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.
Aug 29. SOPHIE Okonedo is having a ball as Hemple on Britannia – two if she’s peckish. If you thought Gordon Ramsay was scary, wait till you see what this killer chef has to offer. She’s already mastered one tasty, if unusual dish – spit-roast Roman... Scary Hemple cooked Vitus, a high-ranking legionnaire, and served him with a tasteful garnish of citrus fruit. Even Gregg Wallace might hesitate, briefly, before getting stuck into her barbecued human sacrifices.
Hemple is a tasty, if unusual dish herself. Married to General Aulus – the power-crazy psycho leading the Roman invasion of Ancient Britain against the mystic Druid resistance – she’d previously barbecued Aulus’s young son, with his blessing, and has a disconcerting tendency to sniff people. The woman’s super-nostrils would put a drug detection dog to shame. A few whiffs of hubby’s bed and she’d worked out who he was shagging (scheming sexpot Amena) and who she was plotting with – poor Vitus, who they ate. Cannibalism wasn’t a Roman Empire thing in AD46, of course, but don’t look for realism here. The Flintstones were more historically accurate than this bonkers series. No one asks why the Brits and Romans speak the same lingo, why they use runes 400years too early, or why the Druids look straight outta Glastonbury. The writing is demented. Gods are invented. Vitus turned traitor in a heartbeat, with no explanation. Skeletal dove-juggler Veran will probably somehow survive Cait cutting his throat... we’ll never know how. We can only suspend logic and go with the madness. I miss the old Donovan theme tune and Zoe Wanamaker in a chariot – meals on wheels for our killer cook. But I’ll happily settle for T Rex and Hemple. Just a leg for me though, love.
*THE Brits were scavenging for “paper weed”. I guess they needed something to skin up with to sample what the writers are smoking.
RUBY Wax used to be as irritating as thrush. This, she explained on Ruby Wax Meets, was because she was in character. “I turned from an ugly duckling into Joan Rivers overnight,” she said, modestly comparing herself to a genuine comedy icon. Except as the clips showed, she was never hilarious. Her old Trump interview curled more toes than a foot masseur. “I had a terrible father,” she told him. “I can tell,” Donald replied. “Because you’re angry, you’re angry with a smile.” Ruby has the degree in cognitive therapy yet Trump got her bang on. The big surprise was Melania’s chatty, happy pre-White House self. But OJ was just unsettling. Rube was better with Tom Hanks and Carrie Fisher. But who was the show made for? Only a million watched.
NOM de dieu! Wasn’t Baptiste a lot of rot? The farcical finale saw the wizened sleuth with a gammy leg keep pace with Juszt, a younger, fitter Nazi, and over-power him... despite getting battered, booted and stabbed. Meanwhile Emma, paralysed from the waist down, somehow got herself and her wheelchair out of their car to save her son’s life. What a loss they both are to the Paralympics. Juszt was “Gomorrah” whose evil Hungarian terror network turned to be two middle-class English kids and four boneheads who spent their time persecuting a hard-working immigrant shopkeeper. As predicted, all of that time-jumping was simply to distract us from piss-poor storytelling. At the end, one of the boneheads put on Juszt’s mask and turned on the webcam, failing to utter the chilling words, “Gomorrah belongs to me...”
HOT on TV: Bobby Cannavale, Nine Perfect Strangers (AmPrime)... David Morrissey, Britannia (SkyAt)... Battle Honours (PBS).
ROT on TV: rambling Joe Biden... Baptiste finale – less Gomorrah, more sod ’em... Gossip Girls – as underwhelming as Katie Price’s dumplings.
LOVE Island baffles millions but at least the most genuine couple won, rather than say Faye Effing Winter who’d probably benefit from a year being supervised by Britney Spears’ dad. Few shows reach the under-30s audience like this does, but what a shame TV bosses care more about young, female viewers than the rest of us. Why not try invest in dramas that appeal across generations? Comedies unrestricted by box-ticking and laughter-averse writers would also help. Old people have disposable incomes too.
*CLIVE Myrie pronounces yes as “yea-ss-ss” on Mastermind. Is that a catchphrase or a speech impediment?
*BEAVERS are to be re-introduced across the UK. Great! I haven’t seen any of the great hairy beasties in the wild since Naked Jungle.
*ON The White Lotus, newly-wed Shane told Rachel her journalism was “clickbait gussied up as high-minded, trendy, woke bullshit”. Way to stay married, mate!
*WHY, in TV sex scenes, does no one ever get cramp?
