Garry Bushell
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Jan 31. SELF-inflating blow-up dolls, shattering chandeliers, Tony Angelino “cwying”...Only Fools & Horses was always going to be a hard act to follow. So you can’t blame Rock & Chips for not trying. Once you accepted that the show wasn’t a sitcom but a warm, nostalgic comedy drama, there was much to enjoy in John Sullivan’s Del-Boy prequel. Not least the Gloria Ming gag. Del’s Mum, Joan, booked into a family planning clinic using the name of a Chinese actress. “Are you Minge?” the clerk asked loudly. “I’m looking for Minge.” As were Del and his 14-year-old mates...

At its heart Rock was a love-story. Joan, played by Kellie Bright, was a pretty but neglected wife, trapped in a loveless marriage to workshy pig Reg Trotter. She flogged ice cream at the local fleapit where her pervy boss accurately likened her to “Venus rising with a tray of Mivvis.” No wonder Freddie Robdal took a shine to her raspberry ripples. Art-loving crook Freddie (Nick Lyndhurst) was fresh out of Dartmoor. Compared to the Nag’s Head regulars, he oozed charm and sophistication. Knowing he’d romance Joan into bed didn’t spoil the pleasure of the chase.

Small joys included Robert Daws as Joan’s creepy cinema boss, fag machines at the clinic, Phil Daniels as Grandad, sly nods to future stories, outside khazis and old London slang (like “brahma” for gorgeous, “decko” for look and “mooey” for boatrace). On the downside, Del and co looked far too old. The term ‘rock star’ wasn’t used in 1960, and a security guard would’ve been a night watchman. And okay, it wasn’t a patch on OF&H, but what is? It was Britain’s most cherished sitcom and there’s no sign that the Muppets running BBC comedy will ever commission anything like it again. Fools ended superbly in 1996. Then, Sullivan cocked up twice 1) he brought the Trotters back and made them poor again – ruining the perfect 1996 ending; and 2) he wrote Green Green Grass as a thin lame farce. At least Rock & Chips felt real. Few Del-Boy fans would object to another outing next Xmas. Especially if it comes with a young Marlene...something most Peckham teenage boys would like to have done. And probably did.

*COMEDY drama defined: it wasn’t funny enough for a sitcom, so we made it longer...

WHAT a result on Celeb Big Brother. Alex Reid did what Tony Blair at the Chilcot Inquiry couldn’t – he changed people’s minds. Reid went in a joke and came out an OK bloke. Unlike his other half who’s as pleasant and trustworthy as the Taliban, there’s no side to Alex. The “likeable prat” is also loveable. Well, almost. Besides, as Avatar, Shrek and Dale Winton prove the public like people of peculiar colouring. The real joy of the series was Vinnie Jones. Some moaned that Vinnie was a bully. I couldn’t see it. His banter was funny and usually spot on. Snooty Steph was the real assassin, accurately describing Sov as “a despicable non-entity who hasn’t been brought up right.” Even thick, poo-obsessed Nic excelled herself for the Tree of Temptation, telling Ivana she looked like “a big fat orange” and Jonas that he resembled Roland Rat. I could have done without her squeezing Alex’s spots though. The week’s big flop was Davina going into the house disguised as a chicken (Wot? No Colonel Sanders?) Vinnie rumbled her immediately. This series never hit the heights scaled by the 2006 run, but CBB still works brilliantly. C4 are nuts to end it.

*CBB: the biggest thing Alex and Dane will ever be in. Apart from Jordon.

*CRAZED god-botherer Stephen Baldwin has been sober for 21 years; how irritating would he be pissed?

JACK Bauer, a man more hard-bitten than Evander Holyfield’s ear, is a grandad talking about retiring at the start of the new run of 24. Yeah right. Within minutes there’s a wounded informant at his door, and a fresh threat to world peace to take care of. Hostiles are out to top a Middle Eastern leader, the CTU have a new pig-headed boss and their high-tech HQ looks like the inside of a star-ship. (By coincidence Katee Sackhoff from Battlestar Galactica is here as a sexy CTU analyst with a pesky red-neck ex.) Two hours in and there are seven dead – in Jack’s world, a slow start. But this show’s like an out-of-control rollercoaster ride, and it’ll get a whole lot scarier before grandad Jack gets a chance to nap.

