July 31. SO I get a call from some chinless wonder
asking if I’d go on a show to defend BBC drama. Sure, I lie, that’s
at the very top of my to-do list, right after seeing Cher Lloyd
in concert and sticking red hot needles into my genitals. Statistics
suggest there is more chance of your gas bill going down than
of the BBC knocking out a decent TV drama series. BBC1 in particular
sees its drama budget as an excuse to inflict more bad soap on
us, rather like a deranged French pateé maker trying to
force-feed his geese until they actually explode.
Sugartown could only have been commissioned on the grounds
that “If the mugs swallowed Candy Cabs, they’ll swallow anything.”
While The Hour, which BBC2 claims modestly is their answer to
Mad Men, feels as real as the boobs on Jordan’s chest. But is
nowhere near as bouncy. Dull and unconvincing, it drags like
bank holiday traffic. Any slower and it’d go backwards.
As a rule, BBC drama is either as dumb as wallpaper (Bonekickers,
Outcasts, The Deep) or it’s designed to push their right-on
values (The Hour, The Night Watch). They could never have brought
us characters as grippingly repulsive as Tony Soprano or Entourage’s
Ari Gold. How best to describe Ari? Imagine a rattle snake with
a vocabulary... Gold is shallow, selfish, vengeful and abrasive.
He zaps out put-downs like Joan Rivers in a temper. If he hadn’t
been a Hollywood agent he’d be ideally qualified for a job as
a Somali pirate.
The Beeb would have felt compelled to make Ari fail – just
as they only coped with Gene Hunt’s attitudes by making him
a 70s throwback. It wasn’t always thus. But the rare exceptions
– State Of Play, The Street, the odd HBO co-production – become
rarer by the year. Even Sherlock isn’t as good as they think
it is; it’s miscast (Graham Norton would make a scarier Moriarty),
superficial and not that well written, as last week’s episode
BBC drama needs to wise up, stop preaching and show us What
Is. Entourage is way past its brilliant best, but I’d still
take Ari, Vince and the boys over that shower on The Hour any
day. Cometh The Hour, cometh the off switch.
*ODD, Sugartown is based around a British rock factory, but
it’s got ‘Turkey’ written all the way through the middle of
THE Corrie Years relived Hayley Cropper’s moving transgender
story. She’d been born Harold, and her sex change cost her entire
life’s savings. Left without a sausage, she was. But it’s hard
to believe that Hayley was ever a fella (especially when she
was clearly six months pregnant on screen; that’s some oestrogen
overdose). Phyllis Pearce, yes, she could definitely have been
born a bloke, cos she had a voice deeper than Barry White gargling
gravel. And she was always saying “Tara cock”. ITV view Hayley
as ground-breaking. Many others, not quoted on the show, saw
her introduction and swift elevation to sainthood as the start
of the soap’s sad slide away from any semblance of reality.
*IF ITV were that keen on celebrating transsexuals, why didn’t
they cast a real sex-change actress as Hayley? I ask only to
expose their moral cowardice, stinking hypocrisy and breath-taking
*CORRIE’S biggest mystery: How do those factory women get
any work done in the afternoon, given their dinner-time drinking
habits? Imagine the state of their stitching. It’s probably
worse than Hayley’s. Weatherfield must be awash with wonky gussets.
THE Sex Education Show reckons people in Ulster have the most
sex; so much for “No surrender!” The Welsh enjoy the most, ahem,
backdoor action – which will come as no surprise to regular
Torchwood viewers. (It could also explain how Charlotte hits
those high notes.) While one in three of us has apparently used
handcuffs during love-making, although these numbers fall dramatically
when you factor out Rihanna, serving police officers and certain
*CELEBS could improve this C4 show no end. Imagine Rachel Riley’s
mathematical guide to pregnancy: subtract clothes, divide legs,
add lover, multiply...
*I’D love to survey the girls on Geordie Shore. After sex
do you a) Light up? b) Ask the fella his name? c) Move back
to the front of the bus?
