BUSHELL ON THE BOX
Feb 22. So Bobby Beale dunnit. Bobby, eleven, killed his wafer-thin sister because “she made everybody unhappy.” Leave it aht!
By that logic, Bobby should have taken out the writers with an Uzi. They’ve made all of us unhappy for thirty bloody years.
The hype was masterful, but the pay-off stank like Nick Cotton’s corpse. It was the biggest comedown since Bradley fell off the roof.
Who Killed Lucy was the soap’s latest retread of Who Shot Phil, which they nicked from the original and best Who Shot JR.
Dallas’s JR Ewing and Phil Mitchell, the Putin of Walford, had genuine enemies. Lucy didn’t.
She was an unpleasant girl with a variety of heads but the “suspects” for her murder were either random or ridiculous.
It was a terrific week for EastEnders fans, though, with surprise appearances not just from Peggy and Tanya but from Kathy Beale – and she’d died in a car crash in 2006.
Does that mean there’s hope for old Pete Beale too?
Small joys included Mick telling Peggy to “get outta my pub”, and her telling him one of the beer pumps stick.
Either the writers forgot the Vic had burnt down since Peggy last worked behind the jump, or that pump was fire-proof.
I loved drunken Kat, her kittens proudly on display, telling New-Martin “I might let you have a go on me later.”
And best of all Jo Joyner mucking up her live scene by referring to Ian by his real name... would you Adam and Eve it?
In other excitement, Kim gave birth in the Queen Vic toilets. She looked well flushed. Finally a Walford tot we can be sure Dean didn’t father.
The rapist hairdresser dragged Nancy into the cellar. The brute could have had her over a barrel, but mercifully threatened to torch the boozer instead.
Dot turned herself in over Nick’s death. And Ronnie regained consciousness to hear her sister and boyfriend recalling their snog...
EastEnders appears to be on a roll, helped by Corrie’s sad decline. But all they’re really doing is recycling the same old stories faster.
Although in fairness a 11-year-old killer is a first.
They miss so much about the real and ever-changing East End though... and they’ve never got aspiration.
In Walford, failure isn’t just an option, it’s the only option.
On the plus side, they’ve now gone eight days without a death. It’s a start.
*NOW we’ve solved Lucy’s murder, maybe Walford plod can turn their attention to other mysteries. Like who nicked the Queen Vic pool table?
*WHO gets married on a Tuesday night? It kind of makes sense. It’s dark, you’re pissed... you could say “I do” to anyone. Kat frequently has.
UKIP: The First 100 Days was a chillingly realistic drama, especially on day 97 when Nigel Farage was exposed as a Transylvanian vampire feasting on the children of the poor.
Sadly it stopped short of Day 101 when Farage installs Nelson as dictator for life via an Ouija board, invades Normandy and makes smoking in pubs compulsory for all 3-year-olds.
C4’s right-on fantasy was built on two flawed assumptions. Firstly that leaving the EU would cost millions of jobs, rather than creating them by allowing the UK to trade freely with the world.
Secondly that cracking down on illegal immigration is somehow “racist”; even Ed Miliband is promising that!
Throw in wooden acting, flawed logic and questionable casting and the show rarely rose above laughable.
You don’t have to back UKIP to wonder why the party gets singled out for a TV mugging when its main policies are “let’s have a say on Europe” and “let’s control our borders”.
It’s not like they ran up massive debts, turned a blind eye to child abuse, deliberately left the gates open or conned us into illegal wars...
I FELT for drug-dealer Callum on Corrie, sitting in the Dog & Gun enjoying a quiet pint only to be confronted by what looked like Camilla Parker-Bowles and ET in a fright wig. Bummer of an acid trip, man.
The Platt boys allowed Gail and Audrey (the Dog & Mum) to confront the local hard-nut for them.
Callum, voted most promising newcomer by the ghost of Jez Quigley, called Gail “a dried-up old loon”, which seems harsh but fair.
I wish he’d turned on the charm instead, though. Imagine David’s face if Gail had waltzed back with yet another potential stepdad.
*BOOZE helps old ladies live longer, say scientists, following extensive research on Rita Sullivan’s liver.
HOT on TV: Catastrophe... Last Week Tonight (Sky At)... Damien Lewis, Wolf Hall... Simone McAullay... Reginald D. Hunter... Hostages (BBC4)... Bear Grylls: Mission Survive.
