July 25. THE best you can say about Celebrity Masterchef
is that it’s educational. Last week for example we learned that
if you’re going to dinner at Tessa Sanderson’s house it’s best
to take sandwiches. You’d be safer trying to catch her javelin
than sampling her cooking. Tess’s pan-fried chicken came with
a side order of campylobacter – food poisoning to you and me.
It was as raw as an open sore. Her veg wasn’t much better. She
hadn’t so much boiled the spuds as dunked them.
Culinary expertise is now clearly optional on this show. Richard
Farleigh only started cooking two weeks before filming. He didn’t
serve everything cos he “wasn’t sure to what extent people like
their food burnt.” DJ Nihal distinguished himself in the taste
test, describing the herbs as “lots of little green bits.” Thank
you Heston Blumenthal.
BBC1’s definition of celebrity is as vague as David Cameron’s
grasp of war history. Did you recognise Alex Fletcher from Brookside
(off screen since 1993) or Neil Stuke from 2009’s ropy Reggie
Perrin revival? Why not book genuine celebs? Mel Gibson would
probably welcome a break from the States. Granted he’s not keen
on black pudding but his kitchen rants could make Gordon Ramsay
look like The Rev.
This format is looking stale; it’s over-egged and under-cooked.
Hosts Torode the Toad and Gregg ‘The Egg’ Wallace say and do
pretty much the same things every episode. Greedy Gregg looks
like a long-lost over-fed Mitchell brother. Full Mitchell. “Cooking
doesn’t get any tougher than this,” he barks. Yeah. Try telling
that to the marine with the Hexi stove in Sangin. “I could eat
all that in one go,” he slobbers. We know Gregg, and probably
in one fork-full.
I’m sick of their shouty shtick. At least Man Vs Food dishes
up real challenges as Adam Richman tries to demolish 48oz steaks
and burritos the size of Verne Troyer against the clock. The
Sasquatch burger packs in half a stone of meat and cheese. Just
looking at it is enough to make your arteries harden. Surely
we can find a volunteer for a job like this? Just holler “who
can take a metre of sausage?” in the C4 canteen and wait for
*SHAME Jenny Powell lost. Jen once starred in Gimme Five.
On hearing this, a thousand shallow men remarked “I’d certainly
give her one...”
*WORST dessert of the week? Darren Miller’s spotty dick (EastEnders).
*SATURDAY night TV is as dead as Dot Branning’s libido and
ITV is nailing shut the coffin with Odd Man In. It’s basically
the ‘Spot the Star’ round from Buzzcocks only with random nobodies
you couldn’t give a toss about: spot the Frenchman, the hairy
bloke, the hypnotist, the quickest route to the pub... You’d
be a very odd man if you stayed in to watch this crud. Yet 30
Years Of An Audience With reminds us of a time when Saturdays
were special, when great comics worked wonders with their wit,
when Dame Edna told Esther Rancid, “You’re looking lovely, it
must be the lighting.” Or Bob Monkhouse quipped: “People always
say: ‘You're a comedian, tell us a joke.’ They don't say: ‘You're
an MP, tell us a lie,’ ‘You’re a gynaecologist? Take a look
at the wife’.” Last night recalled magic moments from Doddy,
Victoria Wood and Brian Conley. Why isn’t brilliant all-rounder
Brian hosting a non-ironic TV variety show? He’s got something
Steve Jones and Vernon Kay haven’t. Talent.
*POOR Archie was just a control freak when he first appeared
in Enders. Now, posthumously, he’s a incestuous paedo-rapist.
Any more evil twists and he’ll get his own Facebook tribute
page. Elsewhere the Undead walk the Square as actor Steven Osborne
plays Derek Smith like a Mike Reid tribute act. The slippery
Cockney is supposed to be Dagenham Dave’s never mentioned brother
(even though Dave was a Northerner). Oh, and despite her funeral,
Denise is alive too. Hurrah! Lucas is holding her prisoner.
It’s not ideal but at least she hasn’t got to sit through Ronnie’s
HOT on TV: Katrina Law as Mia (Spartacus)... John Bishop...
Ugly Americans (Fiver)... Sons Of Anarchy finale (Bravo).
