaped con who terrifies Pip into helping him. Here he was as threatening as a first-time shoplifter let off with a caution. BBC1’s tone-deaf version seems unlikely to improve. Lower expectations.
*THINGS we should revive: mainstream sitcoms. Sketch shows. Variety shows. Gag-telling comics. Satire with real guts – HIGNFY has all the bite of a toothless new-born. And why not remake 1984? Thought-crime, New Speak, doublethink and censorship... all very 2023.
HOT on TV: Sian Brooke, Blue Lights... Wild Isles... Chris O’Dowd in anything.
ROT on TV: Great Expectations – Barnaby fudge... Mae Martin (Netflix) – not a patch on Steve or Dick.
LOVING Star Trek: Picard. Not only have AmPrime assembled all the old faces from The Next Generation – including Worf, Riker, Deanna, Geordi and even Data – they’ve done it in a way that doesn’t feel forced or cynical. Delicious nostalgia is interwoven with strong plotting and real heart. In episode six we got a slow sweep past all the great old ships, including Voyager, the Defiant and Captain Kirk’s Enterprise. They even threw in the holographic Moriarty, Kirk’s skeleton, Genesis II and a genetically modified Tribble. My one complaint? It ends forever this month. Maybe Laris can beam down with a gallon or two of Chateau Picard to wash away my pain.
*BAD news. Serving The Hamptons is a show about restaurants in New York State and not as previously hoped a celebration of Kat Slater’s enthusiastic love life.
*BILL Maher on possible Rupert Murdoch chat-up lines: “I like my women like I like my news – heavily made up.”
*THE Tories will ban laughing gas. Any chance of banning canned laughter on Live At The Apollo too? PS. If I’m wrong, just send the audiences back to the hyena enclosure.
RIP Paul O’Grady. A lovely funny man and a master of hard-hitting one-liners. We need more like him, and fewer puffed-up bores like vote-loser Izzard.
SMALL joys of TV: Vicki Michelle as Jo Cotton, Dead-Enders. Penn & Teller (Late Night). Leather expert Suzie Fletcher, The Repair Shop. Zoe Winters, Succession.
RANDOM Irritations: Self-styled “influencers” on Tempting Fortune influencing me to change channels. Blatant political spin reported unquestioned as “news”.
TV Maths. Richard Osman + beard = Equalizer nerd Harry Keshegian