*WHAT an incredible line-up on Feel The Noise, but why did BritBox turn “the music that shaped Britain” into a one-off documentary? The story has more mileage than Route 66.
*THEY played down the role of BBC DJs but don’t worry. They’re getting a doc of their own: Children’s Fear Factor.
IS JULIA Bradbury walking around the Greek islands because British coastal paths are full of minor celebs with camera crews?
Small Joys of TV: Classic Parky clips. McCartney 3,2,1 (Disney+). Ben Miller as Professor T. Dion Dublin, Celeb MasterChef. Vintage footage, Feel The Noise (BritBox).
Random irritations: Feebly choreographed fights on DeadEnders. Serengeti II patronising adult viewers with its childish soapy voice-over. Richard Dormer, The Watch.
TV Maths. Peter Griffin + Joe Pasquale = Bob Mills.
Classic Clanger. David Batty was looking at a bowl with a fancy lid on Antiques Road Show when he gasped: “This is the most magical, wonderful knob I’ve ever seen.”
Aug 22. IT’S A measure of how bankrupt modern telly has become that the return of Changing Rooms was hyped up as a big deal. The 90s makeover show is back after seventeen years. Why? Who wanted it? Who gives a monkey’s toss? The best thing about it was always the shocked reactions of home owners when they discovered their bathroom was flooded with flowers, as if they’d been stealth-bombed by Interflora. Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen transformed a living room into “a whore’s paradise” and a bedroom into a jungle. Talk about, “Me Tarzan, you pain-in-the-arse”.
Now Bowen’s back, flouncing around in leather strides like an over-fed cavalier in the grips of some surreal mid-life crisis. For his “Indian fantasia” makeover, LLB put his own giant face on Claire’s living room door – that’s Piers Morgan level modesty.
There’s no Carol Smillie, Linda Barker or Handy Andy. Instead, new designers/vandals Russell and Jordan gave Lisa’s bedroom in her Swansea semi a “drag inspired” make-over with a “strokable wall of hair”. Yeah. La Voix aside, who’d live in a house like this? Not Lisa. She saw what looked like a display of Afghan hound scalps and instantly nixed it. Laurence’s new oppo is Anna Richardson from Naked Attraction, which could lead to confusion. “Let’s reveal the bottom half... No! Of the wall, Laurence! Of the wall!” But if you’re not into MDF, cooking, gardening or soaps, what is there on mainstream TV for you? The schedules generate the kind of elation you get at midnight when the heavens open and the last bus home won’t stop for you because it’s full. No wonder viewing figures are through the floor.
*BOWEN’S trousers are so tight, he should surely be renamed Laurence Llewelyn-Bellend.
*I’D rather have a Jim Bowen make-over – bars, dartboards, pork scratchings... Oh hang on, looks like he’s been here already.
IF YOU haven’t had your fill of pampered Yanks, dark comedy drama The White Lotus hits the spot. Rich, entitled gobshites flock to a plush Hawaiian hotel to be greeted by resort manager Armond, whose inner Basil Fawlty bubbles nicely beneath the surface. There’s high-flyer Nicole, her emasculated hubby Mark, dozy son Quinn, and mean teen daughter Olivia with her equally shallow friend, Paula. Needy, spaced-out Tanya wanders around demanding massages, with her mother’s ashes in a plastic bag. And newly-wed Rachel – the only vaguely likeable guest – is here with her smug dickhead husband Shane. Their marriage will last as long as a Taliban promise. We know that one guest – sadly not Shane – will pop their clogs. His mum crashes the honeymoon, Armond will surely lose it, and we’ve seen Mark’s meat and two veg in unnecessary close-up. If this is paradise, bring back Butlin’s.
WHO else is old enough to remember Smith’s crisps with their little blue sachet of salt? C4’s Secret World Of Crisps was a moreish feast of tasty nostalgia. Golden Wonder created cheese & onion, Smith’s hit back with salt & vinegar. Then the floodgates opened: Quavers, Wotsits, Philias Fogg tortilla chips... But hold up. Where were 70s favourites, Rock N Rollers? They were so popular they had their own theme tune flexi-disc! And why snub Nik Naks? (In particular scampi and lemon flavoured ones?)
*I LOVED the intense competition between rival crisp companies. It’s a shame we don’t see that determination in TV anymore. Too many execs prefer managed decline to hitting the opposition where it hurts.
