Aug 21. OVER on Big Brother, celebrity simpleton Amy Childs
was filling in Jedward about fellow housemate Sally Bercow.
“I think she owns the House of Commons,” Amy explained. “She
owns it with her husband.” Ah, that’ll be Mr. Speaker, John
Bercow, MP. “What’s an MP?” asked one of Jedward. (Good question.
In my experience, Mostly Plasticine...)
There’s no mistaking this show for Great Thinkers of the 21st
Century but it’s delivered more laughs in two days than the
entire series of Show Me The Funny. Highlights have included
Bonkers Bercow discussing feminism with Paddy Doherty, and poor
befuddled Tara Reid trying to make sense of what anyone else
was saying. She couldn’t have looked more baffled if she’d stumbled
into the bar on Babylon 5 without a universal translator. After
just ten minutes with Paddy and Kerry Katona, she was slurring
like Kerry on This Morning - although that might just have been
the tranquillisers kicking in.
And just when you thought things couldn’t get any madder,
Mohammad Al-Fayed rolled up yesterday dressed as a Pharaoh to
give them all the (Cleopatra’s) needle.
Some viewers were puzzled by the booking of Bobby Sabel –
yes, THE Bobby Sabel – and assumed producers Endemol were making
like Gerald Depardieu and taking the piss in public. But surely
booking Darryn Lyons is even more ridiculous. The self-styled
‘Mr Paparazzi’ looks exactly like Mel Smith when he dressed
up to play a punk on Not The Nine O’Clock News. A bad joke.
This format is stronger than any questionable contestant, though.
Statuesque Sally is a great wild card whose appearance could
well scupper her marriage and her husband’s career. (A shame
– he winds up the Coalition). Pam Bach-Hasselhoff looks likely
to be loopy too. “I’m Knockers,” she told fellow housemates.
(Hasn’t d-cup dimbo Amy got more right to that nickname?) And
surely it won’t be too long before Kerry is telling Lyons to
poke his camera where Kinga Karolczak didn’t stick her wine
bottle? I’m not sure if Al-Fayed will inspire anyone to join
the Nile High Club but there is more potential for meltdown
here than in a d-i-y Sudanese power plant.
*JOHN Bercow wouldn’t do CBB. It’s beneath him. He’s hanging
on for Seven Dwarves...
*Alleged celeb Lucien is described as being “from Waterloo
Road”. Not the show, the bus depot.
*Flash Frankie was the first to audition on X Factor last
night, and the first to my knowledge to show the judges his
backside. The teenage Jack the Lad has tattoos of all of his
conquests across his bum cheeks. He sang ‘Valerie’, who isn’t
there yet, and was voted through immediately – not the first
time Louis has eagerly said yes to a young hopeful baring his
buttocks. Walsh is the only old-school judge left. Kelly and
Tulisa are already better value than Danni and Cheryl; and Gary
Barlow has slipped effortlessly into the Simon Cowell role.
He has the same honesty, without the grating god complex. Gary
alone was unimpressed by Chinese crackpot Goldie who draped
a leg over his shoulder, and is known henceforth as Goldie No-Horn.
Or Tina Stomach-Turner. She also showed the judges her posterior,
bending over to do up her laces. So, on show one, we got two
bums... and an arsehole. Take a bow George, a fog-horn voiced
moron who abused Tulisa and provoked Kelly into Chelsea Shed
‘who-wants-it?’ gestures. And you never got that with Nina Myskow.
* BUM note: the hidden cameras ITV has set up in the make-up
room. That’s just creepy.
EXCITING times on EastEnders where Vanessa was runaway winner
of last week’s ‘Who’s Crazier than Mad Jean?’ contest. Cut-up
over Max’s betrayal, the poor love screamed like a banshee and
smashed up her home. What a performance! At one point Vanessa
became so agitated her hair almost moved. I can’t have been
the only one watching these extraordinary scenes thinking, “I
wish Harry Hill was back on.” Or indeed, all this for a bloke
who looks like a human baked bean? Max treated her with a degree
of love and tenderness normally associated with the Gallagher
brothers or Joey Barton. If she’d played join-the-dots with
the freckles on his chest, they’d have actually spelt: ‘Piss
off Vanessa.’ Now she’s taking cash to come on to Eddie. But
why does she need money so desperately? Her old man was loaded.
