BUSHELL ON THE BOX
Jan 25. IT was all go at the NTAs, which judging by some of the contenders could stand for No Talent Available.
Or with Keith Lemon beating Game Of Thrones, No Taste Anywhere.
Only at the National TV Awards could an under par run of I'm A Celebrity thrash two of the best-ever Celebrity Big Brother series.
But that's what happens if you're on air when viewers are voting. (Or if you can shamelessly beg for support between vagina facials every day, eh This Morning?)
So much of the night has a Groundhog Day feel they even started with Mrs. Brown welcoming the audience "to this year's Ant & Dec awards."
Then sadly Dermot got shot of the great monster via a trap door, which frankly should have been used more often... Specifically for gushing speech-makers, Tess Daly, and whoever told Stephanie Davis that lace atrocity was a good look.
It looked like she'd left her bottom half trapped in a tube door.
Irritations abounded. Having Cheryl in the running for best judge was as daft as having Cheryl in the running for best live singer.
David Walliams won. Really? David's most memorable moment last year was hitting his golden buzzer for Christian Spridon who proved critics wrong by winning the series and becoming an international star... in his dreams.
Other travesties included The Voice competing for Best Talent Show. What talent has it actually uncovered, aside from the judges' skill at spinning around in chairs, and Tom's ability to doze off?
Having the same winners year after bloody year, makes the NTAs reliably surprise free. But it's inevitable. They're toasting TV's most popular shows, and popular shows get re-commissioned.
The differences are David Tennant now gets honoured for more than Doctor Who, David Jason is revered for what he did rather than what he does, and talent shows have replaced sitcoms as the king genre.
This tickles me greatly because in the early 90s when I was the only voice campaigning for talent shows, endless snooty TV executives told me I was wasting my breath; the format was finished, talent shows were brown-bread. They said I was wrong about broad blue collar comedy too, and oh look, there's Brendan O'Carroll at the top of the ratings.
*BRITISH TV also needs: sitcoms in the Del-Boy tradition; drama aimed at men; earthy gag-telling comedians; classy variety; a weekly chart show and a credible modern equivalent of Whistle Test.
*DAVID Tennant deserved his special recognition gong. Shame it coincides with his portrayal of the most clueless cop since Clouseau.
WHEN EastEnders won Best Soap, Adam Woodyatt told the NTAs:
"We are accepting this award for the Weatherfield One."
It was a big-hearted reference to poor Anne "Deirdre Barlow" Kirkbride, and an unintended reminder that Corrie once had stories that genuinely touched the nation.
When Deirdre was wrongly jailed, we cared. When she was torn between two lovers, we cared – and a damn sight more than we did about the soap's well-staged but badly written coach disaster.
What a tragedy. Tracy Barlow didn't die.
Who'd give a tuppenny damn if Tracy had gone over that cliff? Deirdre had humanity that her poisonous cow of a screen daughter has always lacked. The soap had real heart, humour and giant characters. Under their current boss they're in danger of squandering the lot.
*DEIRDRE'S glasses always got me. The lenses were as thick as patio doors. With those bins she could watch the International Space Station pass over Weatherfield, but she couldn't spot a conman in her own bed.
ON Extant, astronaut Molly Watts returns to earth to find she's pregnant. What's odd is she'd been on a 13-month solo mission...
The uh, root cause of her condition was an unexpected docking procedure with a being who looked the spit of her dead ex-boyfriend.
So was he a ghost? Molly is played by Halle Berry, a woman so beautiful she could raise the dead. Or an alien, kind of ET bone home?
We don't know yet. Even more puzzling, when Mol watched the surveillance footage back she appeared to be alone – in space no one can see you shag.
Naturally she wiped the tapes, arousing her bosses' suspicions as surely as she aroused her space suitor.
Molly's son Nathan seems the most normal one here, and he's a super-advanced robot. Think a young David Platt with more humanity.
HOT on TV: Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall... Extant (Syfy) and Halle Berry... Extreme World (Sky1)... Catastrophe.
ROT on TV: Get Your Act Together – if only ITV could... Nadia Sawalha – whinging wind-bag... Up The Women – down with crap comedy.
KATIE Price has put the brakes on the CBB madness, which on balance is a real shame. Before she arrived, the house was like Munch's Scream in a hall of mirrors.
