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Aug 30. Let the madness begin, Simon Cowell commanded as The X Factor returned. And out came game old bird Susan Pryce, 60, poking her posterior at the audience and gleefully slapping a buttock along to No Limits. No-no, no-no-no-no indeed. Naturally they put her through. There's a Mission Impossible theme this year, with Cowell instructing new hosts Olly Murs and Caroline Flack to "find us some proper stars". Yeah, like Chico, Wagner, Frankie Cocozza, Goldie Cheung and Stevi Ritchie (the joke that won't die)... all the greats. Cue Caroline legging it from a naked hunk in a changing room, possibly a first.


Dodgy duo Man & Woman were the obligatory "so bad they want locking up" act. Out of tune and out of time, the tone-deaf twosome murdered You Are Not Alone with shambolic ineptitude. Not alone? They'd clear a dance floor faster than tear gas. They also revived unfortunate memories of I Can't Sing, the X Factor stage-show flop that lost Cowell £4million last year. He's unearthed more proper chirpers than usual, mind. Like gospel singer Jennifer Phillips who stormed through a cracking version of Shackles. Surely not the same Jennifer Phillips who Blues & Soul mag dubbed "Britain's answer to Lauryn Hill" over a decade ago? Dental receptionist Lauren Murray, 25, also impressed, and show-closer ditzy blonde Louisa Johnson, 17, from Essex with her big bluesy voice is a dead cert for the final.


Jon Goodey, Olly's old singing partner, drew the humiliation card. Jittery Jon did an okay version of Counting Stars but clearly lacks Olly's charisma. All four judges slated him, even nice Rita Ora, almost as if he'd been set up to fail... Surely Cowell wouldn't countenance that kind of jiggery-pokery? We have new judges and presenters but The X Factor formula – bum notes, false dreams, delusion and cynicism – remains the same. As do the judging clichés – "four fat Yeses" and "a billion per cent yes" were back, along with Cheryl's "a little superstar" for Louisa. And the hopeful who looks hopeless but comes good – politics student Tom. No dead or dying relatives yet. But on the plus side no Louis Walsh or Dermot O'Dreary either.


NITWIT Nazi sympathiser Tila Tequila was kicked out of Celebrity Big Brother, which means we've lost the woman most likely to bed James Hill and then invade Poland. But if you want unreasonable views and dictatorial attitudes, we've still got Janice Dickinson. On Friday Bobby Davro defeated the Yank mega-gob to become house Prime Minister. Imagine that, a joke figure spieling unbelievable lines running the show. It's just like... real life. The theme is UK versus the USA...isn't it always? But instead of Stallone's mum, Gary Busey or "Ebola in human form" Perez Hilton representing the Septic Tanks we've got Austin Armacost and Farrah Abraham! Woo! I've no idea either, unless Farrah's father was in the Smurfs. But the stroppy dimwit has already clashed with Natasha Hamilton. Yeah, we've got Tash from Atomic Kitten, they've got bubonic mutton in faded porn star Jenna Jameson – watch her turn the air blue. Emma Willis is by far the hottest woman on the show. Obscure Yanks and X Factor losers made it look initially like the worst cast house this side of the Lords, but explosions seem assured. Let's hope Chris Ellison goes Burnside on someone's arse, Sherrie Hewson has a melt-down. And James gets Fatman Scoop singing Wheels On The Bus...


*THAT CBB sign 'Open 24/7', is it in honour of Jenna's legs?


*STROPPY dimwit Farrah was once 16 & Pregnant. Or as Faye Windass calls her, a late starter.


KIRSTIE Alley thought being a hooker would pay better than being a maid in Elizabethan times. "All I have to do is pour beer and show my breasts", the actress told Time Crashers; displaying an unorthodox idea of what prostitution entails. At 64 though maybe Kirstie ought to stick to pouring ale; sawdust rash can play havoc with the nipples.


*THEY washed clothes in urine back then. Imagine if we did that now. Lance Armstrong's could be marketed as "performance enhancing". Pete Doherty's would bear the warning: drink in moderation.