HOT on TV: Sean Lock: Keep It Light – R.I.P. Sean... Nicole Kidman, Nine Perfect Strangers (AmPrime)... Murray Bartlett, The White Lotus (SkyAt)... Ruth Negga, Shirley (Drama).
ROT on TV: Annika – anaemic... Changing Rooms – changing channels... Upgrade Me! Secrets Of First Class – it never took off.
HARRY Judd won Cooking With The Stars. Nobody noticed, no one was watching. But what a “journey” it was. McFly’s drummer couldn’t cook, he cut himself prepping, and forgot his sauce... yet six shows on, he beat everyone. ITV couldn’t have had a better result if they’d storyboarded it... which of course they’d never do. Would they?
*DENISE Van Outen’s gnocchi are “pillowy soft clouds” apparently. Just as I always imagined...
*HOW scrawny does lovely Mel Sykes look on MasterChef? She needs to scoff some of Nabil’s grub... Poor Nabs. Was the BGT comic robbed? Yes, he could’ve done better, but Penny Lancaster couldn’t do batter.
*WHERE are the laughs on Ghosts? It’s likeable but Living’s Mystic Challenge had more yucks.
*THE Handmaid’s Tale is called a “dystopian fantasy”. The Taliban see it as a utopian one.
NTA mysteries: how can Sewing Bee be in the same category as Celeb SAS: Who Dares Wins? Is Danny Dyer up for Serial Drama Performance because there’s currently no category for Best Squinter? Why is The Masked Singer a talent show? Putting a mask on and singing isn’t talent, it’s shite entertainment. And why are all the entertainment contenders so ancient?
Small Joys of TV: Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (Drama). The Story Of Late Night (Sky Docs). Billy Crystal. Elvis Night (SkyArts). Untold (Netflix). Real Time with Bill Maher.
Random irritations: The lack of Till Death Us Do Part repeats to honour Una Stubbs; TV’s po-faced thought police think we’re too dim to grasp the concept of satire.
SEPARATED at birth: Patsy Palmer and Fringe’s Agent Dunham. One cast adrift in a terrifying world of torment and unsolved mysteries, the other has never stepped foot in Walford.
Aug 15. THERE might have been worse cooks than Su Pollard on Celebrity MasterChef, but none readily spring to mind. Her cabbage was sour, her spuds were lumpy, she put bunches of thyme in her meatballs and her gravy was “really bitter”. Oh, and her roast chicken looked like a post mortem scene from a slasher move. Yet incredibly, Munya Chawawa got the chop first. He’d committed the lesser sins of dishing up rock-hard fondant potatoes and raw lamb – which Gregg “The Egg” Wallace still ate. We might’ve been outraged on his behalf if we’d had half a clue who he was.
Pollard is the oddest celeb here. She was on Hi-De-Hi! (unlike Bez who’s been hi-de-hi for most of his adult life), and has never left her sitcom character Peggy behind. Being a professional scatter-brain seems an unusual life choice, although in fairness it works for Boris. After failing a simple cheese test, Su also survived show two, courtesy of her juicy pear – careful – rice pudding. Rita Simons got elbowed, despite her eye-watering spicy jerk. Her rice stuck together more than Roxy Mitchell’s legs ever did. Remember the early Sleb MasterChef series with Matt Dawson and Nadia Sawalha? Well, this is nothing like that. Introducing the contestants, Gregg shouted “But can they cook?”. Um, didn’t that used to be the entry level requirement? Blue’s Bluto lookalike Duncan James seems solid, but brilliant Bez could still be the wild card winner. His food might be a bigger mess than the Happy Mondays’ Jelly Bean, but it tastes terrific. Even if Su loses, her kitchen career isn’t over. She’d be a shoe-in for one of TV’s oddest formats – Worst Cooks In America. All she’d have to do is emigrate. Please.
*I MUST get my ears checked. I completely misheard Rita when she said she’d “sack off the egg”...
THERE’S something lovable about Ghosts. It isn’t side-splittingly funny, or remotely original, but it has warmth by the bucket. Episode one poked gentle fun at historians who dress up to front documentaries. Like say, lovely Lucy Worsley for who “BBC” will always stand for Big Box of Costumes. There was the odd good sight gag – Button House on Alison’s t-shirt became Butt Ho on screen. And we found out the back story to headless Tudor toff Sir Humphrey Bone whose sour-faced French wife used the country pile to ferment a Catholic plot against Good Queen Bess. Humph lost his head over her – literally, getting decapitated accidentally by a pair of ornamental swords rather than loyal troops. According to the documentary voice-over, he was “a man prepared to stick his neck out.”
