Garry Bushell
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Jan 26. The nation is distraught about Hayley’s suicide on Corrie. Even the plastic paperboy outside the Kabin was weeping. It was sad and moving; a merciful release... for viewers bored sick of the whole depressing storyline.

It’s a testimony to how well the Croppers were drawn that millions actually cared, because I have to confess I didn’t. Hayley has always felt about as believable as Tina’s lust for Peter. She was soap’s first transsexual, but ITV lacked the cojones to cast a real transgender person and gave the part to Julie Hesmondhalgh. Hilariously the actress then fell pregnant... suggesting that the NHS can work wonders with oestrogen patches. Naturally her character was painted as a saint.

Hayley’s love for Roy was touching, though. Corrie’s oddest couple tugged our heartstrings, and yes her death was well acted. But was it necessary? ITV claimed it was bold and original, yet suicide has been done to death in soaps. EastEnders did right-to-die more than thirteen years ago when poor old Ethel popped her clogs with the unlikely help of devout Christian Dot. Phil’s Stella jumped off a roof, Demi and Donna deliberately OD’d on smack... Angie Watts tried to top herself as long ago as 1986.

  Hayley coming a cropper just brought home the Walford-isation of our soaps. All now share the same misery-driven, issue-led agenda, hiding behind a lofty but unconvincing ‘social service’ justification. With more episodes and shrinking budgets, cranking up the melodrama is a lazy cop-out. Upsetting viewers is easy. Child death will do it, murder, illness – Albert Square must be the cancer capital of the world with Carol following Tanya, Pat, Dot and Peggy.

By aping Enders, Corrie has squandered much of its warmth and everyday humour. Since 2010 this small close-knit community has had 27 deaths, four of them murders, two suicides, arson, rape, abduction, a tram disaster... Ghoulish producer Stuart Blackburn oversaw an assisted suicide row in Emmerdale before taking over Corrie. He’s behind Hayley’s demise too. It’s a shame they can’t pull the plugs on him instead. Stan and Hilda didn’t need constant trauma to make us love them.

*R.I.P. Hayley, now finally reunited with her family... jewels. Her death was the soap’s most painful loss since Harold went to Amsterdam. I can’t wait for the will reading, everyone huddled around praying she hasn’t left them that poxy red anorak...

*HAYLEY’S greatest moments: 1) Her sex-change. Sinatra left his heart in San Francisco, Harold left his parts in a Dutch operating theatre. 2) Going on the run with Roy and bed-wetter Wayne – so cops were on the look-out for two wet blankets... 3) Julie Hesmondhalgh being heavily pregnant on screen in 2001 - long after Hayley’s op. You don’t get service like that on the National Health.

*IS it wrong to wish that the remains of Hayley’s suicide cocktail had ended up in t’Bistro for Nick to take a good long swig of? Death might cheer him up a bit.

THIS has been such a memorable run of Celebrity Big Brother that the contestants’ names will surely pass into the language: “That bloke is a massive Dappy”... “She’s got a cracking pair of Caseys”...“Go and spread a bucket of Nolan on the rhubarb... ” Liz Jones grew on me. Yes, she was laid-back to the point of lethargy, but the cracking way she faked depression to fool Luisa suggests Liz missed her true calling as a soap actress. She gave much more than Sam Faiers whose biggest contribution has been her exploding face. Either she’s allergic to squabbles or poor Sam has more hives than an apiary. Linda and Luisa were on Jim’s case from day one, getting in more digs than Time Team. But even Luisa sussed that Linda was coming across as “a moaning bitter woman.” Not that it stopped the two venomous hags laying into poor wet Ollie. Luisa called him embarrassing. That’s like Justin Bieber telling you you’re drinking too much.

*LINDA is so relentlessly stroppy she’s bound to get more bookings: Grudge Match, Neighbours From Hell, Celebrity Benefits Street...