We can only assume her assets are frozen. It’d certainly explain
why Max went back to Tanya.
C4’s Sex Education Show asked us to consider the practice
of sexting. This is where people (teenagers, Ashley Cole, US
politicians) text women they’ve just met naked pictures of their
genitals. And they say romance is dead. I suppose in the old
days they’d have just asked her to trace it. Let’s hope Richard
Arnold never does this. No-one wants to see his vagina.
HOT on TV: Wilfred (BBC3)... Kelly Rowland (X Factor)... Celebrity
Big Brother (C5) – the horror, the horror!
ROT on TV: Anyone For Demis? - NO... Lewis – DC Listless...
Tonight’s The Night – we go out... Sue Perkins on Bake-Off –
although in fairness there’s always been something about her
that cried out master baker.
*MOST ideas on Dragons’ Den stink like that indoor toilet
for dogs. But when a true visionary comes on – like Dan who
wanted companies to provide unlimited booze for employees for
£15 a week – they blank him. If only he’d got them tipsy first...
I mean, how hammered must Peter Jones have been when he invested
*UNRELIABLE booze secrets of Dragons’ Den: Hilary’s shoulder-pads
contain working optics and a fag dispenser. Evan Davis’s ‘Prince
Albert’ is actually a bottle opener...
*EVERY hour spent watching TV takes 22 minutes off your life,
a study suggests. At that rate, by my reckoning I died in April
*I’M shocked, I’m appalled. That’s 22 minutes I could have
wasted on Twitter.
*THE Glorious 39. Not to be confused with Kelly Brook. She’s
a glorious 34E.
RANDOM irritations: Sky’s lifeless football commentators –
come back Andy Gray all is forgiven. Led Zep riffs on X Factor.
Torchwood: badly-written, poorly-acted, pointlessly stretched
out ham. Miracle Day? The miracle will be the day it ends.
Small Joys of TV: Max (Seven Dwarves). Dame Edna. Tess Daly’s
“exorcism” (Shooting Stars). Guerrilla sportsmen on Concrete
Circus – I haven’t seen anything this joyous, beautiful and
potentially dangerous since Pamela Anderson jogged along Baywatch
beach in slo-mo.
BOB Mortimer (Shooting Stars): “True or false, Cheryl Cole’s
music is not as entertaining as her divorce.” True!
*ARE you liking Melanie Sykes’s boob job? She’s Melon-y Sykes
A BIG shock on Corrie: Roy Cropper's full English is still
£2.95 and that includes a cup of splosh. How does he do it?
Other mysteries: has there ever been a show that Jason Manford’s
agent said no to? And why isn't Genesis P-Orridge ever on Psychic
Aug 18. Amy Childs, Jedward, Paddy Doherty, Kerry Katona...
is this Celebrity Big Brother or a Mastermind Convention? Brian
Cox must be kicking himself for missing out on this. The show
is like a cross between an A-list Hollywood party and the Algonquin
round table. We can only imagine the complex issues they’ll
be discussing - largely because most of these no-marks are in
urgent need of subtitles. (And on-screen captioning to remind
who they are). “Catastrophic success” is a term being used about
the Libyan war, meaning we have no idea what fresh nightmares
victory could bring. Similarly there’s no telling what effect
prolonged exposure to these nitwits will have on the British
public. You thought Tottenham was bad. Just wait for the Katona
riots. Some viewers were puzzled by the surprise entrance of
unknowns like Bobby Sabel and Lucien Who-he. I’m more annoyed
that I had to listen to ‘Swagger Jagger’ as Kerry arrived. And
that no-one thought to unsettle Jedward with the surprise addition
of Barrymore in the pool. Or some hungry piranhas. With any
luck, Paddy will tarmac them.
*I’D like to infiltrate the show and announce: “This is Big
Brother, your new housemate is Anders Breivik. You have two
minutes to hide...” Trouble is half of them would think he used
to play for Arsenal.
Aug 14. THE Borgias has sex, violence, depravity and betrayal.
It’s basically the IMF in fancy dress. These guys make The Tudors
look like Girl Scouts. It kicked off in 1492 with suave but
ruthless Rodrigo Borgia (bottom-patting enthusiast Jeremy Irons)
as the man who puts the God in godfather. Rod has the ambition
of Piers Morgan but isn’t quite as detestable.