HOT on TV: 24 (Sky1) – Jack’s back... Kellie Bright (Rock & Chips) ... Mad Men (BBC4)... Leverage (Bravo) – Hustle crossed with Mission Impossible.

ROT on TV: Belle de Jour – hell de bore...David Harewood as Mandela (Mrs Mandela) – so wooden I’m amazed he didn’t take root... Danny Dyer: I Believe In UFOs – oi Dyer, no, you FO.

* SUSAN Boyle found an intruder in her house. How unsettling would that be? You’re alone in a darkened room, you hear a noise, you’re scared, and then suddenly you come face to face with SuBo...

*YEAH SuBo disturbed an intruder. Apparently he looked like Gordon Brown in drag. She found him in the mirror.

*LOVED Joe and Gail’s row on Corrie. Can you imagine them at it? She’d have to go on top. Joe can only screw up.

* IF Ugly Betty has been axed why is she still making hotpots in t’Rovers?

* ITV’s new boss used to the head of Royal Mail. Presumably they’re hoping he’ll push the envelope.

* If Adam Crozier does for ITV what he did for Royal Mail, Coronation Street cast will be on strike by Easter (memo to Rosie: one out, both out!). This guy does for industrial relations what John Terry did to his best mate's wife.

*THINGS I learnt this week from watching TV: Meat Loaf is largely ham.

RANDOM irritations: another non-Cockney in EastEnders. Two and a half bleedin’ hours of ice-skating. C4 flogging Shameless to death.

SMALL joys of TV: sixties stockings on Mad Men – how to look good clothed. Great British Rail Journeys. Sir Patrick Moore – now the size of a small asteroid. Steve McDonald’s amazing shape-changing sausage (Friday’s Corrie).

SOAP mysteries: Was Roxy Mitchell dressed for her Dad’s funeral or a bad pop video? What millionaire party-girl would want to live in Albert Square? How could Peter Barlow and blonde Lucy have had a son who looks Mediterranean?

*ALAN Titchmarsh’s exec producer is called Annie Sweetbaum. Sweetbaum must be German for ‘sweat-bread’ cos the show is complete cobblers.

SEPARATED at birth: ITV’s opera mentor Rolando and Mr Bean, one a weird, socially awkward nitwit and... aw, you know where this is heading. Runners-up: Creepy Ernie on Rock & Chips and creepier Attila The Stockbroker.

Jan 28. The operation to make The Girl With Eight Limbs normal caused upset in India. And if you thought Hindus were outraged you should have heard the guy from the National Twister Association.

* WISH of the day: to live long enough to see the Apple iPad on the Antiques Roadshow.

Jan 24. THE Blue Planet, Civilisation, The Ascent Of Man... these crown jewels of Factual TV have finally found an equal. Step forward, Loose Women. Yeah, ITV’s daily dollop of oestrogen-driven dross was named top Factual Programme at the National Television Awards. Which is a bit like giving Wild At Heart a gong for Best Zoology series, or congratulating the Met Office for the accuracy of their forecasts. Entertainment-chat show Loose Women isn’t ‘factual’ in any sense. Neither is it remotely entertaining. The chat largely consists of man-bashing or man-ogling with a side-order of menopausal moaning.

No wonder the night was sponsored by Crabbies.

ITV claim that all these awards are “decided by you”. Yet they decide which shows we can vote for, and how and where we can vote. It’s the kind of democratic set-up that would delight Mugabe, Ahmadinejad and the Electoral Commission of Florida. By happy coincidence, the gongs ended up split equally between ITV and the BBC. Again.

Mediocrity was the order of the night. Stephen Fry won the newly-created Star Travel Documentary category with In America, a series broadcast in October 2008 that even Lady Sov would have found lazy and self-indulgent. Typical of the show’s wit and insight was the scene where the sainted Stephen sampled Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and declared it “quite cold.”