*GHOSTS follows EastEnders. Apt. Most of their viewers have vanished into the ether.
WHAT A shame ITV only made three “lost tapes” specials. There’s tons of un-screened comedy gold gathering dust out there. Ken Dodd over-recorded for both of his Audience Withs for LWT – I know, I was there, with the sleeping bag and hip flask. And the great Benny Hill shot a series in New York before his death, most of it unseen here. What a joy it’d be to show that, along with a grovelling apology from ITV for their deranged, self-destructive decision to sack him.
HOT on TV: Niamh Algar, Deceit... Letitia Wright... Untold (Netflix)... Narco Wars (NatGeo)
ROT on TV: Su Pollard – low-di-low... Cooking With Paris Hilton... Curse Of Skinwalker Ranch – dumbo mumbo-jumbo.
BBC chief Tim Davie should do Undercover Big Boss, just to hear what viewers feel about his TV output. Comedy and drama moans aside, Tim might be surprised how irritated many are by the Beeb’s glaring lack of impartiality. BBC News doesn’t report, it lectures. Their riots documentary was as one-sided as a Russian show-trial. Even University Challenge was asking about right-on films, labour activism, Ruth Ginsberg, and cities named after Red revolutionaries. Who sets the questions, the ghost of Che Guevara? Have a word, Paxo!
*DO you get the feeling the funniest parts of Craig & Bruno’s visit to Cockermouth were left on the cutting room floor? The best scene came earlier in the series. Seeing them straining to comprehend a steam-powered beam engine was like watching Love Islanders trying to decipher Nordic runes.
*THE Watch does for Terry Pratchett what Covid did for fortune tellers. If Richard Dormer were any hammier, he’d need mustard aftershave.
*SPORTS I’d like to see in the next OIympics: walking football, table football and parkour. What we’ll probably see: e-scooter pavement racing – extra points for every pedestrian knocked down.
TV questions: Does Spanish telly have a show about English houses called A Place In The Drizzle? Who else dreams of Cooking with Stars – the cannibal special? Why book Gordon Ramsay’s daughter, Strictly? She isn’t a celeb! If you want someone to turn the air blue, try Faye Winter.
Small Joys of TV: I Am Duran (SkyDocs). The Lateish Show with Mo Gilligan. Bez. What If... ? Kurupting The Industry. The Devil’s Throat. Marama Corlett, The Watch.
Random irritations: The loose definition of catchphrases on Catchphrase – Jurassic Park isn’t one, it’s a film title. The Void isn’t a void either, it’s a swimming pool in the dark.
SEPARATED at birth: Lord Vetineri from The Watch and Craig Revel Horwood. One an absurd but terrifying creature with a brutal tongue, the other was dreamed up by Terry Pratchett.
CLASSIC clanger: the football commentator was talking about Newcastle United Vs West Ham when he said: “Julian Dicks is everywhere, it’s like they’ve got eleven Dicks on the field.”
Aug 8. BLIMEY. The Equalizer has been reborn as hip-hop star Queen Latifah. Either that or Edward Woodward is back from the dead with one hell of a make-over. The format remains pretty much the same as it was in 1985. Our hero is an avenging angel standing up for the poor and oppressed on the mean streets of New York City. Robert McCall was ex-FBI. Latifah’s Robyn McCall quit the CIA, disillusioned with black ops malarky. He put adverts in newspapers offering to “equalise” the odds for any poor sod up against wrong’uns, she reaches out via an online forum. But where Robert was a lone wolf, Robyn has a Person Of Interest style back-up team – a super-smart hacker and a sharp-shooting sidekick – plus a helpful ex-agency boss and a stroppy teenage daughter.
But rather than tell a simple story well, the scriptwriters over-spice it. Single mum Robyn chances upon a poor waitress who witnessed a murder and gets framed for it with deep-fake footage worthy of The Capture. The bad guys are heartless dogs of war who work for an evil tech billionaire (space rocket pending) and waterboard our heroine. Latifah has charisma and the odd nice line. Who are you, ask the scumbags she finds enjoying a spot of light torture? “Neighbourhood Watch,” Robyn replies. We don’t get to see how she overpowers them, though... it’s like the makers have forgotten stunt doubles exist. And like Baptiste, she seems to get by on no apparent income. You might wonder who the put-upon viewer can turn to for justice against TV’s endless lazy recycling... But look on the bright side. If Latifah can be the Equalizer what’s to stop Rihanna becoming Rumpole Of The Bailey one day? Or even Britney Spears in the role she was born for – The Prisoner.