ROT on TV: Taggart – a crime against drama... The Secret Life
of Pigs – a proper boar... Tessa’s chicken (Masterchef) – cooking
doesn’t get any duffer than this.
*BRUCE Forsyth investigated his family tree on Who Do You
Think You Are. He went back 100 years to when he had his own
hair, 250 years to the week of his birth, and 1,000 years to
when his jokes were first found carved in stone. Then he dozed
*JOHN Bishop recalled the romantic atmosphere of old-time
Liverpool nightclubs: “Ten to two - that was the point all the
men would be there like lions looking for an antelope with a
*EX-model Vikki Thomas told John Bishop’s Britain that her
fiancé “stumbled across me on the internet.” Never heard it
called that before. What a lucky bastard. The last glamour girl
I chatted up over the Net turned out to be an 18-stone road-digger
*THE papers are full of talk about ‘the donkey dangler’. Wasn’t
that Steve McFadden’s nickname?
*CORIN’s top on Big Brother read: ‘BB High.’ ‘DD Buy’ would’ve
been more apt.
*WESTIN the Nazi was killed in a khazi on Sons Of Anarchy.
What better place to wipe out a turd?
RANDOM irritations: the miscast A-Team movie. The unending
tedium of Sy and Christian on Enders. Big Brother walkers. And
the Colin Fishwick saga on Corrie, though I quite like Charlotte
the Harlot, a woman crying out to be ‘empowered’ by the burka.
*CORRIE writers must know that ‘Fishwick’ is Viz slang for
a tampon string. Are they suggesting John Stape is a bit of
SMALL joys of TV: Kimberly Wyatt’s reaction to Vic’s sausage
surprise (Shooting Stars). Pasquale (5’oCrock Show). The funny
old boy on Dragons’ Den forgetting James’s name; mind you, even
he must look in the mirror and thank “ah yes, I’m the other
*SEPARATED at birth: Lady Gaga and Hillary Clinton. One sang
‘Poker Face’, the other’s husband poked someone else’s... Runners-up:
Ethan Zobelle, Sons Of Anarchy and Max Clifford.
*RE Clare Balding’s Britain By Bike, By Dyke, surely?
*KIMBERLEY Walsh says she’s only had two lovers. So has Lindsay
Lohan. Today. Mind you she is banged up. Yes LiLo is finally
behind bars. Sadly for society, Paris Hilton, Katie Price and
Nikki Grahame are still at liberty.
July 21. The BBC has sent Eamonn Holmes an apology
for portraying him as a fat glutton. Apparently he ate it deep-fried
with mayo and bacon.
July 18. BRUCE Forsyth spent all of Living With Brucie
walking around in a selection of ridiculous headwear. Although
most of the time it was covered by his hat. How many old-school
entertainers does TV have to stitch up before it sinks in that
documentary makers can’t be trusted? They can’t see a national
treasure without wanting to piddle on it. And in the absence
of a national treasure they made do with Bruce.
David Nath’s C4 film set out to make the old pro look a fool.
The tone was snidey, the spirit mean. All of Brucie’s off-camera
asides, including his reasonable request for no close-ups of
his face – the most weather-beaten this side of Ben Nevis -
were left in. We saw him wash his socks, exercise and go through
his unchanging breakfast ritual. God it was dull. Bruce’s small
spat with a Puerto Rican security guard was as good as it got.
Over there, his much younger wife Winnie (Miss World, 1975)
is the star. “What was it Winnie had seen in him beyond the
porridge and the socks?” asked Nath’s drippy voiceover, before
cutting to a shot of Bruce's luxurious Surrey mansion. The suggestion
was as untrue it was unfair. Winnie is no gold-digger and their
lengthy marriage is clearly built on genuine love and affection.
For all its attempted subversion, Living With Brucie couldn’t
dent the rhino hide of its star. Months of access simply revealed
that Nath is no Louis Theroux. He isn’t even a Piers Morgan.
Louis would have mentioned the wigs. Piers would certainly have
asked how he keeps Winnie happy. Is it Strictly Come Viagra?
(Pause while the image of that great wrinkled boat mid-coitus
chills the blood).
Great comics often have ugly dark sides, but Bruce isn’t a
great comic - as his gags on Strictly prove. Off-camera he’s...
a bit tetchy. Give him a game-show, an audience, and contestants
to boss about, though, and he’s peerless. Let Bruce do what
he’s good at: bring back the Gen Game, BBC1; and have him host
it till he croaks. All right, my love?