HOT on TV: Narcos (Netflix)... The Strain (Watch)... Keri Russell, The Americans... Nora Arnezeder, Zoo.


ROT on TV: Farrah Abraham – not so sweet FA... Fried (BBC3) – should be toast... Time Crashers – crashing bores.


ANCIENT Roman gladiator fans fought and killed rivals, according to A Brief History Of Graffiti. They weren't big on jokes, though. At least British graffiti of the 70s had punch-lines. "Free George Davis" was often followed by "with every packet of Kellogg's". "Thatcher out" was topped with "LBW Alderman". The classic round my way was "Jesus saves... Hales scores on the rebound".


*POOR Shabnam's baby was still-born on EastEnders, just like Maria's on Corrie; and not long after Ronnie's cot-death loss. Little Hope's doomed too. Isn't it distasteful to use tragic tots as cheap melodrama? Yes they did it sensitively, and yes it happens but so do many things that soaps rarely touch like S&M, self-improvement, recreational cannabis use and commuting to work. It's lazy and unimaginative.


*WHAT was Dickie Ticker's joke about the lesbian at the doctors which annoyed Tina? The "you are what you eat" one or the prescription for depression: tridikagen? Typical Enders. They can't even bring in a comedian without making him a bitter loser.


*MASOOD had two birds, Billy Mitchell remains the antidote to female Viagra.


*I'M all set for Strictly's return. I've got Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sky Movies...


*SHOW Me A Hero? Sling me a remote.


*ISLAMIC fundamentalist reality show: Strictly No Dancing (Goodness Gracious Me).


*DOWNTON Abbey became 'Darn Tunabe' on BBC News subtitles. Good but not as funny as last year's revelation that 2014 was "the Chinese year of the whores".


SMALL Joys of TV: Big Benefits Wedding Live. Corrie's Callum going down like the Chinese stock exchange. Bolt beating Gatlin – twice. Simon Cowell's beard, does he call it Sinitta?


RANDOM irritations: the dreary Strictly line-up. ITV reheating Cold Feet. The utter feebleness of Mountain Goats. The Top Ten alleged "funniest jokes" from Edinburgh – mostly piss-poor puns.


*NEVER mind the Met Office, why do the Beeb employ so many weather forecasters? I'd scrap every patronising one of them. Fishermen and farmers need detailed reports; the rest of us could just as easily look out the window.


SEPARATED at birth: Muslim drag queen Imran and Julie Burchill?


TV mysteries: does 24 Hours In A&E include the 22 hours waiting to be seen? Did they ever catch the Hamburglar? And what will come first, the end of the Lucy Beale story-line, Yentob's resignation or the sun turning supernova?



Aug 23. When will ITV's The Saturday Night Story get round to Simon Cowell's Red Or Black? The most expensive flop in UK game-show history cost a whopping £15million and pulled in a miserable 3.8million viewers. But even that trounced Keith Lemon's Lemonaid (1.79m) and Harry Hill's abysmal Stars In Their Eyes (1.86m). Noel's House Party used to get 15million viewers a week... and that's despite Mr Blobby, the bumbling Boris Johnson of his day; arguably the worst virus inflicted on the pop charts until Jedward.


The Saturday Night Story is like a washed-up slob husband trying to save his marriage by getting the wedding pictures out. Look how good we used to be – Barrymore, Blind Date, the Gen Game. Trouble is it just reminds us how much better TV entertainment once was. Then on BBC1: The Two Ronnies, last night Nick Knowles. Then on ITV: Beadle's About, last night Keep It In The Family – Bradley Walsh wasted in a horrible mishmash of stolen ideas. At least Ant & Dec know which bits are worth nicking for their Take-Away...


We still have massive shows of course. Strictly works because it's Come Dancing, a hit for five decades, plus celebrities. BGT/X Factor are variants of the old mega-hits Op Knocks and New Faces, but less successful. What we don't have are new ideas. Well none that works at any rate. BBC1 matched ITV flop for flop with Tumble (2.7m), I Love My Country (2.9m) and Don't Scare The Hare which hopped off with a feeble 1.3m. Shows like this are commissioned by cynical post-graduates with no love for, or understanding of, popular culture – hence the descent into "monkey tennis" territory with tripe like Flockstars. Most ITV entertainment hits now are re-boots of their old hits. Even this documentary series has been done before – and better – by Michael Grade.


