Dec 29. Christmas TV was shockingly bad. I don’t know if the
Grinch had got at the schedules but the family comedy cupboard
was as empty as a Xmas tree bauble. It was easier to buy bacon
in Marks & Spencer’s than it was to find fresh laughs on Xmas
Day. BBC1 had no new comedy before the watershed; ITV had none
at all. As let-downs go, it was up there with finding out your
Secret Santa was Kim Jong-Un. Instead, all we got was a lazy
assembly of soap, soapy drama and a Doctor Who ‘special’ that
was as easy to follow as Gallafrayan hieroglyphics. Here’s my
verdict on the big shows:
FOOD fights, break-ups, blackmail, attempted murder... EastEnders
really knows how to capture the Christmas spirit. Bad news came
by the sleigh-load. David got run-over, the Spraggans got evicted,
Carol’s got cancer... All together: it’s the most wonderful
time of the year. Xmas Day in Walford ended with Janine Butcher
leaving in handcuffs, proving that every cloud has a silver
There was the odd upbeat moment – jobless Alfie found out
his two-timing missus was pregnant and this time the baby was
actually his. Hurrah. But as usual the mood was one of soul-sapping
misery. Soap bosses take a perverse delight in piddling on the
nation’s yuletide joy. “It’s reality,” they mutter. But is it?
Has business really been so good that pub landlords can get
their hands on £250K in cash at 15 minutes’ notice on Xmas Day?
Is modern East London really awash with crappy Xmas street parties?
Would a gangster’s son really grass to the Old Bill so readily?
The soap has improved since its new boss took over but picking
up the pace and cranking up the gloom isn’t enough to cover
the chasm where its heart should be – or the gaping pot-holes
in the plot. Playing the grief card is a cop-out. Life is sad,
we all lose loved ones, people get ill, marriages break-up;
it’s easy to make us cry. But on Christmas Day in particular
it isn’t enough. At this time of year, viewers want joy, hope,
warmth and redemption. It’s no coincidence that our most precious
memories of Xmas telly are of the Trotters and Morecambe & Wise,
people who brought us sunshine, touched our souls and made us
laugh. TV rarely does that now. If you had a Christmas power
cut, be grateful. You didn’t miss much.
*JANINE pleaded that she wasn’t a bad person, a claim we could
have believed if she hadn’t killed two husbands, conned a third
who died of shock, and blackmailed Ian twice. She might have
got away if she’d regenerated like Doctor Who. Not possible,
you say? It is. She’s had two other heads and spent much of
her childhood looking decidedly Greek.
*SO David Wicks gets run down by a vengeful Janine, the impact
smashes her windscreen and minutes later the only injury he
appears to have sustained is a sore hand... Which he treats
with a bag of mixed veg from the freezer. How ridiculous. You
have to suspend a lot of belief to watch EastEnders, but Bianca
buying vegetables? Get out of here!
*DAVID was angling to get back with his ex. Well what middle-aged
bloke wouldn’t enjoy getting stuck into Carol’s at Christmas?
*BUTCHER’S Joints? Closed. Butcher’s new joint? HMP Holloway.
*AH, Xmas. The time of year when that old guy with the massive
gut pops by for his annual visit. Nice to see you back, Charlie
*KAT is pregnant! You know what this means? From now on, she’ll
be cheating for two...
THE EastEnders disease spread to Corrie. Nick slapped Leanne
and Kylie ended up in the cells after a cat-fight with Tina...
all against the backdrop of Hailey dying slowly. But at least
we got laughs on the cobbles thanks to Sally’s trifle facial,
Norris’s coat, and that ropey old bird with the turkey neck
(Deirdre). The Cropper snowman couple were touching, although
in the real world it rained so heavily Tina would have been
flirting with Mermen. Never mind the 12 Days Of Xmas, with her
around Peter and Carla will be lucky to get through 12 Days
of Marriage. Carla is so trusting though. If she caught them
at it, Peter would convince her it was all a big misunderstanding
and he’d only asked Tina to give him floral socks.
*EVEN if you don’t dig drawn-out, depressing storylines you
can’t take anything away from Hayley’s performances. She’s really
acted her nuts off.
*SOPHIE has got her eyes on homeless girl Maddie. She’s a
proper hobosexual. Sally will go bananas, but what’s the Big
Issue? At least it keeps them off the streets.
