BUSHELL ON THE BOX
*This is an edited version of my TV column. The real thing, plus contests, goofs, lookalike pictures and more, can be found each Sunday only in the Daily Star Sunday.
July 31. THE Newsreader is much more fun than its dull title suggests. The Aussie drama is set in a Melbourne TV newsroom in the Crocodile Dundee 80s. But, snowflakes beware, these hard-bitten newsmen commit multiple offences against modern manners. They smoke, drink, swear and exhibit more cheerful “isms” than a Sir Les Patterson DVD. Anna Torv sparkles as news anchor Helen Norville, unflappable on air but “a warzone on legs” when the cameras stop rolling. She calls herself “a disaster”, is undermined by her co-anchor and gets dubbed “a nightmare” with “a face like a slapped arse” by colleagues because she wants to cover proper news rather than lightweight guff. When Lindsay, Helen’s blunt-speaking pig of a boss, pushes her too far, she swallows so many pills the Happy Mondays could have used her as a rattle.
Salvation comes in the form of rookie reporter Dale Jennings, an ambitious producer whose first live news desk appearance could have been subtitled Struggles with my Autocue. Lindsay orders him to produce Helen and steer her away from human interest stories – “cross-eyed single mothers, AIDS and Christ knows what”. Instead, she moulds him into a newsreader and her lover – talk about “this just in!”
The soapy plots play out against huge news stories starting with 1987’s Challenger disaster, with Chernobyl to come. It’s the best drama on terrestrial TV, in an admittedly slow week, and it gives you a glimpse of how stressful flying-by-your-pants live broadcasting can be. The casual racism – a woman of Korean heritage being asked to translate Japanese – has the ring of truth. But if anything, the makers have watered down the period. Odds on, there would have been more effing and blinding back then, more sex, more smoking, more boozing and far bluer language. I miss all that.
THEY say Kate McCann fainted during Tuesday’s Tory leader debate, but can we be sure she hadn’t just nodded off? It was a lot livelier on Monday when the two remaining candidates were going at each other like ferrets (make that weasels) in a sack. Very Itchy and Scratchy. Rishi talked over Truss like an over-caffeinated racing commentator. It wasn’t so much a debate as a colossal act of self-harm. Both candidates warned of a national crisis, but failed to mention which party had been in power for the last 12years. How could the plonker who presided over an eye-watering £70billion furlough say solemnly that we couldn’t expect future generations to pay our bills? It’s a miracle anyone in earshot kept a straight face.
*WHY not jazz up these deathly dull debates by adding a theme tune (Back Stabbers by the O’Jays?) and actual mud to sling; and changing the title (Death Wish 2022?). Talking about forbidden subjects (illegal immigration, councils in grooming gang areas, capital punishment) and arming audiences with rotting fruit and veg would also help.
NEIGHBOURS had to end, it’s been a mess for years, but at least it went out with style and a host of terrific guest cameos. EastEnders should take the hint. They could bring all their surviving greats back as ghosts too – Angie, Fat Pat, Nasty Nick, Cindy Beale, Fick Rick, Grunt... And then, as the entire cast incarcerate themselves in the Vic to contain an Ebola outbreak, the hitherto-unmentioned Mount Walford volcano could erupt, ending it all... It wouldn’t even be their least likely plot. The show stinks so badly, you don’t review it, you just send in a canary.
*PHIL Mitchell’s back. Blinding. Every soap needs a family man. And he’s had at least six of ’em.
*ONE great thing about Neighbours was the sunny theme tune which summed up the soap’s upbeat spirit, just as the heart-warming Cheers’ one did. US theme tunes used to tell the entire story of the show – F-Troop, The Addams Family, Branded, Mr Ed, Davy Crockett, The Beverly Hillbillies. The last real corker was The Big Bang Theory.
HOT on TV: From (SkySci-Fi) – scarier than next year’s gas bills... England’s Lionesses... Anna Torv, The Newsreader.
ROT on TV: Ed Balls – Bad Morning Britain... The Great – just grating... Tory leadership debates – bonfire of the inanities.
THANKS to James Whale for having me on his TalkTV Unleashed show at the weekend. Serial mischief-maker Whale is still upsetting guests, cruelly mocking UFO-hunter Tony Topping. I felt Tony’s pain. Who of us doesn’t dream of a friendly alien beaming us up into her Delphic expanse after nightfall? 7 of 9 would do for me. Not the Borg Queen, though. I couldn’t take the probing.
*IF we can exhume The Roads For Freedom, why not Big Breadwinner Hog? I’d love to know if ITV’s 1969 crime drama was as good as I remember it being.
*ON Night Coppers, one cop apologised to a half-cut cyclist for not cuddling him. They’re so wet, if you blew on them, they’d ripple.