Its biggest lie was Amanda Holden's claim that "variety is the backbone of Britain". She knows full well that arrogant TV bosses wrote off variety comics decades ago. All-rounder Brian Conley, who regularly drew 12m plus, is now squandered in a cheap afternoon clip show. Joe Pasquale's 2005 An Audience With won close on 9m viewers but it was Al Murray, who got six, who got a repeat booking. And TV bosses wonder why their variety formats get so-what ratings... They should have called this Saturday Night's All Right For Blighting.


*MORE Saturday night flops: Sing If You Can, Your Face Sounds Familiar, You're Back In The Room, Splash (all ITV); Britain's Brightest, Prized Apart, Passport To Paradise, Secret Fortune (BBC1).


POMPOUS Sir Richard Worlsey was an 18th century politician and addicted voyeur. I guess you'd call him a peephole person. Beautiful bride Seymore wanted to please him in every way. Unfortunately he only wanted to see more of Seymore "playing rantum scantum" (i.e. having sex) with other blokes. Dirty Dick's idea of a good time in the bedroom was to leave it, and watch her have out-of-bodice experiences from outside the door. It was Through The Keyhole but not as Loyd Grossman knew it. More "who'd shag in a bed like this?" The Scandalous Lady W was based on a true story. Back then wives were legally their husband's property – still are in parts of Bradford and Tower Hamlets – so Seymore reluctantly obliged... Until Captain Bisset made the earth move for her and they legged it. Worsley sued for £20K. She had her lawyer call all 26 of her "intimate connections" to court to prove he'd "debased and devalued her". The beak awarded damages of one shilling (5p). Her old man was definitely two bob.


*POOR Seymore. Rantum-sanctum with handsome randoms led to rancid symptoms. And Bisset turned out to be a complete wet gusset.


*HOW did the geezer who played the cello through every steamy session manage to keep his hand steady on his bow?


LIONS rose up against their human persecutors on Zoo, a scenario I like to think of it as Cecil's revenge. Zoologist Jackson Oz sees his pal becomes a "mane" course (sorry). Can he save sexy French tourist Chloe from the beastly uprising? And if a rampant rhino comes at her horn first, could you blame it?


HOT on TV: The Americans (ITV Encore)... Jo Wilson (Sky Sports)... Celeb 15-To-1... David Oyelowo, Nightingale (SkyAt).


ROT on TV: Very British Problems – very lazy telly... Flockstars – shear hell... Top Coppers – Zzzz Cars... Zoo – toothless (unlike the lions.)


CORRIE will top the poll to find ITV's all-time greatest show, although of course it should be Minder or The Sweeney. Not that I'd moan if Auf Wiedersehen Pet won outright. The Avengers, Cracker, The Prisoner, Widows, Prime Suspect, Rising Damp, The Professionals, TV Burp... that's some legacy. Snobs rate Brideshead, but I'd rather watch Fox which isn't even on their list. Who remembers Out, about ex-con Frank Ross; another lost gem from the brilliant Euston Films? They were the HBO of their time.


*AMY Schumer, Mostly Sex Stuff: "I know I make it sound like I'm slutty up here but I've only been with four people... That was a weird night."


*KATHY Beale is looking good for a woman who's been dead ten years. Kath (formerly of Kath's caff) looked shocked when she saw son Ian, largely because the bloke is plainly eight months pregnant. The gut on him! Elsewhere a choked Les Coker confessed to Pam that he'd been "able to open up" to the fragrant Claudette. Claudette opened up for him too, of course. Many, many times.


*BGT have said sorry for their two dog mix-up. Will EastEnders ever apologise for the Mitchell sisters?


*EDINBURGH Festival is offering a transgender Jesus, a stand-up with "bleak outpourings" and a Nigerian cabaret legend "exploring his depression". It makes Cannon and Ball look like comedy gods.


*BEN Shepherd got excited about contestant Louise's "nice top shelf" on Tipping Point. Victoria Coren Mitchell would blow his mind.


