Aug 29. Tears, a walk-out, McCririck in his pants, Chantelle still
loving Preston... Ultimate Big Brother is shaping up nicely. Much
Clearly Stephen Tompkinson isn’t the only one who’s been ballooning.
This show gets a lot of stick from people who don’t watch
it. But over the years Big Bro has conjured up pure TV magic.
No-one who saw George Galloway, MP for Baghdad North, on his
knees imitating a cat will ever forget it. Ditto Vanessa’s break-down,
Jack Dee’s break-out or Verne Troyer sloshed on his scooter.
Normal Big Brother also churned out an amazing array of fools,
nuisances, sweethearts and pantomime villains.
At heart, the show is a living soap. It’s given us love, anger,
rows, friendship and on a couple of occasions pure unbridled
hatred. Real people, real emotions. Real deluded nitwits too.
Step forward Paul Clarke who claimed to have lived his life
“like an international pop star”. Yes problems set in after
series three when BB became a magnet for freaks and talentless
losers hungry for undeserved fame.
The low point was Kinga doing unspeakable things with a wine
bottle. This shocking moment should never have been broadcast.
Everyone knows red wine doesn’t go with fish.
Show bosses made other mistakes too, not least when they put
spoilt, tantrum-throwing nitwit Nikki Grahame back into the
house after viewers had voted her out. But some contestants
were legends. Like Victor ‘The Slick Man’ Ebuwa from BB5, the
jungle cat who called himself the plumber “because I lay pipe.”
Slick Vic was at the centre of Fight Night, a near-riot over-shadowed
only by the Shilpa Shetty incident when poor dim Jade became
the first celeb created and destroyed by the series.
I still think Jade was unfairly crucified by the PC lobby.
The bust-up wasn’t about race, it was all about class. Shilpa
had some, Jade didn’t. The bottom line with Big Bro however
is that decent people win. Down-to-earth big-hearted “randy
mare” Josie walked the latest run, which also gave us Brian
Sewell’s love-child Ben, paranoid grump John James, and Corin
possibly rewarding JJ with a J Arthur... C4’s loss will be C5’s
gain. Big Brother is dead. Long live Big Brother.
*Ultimate BB could live up to its name if C4 filled that bedsit
with Brian Belo, Grace, Jack Dee, Jackie Stallone, Mel Hill,
Bubble, Sophie, Charley, Pete, Derek Laud and Aisleyne. And
locked in the cellar: Kitten, Kemal, Sezar and Shahbaz. Plus
tigers. Very hungry tigers.
*NICE to see Amma again. Lovely girl but very flatulent. She
wasn’t so much evicted from the house as blown out. She came
into my Big Breakfast dressing room once. The earth didn’t move,
but the curtains did. Only Jade kicked up more stink.
*SAD to see The Bill bow out. It was the only bill anyone
ever looked forward to. The show created TV’s most believable
coppers ever. The likes of Tosh Lines, Jim Carver and June Ackland
felt so real every time they came on screen you could smell
bacon. The greatest of them all were DI Frank Burnside and dodgy
DS Don Beech, a man so bent he made the Tower of Pisa look straight
– both characters worthy of a proper revival. ITV blame The
Bill’s demise on “changing public taste”. It was our fault!
I don’t recall attending the meeting which decided to turn a
credible cop drama into yet another melodramatic soap.
*SHIRLENA faces the axe from X Factor for “hiding her mental
illness.” In fairness, she didn't hide it very well. But if
ITV are genuinely worried that appearing on TV might send Shirl
over the edge, what about the effect of giving the woman a taste
of fame then publically dropping her? National humiliation?
Yeah, that’ll help. Besides, being thrown off X Factor for being
nuts is like being barred from the Question Time panel for being
out of touch. If Cowell banned the mentally ill he wouldn't
have a show. (Or some of the judges.) The bookers run on auto-loon.
In contrast, Must Be The Music has original bands, song-writers
and musical prodigies as well as the usual karaoke cranks. Real
HOT on TV: Pete Vs Life... John Lythgow (Dexter)... Chuck
(Virgin1)... Straight Outta L.A. (ESPN).