EN garde! The Musketeers is nuts on many levels – the casting, the lingo... did 17th Century army captains really bark “My office – now!” at their men?? There was more authentic dialogue on Dogtanian & The Muskerhounds. But it’s enjoyable tosh all the same, largely because it’s about heroism, chivalry, toughness and loyalty – machismo, in other words. The Musketeers might look like a Kasabian cover band but they fight for what’s right... in between swashbuckling, unbuckling, hangovers (they’re the must-get beers), and cardsharping. Their chief problem is cunning Cardinal Richelieu. Their king, Louis XIII of France, is a posh perfumed popinjay with no sign of a spine. These days he’d be on CBB’s Bit On The Side, slagging off Jim Davidson.

HOT on TV: Maimie McCoy, The Musketeers... Alexa Davalos, Mob City (Fox)... David ‘Roy Cropper’ Neilson... Helix (C5)... Ross Kemp: Extreme World (Sky1).

ROT on TV: Mr. Selfridge – dull in every department... The National TV Awards – should be renamed The Groundhogs... The Following – not following any more.

WELL done Ant & Dec for winning their thirteenth award for being Ant & Dec at the National Television Awards. We didn’t see that coming. It’s an odd night, devoid of wit and largely bent. How could Sherlock win ‘top detective’ for a year the show wasn’t even on air? At least This Morning’s shameless and relentless vote-for-us campaigning paid off... again. Here’s a puzzle though: if The Big Bang Theory was a sitcom contender, why wasn’t Breaking Bad in the best drama category? Oh that’s right - no British TV channel had the nous to screen it.

*THE NTAs are educational. They’ve taught us to avoid Harry Hill’s naff X Factor-spoof stage-show, I Can’t Sing, like the plague.

*THE Strictly mob gushed their thank-yous to everyone... except Bruce Forsyth. Do you think he winds them up as much as he does the rest of us?

*A WOMAN alleges DLT groped her at a pantomime dressed as Abanazar. Could have been worse; it could have been Captain Hook.

CHRIS Packham on Winterwatch promised us black cock (a type of grouse) “first thing in the morning”. As all possible gags have been censored by the taste police, let’s leave that hanging in the air.

*ON EastEnders Shirley Carter had a chat with Mick’s bulldog. I love that fierce, dim creature... especially when she called Sharon a “menopausal Barbie.”

*JAKE Stone? Another useless p*ss-head. Albert Square needs proper blokes as urgently as Walford High needs condom machines.

*OVER on All Star Family Fortunes Stephen K. Amos introduced his final team member Christine as a “family friend.” Not only is the show unable to supply ‘all stars’, it can’t even manage all families.

*A NEW report says that comedians have psychotic personality disorders. Well it’d certainly explain Freddie Starr and Justin Lee Collins.

Small Joys of TV: Liz Jones’s misery monologue in the Big Brother bath. Pollyanna Woodward on Splash! The busker-bashing rant on Uncle. Kate Quilton on Food Unwrapped – roll on Kate Unwrapped.

Random Irritations: Mob City – looks great, moves too slowly. The Naked Rambler – why give him publicity? Room 101 for watering down genuine comic fury into another so-so panel show.

SEPARATED at birth: Mr Crabbe (Mr Selfridge) and the Carry On films’ Kenneth Connor? Crabbe must stifle a “phwoar” every time he sees Kitty.

First wild beaver spotted in England for 800 years! Experts are calling it Luisa...

Jan 24. YES! That horrible dark cloud that’s been hanging over Elstree for weeks has suddenly lifted! Narky Linda Nolan just got voted out of Celebrity Big Brother. Hurrah! The atmosphere inside the house seemed to brighten up immediately. We’re in the final straight and voting for a winner now. I don’t think Jim Davidson will win but I’d like him to. Not because I agree with his politics but because it would be one in the eye for the humourless snobs who try and tell us what we’re allowed to laugh at, for the strident middle class guardians of Political Correctness, and for the whole weepy-creepy, touchy-feely, over-feminised, kissy-kissy, mwah-mwah world of what laughably passes for popular culture these days. Vote Jim to win – by dialling 09020442405 - if you’ve seen him live and know why the Independent called him England’s funniest living stand-up. Vote for Jim if you loved his TV shows, if you appreciate what he’s done - unpaid - for our fighting forces for three decades, if you grew up with the giants of Cockney comedy, and above all vote Jim to win if you support the Addicks. COYR!