ROT on TV: The Casual Vacancy – Midsomer mangled... Indian Summers – more coma than korma... UK: The First 100 Days – reality kippered... I Survived The Zombie Apocalypse – I didn’t.
ABBY Clancy was making a Shard-shaped cake on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off.
“It’s basically a chocolate covered rod,” she announced. Paul Hollywood nearly choked. Gok Wan, no stranger you suspect to the occasional chocolate rod, gave a wry grin.
If it wasn’t for innuendo this bland show would be unwatchable. Even Mary Berry got in on the act asking Gok “How did you put your banana in?” Peel back gently and grease the sides, he didn’t reply.
BAD news for Anne Boleyn on Wolf Hall, her run as the nation’s leading axe evader is ending.
Henry VIII has taken a shine to the “chaste” Jane Seymour – she’ll be chased all over the palace – and her tiny hands, which no doubt make his crown jewels seem so much bigger.
Henry is clearly thinking (and I quote the great historian Benjamin Hill) “if I could see more of Jane Seymour, I’d let Jane see more of me.”
*MEMO to 10,000 BC bosses: Ice Age Britain was covered by glaciers, not light snowfall! The contestants had to abandon camp though. The cold made the ground far too hard to dig a shallow grave for JP.
10,000 BC, also known as The Green Party: The First 100 Days.
SMALL Joys of TV: The World At War. Labour chief whip Rosie Winterton showing off her actual whip on Inside The Commons. “I only use it on members when they’re especially well behaved”, she quippedd. To really punish them, she makes ’em read the Lib-Dem manifesto.
RANDOM irritations: shameless (bland) propaganda disguised as drama. The toothless Democracy Dealers. Richard Osman mispronouncing beret to rhyme with ferret (Two Tribes), completely throwing the contestant. Alex Polizzi – polizzi make it stop.
SEPARATED at birth: Norma Bates from Psycho and Dot Cotton, one the mother of an evil killer who deserved to die... and so is the other one.
Feb 15. People often ask what the BAFTAs stand for. Judging by Sunday's dismal performance, I'm pretty sure it's Banal & Awkward; Fry Tedious Again.
Stephen is often touted as a modern Oscar Wilde. To prove his great wit, he introduced "Tom f**king Cruise" and claimed the ceremony was "pissing down with stars."
If that's the sort of thing BAFTA want, they might as well book Roy "Chubby" Brown next year. At least then they'd get some jokes.
There were kids in that audience too! Tsk, Stephen must know that it's not right to swear in front of children. After all, he's married one.
Fry's hosting seems as dated as the landlines he could have phoned in his performance from. You could tick off every cliché: smirking self-indulgence, cringe-worthy asides... Why is it OK for Fry to drool over "male totty"? If Jim Davidson spoke about actresses like that, twitter would implode.
The acting profession is dominated by posh twerps and double standards. Maybe that's why BAFTA neglected to include the great Bob Hoskins in their roll-call of the dead.
They also forgot Donald Sinden whose 36 film career spanned eight decades, not to mention Shirley Temple, which was as sloppy as Fry mistaking Patricia Arquette for her sister...
Most of the movies looked seriously grim. You'd find more creativity on YouTube. Yet our film industry remains as besotted with itself as the host is. At least the Rising Star nominations, like modest (cough) winner Jack O'Connell and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, are genuinely promising.
Geeky Eddie Redmayne deserved his best actor gong; he and Felicity Jones were all that made The Theory Of Everything watchable.
Fel was pipped for best actress by Julianne Moore who claimed "We're all winners in here tonight." Of course you were.
The losers were the poor saps watching at home hoping for a hint of entertainment.
The Baftas need a new host, like Britain needs less snobbery. Graham Norton would be more entertaining, Ricky Gervais would be unmissable.
But in keeping with the sleazy Fry tradition, why not give Sir Les Patterson a go? Brace yerselves, Sheilas.
DAME Edna almost made The Great Comic Relief Bake Off worth watching, describing macadamia nuts as "edible wood" and refused to take off her rings "because I don't trust anyone here".
The Dame is to baking what ISIS are to basic human decency, but she refused to acknowledge it. Her grotty-looking meringues were "deliberately flat", she insisted. "Like pizzas".