HOT on TV: Entourage (Sky Atlantic)... The Cape (Syfy)...
Sons Of Anarchy (Five USA)... Sonisphere.
ROT on TV: Sugartown – seaside crock... Tyler Moon – breeze-block
casting... Beaver Falls – comedy fail... Holiday Hijack – guilt
trip... Peter Andre Here 2 Help – Garry Bushell, here 2 pass
the sick bucket.
*JOHN Barrowman is busier than Ashley Cole’s bedsprings. Acting,
singing, presenting – you name it, he’s not much cop at any
*IS Kate Copstick the best person to pass judgement on comedians?
Isn’t it a bit like Alan Carr judging Miss World?
Calamity Kate looks like the love child of Greg and Marjorie
Proops, after a problem pregnancy. She used to work with Basil
Brush – so a fox was never out of the question.
*ITV’s Show Me The Funny continues to entice thousands of
viewers... over to New Tricks on BBC1, which has more laughs.
The funniest person involved in the production is the clown
who commissioned it.
*A LOT of hot young comedians merit more telly, like Doc Brown
and Imran Yusaf. But am I alone in missing Jim Bowen? (Yes –
*HUMANS fight evil six-legged aliens on Falling Skies. Peace
can’t be an option, cos if these buggers ever form football
teams we’re done for. You won’t be moaning about Balotelli then.
*HUW Edwards warns that if we don’t switch over to digital
TV we’ll never see him again. Deal!
*THESE human-animal hybrids, did they start with John Inverdale?
RANDOM irritations: My Favourite Joke vandalizing gags with
talking heads. Amy dying, Jedward not. Tedious Torchwood. Jacques
Peretti – wetter than Frank Spencer’s Betty. C4’s sniggering
descent into permanent adolescence.
*MY favourite joke? Kathy Lette. Next question.
SMALL joys of TV: Bill Bailey and Rob Brydon. Andrew ‘Dice’
Clay on Entourage. The shock BBC news headline: ‘Cliff Woman
Trapped Overnight’ - bachelor boy no more! Allegedly.
SEPARATED at birth: Al Murray and The Watcher, one a wise,
baby-faced observer of humanity with questionable dress sense;
the other a Marvel comic book character.
*CHEAP bootlegs of the new Harry Potter film are already on
sale. Apparently they only cost a quidditch. Sorry.
JULY 24. THE big problem with Show Me The Funny is that it
doesn’t. Where were the gags? All we got were five minutes of
lame stand-up. You get more laughs per hour with the Commons
ITV set the ten would-be comedians daft tasks to get to know
Liverpool, like fixing up a blind date, working in a hairdresser’s,
finding ten women named Michelle... all as funny as a hospital
poisoning. They then had to write five minutes of new material
about their experiences, to perform in front of a local audience,
in this case 250 sozzled Scousers; all women. Nothing against
Liverpudlian lasses on the lash, but for a comedian they’re
likely to cause a lorra lorra problems - as Ignacio, the world's
first half-Welsh, half-Spanish comic, discovered to his cost.
“Some of you may recognise me as the barman you slept with in
Magaluf a couple of years ago,” he began, cockily. “Obviously
I haven't slept with all of you, but we can rectify that...
Look at the woman on your left and ask her for my number. Statistically
speaking she will have it.” If looks could kill his next gig
would have been on a CSI mortuary slab.
Prince Abdi was worse (’King Appalling). Yet the judges –
sourpuss Kate Copstick, tramp-botherer Alan Davies and Tarby
(not renowned for the freshness of his material) took against
Lopez. Adios Ignacio. Copstick’s role is to give stick to the
wannabe comedians, so expect more tired old zingers than a Weakest
An unusual woman; she looks like the ghost of Anne Bancroft
as played by a Coronation Street cross-dresser, with the emphasis
Copstick told Ignacio his act was “like watching a low-speed
car crash” - also a pretty accurate summary of this show. The
format is more flawed than the Murdochs’ defence. Poor singing
is often funny, but bad comedy by definition isn’t. And we don’t
see enough of the stand-up. I liked ex-model Ellie Taylor who
nicked her best line from her cab driver. But why devote a show
to unknown and not too promising comics when so many great pros
can’t get a sniff of telly? If ITV really wanted to show us
the funny, they’d revive The Comedians.
