BUSHELL ON THE BOX
DEC 31st. 2016 was the year the BBC lost Bake Off, Love Island lost all sense of decorum and thanks to Honey G millions of X Factor viewers lost the will to live. Clarkson roared back triumphantly with The Grand Tour, Harvey Price dropped the C-bomb on Loose Women, and Ed Balls dad-danced his way into Strictly history. Ed's near-calamity with Katya Jones was the funniest lift incident since Solange and Jay Z. Against the odds, 2016 also delivered qualify telly. Let's celebrate the highs and lows with my own Baftas, that's the Bushell Awards for TV Achievement.
SHOW of the Year: Planet Earth II. Racer snakes chasing baby iguanas, dancing bears, lions versus a giraffe... Attenborough reminded us that nature is as deadly as it is breathtaking.
Top Drama: Game Of Thrones.
Best Unexpected Treat: Stranger Things.
Funniest TV moment: the time C-L-I-T appeared on Countdown takes some licking. But the most rib-tickling incident was surely when Stephen Bear kicked off in the Celebrity Big Brother diary room. The raging fool opened the door to a security man twice his size and lost his bottle quicker than the captain of the Costa Concordia.
Turkey of the Year: Trainspotting Live. Runners-up: Naked Attraction – at least Naked Jungle had an assault course. Alan Carr's Grease Night. Celebrity Haunted Hotel – Crossroads was scarier.
The Annual Gemma Collins award for TV Irritant: Honey G. Runner-up: Gemma Collins.
Worst Soap storyline: the council bin collection saga (EastEnders). Runners-up: Vincent and Donna's "sperm donor" cringeathon. Kim's driving disasters. Christine Coker. Gavin re-enacting The Shining...
Biggest Soap Mystery: Caz materializing in Maria's flat from nowhere on Corrie, like a pantomime baddie. All she needed was a flash of smoke. Where was she hiding? No-one asked, no-one knows.
Best soap villain: Pat Phelan. Scariest soap moment: Letitia Dean without make-up.
Top TV Sex: Dolokov and Hélène on her War & Peace dinner table; beautifully laid I felt. The woman certainly puts on a decent spread, although I could've sworn she'd asked for duck.
Worst: Denise's drunken "Netflix & Phil" disaster, EastEnders.
Biggest Slapper: Tuppence Middleton as horny Hélène (War & Peace).
Weirdest Kink: Men dressed as puppies – talk about pedigree chumps. Most tempting kink: Marco Jnr begging Big Brother's Laura to "Strangle me now". How we'd like to... Yuckiest: "Cataracts of the Nile" (Great British Sex Survey), where a gentleman relieves himself on a lady-friend's privates. Seriously? Piss off!
Top Drama that wasn't Thrones: The Night Manager (UK). The Night Of (US). Honorable mentions: The Americans, Happy Valley, Daredevil. The Missing.
Best Cop saga: Line Of Duty. Worst: DCI Banks, a dull plod.
Best resurrection: Jon Snow (Thrones). Runner-up: Cold Feet. Worst: Fat Pat (EastEnders). The X-Files. The BBC's god-awful Alf Garnett and Steptoe re-makes.
Best Euro drama: Deutschland '83. Runners-up: Gomorrah. Blue Eyes.
Top villain: Negan, The Walking Dead.
Runners-up: Dicky Roper, The Night Manager. Matthew "Dot" Cottan, Line Of Duty.
Biggest Dud: Tutankhamun. Biggest let-down: Vinyl.
Best Royal Drama: The Crown. Worst: Victoria.
Best Drama Doc: American Crime Story: The People Vs OJ Simpson.
Best single episode: The Battle of the Bastards, Game Of Thrones.
Top "tool": Negan's Lucille, deadlier than Bobby Beale's hockey stick. Most Deserved TV death: Ramsay Bolton, fed to his own dogs on Thrones. Most unnecessary: Ollie Locke's caiman. Saddest sacrifice: Hodor, G of T.
Best sci-fi: Stranger Things. Runners-up: Westworld. Black Mirror.
Best horror: The Walking Dead.
Worst casting: Rowan Atkinson as Maigret.
Top Talent Show contender: Gifty, X Factor. Runner-up: Bernie Clifton, The Voice.
Top Judge: Craig Revel Horwood. Worst: Louis Walsh.