ROT on TV: The Deep – plumbing new depths...Great British
Waste Menu – a grating waste of money...Ghosthunting with Katie,
Alex & Friends – a truly terrifying experience; for the ghosts.
*BILLY Murray plays a vampire in new horror film Dead Cert.
Wouldn’t the undead brighten up his old Albert Square stomping
ground too? Vampires are sexy, exciting and frankly a lot less
far-fetched than current plot-lines. Minty and Heather? Come
on! It’d be easier to believe Dot was The Stig.
*THE stars of vampire drama True Blood have got married. Apparently
it went very well until the reception. Garlic dips...
*RE Jedward Let Loose, can’t we Let Loose a few rounds instead?
*THE Beeb has launched a contest to find a multicultural sitcom.
Very laudable. But given the quality of the cack they’re broadcasting
shouldn’t they try finding a funny one first?
RANDOM irritations: no helpline number after distressing scenes
of Minty and Heather snogging on Enders. The cash-haemorrhaging
BBC lecturing US about waste! Phill Jupitus – he’ll never be
as fat as his head, or as funny as he thinks he is.
SMALL joys of TV: Dizzee Rascal flirting with every fit contender
(MBTM). Nick Tilsley sharing facial expressions with Wallace
from Wallace & Gromit. Mick Miller (Ideal). Joe Strummer Night
(Sky Arts). Nikki’s reaction to Mr Snuggles (UBB), and Josie’s
verdict on Coolio: “he’s a proper wanker.”
HOW about An Audience With for funny sportsmen like Jimmy
Greaves, John Conteh and Jack Charlton? Chopper Harris could
come on and talk about all the people he’s kicked. He’d be on
stage longer than Ken Dodd.
HOT not on TV: The Best of Brian Conley – real variety on
*C4’s latest ‘provocative’/tedious format Beauty & The Beast
will pair an attractive person with a disfigured one. Tsk. Another
show based on Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley.
Aug 22. IT’S back! Back, barking and absolutely
bloody brilliant.The X Factor may be more pleased with itself
than Jedward in a room full of mirrors, but it still delivers
like Parcelforce on piece rate. Shirlena performing what Simon
Cowell called “a musical exorcism” was the funniest sight on
TV last night. Her bold re-working of Duffy’s ‘Mercy’ involved
growls, screeching, random chat and a lot of whirling. She did
a dance that David Brent would have thought twice about.
Shirlena’s a single mum. Anyone surprised? Even Jean Slater
thinks this woman is nuts.
Outrageously Cheryl gave her the thumbs down, but Cowell over-ruled
her. He was smitten. The leopard skin strides probably swung
it. Far worse were Jahm, pronounced Jam because they’d sound
best in a lot of traffic. Louis, with his usual startling originality,
likened them to “three cats being strangled in an alley.” “Likeable”
is Louis’s word of the series, although oddly he failed to apply
it to quirky Katie; a 24-year-old Madonna obsessive who Simon
called “a singing scarecrow” and who sang better than Madge
ever did. Even Cowell gets it wrong, occasionally. He made Katie
sing a Queen number instead of her chosen Etta James song ‘At
Last’. But when Katie finally belted out ‘At Last’, she blew
the crowd away. Cowell has more fun here than he ever does on
Britain’s Got Talent. After Cheryl made catty remarks about
girl group wannabes, Simon poured her a saucer of milk. And
he must have approved the mickey-take of Geri Halliwell whose
over-long verdicts were packaged together over Chas & Dave’s
‘Rabbit’. Geri is full of more hot air than Stephen Tompkinson’s
balloon. Best voice? Gamu. Worst voice? Ian from G&S. Biggest
surprise? Stephen Hunter being married to a woman - he’s the
campest straight man since Niles Crane. Steve claimed he’d been
influenced by Tina Turner. His dancing made you wish Ike was
around to slap him about a bit. It was a tremendous first show.