*FIVE shows that should be remade with the right cast and writers: Sharpe, Hornblower, The Fear, Danger Man, and Adam Adamant Lives!
NARCO Wars: The Mob told the chilling story of Carmine “The Cigar” Galante, the New York mobster responsible for the city’s 1970s heroin explosion. Galante was a dangerous man, “a dog who had no lead”, who seized control of the Bonanno crime family and ordered hits on the rival Gambinos. The Cigar was quickly stubbed out by Anthony “Whack-Whack” Indelicato at the behest of the Mafia’s ruling commission. He broke their rules and paid the price. “What he did might be wrong,” said his daughter (might!). “But he excelled in it.” Hardly. If he’d excelled, he’d have died of natural causes.
AN Audience With Bob Monkhouse was unsettling. For starters, it was all very The Sixth Sense – “I see dead people”. I’m one of the few bods in that merry throng still alive. It also reminded me how much I miss Bob and his warmth, intelligence, quick wit and comic timing. His gags have aged better than most. Bob moaned that people always say to him, you’re a comedian, tell us a joke. “Why,” he asked. “They don’t say, ‘You’re a politician tell us a lie’... ‘You’re a gynaecologist, take a look at the wife’.”
*IN these laugh-starved times, would it hurt to revive An Audience with for the great comics who never did it? Lee Mack, Craig Ferguson, Micky Flanagan, Jimmy Carr... show us the funny!
HOT on TV: Bethany Shriever, Sky Brown & all Team GB’s brilliant Olympians... Suranne Jones... Alfie Best, Undercover Big Boss.
ROT on TV: Richard E. Grant, Write Around The World – wittering heights... Hollyoaks – wholly plastic... Motorhoming with Merton & Webster – park it.
COULD bungling Johnny Vegas win Cooking With The Stars? He seems to cook purely on instinct and emotion. His only real challenger is Amazing AJ – whatever they’re knocking up in that kitchen, she’s always the hottest dish. Harry Judd made chicken in mustard sauce... and forget to add the sauce. Really? I’ve known drummers to be forgetful – to forget it’s their round, or in some cases, that they’re married. But to forget the sauce? Bah. Call me a cynic, but that smacks of production team malarkey. Denise van Outen went for coq au vin. Not for the first time, I’d wager. “Come on,” she shouted desperately. “Thicken!” This stuff writes itself really.
LOVE Island had a US football themed food fight, allowing lippy Faye to boast “My ball skills are excellent”. I don’t doubt it. The winners were the “three cleanest girls” – a limited field. We’d better not speculate which one was the wide receiver.
*I WAS going to review How Healthy Is Your Gut, but I didn’t have the stomach for it.
*QUESTION of the week, from Buffering: “How can a delivery window be between 12 and 7pm? That’s not a window, it’s a crater in my day!”
*RICHARD E Grant’s book-inspired travel show moved fast – straight to The Lost City Of Zzz.
Small Joys of TV: Polecat, Apocalypse Wow. Brian Conley as Rocky on DeadEnders. Tcheky Karyo. Playing With Sharks (Disney+). Rommel (PBS).
Random irritations: Professor T’s “golden rules” for dealing with hostage situations contradicting one another. What does the T stand for, tripe or tedium?
SEPARATED at birth: Anne Robinson from 1987 and Cilla Black. One an untamed Scouser who terrified watching millions, the other one can’t sing.
Aug 1. ERIC and Ernie are the latest comedy legends to be dusted off by ITV. Morecambe & Wise: The Lost Tapes featured a rare, never-repeated episode of one of their first BBC1 shows from 1970, found in a family attic. Frustratingly, rather than simply letting us watch and enjoy it, ITV kept interrupting with inane comments from a dismal array of talking heads, including some of the staggeringly unfunny bores who pass as comics today. In truth, it wasn’t the duo’s best work, but anything involving Eric and Little Ern radiates sunshine by the bucket. There were lovely bits of stage “business” as Eric got laughs from the curtain and a pair of prop legs, and the first appearance of his famous bag trick. One sketch had Ernie in hospital. A nurse told visitor Eric “I can let you have ten minutes.” He replied “That’s very kind, where shall we go?”