Her cookies came stuck to the baking tray; people don't get enough aluminium in their diet, she said.
Edna's Sydney Opera House showstopper looked like "an iconic building after a nuclear attack".
The judges would "probably come down on me a bit hard because I'm so famous," she sniffed. She also called Jennifer Saunders "the class swot."
Joanna Lumley wasn't much of a cook; it's conceivable she'd only ever been in a kitchen to get wine from the fridge before.
Lulu had promise but was dubbed "a bit on the thick side" – or was that her tarts? She also used egg whites instead of yolks in her short-crust pastry. The horror! Jennifer's vodka butter cream worked for me.
*NEXT week: more celebs! And Gok Wan.
NASTY Nick is dead! Condition satisfactory. Dot let him croak on Friday's EastEnders, making her no-good son her second mercy killing. Maybe she topped Lucy too. I nearly confessed this week, anything to make this interminable storyline stop. Pete's so distracted he called Lauren "Stace" – no wonder she's dumped him. At least they weren't in bed at the time. Talking cock-ups, Lauren's up the duff. She knows whodunit, but who done her? Peter or Dean the rapist? Roll on the live eps!
IT was Ian's stag night so naturally he and his mates went up West to a top lap-dancing club... I'm kidding! He had it in the Vic like he always does, with Alfie and a load of random extras. And the only one who enjoyed a steamy lap dance was old man Stan, courtesy Kat.
Memo to Stan: you want to die; being the man in the Moon for a night should do it. It's Ian's fifth wedding: Cindy, Mel, Laura, Jane, nearly Mandy, and now Jane again. Basically, it's been downhill since the Millennium.
*COULD Alfie get off with Donna? He's always been partial to a short.
HOT on TV: Better Call Saul (Netflix)... Vinnie Jones, Arrow (Sky1)... Bosch (Amazon Prime)... Uncle (BBC3)... 30 Degrees In February (Sky Arts 1)
ROT on TV: The BAFTAs... Mr Selfridge... Taking New York – these chumps would struggle to take New Malden... The Jump – dump... 24 Hour Parcel People – didn't deliver.
LOVED Madonna's bull-men at The Grammys. That has got to be the most impressive horn section Madge has seen since she wandered into the wrong changing room at the Superbowl.
Let's hope no-one got impaled.
Madonna always puts on a show. I hear they're going to change the night to The Grannies in her honour.
*KANYE West played up again, but that's not news. Kanye applauding graciously when someone beats Beyoncé... now that's a story. That's right up there with 'Russell Brand lost for words'.
*ON Wolf Hall, Elizabeth Barton described the devil as having claws smeared with blood and sh*t, and black spit "with the stench of hell". I think he fixed my boiler.
STOPPRESS: Satan returns on the next Britain's Got Talent series, judging as usual.
ON An Idiot's Guide To Politics, Jolyon Rubinstein established that non-voters take a dim view of politicians. "All liars, all crooks" was the general view. But what about the EU? Little fuels public apathy more than this remote, dictatorial institution. Surely any would-be satirist would want to shine a light on this festering sore of corruption?
Not Jolyon. But then he works for the BBC, another remote dictatorial institution which by coincidence receives millions in grants from... the EU. Best not to bite the hand that feeds, eh mate?
*ITV has axed Get Your Act Together. Why? The show had Sherrie Hewson spinning plates, Ann Widdecombe barking at budgies, Oliver Mellor 'playing' bottles... Hold on, new question: how the hell did this crap ever get commissioned?
SMALL Joys of TV: Mike Leigh at the BAFTAs thanking the "boneheads, philistines and uninspired skinflints" who wouldn't invest in his films. Keith Lemon's Great British Piss-up. Sam Smith's Grammys triumph... I was as pleased for Sam as Tom Petty must be.
RANDOM irritations: Stephen Fry's tired old schtick. Tom Jones and Jessie J bashing the granny out of You've Lost That Loving Feeling at The Grammys. 50 Shades overkill – lousy book, rotten film.
SEPARATED at birth: Chris Cox from Heston's Recipe For Romance and Sue Perkins? One a memory expert, the other entirely forgettable.