That banner in the crowd saying ‘Simon Cowell is God’ was probably
hoist aloft by a relieved ITV exec. It’s not true. But the Pope
of throw-away Pop is still the King of Saturday Night telly.
*GERI Halliwell judging talent...who says ITV can’t do irony?
*AL Murray had a pop at my dress sense last weekend. The cheeky
bastard! Has he got no mirrors at home? He’s slating my clothes
while wearing some dodgy maroon blazer, a dull shirt and a naff
belt buckle with ‘BEER’ emblazoned across it. Not exactly Beau
Brummell is he? I like the Landlord but he’s really just a posh
boy pretending to be Alf Garnett. He hasn’t got a tenth of Johnny
*MEMO to the clueless Sun: Billy Connolly’s Audience With
wasn’t included in their retro series because Billy blocked
them using the clips.
*ACTS who should get An Audience With: Jasper Carrott – comedy
craftsman; Paul O’Grady – naturally hilarious; Jim Davidson
– for white-knuckle viewing; Vic & Bob – more bonkers than Dizzee;
Jay Leno – a total pro; Lee Evans – genius; Jack Dee – what
a grump-fest it would be; Cannon & Ball – audiences adore them;
Bobby Davro – with the right producer it would re-launch his
career; Lenny Henry – to prove how funny he can be; and Joe
Longthorne – because Gypsy Joe is the spirit of showbiz decanted
into a suit. And how about the surviving cast of The Comedians,
led by Frank Carson?
*NOW Celebrity Masterchef is over, will Dick Strawbridge give
Super Mario back his moustache? The state of it! It looked like
Dick had just eaten a giant Bradford rat and thrown it back
up. How can that be hygienic? If he ever ran out of ingredients
he’d just comb out the ’tache and cook up the bugs. We might
not have known who most of these celebrities were (this series
should have been called Can’t Cook, Vaguely Recognisable) but
in fairness, Lisa Faulkner – You Still Would.
*WHY must they serve nosh – which we pay for – to Harrow rich
kids or stuck-up French ponces? Why not hard-working nurses,
firemen or homeless people? Let’s see what grub goes best with
*MICHEL Roux’s verdict on Christine Hamilton: “Bone is not
on.” I quite agree.
VEXED is...vexing. A female DI kneecapped her husband cos
she thought, wrongly, that he was cheating. Is this funny? No,
but I guess that’s what happens when you let women out of the
kitchen. (Rest of column written with black eyes). Vexed falls
between more stools than a sozzled sewerage worker. Its grip
on police procedure is as weak as Emo Phillips’s handshake.
Crime scenes weren’t sealed off. The hunt for a serial killer
involved just two cops. It’s neither comic enough for comedy
nor real enough to be taken seriously. And if that’s upset Lucy
Punch, let her come round and give me the thrashing I so richly
HOT on TV: the Spartacus finale... The X Factor... Vexed’s
Lucy Punch – knockout... Ideal (BBC3)... new Dexter (FX)...
The Middle (Sky1)... Dizzee Rascal (Sky1’s Must Be The Music).
ROT on TV: Roger & Val – till duff us do part... Drama Trails
– more like a trial... The Klang Show – falls as flat as Olive
Oyl’s chest... and The Great British Bake-Off – oh, just ****
*TRAGIC news on Mistresses, then – there’s still another episode
*THE One Show on Monday: big, bright, shiny... but enough
about Alex Jones’s teeth.
*IF Mariella Forstrop thinks blondes are discriminated against
why doesn’t she stop dying her hair?
*PHIL’s crack den on EastEnders. Not to be confused with Leslie
Grantham’s last appearance. That was crap Den.
*MEMO to Whitney: if you want to keep a fella, make an effort.
I’ve seen better dressed salads. And did you see Mercy walking
around in just a bath towel? Where does that happen? Other than
in Minty’s dreams... I’d like to see Zsa Zsa take this up, though,
she’d be a towelling inferno. On second thoughts, towels are
old hat. Blow driers are far more now. And what man amongst
us wouldn’t happily breathe hot air all over Sam Mitchell’s
nooks and crannies? Risque in a soap, perhaps, but a lot more
wholesome than watching Phil at crack o’clock.