*I LIKED "frugal" Lady Jenkin (Britain's Spending Secrets) until I remembered her MP husband claimed £50grand expenses on rent for her sister's house. Very bloody frugal.


*BAKE Off's Mat said his wife always wants him to "leave it in for an extra ten minutes" – that's understandable, but not always possible. Especially if you're slapping the baps.


*WOULD-be farmer Abz comes over as a likable nitwit on Country Strife although I'm amazed fiancée Vicky is happy with his small-holding. The pair of plums wanted to sell "rock star eggs" so naturally they bought a solitary cockerel...


*HIPPY Hoppi was talking about Abz and Vicky's farm dreams when she said: "They've got a fabulous attitude to pulling it off". You might feel the need to comment but I wouldn't want to lower the tone. It's in the gutter as it is.


SMALL Joys of TV: Dead Air (BBC3). The Perfect Morecambe & Wise. Agent Carter. The Spitfires fly-over. Would I Lie To You? Discovering Black Sabbath (Sky Arts).


RANDOM irritations: The Met Office. Kristin Connolly's voice. Corrie's camping cobblers. Lady Chatterley without shagging, what's the point?


TV Maths. Pete Doherty + Alastair Cook = Captain Bisset, The Scandalous Lady W. Lord Worsley looked more like Paul Nicholas.



Aug 16. KATIE Hopkins is now so famous that she is known through-out the land by just one name. Like Lulu or Sting. Or Ebola. Unfortunately this particular one name is neither Katie nor Hopkins... the one word epithet in question is actually too rude to print in a family newspaper – and it's easy to see why, because Katie is the sort of person who will speak her mind even when there's nothing in it. Like a drunk at the wheel of her own ego, she tweets first and thinks it through later, infuriating PC bores with her Wicked Witch persona.


If you believe the hype, she's bold, fearless and not afraid to say "what we're all thinking"... which makes If Katie Hopkins Ruled The World the biggest let-down since Ariana Grande ditched her pony-tail. It's billed as "explosive and offensive", but panto baddie Hopkins doesn't tackle illegal immigration or dodgy bankers. She takes on fatties, stinky people and parents who don't act their age. And okay, unnecessary body odour gets up my nose me too, along with the BBC's Clare Balding obsession and selfish gits who put their feet up on train seats. But where's the meat? Where's the offence?


Instead of heartfelt anger and no-holds-barred debate, Katie's show feels like a cross between Loose Women and an (even more) dumbed-down Question Time. So who bottled it, her or TLC? It's possible that Hopkins realised she isn't sharp enough to play it straight – she's no Ann Coulter. But just as likely that the TV bosses lost their nerve and decided to make do with tepid laughs. Either way Katie is left looking like a case of mistaken nonentity. And what a missed opportunity! Most British broadcasting is either dripping wet or relentlessly right-on. We need someone with the wit and brains to challenge their bleeding heart prejudices without resorting to self-parody.


Someone like stand-up comedian Andrew Lawrence, perhaps. The bravest man at the Edinburgh festival, Lawrence has been pilloried by trendies for daring to suggest UKIP might have a point or two. He also mocked the BBC's institutional bias and their dumb-arse quota system which promotes by gender or race rather than ability. Naturally he hasn't been on TV since. He should be. Lawrence is smart and funny. He's got balls and brains. And millions agree with him. Where is the channel with the guts to give him a weekly satirical show?


MOVING scenes on EastEnders as Cora Cross returned as a crusty old tramp – just like Ian Beale did three years ago. Forget Cora, she looked Kings Cross rough, but still didn't stink as badly as the scripts. There's more life in her vest than in this endless Lucy Beale story. When Jane pleaded "Shut up, shut up, shut up," she spoke for the viewing nation. How much longer can they drag it out for? Only Ronnie Mitchell is crazier. Last week Ian tried to pack Liam and Cindy off to Devon because they know Bobby dunnit, as if the West Country were some dark age Twilight Zone where phones and emails don't work. Abi just "remembered" she'd helped her Dad clean up Lucy's blood. And Max got duffed up in choky; presumably his fellow cons are as cheesed off by the way he constantly drags his feet as I am. Poor Max. "I'm innocent!" he yelled on Thursday. No mate. You're in a cell.