Morecambe & Wise were TV stars in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until they teamed up with Scouse gag-writer Eddie Braben that they became the legends we remember so fondly. Their talent, plus Braben’s scripts and Ernest Maxim’s choreography, made them a national treasure, topped off by producer John Ammonds’ choice of a signature tune. They hit all the right notes – in exactly the right order. Their “lost tapes” show came hard on the heels of similar Les Dawson and Ronnie Corbett ones. These golden oldies had enough warmth to grill toast. Cynics will say we are blinded by nostalgia. But how many of today’s comedians are likely to get similar treatment fifty years from now? Saturday night TV then was an oasis of joy. Now it’s a wasteland where even great turns like Bradley Walsh and Michael McIntyre are sent to die by producers and executives with no background in entertainment.
THE Olympics are the greatest spectacle on earth. Nothing packs in joy, drama, sadness and surprises like it. Who knew surfing could be so gripping? Italo Ferreira seemed to dance on water. Team GB have been spectacular but so have athletes from around the globe. The Games are powered by positivity, ambition, drive and achievement – all the things it’s fashionable to sneer at. And on top of that, we also get mighty jerks and impressive snatches... Not to mention Clare Balding telling swimming ace Matt Richards “Your third leg was just phenomenal.”
BBC1’s Saturday night is as much fun as a sandpaper facial. Even Bradley Walsh can’t save Take Me Off from crash-landing. The timing is as bad as the concept – what were they thinking scheduling a show about flying to the US when thousands of us want to but aren’t allowed to? It’s not the worst game show ever, but it’s close. Brad carries the whole doomed enterprise. Holly can’t adlib at all. Meanwhile Michael McIntyre works hard to cram funny putty into The Wheel, but it’s still deeply flawed. He claimed the spins are “100percent random” and “determined by computer”. Well show us that then, because I don’t buy it. I get why the “celebs” are so deliriously happy though. They’re on £5K a pop to ride this con.
HOT on TV: Olympians... Maro Itoje... The Grand Tour (AmPrime)... Quantum Leap (SyFy).
ROT on TV: Take Off with Bradley & Holly – take it off... The Wheel – flat and tired.
I WANT King Gary to work. The cast are good, the ambition to make mainstream sitcom is admirable and the premise rang true – hire a skip and everyone in the street wants to use it. But it’s just not funny enough. Think how many more jokes Only Fools writer John Sullivan would’ve packed into it. Larry David would have made the sub-plots come together gloriously.
*PETER Capaldi is wrong. Dr Who isn’t “too cheap” to be scary. It’s too badly written.
Jodie Whittaker has quit and, reflecting real life, people now face a bloody long wait to see the new doctor. Who will it be? There are a lot of fine actors out there, but my money is on a Polynesian pansexual transexual refugee vegan in a wheelchair for whom English is not their first language. That ticks every box the BBC deem important.
*JO Brand blamed “mushrooms” for her poor performance at Latitude. No word on the previous 35-odd years.
*SIMON Cowell says he’s ending The X Factor before it becomes a joke. Becomes?
*THERE’S a new Sopranos-themed version of Monopoly. I’d hate to be banker...
*THE Associate Producer on Impossible Engineering is Caroline Topliss – can’t wait for her cameo.
*THERE’S an obvious title for Alan Davies: Untitled. Sadly, obscenity laws mean we can’t use it.
NICE moment on Pointless. Richard Osman, describing an Egyptian god, said: “Apis was a bull god that ancient Egyptians would sacrifice themselves to – imagine dying for Apis.”
I’VE finally solved the mystery of how Baptiste can afford to do what he does unpaid – he has a second job! Just put a Santa hat on him and it all falls into place... More puzzling though, if a British ambassador’s family have been kidnapped, why aren’t MI6 on the case?
Small Joys of TV: I Love Lucy (AmPrime). John Lennon: Classic Albums, Plastic Ono Band (SkyArts). Sci-fi saga Missions (BBC4). Attenborough’s Dragons & Damsels.
Random irritations: BBC Olympic coverage. Anne Robinson on Countdown – I like her but she’s wrong for this. Dim-witted host banter, Bake Off: The Professionals.
LONDONER Mo Gilligan is the first comedian to use “Oi! Oi!” as a catchphrase since Jimmy Wheeler. Mo has come a long way on likeability. Think how well he’d do if, like Wheeler, he also had some jokes.
SEPARATED at birth: Gregg Wallace and Captain Marvel’s Dr Sivana. One a terrifying force of evil out to conquer the world, the other is a comic book character.
Classic Clanger: BBC Breakfast weather presenter Carol Kirkwood was talking about measuring jugs she used to demonstrate rainfall when she told Bill Turnbull: “I’ll have to get my jugs out in fifteen minutes.”