RANDOM irritations: BBC snubbing VJ Day coverage. Sharleen
Spiteri. Geri Halliwell saying of Stephen Hunter “there’s a
bit of a diva in there”; the word is pronounced ‘div’, love.
A Big Brother flood and not one shot of Corin in a wet t-shirt...
SMALL joys of TV: Aunt Sal’s rant (EastEnders – written by
Daran Little). Classic Beadle clips (The Unforgettable). Whoopi
Goldberg giggling at beavers (One Show). The Viet Cong using
shit on a stick as a weapon (Deadliest Warrior). Missing Andy
(Must Be The Music) – a really promising band, writing original
songs. Everything the X Factor would never show. See also Buster
Shuffle and The Hungover Stuntmen.
* CELEB maths: Cheryl Baker + ET = Sharon Small.
*THOSE bodies on The Deep all had bleeding from the eyes and
ears. Hmm. The Russian sub’s entertainment committee should
never have booked Motorhead.
*DIM TV questions: Why no Norman Wisdom in the BBC’s Normans
series? Has Alfred Molina got a brother called Sem? Is Alex
Reid’s middle name Can’t?
Aug 15. BBC1’s Mistresses is about as unpredictable
as sun rise, a forest bear’s ablutions or an England footballer
going over the side. Honestly, there are small town paper rounds
with more surprises. When money-bags Chris invested in Trudi’s
cake-making business you knew a more thrilling merger would
swiftly follow. All it took was champagne and a hug. The little
tart turned out to be a piece of cake. A double-layer if I’m
not mistaken. First Lucas, now Chris... Mr Kipling had better
brace himself. This woman likes to have her cake and eat cock
Elsewhere Calamity Katie snogged Trudi’s pussy-whipped husband
Richard (aka Dick-less Dick). And Siobhan ended up as ‘best
man’ at her ex’s wedding, because none of these drippy blokes
have actual mates or backbones.
Dom turned her down but his resolve will last about as long
as a fresh-cream doughnut in Dawn French’s fridge. Finally,
Jessica’s shifty hubby Mark is now jobless and pot-less, which,
according to the show’s demented logic, makes him fair game
for betrayal. Especially as Jess makes Monica Mint look like
a vestal virgin. The only ones not getting any are the band
who follow these daft bints everywhere, plonking out lacklustre
backing music. Which mistress will blow some life into that
On past form, Jess will take the horn section.
Things are very different on Spartacus: Blood & Sand where
men must fight or die and treachery is rewarded with instant
death. In an exciting episode Selonius – framed for murder by
Batiatus – met his fate in the coliseum. Shirtless, he looked
like a healthier Iggy Pop. And that was after Spartacus had
spilt his guts on the earth. One by one the show’s big secrets
unravelled – Lucretia’s affair with gladiator Crixus, his hots
for slave girl Naevia, Ilythia’s murder of Licinia... it’s all
building nicely for next week’s finale, when Sparts finally
leads his righteous slave uprising.
This show seemed flimsy at the start, but it’s packed in true
love, conspiracy, vengeance, power struggles and shocking twists
– like Sparts having to slaughter his best pal Varro. All a
bit more exciting than a run on Trudi’s vanilla pods, know what
I mean? Imagine a Mistresses episode written by the Spartacus
team. We’d get slo-mo fistfights, gratuitous nudity, colourful
swearing, bloody murder and a heart-warming scene when Richard’s
testicles grow back.
*I HEAR Afghan TV has bought Mistresses but they’re changing
the title to Stone Me.
WELL done, EastEnders for showing us the nightmare reality
of crack-cocaine addiction. Apparently it makes you listen to
old Who songs, dance like Douglas Bader, shadow box, wear rotten
woolly hats and sprinkle whiskey on skanky women like vinegar
on chips. It’s harrowing. Poor Phil. It was only a few months
that the only crack he was up for was Dawn’s. He was a proper
geezer when he first appeared in the soap. Two-fisted, hard-grafting.