WE need to talk about Sherlock. BBC's flagship drama isn't as smart as it thinks it is – or as good as it ought to be. Yes it's fast and funny in places, but it's also about as coherent as Cora Cross after a month on meths. The writers are so up themselves they don't realise how frustrating their clever-clever shtick can be. They're forever sending out the subliminal message "look at us, we're bright, we're brilliant" (but not bright or brilliant enough to make the stories any good). The current repeats remind us that they made us wait two years to find out how Holmes faked his own death, and then didn't tell us. Tomorrow it's the badly structured wedding episode where the Bloody Guardsman murder mystery plays second fiddle to Watson's nuptials and the opening bank robbery has no relation to any of it. Sherlock fans want dazzling detection, suspense and credible plots, not endless self-indulgence.


HOT on TV: MyAnna Buring, Ripper Street... Queen Latifah, Bessie (SkyAt)


ROT on TV: Jamie Laing, Made In Chelsea – poshest buffoon since Boris... Mountain Goats – BBC sitcom standards fall off the cliff (again)... The World's Most Expensive Shoes – cobblers.


GERRY Standing, the last and grumpiest of the New Tricks veterans, got the exit he deserved – a faked funeral and a new life. Sadly the new team aren't a patch on the bolshy originals. It's especially hard to take Nick Lyndhurst's Dan seriously. "They call me The Gardener," he said, attempting to menace a wrong'un while toying with secateurs. He still looks like The Plonker to me.


*ONE very British problem is shows like Very British Problems. It's lazy, shallow, it's been done before and it reminds us that most of today's telly comedians aren't that funny.


*CORRIE'S Luke just blurted it out. "My mate Bushell's in Ibiza," he said."He's invited us all out for his birthday". That's only partly true, mate. Numbers are tight, please just send Maria.


*IS it me or does Corrie chef Robert look like Star Trek's Dukat in human form? There's definitely a touch of Mr Spock around the eyes.


*NOT impressed by Songs To Have Sex To. Where was Roxy Mitchell with The Swords Of A 1,000 Men? Billy Mitchell's is Alone Again, Naturally.


*WOULD Flockstars be improved if the losing flock went straight through to the BBQ Champ grills, along with their micro-celebrity shepherd?


*AQUARIUS revolves around evil, charismatic killer Charles Manson, the Bobby Beale of the 60s. When teen runaway Emma is lured into Manson's circle, Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) is the LA cop on her trail. He's also her mum's ex. The dialogue is weak, the history unreliable and the issues over-familiar.


SMALL Joys of TV: Gerry's exit, New Tricks. Roisin Conaty, even if she is "just thinking about length", as she revealed on Taskmaster. The Last Man On Earth (Dave). Cora Cross, Breaking Batty.


RANDOM irritations: C5's woeful Football League Tonight. David Walliams as wet, gormless Tommy on Partners In Crime. Travel Guides – you'd pay not to go on holiday with people like this.


*TV mysteries will Manson drama Aquarius get a cult following? When exactly did divorcing EastEnders Martin and Sonia remarry? Will Jane Beale get air miles for all these guilt trips?


SUE Perkins was talking about an edible shortbread construction on Bake Off when she said: "It's 30 minutes till I try your boxes". You could win £35 by sending me any howlers you hear.



Aug 9. Bakers' cracks are the new soggy bottoms on Bake Off. Cue blonde Lithuanian body-builder Ugne saying: "Hopefully the taste will be good and my crack will show... " She was talking about her Madeira cake, but we live in hope. There were moist cracks, lovely cracks and the revelation "one crack good, two cracks better" which I believe was Tiger Woods' motto. While Mel naturally announced "Right bakers, time to reveal your crack" with a side order of nudge-nudge, wink-wink, what are we like? Innuendo is half the show's appeal, of course. Otherwise we'd just been watching folk baking cakes we can't eat for an hour. Hence the wild talk of caramel flowing around the nuts and a woman complaining, off-camera: "Doesn't look like it's going to stay up for me".