Gongs went to Dr Who, whose Christmas show was a badly-written mess, and Gavin & Stacey which started as a sitcom and ended up a soap with smiles. Corrie’s Craig Gazey won best new-comer despite first appearing in the show in April 08. Corrie took best soap too, after a mammoth trailer was shown during the ceremony while voting was still going on... Ant and Dec scooped two awards: one for their entirely original Saturday Night House Party, one for entertainment. Yeah? Put ’em on stage for half an hour with Paul O’Grady or Harry Hill or Michael McIntyre and see who entertains us most... ITV struggled pointlessly to make Dermot funny and wrung more lame mileage from one-joke Jedward, who made the most welcome come-back since rickets. They need a comic at the helm, urgent voting reform and categories that make sense. And it would help dispel viewer cynicism if they also showed us the voting figures. If Loose Women really is our finest Factual Programme, then British telly is more doomed than Cadbury’s UK plants.

*ALAN Davies on Stephen Fry: “Stephen’s a big giver.” Woah. Too much information.

*MOOSE Women, factual? On Thursday it described Jane McDonald as a “glamour-puss” and Sherie Hewson as “bubbly.” Nuff said.

IT’S great to see a fat bloke from a Reading council estate with Hollywood at his feet. But Ricky Gervais’s gags at the Golden Globes made Dancing On Ice seem well judged. He started well “just looking at all the faces here reminds me of some of the great work that’s been done this year... by cosmetic surgeons.” And went on to do knob and masturbation gags in the first two minutes... fine at a Comedy Central Roast, but not so smart in an industry accustomed to Billy Crystal at the Oscars. If Ricky had just wanted to shock why not give Avatar’s award to the makers of Fern Gully?

*I’M glad Mad Men won. Christina Hendricks just screams golden globes. And if she’d swapped dresses with Mariah Carey we might have seen them.

*HOW can Corrie be our top soap? Its big stories grip like a greased-up waif, its continuity is all to cock, and the comedy is now so woeful it’s a wonder Jesse’s parrot hasn’t flown down to Weatherfield KFC and turned itself in. Street puzzles include: Why wouldn’t Joe tell the cops about that greasy loan shark? How-come Michelle has forgotten her other son? And will Status Quo’s world tour ever end? Les Battersby has been on the road with them for two and a half years. And knowing him, he only took one pair of pants.

*THE storyline Corrie’s big chest-beating trailer should have included: Goodbye Hayley, welcome back Harold, brace yourself Roy...

* POINT of order, reader Mike Plowman reminds me that Les now roadies for an Irish ZZ Top tribute band called ZZ Top O' The Morning. But I stand by the one pair of pants...(Mike also reminds me that dozy Joe told Gail his boat would be worth £12grand when it was restored. So why the hell doesn't he flog it?

HOT on TV: Milton Jones and Patrick Kielty (Mock The Week) – but Frankie Boyle is missed... CSI... Modern Family... Gretchen Mol (Life On Mars USA).

ROT on TV: Wild At Heart - couldn’t be cheesier if it were taken over by Kraft... Sinitta caterwauling on Titchmarsh – she sings as well as she skates...Gordon Ramsay’s Great Escape – grating... and Hilary Jones – stiffer on ice than he was when he gave Josephine Buchan The Full Treatment.

*HIGH drama tonight on Dancing On Ice, when observers spot an unpleasant crack on the ice. Mercifully, Holly has a quick word with Heather and she crosses her legs. Memo to Davro: you were robbed, Bob.

*THE curse of “this’ll do” is afflicting Heroes. Once Hiro fought to save the world; last night he tried to stop a bloke from photocopying his arse.

*ON Hustle, the grifters worked a con with an ice statue (as seen on Jonathan Creek) to hand Czech Charlie £500K. If they’d been really smart they’d have set him up for a six stretch and kept the dough.

*JOE Swash had to spend a night with a sex demon on I Believe In Ghosts. That Janine Butcher gets around, doesn’t she?

*THEY had a ghost barmaid on Being Human. Leonora Crichlaw is lush, but I’d prefer the spirit serving my spirits to look more like Dawn Swann. Ghost-bustier, you might say.

*GORDON Ramsay met a tribe of head-shrinkers in Nagaland. He was safe though. With his head, that’s too big a job. Charmless nerk.

RANDOM irritations: Mo’Nique’s OTT speech at the Golden Globes. How about a little Less’Nique? Bellamy’s People – so well-observed they forgot to make it funny. And old women getting IVF. Have they thought this through? It means Audrey Roberts could have another Gail.