Worst Stitch-Up: X Factor shafting Gifty. Runners-up: The Voice shafting Beth Morris. Worst Fix: The Voice & Jordan. CBB & Stephen Bear.
Top comedy: Mrs. Brown's Boys Live. Flop Comedy: Tracey Ullman's Show – eight writers, no punchlines. Runners-up: Harry Hill's Tea Time. David Walliams & Friend – ended up as David Walliams & Viewer.
Top Sitcom: Flea Bag. Runner-up: Veep. Top Comedy drama: Atlanta (US). Stag (UK). Worst: Red Top. Top satirist: John Oliver, Last Week Tonight. Worst satire: Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back.
Best comedy presenter: Frank Skinner, Room 101.
Top entertainment host who isn't Ant & Dec: Michael McIntyre. Most over-rated double act: Mel & Sue Worst Entertainment Flop: Can't Touch This. Runner-up: Drive.
Best Motoring Show: The Grand Tour. Runner-up: Jay Leno's Garage.
Best Performance by an Inanimate Object: Donald Trump's hair. Runner-up: Antony Cotton. Top quiz: Fifteen To One. Worst: 500 Questions.
Best Reality: SAS: Who Dares Wins. Worst: Sex Box – cheap voyeurism disguised as "education". Best documentary: Heroes Of Helmand.
Top Controversy: Top Gear's Cenotaph stunt – the biggest doughnut was in the driving seat. Runner-up: the Poldark "rape". Top Sex Object (Literally): Maeve, Westworld. Most Mind-boggling This Morning caption: "Live from Nilufer's vagina". Best Innuendo: Chris Packham referring to a bird on Winterwatch: "And I'll be getting Michaela out of bed to show her black-cock in the flesh".
Top sporting howler: cricket commentator Vic Marks on England v South Africa: "Morgan must get De Kock out".
Top Lookalikes: Diego Costa and Captain Haddock. Top TV name: Mikki Kuntto (Eurovision editor).
Biggest Mystery: how did ITV's Victoria dance at her 1838 coronation to a quadrille Strauss wrote in 1874?
Harvey Price C*** of the year: Philip Green. Irritations of 2016: Philip Green. Bradley & Ottavio. Shazia Mirza. Paloma Faith's "lickle girl" voice. England's dismal World Cup shambles. Sherlock disappearing up its own arse. EastEnders neglecting to mention West Ham leaving Upton Park.
Small joys of 2016 TV: John Barrowman falling off his chair live on Loose Women. Carpool Karaoke. The "David is dead" mix-up on CBB. Danny Dyer's right royal lineage. Michelle Keegan's leather catsuit, Lip Sync Battle UK. Rachel Riley. The Peaky Blinders series finale. Sports Relief Darts. Jeff Stelling, Soccer Saturday.
Worst celeb cooking: Sinitta, for her deadly aubergine stuffed with raw minced lamb. Worst celeb booking: Aston Merrygold for wimping out of Celebrity Island.
Top Actor: Hugh Laurie, The Night Manager. Top soap actor: John Middleton, Emmerdale. Top Actress: Thandie Newton. Runner-up: Keeley Hawes. Top Pout: Candice Brown, Bake Off Man of the Year: Ed Balls. As a dancer, bungling Ed made a bloody good Shadow Chancellor (and vice versa). Woman of the Year: Scarlett Moffatt. Dodgiest Diva: Will Young for flouncing out of Strictly. Star Of The Year: Bradley Walsh.
Top Goof: Chris Packham, talking about feathered birds on Springwatch: "I'm going for lubrication coz that bird's mouth is incredibly dry".
2016 TV Quiz: Who said: "You've got two hours to achieve ultimate moistness"? a) Sue Perkins on Bake Off or b) Ross Poldark to Elizabeth? Who was "How much of the brain did he eat?" said about? a) Gregg Wallace on MasterChef or b) the latest cannibal serial-killer on Luther? Who said: "I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't go for the large?" a) Shaney on The Chase or b) Tiff on Naked Attraction? (Answers: a, b, a)
Dec 30. WHERE have all the viewers gone? Christmas Day telly has lost two-thirds of the audience in a generation. TV bosses blame Netflix, box-sets and gaming. But millions would return if there was anything worth watching. Instead we got cakes, tangos and ITV's gloomy, miscast Maigret... everything except belly laughs.