He loved his family, his sister-in-law a little too much, but
there y’go. Now he’s a human train wreck, slapping his Mum about
(with crack you generally get the first hit for free) and barely
able to control his own saliva. It seems far-fetched to me;
as likely as Phil marrying a Romanian bag lady, turning into
a grass, having a wuss son or nearly marrying a stuck-up solicitor
he’d never even kissed. Oh yeah. He did all that as well.
*WHY make Phil a cocaine addict? Well it couldn’t be Max.
In that live episode he forgot his line.
LOVED Benedict Cumberpatch as Holmes; my only Sherlock moans
are: 1) Just three episodes? WHY? Even The Deep got five and
that wouldn’t sparkle if they dipped the scripts in Lourdes
spring water. 2) The casting of Moriarty as a camp, Irish git
– sort of Graham Not-On. Not so much a criminal mastermind as
a criminal disappointment.
*A GAY Moriarty! So presumably his interest in Holmes was
alimentary my dear Watson.
*AFTER Sherlock’s success, will the copy-cats at ITV re-jig
the adventures of that other great detective Sexton Blake, with
his sidekicks Tinker and Pedro the bloodhound?
HOT on TV: Sherlock... Rafe Spall (Pete vs Life)... Pauline
Quirke (Emmerdale)...The Heroes of Biggin Hill (Yesterday).
ROT on TV: The Deep – deeply dippy... Grandma’s House – laughter’s
hearse... Inn Mates – I’m out... Four Sons vs Four Daughters
– forlorn, forgettable, forgotten.
*WHY was Alfred Molina cast as Dawn French’s husband? Simple.
He was Doctor Octopus. He’s the only man alive who can get his
arms around her.
*I’VE heard Molina pronounced as Mo-Leaner. And Dawn as Ever-Mo’-Fatter.
*DAVID Cameron, Eton-educated, worth £30mill, says he’s middle
class. In a related story, Hyacinth Bucket has been downgraded
*SIMON Amstell? Great catty pop quiz host, lousy actor. His
defenders say that Jerry Seinfeld couldn’t act either, but Seinfeld
was the finest US sitcom ever written. Grandma’s House honks
like Grandpa’s pants.
SMALL joys of TV: Panto horse racing (BB). Corin in jodhpurs.
Gerrard’s goals. Lewis (Corrie) – a diamond geezer, in the Liberian
bastard sense. Deirdre’s cctv shame. Les Dawson clips (Heroes
of Comedy). Phil Mitchell (Enders) – cracking me up.
RANDOM irritations: Tonight’s The Night – especially when
gurning loon Barrowman drags some poor sod up from the audience,
tells their tale of woe and then sings at them. Haven’t they
WOULD have reviewed The Unforgettable Bob Monkhouse, but forgot
to Sky+ it... Seriously, ITV did the great man proud, even if
Bob had no time for at least two of the people billed as his
friends. The BBC treated the master comedian appallingly at
the end, refusing to re-run his sparkling On The Spot series
because it contained topical gags (not that it stops them repeating
HIGNFY...) Bob was hurt and frustrated, but for trend-obsessed
TV bosses he’d committed the ultimate crime. He’d got old.
*QUESTION arising from Simon Cowell going topless: would a
bisexual girlfriend be turned on or off by man boobs?
*FATHER & secret son: Angelos (Shooting Stars) and Fabio Capello?
AUG 8. A MISTRESS, as we all know, is something that
comes between a mister and a mattress. BBC1’s Mistresses is
nowhere near as much fun. It’s like Desperate Housewives without
the wit, or Sex & The City without soft porn and the Manhattan
backdrop. In short, it’s dull; the plots are dreary, the men
are wetter than The Deep, and the women deserve everything they
There’s Siobhan, once a married lawyer who got knocked up
by her boss. Her wimp husband took her back, and the little
slut rewarded him by nipping out for hotel room-servicing from
wealthy strangers she picked up in bars. Unsurprisingly she
is now single.