SMALL joys of TV: Barry Fry (Celeb Big Brother). The Tree of Temptation (ditto). The “Piers Morgan Assisted Suicide Fund” (Rab C. Nesbitt). And Neytiri (Avatar clips) – she’s 9ft 9 and worth the climb.

SEPARATED at birth, BDO darts player Dave ‘Cheza’ Chisnall and Sloth from The Goonies; one large and deformed but strong in a struggle, the other a character in a 1980s film.

*THAT Obama first year verdict in full: can he fix it? No he can’t.

Jan 17. WHERE would Dancing On Ice viewers be without Tony Gubba? I thought the “frog lift” was something Sarkozy wore in his shoes and that the “rotating double stag” was one of services Heidi Fleiss used to provide. But no. Gubs knows them all. Tone can distinguish between the “turkey tail feather ruffle” and the “Isle Of Man spin combination”, something you’d think would require a 500cc Triumph Tiger. At times, when he waxes lyrical about “booty bumps”, “teapots” and “combo Serpentine fish lifts” it’s tempting to believe he’s making it all up as he goes along. But then you remember that this is ITV, home of GMTV and Saturday Night Take-away, and realise probity is their watchword. They’re as likely to indulge in deception as Alastair Campbell is to tell lies about Iraq.

I know; the very idea.

Jason Gardiner is the show’s minor point of interest. Last week he cruelly but accurately pointed out that Sharron Davies looked like she was “possessed by a tree.” (Not in the Evil Dead sense). His verdicts are as harsh as Heather’s new Shirley-from-EastEnders haircut. So I wonder what he makes of Phil Schofield? This creep has been getting away with his nice guy act for years, but every now and then the mask slips and you spot the satanic intensity in his eyes. If his path to stardom hasn’t involved the selling of his soul, then Sinitta wasn’t robbed on Sunday...

How did the sultry ‘So Macho’ songbird lose to Sharron, I nearly care enough to ask? The ex-swimmer was stiffer than a CSI corpse. We might take issue with ITV describing Sinitta as a pop star – the last time she had a hit Emily Atack wasn’t even born. But she easily out-skated Shazza. She also very nearly performed the show’s first live vasectomy when her blade ripped through Andrei Lipanov’s strides. Disappointingly, Bobby Davro didn’t immediately christen this manoeuvre a “snip-and-off”. The fellas start tonight and much is riding on Davro’s performance. If he can’t out-zing Jason or out-bungle Todd Carty, then the likelihood of me watching another episode is on par with the chances of Wallander cracking a joke. What else has Dancing On Ice got to offer geezers? Holly’s curves, the remote chance than someone will beat Hayley Tamaddon, and the even remoter chance that a minor celebrity will be hospitalised... It’s just not enough.

* TECHNICAL note: the teapot should not be confused with the pan-handle. That’s an effect caused by skating with Emily.

*TANA Ramsay on the show: “I love a challenge and this is a massive one”, which by coincidence is what Jason told Barrowman in the showers.

CBB’s Tree of Temptation told Alex Reid to “kick the sh*t” out of the snowman. It was hilarious. And close too; I had a tenner on the snowman to win, but Alex nicked it on points. Just as well the tree didn’t tell him to beat up Frosty, or the big dim lug might have gone for Ivana instead. Reidy gives it the biggun constantly. “I’m Alex f***ing Reid,” he said, “you either love me or hate me” – discounting the more likely possibility that none of us actually give a stuff about him. On Friday, viewers activated the Nonentity Ejector kicking out Kat. And Heidi Fleiss. A shame as Heidi showed promise when she called Lady Sovereign a “really dumb bitch”. So how did Sov survive? Simple. There are thousands of dumb bitches out there and they need someone to follow.

BEING Human’s Nina is now a werewolf, so once a month she becomes violent, irrational and barking mad. So far, so normal. She also gets hairier than Anjem Choudary, so it’s no wonder the girl’s as cheerful as Wallander with toothache. I like new girl Daisy, a swinging vampire who makes Iris Robinson look like Emily Bishop. All together: “Daisy, Daisy, give us a neck to chew...”

HOT on TV: Bradley Walsh as DS Ronnie Brooks (Law & Order UK)... Leonora Crichlow (Being Human)...Monday’s Nurse Jackie – hilarious and moving in equal measure.