THE festive special of Strictly meant we could make up our
own jokes. Rochelle Humes was “slightly wild down below” - I’d
expect nothing less. But it was surprising to hear Darcey say
that Sara Cox had “a beautiful feel all the way through.” And
even more surprising when she claimed Rufus Hound had “melted
everything” for her. Talk about easily pleased. Alleged comedian
Rufus won but it was hard to see why. His tango with Flavia
was rightly dubbed “abnormal and curious” by Craig. Only Doctor
Who had more contempt for the rules, doing away with such boring
conventions as logic, pacing and plots that make sense.
*BBC1’s first new sitcom was Mrs. Brown’s Boys at 9.30pm;
the earthy show with a heart as big as its humour is broad was
also Number One in the Xmas Day ratings. And okay, all that
effing and jeffing might not be right for Xmas night, but no-one
can deny that there’s a massive audience for the kind of comedy
that generations of TV commissioners have tried to kill.
IT was good to see Amy’s big crack make another appearance
on Doctor Who, but the plot was harder to penetrate than a Cyber-Woman
with a cob on. Why did the Doc have to stay on Trenzalore for
300 years? Why did he age so dramatically? He was 194 years
older in the Impossible Astronaut without any prosthetics kicking
in. The story was as undercooked as Clara’s turkey. One good
plasterer could have ended it in five minutes. Come on, Beeb:
new Doctor, new writers.
NOTHING much happened in Downton Abbey, and it carried on not
happening for two ruddy hours. It was almost as if ITV were
catering for an audience they’d assumed had completely nodded
off. If you were lucky you woke up long enough to hear Lady
Violet dismiss the theatre as “two hours of second-hand emotion.”
Or Lady Mary remark “once you let it out it must be very hard
to get it back in.” Was she talking about emotion, or explaining
what happened the night Pamuk died? Either way, it was as bland
as Mrs. Patmore’s bread sauce. Dull, dull, dull. Next time throw
another Crawley under a car.
HOT on TV: Nina Conti & Stefan, her randy builder puppet...
Mad Dogs finale... The John Bishop Xmas Show... Springsteen
& I (Sky Arts 1).
ROT on TV: Downton Abbey – a decidedly flabby Abbey... Death
Comes To Pemberley – sleep comes to watching nation... The 12
Drinks Of Xmas... Raised By Wolves – not so much Shameless as
*LADY Gaga sang a duet with Kermit from the Muppets. Imagine
having to work with such an obviously contrived, cloth-eared
absurdity. Poor Kermit.
*STILL Open All Hours? We’re still ’oping BBC1 can find a
decent vehicle for David Jason’s talent. Without Arkwright,
the show is as satisfying as Porridge without Fletcher.
*LES Dennis was on Midsomer Murders, but didn’t die. Unlike
his act when Mavis Riley left Coronation Street.
*IT’S A Wonderful Life never fails to move me. Imagine being
in a world where no-one knows who you are. It’d be like being
Nick Grimshaw in an old folks’ home.
SMALL Joys of TV: Porridge Xmas Special (from 1975!) Comedy
magician Jeff Hobson (The Illusionists). Danny Dyer’s grin (EastEnders).
The wooden Cyberman (Doctor Who). Peter Capaldi as the Doctor,
Orla Brady as a sexy space-nun, and Handles the head. But why
did he translate the Time Lords’ message for everyone, why not
just the Doc?
RANDOM irritations: Myth-mangling Atlantis coming back for
another series. Xmas ‘specials’ of shows that were never special
– the same old cack with tinsel. TV bosses desperately re-commissioning
dead sitcoms while failing to green-light festive episodes of
The Grimleys, Early Doors or Trevor’s World Of Sport. BBC1’s
Xmas Night Michael McIntryre show being a year-old DVD.
SEPARATED at birth: Shirley MacLean on Downton and Frankie
Howerd? One a vintage entertainer with a face like a knackered
camel... and so is the other one. Runners-up: Norris Cole in
his Xmas coat and Kenny from South Park.
SOAP mystery: why would Ian Beale ask Patrick for permission
to propose to Denise when they aren’t even slightly related?
JAMIE Oliver was talking about cooking meat-balls when he
revealed: “This jam is going to give a shine to my balls...
have a look as I jiggle them about.” Well, it makes a change
from turkey, I guess.
Dec 22. THE BBC Sports Personality of the Year was as much
fun as being stuck in a lift with Gareth Southgate. You deserved
an award just for staying awake. It really was the crappiest
live event since Richard Blackwood’s enema on Celebrity Detox.
It’s puffed up, predictable – you didn’t need a Singapore fixer
to know Andy Murray would walk it. And above all, it’s DULL.