* HAD to laugh at the EastEnders end message: “If you've been
affected by the issues raised...” Yes. Who among us can honestly
say we’ve never been troubled by a rampaging killer-vicar? I
can scarcely leave the house without tripping over angst-ridden
gay Muslims. And whose camp 14-year-old son hasn’t stood trial
for GBH with intent? At least Ben’s been sentenced to five months
and a head transplant.
*I’LL tell you which issues disturb me: Walford hasn’t had
a GP all year. The cops have given up searching for Archie’s
killer. And worst of all, Cheryl ‘Heather Trott’ Fergison has
got off with a Moroccan goatherd! Poor sod. He’s had the goats,
he wants the moose. On their first date he took her out for
dinner, then a film, then another dinner.
*JANICE Dickinson couldn’t have been more unpopular on Celebrity
Come Dine With Me if she’d dished up Paul the psychic octopus
in a garlic-paprika sauce. Jan flashed her knickers at an unimpressed
Calum Best, moaned hypocritically about Page 3 and ate “like
a gremlin attacking something.” She came over as a desperate,
self-obsessed nuisance. Janice is such a deluded nutter, you
half expected Gazza to turn up with beer, chicken and a fishing
rod. I’d have served her garlic and stake – right through the
HOT on TV: Shooting Stars – the surreal deal... Genevieve
Barr (The Silence) – shame about the plot... Milton Jones (Mock
ROT on TV: Pete & Dud: The Lost Sketches – just dud... Living
With Brucie – Strictly Come Snoring... 101 Ways To Leave A Game
Show – has less content than Jessica Simpson’s brain... Mitchell
& Webb – Horne & Corden with a degree.
*TRUE or false: the most popular waxing salon in Britain is
owned by Anita Bush. True or false: the Dutch language started
off as a joke that got out of hand. True or false: Tom Waits...
Shooting Stars returned in a tidal wave of daftness. I particularly
enjoyed Vic and Bob’s descriptions of Jack Dee and his face
“like a needless comment”, like “a galvanized pan” and like
“a crate full of rotten memories.”
*IDEAS I’d like to pitch to on Dragons’ Den: 1) A Deborah
Meaden ejector seat. 2) The Bannatyne ‘cloud o’ gloom’ generator
and gentleman’s hair restorer 3) The Gaz-Call – a can of lager
projected onto clouds to summon Gazza to any national emergency.
*DEN queries: Evan Davis – is he out?
*HOLLY Willoughby’s fave fantasy is to dress up as a secretary.
It’s a business expense. I hear she comes under office fixtures.
*MITCHELL & Webb call their new series “a pantomime of crud.”
Unfair. Pantos are usually jolly; this show is utterly joyless.
Not panto, just pants.
*BB’s Tree of Temptation would have livened up Question Time
no end. Tree to George Galloway: “Oi, cat-boy! Where’s yer lycra
suit, ya big pussy?”
RANDOM irritations: Brucie’s failure to say “You get nothing
for a pair” while washing his socks. Rich Hall’s bleating voice
and faked rage. The new Go Compare ad, where the fat twat goes
into the sea - there's never a Great White around when you need
one, is there?
SMALL joys of TV: Celebrity fashion nightmares (30 Years Of
An Audience With). Bob Mortimer’s ginormous bald patch. Lee
Nelson telling a front row cutie: “You're the best-looking girl
I've ever seen... in your category.”
*HOT not on TV: Russ Abbot as Fagin (Oliver); Kev Orkian’s
comedy opera double act with Katherine Jenkins.
*SEPARATED at birth: cricket umpire Rudi Koertzen and Paulie
Walnuts – one a tough old bastard known for misinterpreting
the rules, the other a character in the Sopranos.
*ODD. Knut & Friends wasn’t a documentary about Peter Mandelson
*THE most memorable Audience With? Freddie Starr’s. Other
greats starred Billy Connolly, Dame Edna, Ken Dodd and Bob Monkhouse.
All comedians. So why not give Mick Miller, Peter Kay and Dara
O’Briain a shot?