ROT on TV: Take Me Out – take it off...Material Girl – flimsy... Su Pollard murdering Back In The USSR (Sings The Beatles) – as pleasant as Gulag gruel... Popstar To Opera Star - Toscas... andThe Persuasionists – bring back Big Top. No, seriously.

YAY, The Simpsons is 20. To celebrate, here are my all-time favourite quotes: 1) “If you don't like your job, you don't strike; you just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American Way!” – Homer. 2) “Beer – the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” - Homer 3) “Me fail English? That’s unpossible” – Ralph Wiggum 4) “Honey, just because I’m not interested doesn’t mean I don’t care. Good night. Zzzz.” – Homer to Marge.

*I’M furious that a One Show editor called Ronnie Corbett a “little c***”. I know Ronnie and the correct way to refer to him is a “tight little c***”.

*NASA says a mystery object shot past our planet last week. They don’t know what it was, but as it missed the Earth by 80,000 miles, it’s a safe bet that Maureen Rees was driving it.

* IN Walford conditions are treacherous and frosty, with depression imminent. No word yet on the weather. I’m just amazed Archie forgot his yacht and his Dorset mansion in his will. And that no-one thought of trading in Shirley under the government’s boiler scrappage deal. Even more puzzling: why weren’t BBC2’s USA docs called Schama’s Obama? With the theme tune ‘Pyjamarama’.

* NEW spin-off show for Myleene Klass: Desperate House Knives...

* ON Survivors, Abby has been locked up by dodgy scientists, cos they need her immunity. Scary yes, but on the plus side it’ll stop her from making a second series of Bonekickers.

RANDOM irritations: Titchmarsh at teatime. Paddy McGuinness’s drivelling catchphrases – “Likey?” Crikey. Not likely. Mark Benton on Hustle, playing the bloke from the Nationwide ads again; he’s really cornered the market in stupid fat slobs. There are breeze blocks with more acting range.

SMALL Joys of TV: Freddie Frinton clips (QI). Vinnie Jones. Sean Lock. Pawn Stars (History). Nigel ‘down with the kids’ Lythgoe mentioning Wilson Keppel and Betty – either a 1930s sand dancing act or the firm of solicitors he’s brought in to sue his gag-writer.

Separated at birth? Knicker-bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Gus from EastEnders. One a gormless twerp obsessed with rubbish who couldn’t do a thing right, and so’s the other one.

Jan 10. ON Celebrity Big Brother, a blindfolded Alex Reid rubbed his face into some large, over-inflated latex balloons. Insert your own Katie Price bedroom punch-line here. Especially as it got sticky very quickly... I’m sorry to lower the tone, but frankly you’d have to go some to get down to the level of conversation in the house. Basshunter spends most of his time talking about breaking wind and self-abuse. He claims his teenage record for pleasuring himself was 25 times in one day. Dear God. Good luck finding someone willing to shake your hand after that mate. It’s just a relief no-one asked him to ice Vinnie’s cake.

It was too much for the wonderfully snooty Stephanie Beecham who exited gracefully, dubbing the revelations “slightly less than fascinating.” The same could be said of many of the housemates; a number of whom are also considerably less than celebrities. There’s Ronnie Wood’s ex-girlfriend, Jordan’s ex and current boyfriends, and former Hollywood pimp, Heidi Fleiss who hasn’t been in the news since 1997 and looks like a partially paralysed Steve Tyler with all the air sucked out of him. Heidi seemed as high as Dubai’s Burj tower when she arrived. But her bored expression whenever Stephen Baldwin does his Ned Flanders bit almost makes up for it. Fleiss proves that C4 don’t know the difference between ‘celebrity’ and ‘notoriety.’ In Alex’s case, make that desperate nonentity. For pity’s sake put some clothes on man, it’s January and it’s frostier than Jonathan Ross’s last meeting with the BBC.