I’M not sure that the ‘elevator pitch’ added much to The Apprentice
final, but I would have liked to have seen flirty Katie Hopkins
pretending she was in a lift. “Oh no, we seem to have got stuck
between floors...it’s so hot in here, we better loosen some
clothes, here, let me help you with your trousers...” Sugar’s
new interrogators were no match for departed Paul Kemsley -
thank the Lord for Claude and the blessed Margaret. And how
lousy were those business plans? They made the Euro look water-tight
and the Big Society seem well thought through. Nerd-do-well
Tom forgot to cost his therapeutic chair, or even to mention
it. The guy lost more tasks than a crashed computer, yet incredibly
he was still the best of this feeble bunch.
*BETTER business ideas: 1) Susan Ma’s Pocket Guide To Tax
Avoidance, forward by Bono. 2) Jim’s Automatic On-line Cliché
Generator (price: an arm and a leg) 3) Tom’s Patented ‘Nerd
Vision’ Spex 4) Wendi Deng Murdoch Boxercise DVDs (cont Dragons’
THE Corrie Years relived magic moments from the soap’s past,
like turkey-necked Deidre’s love triangle with Ken and Mike
Baldwin. And the case of caddish Jon Lindsay, the fake airline
pilot who flew her friendly thighs. With those huge glasses
of hers, Deirdre could watch a satellite in orbit but she couldn’t
spot a con-man in her own bed. The no-good louse left her languishing
in prison, inspiring the Daily Star’s righteous Free Deirdre
campaign. Of course, the danger in celebrating how good Corrie
once was is that it also reminds us how ropy it is now.
*CARLA told Peter Barlow she’d opened her chest and showed
him her heart. Next time, love, try opening your blouse and
showing him your chest.
HOT on TV: Sons Of Anarchy (Five USA)... Rob Brydon... Amy
Beth Hayes (Sirens)... Mireille Enos (The Killing).
ROT on TV: Show Me The Funny – pass me the remote... The Hour
– felt like two hours... King Of – switch it king off... John
Oliver...the BBC’s institutional bias – stinks like Fish Town.
BBC coverage of the phone-hacking scandal has been as gloatingly
one-sided as a party political broadcast. One of their ‘satirists’
even claimed that the backlash was MPs’ “revenge” on the press
for being exposed as expenses-fiddling cheats. Robbing the public
can’t seem so bad if you’re doing it yourself.
* IF Murdoch was as powerful as people think he’d have bought
the TV rights to that select committee hearing and stuck it
out on pay-per-view. Or even pie-per-view.
*PEOPLE who should be publically pied: Robert Peston, Piers
Morgan, Marcus Brigstocke, Coronation Street’s producer – repeatedly.
*GREAT to see Big Pussy on Celebrity Apprentice. And as well
as Tiffany Fallon, that actor from the Sopranos is taking part
*TYLER Moon on EastEnders advised Jay to treat love-making
like a boxing match. Yeah, whatever happens, try and beat a
count of ten. (Boxing sex tip: right uppercut, apparently.)
*WALFORD mysteries: Why would stony-broke Ricky get a £50
cab to ’Eafrow when he lives by a tube station? What does Fick
Rick do in Dubai anyway, who knew they had a moron shortage?
*FAT Pat’s next lover is played by George Layton. Lay ton?
Harsh but true.
*ANITA Dobson was on Casualty last weekend. She must have
gone in for an Angie-ogram.