Call The Midwife left Poplar to miraculously defuse apartheid. The soaps ranged from soppy to sloppy. And Dr Who did Superman. Stephen Moffat's script was crammed with clever references for comic book fans, but conjured up less drama than a night in with Roy Cropper. Comedy, once the cornerstone of the festive schedules, has been carelessly driven to the margins. We had to wait until 10pm on Xmas night for the first new sitcom, Mrs. Brown's Boys, and that was as much use as a one-legged reindeer. Brendan O'Carroll's grotesque dame was ill-served by a script that could've been scribbled on the back of a Xmas card. Forget gags, all the laughs came from cock-ups. The only development was that Agnes's traditional "fecking" had become "bucking" (according to the subtitles; my ears heard differently.) Maybe that's enough after fourteen pints of eggnog but it's hardly Denise going into labour on The Royle Family.
We know yuletide telly was better when comedy was king – the glories of Xmas Past stretched out across the smaller channels this week like carelessly scattered gold dust; unmissable but sadly unmatchable. With the best will in the world, Paul Hollywood waking up in bed with Mary Berry can't hope to compete with the Jolly Boys outing or Fletcher plummeting into the prison escape tunnel on Porridge.
We know why this has happened – the broadcasting elite's contempt for popular humour and turns who aren't Oxbridge educated, or similar, and who might not conform to the required checklist of right-on prejudices. But it isn't about you, Tarquin. It's about the viewers who pay your wages. Family comedy is as much a Christmas Day tradition as crackers and carols. We want it and we expect it. The same old tat with tinsel isn't enough.
WHAT a week on EastEnders – attempted suicide, self-harming, cocaine meltdowns... Merry Xmas! And there's still Jack and Ronnie's wedding o' doom to come. Lee's suicide bid was the soap's eighth (if you don't include the viewers); half of them successful, two assisted. Albert Square is like Dignitas with a Cockney accent. Other plotlines stumbled along with the grace of a concussed panto cow. Max returned. Phil's new liver arrived, so the charmless bully-boy oik will plague us for another year. And Michelle Fowler bowled back with a brand new head. No-one asked why she'd never bothering flying over for family funerals or weddings. Or how she'd managed to clear up her complexion. Rough? The poor woman had more pot-holes than Enders has plot-holes.
HOT on TV: Deadpool (SkyCinema)... Quarry (SkyAt)... Outnumbered... Inside No 9 – The Devil Of Christmas... League Of Our Own Xmas Special... Blankety Blank contestant Porsha.
ROT on TV: Nick and Peter's Corrie "fight"... unrecognisable dimboes on Celebrity Mastermind... Revolting Rhymes... Cunk on Xmas... Maigret – mais non... Xmas Day telly in general – ho-ho-hopeles.
*GARY Windass survived his mum-and-daughter Corrie love triangle with Sarah and Beth. If actor Mikey North had upset the writers it would've been with Gail and Audrey.
SMALL Joys of TV: League Of Our Own's javelin darts. Bob Monkhouse: The Last Stand. Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. The Last Dragonslayer. Jonathan Creek. Honey Mitchell warning "Don't trust Dot's pussy, you don't know where it's been". (Ditto Roxy's).
Dec 18. One of the great strengths of 1970s telly was that it wasn't full of smug gits moaning about how bad TV had been in the 1950s. The parade of virtue-signalling creeps on It Was Alright In The 70s boils the blood quicker than a cartoon cannibal's cooking pot. This C4 show aims to do for nostalgia what the RMT do to Southern Rail commuters, year after ruddy year. It takes genuine greats – Dave Allen, Rising Damp, The Two Ronnies – and attempts to stick the boot in. It's like Googlebox for right-on snobs, seasoned with the stench of hypocrisy.
Clips of sketch show women stripped down to rather splendid stockings and suspenders naturally generated the required tut-tutting. Semi-clad women are completely unacceptable on today's TV of course... unless you're a semi-pornographic twerking pop star... or you're posing for lingering bikini shots in ITV's jungle shower.
Ironically we see far more naked women on screen these days, the difference being they're mostly on mortuary slabs in crime dramas.
C4 unearth programmes no-one's ever heard of, like the rapidly axed BBC comedy Battle Of The Sexes, just to generate fake outrage. In one sketch, a marriage guidance counsellor got so wound up by a moaning wife that he swiped her with a frying pan, Vic and Bob style. "Appalling", squawked the talking heads. Yet it never seemed to bother them when current favourite Jo Brand joked "the way to a man's heart is through his breast-pocket with a knife".