Despite being a cardinal, he has a bird on the side, and four
love children, including Lucretia (the poisoner). Sadly there
is no Georgia Borgia. When he isn’t lusting and a-thrusting,
he is bribing and bullying in a bid to become Pope. The old
one, Innocent III, is dying in a sea of wickedness. “Which of
you will wash it clean?” he gasps. (Dirty boy). Certainly not
Borgia, who swiftly has rival Derek Jacobi topped. Those Ten
Commandments, so passé don’tcha think?
Elevated to Pope Alexander, he immediately takes another mistress.
Imagine that confession: “Father, I have sinned...and you were
great!” You wouldn’t be too surprised if he opens the first
Vatican lap-dancing club. But on the plus side at least no-one
has molested a choir boy. Yet.
The Borgias are ruthless and powerful, a family who bend the
rules, achieve much and are suspected of getting away with considerably
more – a kind of 15th century version of the Murdochs. Under
threat from holy rivals, Rod recruits his eldest sons to the
firm. Sicko Cesare, who has a thing for his 12-year-old sister,
Lucrezia, is made a cardinal, brother Juan gets to run the Papal
armies. And poor Lucrezia is married off to horrible middle-aged
Giovanni Sforza who rapes her. Nice. It’s the everyday story
of utter bastards. It’s not Spartacus, but the show is already
more gripping than wash-out Camelot with its drippy king, magic-free
Merlin, ham acting and daft dialogue. And it’s ten times better
than the Beeb’s ropy 1981 version, said to have killed off costume
drama for a decade.
*JEREMY Irons says women like having their bums patted, but
what they enjoy even more, Jel, is having their breasts honked
like horns. Try it on Janet Street-Porter. She’ll love it.
EXPERT Joy got very excited about that sperm whale on Inside
Nature’s Giants. “Look at the penis, it’s coming out!” she squealed.
It was hard to miss - it was the size of a baby seal. “It’s
completely flexible,” Joy enthused. “A penis that can penetrate
from about any position.” Talk about Moby dick! We call it the
Ryan Giggs, she sadly didn’t add. No wonder female whales do
so much long, low moaning.
HAS TV comedy ever been as joyless as it is now? BBC1’s My
Favourite Joke is about as much use as showing looters the Naughty
Step. Viewing figures for ITV’s feeble Show Me The Funny are
dipping like a champion pick-pocket. While John Bishop seems
to have run out of material entirely and is coasting through
his depressingly lazy show by remembering things. Vinyl singles,
semolina, rickets...those were the days... Funnily enough I
remember when Bishop didn’t need to rely on lazy nostalgia,
a cranked-up laugh track, and the mundane memories of people
we don’t give two hoots about. When Saturday night telly was
worth watching. And Runcorn accents sounded less absurdly exaggerated.
*AT least Shooting Stars is back - a gloriously barking, laugh-out-loud
barrage of nonsense with its roots in the Goons, cartoons and,
judging by those tights, Max Wall. Let there be no end to your
HOT on TV: Shooting Stars... Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie)...
ROT on TV: Let’s Do Lunch – only if you use the Lucretia Borgia
cook book... Camelot – yawn-a-lot... John Bishop’s Britain –
the London riots erupted after show one. Coincidence?
BBC News continued referring to looters as ‘protestors’ long
after TV footage proved otherwise. Like many an aging revolutionary,
they were desperate to give “the uprising” (Lee Jasper) a right-on
spin. But these opportunist thieves, arsonists and thugs – children
of the dependency culture - were not interested in storming
any Bastille. In his blue print for the Welfare State, Beveridge
wrote of the ‘abolition of want’. It partially worked. Kids
don’t want a job or responsibility any more but they still want
a plasma screen telly, as long as they don’t have to pay for
*NO riot down my way – there’s nothing here to loot. There
are so many boarded-up windows in our high street the window
cleaners use sanders.
*ONE in four people has made love at work, according to The
Sex Education Show. Must be fun in casinos: “I see that, and
I raise it...”
*ONE of the judges on the Canadian version of Dragons’ Den
is known as Mr Lube, which I believe is also Hayley Cropper’s
bedroom pet name for Royston.
*LOVED Morgan on Camelot. Imagine being married to a shape-changer.
You could bed a different woman every night without ever cheating.
Problems would only arise when you fall out and she sentences
you to spend a fortnight with Harriet Harman.