SMALL joys of TV: Lewis buying two pints of beer for £1.98 on an ITV3 Morse repeat – oh for a lift back there in the Tardis! Shania Twain: Not Just A Woman (Netflix).
RANDOM Irritations: Willem Dafoe’s puffed-up and pretentious voice-over on Arena: River. Take-away coffee and tea cups in dramas that are clearly empty.
SEPARATED at birth: Rishi Sunak and Remy from Ratatouille. One an ambitious rat who dreamed of reaching the top... and so’s the other one.
7 great British TV theme tunes. Match Of The Day. The Benny Hill Show. The Sweeney. The Professionals. Formula 1. Ski Sunday. Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
Classic clanger. Caroline Barker on Sky Sports, talking about applauding: “I see Wayne Rooney walking over to all the fans, giving them the clap.”
July 24. THE Met Office advised us to do as little as possible last week. TV bosses were way ahead of them. They give up trying every summer. To prove it, ITV screened two shows that had already aired on BritBox, and the Beeb served up The Control Room. This torturous tale, told painfully slowly over three nights, centred on Gabriel, an emergency call handler in Glasgow. The script was such a crime against logic and credibility, I nearly dialled 999 myself. Gabe was competent, calm and on-the-ball... right up to the moment he took a call from childhood pal Sam who told him she’d just murdered her abusive boyfriend. They met, and Gabe’s brains flew out the window. He crossed police lines to move the van containing the body for her, and, when a car smashed into it, he swerved the Old Bill and hid it in his uncle’s garage. He was then blackmailed by Anthony, a berk at work, into delivering a package to dodgy lawyers who slipped him £100grand in readies in return.
In fairness, Joanna Vanderham played Sam so you understand why Gabe wad besotted. But his anguish, self-pity and dumb decisions made it impossible to care about the wet twerp. I wanted him caught, or shot – didn’t care which. Anything to make it stop. Their backstory – involving a Xmas tree farm fire when they were kids – was told through endless hazy flashbacks which nobbled the narrative and pricked the tension. Rotten background music didn’t help. Most viewers would have guessed the twist – there was no corpse, Sam was in league with Ant. The crime involved passing accident victims’ data to legal weasels for cash. Isn’t it more likely that they’d have transferred the dosh via offshore accounts? And more to the point, who repaired the battered van?
FRANK Skinner told Melvyn Bragg, “I don’t talk about my sex life onstage anymore for the same reason I don’t talk about climbing trees – it’s stopped.” Copy that. With his permanent air of mischief, Frank is like a Bash Street Kid who grew up. Filthy clips of his old stand-up routines were mixed with bittersweet memories. The West Brom jester choked up as he recalled how he’d infuriated his factory worker father by getting expelled. His dad threw his overalls at him snapping, “You’re gonna need them!” He also gave Frank his enduring love of football. Skinner was a great Southbank Show subject, as thoughtful as he is funny. Not many comedy interviews would pack in Catholicism, poetry and blowjobs. Not many comedians have made Bragg’s show either. From memory just Ken Dodd, Billy Connolly (twice) and, bafflingly, Ben Elton. He should do more.
WHAT a week that was! It was so hot, people were standing behind Penny Mordaunt just for the draft from her back-pedalling. The Tory leadership debates were like The Weakest Link for political pygmies. An Apprentice special would have worked better, at least then we’d have found out if any of them could run a whelk stall. The only candidate with real conviction was Kemi, so naturally nitwit MPs ditched her. We’re left with big spender Rishi versus Liz Truss, the pound shop Maggie. Steve Nallon does Thatcher better.
*HOT? Bear Grylls was busy turning his drinking urine into lollipops... Hot? Geordie Shore girls were getting frozen breast implants... Hot? Strictly pros were only doing rain dances...
HOT on TV: The Lincoln Lawyer (Netflix)... Nina Toussaint-White, Witness Number 3... Long Lost Family: The Unknown Soldiers.
ROT on TV: Adam “over the” Hills... The Control Room – contrived codswallop... Merde In Provence.
WHAT’S happened to the TV news? Once calm and even-handed, news bulletins now feel like the old Up Pompeii soothsayer – “Woe, woe and thrice woe” – crossed with a spoilt teen throwing a tantrum. It’s a wonder doctors aren’t on call to drill holes in the heads of excitable reporters just to let the steam out.
*MURDER In Provence was sub-Endeavour fare. Roger “Fred Thursday” Allam was good value as French judge Antoine (Fred Jeudi?) whose prostate problems made peeing “like effin’ Morse Code – dot-dot, dash-dash”. But it was a long slow watch for little return. Less Midsomer, more mid-slumber.
*WITNESS Number 3 dealt with crime on a grotty estate where tenants have the life expectancy of a chicken in Kentucky and most murder witnesses stay silent. Single mum Jodie did the right thing and was terrorised by yobs, betrayed by a bent cop and nearly topped. Was the message “good will triumph” or “don’t grass”?