Jan 19. Lionel Blair left Celebrity Big Brother in true showbiz style – all eyes and teeth, some of them his own. He’d had quite a fortnight. Lionel came in a dignified light entertainment veteran and ended up strutting about in fetish gear demanding that someone “Suck my d*ck!” You didn’t get that at the Dave Lee Travis court hearing.

Initially horrified by uncouth talk of “finger-banging”, Lionel finished up telling Big Brother to “go f**k yourself!” He turned into Chubby Brown, without the jokes. Even the Wolf Of Wall Street was saying: “Woah, mind the language.” Of course Lionel was only truly happy blowing his own trumpet. As opposed to Jasmine who’d have cheerfully blown Lee’s...

The series has been deliriously demented. House mates are split between the ones getting the hump, and the ones getting dry-humped. Linda Nolan (Granny Boo-Boo) got drenched in paint for being boring and made to watch it dry. Loose Luisa boasted about shagging five men in one night – there’s classy; and then got her leg over the top of a jail cell to half-inch bubbly and chocolates. Caught breaking the rules on camera, Luisa had the right to remain silent but not the ability. She claimed that Lionel was as much to blame as she was. Another verbal Vesuvius erupted.

Luisa always plays the innocent party saying men – specifically Jim Davidson - don’t like her because she’s a strong and successful woman. But what we actually see is a selfish, sexually incontinent loudmouth with the morals of an alley-cat who’s had blazing rows with three housemates. Luisa love, might it be you? The only surprise is that Jasmine went instead of her on Wednesday. At least this gave Lee Ryan something else to do with his lips.

Dappy’s sublimely funny shouting match with Luisa – “What have you got, an A and B in Stuck Up?” - was surpassed in venom by Linda’s Thursday night bust-up with Jim. The great Frank Carson’s dressing room ding-dong! This confusing row was actually about her late husband Brian shamefully stealing cash from Frank’s wallet. Not once as she and Emma Willis claimed, but repeatedly.

Jim has been terrific value, dubbing Lee a “fanny rat”, and Luisa “Princess Pushy”. And in fairness he’s done his best to defuse arguments. Best though was Jim’s heartfelt reaction to being trapped in a house with squawking drunks: “Roll on death... it’s like being in hell.” Not for us! Short of Francois Hollande turning up on his scooter to have a go on Luisa it’s hard to see how this show could be improved.

R.I.P. Roger Lloyd-Pack, a brilliant part of the greatest British sitcom of our time. The finest tribute the Beeb could pay to him and fans of Only Fools & Horses would be to re-launch Comedy Playhouse to showcase pilots by unknown working class writers – because the Oxbridge establishment can’t come close.

MP Penny Mordaunt washed up on Splash! proving the celebrity barrel has been well and truly scraped dry. It can’t be too long before we see Eric Pickles strutting about in his budgie smugglers. Unpleasant, yes, but in fairness he’d triple the size of the splash zone. Treating politicians as celebs is generally a bad thing, but if they are going to jump off diving boards isn’t it time to unleash the sharks? Or at least bring on Bridget Phillipson in a bikini? Knowing our luck we’ll get lumbered with Margaret Beckett. I say get Tessa Munt in CBB, if only for the “Munt out for the lads” crowd chants. And book Lord Rennard for Take Me Out.

*ANN Widdecombe, on All-Star Family Fortunes, chose a rhino as the worst animal to share a bed with because it has “a very nasty horn.” It’s the same reason she never married.

