Garry Bushell
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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 reminded us.

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 it.

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 bullshit.

*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 TV weathergirls.

*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 of it.

*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 – Ed).

*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 Select Committee.

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 Link autocue.

An unusual woman; she looks like the ghost of Anne Bancroft as played by a Coronation Street cross-dresser, with the emphasis on cross.

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’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’ Den)

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 too.

*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 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 Blizzard...

*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 is for?

*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 Mack.

They settled on pies named after Drake, Columbus and Nightingale (in honour of celebrated nurse, Annie, inventor of the old grey whistle test.)

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 messy” (surprising...).

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 On Cooking).

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, E4)

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 K. Amos.

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 Dawn Swann.

HOT on TV: Dynamo, Magician Impossible (Watch)... Nurse Jackie (Sky Atlantic)... Kristin Lehman (The Killing)... Desperate Housewives finale.

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 minge benefits.

*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 economy tanked.

*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 buffet.

*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 baseball.

*DOCTOR Who star Karen Gillan was caught naked in a hotel corridor. Tsk. Why is there never a Tardis around when you need one?

*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 RAF Tornadoes?

*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 Brooks?