JULY 11. C4’s Sex Education Show was the talk of schools
last week, inspiring such informed exchanges as “Urgh! Old people
naked!” and “OMG! Gross!” In the name of public service broadcasting,
we were treated to close-ups of thrush, buried cocks (not Max
Branning), and the biggest fanny seen on screen since Matthew
Kelly. It went beyond Embarrassing Bodies into the realm of
images to haunt your nightmares. C4’s message was anything goes.
“We all deserve to have great sex,” parroted presenter Anna
Richardson. What, even Roman Polanski? “Whoever you are and
whatever you’ve got, you’re normal,” she insisted, revealing
a complete ignorance of the meaning of the word. If Ron Jeremy’s
penis were ‘regular, usual, typical’ he’d be out of a job.
After years of telling tubbies to diet or die, C4 now wheeled
out a refugee from the Discovery Channel’s Whale Week who informed
us that she liked going on top. Strewth. There was no word from
her ex-boyfriends, Squashed Josh, Flat Pat and Concave Dave.
This bird was so big two blokes could have had her at the same
time without realising.
Kids asked questions like: “Does having your right ear pierced
make you gay?” – depends what it’s being pierced with, surely?
While trailers like “My penis began to get buried under mounds
of fat” made you think Lenny Henry was about to come on and
discuss his divorce.
As well as lard-bellies, we got disabled sex, oldies (who
knew there was a market for Werther’s Original flavoured condoms?),
iffy stiffies, and line-ups of people even Gok Wan wouldn’t
want to see naked. Did you clock Annette, 61? If I’d had a net
I’d have slung it over her. Anna claimed “there’s no such thing
as a perfect pair” of breasts. To which I’d call her with Anna
Paquin and raise her January Jones. Schoolgirls may have looked
at the nude women thinking this is educational, but the boys
were busy working out which order they’d do them in. You could
argue this sort of shock-titillation approach is preferable
to kids learning about sex from soaps. But frankly given the
rises in teen pregnancies, there’s a lot more to be said for
chastity belts, modesty and the teaching of hellfire damnation.
*SOME of these randy old bastards were so ancient it wasn’t
so much sex, more consensual necrophilia.
*SEX ED rumours I’d like to spread 1) Sepp Blatter is a medical
term for an unpleasant feminine discharge. 2) The Spread Eagle
is the national bird of Ibiza 3) It’s very bad luck not to sleep
with a TV critic.
*THESE are tough times to be a flasher. Whip it out in an
alley now and the victim will go: “Ooh, I saw something like
that on Channel 4 last night, only it had a blister on the end.”
*AND lo Lucas did strangle wife Denise on Enders. Talk about
Holy Headlock. Verily, this was taking the laying on of hands
a bit far. But in fairness Denise had provoked him by refusing
to be baptised in the foetid slime of Walford canal. Women,
eh Luke? The killer vicar called her “angel” and minutes later
she was one, for he did smite her down. It was what you might
call a Baptism of Ire. Oh Lucas. I knew the Vicar of Deadly
was a wrong’un the minute he turned up looking like Marlon King’s
stunt double. He let Trina croak, he topped Owen and worst of
all he did in Sugar the dog. If a witness doesn’t come forward,
Jehovah’s or otherwise, Lucas could end up running feral, like
the Priest of Bodmin Moor. Let us pray he has time to see off
Ben, Glenda, Poxy Roxy and Fat Pat before he goes. Amen.
*MAYBE I’m getting senile (Maybe? – Ed) but My Family made
me laugh out loud. Specifically when Ben tried to prove he wasn’t
disabled by jigging about in the benefits office. “Mr. Harper,”
said the official. “If you don’t leave now I’m going to have
to call the police.” “And tell them what?” Ben retorted. “That
a paralysed man is aggressively horn-piping?” New writer Amy
Shindler may just do Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wannamaker justice.
Rev has the odd chuckle too. It’s not that funny, but at least
it exists in recognisable reality; unlike The Old Guys who should
have been pensioned off after their dismal first series.
HOT on TV: Germany v Uruguay... Sons Of Anarchy (Bravo)...
The Life & Times Of Tim (Virgin1)... Modern Family re-runs (Sky2).
ROT on TV: Anna Richardson – I’d rather have Eddie and Charlie
back... Yentob – how long must we tolerate this self-satisfied
bluffer?... The Old Guys – doing for weak comedy what FIFA does
for partially-sighted linesmen...