Now they're almost happy. Perez hasn't feared for his life for days.
Instead of rows we've had Pwicey slagging off her ex's and revealing how a well-endowed Spanish-speaking lover gave her cystitis. Arrepentido, beautiful.
*WOULD you miss Perez? Not me, especially not looking down the sights of an M16.
*ALICIA left on Friday, so at least she learned a new shape. Shape 37: exit door.
*ON Winterwatch, we learned how bull seals "constantly try it on with females", warning off smaller rivals with body slaps. Loud, bald, aggressive... they're like the Mitchell brothers on holiday.
If a young male does force himself on a female, a quick clump sees him off. Linda Carter should have tried it.
*TO improve The Voice why not replace the pop star judges with agents? At least they'd be able to do something with the singers at the end.
SMALL Joys of TV: Frank Skinner, Room 101. Kav drinking himself interesting on CBB. Alicia's pig-skin boobs – that's why one is Pinky and the other's Perky. S&M games on Togetherness; will there be a back-lash? I'd sincerely hope so.
RANDOM irritations: Broadchurch degenerating into a madly unlikely glorified soap. Big Brother constantly tinkering with nomination and evictions. "Vote to save" on reality shows. I don't want to save, I want to evict deadbeats and creeps.
SEPARATED at birth: Perez Hilton and Ron Perlman, one was famously Hell-Boy, the other is considerably more demonic. Runner-up: Perez Hilton and David Johansen. One found fame with his Personality Crisis, and so did the other one.
TO counter Robert Webb's 10 Things I Hate About 1990, here are Ten Things I Loved about the year:
Goodfellas, Total Recall, Twin Peaks, Kathy Lloyd (ditto), One Foot In The Grave, The Crystal Maze, the Stone Roses debut album, UB40's Kingston Town, Vic Reeves Big Night Out and Die Hard 2.
Jan 18. On Cinderella-themed Celebrity Big Brother we’ve heard the screeching ugly sisters, suffered the wicked step-mum (Perez), and felt for poor bullied Cinders (Alicia).
Now the fairy gob-mother Katie Pwice, bereft of her famous pumpkins, has arrived to stir it up some more. Strewth.
More happened in the opening days of this series than in three whole weeks on I’m A Celeb with two housemates booted out by show bosses.
First Jeremy, the drunken groper; then “sexist, racist” Ken Morley who could well have been using the show to audition for Top Gear.
We’re left with a pussy-whipped cat-house where all the blokes are cowed... Except for Perez, a self-regarding creep who is comfortably more irritating than a brace of Duracell-powered Jedward androids built entirely out of stinging nettles and poison ivy.
The sh*t-stirring control freak seems to think it’s all about him, poking his nose in, doling out unwelcome advice – like telling Cami to fake a lesbo fling with Chloe – and weeping like a child when he’s pulled up for it.
As Michelle said, obnoxious doesn’t even cover it. He’s so OTT even nice-guy Cheggers told him to shut it.
In truth he’s far more loathsome than the shamed evictees.
Jeremy Jackson was in the wrong of course, but he was also sloshed, confused, and nowhere sharp enough to try the Broadchurch defence that he was “just checking her for wires.”
Ken is more complicated. He was dumb to use an “unacceptable” word in an anecdote about a prank call to a friend, Frank Bruno, who is certainly big enough to fight his own battles.
And daft to wander around perving like a geriatric Sid the Sexist – even if he did do it because he wanted to get kicked out. In real life that would have earned him a slapped face – not to mention the attention of Operation Yewtree. But aren’t there double standards at play here?
Why is it apparently “offensive” for a man to notice beautiful, barely-dressed women, when it’s perfectly fine for ITV’s Loose Women to lust over David Gandy?
See also Edwina Currie ogling Jack Quickenden or for Mel and Sue pretending to strip Dermot on afternoon telly... Maybe self-righteous Nadia could explain it, as someone seems to have died and appointed her sheriff of what is and isn’t acceptable.
Or maybe Big Bro should issue older housemates with a thought-crime guide book so they know what attitudes to suppress.