Rising Damp's Rigsby was racist, we were told. Hiss, boo. But we knew that. He was also outwitted every week by Philip, his posh black lodger. That was the point. It Ain't Half Hot Mum was wonderful. Created by genius Dad's Army writers Croft & Perry, the sitcom was based on a war-time Royal Artillery concert party in India and ran for eight hit series. BBC bores banned repeats because white actor Michael Bates played Indian Rangi Ram. So it was refreshing to see Asian commentators defend him. Bates was born in Janshi; Hindustani was his first language. He was more Indian than the show's Asian stars who were Pakistani and Bangladeshi. It's a crying shame it's not on Gold. The only comfort to be had is the certain knowledge that everything today's trendies cherish will eventually get the same treatment. Little Britain's incontinent old lady... Frankie Boyle mocking the disabled... they've got it coming. In spades. No-one on 70s TV masturbated pigs. Not on screen at any rate.
*THEY say it's wrong to laugh at funny foreign names. If so, Phil Wang wouldn't have an act. He's "Phil by name, Wang by... second name".
WELL done Matt Terry. The Bromley waiter was odds-on favourite to win The X Factor ever since they shafted Gifty back in October. Seeing Madness on the final was more surprising... Simon Cowell's show is all about the god-like power of music biz moguls and managers. Cynical mentors tell their acts how to dress, what to say and what tired old hits to cover. It's how pop used to be decades ago. But Madness are different; they come from a time when that old top-down order was out-manoeuvred and bands who wrote their own songs and created their own image set the tone. There are still promising performers in that mould, acts like The Spitfires and Louise Distras. The tragedy is there's no space on TV for them, no modern day Whistle Test or Revolver. (And Later's booking policy is more baffling than the scoring system on Mock The Week). X Factor's nose-diving ratings suggest we're losing patience with its nonsense. The hours this show eats up to find a one-hit wonder are long enough to watch the entire Sopranos box-set, twice. Yet you can count the lasting stars Cowell has created on Captain Hook's bad hand. Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan wouldn't even have passed his audition stage.
MEMO to ITV: variety is supposed to be a vibrant mix of differently skilled entertainers, not umpteen singers and David Walliams. Some of the Royal turns were stunning; not least Amber Riley. But strip away the pop acts and all ITV had were Cirque du Soleil (again), a decent magician and some underwhelming stand-up. Cue Alan Davies doing his dad gear, Joe Lycett struggling for laughs and Rob Beckett, a likeable guy with lightweight material. In fairness, no-one rolled in the aisles at Matt Forde, Romesh Ranganathan or punch-line deficient Chris Ramsay last year either. Can't they bring back Micky Flanagan?
*CIRQUE du Soleil are super-talented but should circus acts be so po-faced? Why not try Bianco next year?
HOT on TV: Amber Riley, Royal Variety... Oti Mabuse, Strictly... The Walking Dead mid-season finale.
ROT on TV: BBC Music Awards – the Beeb's Xmas turkey comes early... James O'Brien – TV's most punchable man (sorry, Piers)... Abdul Haqq, Muslims Like Us – no-one else would.
THE Best Of Bad TV? Bah, there's far worse out there. I once filmed an edition of BBC1's Hit The Road where James Whale and I were encouraged to "sword-fight" with cucumbers. It sounds like a bad acid flash-back but I have the stills to prove it happened. The show was so rotten it was whipped from the schedules and is said to be kept in a sealed strongbox at BBC TV Centre. It's the TV equivalent of ravens leaving the Tower. If it ever aired the case for the licence fee would crumble.
*THE unreliable Six Wives secrets Lucy Worsley missed. Henry: 1) Met Anne of Cleaves on Ye Olde First Dates. 2) Sex-texted Anne Boleyn using carrier pigeons. 3) Often said: "If I could see more of Jane Seymour, I'd let Jane see more of me."
*THE definition of low expectations: robbing Billy Mitchell.
*I DO At 92 sounded like the set-up for a Bob Monkhouse gag: "I do at 92... I live at 86, it's no distance". I'm still sore from 94.
*DAVID Blaine always looks knackered. Imagine how tired he'd be if he'd filmed more than one show in the last three years.