* ON Broadchurch Lee took Claire roughly against a barn wall, Abby seduced Olly... .throw in the swinging undertones in the Sandbrook case and this is less a whodunit, more who-ain't-dunit.
Feb 8. Did you see rugby veteran Mike Tindall's first event on The Jump? A tough bald man rattling away on the skeleton... Why did that bring Max Branning's fling with Lucy Beale to mind?
The Jump began as a snow storm of crap and it's still blowing up a blizzard. True, it gives us a chance to watch celebs go downhill even faster than their careers. And there is always a chance shouty Davina will trigger an avalanche. But essentially the show crams five minutes of amateur Winter Games action into a dull hour of primetime telly.
I can't believe Joey Essex got through the week uninjured. He's the sort of chump who'd break a leg curling.
It takes real guts, or at least real desperation, to take on some of these challenges, though. Hurtling down at 80mph on a glorified tea-tray is a tad tougher than chewing on kangaroo's cobblers in ITV's jungle.
And I certainly don't begrudge Olympians like Louise Hazel and paralympian Jon-Allan Butterworth getting pay cheques.
But is anyone really that bothered about seeing Amy Willerton on skates? Or Louie Spence re-enacting his repertoire of camp dance cobblers in the snow?
In fairness, one-legged Heather Mills was different class. She pulled off her most impressive jump since Paul McCartney.
And at least no-one bottled out like Amy Childs. She refused the ski jump eliminator last year like a simple-minded horse confronting a water obstacle. Even if it did look barely bigger than a playground slide.
This year's air jump is far more daunting. Giant Jodie Kidd flew through the air like a catapulted giraffe. "Go big or go home," squawked Davina, which I believe was Kat Moon's old chat-up line.
Sadly Ola Jordan and Sally Bercow quit after sustaining injuries in training, robbing us of the chance to watch Sal plunge over an icy ledge.
Win some, luge some...
So we were left with Stacey Solomon, Dom from Googlebox, Phil Tufnell, JB from JLS, some posh boiler from Chelsea, Steve-O from Jackass and Richard and Judy's daughter.
On the piste they were unexceptional; on the piss they'd work a lot better. Why not book 'em job-lot for the next CBB?
They can't do any worse than the last shower.
*I MISSED Alex Brooker. Yes he was useless, but he did manage to toast Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt as "the pussy goal... " and frankly who can blame him?
COULD we live like our ancestors did 12,000 years ago? Judging by 10,000 BC, probably for about a fortnight... C5 dumped twenty chumps in a Bulgarian forest, presumably because our own woods are too full of doggers. They then provided them with tools, grub, water, boots, blankets and animal skin clothes... making the experience roughly on a par with a 1970s Spanish hotel holiday.
There's even a health & safety officer on board. Bah! Real ancient Brits had to contend with bears, wolves, and wooly mammoths, not just midges and maggots.
The young blokes are depressingly wet, weeping and sulking. Perry walked. Moody JP couldn't accept criticism, even after he'd dumbly pooped outside one of the tents. Stone age? This was The Island meets Carry On Caveman.
*MODERN teens would hate prehistoric life. No twitter! They'd have to carve their tweets on bits of rock. And cave paintings are no match for Instagram. They could still go clubbing, though... with the right lump of wood.
*MAJOR events in ancient Britain. 10,000BC: Ice Age ends. 2,600BC: work starts on Stonehenge. 25BC: birth of Bruce Forsyth...
RORY Bremner's Coalition Report had all the bite of a toothless toddler. His opening gag was: "The public didn't know what we wanted, didn't understand what we were being offered and didn't get what we asked for... the political equivalent of Nando's." Except it isn't. If Bremner can't follow a chicken menu it doesn't say much for his expensive public school education. Real satire is driven by rage, this wasn't. It wasn't even particularly funny. Like all alleged TV satirists, Rory didn't touch on uncontrolled immigration, EU scandals, Rotherham cover-ups or any other issue the liberal elite conspire to hush up.
Matt Forde had the sharpest line: "One man's death is another man's welfare saving."
HOT on TV: Louise Hazel (The Jump)... Wolf Hall... Lisa Kudrow (The Comeback)... Inside The Commons.
ROT on TV: 10,000 BC – yabba dabba doughnuts... Dr Dance – Foxtrot Oscar... The Jump – downhill all the way... Get Your Act Together – get stuffed.