SMALL Joys: Frank Skinner, South Bank Show (SkyArts). The Mighty Boosh (iPlayer). Rangers 72 (Prime). Clive James: Postcard From Rome (BBC4). Only Fools & Horses: Secrets & Scandals.
RANDOM irritations: ITV Hub’s idea of what qualifies as “classic” TV. Apocalyptic weather reports. British Planes That Won The War blanking the Hawker Hurricane.
SEPARATED at birth. Melanie Rose, How To Build A Sex Room and Su Pollard? Both could make a bloke cry-de-cry... one just by yapping. You wouldn’t want Hi-De-Hi’s Peggy running an S&M den though. At least Diane looked the hard-faced dominatrix type. Sylvia was my crush. Don’t tell Miss Cathcart.
7 more classic TV ads. Luton Airport, Lorraine Chase. Philadelphia cheese girls. 60s Cadbury’s Flake. Hamlet & Bach. SpecSavers. Peter Kay, John Smith’s bitter. Milky Bar Kid.
July 17. GOD bless dimwits. The Chase has even more of them than the Tory leadership race. Berks who think the language of the Faroe Islands is “Egyptian”; that the first royal bank was “the Co-op”, and that free-fall parachutists plummet at “150miles per second”. We’ve heard suggestions that London’s Regent’s Canal is a branch of the Suez Canal. That the siblings who lived in Hazzard County were “the Chuckle Brothers”. And that a book about surviving Midsomer is aimed at fans of “Twilight”. No wonder Bradley Walsh corpses. Asked, “Emma Hamilton was the mistress of which naval hero?”, one buffoon guessed “Popeye”. And when Brad asked “which astrologer published a colouring book?” recently, the contestant replied: “Galileo”. Yeah and while he did that, Mystic Meg was studying supernovas.
Other quizzes have twerps too of course. Asked to name “a bird with a long neck”, a chump on Family Fortunes famously replied “Naomi Campbell”. Ben Shepherd on Tipping Point fought to keep a straight face when told that the US President Mary Todd Lincoln had been married to was... “Roosevelt”. On Pointless, one halfwit thought the “GO” who wrote the 1945 novel Animal Farm was “George Osborne”. Mastermind isn’t so bad. At least you have to go to the dumbed-down “celebrity” edition to find premium-grade plonkers.
*MY biggest Chase bugbear? Ninnies who say questions are “before my time”. What do they want to be asked, What did you have for breakfast? What colour’s your mum’s settee?
*THERE was an all-time classic on The Weakest Link. Anne Robinson asked, “In the Lord’s Prayer, what word beginning with H, meaning blessed, comes before ‘be thy name’?” It’s “hallowed” of course. The contestant replied, “Howard.”
*POINTLESS Celebs had a round where you had to fill in the blanks of Elvis songs. One question was, Wear my – what – around your neck? Apparently, my reasonable guess, “pearl necklace” was inappropriate.
YOU know what I miss? Adverts that make you laugh so much you look forward to the ad breaks. Cinzano with Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins, Hamlet with Gregor Fisher, the Tango orange man... They made such an impact that if you said “I’m a secret lemonade drinker”, a bar full of people of a certain age would sing back “R. Whites, R. Whites”. Umbongo, Umbongo... “They drink it in the Congo”. Just one cornetto... you’re ahead of me. Commercials bled into popular culture – the Hofmeister Bear, JR Hartley, Nicole and Papa, “Bodyform for you!” I can’t pinpoint when the rot set in, but the only memorable recent ads that spring to mind are the Meerkats, the Cravendale cats, and the Go Compare guy. Adverts now are more about corporate virtue-signalling. Stop it. Laughter always trumps lectures.
*7 classic ads. Guinness surfer. Hovis, boy on bike. Cadbury’s drumming gorilla. Smash robots. Mel Sykes, Boddingtons. Gold Blend couple. Andrex puppy.
COMIC Samantha Day says she’s “90% vegan”, so “I can be self-righteous and still enjoy the occasional sausage”. No uncalled-for speculation on size and frequency please. She adds, “My friend said she’s 50per cent vegan, I said, “You can’t be, steak and chips is 50per cent vegan.” Ex-accountant Sam is one of the joys of Left Right & Centre which packs in six comedians an episode, old and new, to bombard us with jokes, also old and new. Bobby Davro, representing old-school comics, quipped, “When I was 15 I lost my virginity, and when I got married I found it again.” Good knock-about stuff, episodes available on Ustreme.
HOT on TV: The Lionesses... Genesis Rodriguez, The Umbrella Academy (Netflix)... The Terminal List (Prime).
ROT on TV: Panorama – Richard Bilton’s SAS-bashing smears had all the substance of holographic mist.