*JUNE Brown, 84, is the oldest person ever to trace her ancestry
on the licence payers’ bill. Any older and they’d have had to
have called the show, Who Did You Think You Were Dear? Have
a word with Sister, she’ll remind you.
*MAX will break Vanessa’s heart on EastEnders. No surprise
there. The man has let down more women than Sex & The City 2.
*WOULD Jack really object to Max’s affair with Tanya on moral
grounds? And not, say, because the mad cow BURIED HIM ALIVE?
*IT was Cockney night in the Queen Vic. They had pie, mash
and eels. But where was the pudding? No idea, Heather’s been
missing for yonks.
*AFTER C4 celebrated some of the best of 90s comedy, let’s
proudly salute the worst: It’s Ulrika, Brighton Belles, Eddie
*MAN Utd beat City because they wear red, claimed Horizon.
OK, now explain Charlton Athletic’s last five seasons.
RANDOM irritations: Marcia, Corrie’s ‘comedy’ transvestite
– make it stop! Sarah Beeny, cliché queen. My Favourite Joke.
What kind of idiot commissions a show about jokes where the
gags are constantly interrupted by talking heads? Clearly one
who doesn’t know that the secret to comedy is. Timing.
Small Joys of TV: beach volley ball practice sessions. Max
Branning always sounding like he’s wearing high heels. It’s
Marty Feldman. James Martin being the butt of Vic & Bob’s jokes,
or rather his butt being the butt.
SERIES four of Baywatch is out on DVD. What a show! A billion
people watched it and the only production costs were sun-tan
lotion, swimming costumes and a handful of silicone implants.
Quite a handful though...
*MORE new names for Candy Bar Girls: Even Looser Women, Ate
Out Of Ten Tw*ts, Butch Cavity & The Lap-Dance Kid...
Aug 8. By heck, it’s Cruella De Till! Hilary Devey’s debut
on Dragons’ Den sparked 101 comparisons to the cold-hearted
Disney villainess. All over Britain, blueprints for Dalmatian
skinning devices and puppy-napping machines were hastily drawn
up to pitch on future shows. But Hils isn’t Cruella at all.
She’s easily the most human dragon here. When one woman got
tongue-tied and flustered in the middle of her pitch, and the
others started rolling their eyes and tutting like soap opera
drama queens, Hilary was quick to encourage her. She actually
cares about the poor sods and their small dreams.
Hurricane Hilary arrived sporting vast white Alexis Carrington-style
shoulder-pads as big as Pete Jones’s head. She looked more interesting
than James Caan had ever done before she’d even said a word.
And when she did speak – in a voice like Jack Duckworth on sixty
roll-ups a day – I liked her even more. She told one obvious
time-waster: “Ooh, you would make my foot itch, you would.”
And showcased her catchphrase, “Where there’s muck, there’s
luck.” Hilary made her millions distributing pallets. Possibly
manually. She seems as down-to-earth as she is warm and smart.
It’s hard to imagine her blowing £75K on Hamfatter.
Most of the pitches stank like Fish Town. The lamest was the
‘sit and slim’ chair. You sit down, listen to a tape, and lose
weight. Of course you do. But unless the message was ‘Oi, fatty,
drop the chip butty and go for a run’ it was likely to work
as well as the Euro bail-out. What next, smoke your way to full
I liked Chilean circus act Rodrigo, the human cannonball.
“What are the projected figures?” asked Hilary. Sadly, he didn’t
think to reply “Me!” (Even sadder, no-one else said, “You’re
fired!”) Perhaps afraid he was being upstaged, Duncan threw
a hissy fit when a roofer with a booming solar panel business
tried to trade rival dragons off against each other – like any
businessman would. The guy should count himself lucky that grumpy
Duncy didn’t put a price on his head. Or even worse, his hair
*DUNCAN Bannatyne offered £50,000 to anyone who breaks the
arms of an internet blackmailer. Shame Theo didn’t offer to
split the money in return for 51 per cent control of the pain...
*THAT human cannonball, do you think he gets air miles?
*ALI pitched the Warm-a-horn covering for brass instruments.
They could do with Warn-a-horn in Weatherfield, a device for
drunken men that sounds an alarm if aroused in the vicinity
of a passing transvestite.
THE Panorama booze special was disturbing; I needed ten pints
of Stella to get to sleep after that. TV health warnings are
now so OTT you’d think one sniff of a barmaid’s apron could
make your liver implode ten years down the line. What tosh.