*WHY 101 Ways To Leave A Game Show? What about Ways 102: fall
in love with teenage hooker (Tom O’Connor); 103: flee from corpse
in your swimming pool (Barrymore); 104: go out in a blaze of
cocaine and call-girl glory. (Angus Deayton).
*POOR Cheryl? What about the poor mosquito? Since it bit her
it’s been weepy and can’t buzz without auto-tune. CHERYL has
dealt with blood-sucking insects before of course, but all of
them worked for ITV or Syco.
*BRITAIN’S oldest man hailed from East Anglia, says boffins.
That’s surprising. I could have sworn Brucie was born in Edmonton.
*ALAN Carr was mystified when Lily Allen pulled out of his
show. It was almost as if she’d seen it.
*UNRELIABLE TV Fact: The original title of The Private Life
of Cows was Behind The Scenes at Loose Women.
*THE BBC’s own Trust says it fails to deliver great original
comedy and drama to our screens. And this surprises who, exactly?
Paul the psychic octopus could do a better job of picking hits
than over-paid, under-achieving BBC execs.
RANDOM Irritations: Jonathan Harvey episodes of Corrie – they
blend in like one of Doctor Who’s Weevils in the Rovers. Daytime
cack like Antiques Master clogging up evening schedules. EastEnders
introducing an ‘hilarious’ World Cup storyline two matches before
it’s all over.
SMALL joys of TV: Man V Food (Good Food). Nate’s fake identities
on Leverage including ‘Tom Baker’ and ‘Sylvester McCoy’. Deadliest
Warrior series 2 coming soon on Bravo...
SEPARATED at birth: Uruguay’s Alvaro Pereira and Jar Jar Binks;
one a clumsy buffoon whose head doesn’t know where his legs
are going, the other a character in Star Wars.
July 4. THE thing I find with topical humour is it
works better if it’s about stuff that’s happening now. Or at
least that’s happened recently. The clue is in the name. With
BBC2’s Mock The Week it’d be quite handy if the week in question
was the current one, and not some random time several months
ago. Yet Andy Parsons is still going on about Gordon Brown’s
bigot remarks – effectively mocking the last week in April.
Patrick Kielty on C4’s Stand Up For The Week was even more stuck
in the past, claiming that the ex-PM and Susan Boyle were the
same person – an observation first made in 2009 when SuBo was
a national obsession and Gordo a national embarrassment.
It’s not like it was a quiet week either. We’ve had Russian
spies, Ken Clarke going soft on crime, Paris Hilton busted,
and Tony Blair getting a freedom medal – an award that probably
makes satire redundant. But none of that got mentioned. The
only current event either show managed to mine was England’s
World Cup thumping. Russell Howard had the best MTW line, saying
of Capello: “We need goals and he brings on Heskey, that’s like
being lost in a maze and asking Stevie Wonder for help.” It
was also the only chuckle in ten minutes of football banter,
although in fairness that’s one laugh more than James Corden
Kielty linked the England team to Tory immigration proposals
calling them a “bunch of unwashed scum” trying to sneak into
the country undetected. He said that al-Qaeda should have blown
up their plane. The old ‘if you can’t be funny, be sick’ approach.
He then shot himself in the foot by calling Andy Murray “a winner”.
D’oh. The perils of pre-records, eh Paddy?
Mock The Week’s main problem is laziness. They’ve dropped
the opening monologue and drove away Frankie Boyle, so there’s
not enough jokes, no sense of danger, and far too much non-topical
padding. Stand Up tries harder, but is ham-strung by poor bookings
like posh twerp Jack Whitehall, England-hater Kevin Bridges
and Andi Osho (better as Andi No-Show.) These pygmies make Russell
Howard look like a giant. Here’s Russ imagining the kind of
racket female tennis players make as they orgasm: “They must
sound like someone’s thrown a seal into a jet engine.”
*One thing Scottish and Irish comics slagging off England
should remember: at least we were there.