SMALL Joys of TV: the stunning time-lapse photography on Planet Earth II. Rillington Place, like Christie it was neatly executed. Ore's Strictly victory – he wasn't the best dancer but he was the strongest amateur. Two Doors Down. BBC4's Dave Clark Five documentary Glad All Over. David Blaine's close-up magic. Pat Phelan. The Chuckle Brothers at the Royal.
RANDOM irritations: man buns. Over-emotional blubbing blokes (sorry, Ore). The traditional festive misery on DeadEnders. The X Factor having the temerity to bring back useless joke act Honey G for their final. The lack of decent gags on Vicious.
SEPARATED at birth: Susanna Reid and Saara Aalto? One associated with a show dominated by a pompous self-regarding blow-hard, the other has never even met Piers Morgan.
*HOW did dozy Courtney reach tonight's Apprentice final? This bloke's so laidback he makes Snow White's Sleepy look like The Flash. I blame Russian hackers.
ADAM Henson was talking about Dick Roper's sheep-herding on Countryfile (I hope) when he said: "That's pretty impressive Dick." I still pay £35 for the goofs I publish. For more details buy today's soar-away Daily Star Sunday.
Dec 11. Creating a brand of gin was just the tonic for those knuckleheads on The Apprentice. Trishna and Grainne took to their tasting session like sailors on shore leave. Talk about gin'll fix it. By the end they were one shot away from a conga line. Grainne could barely speak. So no change there. Even the next day she was talking about "Jupiner" when she meant Juniper.
They called their brand Colony Gin which Trishna decided should be the colour of anaemic Irn-Bru. Designing the label, Frances put Africa slap-bang in the centre, as opposed to say India which has historic connections to the tasty tipple. She couldn't include any of her ingredients as her tipsy teammates missed 19 of her calls. Cheers!
Trishna spent the next day stomping around with the hump, which annoyed Lord Sugar because that's his job.
Their rivals were equally lame. Courtney called his product "Giin", making it the perfect brand for people who can't spell. "What do you drink it with," Sugar quipped. "Toniic?" The flavours were raspberry and pink pepper, a combination that's roughly as enticing as Ruth Badger and a Babydoll nightie. As Claude observed Courtney has "no personality, no character, no warmth". In his case, G&T should stand for Gormless and Tongue-tied. Courtney was also the nitwit who thought Belgravia was the best place to buy a bargain price Cuban cigar. So how is he still in the process?
In the boardroom, panicking Trishna claimed she didn't know gin. "You drank enough of it," sniped Karren. Trishna went. And unless Grainne's business plan involves monetising her spectacular cheek bones she won't be far behind. It's the interviews next, where dreams are torn apart, CVs shredded and egos expertly deflated. So it's a crying shame Karthik isn't still around for it. This hasn't been a vintage series, but The Apprentice still delivers TV joys, like Dillon and his mermaids or Jessica pitching her amazing cosmic beaver the week before. I'm sorry, that should read astrobadger, but a man can dream.
WE learned a lot from Westworld, not least that Thandie Newton doesn't need Gok Wan to look good naked. The show was basically pessimistic. It said that given a holiday park where people could live out their wildest fantasies with life-like robots, our darkest instincts would bubble up. Guests at the deluxe Wild West resort raped, killed and brutalised the android hosts. No wonder they rose up and wreaked a bloody revenge. All it took was consciousness. Once the 'bots realised how abused they were, rebellion was inevitable. It was like the mechanical version of Brexit... The finale revealed that the psychotic Man In Black was actually nice-guy William 30 years on. That evil Wyatt was the code Arnold put into Dolores. And that boss Dr Ford had planned the whole uprising decades before; including his own public execution. Brothel madam Maeve was my fave, a literal sex machine turned super-bright avenger. Let's hope she starts running the place, raining sweet justice on rogue guests. I always liked Randolph Scott's line in Trail Street: "You're gonna get 30 days for that killing... then we're gonna hang you".
*THEY have sentient androids on Humans too, female robots who can chat about their feelings after sex. Surely there's a switch to turn that off?