*MORE alternative names for Candy Bar Girls: Show Me The Fanny,
Mildred’s Pierced, The Only Way Is Our Sex, Clitty Clitty Bang
Small Joys: Kevin Mitchell’s come-back. Wendi Deng – kung
fu cougar. Incredible card-sharp Michael Vincent. Vinnie Jones,
The Cape (Syfy). Gerry’s French mere/mer mix-up on New Tricks
– he ended up with the wrong mare. Ozzy Osbourne: 30 Years After
*THE Sex Education Show described puberty as a “huge sudden
growth spurt”. By coincidence, many teenage boys seeing the
naked women on display experienced sudden growth. The spurt
came shortly after.
*DO we need TV to provide sex education? Isn’t that what graffiti
*IT’S worrying for a dad when a daughter starts asking embarrassing
questions about sex. Especially when you hear her ask her boyfriend
“Is that the best you can do?”
SEPARATED at birth: Camelot’s King Arthur and Anneka Rice –
one has a prize-winning arse, the other is one.
July 17. HELEN and Tom stormed through to tonight’s Apprentice
final with their tasty MyPy fast-food idea. And that’s despite
doing for British history what Ryan Giggs did for Happy Families.
Listen to them brainstorming about which great Britons to name
their pies after. Tom: “We had all the explorers. We had William
Drake.” (Not to be confused with the famous poet, Francis Blake).
Helen: “Yeah.” Tom: “Christopher Columbus. Didn’t Columbus discover
the potato in America?” Helen: “Yes he did.” Idiots! Everyone
knows Columbus was a scruffy, one-eyed detective in a dirty
They settled on pies named after Drake, Columbus and Nightingale
(in honour of celebrated nurse, Annie, inventor of the old grey
The task was a god-send for lovers of seaside postcard smut,
as lovely Helen greeted diners with the classic line: “Welcome
to my pie, have you ever eaten 100 per cent British before?”
Talk about forward! I haven’t been so shocked since Johnny Craddock
told viewers: “May all your doughnuts taste like Fanny’s.” What
was for afters, Hel, freshly-stirred honey-pot served with a
hot sword of pork?
Rival team-leader, Jedi-Jim decided on a Mexican theme. Natasha
and Susan, aka Dumb and Dumber, couldn’t devise a name. So Jim,
thinking of maracas, named it Caracas - the capital of Venezuela.
That’s like opening a French take-away and calling it Ankara.
He then went to a Mexican eaterie and asked what they didn’t
sell. D’oh! Small matters like speed of service and coming up
with a business plan weren’t his concern. Facing Sugar’s experts,
Jim’s gift of the gab deserted him as he claimed 60 times £7
was £4,800, suggesting a bright future as chancellor of Greece.
History aside, Tom and Helen’s only real error was trying
to serve gravy in a box. Jim’s dishes looked like “dog sick”,
according to Sugar, whereas Helen’s pie was “tasty but a bit
At the death it was bye-bye bisexual Natasha. Helen and Tom
face Sugar’s heavy-weight interrogators along with Jim and Susan
tonight. One of them – probably Tom - will go into business
with the not so sweet Lord. The smartest thing they could do
is set up MyPy as a fast-food franchise before someone else
does. The obvious slogan: ‘Byron, get one free.’
* UNLIKLIEST claim? Tom saying, “Girls love mini things.”
They’re probably just being kind, mate...
*HISTORY Tom-style: ‘IN fourteen hundred and 92/Columbus sailed
from Waterloo/To look for fags with his mate Plato/And bring
us back the baked potato...’
*COMING next to MyPy: English beaver, served with a bayonet
of beef, camel toe pud on a bed of bearded oysters (Cont. Carry
LIKE many Russell T. Davies scripts, Torchwood returned with
one big bold idea: what if no-one could die, what if Death took
a holiday? Unfortunately, Death had clearly taken Logic with
him. Why would heroine Gwen take on a helicopter with a gun
in one hand and her baby in the other? Great image but if she
had time to put ear-muffs on her, she had time to hide her safely
behind a wall. Why was that chopper trying to kill her anyway?
Why would a Yank moan about paying a toll? US roads are full
of them. How could a convicted child-killer get out of Yank
prison merely by threatening to sue? In reality the wicked creep
would stew for years waiting for the case to come to court.