*GREAT political entertainment bookings: 1) George Galloway (CBB) 2) Simon Parkes (Confessions Of An Alien Abductee) 3) Erh, that’s it. Worst: 1) Lembit (everything). 2) Widdecombe (ditto). 3) Edwina Currie (Strictly 4) Blunkett (Celeb Mastermind)

HOT on TV: Nina Conti... Mob City (Fox)... Matt Berry, House Of Fools... Bradley Walsh, The Chase.

ROT on TV: Linda Nolan – a whining migraine in human form... Reflex – reflux is more fun... The Taste – a waste of Nigella... Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) – least convincing cop since the Village People.

PEOPLE are fuming because Shabnam told her Dad he shouldn’t date a white woman on EastEnders. I’m more annoyed that she isn’t Shabnam. The old Shabs was laidback, gorgeous and an occasional pole-dancer. This one’s a hard-faced hard-line Muslim harridan who’s come back from Pakistan with a head transplant and a happiness bypass. No wonder poor Masood has turned to drink. But why shouldn’t the soap have unpleasant ethnic characters and unsavoury views? They’re part of the “reality” the producers laughably claim to depict. In the real East End, Nick Cotton would have voted BNP.

VIC and Bob’s House Of Fools is a tripping mental patient’s dream of a sitcom. To prove how far beyond bonkers it is Sandi Toksvig is every character’s ultimate pin-up. Dumb, daft, and childish, the show packs in unhinged neighbours, exploding microwaves, silly songs and elasticated testicles. I love it.

*BOB searching for his Gone In Sixty Seconds DVD: “It was here a minute ago.”

*CORRIE has been accused of “steering vulnerable people towards suicide” with their Hayley Cropper storyline, although in fairness EastEnders has been doing that for years.

*HAYLEY pops her clogs tomorrow. ITV have vetoed their North Korean writer’s plans to have her torn to death by starving dogs up the Red Rec. Instead she’ll perish under an avalanche of 500 strawberry punnets.

*AMY Poehler at the Golden Globes: “Congratulations to the wonderful actors nominated tonight, from the amazing Chiwetel Ejiofor to the stunning Lupita Nyong’o, to American treasure Tam Honks... ”

*CHIWETEL Ejiofor: 12 Years A Slave; Bianca Jackson: 30 Years A Chav.

Small Joys of TV: the colossal Costa Bingo Mel B. The Death In Paradise soundtrack. Daft songs on Jinsy. Benidorm. Uncle (BBC3). Jim Davidson channeling Basil Fawlty to ask Linda Nolan: “Another vat of wine, dear?”

Random Irritations: Daphne’s voice (Eggheads). The Taste – who can make the best prawn cocktail? Who the feck cares? All-Star Family Fortunes – it’s not all-star, eight out of ten contenders are complete unknowns and most of the pairs we actually recognose wouldn’t excite a pack of hard-up paparazzi. Sherlock – all style, very little substance.

SEPARATED at birth: Billie Piper and Tara Lynn Foxx, one associated with tawdry sex sagas, the other a blue movie actress. Runners-up: Joaquin Phoenix and Chas Hodges. (Gertcha)

*ON University Challenge you could almost hear announcer Roger Tilling praying that Southampton's Day would buzz in before Trinity's Drnovsek-Zorko.

ON Bake Off, Omid Djalili told contestants: “You have two hours before your rings are judged.” We can only hope he was talking about doughnuts.”

Jan 12. Lee Ryan has set Celebrity Big Brother alight, juggling gullible women as casually as Peter Barlow on a promise. Lee clicked with cuddly Casey, telling her they could be an item on the outside. Then he got off with Jasmine and dropped Casey like a hot stone. “I’ve done nothing wrong,” he protested. And like a politician he seemed to actually believe his own lies. Truly he is a mutant super rat in human form. Putting Lee in the bolt-hole with Casey was inspired, though. Yes she nagged but there was always the slim possibility that they’d also shag.

CBB has been on brilliant form all week; by which I mean it’s been rude, randy, foul-mouthed and feisty; a seething cauldron of lust and betrayal. Demented sex-dwarf Dappy attempted to turn the show into Big Rudder, poking his porn star appendage at anyone who was interested in it. I don’t think he’s dim, it’s just that his manhood requires so much blood to function there’s very little left to reach his brain.