IT'S time Walford had its own traffic signs. The slippery road symbol would mean Caution! Kim's driving. The bike in a red circle = Warning! Roxy's on heat. Humps ahead = Shirley has hangover. Falling rocks = Stacey's losing her marbles again. The roundabout symbol could be a plot-recycling alert, as Bex looks set for a similar revenge-porn ordeal to the one Steph endured on Corrie. I'm not sure there's a sign for the utter disaster the EastEnders writers have made of re-writing Lee Carter's character. He's gone from soldier to deserter to lowlife charity thief (tsk, just like Arthur Fowler and Sonia Bloody Jackson. The scumbag even organised the raid on the Vic putting his baby brother's life at risk. The only good to come of this dismal plot is Oz, the call centre bully who has made Lee's working life hell. Actor Noah Maxwell-Clarke should be a regular. He could be the new Nasty Nick.
HOT on TV: Adriana Lima (Marc Jacobs Decadence ad)... Martin Compston, In Plain Sight... the Westworld finale.
ROT on TV: the schmaltz assault of This Is Us – it's not me... David Walliams & Friend... Go For It – gone off it.
IF C4 fancy doing a celebrity version of Finding My Twin Stranger, my lookalike archives are at their disposal. I'm pretty sure they'd only have to go back a few generations to find a genetic link between Bruce Forsyth and a macaque monkey. And is it a coincidence that the Grant Mitchell look has caught on all over the globe? Vic in The Shield, Joseph in Braquo... Either viewers really go for silverback gorillas or Ross Kemp's old man had a bike.
*SHAME Ball and Boe didn't rope in Martin Freeman for their One Night Only. They could've billed it Ball Boe Baggins.
*SIX Wives with Lucy Worsley sounded like the worst porno ever, but was way duller than that. Henry didn't even whip out his chopper.
*SOME good gags on 8 Out Of Ten Cats, two from this column. Hey Jimmy, who do I invoice?
SMALL Joys of TV: Dave Gorman's aggrieved logic. David Attenborough's boundless curiosity. Craig Revel Horrid's brutal honesty. Rare Dylan footage on No Direction Home. Male widowbirds on Planet Earth II jumping wildly to attract mates – we used to call that the pogo.
RANDOM irritations: Imagine bigging up the worthless cod-art of Maurizo Cattelan. The Yakult breakfast promos. Snoozenight. BBC News reporters using "populist" to mean anything they disagree with. Lousy song choices on The Choir final, why waste great voices on dirges?
LET'S hope no one uses Toyah's return to Corrie as an opportunity to point out how much she used to look like the Churchill Insurance bulldog. Woops, too late.
TV questions: is Larry Lamb minted? Is Bill Bailey the third Hairy Biker? How many fags does MasterChef narrator Sean Pertwee get through? He sounds like he's on eighty a day. He'll end this series in an iron lung.
Dec 4: CRIES of "Balls out" echoed across the land last Sunday, stoking fears of an unsightly trouser malfunction on Strictly. Further jubilation followed as wannabe rapper Honey G went from Tupac to "You pack" on The X Factor. The next morning, the multi-talentless Honey told Lorraine she'd left the show "on a high note". Quite a boast for someone's who's never been able to hit any note, high or low. Apologists for her reign of terror kept saying "people are talking about her". Yes, but people were also talking about Aleppo and Storm Angus, it's not necessarily a good thing. Crucially the show's ratings were down to 5.67million last weekend; just over half of the viewers that Strictly pulled in, suggesting the Honey G "joke" had worn thin far faster than she ever will. Not that the horror is over yet. She'll be a gormless producer's fall-back "comedy" booking for years to come.
So what's the problem with The X Factor? How long have you got? It's a brilliantly successful format that has grown tired. Viewers know all its tricks now, and more damagingly, many suspect the whole process is as rigged as the show's jukebox. Hearts sank at the judges' houses stage when better singers were axed for the sake of a pre-ordained storylines. The judges' live show performances suggest they're either cloth-eared or working to a script. And we know all of Louis's clichés inside out. New younger judges, separate from the mentors and with no financial stake in the winner, might help. More adventurous theme weeks could raise the stakes too. How many of this year's live show crop could've coped with Acoustic Week... and without backing singers? Metallica Week would be a joy. It'd never happen, obviously, but Reggae Week could.
As it is, Matt Terry with his fab falsetto has been favourite to win since the start, and deservedly. No-one looks likely to beat him. Emily Middlemas has probably gone as far as she can go. And 5 After Midnight are far better hoofers than they are warblers. Saara should reach the finals. She has a strong voice, and takes chances. Though having her ham her way through Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend felt like deliberate sabotage.