US involvement has turned the show into a poor man’s 24. Quirky
charm is out, along with gratuitous shagging – Captain Jack
usually sees more bizarre bedroom action that a Babylon 5 bordello.
The core idea is smart though: immortality is a curse. People
get sick; but pain is never-ending. If someone riddles you with
bullets, you just whistle when you run. On the plus side, we’d
all live long enough to see Charlton win the Premier League.
YOU knew BBC3’s Great TV Mistakes hadn’t tried too hard when
they only found two errors in EastEnders, a show with more continuity
cock-ups than a News International internal investigation. Even
this week when Alfie put vinegar on his chips the bottle still
had its cap on. My all-time favourite howlers are: 1) Janine
turning Greek for three years (1993-96). 2) Eight Slaters living
in one three-bedroom house yet no-one shared a bedroom (except
when ’orrible Uncle ’Arry was about.) 3) Claiming Fat Pat became
Johnny Allen’s brothel madam when she was 21. He was 14 at the
time! Was he running brasses at playtime?
HOT on TV: Dynamo, Magician Impossible – entertainment phenomenal...
Phil Davis (Double Lesson)... Malcolm McDowell (Franklin & Bash,
ROT on TV: Great British Weather – an absolute shower... Quiz
Trippers – coach drips... The Pranker – rhyming slang... Tonight’s
The Night – Dim’ll Fix It.
*WOULD snobby Audrey really be hanging out in a tranny pub
(the Cock & Frock) on Corrie? It’s all too silly. The Street
is full of unlikely freaks and homosexualists. Give us something
fresh and wholesome, ITV... like a good old-fashioned dominatrix.
Give us Mistress Carla! Never mind running over Stella, Carla
could be walking over Norris in six-inch heels. (Norris’s bondage
safety word? “Wuzzock”.)
*GREAT to see comedy hypnotist Ken Webster on Backstage Blackpool,
he’s absolutely the best in the business. Strangely I have no
recollection of typing these words at all.
*I’VE landed a part in a film starring Beverly Knight. The
only argument is over the bedroom scene. I want one...
*QUIZ Trippers is a one-way ticket to snoozeville. But add
LSD, quiz teams on acid, and we’ll talk.
*RE Loose Women: would pelvic floor exercises help?
Random Irritations: the absence of anything remotely extreme
on Jo Frost’s Extreme Parenting, like cattle prods, stun guns,
or bringing back the birch. Saint Peter Andre. Robert Peston’s
droning voice, patronising manner and poor dress sense.
Small Joys Of TV: Kinks Night (BBC4). Keith Allen’s new teeth
(New Tricks). George Best Wine (Four Rooms) - isn’t that like
flogging Jim Davidson wedding rings? Accents on Canadian Dragons’
Den: I’m oat.
SEPARATED at birth: Stella Price and Corrie transvestite Marcia
– one a rough-looking boiler with lifeless hair and a masculine
chin, the other a tranny.
July 15. A day of contrition for Rupert Murdoch. After apologising
to the Dowlers, the ashen-faced media baron also said sorry
for piss-poor Sky1 sitcom Baddiel’s Syndrome and Freddie
Starr’s Beat The Crusher.
Breaking news: Rebekah Wade quits News International –
so they’ve lost two red-tops in a week. She will be replaced
by Sideshow Bob, who shares her hair.
July 10. THERE are many things in life to worry about – war,
unemployment, Cheryl Cole’s sanity. So why do I find myself
fretting about Jonathan Ross? Watching him on Penn & Teller:
Fool Us depresses the hell of me. Not cos the show itself is
bad – it’s the only highlight in ITV’s lamest Saturday Night
line-up for years. But because, like David Haye, Wossy is now
just another let-down, a busted flush, a tarnished brand.