The BBC realise this and compensate by fattening the proceedings
up like a foie gras goose. They hire a 12,000-seater arena,
bring in singers and rig up walkways and stairs that wouldn’t
look out of place on Gladiators. Poor Sir Alex Ferguson was
left red-faced and reduced to emitting a strange unintelligible
grumbling noise after the exertion of getting down them. Oh,
hold on, I’m told that’s normal.
The gap between the thrills of sporting giants in action and
the drab old drivel that comes out of them when they’re talking
to Gaby Logan is wide enough to house The Kop. Take Leigh Halfpenny.
The courageous and committed rugby hero struck fear into the
Aussies this summer. Yet stick a microphone in front of him
and the mighty Lion becomes a tongue-tied mouse. Andy Murray
is determined and driven, a demon on the tennis court. Anywhere
else though, and the bloke is a veritable titan of tedium. He’s
monotonous and surly with the personality of a hung-over Dalek.
Sports bores are always with us: Mansell, Henman, Owen, Alan
Smith, Rebecca Adlington... And frankly so what? They can’t
all be George Best (who bizarrely was never a ‘Personality’
winner), and as long as they deliver where it matters they can
spend their private lives train-spotting or watching Stoke City
for all I care.
So how much better (and cheaper) would it be to just show
the glorious clips of sporting triumph and present the awards
en masse at the end, with one star delivering a short thank
you speech? Preferably after a few Robin Friday inspired cocktails.
*WAYS to improve Sports Personality Of The Year. 5) Section
honouring the unrecognised work of ring girls such as Arianny
Celeste. 4) Special awards for most obviously bent boxing referee
and hilariously dumb football chairman. 3) If your speech is
crap, Luis Suarez bites you. 2) More snowboarding, more Aimee
Fuller. 1) Find a winner with an actual personality. Alternatively
just hire Fernanda Lima from the World Cup draw to walk up and
down those stairs repeatedly, very, very slowly.
*IT took Sir Alex three minutes to arrive on stage. That’s
at least eight minutes in Fergie time...
AND the winner of 18-carat, gold-plated hypocrite of 2013
is... Sir Elton John. Pop’s grand old dame, who once described
The X Factor as “arse-paralysingly brain-crippling”, was the
star guest on Sunday’s finale. And the only person looking half-paralysed
was Gary Barlow. Dermot might have been brain-crippled though.
He asked “How does that feel?” more times than a Carry On doctor.
The show needs a host who can do more than read an autocue,
especially in an under-par year. O’Dreary isn’t it. Sam Bailey
rightly stormed to victory. She had the voice of the series
– pitch perfect and powerful; far more impressive than Katy
Perry. Tamera would have been more competition than Nicholas,
if only she’d bothered to learn the songs. She forgot more lines
than Nigella Lawson. They had duff microphones to match the
duff judges, duff guest (Katy) and duff returning irritants
Jedward and Rylan (Wot? No Cher Lloyd?) It’s odd that show bosses
recall joke contenders like Wagner but not Steve Brookstein...
X Factor’s soulful first winner has been written out of history.
Simon Cowell? He’s the Kim Jong-Un of pop.
*AT one point Nicholas assured us: “I’ve enjoyed shinging
every shong in the sheries.” Had he been shampling the sherries?
THE Great Train Robbery rattled along like a locomotive, only
hitting the buffers when writer Chris Chibnall made out that
the thieves were motivated by more than simple greed. “It’s
one in the eye for all the old duffers running the country,”
he had ringleader Bruce Reynolds say. “We’re taking on the establishment...
” Class war was never high on the agenda of London’s 1960s criminal
fraternity. In fairness Chibnall didn’t shy away from showing
the robbers’ aggression, and part two came down decisively on
the side of law and order. The acting was terrific, the direction
stylish; the humour felt real, Nina Simone’s Sinnerman simmered
perfectly. Nice of Ronnie Biggs, a bit-player in the crime,
to give the show one last blast of publicity; but what does
it say about our culture that we know more about Biggs than
about the Flying Squad’s DCS Tommy Butler?
*WHY not dramatize the story of the Richardson gang next?
Done right, it could be British TV’s answer to The Sopranos.
HOT on TV: The Great Train Robbery, especially Jim Broadbent
and Luke Evans... World’s Strongest Man 2013 (C5) ... Terry
Alderton, Live At The Apollo... Ripper Street finale – R.I.P.
ROT on TV: Lindsay Lohan in Liz & Dick (Lifetime) – the Xmas
turkey came early... BBC Sports Personality of the Year – they
think it’s turn over... Matt Lucas Xmas Awards – ho ho? No.