Jasmine comes across as the sort of girl who’d blow anyone for a fiver and give change, but I’m sure she’s much worse than that. What a piece of work! Flashing boobs, snogging birds, talking about finger-banging – it’s like she’s auditioning for Hens Behaving Badly. She makes Lusty Luisa seem almost virginal.

The first row surprisingly involved Evander Holyfield, whose views on homosexuality were deemed offensive by Big Brother – which begs the question, why broadcast them then? The second row, less surprisingly, involved Jim Davidson upsetting Linda Nolan. He had no idea why, and nor did I! What had Jim done wrong other than fail to find Linda endlessly fascinating?

There’s wild talk of ‘Lionel for the final’, but isn’t he, whisper it, a bit dull? Lionel drops a lot of names – Joan Collins, Max Bygraves, Hereward the Wake... almost everyone he’s ever worked with is dead. Do you think Sammy Davis would have remembered dancing with him? Liz Jones only seemed truly happy with the aliens.

Sam has been quiet, almost like a completely normal person who’s accidentally wandered into a house full of famous egomaniacs... And there’s little going on with Ollie, the weeping wally, so expect him and Sam to go all the way. In a sane world Jim would win.

STOP PRESS: last night’s show had the row of the series, with Dappy dubbing Luisa a “two-faced slag” and her calling him a “f**king pr**k, a wannabe f**king child who thinks he’s a gangster.” A rare case of two wrong’uns making a right old ding-dong.

*TRUE story: Lee Ryan spent the night in my loft once. How was I to know that all the time he was here, he was ogling my neighbour’s extension?

*LOVE-rat Lee has cuddled Casey and snogged Jasmine but when it comes to Sam Faiers the only way is Kleenex.

*Separated at birth: Liz Jones and Billy the Puppet from Saw – one a channel of great evil, the other a puppet...

BBC1’s The 7.39 was the story of a love affair that started on a commuter train – from 7.39 to 2.69. Carl was 40-something, bored and married with kids; Sally was 30-something, divorced and about to wed irritating creep Ryan. They rowed over a seat, glowered and next stop, nookie. Naturally she went like Stephenson’s Rocket. The show has been called a male fantasy, which is fair enough. For starters the train was largely on time. Where does that happen? In real life she’d have been getting her ticket punched on a rail replacement bus. It ended badly. His wife threw him out, her fella beat him up... and after all that Sal finished up with someone else anyway.

*REASONS the 7.39 would have been cancelled 1: Condoms on the line 2) Over-heated fiancé at Hampton Wick 3) Defective box, Effingham Junction.

OVER on Splash! Gemma Collins told of her “two weeks of tears and hell”. How the people of Syria must feel for her. “Shall we go out now the shelling has stopped, Anas?” “Not yet, Fat Gemma from Towie is about to flop off the one metre board.” “Ah, good; she’s really confronting her fears.” This lame amateur diving show squeezes five minutes of action into 90minutes of dross. The only “fear” participants are confronting is that their shaky, undeserved grip on fame might slip away.

*WHAT’S sadder, Gemma Collins mentioning her fans or the fact that she’s got some?

HOT on TV: Being Mike Tyson (Fox)... Sofia Helin, The Bridge II (BBC4)... This Is Jinsy (Sky Atlantic)... Celebrity Big Brother (C5).

ROT on TV: The Tomorrow People – yesterday... The Taste... Secrets Of The Living Dolls – no secrets, they’re nuts... The Undateables... Splash! – biggest load of old cobblers since The Man with the Ten Ton Testicles.

IF you’re watching Dancing On Ice, possibly because the Care Home remote is broken, you might appreciate this handy guide to what Christine Bleakley is actually saying: Noy = Now. Ummayduyyertly = Immediately. Quoyyt = Quite. Unnybudeez = Anybodies. Uyyt = Out. Thuzz ayvnin = This evening. Jeessun Guhrdnar = Jason Gardiner. Jaw Puskwarlee = Joe Pasquale.