HAPPY days in Walford as Stan Carter announced "I'm done with living." Yeah, I feel like that watching EastEnders too.
The whole show needs mercy-killing.
Stan's mistake was to ask his family instead of one of the Square's many known murderers – Ronnie, Phil, Stacey, Nasty Nick...
*NEW clues in Lucy Beale's murder include a ten-hour time gap and a local number. Sorry, dropped off. The plot is moving so slowly even John Chilcot is going "get a bloody move on."
PS. We know Deano is innocent, but any chance Walford CID could fit him up?
*ROY Cropper moaned about "the inappropriate use of horns" on Corrie, which reminds me – whatever happened to Phelan?
*DAVID Cameron told Inside The Commons that parliament looks "half like a museum, half like a church and half like a school." No wonder they can't balance the books.
*HOW about a celeb version of Age Gap Love? Richard and Judy need the work; Stephen Fry and Elliot should be available.
*I'M confused about all this celebrity swearing; was Kim Sears auditioning for CBB, or was Cami-Li trying for a date with Andy Murray?
*OF course Pricey didn't deserve to win CBB, but where else could the "anyone but Hopkins" vote go? At least it wasn't Poison Perez. As Calum Best rightly told him: "Nobody likes you cos you act like a dickhead, dude."
SMALL Joys of TV: Phil Schofield, troll-buster (Keith Lemon). The pan-piping dog (Mars ad). "Singing dummy" Kav made to warble unflattering tweets about himself (CBB). Katy Perry's golden lion. Dom Parker ski-jumping in a waistcoat, collar and tie on The Jump. Wot? No beer hat?
RANDOM irritations: Rory Bremner still dragging out his Michael Howard impression ten years after he stepped down as Tory leader and five years after he quit as an MP. Mr Selfridge, it's got comedy names – Crabb, Leclair, Mr Bolotoff – but no laughs; it's like Are You Being Served without the jokes. (Zoe Wanamaker's accent is more Are You Being Slav-ed.)
*SARAH Champion was impressively down to earth on Inside The Commons but why exactly did the Rotherham MP bottle out of the Daily Politics?
SEPARATED at birth: Stan Carter from EastEnders and Gary Glitter? One is begging to be put out of his misery, the other richly deserves it...
Feb 1st. What a joyless mess they've made of Celebrity Big Brother.
Meddling bosses have ruined this series by turning it into the Perez Hilton show.
They've cheated and manipulated to save the puffed-up berk from eviction. Why? He isn't funny or engaging.
He's just another loud, deluded Yank with no off-switch and a raging sense of entitlement.
We're told he's "TV gold" because he causes rows. Fool's gold, more like. Wednesday's show consisted entirely of idiots bickering about bollocks. I can't have been the only one thinking: Why am I watching this? Who exactly am I supposed to like here? And where have the celebs gone?
The producers have let self-absorbed man-child Perez get away with murder. They pulled him up for trying to lick Katie Hopkins's face, but when he demanded she "suck that dick" they just edited it out.
It wasn't until last night's show, when he threatened to "stick my dick" up Calum's arse that they issued him a formal warning. I'd have kicked him out for coughing over Alexander O'Neal while he slept, provoking the soul legend to leave rather than risk clumping him.
Bust-ups have always been part of CBB, but at its best the series also delivered sexual chemistry, genuine relationships and fun.
Not to mention actual stars. Jack Dee, Brigitte Nielsen, Jim Davidson, Julian Clary, Mark Owen... all a tad more impressive than Alicia Douvall.
Katie Price aside, in this run, anyone remotely famous has either walked or been evicted for Thought Crime.
And face it Ken Morley didn't kiss-chase an unwilling woman, let alone strip down to his pants and grossly simulate sex.
With right-on busybody Nadia gone, we're left with the unknown and underperforming Michelle and faded pop bore Kav whose only defence is he isn't quite as bland as Patsy Kensit if you get him legless.
Nice guy Calum has failed to do the one thing he was booked to do – give the unknown Cami something better to do with her potty mouth.
Weepy Cheggers was brought in to provide comedy moments but hasn't because he isn't a comedian. And late arrival Pwicey has proved a complete wash-out.