*KATIE Price will probably win this now. But the other Katie looked like a solid bet before her arrival. Hopkins may be unpleasant, but she’s way more entertaining than Alicia – accurately described by Alexander as “dumb as bucket of rocks.” Callum is so laid-back he’s virtually comatose. Keith wept like a wally, Patsy seems feeble and I’m not even sure that Kav is still in there.
THERE’S so much shagging on sci-fi saga Ascension it could be Star Trek: The Next Penetration.
“Sex is the true currency on this ship,” says the captain’s cheating wife (Tricia Helfer). Blimey. I guess that’s what NASA stands for: Nookie At Sensational Altitudes...
Back story: in 1963, the Yanks rocket 600 pioneers into space on a secret 100-year mission to find another earth.
Everything is cool for half a century, and then someone gets shot...
Ascension is a mini-series with brains, a lick of soap and neat touches like investigating officer Aaron having to study old earth detectives to work out how to conduct his enquiries (not Walford CID).
The retro music and décor are a joy too.
Little money seems to have been spent on dialogue, but there’s class resentment, a hidden agenda and did I mention Tricia Helfer bonking?
TONIGHT Harry, I’m going to be... Jeremy Paxman. What the hell have you done to Stars In Their Eyes? It’s a mess, a flop, an absolute travesty.
ITV’s new version of their old smash started well with ex-host Matthew Kelly walking into the mist and re-emerging as Harry Hill. And who could resist Brian Belo in a ball pool? Unfortunately most of Harry’s changes are either unnecessary or abysmal, and the majority of the contestants are beyond lousy. I love his surreal comedy, but this show doesn’t need it. The old format – karaoke + fancy dress + high production values – worked (in its day). The new one doesn’t.
*THE best ever Stars contender? Nicola Kirsch as Maria Callas. Stunning. The worst? “Glenn Miller” who disappeared into the mist and was never seen again...
HOT on TV: Ascension (Sky1)... Hell On Wheels (TCM)... Suspects (C5)...The 100 (E4).
ROT on TV: Stars In Their Eyes – sh*t in their ears... Kavana (CBB) – much better as a QC... Marry Me – puts the ring in suffering ... Jack Whitehall (Cockroaches) – Ali G lite, and I cleaned that up.
C4’s Angry, White & Proud began by telling us that Britain’s far-Right is “re-emerging” and then spent an hour proving it isn’t.
They focused on two small mobs of Millwall hooligans; one had ten members – not exactly Mosley at Olympia.
Even the big national rally in Rotherham protesting about the town’s sickening child abuse scandal attracted one thousandth of the people who marched to no avail against the Iraq war.
*ONE hard-nut looked the dead spit of a fat Terry Spraggan from EastEnders. See what you’ve driven him to, Biancaaaa!?!
*TV documentary-makers always target class uneducated right-wingers. But just as many bizarre or extreme views get expressed at posh right-on dinner parties. What does that tell us?
*CORRIE mysteries: why were Aadi and Asha celebrating their tenth birthday when they were born in 2006? If Carla has won a business award, how lousy were the other candidates?
And why did Les Dennis propose to Gail without asking a 100 people first? Cos I’m pretty sure the survey would have said “RUN!”
*AH good old EastEnders where hard-up people tear up cheques and burn thousands in their sink... All in the name of “real-life”...
*THE “trickle-down” theory holds that if the world’s super-rich flock here their wealth will benefit all of us. But Jacques Peretti reckons their dosh mostly drives up property prices. So the only stuff trickling down is sticky, wet and smelly.
*COUNT Arthur Strong? One vowel too many.
SMALL Joys of TV: Togetherness (Sky At). Father Brown. Levison Wood. Nutters on Cops Uncut. Early 70s rock bands on BBC4’s Totally British, especially Free, Humble Pie and Stone The Crows – the Beeb should unearth Hustler next.
RANDOM irritations: diet show overkill. Big Brother fixing evictions. Meg and Sue. Still Open All Hours rationing screen time for the better characters. Grant Mitchell’s inexcusable absence from Enders – if Ross Kemp won’t play him, re-cast the part.
SEPARATED at birth: Perez Hilton and Oddbod Junior – one a monstrous creation designed to traumatize people... the other a character from Carry On Screaming.
AN arms expert talking about a crossbow on The Wonder Of Britain told Julia Bradbury:
“You only have to tickle it and off she goes.”
I knew a woman like that once.