Dorret had the first disaster when her show-stopper chocolate mousse emerged looking like something you'd find in a hospital bed-pan after an enema over-dose – a proper soggy bottom. The resulting mess tasted "like a rubber tyre", Paul Hollywood observed. The poor duck was so gutted it's a wonder she didn't develop Dourette's. In a sane series she'd have been straight out, but the Beeb had booked a fall-guy. Punk Stuart was born to lose. He made a walnut cake with only one walnut, a Madeira cake that was "half chocolate, half lime" and a Black Forest Gateau that was purple. "I've used beetroot," Stu enthused; words that might have well been followed immediately with "I'll get me coat". (No need to get his hat, he never took that off.)


The casting was as formulaic as ever with teenage baking prodigy Flora looking the early favourite. Alvin, Marie and Ugne should make the final. (It'd be ungallant to point out which contestant was Ugnier). Northerner Sandy probably won't. "I can be quite random," she said. "I can be making a cake and you can have a meat pie by the time I've finished". Well, it works for me. I liked fireman Mat whose first cake came with seven shots of gin – not enough said Mary Berry, who I like to imagine has that for breakfast. And trainee anaesthetist Tamal who injected his Madeira cake with rosewater syrup. Maybe next time use Propofol, mate, and give Mel first dibs.


MOST of the women on A Very British Brothel reminded me of Les Dawson's Cissie and Ada. They were big girls, proper lardies of the night, but their wrinkled boobs and over-tight basques were like catnip for their regular punters. Jason, 39, described the grotty Sheffield massage party as "like being in a candy store" (finger of fudge, anyone?) Pensioner George came in his flat cap, probably literally. The poor old soul got winded climbing the stairs. The C4 documentary played it for laughs lingering on a sign saying "Please use rear entrance". Kath who runs the joint with daughter Jenni lays on happy hour, bondage karaoke and a Xmas raffle. Regulars get an extra festive treat, a complimentary mince pie which, disappointingly, wasn't a euphemism. A food-fetish freak got banned for jamming the Jacuzzi with smoked haddock chowder and a tub of coleslaw. It wasn't exactly a bunga bunga party but everyone seemed happy, and Kath insisted the women aren't "traffickered". No need, they have bus passes.


*THE show reminded me of the old joke about a lorry-driver who visited a knocking shop, slapped down £500 and asked for their roughest-looking brass and a plate of beans on toast. For that money, the madam said, you could have their prettiest woman and a slap-up meal. "I'm not horny," he replied. "I'm homesick".


THE first iron law of the East End, and the old EastEnders was you don't grass anyone up – especially not "fam'lee"... So it's been puzzling to watch Phil grass up his son, Abi grass up her Dad, and Paul grass up his grandad, the unlikely Lothario Les Coker. Maybe the writers forgot. Phil's memory is definitely playing tricks on him cos he claimed he'd never killed anyone, yet he definitely torched a tramp in Frank's car-lot. They've forgotten he's getting on a bit too. Sucker-punching Vincent left the old hard-nut as breathless as a knee trembler with Stacey would. I wish I could forget the unwelcome image of Les and Claudette, a magnificent woman with breasts like the proverbial dead heat in a Zeppelin race. Why on earth would she let Coker poke her?


*BLOOD'S thicker than water, Phil told Jay the other day, failing to add "And Robbie Jackson's thicker than both".


HOT on TV: Rowdy Rhonda Rousey, UFC 90... Banshee finale... Ripper Street.


ROT on TV: If Katie Hopkins Ruled The World – toothless and gutless, the biggest wash-out since Mr. Stink's bath... Nature Nuts – Julian Clary at his most patronising... Flockstars – flock off.


R.I.P. George Cole, a wonderful actor and a warm, humble man. ITV should repeat Minder from scratch in his honour. Arthur Daley was the greatest TV character of a generation. His lingo – "a nice little earner" and "Her indoors" – passed into common use. Let's drink "a large VAT" in Geo's memory, on the slate of course. The world was his lobster.


