Garry Bushell
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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 the stampede.

*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 traumas.

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 off.

*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 limp.”

*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 with halitosis.

*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 a prat?

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 one.”

*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 heart.

HOT on TV: Shooting Stars – the surreal deal... Genevieve Barr (The Silence) – shame about the plot... Milton Jones (Mock The Week).

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 after all.

*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 managed.

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 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 Democrats.

*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 green room.

*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 out.

* 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 in it.

*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 Wagner?