Jan 11. STOP PRESS. Jeremy Jackson got booted out of Celebrity Big Brother last night. He was the child actor no-one remembered from Baywatch, now he's the housemate no-one will forget after drunkenly exposing one Chloe Goodman's breasts like Rolf Harris on heat... the biggest tits in there are still Perez Hilton and Ken Morley though...
Fish out of water Ken has been faking eccentricity from the off. It seemed harmless enough until yesterday when he upped the ante by deliberately saying "outrageous" things and apparently auditioning for a Yewtree investigation, presumably to get himself evicted. Jackson was another layer of madness altogether; genuinely unpredictable, disturbed and disturbing. He had to go. Still trying to figure out why Ken didn't.
Friday was way too early for face-to-face nominations on CBB. Housemates were still in polite mode. So Ken got picked because "he says he wants to go", and not because he's a complete crank who wanders around talking to himself and perving. At least Katie Hopkins entered into the spirit by nominating big-head blogger Perez for being "too noisy." And, she could have added, more up himself than a well-greased contortionist.
I'm no fan of the former Apprentice loser; her running commentary on the opening night amounted to a string of witless insults. Sadly Hopkins took against the one genuine star here, lisping soul legend Alexander O'Neal, who's now up for the boot. And with a plain, flat-chested panto dame calling the shots it was inevitable that busty beauty Chloe would get clobbered too. Although quite why Katie found non-celeb Chloe duller than the cosmetically ruined Alicia Duvall escapes me. If Alicia spent £1million to look like that, she really should get on to Watchdog (also her nickname).
Gobby snob Katie is right to say the house is full of "self-absorbed delusional fools" though. First impressions? Drama queen Perez looks like a dwarf's face stuck on a fully grown body. He's desperate to win and doomed to fail, but will stir things up. Then there's Patsy Kensit: faded beauty; more famed for her ex-husbands than her acting although she was good in that Birds Eye ad (aged 4). A "manic nervous goon" according to Hopkins.
Keith Chegwin: Pharrell's Happy in a suit, a genuine nice guy. Sober for 23 years; it's Cheggers Drinks Pop now. Nadia Sawalha: compulsory Loose Woman; seems self-righteous and slightly dull. Michelle Visage: unknown to 99per cent of viewers but smart and steely. If Michelle clashes with Katie, our homegrown horror won't win. Cam Li: potty-gobbed tattooed cutie, "famous" for being briefly engaged to some git from Towie. Calum Best: stud-muffin son of the great George. Er, that's it. Kav: hasn't bothered the charts for 16 years, why is he bothering us? Dull.
All in all, a decent mix of egos, attitude, hormones and delusion. Calum and Cam are already sparking and Chloe's jealous.
The touch paper has been lit, let's sit back and enjoy the explosions.
*PATSY admits she is very flatulent, but she'll never stink as badly as her Speedway Junkie movie.
*WHAT would Katie say about Katie? "Thinks she's an English rose, but is just a Devonian nettle." A pound-shop Ann Coulter, minus the IQ...
IT costs up to £40K a night to stay at Richard Branson's "Billionaire Paradise" on Necker Island. Here's what you get for that: Pink flamingos, booze on tap, a chance to shag the staff if they like you, fancy dress parties and the opportunity to eat raw fish off a shapely female (Branson's accountant Millie.)
Mind where you spill the soy sauce, and take care – that isn't a prawn, even if it tastes like one.
So which of the above can't you get in Benidorm? Just the flamingos!
Ah but sun-bleached Necker also guarantees you don't have to mix with the sort of folk who flock to on the Costa Blanca. Exclusivity or snobbery, you decide. Branson's guests also get the chance to pitch business ideas to the Virgin boss.
I wonder if Richard's ill-fated Virgin Galactic venture was pitched here. And how much of his own brand champagne he'd guzzled when he went for it...
Not mentioned by BBC2's shameless plug, sorry hard-hitting documentary: Necker Island's tax haven status.
PS. Up to high water, Necker beaches are owned by the Crown. So land at low tide and you can sunbathe for free...