*WALFORD update: Carol’s got a lump, Joey’s got the hump,
Dot was robbed, Alfie’s lost his job, the Moons are out the
Vic and Alice is still in nick... Merry Christmas!
*PETER and Lola had sex in the launderette. Gives new meaning
to the sign: ‘Drop trousers here for prompt service.’
*WHEN Dexter turned up with “a bone for Tramp”, was I the
only one who assumed he was visiting Roxy?
*SLY old David Wicks is the best thing about EastEnders right
now. Let’s hope he sorts out Bianca’s clothes – she looks more
of a pudding than Morgan did.
*DID you see the headline: ‘Liz Hurley Split’? Blimey. I knew
Shane Warne was a big lad but...
*IS Darcy Bussell related to Bluebottle from the Goons? They’ve
definitely got the same nose.
RANDOM irritations: Corrie turning Tina into a tramp. Gaby
Logan’s interviewing style - the best I’ve ever slept through.
BBC1’s ‘Unsung hero’ Maggie Forber being rudely cut off for
a VT. Xmas cooking overload - how many shows about how to stuff
a turkey do we need??
SMALL Joys of TV: Vodka sex (Strike Back: Shadow Warfare).
Vintage comedians on Celebrity Eggheads – Johnnie Casson should
be in Corrie. Bradley Walsh’s reaction to the suggestion that
Shaun Ryder’s autobiography might have been called Twisting
My Plums (The Chase).
SEPARATED at birth: Chris Skudder from Sky News and Herman
Munster, one a strange gurning creature with a forehead like
a 60s TV alien, the other a Munster.
CLAUDIA Winkleman was discussing Strictly scoring when she
told Craig Revel Horrid: “You did get your ten out.” No wonder
he was such a successful rent-boy...
Dec 21. R.I.P. David Coleman, one of the great sport broadcasters,
most famous for his unique gift to the world of commentary,
the Colemanball (© Private Eye). Here are three of my favourites:
3) “That’s the fastest time ever run – but it’s not as fast
as the world record.” 2) "And the line-up for the final of the
women's 400 metres hurdles includes three Russians, two East
Germans, a Pole, a Swede and a Frenchman." 1) “Don’t tell those
coming in the final result of that fantastic match, but let’s
just have another look at Italy’s winning goal.” Erh, remarkable!
Dec 15. Paul Whitehouse got the first belly-laugh at the British
Comedy Awards, collecting a gong with actor Daniel Kaluuya.
“I’ve brought my signer with me,” he quipped, as Dan, better
known as Harry & Paul’s Parking Pataweyo, imitated the phony
interpreter from the Mandela memorial service. It went down
better than Jonathan Ross’s entire opening monologue.
JR had some great lines though, promising “more surprises
than a Comic Relief investment portfolio.” He said of Amazon:
“Soon they’ll be able to deliver your comedy DVDs in a drone;
is it just me or is that what Jo Brand has been doing for twenty
years?” Jonathan must have pissed off the director because after
every punch-line they cut to a close-up of someone in the audience
– a real vipers’ nest of comedy snobs - grimacing.
Johnny Vegas gave us the best moment. He was giving Whitehouse
an award for comic writing, but took advantage of the live event
to deliver a long, hostile diatribe. He slagged off sponsors
Fosters, saying: “Never has a drink made me hanker for Castlemaine
XXXX.” And claimed the producers had made up an award category
for Will Ferrell just because he was in the country. It was
part act, part mental breakdown.
Most of the night’s big laughs came from the shock of swearwords
– always a lazy cop-out. Lee Mack used ventriloquist Nina Conti’s
stooge mask to make Jonathan apologise for Sachsgate, saying:
“I’m so sorry for being a c***.” But these foul-mouthed moments
can’t disguise how narrow, bland and useless TV comedy has become.
It’s now so ropey that even the stars dishing out awards had
a pop. Harry Hill, presenting a gong for comedy panel shows,
joked: “The standard has been so low this year they’ve decided
not to give it.” While Reece Shearsmith noted of sitcoms: “Nobody
sets out to make a pile of shit; having said that here are the
Elitist executives kicked a generation of much-loved comedians
off TV and have spent the next decades comprehensively failing
to replace them. In the process they’ve killed the mainstream
sitcom, driven laughs out of primetime and handed access to
telly to a few powerful agencies. Consequently the same over-rated
faces and clapped-out shows get nominated year after year. But
as C4’s ‘jury’ is drawn entirely from the middle class comedy
establishment, that’s unlikely to change. Let’s hope Pataweyo
made a few bob clamping their limos.