Gormless GP Katie shagged her married, dying patient and mercy-killed
him (she’s Shipman in chiffon). She then slept with his son
and was lucky just to get suspended for a year. Last series
she cheated on her new fella with a married doctor. Misery ensued.
Trudi had her heart broken by her hubby who faked his own
death to get away from the tedious bitch. She moved in with
equally boring single dad Richard but sampled salami with deli
dude Lucas, losing any sympathy we may have had for her. Finally
there’s Jessica, who’s just a tramp: multiple mistress, lesbian
fling, open marriage experiment... this girl has dropped more
flies than Rentokil. She’s also a good ten to fifteen years
younger than the rest; so why has she been hanging around with
these drips since her teens? We’re never told.
The Mistresses returned for a third series on Thursday, arriving
at Katie’s stony-faced and miserable – so no change there. The
action started six months earlier and the big twist is none
of them is cheating – yet. Clearly they soon will be. Wet Richard
is sniffing around Katie; baker Trudi has a wealthy investor
who wants to cream her cup-cakes. (She needs his dough; he wants
to knead her baps.) Jessica’s love rat hubby Mark is as slippery
as a well-oiled Mandelson and Siobhan has two weeks to stop
ex-love Dom marrying Chris Patten’s daughter, Alice.
There’s some relief from Joanna Lumley as Katie’s ice-cold
witch of a Mum; but little fun watching four apparently bright
professional boilers repeatedly cock up their pampered lives.
Some women viewers find Mistresses “liberating”. The odd stray
male viewer is simply thinking: what order would I do them in?
(Answer: Shelley Conn first, second and third).
*IF cake-maker Trudi bedded Chris and Richard would it be
a meringue a trois?
THE submarine crashed on The Deep. That’s what happens when
the captain’s a Minnie Driver. This may be the funniest BBC
comedy since Bonekickers. Unfortunately it’s supposed to be
a drama. Essentially, The Deep is Cold Feet meets The Abyss
after a lobotomy. Pretty people populate the world’s most spacious
sub. Their mission is to find out what became of James Nesbitt’s
missus (if they’d stayed home they’d have seen her on Mistresses).
Goran from ER almost dies retracing her doomed journey only
for Minnie to wake him from a coma by threatening to tell his
wife they’ve been at it. (Yes, exploring a mysterious crevice,
he’d felt a swell and it was “Up periscope!”) I’d like to see
Minnie’s technique used on Holby: “We’re losing him, doctor!”
“Quick nurse, tell him if he doesn’t pull through you’ll post
his STI history on Facebook!” The casting is crazy; the dialogue
nuts. But we’re 2000 feet under the Arctic Ocean and There’s
Something Nasty Down There. It’s big and scary enough to merit
a sinister government hit-man coming along for the ride. What
though? I can’t be sure, but we’ve not seen Ann Widdecombe on
TV for a while...
*LOOKS like Lewis is gearing up for the Deirdre Barlow Handicap
Stakes on Corrie. It’s an unusual event. The nag isn’t widely
fancied - the jockey wears the blinkers - but at least the going
is good and firm, thanks to Viagra. For an Each Way Bet, see
HOT on TV: Pete Versus Life... Getting On... Mongrels (BBC3)...
Jessica Ennis... Glenn Martin DDS (Sky1).
ROT on TV: The Deep – give it Das Boot... Roger & Val Have
Just Got In – good for them, wake us up when they’re funny...
Mistresses – failing to put the spin in spinster.
*SO let’s get this right. We’ve got Mistresses without sex,
sitcoms that aren’t funny (Roger & Val, Rev) and a Saturday
Night line-up that dies on its arse until ITV starts showing
us clips of Proper Entertainers. Sherlock aside, British TV
is tanking like the Pakistani cricket team at Edgbaston. The
least bosses could do is re-commission Comedy Playhouse and
revive the Audience With format for our many much-loved but
under-used mainstream variety acts.
*IN soaps it’s always the little people who get hurt. But
enough about Phil Mitchell slapping Peggy...