*WHAT was Saara wearing last Sunday by the way? That tiara looked like a stray lizard from the ITV jungle. Maybe it was a premonition.
*SO Honey G gone, Ed Balls gone... any chance of Loose Women losing Coleen Nolan for the hat-trick?
*ED and Honey should team up record Adam Ant's Goody Two Shoes with new improved lyrics: 'Can't dance, can't sing... what can you do?' They'd need a name. Honeyballs has a nice ring. Supply your own filthy punchline.
IT seems odd to moan that I'm A Celeb has been too nice. We've had mild bickering but where were the rows? ITV should've parachuted Piers Morgan and Diane Abbott in just to stir things up. Nice guys normally win of course, but big-heads and nutters make the show watchable. We love people on TV we'd hate in real-life. This year's jungle "villain" Martin Roberts is more a blundering man-child than a Perez Hilton (the puffed-up pillock who was Resident Evil on Celebrity Big Brother). And the camp has been more like a hippy love-in than a clash of egos. They hugged, they cared, they got on... Larry Lamb was in bits after likeable Jordan Banjo got the boot. They're wonderful human beings but dull telly. Sure we've had Adam's spider-phobia, Larry's action-grandad work-outs, and Scarlett being Scarlett. But it's not up there with Lady C kicking off or Gillian McKeith pretending to faint. Who'll win? I suspect Adam. Joel might have been in with a shot if anyone had heard of him. He's the first comedian ever whose abs are sharper than his gags.
*THERE was bromance in camp, but the nearest we got to rumpo was Carol Vorderman discussing her love-life – seems her MBE could easily stand for Men, Boys, Everyone.
TOUR de Celeb was monumentally pinheaded. Could the likes of Lucy Mecklenburgh and Angellica Bell complete the Tour de France, asked Channel 5. To which the simple answer was no, of course not. And who could possibly care? Poor Bell fell off her bike, repeatedly. Lucy got run over. Jodie Kidd nobbled her knee. And Louie Spence got lost. Tragically they found him again. When exactly did entertainment come to mean torturing the semi-famous?
PS Rumours that Lucy's bicycle seat is now changing hands for big money are appalling, unworthy and probably true.
HOT on TV: The Missing finale... England's rugby come-back... Tim Roth, Rillington Place... Vikings (AmPrime)... Tom Allen, almost a modern-day Kenneth Williams.
ROT on TV: Tour de Celeb – trop de merde... Close To The Enemy – close to unwatchable... Have I Got News For You – out of date, out of laughs and out of bite.
IF only Bex on EastEnders had replied to Shakil's sex-text by photo-shopping her head onto Aunt Babe's body... or by posing with Tina's strap-on with the message "Brace yourself big boy". The soap is suddenly sex-obsessed. Stacey will know when Ian and Jane are at it again. Tyre marks on the pillows.
*LOVED Harry Enfield as Queen Liz researching her family tree in Who Does One Think One Is. Her Maj was amazed to be related to George VI – "shove off, from The Kings Speech?" But the Walliams & Friend sketch also reminded you that Harry Enfield & Chums was better.
*AMANDA Holden: Who Do You Think You Are? It's a question many viewers have asked over the years. We're no closer to the answer but at least her show was more moving than her face.
AFTER a top policewoman bared her breasts in a row, here are five TV cops who might've done it better: Rachel Bailey (Scott & Bailey), Saga Noren, (The Bridge), Jane Tennison (Prime Suspect), Stacey Sheridan (TJ Hooker), Pepper Anderson (Police Woman).
SMALL Joys of TV: Tim and Sally, Corrie. Ruth Wilson's lips. Michael McIntyre's Big Show. Dave Gorman on "wackaging" (wacky packaging). Kevin's take on the old "northern bastard" song, The Last Miners. Raphaelle Agogue, The Passenger (All4). Incredible Planet Earth II.
RANDOM irritations: Black Friday and Cyber Monday leaving me too pot-less for a Ruby Tuesday. Louie Spence jumping about like The Missing timeline. Xmas Day schedules miserably devoid of fresh prime time comedy. The Geraldine storyline on EastEnders.
FATHER & Secret Son: Ronnie Kray and The Apprentice's Paul Sullivan. One a control freak with serious temper problems, the other never even met Lord Sugar.
TV maths. Egg + clown wig = Andy Zaltzman