The old JR was full of cheek and mischief; funnier than most
TV comics. His one-liners could deflate pompous egos like darts
from a comedy blow-pipe. What would he make of the wretched
creature we see before us? This ridiculous fop of a man who
looks like a reject from the Three Musketeers and who parrots
lame autocue gags like an older, cheesier and slightly creepier
version of Vernon Kay?
It could be worse, mind. Penn & Teller are a class act. He
could have been lumbered with Odd One In or The Marriage Ref,
the feeblest cut-and-shut jobs this side of a Walford car-lot.
Two shows ‘invented’ by thieves and commissioned by idiots.
Odd One In is lifted wholesale from the Spot-the-Star round
on Buzzcocks. The difference being you might care about someone
who’d recorded great hits, who gives a stuff which of four unknowns
is Scottish or eats their own pubic hair?
Marriage Ref is a spin on Mr & Mrs. that misses and misses.
Eccentric couples have their minor niggles dissected by hip
but humourless comedians. For an hour. Last night’s relationship
experts were Jack Whitehall, 12, and two divorcees... Is it
any wonder ratings have plummeted like BSkyB share prices?
Poor old ITV. Under Peter Fincham, this once great network
has notched up more crimes against entertainment than Stephen
At least Lee Mack sets out to entertain. His BBC1 show attempts
to mimic the magic of Morecambe & Wise, unfortunately without
the script, the warmth, or the quality of guests. Lee’s a good
comic, but his show’s on too late for what it wants to be, and
the format’s a bigger mess than Milton Jones’s hair. Saturday
Night telly? You’re better off going out.
*HOW about Odd One In: Extreme? “One of these four is a homicidal
crack-head. Guess who before he stabs you. Panel includes Janet
Street-Porter and a blind-folded Jedward.”
Ben Ali’s gone, Mubarak’s gone, Gaddafi’s going... for how
much longer can Rupert Murdoch cling to power?
THE TV event of the week was a US re-make of hit Danish murder
mystery, The Killing... which says a lot about how ropy British
TV has got. Can’t we even make our own rip-off versions of Scandinavian
detective stories anymore? Must licence fee dosh really be diverted
into keeping John Barrowman in gainful employment and creating
quiz show opportunities for Ann Widdecombe? The problem with
The Killing is if you saw the original, with subtitles, you
already know whodunnit. And if you didn’t then what was the
point of me putting it in Hot On TV? Honestly, sometimes I give
up with you.
*THE original Danish title for The Killing was Forbrydelsen.
Which I believe was also the name of one of the braying toffs
on Made In Chelsea. “You know Forbry, one of the Devonshire
Delsons, made a fortune selling miners’ widows to white slavers,
absolute killing, what?”
*THE most disturbing aspect of the Leanne twist on Corrie
is that it means Les Battersby once gave Michelle Collins the
benefit. Yeah, Loudmouth Les, a man who couldn’t get a bang
on a Slut Walk. That’s like finding out that Albert Tatlock
had been slipping into Kate O’Mara’s Triangle. Still, on balance
it’s still more believable than drunken Phil Mitchell Swann-upping
HOT on TV: Dynamo, Magician Impossible (Watch)... Nurse Jackie
(Sky Atlantic)... Kristin Lehman (The Killing)... Desperate
ROT on TV: Jenny McAlpine (Corrie’s Fiz) – hanging’s too good
for her... Teen Wolf – no bite... Falling Skies – falling ratings...
Antiques Master – bargain hunts (rhyming slang.)
CANDY Bar Girls focuses on a London lesbian bar – although
‘dive’ might be a better word. New girl Danni auditioned on
the pole. A few Polish builders enjoyed her West End opening.
Big Brother’s Shabby stars. Not for the cash, more for the
*Alternative titles for Candy Bar Girls: Call My Muff, The
Munch Bunch, Minge & Bracket, HR Muffin Stuff, Come Dyke With
Me, The Only Way Is Lez-Sex...