*MISSING from the nominations: The Wrong Mans, a Stand-Up
category, US sitcoms – still a staple of C4’s scheduling, and
Micky Flanagan, the new true King of Comedy. But at least it
was live again this year. They should stick to that. Maybe next
year they could up the shock factor by sending in Jerry Sadowitz
and Frankie Boyle. Or to generate real fear and hostility, why
not try Jim Davidson?
JOHN Bishop says variety is “like having a conversation with
your Nan, you’ve no idea what’s going to come next.” True enough.
Take the Royal Variety show; you never know whether it’ll be
a singer or a dancer, or a dancer or a singer, or occasionally
a naff comedian. The concept of variety being about differently
skilled entertainers completely escapes ITV. They don’t even
know how to pace a bill. The Royal doesn’t build up to a crescendo
of big name stars anymore; it just peters out, much like the
X Factor. John Newman, Caro Emerald, Seann Walsh dying on his
arse... really you spoil us. The dreary extract from new musical
Stephen Ward worked like Serotonin, only quicker. Lloyd Weber
has created a new art form – the snoozical. Headliners Chas
& Dave were completely thrown away. I enjoyed Jason Byrne’s
wrecking ball entrance (shame he didn’t end his spot there though)
and Jimmy Carr who delivered quality gags like: “The most important
thing in any relationship is trust. If you’re with a woman and
you don’t 100% trust her, how do you know she isn’t going to
tell your wife?”
*JESSIE J’s top could have been a metaphor for the whole night:
sleek, slight, transparent... and underneath almost completely
*CAMILLA looked shaken when she arrived; she thought the top
of the bill was Chas and Di.
AHS: Coven brought new meaning to raising the dead this week,
as Kyle serviced Madison and Zoe in a bizarre threesome. Kyle
is a pick-and-mix Frankenstein’s monster made up of different
parts of his dead friends, a borrowed arm, a stolen foot, a
grafted trouser snake... It’s body-building, Jim, but not as
we know it. Poor enchanted Zoe is cursed with a killer clunge,
but as she can’t bang anyone to death if they’ve already died
she leapt at the chance of some girl on ghoul action with Franken-Kyle.
Luckily he didn’t shoot his bolt. This show has witches, lust,
torture, betrayal... it’s like Loose Women meets the Hammer
House of Horror.
HOT on TV: Catherine McCormack (Lucan)... Robin Williams (Set
List)... Derren Brown’s Great Art Robbery... Claire Forlani
ROT on TV: Heston ruining fish n chips – needs battering...
the Royal – enough to turn Charles into a republican... Gary
Barlow (X Factor) - makes Kiosk Keith look cheery.
SAM Bailey should walk tonight’s X Factor final. I’m not sure
how Luke even scraped through. He’s been sniffing around the
bottom slots more often than a bored beagle. The real competition
is from weepy Nicholas McDonald, who is small, Scottish and
odd-looking; and consequently has massive support from Krankies
fans and Hobbits everywhere.
*LAST week Luke sang The Best Thing I Never Had. In his case
that’s a haircut.
*FACT: every single person on C4’s Psychopath Night has applied
to be on The Apprentice.
*THE backing singer beat the dressmaker on I’m A Celebrity.
It was a real clash of the tiddlers. Next year give us proper
celebs, ITV, and let Nigella supply the contraband.
*HOW did Lucy Pargeter stay in so long? Someone check the
Woolpack phone bill.
*AMY Willerton on leaving the jungle: “We’re getting back
into real world and forgetting the bush head.” Bush head? Hmm.
Sounds like all the good stuff happened off camera... And there
was me thinking Ant was talking about a Bushtucker trial when
he said: “Let’s get the snake out and the trousers off.”
*ODD. I studied There’s Something About Susan and couldn’t
see anything in her hair.
RANDOM irritations: C4 cutting the Comedy Awards for a Gogglebox
repeat. The decline of the Royal Variety show. Would it hurt
ITV to have a proper Vegas headliner? Or actual variety acts?
Smash the emergency glass and send in Brian Conley.
SMALL Joys of TV: Robin Askwith turning up in Corrie – for
once, he’s not the one with the most confessions. Trev’s garden
shed pub (George Clarke’s Amazing Places). Dame Edna (Royal)
– but why so little of her? Bertorelli (’Allo ’Allo!) The Happenings’
crop circle – spooky!
SEPARATED at birth: Cora from EastEnders and... Davros! One
a horribly twisted monster who wants to control everyone, the
other a Doctor Who baddie.