ITV'S Broadchurch ended with creepy Joe Miller coughing to the callous murder of schoolboy Danny Latimer. But the show was such a hit Joe has now pleaded not guilty. It's the original case rebooted, although a quick recap wouldn't have gone amiss. The first series finished nearly two years ago. Now Joe's tough cop missus, DS Ellie is weeping like a lost toddler at an onion-peeling contest. David Tennant's mumbling DI Hardy is living in a shed laying on freelance witness protection for Gwen from Torchwood. And there's a new murderer from an old killing hanging about mysteriously. Charlotte Rampling plays the barrister who comes out of retirement to prosecute Joe – as briefs never do. His hard-hearted defence had Danny's body dug up.
Series one had more twists than Quasimodo's braces, and if Joe is innocent anyone could be in the frame. Even Danny's not- at-all dodgy Dad, who's hanging around with Joe's son Tom... Crazy, heart-breaking, addictive.
HOT on TV: Rita Ora's cleavage... Olivia Colman, Broadchurch... Niki Taylor (Celeb Apprentice USA)... Spiral (BBC4).
ROT on TV: Frank Sinatra: Our Way – where were the Mob when we needed them?...Count Arthur Strong – still awful weak... Too Fat To Work – Too Dim To Slim... Silent Witness – dull plod.
*RE Sex Party Secrets: is there anyone you always find in the kitchen? Aren't they just doggers with more money? Which one was Prince Andrew?
*THE Voice returned with as much certain promise of success as the Lib Dems' election campaign. Just think, one of these people could be the next Leanne Mitchell. Such glory, such excitement.
*MEMO to June Brown: re your naked swimming story, if Letitia Dean stripped off could it ever technically be described as "skinny"-dipping?
*RUSSIANS don't smile, according to a rich émigré on BBC2. They'd be right at home in a Sue Perkins audience then.
*SILENT Witness cop on a killer blown up in an army surplus store: "He's all over the shop – literally."
SMALL Joys of TV: Michael Whitehall, a small oasis of sanity on Backchat. Harry Hill's bonkers revamp of Stars In Their Eyes (except for the singing). Corrie's fancy dress wedding. John "Marty Crane" Mahoney washing up on Foyle's War.
RANDOM irritations: Sex Party Secrets – there were no secrets. Actors who think we won't clock their Just For Men beards. Soap opera stag nights, always dismal. Enders' Stacey still calling Big Mo "Nan" – she isn't her Nan, and never has been. Stacey's Mum, Mad Jean was married to Charlie's nephew. Mo, Charlie's mother-in-law, is a Harris.
SEPARATED at birth: Silent Witness cop Steve Wall and Charlie Brooker. One investigates murder, the other gets away with it.
CHLOE Goodman looks like a cross between Helen Flanagan (eyes and forehead) + Jacqueline Jossa (lips). But her face is so immobile she seems more like a walking sex doll.
WHY has BBC1 just got around to screening the 2011 series of Celebrity Apprentice USA? Wait for Meatloaf raging against Gary Busey in episode five, or watch it now on YouTube and save time.
KIRK Norcross was recalling a previous CBB outcry when he said:
"Denise Welsh pulled down one of the twin's PJ bottoms and there was a big hoo-ha." That's one word for it.
Jan 4. It WAS the year of Ebola, ice buckets and Bobby Norris's Bacofoil ball-bag – all as welcome as each other.
News coverage of the Scottish referendum dragged on like the Lucy Beale murder case. It was close; for weeks there was no real difference between "Yes" and "No" – much like a night out with Deano Wicks.
We had conscious uncoupling (Gwyneth and Chris), unconscious coupling (Arg and Gemma). And on The Apprentice, James got off with Lauren. Talk about "Thank you for the opportunity, Lord Sugar."
Against the odds 2014 also saw some amazing telly. Here are my winners and losers.
The Peter Beardsley award for Incomprehensible Mumbling: Sean Harris, Jamaica Inn.
The Band Aid award for the Most Unwelcome Come-Back: Linda Nolan, Celebrity Big Brother.
Greatest TV Moment: Poland's Eurovision entry. Runner-up: Dolly Parton playing Yakety Sax at Glastonbury.
Worst TV Moment: Any involving Alex Brooker on The Jump. He couldn't ad-lib and had the comic timing of a stopped watch.
Greatest TV interview: Susanna Reid asking Dan Stevens: "You must have beat off a lot of Americans to get this part." Then, noticing his bemused reaction, she added: "Did you not have to beat them off?"