Two questions hang over this show: when’s it going to kick off, and who’s going to have it off? The real ag happened before it started. Dane Bowers turned up with a bruise above his eye – it was the only hit he’d had in years. But sexual chemistry is fizzing between cute-but-dull Katrina and horny Ass-Hunter, Jonas. If she doesn’t oblige, I reckon those clowns with the Monica Lewinsky mouths will be on his to-do list. Baldwin is good value; he has the same creepy grin as the Mad comics boy. They should send in Dawkins to counter-balance the preaching. Why be born again? Why not just get it right the first time? Sisqo is this year’s Verne Troyer but not as funny. Lady Goblin is Mel C’s mini-me. And Nicola is pretty dumb; a foxy moron, you might say. She’s looks like Lucie Jones, without the talent. It’s a good mix, even if it does fall well short of the classic 2006 series. Favourite to win: Vinnie Jones, if he doesn’t walk.

*JONAS once pleasured himself 25 times in a day. And you thought George Galloway was the biggest wanker in CBB history...

*TOP quotes? 1) Steph: “Stephen did me at 3 o’clock in the morning.”(She meant a massage.) 2) Sov: “I used to be a chav.” Used? 3) Heidi saying: “Have I got to spread my legs a lot further?” Not for the first time...

*SMALL joys of CBB: the diary room Waltzer chair. Davina’s boots. Ivana Trump coming out of the closet. The celebs not knowing each other (although in fairness, who’d recognise Alex Reid in men’s clothes?)

NEW York hospital drama Nurse Jackie is a black comedy, light on laughs and heavy on the black. Eddie Falco - Carmela from The Sopranos - plays cranky, pill-popping smart-arse Jackie. Part Saint, part slapper, the married nurse cares for her patients, but shags the pharmacist to feed her addiction. Jackie steals from a rich jerk and gives the dosh to a pregnant woman whose boyfriend has died. She flushes a severed ear down the pan so it can’t be re-attached to its owner – an unrepentant scumbag who cut up a hooker. If Jackie had a salute it’d involve her middle-finger. She’s the Robin Hood of the ER; tough and watchable. But likeable? Forgedaboudit.

THE production credits for So You Think You Can Dance drag on like the list of Hollywood dead at the Baftas. There are 27 different producers, directors and researchers...all to make one crap dance show. More people work on it than watch the bloody thing.

HOT on TV: Nurse Jackie – scrubs up narky... Tim Minchin Live (E4) ... Kelly Reilly (Above Suspicion) – sexiest cop since Anna Lee... Ken Branagh as Wallender... and Britain’s Biggest Heists (Crime).

ROT on TV: Adams v Fleet (BDO World Championships) – worst darts match this side of the Queen Vic... any ITV show with ‘All-Star’ in the title... Hustle getting lazy - even the stumbling crowds on Day Of The Triffids could have seen that final twist coming.

*MOVIE tough-guy Steven Seagal secretly works as a real life cop. Imagine if more stars followed his example. Billie Piper could be sitting on a fortune.

*CHARLIE Brooker “has a large cock”, according to Popbitch. Has, or is?

*IF someone asked you to cut the grass in Walford, you’d be spoilt for choice. Phil, Peggy, Sam, Shirley – they’re all at it. Is Bertie Smalls writing the soap these days?

*LAST week’s ‘EastEnders Pair Split’ headline worried me. Mercifully it was about Hannah Waterman’s marriage, not Lacey Turner’s boob job.

*JOHN Stewart on the pants bomber: “Even if the bomb works there’s going to be 72 very disappointed virgins.”

*T BAG from Prison Break is the new villain on Heroes. His psychic tattoo power might even make Jodie Marsh seem interesting.

RANDOM irritations: the complete absence of mystery in The Mystery Of The Nevada Triangle. The avalanche of naff dance shows – almost as annoying as the gluttonous over-load of diet dross. You want to lose weight? Eat less and exercise more, it’s not rocket (salad) science.

SMALL joys of TV: Steve Seagal, Lawman (Crime). Elvis clips (most channels). Poirot’s penguin waddle. And Joan Holloway’s curves on Mad Men; memo to McDonalds: Joan’s the real Big Tasty.

SEPARATED at birth: the new Doctor Who and Jonn Penny from Ned’s Atomic Dustbin; one made you want to ‘Kill Your Television’ the other sings in a band. Runner-up: loony protestor Ibrahim Anderson and Joe Swash with his head on upside down.

*IF John Lydon wants another butter-based ad campaign, how about ‘Anchor is an energy’? (One for PiL fans there.) I’m here all week, folks.