C4 wheeled out ‘maskers’ on Secrets Of The Living Dolls, morons who dress up in rubber woman-shaped suits. It gave new meaning to getting dolled up for a night out. But if they wear that now, what the hell do they put on for Halloween?

*MASKERS will have their own club one day: Madam Ho-Hos.

*POOR Ian Beale. Denise snogged Fatboy in the Vic toilets. Talk about having a Chubb on. Still, at least it made a change from Nancy and Wayne going at it in the beer-cellar. Imagine all that foaming ooze. They might spill some beer too.

*ALL soap families have skeletons in their closets, only Ian Beale lets his go out to work...

*THEY’RE all coming back: Wicksy, Jane. I’d like to see Pete Beale pitch up at the bar saying “Oi Mick, is that right you’ve got two Nancys?”

Small Joys of TV: Max Branning’s chicken chasseur rage on EastEnders – they could do with him on The Taste. Born To Be Wild (BBC4). Pasquale claiming to be “eye candy” on Dancing On Ice. The 7.39, not great drama but it didn’t half cheer up the next morning’s commute – she would, he would, she has...

Random Irritations: Ludo’s ludicrous accent (The Taste). Luisa’s nasal whine. The BBC’s comedy blinkers. Big Brother embracing thought-crime. Detection playing third-fiddle to stag nights and self-indulgence for the Cumberbatch Holmes. Hey: less shit, Sherlock.

*RICH Hall, a Yank comedian, mocked our convenience food (Live At The Apollo). Isn’t that like being lectured on pacifism by al-Qaeda?

*DID Dara got signed up for Stargazing Live because he looks so much like Buzz Lightyear?

*THE flood footage is horrendous, but we’ll laugh about it when the summer hose-pipe ban kicks in.

CELEB maths: Amy Childs + Rose-Marie = Living Doll Redhead.

Jan 5 2014. IT WAS the year of twerking, horse meat and celebrity cocaine scandals. Drug-loving Reverend Flowers stood down as head of the Co-op, but still hasn’t come down. Russell Brand called for a revolution against capitalism while charging £75 for a front row ticket. And the nation debated the year’s big question: why did it take so long for someone to chuck eggs at Simon Cowell? Against the odds 2013 also saw some brilliant television. Here are my winners and losers.

Show of the Year: Game Of Thrones, a dazzling blend of blood, brains, bravery, bonking and brutality. Worst Show in a Packed Field: Splash! It would have been better without the water - Splat! Runner-up: Your Face Sound Familiar.

Most Wildly Inaccurate TV drama: The White Queen. Set in 1464, it had modern drainpipes, zip-up dresses, corduroy coats, an 18th century field marshal’s baton and an American hawk. Dullest drama: Mr Selfridge – shop flawed.

Greatest TV Moments: The Red Wedding on Game Of Thrones, Godfrey Bloom whacking Michael Crick, Laila Morse strapped to a crocodile – terrifying... for the crocodile. Worst TV Moment: Helen Lederer, Splash; not so much diving as toppling.

Best Performance by an Inanimate Object: Katherine Kelly’s wig on Mr. Selfridge. Runner-up: Joey Essex. Worst: those animal masks on Dogging Tales – the beaver looked decidedly grim. Worst Downer: The Village, it made EastEnders seem like the Magic Kingdom.

Best Show not on TV: Breaking Bad. Best new series: Banshee. Best remake: House of Cards. Top UK drama: Top Boy. Best Whodunnit: Broadchurch. Worst why-do-it: Sex Box – who’d have thought Mariella’s box would be such a joyless let-down?

Top on-screen fight: Hood vs dirty rapist Sanchez on Banshee. Top off-screen fight: Gregg Wallace versus the fan who allegedly groped his girlfriend – TV hosts don’t come tougher than this.