*MEMO to Peg: you don’t need to trash the Vic to put people
off buying it. Just post the crime stats on the net: three landlords
murdered, a rape, arson, armed gang raids... Happy Hour here
lasts 60 seconds.
*So Bianca hasn’t had it off for two months. Perhaps Ricky
has lost his ear-plugs. Bee is a loud woman. Can you imagine
the kind of noise she’d make on orgasm? It’d sound like a soccer
riot in a monkey house.
*ODD. Watching Mitchell & Webb I swear that I heard the laugh-track
yawning. The laughter isn’t so much canned as conned.
HOT not on TV: Jim Jeffries (Bohemia tent, Sonisphere) – makes
Frankie Boyle seem tasteful. And saucy magician Kokov whose
amazing Russian Roulette routine and uncanny ability to discern
the colour of women’s underwear would certainly brighten up
RANDOM irritations: self-obsessed Naomi Campbell. Sam Pepper
– as pleasant as a pepper spray facial; his attitude stinks
like Josie’s garlic pillow. Groundhog Day scheduling of duff
shows like Antiques Master. Alan Titchmarsh, celebrity interviewer
– he blows more smoke up a star’s backside than a chain-puffing
SMALL joys of TV: Kenny Everett clips (Heroes of Comedy).
Iron Maiden live (Scuzz). The cruel but hysterical Jeremy Beadle
gag on Mongrels. The Jesse James gang whipping Al Capone’s arse
on Deadliest Warrior.
SEPARATED at birth: Bono and Leonard Hofstadter (The Big Bang
Theory), one a maladjusted short-arsed geek who always makes
you laugh; the other a character in a US sitcom. Runners-up:
Gregg Wallace and the Michelin Man.
*SO, Newly-weds: The One Year Itch... not to be confused with
One Night Stand and The Two Week Itch, as seen on The Hospital.
*JOSH on being a virgin bridegroom: “It’s so hard...” Yeah.
And it sticks out a mile. (© Donald McGill)
*TELLY Fact: the first-ever cloned cow was Cilla Battersby-Brown.
AUG 1st. THE biggest mystery about the new Sherlock
Holmes is the real name of its star. What kind of sadist calls
their kid Benedict Cumberpatch? He sounds like a character Kenneth
Williams would have played in an old Radio 4 comedy. You half
expected to see J. Peasmold Gruntfuttock in the credits too.
But what an actor! Cumbo’s performance is dazzling, and the
show’s a smash. Writers Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have boldly
updated Conan Doyle’s master detective to modern London. Out
have gone the deerstalker, the pipe and the cocaine; in have
come texting, Aspergers’ and a three-patch nicotine addiction.
Today’s Holmes is a genius who is also more barking than a
kennel full of Baskerville hounds. “I am not a psychopath,”
he tells a disapproving cop. “I’m a high-functioning sociopath.”
He’s closer in feel to Dr Cal on Lie To Me or The Mentalist
than Basil Rathbone or Peter Cushing. He’s still based at 221b
Baker Street, but now his side-kick Watson (Martin Freeman)
is a discharged army surgeon with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Holmes is an awkward bugger too, subverting CID press conferences
with texts. No wonder Plod don’t like him.
The central theme - genius sleuth solves crime through power
of deduction – is unchanged. The first case involved a dying
cab driver playing homicidal mind-games with his victims. His
logic was a bit long-winded (unusual, a London cabbie going
round the houses.) But the episode had wit, dark humour and
the mental agility of Derren Brown. It introduced Holmes’s spook
brother, his landlady Mrs Hudson (“I'm not your housekeeper,
you know”) and made the first mention of his arch-nemesis Moriarty.
It also visualized Sherlock’s thought processes, so we slow-witted
souls could all keep up.
The show is much more in keeping with the true spirit of Sherlock
than Guy Ritchie’s ridiculous movie version (The Minging Detective?);
and far superior to the Beeb’s last attempt to revive the character
with Rupert Everett as Holmes - so washed-out he looked like
he needed a blast of the crack-pipe just to get out of bed.