Jan 2. IT WAS the year of swine flu, moats and cross-dressing cage-fighters. Jordan’s big split was on a thousand lips. She also broke up with Peter Andre. Talk about a marriage going tits up... Tragically, they still got TV bookings.

Phenomenon of 2009 was Susan Boyle. Sumo-sized Su-Bo lumbered onto the Britain’s Got Talent stage looking like she was about to perform a Maori rugby hacker. Instead she blew us away with her perfect mezzo. Turkey of the Year: edging ahead in a crowded field was ITV’s All-Star Impressions Show, so shockingly poor I can only assume the people behind it are either mentally defective or have been driven mad by the advance stages of venereal disease. Runner-up: Totally Saturday.

Charlatan of the Year: Derek Acorah for his farcical ‘Live Séance’ with Michael Jackson - the biggest car-crash this side of Collision. Jacko’s message from beyond the grave turned out to be: “Say hello to Quincy Jones for me.” Deranged fans wept.

Show of the year: True Blood, a sexy vampire drama with real bite. Top drama: The Take. Worst: Demons – wetter than Randy Jackson’s sweat patches on American Idol. Top new drama that didn’t star Anna Paquin: Sons of Anarchy – Hamlet on Harleys.

Best sex scandal: Tiger Wood. The golfer’s unique approach to holing six footers was a boon for comics. Runner-up: David Letterman who apologised for “putting the staff in that position” (over his desk?). Worst chat: Fearne and Peaches - Frost/Nixon for feckwits. Best: Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately). Worst excuse for a news show: Live from Studio Five.

Top Comedy: Curb Your Enthusiasm. Worst Comedy: Horne & Corden (Yawn & Boredom). Top sitcom: The Inbetweeners. Worst: Big Top. Commended in dispatches: Modern Family. Top Lookalike: Graham Norton and Dr Crippen, but only one of them murdered Saturday night entertainment.

Maddest casting: David Harewood as Friar Tuck, a grumpy fat white bloke reinvented as a black martial arts expert. Runners-up: Horne & Corden hosting the Brits. Worst game-show host: Anton the Burk, Hole In The Wall. “Bring on the wall”? Bring back the Dale!

Top soap star: Larry Lamb as Archie Mitchell. Worst soap episode: Heather and Shirley stalk George Michael. Runner-up: Darren knocking up Heather (for the mechanics of how he managed it, see Inside Nature’s Giants). Top soap lookalike: Walford’s unhappy hooker Marissa and Fergal Sharkey – one sang Teenage Kicks, the other charged for them. Top soap mystery: why Corrie's deaf woman insists on doing sign language to people who can’t read it.

Worst double act: Jedward. Best double act: Sophie’s cleavage (Big Bruv). Top joy: Stacey Solomon (X Factor). Top X Factor irritation: Cheryl Cole, a professional singer, being described as “brave” for singing live. Most impressive celeb performance: Robert Webb’s flash-dance. Runner-up: Todd Carty (Dancing On Ice). Best Performance by an Inanimate Object: Aretha’s hat at Obama’s inauguration. Runner-up: Amanda Holden’s face.

Rant of the Year: Noel Edmonds (Noel’s HQ). Woman of the Year: Joanna Lumley. Gent of The Year: Gordon Ramsay, who called an Aussie woman a pig. “Ironic when his face looks like crackling,” – Sean Lock. Dick Cheney Diplomat of the Year Award: Kanye West. Greatest TV innovation: The ‘Sucker Punch’ wall of boxing gloves on Total Wipeout. All the fun of a date with Chris Brown with none of the slurping.

The Annual Peter Mandelson Award for Slipperiness: Nick Griffin on Question Time. Star of The Year: Harry Hill Villain of The Year: Katie Price. She had more trials than the Krays and, like Gordon Brown, still hasn’t worked out it’s time to shut up and sod off.

TOP Gear was the greatest TV show of the Noughties, say C4. What a wonderful v-sign to the po-faced drips who run our networks. Top Gear is laddish, opinionated, competitive and defiantly un-PC – everything modern telly isn’t supposed to be. So it’s a shame C4 got it wrong, cos the decade’s greatest show was actually The Sopranos. This sparkling Mafia drama, criminally scheduled after midnight, didn’t even make their Top 20. But then neither did Lost, 24, or The Mighty Boosh – all more deserving of celebration than Grand Designs (No. 14).