*THE business ideas on the Irish Dragons’ Den are madder than
Luther. I liked the till that may or may not kill off the germs
on cash (the inventors couldn’t prove it.) Talk about money
laundering. Suddenly my own patent-pending leprechaun-repellent
doesn’t seem quite so daft. Next up was Michelle who’d forgotten
her sales figures for the previous two years, but knew exactly
how much she’d make in the future. Remind me again why the Tiger
*NEW Tricks ended with a joke about fossilised dinosaur dung.
Unkind reviewers will no doubt claim the script had been fashioned
from it. But there’s a lot of pleasure to be had, particularly
for older viewers with creeping dementia, in seeing familiar
faces from TV’s past again. Even if the storylines are as toothless
as they are. There was one decent gag. Brian told Gerry: “This
is illegal entry.” And he replied: “All of my wives have said
that to me at one time or another.” But these days New Tricks
is more Last Of The Summer Crime...
*NEW improv comedy show Improvisation My Dear Mark Watson
credits three writers and a script supervisor. None of the participants
could improvise flatulence after an all-you-can-eat cabbage
*TEN Mile Menu asks celebs to make meals using local produce.
Cue Bobby Davro gurning at a lobster. Not very exciting. They
should just starve Alan Davies and release him near some tramps...
RANDOM Irritations: Bus lanes. ITV’s Indian-themed ident (Why?).
The fact that Emma Hawkins is never likely to weigh up my valuables.
Alan Yentob going to Cairo at our expense – although it’s the
coming back that really hurts.
SMALL Joys of TV: Twin Peaks repeats. Man v. Food – portions
to give Jamie Oliver a seizure. Mexican porky scratchings the
size of manhole covers. (C5’s Mexican Food Made Simple)
Separated at birth: Adam Richman (Man v. Food) and Fred Flintstone.
One a loud-mouthed buffoon feasting on Jurassic burgers, the
other Fred Flintstone.
*BABIES Behind Bars? That’s shocking. Presumably they only
serve tots, during Nappy Hour.
*POINTLESS Celebrities starred Ann Widdecombe and Craig Revel
Horrid. That’s about right.
July 3. SIRENS is a comedy drama based on reality. Much like
Carry On Dick was a documentary about highwaymen. In episode
one, our three paramedics had to deal with feelings of elation,
arousal and depression that follow high adrenaline situations.
Let’s consider the arousal. Rachid greeted a recent conquest
wearing nothing except a kitchen colander over his privates
– she promptly dropped to her knees and brought new meaning
to draining the spuds. Gay Ashley’s internet date left him tied
up naked in a broom cupboard, swept off his feet he was. While
Stuart, who was trying to control his urges, got a visit from
the world’s most glamorous gas meter reader who told him “I’ll
be in and out in less than a minute.” All we were short of was
a Kenneth Connor “Phwoar!”
Mood swings do kick in after traumatic incidents; you’re “Up,
Horny, Down” (coincidentally also the nicknames of the Pointer
Sisters.) But it’s hard to imagine the nation’s ambulance crews
went to work the next day saying: “Wow, it’s like they observed
our lives and put it on telly!” Most medical shows miss out
on the rich vein of black humour that keeps the emergency services
going. Sirens knows this - it was directly inspired by paramedic
Brian Kellett’s blog – but it prefers to put its faith in slapstick.
Its best moments revolve around apparently cocky but insecure
Stuart (Rhys Thomas) who temporarily saved a crash victim’s
life by giving her an open heart massage.
For a hero, Stu’s a complete dick. He says of a battered wife:
“I bet she’s really fit under all those bruises.” And advises
a would-be suicide: “Jump now or never jump at all cos it ain’t
going to get any easier.” What a loss he is to the Samaritans.
Stuart’s attempt to control this emotional rollercoaster and
be “master of my own biology” led him to visit policewoman Maxine
Fox “to avoid temptation” – how gallant. Their relationship
and his grumpy charm are the bedrocks of the show. If Sirens
were a hospital patient, the doctor’s notes would say it has
a 60/40 chance of getting better. Mind you, if it were a patient
Sirens would probably have one hand up the nurse’s skirt and
another on a can of Stella. Oi! Oi!