TV name of the week: BBC executive editor Dippy Chaudhary.
Their news editors seem pretty dippy too.
Dec 8. The only argument in favour of Peter and Tina’s Corrie
romance is that it gives hope to slightly seedy, middle-aged
men everywhere. And for that small dream, many thanks. But let’s
face it, this story-line is about as believable as the Autumn
You can see why it works for Peter. Carla’s carping would
get on any bloke’s wick, and Tina is the hottest woman in soap.
She’s WAG-fit, bright and until recently pretty moral; plus
there’s the added possibility of some erotic hoopla foreplay
with those earrings. But why would Tina fall for him? Why take
a chance on a pot-less serial womaniser who until recently she’d
barely said five words to?
I reckon her eyesight is woozy from the side effects of her
radioactive tan. Look at the last few blokes she’s gone for:
David ‘Psycho’ Platt, gormless ‘eccentric’ Graeme Proctor...
Stud muffin Tommy Duckworth was clearly an aberration. If she
hadn’t fallen for Peter Barlow she’d probably be getting jiggy
with Norris in the back of Mary’s motorhome.
The odd couple had their first kiss in the Rovers Return Gents,
the romantic fools. Lips locked, cheeks flushed, the ballcock
stiffened... Mercifully Liz interrupted them before they got
to the u-bend, “no, you bend” bit. Phew. Sex in that setting
could only have been bog standard. On Tuesday, an oblivious
Carla interrupted their canoodling. But on her wedding night,
the cackling half-cut bride crashed out leaving the ex-bookie
to enjoy a steamy snog with the sultry temptress.
Tina very nearly got laid on a table but Peter suddenly stopped.
Was it guilt? Or did excitement get the better of him? Two-to-one
on there will be more to come. Although it’s unlikely that Tina
will buy his usual solution, bigamy, or settle for being his
bit on the side. Either way Peter’s marriage is doomed. So doomed,
his Mum, Dad and brothers didn’t even bother showing up for
*NEXT on Corrie: Jason dumps Eva for a flash of Emily Bishop’s
*PETER pretended to be J.R. Hartley on the phone. Apt as Tina
will be fly-fishing soon.
*THE way he constantly upgrades women is incredible. Peter’s
gone from Shelley to Lucy to Leanne to Carla to Tina... Really?
In real life he’d be lucky to cop off with Liz McDonald.
TV scene of the week: Laila Morse straddled by a crocodile
on I’m A Celebrity. Young croc, meet old crock. The hard-nosed,
loud-mouthed brute seemed tranquilised... which was good news
for the crocodile. In a so-so week, Annabel Giles turned into
a hysterical twerp, Alfonso became a big-headed berk, and the
big jungle action involved smuggled concealer and chewing gum.
Ho hum. It was a shame to see Steve Davis go; although in fairness
it was the longest he’s lasted in any televised competition
for years. Given the lack of sexual chemistry in camp he’s still
the only one likely to be sinking a long pink this week.
*ANNABEL Giles, once straight, is now dating a female carpenter.
So one way or another she’s still getting wood...
*ANNABEL a lesbian? I was more surprised when ITV outed her
as a celebrity.
*LUCY Parteger talking about I’m A Celebrity: “They’ve always
had massive personalities.” Yeah? Not this year...
THE fish was a red snapper and the naked groupie had ginger
hair, so Led Zeppelin’s road manager had the bright idea of
introducing one red snapper, intimately, to another... Tsk,
who to call, Operation Yewtree or the RSPCA? Did the poor woman
fully enjoy her fishy experience, or was it a case of Koi-carp
interruptus? 50 Years Of Rock Excess didn’t tell is, they just
regurgitating rock’s best-known scandals. Cue tales of hotel
trashing, booze and cocaine abuse, Moon the Loon’s cherry bombs,
violence, and multiple Ozzy Osbourne outrages. C4 missed so
much though. There was no Ritchie Blackmore, no Lemmy, and no
mention of UFO’s Pete Way, the only man ever to be banned from
Ozzy’s company by Sharon as a bad influence. Sure it was great
to see Led Zep in their “thunderous majesty”, but it was bizarre
for a self-styled rock show to completely blank AC/DC, Purple,
Priest, Lizzy and Leppard who combined multi-million sales with
scandal and tragedy. They brushed over Iron Maiden, who are
still massive, wrongly claiming they were ‘post punk’ (they
were concurrent). And missed Mayhem who were genuinely demented.
It should have been a series and it should have been made by
people who love the music more than they do the gossip.