Scariest witches: American Horror Story Coven, narrowly beating Loose Women. Top Cop, US: Raylan Givens, Justified; UK: Luther. Worst career move: Hilary Devey, The Intern (The Off-Turn)

Worst sitcom: Heading Out. Runner-up: Blandings. Best: Modern Family. Runner-up: Toast Of London. Best comedy drama: The Wrong Mans. Worst sketch show: It’s Kevin, it’s chronic. Most over-exposed unfunny comedian: Seann Walsh. Top Drunks: Steph and Dom (Gogglebox).

Top Import: Ray Donovan. Runners-up: The Walking Dead, Sons Of Anarchy, The Following, The Americans, Under The Dome, Nashville, Vegas, Person Of Interest.

Best reality contender: Paula Hamilton (Celebrity Big Brother). Hottest reality babe: Ruby Tandoh (Bake-Off). Worst live event: Doctor Who After-party Live. Top TV Name: Samuel Kumm (My Phone Sex Secrets) Top Quiz: The Chase. Worst quiz: Britain’s Brightest. Worst Light entertainment host: Claudia Winkleman. Runners-up: Gaby Logan, Clare Balding. Biggest Let-Down: The Returned finale. Most Baffling Claim: CNN’s Jonathan Mann saying “We hunted the dildo into extinction.” (He meant dodo).

Classiest Brunette: Jordana Brewster (Dallas). Feistiest Blonde: Ellen Hollman (Spartacus). Worst Soap Relative: Sarah-Louise Platt (Corrie), weddings, comatose brothers, family crises – nothing could tempt her back from Milan.

Top Lookalikes: Alex Mills (The Apprentice) and Frank Sidebottom. Top Actor: Jon Voight (Ray Donovan) Top actress: Kerry Godliman (Derek). Best supporting role: Eva’s bra (Corrie) Man of the Year: Godfrey Bloom. Woman of the Year: Nigella Lawson. Irritant of the Year: Katie Hopkins. Star Of The Year: Micky Flanagan.

THANKS for nothing, Sherlock. We’ve waited two years to find out how Holmes faked his own death, and we still don’t know. Was it the bungee cord and Derren Brown, or the bouncy castle? Or more likely neither? It was like watching the dance of the seven veils only to discover the dancer has seven more veils and a pair of Ann Widdecombe’s bloomers on underneath. I reckon so many people figured out how the writers had planned for Sherlock to survive his leap of death that they decided to fudge it. The outline on the pavement suggested the original solution was a trapdoor and safety net (as seen on Jonathan Creek). And fans had already sussed out the squash ball trick - slipped under the armpit to stop the pulse (as seen on The Mentalist). The end result was the most self-conscious mess this side of the Saatchi Gallery; brilliant in parts, yes, but too in love with itself to bother including a coherent plot. PS. The underground train under the Houses of Parliament on 5th November came straight from V For Vendetta.

SHOCK scenes on EastEnders as lesbian Tina slept with Billy Mitchell. The woman is part-dyke and all-bike. I was more amazed when he pulled Honey, though. She was the hottest thing he ever got his mitts on, and that’s including the Olympic torch. Elsewhere Ronnie turned killer, smashing Carl senseless with a car boot for the crime of dating her sister, Poxy Roxy. Luckily Ron found the only scrap-yard in London open on New Year’s Day to dispose of both car and corpse. That’s what I call 1-2 Crush On You.

*BILLY’S next karaoke number? Anything by Ike & Turner Tina... (I Can Turn A Tina, geddit? Okay please yourselves).

*GAY Danny seems to flit between Johnny Carter and Lucy Beale. But in fairness her figure is more boyish.

HOT on TV: Dave Allen night... Strike Back finale... Rab C. Nesbitt... David Blaine: Real Or Magic... Dawn Penn (Hootenanny).

ROT on TV: Splash! – still wet... Greatest Stand-Up Comedians – laughable... Silent Witness – stiff... Twit Of The Year – twats talking tripe... Doggy Styling – ruff (for ‘doggy fashion’ see Strike Back.)