My verdict? Complementary, my dear Watson.
*A LONDON cabbie was the psycho-killer. And here’s what really
hurt – while he did it, he left the meter running.
*I’LL never forget An Audience With Freddie Starr. I couldn’t.
I needed counselling. I was traumatized. Fred strapped me up
and made me think he was hurling knives at me while Janet Street-Porter
screamed “Kill him!” in a voice that could have torn the testicles
off of a Rottweiler. I still bear the mental scars. Starr, who
was always volatile, rehearsed a whole new routine for his second
Audience With but changed his mind on the night and went into
his blue club act instead. Right then, if ITV’s Nigel Lythgoe
had access to his knives, hamsters could have eaten Freddie.
*WHEN exactly did weeping sores become a badge of honour?
The Hospital introduced us to a procession of swaggering idiots
who glowed with pride about their STDs. These shameless birdbrains
had unprotected sex with ‘randoms’ and then strutted off to
the NHS for a free cure. The boys were full of bravado. “I've
had lots of guys thinking they can ask me out after I've treated
their genital warts,” said nurse Steph McMillan, one of the
unflappable staff. It costs tax-payers £1billion a year to treat
STDs. Why? If some condom-dodging dimwit catches dose after
dose, let him pay his own bill. Or at the very least, let’s
insist that the doctor who treats him is old and doddery, and
that he carries a rusty saw in one shaky hand and a book on
penile amputation in the other.
HOT on TV: Sherlock – ideal Holmes... Portia De Rossi (Better
Off Ted)... Kathleen Turner (Californication).
ROT on TV: Mitchell & Webb – they are to comedy writing what
Enders is to social realism... The Old Guys – lamer than an
unlucky base-jumper... Kevin Bridges – someone else Scotland
has released too soon.
*JOHN Stape may evade the cops on Corrie, but there’s no way
he’ll escape the bin-men. If it’s £100 for putting a coke can
in with food waste, how much will they fine him for a corpse?
*RUPERT Everett’s ancestors included a rogue stockbroker,
a run-away seaman and a colonial officer... all a damn sight
more interesting than he is.
*BULL-fights are getting banned yet we can still see a cock
fight on ITV2. But enough about Alex Reid.
* QUICK correction: Ride of My Life on BBC4 was the story
of the bicycle, and not as previously thought Holly Willoughby’s
husband reminiscing about their honeymoon.
*SO 18 Albert Square has a never-mentioned cellar the size
of Ian Beale’s caff. Even more amazing, this underground basement
in a boarded up house is bathed in natural light. It’s a miracle
I tell you; almost as miraculous as Denise’s bladder which held
out for three whole weeks...
* JODIE screamed and bolted when she saw boyfriend Darren’s
uncircumcised todger. Could’ve been worse, mate; she could have
broken it off...
Never mind circumcisions, what Walford needs is a mass vasectomy
*SOAP mysteries: how can those three Fox women be sisters?
They’re about as alike as a Swede, an Algerian and an Eskimo.
Why didn’t Walford plod follow up on Denise’s abandoned 999
call? If Jodie is so Jewish what was she doing eating quiche?
RANDOM irritations: Big Brother ‘walkers’ being rewarded with
TV interviews – they should be fined for time-wasting and permanently
banned from our screens. Rubbish cooks on Celebrity MasterChef
– some of these Muppets would be hard-pushed to fry an egg.
Alan Titchmarsh talking about anything other than gardening.
Why do ITV insist on pushing this smug, pug-ugly bore down our
SMALL joys of TV: Top Gun Tom Cruise topping the Top Gear
leader board. Dr Legg in the Daz advert. And Reynholm describing
Heston Blumenthal’s grub (IT Crowd): “I ate a chocolate radio
that still worked in my stomach and a chicken that was actually
a glass of water.”
SEPARATED at birth: Ian Hislop and world’s smallest man ‘Well’
Huang Kaijang – one a tiny, balding irritant with an unpopular
organ, the other a Chinaman.