*THAT red snapper tale left a nasty taste in the mouth, said
the fish. Were ITV trying to recreate the scene with Big Mo’s
HOT on TV: Angela Bassett (AHS: Coven)... Rachel Wilde (EastEnders)...
Margot Bingham (Boardwalk Empire)... The Blacklist (Sky Living).
ROT on TV: Lucy Parteger – whining killjoy... Marcus Brigstocke
– as funny as your energy bills... Robyn Hitchcock on The Andrew
Marr Show – tuneless enough to be an X Factor joke-audition
DON’T you love the names you see on TV? There’s an assistant
director called Bambi Sicafoose, an exec called Lile Le Bolloch,
and a producer called Yung Suk Kok. Honestly! BBC newsreader
Riz Lateef sounds like a dental problem developed by dope smokers
(Rizla Teeth). Femi Oke is a TV presenter but could easily be
mistaken for a lesbian karaoke night. And as for US swimmer
Misty Hyman, will we ever see her stretched to breaking point?
I’M loving my celebrity advent calendar. Opened the first
door and Annabel Giles came out... The next day, Tom Daley...
Each to their own, of course, but it doesn’t half put an eye-watering
spin on the commentator saying: “Tom Daley over-rotated on entry.”
*AUTUMN Statement update: officially, the only people making
any money here now are energy firms, Joey Essex and wonga.com.
*THE Masterchef judges use words like ‘collapsed’, ‘fatty’,
and ‘oily’... perfect descriptions of their slappable faces.
ON The Joy Of Logic, a barman asked three blokes in a pub
if they all wanted a drink. The first two said they didn’t know.
“Only the third could logically answer ‘yes’,” argued Professor
David Cliff. Wrong. Logic suggests they all wanted a drink –
that’s why they were at the bar; the first two were trying to
swerve a round, the lousy no-good bums.
*BET the Prof enjoys logical sex – it stands to reason.
RANDOM irritations: BBC blockheads axing Ripper Street instead
of moving it, improving it and telling Captain Jackson to stop
mumbling. . The World Cup Draw and Greg Dykes’s annoyingly defeatist/realistic
reaction to it. Annabel Giles snivelling through jungle challenges
- not much of a bug-muncher, was she?
SMALL Joys of TV: Simon Evans on the nauseating spread of
adults using infantile language. The Googlebox gays. Lionel
Bart’s alternative version of Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be.
SEPARATED at birth: Seann Walsh and this Axtell lion puppet.
The puppet’s funnier, though. It’d be hard not to be.
Dec 1. Many things puzzled about Roxy and Alfie’s EastEnders
wedding. For starters, where the hell was that church? Set in
lush green fields, rural St Vincent’s was clearly nowhere near
the mean streets of inner city Walford. Yet somehow the locals
got there without a coach or a convoy of cars. The unhappy couple
tied the knot, briefly, but snubbed relatives – Billy, Lola,
Uncle Eddie – to invite newcomer Sadie, her creepy husband Jack
and some unknown Sikhs instead.
Every part of the soap’s latest ‘wedding drama’ was lame or
ridiculous. We saw Alfie waffle his way past Southend Airport
security, bang on the door of a departing plane and actually
get let in! He knocked people flying in the concourse without
getting Tasered, and caused a scene on-board without getting
nicked. Alfie had his passport in his wedding suit (who leaves
home without theirs?) but not his wallet... Luckily skint Bianca
just happened to have enough cash on her for him to buy a ticket...
Writer Simon Ashdown packed in more old cobblers than the
Retired Shoemakers’ Association AGM. Terry let Bianca take his
taxi – his livelihood! – and drive it uninsured with barely
a moan... Alfie ‘borrowed’ a pizza delivery boy’s scooter in
exchange for Ian’s watch and a few notes... we’ll never see
him give that back. Kat the Dog dumped Tommy on a trolley dolly
to play tonsil tennis with him, and the plane waited for them
instead of taking off.
Not a single passenger got the hump, but I did. Why were we
supposed to care? Alfie has become a pathetic wuss, while Kat
is a serial cheat who treats him like a bloodhound treats a
lamp-post. It was only a year ago that she was working through
50 Shades Of Kray with Del-Boy Rotter. Sausage Three Ways isn’t
a recipe to her, it’s a good night out.