*IT was Emmer-geddon (again) as a chopper smashed into the world's unluckiest village... just like that passenger jet did before. Pilots swerve miles of empty fields to persecute these jinxed Yorkshire folk. If they showed this soap in Calais no-one would come.


*ONLY C4 could find a sexpert called Lieken (half licking, half leaking). Naturally no-one on Sex In Class asked why sex education has had the opposite effect to its intentions.


*DAVID Walliams, amateur detective? He's barely an amateur actor.


*ANT-MAN – not to be confused with Ant & Dec, they're smaller.


SMALL Joys of TV: England skittling the Aussies for 60. Ice judge Uriah Rennie's voice on Freeze Out – did he used to be Eccles? Zach Galifianakis, Bored To Death. Manhunt with Joel Lambert.


RANDOM irritations: Corrie's Cathy. Nitwits on Dragons' Den who don't understand simple business terms. The Flockstars catchphrase, as annoying/baaa-my as Mel & Sue's one. Ellie Goulding's voice. Laura Kuenssberg's chin.


SEPARATED at birth: Anna, A Very British Brothel, and Lisa Tarbuck? One prostitutes her natural talents on TV, the other works in a massage parlour.


*BROTHEL mysteries: Did old George use Werther's Original condoms? Was hooker Foxy Taribo West in drag? If Lord Sorrel snorted Charlie off Anna's boobs, how big a straw would he need?


*FOXY named her baby: "Petal Rose Kadisha Anne Marie Latice Smith-Smith; pet name Fish". Worthy of Monty Python.



Aug 2. Hello Blighty! I'm in the USA on your behalf selflessly checking out the best new TV shows heading our way. Some American telly is breath-taking; most is as original as a scanner. Only OCD greens recycle more than the networks. Films are being revamped for TV by the shedload here – Minority Report, Limitless, Rocky Horror, and (look away, bunny lovers) even Fatal Attraction. Oil re-boots Dallas, with Don Johnson as a ruthless JR type in North Dakota. Code Black re-heats ER.


On the plus side, sci-fi and fantasy still rule. The X-Files returns next year, Daredevil has been re-commissioned. And Heroes has been resurrected as Heroes Reborn, but without evil Sylar and the indestructible cheer-leader – she legged it to Nashville, he's probably masterminding Donald Trump's election campaign.


Lucifer has Satan relocating to LA (too many rivals in Walford, presumably). And Superman's cuter cousin Supergirl hits US screens in October (up, up and wahey). Cold War spy thriller The Americans, dumbly dropped by ITV, goes from strength to strength dramatically here. On the sitcom front, Patrick Stewart stars as spoof talk-show host Walter Blunt in Blunt Talk. And Difficult People offers rude, self-centred New Yorkers (as opposed to... ?)


The gap between movies and TV continues to blur. Ridley Scott exec produces next year's The Man In The High Castle, a 'what-if' tale based on the Allies losing World War II. And Spielberg is behind creepy new alien horror saga The Whispers. Nothing can take the shine off American TV's golden age. It kicked off with The Sopranos and keeps delivering: Breaking Bad, The Shield, The West Wing, 24, The Wire, House, Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Sons Of Anarchy, Deadwood, Orange Is The New Black, Banshee, Ray Donovan... and many more. It's an incredible legacy. We produce gems too of course, but only one or two a year. It's been a mighty long time since The Sweeney, Minder, The Avengers or House Of Cards, brilliantly re-vamped by Netflix. It's not that we can't do it – British talent and British ideas are all over US telly. It's just that our broadcasters lack vision and competitive spirit. Here's a thought, BBC: instead of blowing our dough on on-line expansion, absurd executive salaries and pointless re-location, why not invest in first-class programmes? If they floated half of BBC Worldwide and did a Netflix, we could resurrect British TV too. Don't hold your breath.


*ALSO coming: Walking Dead spin-off Fear Of The Walking Dead. Other Space, Paul Feig's first TV series since Freaks & Geeks. Bravo's snob-skewering comedy Odd Mom Out. And Ballers starring The Rock in a US football take on Entourage.