Here’s my Top Ten of Noughties TV: 1) The Sopranos. 2) The Office. 3) The Shield 4) Phoenix Nights 5) Life On Mars 6) Harry Hill’s TV Burp 7) The Wire 8) 24 9) State Of Play 10) Battlestar Galactica.

*THE Noughties were a golden age for US drama: The West Wing, Entourage, Lost, Rome, Band Of Brothers, Deadwood, Mad Men, season one of Heroes – all brilliant, and most of them buried away as carelessly as Owen Turner’s corpse. (The greatest UK drama series? Bodies, Spooks and the first two seasons of Shameless).

Talent shows were the decade’s run-away hit. And yet telly execs used to scoff at me for saying they’d catch on. Viewers would flock to modern variety shows too, and blue collar comedy shows. But trend-chasing, demographics-blinded TV commissioners are too clueless to see it.

HOT on TV: The World’s Strongest Man: Giants Live (Bravo)... Dizzee Rascal (Hootenanny)...the Thames fireworks display...and Joe Pasquale (Celebrity Mastermind).

ROT on TV: New Year’s Eve scheduling – putting the hogwash in Hogmanay... Take Me Out – yeah, and use a rifle... Sleep With Me – zzzzz...and Three Men Go To Ireland – a shame they took cameras.

MAN-eating plants and a big-name cast meant The Day of the Triffids should have been ultra-scary. I chained up the geraniums as a precaution. Sadly the Triffids had more bite than the human stars. Eddie Izzard played the villain (presumably the budget wouldn’t stretch to a more menacing one, like say James Dreyfus or Syd Little.) The dialogue was Bonekickers daft: “Do not enter the orchard without back-up.” And the plot had been got at by mildew. How did a solar storm blind most of humanity simultaneously? Half the world would have been a-kip. It needed less CGI, and more atmospheric tension.

*EDDIE Izzard stumbled off a plane and caused chaos trying to rule the world...yeah, the writer got the idea from George W. Bush.

*HOW humans should have fought back: flame-throwers, napalm, pesticide crop-spraying, suicide pruners, Mike Reid face-masks (Day of the Triffics – sorry). PS. If it was the Day of the Triffids, how come all the action happened at night?

*THE Greatest Tracks of the Noughties over-looked 2009’s most talked about ditty: ‘Dance In Your Pants’ by Philip, off The Apprentice. And for that, many thanks.

Top tunes C4 did miss: Dry Your Eyes – The Streets, Hurt – Johnny Cash, All The Small Things – Blink 182, Fall Back Down – Rancid, Can’t Stand Me Now – Libertines, Better Things – Bouncing Souls, Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day...not to mention Sarah Silverman’s rather tasteful Matt Damon song...

* HOW exactly did Amira “charm the snake” on her big Walford wedding night? Without a Christian face-mask, her honeymoon must have been like something out of the Kama Stupor.

*A MATE texted me during Corrie to say that Molly looks like a podling from The Dark Crystal. Unfair! Podlings may have Molly’s cheeks but they definitely have Gail’s chin.

*THE Doctor Who finale had something in common with that sicko plane bomber. The plot just screamed explosive pants.

SMALL joys of TV: Michael McIntyre claiming Clarkson’s pin number is 0-2-60. ‘Suddenly’ by Angry Anderson – Scott and Charlene’s wedding song - playing at Nessa’s nuptials (Gavin & Stacey). WPC Naomi Ryan (Enders) Freddie Starr’s second Audience With (ITV3). Biggest laugh? The Jordanaires’ hair. Talk about Three Syrups and a Comb-over...

NEW Year TV irritations: Myleene dying on her Klassy arse on BBC1, Jools struggling with the pitiful witless banter of the ‘comedians’ in his Hootenanny audience (the same ones every year and they never even try to be funny). The cross-channel bombardment of Graham Norton, Alan Carr and fat Bore George, aka Boy Gorge... ring out the old, ring in more of the same old cobblers.... I’d cheerfully wring the necks of everyone involved.

* THOSE wishing to make their own ‘see it in with Myleene’ jokes should get to the back of the queue.

* C5 at 7pm: Studio Five's Best Bits; followed at 7.02 by...