WHAT does Chris Rock have in common with Steve Martin and Jackie Mason? Apparently none of them are funny enough to make the all-time Greatest Stand-Up Comedians. Unlike David Baddiel... Max Miller, Mike Reid, Rita Rudner, Ken Dodd and Jerry Sadowitz didn’t make the cut either. But the surprises didn’t end there. According to the C5 time-wasters, Lenny Henry is funnier than Eddie Murphy, Sarah Millican trumps Les Dawson and Michael McIntyre is a better comic than Richard Pryor... Laugh? I thought I’d never start. The only surprise was Sue Perkins wasn’t Number One.

PETER Barlow saw it in with Tina on Corrie. Talk about out starting the New Year with a bang... “We’ve done something beautiful,” he told Tina. Well he had. Carla’s suspicions weren’t aroused even when he washed the bed sheets and Hoovered the settee. If she’d caught them at it, he’d have got away with claiming he was just giving her the Heimlich manoeuvre.

*SCENES you won’t see on Nigella’s The Taste: “This is 98% Bolivian, this is 65% Columbian cut with talc... ”

Small Joys of TV: Dolphins: Spy In The Pod. Arena - Ken Dodd’s Happiness. The Many Faces Of Stanley Baxter. Birds Of A Feather. Benidorm. Glasgow Big Night Out. Top Of The Pops Big Hits 1979 – Squeeze, Costello, 2-Tone, the Ruts, Chas n Dave... truly a golden year.

Random Irritations: The great Sherlock cop-out. Funny Old Year – ropy old script. C4’s Big Fat Quizzz of The Year – over-long, over-indulgent, rarely funny. C5 marking the tenth anniversary of Bob Monkhouse’s death with An Audience with... Bruce Bloody Forsyth.

REASONS to be cheerful: as well as returning classic such as Game Of Thrones and Sons Of Anarchy, 2014 will see new sci-fi shows The Leftovers and Believe, Victorian horror from Penny Dreadful, more vampires in The Strain and gritty crime drama True Detective.

SOAP mysteries: what happened to the homeless people who used to hang around Albert Square? They vanished quicker than Weatherfield’s snow. Was Roxy’s interest in cocaine such a bad thing? She could have been planning a career in banking. Why does Corrie’s Tina follow Peter around just to tell him to leave her alone?

*NANCY was kidnapped from her own wedding by her Dad. She’s a 21-year-old gobby chav, wouldn’t she have had a bit more to say about it?

Goof of the Year: Dennis Taylor was talking snooker when he observed: “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Neil Robertson tied up by the balls before.”

Jan 4. A GREAT twist on Celebrity Big Brother as contenders were paired up and handcuffed. Boxing legend Evander Holyfield got partnered with Luisa from The Apprentice – presumably because they’ve both put strong men on their backs... and brought them to a standing eight... and been pounded in the ring... Dappy channeled the spirit of Rod Hull, arriving with a rough old bird on his arm – barking mad columnist Liz Jones. Dappy meet Dippy! Liz is here because American Horror Story: Coven aren’t recruiting. Jim Davidson was teamed up with Linda ‘Naughty’ Nolan - not the first time she’s been in cuffs... Lee Ryan got glam model Casey Batchelor – all rise indeed. While Lionel Blair drew the short straw, Made In Chelsea’s Ollie The Wally. Towie’s Sam Faiers isn’t too chuffed about being pulled around by pushy unknown Jasmine Waltz. (Not to be confused with the “jizz-mine” waltz, when Liz made off with her boyfriend’s stolen sperm). Some of these nitwits would drive a saint to drink. Sure Luisa’s fit but after a day or two of her nasal blathering, Evander will be calling Mike Tyson begging him to chew off his other lug-hole. It’s way too soon to predict a winner, but the race to say the most shocking thing is clearly between Liz and Lee. I hope Jim nick-nicks it.

*JIM was cheered in by his family, “all willing me not to be myself... ”