Best Reality Show: January's Celebrity Big Brother – housemates were split between those getting the hump and those getting dry-humped.
Worst Light Entertainment Disaster: The Singer Takes It All – the app didn't work, nor did the host; viewing figures tumbled like, uh, Tumble.
Best new drama: Fargo. Best UK Drama: Peaky Blinders.
Best single episode: Game of Thrones, Battle of Castle Rock.
Best import that wasn't Thrones: Homeland. Runners-up: Ray Donovan, Gomorrah, The Americans, Gotham.
Worst drama: The Great Fire – dire. Runners-up: The Crimson Field – Holby history; Mr Selfridge – dull in every department.
Best Cop Show: Line Of Duty. Runner-up: True Detective (also best theme tune)
Best horror: The Walking Dead. Runner-up: The Strain. Best sci-fi: Orphan Black.
Dullest non-drama: "cake-gate", Great British Bake-Off.
Best Performance by an Inanimate Object: Casey Batchelor's bra. Runner-up: Joey Essex.
Worst Show in a Packed Field: Party Wright Around The World. Runner-up: Tom Daley Goes Global.
Top TV Joy: Life Story. Biggest Let-Down: Micky Flanagan's Detour de France. Dullest format: The Big Allotment Challenge. Like watching grass grow – literally.
Top on-screen fight: Oberyn vs The Mountain (Game Of Thrones). Top off-screen fight: Solange vs Jay Z. Top assassin: Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo.
Best comedy: Inside No. 9. Worst: Alan Davies Après-Ski. Best satire: Last Week Tonight – John Oliver bit like Suarez.
Best sitcom: Uncle. Worst sitcom: Monks. Best comedy drama: The Wrong Mans. Best entertainment host: Graham Norton. Worst: Tess Daly. Most over-promoted alleged comedian: Sue Perkins.
The annual Louis Walsh award for worst talent show judge: Amanda Holden. Runner-up: Alesha Dixon.
The Peter Barlow Award for Drunkenness: Steph & Dom, Googlebox.
The Kellie Maloney award for Most Surprising Sex Change – Dr Who's Missy (previously The Master).
Feistiest blonde: Katheryn Winnick as Lagertha (Vikings). Queasiest trollop: Sheila Vogel, Katie Waissal's 85-year-old hooker Gran.
Most stomach-turning soap coupling: Max and Lucy (Enders)
Saddest TV death: Isis the Downton dog. Runner-up: Hayley the Corrie hound.
Top Lookalikes: Liz Jones and Billy puppet from Saw. Runners-up: Cameroon manager Volker Finke and Ian Beale.
Top TV Maths: Rylan + Tulisa = Conchita Wurst. Top TV Name: Scottish ref Willie Collum (sounds like a bit of a dick). Top mystery: Dale Winton's beard – it's nothing like his old one, Nell McAndrew.
Top Actor: Toby Jones (Marvellous). Top actress: Frances McDormand (Olive Ketteridge).
Top revelation: David Beckham assuring us he'd "never ridden anything up a dirt-track" proving a hundred terraces wrong.
Top reality winner: Jim Davidson. Hottest reality babe: Jasmine Waltz. Worst "celebrity": Gemma Collins.
Man of the Year: Jimmy "Easy, son" Bullard. Woman of the Year: Emma Willis. Show of the Year: Game Of Thrones.
Irritant of the Year: Angelique 'Frenchy' Morgan – a migraine in human form.
Star Of The Year: Sheridan Smith, brilliant as Cilla; drama, comedy, singing, Sheridan does it all.
THERE were no pipers to see in the New Year on C4, just Alan Carr with that voice you could grate cheese on and that face like a butchered nightmare.
Maybe we were supposed to think whatever 2015 brings it can't be as bad as this.
Don't get me wrong, I like Alan. I just wish I could work out his punch-lines without subtitles.
The show's appeal is equally baffling. Carr recruits a few big names, and Seann Walsh, and then subjects us to two hours of lame chat, weak sketches, daft games and cheerful amateurism.
It's kind of like Celebrity Club 18 – 30 mercifully without the sex, although at one point Jonathan Ross did try and strip Alan.