Excessive drinking is a risk, of course, but puritanical scare-mongering
isn’t the answer. The best way to encourage sensible drinking
is to slash the duty on beer. That would hit spirit sales, revive
our struggling pubs and boost the economy. Cheers!
GAIL was happily singing Firework on Corrie - until she realised
her darling son had brought home an old banger. Becky and Nick
were always destined to last as long as a Poundland Catherine
wheel, but her brief ride on his pocket rocket was enough to
light Steve’s touch-paper. He called up Beth, once a glamorous
model, for a date. Ten years on, she looked more like Mimi Maguire,
and her blob of a son was a malignant joy. Remember when the
Street was always this much fun?
*CORRIE “reflects modern concerns”, claim ITV. Yes, but only
when it suits them. We’ll see Jennie McAlpine on Inside The
Actors Studio before we get a storyline about northern grooming
gangs or the EU. Once the soap covered strikes and CND; now
the only issue they care about is sexuality. They’ve had seven
gay characters recently in one backstreet, plus ‘Marcia’ and
Hayley. Obsessive, or what? Yet outside of media and political
circles, experts estimate that only one in 100 people is homosexual
– the same percentage as wife-swappers. More people have tried
bondage. Imagine if today’s writers had got their claws into
Ena and Minnie, happen things would have got a lot snugger in
that snug. Tongues would wag. Probably.
*IF you have a Hayley-style operation and it doesn’t work,
do you go off half-cocked?
*IMAGINE if she’d had a skin-full and woke up forgetting she’d
had the op... I get flustered when I can’t find my car keys.
*THE BBC is accused of portraying a tribe as violent, sex-crazed
savages. Well, that’s EastEnders for you.
HOT on TV: Hilary Devey (Dragons’ Den)... Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay
(Entourage)... Mob Stories (Sky Atlantic).
ROT on TV: Summer telly – duller than Ed Miliband’s holiday
reading... Sky One’s supermarket sitcom Trollied – eight jokes
or fewer... The Hour – its ratings are collapsing like an asthmatic
*SOOTY has apologised for dropping Paul Daniels with a pizza.
But will Paul exercise his right to Soo? Izzy, wizzy, let’s
*WHY all the fuss? It was about time Sooty picked on someone
his own size.
*YOU know what’s worse than seeing a skiving policewoman on
Total Wipeout? Seeing your Gran naked on The Sex Education Show.
*HEATHER Mills is back! Falling Skies has probably convinced
her there was room on TV for another terrifying predator with
*THE USA has Cowboys & Aliens. C5’s Thursday night line-up
trumps that: Cowboys & Lesbians.
*YOU lose 250 calories every time you make love, say C4. Not
bad. If you’re Hugh Hefner that’s 125 calories a second. Allegedly.
(Most fellas burn 50 calories making love and 200 calories begging
ON EastEnders, Janine has got more spare cash than Obama,
Ian is lying like a William Hague press release and Roxy is
snogging Tyler. Wooden acting must really turn her on. Am I
the only one who cares about Frank the parrot? He didn’t even
last as long as poor Corky. Will he end up in Masood’s massalla?
Janine doesn’t seem that bothered. But then she’s no stranger
to a cockatoo.
*GREAT Walford critters remembered: Wellard the dog, Baby
the cat, Marge the hamster, Crush the snake, Chops the pig,
Mercy the moose...
*PHIL on Marriage Ref said he ghost-hunts cos “it’s unpredictable”.
Yeah, he hunts ghosts, he never finds one. Totally unpredictable.
Random Irritations: the Chicago Code getting cancelled. The
laziness of John Bishop’s Britain. That My Life As A Turkey
wasn’t the Nick Clegg story.
Small Joys of TV: Stephen King on Sons Of Anarchy. Paz de
la Huerta (Boardwalk Empire) – foxier than J-Lo’s fur coat.
Gas men Kyle and Charlie (Undercover Boss) – funnier than most
TV comics. Timeshift on funfairs. And this Sherlock exchange:
“Meretricious”, “And a happy new year.”
FATHER & secret son: TV’s Charlie Slater and Peter Stead -
one a fat waste-of-space with an iffy track record, the other
a creep exposed by Crimestoppers. One most wanted, the other
*TV name of the week: Rudi Lickwood (wasn’t that also Gillian