*AND they called it Yuppy Love... Reunited is TV’s latest
lame attempt to reheat Cold Feet. Take a bunch of middle class
saps, mix in some shagging and feeble humour and voila, sit
back and wait for the Bafta. Or so the theory goes. The problem
with Reunited is that the characters are as easy to like as
a Uruguayan linesman. Hannah puts it about like an amateur Belle
du Jour. Belinda’s “Spanish lessons” are a cover for her to
enjoy some hot chorizo behind dull hubby’s back. And saddo Sara
has “let Jesus into my life” (continued @easytargets.com.) The
men are as weak as a Frenchman’s tea. Martin is engaged to Sophie
but still fancies Hannah who eight years before had cheated
on him with Rob, played by Ed Byrne (Why Ed, why?). Rob said
he’d understand if Martin wanted to punch him. I would have
happily chinned the lot of them.
*TO Walford, where news that Leon had got a foot out in the
Square must have excited Pat almost as much as the sight of
Ryan’s bare behind.
*THE foot was stiff, useless and attached to a corpse. I understand
Capello has already picked it for the 2012 Euros.
*WHAT else would Leon have unearthed if he’d carried on digging?
Corky the forgotten parrot, Abi’s chinchilla, Jay, Fat Boy’s
tax disc, Walford’s current GP...
*MEMO to Enders boss Bryan Kirkwood: Becca, Becca, it’s high
time to deck her.
*SHOCK news on The Unseen Battle Of Trafalgar; apparently
after the hostilities “almost all the foreign seamen were expelled.”
So I’m guessing the cabin boy must have belched.
HOT on TV: Anvil: Storyville (BBC4)... Lee Nelson – proper
legend... Sons Of Anarchy (Bravo)... 30 Rock finale (Com Central).
ROT on TV: James Corden’s World Cup Live – stinks like Owen’s
corpse in EastEnders... Steve Seagal: Lawman – a bore, man...
Vampire Diaries – as toothless as a champion gurner.
*BAD news for Rory on Doctor Who. By the time he married Amy,
her bedroom crack had healed up... Here’s what puzzles me though.
The whole Stonehenge thing was dependent on the Daleks finding
Rory’s photo at Amy’s place. But as her boyfriend had been erased
from existence why would she have had it? Other unexplained
mysteries: why was the Tardis suddenly and randomly causing
gaps in time? Why did it blow up? How did all those aliens (including
the brainless Weevils) suddenly master time travel? Nothing
was explained, little made sense, and there was all together
too much yapping. No wonder Who’s ratings are down. The series
promised so much and delivered so little. A lot like the Liberal
*HOLLY Willoughby burnt her shapely booty in a hot tub. “There’s
not many nights that you end up putting Germolene on each other's
bottom cheeks before you leave,” she said on This Morning. Oh
I don’t know. Things can get pretty wild in the Graham Norton
*ALEX Reid told Alan Carr that Katie wants to stick needles
in his testicles. What a shock. Who knew he still had any? Don’t
risk it Alex. Stick a knitting needle through your ears, mate,
it’ll do less damage.
*YVETTE Fielding quit Most Haunted cos “it failed to find
enough ghosts.” For ‘enough’, read ‘any’.
*THE army is getting bomb-proof pants – isn’t that TV slang
for Holby City?
*BLAST-proof underwear! Yet apparently the Commandoes still
aren’t interested. Jim Royle should probably wear them inside
* SMALL joys: Kelly Brook in swimwear. BB’s Tree of Temptation
getting Ben’s attention with a cry of: “Oi, Brideshead!” Ben’s
snooty one-liners – it’s like he’s channelling the spirit of
Brian Sewell in there.
*£50 to the first housemate who nabs Shab’s hat and dumps
*YOU know your career’s on the skids when... 1) C4 ask you
to host the 5 O’Crock Show. 2) You’re David Schneider and you’re
reduced to doing lame comedy bits on BBLB...
*GLASTO irritations: BBC over-staffing. Why did they need
two dimwit presenters to introduce Mark Radcliffe just so that
he could introduce Stevie Wonder? And why, with all those cameramen
down there, could they not show us some of the great acts in
the Mavericks tent like comedy magician Kockov and Jon Hicks’s
amazing elephant feats?
*ON Spartacus, Lucretia told her husband “Have the girl’s
arse, I’ll watch.” He’s not called Battiatus for nothing. She
must have been after brown-eye points.
*Stephen Fry On Wagner. How could such a high-flying achiever
be associated with someone so suspect and over-rated, asked