Jools Holland and his reliable Hootenanny had far more class. But for the full Hogmanay experience you needed BBC Scotland who fielded Jackie Bird and authentic Scottish fiddlers (musicians, not the RBS).
*ALAN dubbed Ben Haenow "Ben Who-When?" Unfair! He'll be remembered for at least as long as Leon Jackson.
IN a typically upbeat New Year's Day edition, EastEnders saw ex-cop Emma run over and pregnant Ronnie Mitchell hospitalized.
On Friday, Ronnie was icy, unresponsive and impossible to communicate with... So completely back to normal.
Nasty Nick nobbled her jam-jar, apparently forgetting that she was a) pregnant with his grandchild and b) likely to be travelling with her new husband, his idiot son Charlie.
Ronnie had given Nick the £100K she'd half-inched from Phil to do one, and wasn't best pleased to find him hanging around like the stench of a blocked drain.
I'm not sure what's hardest to swallow – that soap bosses expect us to care about this cold-blooded, child-snatching killer.
Or that Phil had £100large sitting in his safe and still chose to spend Christmas in Walford, misery capital of the world.
Charlie accidentally ran down Emma the day after she cracked the big Who Killed Lucy murder mystery.
But why didn't she take her suspicions to the Old Bill? She rang the killer so she knows them. She thought about not shopping them, so she wanted to protect them...
By my reckoning this reduces the suspects to girls called Branning.
*NASTY Nick boasted he's "good in the sack". I can see that, especially if it was weighted down with concrete and tossed into the Thames...
HOT on TV: Mapp & Lucia – a genteel bitch-fest... Roald Dahl's Esio Trot... Elvis Night (C5)... Hayseed Dixie (Hootenanny)... Benidorm – back and barking.
ROT on TV: Phil Spencer Secret Agent – not secret enough... Still Open All Hours – still flogging a dead horse... Britain's Favourite Sitcom – infuriating... Last Tango In Halifax – make it the last waltz.
THE more you drank on New Year's Eve, the funnier Mrs Brown's Boys became – especially if, like Agnes, you'd vow to "drink cider till you can't pronounce it."
I must have downed a barrel of London Pride because I was tickled pink by the phone-on-set malarkey and the helium scene.
Even hung-over the morning after, I chuckled at the suicidal twin who killed her sister by mistake. Let's hope complaints about the "dirty sausage gobbler" line don't bring Mrs B a different kind of headache.
*WHY was Corrie's Roy so keen on doing bird? He says he should be punished. But could it be that prison is the place he's most likely to meet another bloke called Harold keen to show off his feminine side?
*DRUG dealer Calum keeps his pills inside an ornamental owl. The cocaine is in the bearded tit, in honour of the Street's previous pusher Jez Quigley.
*WHAT effect will Steve's depression have on his hairline? Any more stress and it'll recede to the cheeks of his arse.
*MISSING from Rita & Me – the cop with the breathalyzer.
*DID you see Michael Ball in That Day We Sang? He played Tubby. Of course he had to lose a few stone first...
*KATIE Hopkins update: the head's still fat, the mind's surprisingly lightweight.
*WHY didn't Christmas Epic Fails include BBC1 sitcom bosses?
RANDOM irritations of 2014: Amanda Holden's laugh. Dr Christian's smirk. Gender quotas on panel shows. Sob stories on The Voice. TV judges who can't judge. The decline of Newsnight, replacing Paxman with Davis is like sending Sean Tully into the ring instead of Tyson Fury.
SMALL joys of 2014 TV: Tyrion's trial, Thrones. Mathew McConaughey's psychotic eyes. Timothy West (EastEnders). The World Cup. Songs on This Is Jinsy. Liz Jones's misery monologue (CBB). Gary Busey's showers.
REASONS to be cheerful: Broadchurch is back tomorrow. House of Cards season three is released in its entirety by Netflix on 27th Feb. Game Of Thrones returns in April.
Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul premiers in February. The Entourage movie is due in June. And watch the continuing rise of Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
MY hopes for 2015: for Doctor Who – less chat, more action. For Mel B – less telly. For EastEnders – a memorial garden of forgotten storylines...
Goof of the Year came from Nick Fellows: "Watch out, Michael promises the fireworks will come out at the end of this Polish woman's snatch."
You can believe he was talking about weightlifting if you like.