THE big Corrie punch-up had to be the worst fight since Bruno
took on Mother Goose in panto. Even Don King couldn’t have fixed
that. Like Kevin Mitchell fighting Katsidis not a single punch
connected. The row was over something stupid – Maria. It ruined
the Rovers. This friendly neighborhood pub suddenly needed bouncers.
Luckily Eva Price has a pair of them. It’s Steve I feel for.
Wasn’t he shrewd once? These days he’s a bad luck magnet, lumbered
with Toxic Tracey and Bonkers Becky, a woman so beyond reason
it’s a wonder her eyes don’t start bleeding like Morgan’s on
Camelot. When she isn’t buying children or stealing from mates,
she’s as smashed as Djokovic’s tennis racket. Steve could spend
a year giving rectal exams to tramps in the homeless centre
and deal with less crap than she comes out with on a daily basis.
This week: Fizzzzzzz.
*THOSE great Corrie bouts in full: 1) Ken Barlow v Mike Baldwin
2) Alan Bradley v. a Blackpool tram 3) Tina’s topless pillow
fight with Maria (although I might have dreamt that).
MELODY and Tom avoided getting fired from the Apprentice after
mucking up the biscuit task. Talk about jammy dodgers. The episode
was bizarre. Asked to produce a new brand, the candidates came
up with such demented gems as “Pop-Squits”, “emergency biscuits”
and Melody’s barking mad “Biscuits as popcorn!” You could get
the Pop-Squits just looking at them. Helen’s team won, largely
because Jim, aka Baron McBullshit, promised the ASDA buyers
a £30million TV ad campaign involving Harry Potter. But also
because the rival product was BixMix - biscuits you could split
in half, and who wants to be left with a dry, crumbling ring?
Melody and Tom’s role-play pitch didn’t help, mainly because
you suspect Mel’s favourite role would involve grinding the
faces of poor people under her heels.
*TEAM leader Zoe got the biscuit treatment. At the end of
the show, she was dunked.
HOT on TV: Dexter (FX)... Robbie Coltrane, Lead Balloon...
Tsonga tanking Federer... Carnivale (Sky Atlantic).
ROT on TV: Inverdale and Barker (BBC at Wimbledon) – staler
than Hugh Dennis’s jokes... King Of – ’kin dross... Melody &
Tom (Apprentice) – the worst pitching this side of blindfolded
*DOCTOR Who star Karen Gillan was caught naked in a hotel
corridor. Tsk. Why is there never a Tardis around when you need
*I LOVE Anita Rani, she sounds like something you’d ask for
in a Mumbai waxing salon.
*CAN Waterloo Road be hit by strikes next, and can they involve
*SO Dawn French gives up chocolate and within weeks, Thorntons
close half their branches. Coincidence?
*ODD. I watched True Stories: Sperm Donor Unknown and Ulrika
didn’t even get mentioned.
*BEN Hawkins on Carnivale can heal the sick and bring the
dead back to life. Someone give him the Camelot scripts quick.
ITV’s latest entertainment formats are dying like poor neglected
dogs in the back of cop cars. Incredibly no-one cares less if
some washed-up has-been can fake three minutes singing “opera”,
or what marriage guidance you’ll hear from minor celebrity nincompoops.
RANDOM irritations: breast reductions. Dozy dramatisations
on Planet Of The Apemen. And Camelot: the peasants learn Latin,
the script has more corn than Tesco’s and we’ve only seen Eva
Green’s magnificent baps once.
SMALL joys of TV: Apprentice biscuit slogans including one
aimed at “men who munch.” The air guitar trio on America’s Got
Talent getting “air judged” by Howie Mandel. Ken Barlow and
the Corrie stripper – imagine them on a date, it’d probably
be Ken’s expiration date.
*THEY identified the infidelity gene on The Sex Inspectors.
It was wearing a Man U strip.
*PAUL Simon seemed ill at ease at Glastonbury. Was it because
he’d looked in the mirror and realised he’s turning into Mel