So the dominant personalities have been the twin horrors Hopkins and Hilton, who are like Itchy & Scratchy without the laughs.
Poisonous Perez has actually managed to make Katie odds-on favourite to win, meaning we'll be stuck with the Poundland Edwina Currie on telly all year. Thanks for nothing, fellas.
MAX told Phil he was a joke on EastEnders, which just goes to prove he hadn't seen Ian Beale in his kilt.
That's one sporran you wouldn't want to tickle.
Quite why Ian wanted to wed in tartan escapes me. He has no Jock roots; he and Jane went on holiday to Scotland once. If they'd gone to Spain maybe he'd have picked a matador's suit.
For the bull, see Jane.
Irish tartan would've made slightly more sense; the Beales have kin there, though the BBC are understandably keen to suppress the memory of their disastrous 1997 Irish trip – just like everyone who saw it.
Philth Mitchell wore a kilt at Billy's wedding, too; although apart from wheezing like a ruptured bagpipe he's shown no other signs of being Scottish before or since.
Ian's Dad Pete was a Cockney costermonger, so a Pearly King kit would have been more logical.
The Beeb wouldn't go down that route, though. The toffee-nosed twerps despise working class, white male Londoners even more than they appear to hate England.
*DEAN the rapist was finally collared outside the Vic's karaoke night. What an outrage. He'd only wanted to sing Blurred Lines.
*I'M liking the new sexier Shabnam. She's had one in off the Kush, what next? A peek-a-boo burqa?
HEEL stoppers were the big hit on Dragons' Den, small discs that stop stiletto heels from sinking into soft earth.
Apparently they "stabilize older women", but then so does watering down the gin.
Worst product? Male leggings! As if the Max Wall look could ever catch on. You can "see potential for growth," we were told. Growth? They were so tight you'd see the slightest twitch.
*I LOVE the futuristic kit on Extant. There's an android kid, holographic elephants that burst out of museum exhibits, photo albums with moving pictures... though if you pitched that in the Den Peter Jones would probably tell you Jessops had a better version in production.
HOT on TV: Touched By Auschwitz... Amy Schumer... new Grimm (Watch)... Churchill: The Nation's Farewell.
ROT on TV: Perez Hilton – America's Most Punchable... Alexei Polizzi: The Fixer – as stale as the air in a trapped lift... Charlie Brooker – fake anger, lame puns, tired views.
MARK Rylance is terrific as Thomas Cromwell on Wolf Hall, a low-born man bright enough to play his aristocratic betters like a 15-string Renaissance lute.
The £7million drama is smart and well-acted. But the action scenes appear to have been left on the cutting room floor.
It's like Game Of Thrones without the blood and boning; as smart as top-flight chess and for most viewers just as frustrating to watch.
*DREAMING is easy; most of us can do it in our sleep. But according to Horizon you can train yourself to dream exactly what you'd like to happen in real life. It's called lucid dreaming. I'm going to try it tonight. Apologies in advance to the Tointon sisters.
*THE Vikings Are Coming reported that many British women wanting to get pregnant buy sperm from Denmark. So when the missus says she fancies a Danish, she might not mean a cake.
*SKY'S Fortitude has a great cast, huge budget, and atmospheric scenery. But the pace is sluggish and the plot's so disjointed, even Sienna Guillory starkers in the sauna might not lure many back.
*THOSE snow scenes from New York were something else. You won't have seen anything that whitewashed since the Hutton Inquiry.
*FREAK Show was the weakest American Horror Story, but I'll miss the occasional glimpse of Desiree's three breasts. You could play with those beauties left right and centre.
*ADS for junk food must be banned before 9pm, but it's okay to show rape, murder and GBH on soaps... #OddPriorities.
SMALL Joys of TV: Sharon Horgan. Catastrophe. David Starkey. Iron Maiden: Flight 666 (Sky Arts). South Side Story. Togetherness (SkyAt). Extant (Syfy) – it's Rosemary's Space Baby.
RANDOM irritations: Fortitude, I fort it sucked. Hammy reconstructions in documentaries. Alcohol-free beer on Gregg Wallace's patronising Eat Well For Less/Pay More to Drink Piss.
SEPARATED at birth: Betty Hall and Katie Hopkins, one looking rough for her age, the other a cheated pensioner on Bad Builders Bang To Rights.