Soap bosses don’t appear to be aware of the law of diminishing
returns. They certainly don’t believe in consistency. One minute
Phil is trying to top Carl, the plastic gangster, days later
he’s in Phil’s pub chatting up his cousin. That’s ‘reality’,
EastEnders style. Alfie and Roxy’s marriage was the shortest
in soap history. The real Walford wedding shock would be a happy
*MORE Enders mysteries: When exactly did Roxy and Sean get
divorced? Why hasn’t she noticed her ex is playing a randy fairy
vampire on True Blood? Why hasn’t Kat noticed her Gran is in
ITV’s jungle? And were the Sikh couple just in church to reinforce
the soap’s vision of East London as one big happy multi-ethnic
Coca Cola ad?
*THEY had Easter and funeral hymns at the wedding. Odd. ‘Course
the one song that can’t ever be played in Walford is Oh Come
All Ye Faithful.
*YOU felt for Poxy when the penny dropped. “I love you,” she
squawked. “And I’m letting you go. GET AHT!” Get aht of my pudenda...
(She didn’t say that last bit, but in the spirit of Auntie Peg
she should have done.)
TO ITV’s jungle where things were getting hot; Amy was boasting
about her “competitive head”, Lucy had “sucked her way back
into contention” and boasted “Two sucks, that’s all it would
have taken.” Well, it’d work for me. Sadly, the women were only
talking about a Bushtucker trial. Even sadder this nonentity-heavy
series hasn’t really caught alight. Too many things irritate,
not least sick-note swim star Rebecca ducking out of trials
on mysterious “medical grounds.” If she wasn’t match fit, she
should have come next year instead. At least the Joey Essex
overkill eased up when viewers realised he was a game kid who’d
do his best in the challenges. The biggest excitement in camp
was Vincent strutting about in his tiny pants. And as comedian
Rob Beckett said: “Imagine how confident he’d be if he was good-looking.”
The show needs bigger characters. Where’s Melanie Sykes and
her boxing gloves?
*ANNABEL Giles excelled at holding something small and wriggly
in her mouth. Well, she was married to Midge Ure.
*JUNGLE Joys: the live feed freezing in horror when Mo revealed
her dunny habits. Matthew Wright’s white bikini (was that really
his first time in women’s clothes?) Amy’s union jack knickers
- shame no-one’s likely to supply a pole.
DO you buy Tina falling for Peter Barlow on Corrie? It’s not
just that their ages are as lopsided as the Man City v Spurs
score-line. It’s more that he’s a hopeless drunk who’s been
over the side more times than a deep sea diver... Former bigamist
Peter is about to walk out on his fourth bride. What a catch!
You can see what’s in it for him, but for her? It’s the least
likely love affair since dishy, ambitious Dawn Swan fell for
Phil – then a washed-up crack-head - on EastEnders.
HOT on TV: Jack Dee (Live At The Apollo)... C4’s Scrappers...
AHS: Coven (Fox)... Blue Bloods (SkyAt)... Sarah Solemani’s
ROT on TV: boxing ref Howard Foster... Xmas TV schedules -
as appetising as an MRSA turkey... EastEnders – makes the Yonderland
elf seem convincingly realistic.
*NEW US show Sperm Donor Dads is about men who travel the
country donating their seed. Here they’re called Premier League
*IF these Nigella cocaine allegations turn out to be true,
at least we’ve found someone new to run the Co-Op.
REJECTED Nigella shows: MasterSniff, Baking Bad, Ready Steady
Chop, Big Coke Little Coke, A Question Of Snort, Let’s Do Lines
with Gella & Mel (Blatt)...
*THAT Day Of The Doctor script was a closely guarded secret;
even to the guy who wrote it. Hey, Beeb: less hype, better stories!
*IF Mel Sykes is really dishing out right-handers, can she
please add Gino D’Campo to her hit-list? No wonder Des O’Connor
has gone into hiding.
*DID we really need another Morecambe & Wise documentary?
Blinding clips, of course, but what we actually need is a new
Eric & Ernie for today. Unfortunately no-one at the BBC has
the slightest idea how to find and nurture them.
RANDOM irritations: BBC1’s promise of “two hours of Brazilian
action” turning out to be motor-racing. Weeping jungle ‘celebs’.
Soaps saying “if you were affected by this... ” No, I was affected
by Cathy Come Home and Boys From The Blackstuff not your contrived
SMALL Joys of TV: Michael Ball on Toast Of London. Yonderland’s
talking stick. Julie Walters’s false teeth on The Ruby In The
Smoke. Milton Jones. Sharpe’s Rifles repeats. Narnia’s Lost
Poet. The Seinfeld finale.
APT TV name of the week: Masterchef runner, Ollie Cook.
SEPARATED at birth: Emmerdale’s Dan Spencer and the Benylin
Mucus Cough Monster?