US telly churns out cack by the bucket-load too of course. Knock Knock Live has celebs turning up at people's houses and giving 'em money. Hosted by grinning mannequin Ryan Seacrest, a man with the personality of a pot-plant, it featured hard-luck stories, David Beckham doling out iPhones and piss-poor challenges. One family had to guess the age of a neighbourhood kid, guessed wrong and got the cash anyway. I'll be surprise-surprised if a format this lousy isn't picked up by ITV immediately.


ACTUAL names of real people on US TV: Dick Palm (news anchor). Jeremy Brilliant (reporter). Dr Tim Tooten (education expert, not to be sniffed at). Martie Salt (anchor woman). Patrick Dix (anchor). Dr Randy Shuck (health expert). And best of all: Bonnie Beaver, MD. Presumably a gynaecologist... British TV has Naga Munchetty, which could well be grounds for a divorce, and Femi Oke whose name sounds like a feminist karaoke night... Good, but not a patch on baseball's Dick Sisler or ice hockey's Wacey Rabbit.


*THOR star Jaimie Alexander turns up naked, covered in tatts on crime thriller Blindspot. That's what I call a body of evidence... Lucky Sullivan Stapleton plays the FBI agent who gets to read her like a book.


*MORE recycling: British vent Paul Zerdin is wowing America's Got Talent; that's the same Paul Zerdin who won ITV's Big Big Talent show in '96... Maybe New Faces winner Michael Barrymore should try it.


*LIKEABLE James Corden is doing okay on CBS, but he isn't setting the world alight. Previous Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, another Brit, had more edge and comic invention which is what you need in that slot. JC is closer in spirit to Des O'Connor than Letterman.


*A REAL couple called Joel Burger and Ashley King just got married here. It's the first Burger-King wedding. Let's hope they don't fall out over whoppers.


HOT on TV: Ian McShane, Ray Donovan (SkyAt)... Strike Back finale... Rachel McAdams, True Detective (shame the series is turgid).


ROT on TV: surgery-obsessed Natalie 'Marbie Barbie' Richardson & Life On Marbs' other plastic people – may they melt in the Spanish sun... Life In Squares - pretentious dross... BBC: The Secret Files – no secret, it was as dull as, um, filing.


IF our home-grown TV ever bores you, try turning on the subtitles. Weather reports deliver gaffes galore. We've been told that 'Gaels are battering Britain' (rather than gales), that "Miss Dan Fogg" could be found in Scotland and that Glasto festival-goers should "prepare for rape" (rather than rain). News subtitles translated Sergey Lavrov as 'so gay lover of'. They revealed that a deadly fungus was 'wiping out Britain's ashtrays' (they meant ash trees). And had Angela Merkel stating that our countries must get on "for the sake of sex access" (success). If you spot any, why not send them in and spread the joy?


*NINA Conti and Vikki Stone were the stand-out acts on John Bishop's so-so Saturday night series. Vikki's love song to Brian Cox was gloriously filthy. She implored him to "give my wormhole a right good batter", threw in lines about swallowing his Milky Way and mispronounced the Hadron in large Hadron collider... astronomy never sounded more fun.


*IF a group of crows is called a murder, is a group of X Factor wannabes called a motive?


SMALL Joys of TV: the look of perpetual shock on Nick Tilsley's bistro doors, they could double for a startled owl! Jessica Raine, Partners In Crime – the 50s look suits her. Sofia Vergara, Modern Family.


RANDOM irritations: Adverts referring to "oven ready sausages", what sausages aren't oven ready? Ian Beale developing fat man's waddle. Patronising pilchard Jeremy Vine. I'm A Celeb re-booking Gemma Collins.


THINGS I'd like to see: Daenerys on Dragon's Den with an actual dragon. Picture the scene: "What does it do?", "It's a mobile toaster... " Cue demonstration and woops, it accidentally incinerates Evan Davis...


SEPARATED at birth: Sara Pascoe and Mr. Ed, the talking horse. One a strange blonde creature who made millions laugh, the other is Sara Pascoe. TV bookers, just say neigh.


*TUNE back next week for a proper, no-holds-barred soaps catch-up.












Garry Bushell