WHILE Netflix merrily shows us how to build home torture chambers, why is S&M the only love that dare not speak its name on EastEnders? Walford men love pain, they marry into it. Shirley Carter would make a great dominatrix. And what about Sonia? You’ve had the whip, now face... the trumpet.
*ENDERS got 1.3m viewers this month. Ratings are collapsing like Alan Carr. (Just 300,000 watched Ackley Bridge. Definitely a Bridge too far.)
*PAUL Hollywood Eats Mexico? They were going to send Gregg Wallace but realised he’d eat Panama and Guatemala as well.
*WHEN will Long Lost Family reveal the shocking separated-at-birth truth about Camilla and Corrie’s Audrey Roberts?
*NASA’S James Webb telescope is incredible. It looks back more than 13billion years. It’s so powerful it can even detect a time Bradley Walsh wasn’t on telly... *TV can be educational. Jim Davidson revealed the late Charlie Drake was so blessed by nature that naked he “looked like the Isle Of Man flag”.
*GREAT news for geeks – House Of Dragon (Sky/Now), set 200years before Game Of Thrones, arrives next month. As does Netflix’s take on Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. And The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power, based thousands of years before Tolkien’s Middle-Earth epic, hits Prime in September. Here’s hoping it’s precious...
SMALL joys of TV: Elaine C. Smith as Christine on Two Doors Down. New Better Call Saul (Netflix). Banshee re-runs (Pick). David Niven Show (TPTV) – sheer class.
RANDOM Irritations: The UK national anthem played at England sporting fixtures – illogical, dated & wrong. Replace it with Jerusalem, a proper English anthem.
SEPARATED at birth: Rishi Sunak and Five from The Umbrella Academy. One the boyish but deadly member of a shady group of bickering back-stabbers... the other is on Netflix.
Classic clanger. Megan McCubbin, talking about a seabird, assured Springwatch viewers: “I do love a shag.”
July 10. GREAT TV reflects real life, the ups, the downs and the humour that sustains us. Modern telly is as close to recognisable reality as The Matrix. In today’s topsy-turvy TV world, po-faced warnings are slapped on much-loved comedies, women are called “pregnant people”, and every new show has a soul-sapping snowflake agenda. Especially on the BBC which allowed Doctor Who to morph into a kind of Gen Z version of the Guardian. Top Gear has turned into a CBBC spin-off. And the infantile writers of EastEnders are allowed to pretend that cab-driving Cockney geezers make tiresome small-talk about “toxic masculinity” and the need for blokes to sit down to pee. BBC berks blew £87m on the DeadEnders set (two bob on the scripts) only to see viewing figures tumble like Joe Biden off his bike. Their solution is to bring in a drag queen. What’s her name? Nora Chance?
They fritter away our cash like pie-eyed lotto winners, and look at the results – daytime craft shows clog up primetime, and we’re bombarded by the never-ending pox of unknown “celebrities” and unfunny comedians. Like busybody councillors, the Beeb believe it’s their job to stop grown-ups with minds of their own laughing at the wrong kind of jokes. We mustn’t debate matters they’ve decided are settled either, so the news is filtered through a prism of “acceptable” opinion. (But it’s perfectly okay to be extreme if the BBC approve of your ends.) The licence fee finances their agenda and featherbeds their failures. Would it be better if BBC bosses were elected? They’d certainly have to try harder to please majority tastes instead of endlessly chasing gobby minorities. Commission the next Peaky Blinders or Sharpe and you’d have a job for life. Find the new Del-Boy or nurture a young Billy Connolly and a seat in the Lords would surely beckon.
THE fall-out from Casa Amor, Tit-Gate, raised the stakes on Love Island. As Andrew was making up with Tasha, Coco let slip that he’d kissed her boobs. Caught out, the sucker admitted he might have licked them, but couldn’t remember. Well it had happened two whole nights before. I licked but I didn’t kiss... that’s up there with Bill Clinton’s "I did not inhale". Paige split up with Jacques too. She’s well shot of him. The bloke is 85% love-rat, 10% skidmark and 5% garden gnome.
WHAT was more unsettling, BoJo’s long goodbye or the marathon ending of Stranger Things? Both had demons (Pincher, Vecna), betrayal, and unexpected twists. But at least the Netflix horror masterpiece never lets you down. Series four was bigger, bolder and bloodier than before. Each episode was movie length, without feeling bloated. Show creators, the brilliant Duffer brothers, made every moment count, packing in small joys along with sheer terror and surprise resurrections. But enough about Kate Bush. Eddie Munson bombarding evil bat-demons with Metallica’s Master Of Puppets in the hostile other-world of Upside Down was a stroke of heavy metal genius. Stranger Things began as a homage to 1980s horror, Spielberg, Steven King etc, The show is studded with pop culture nostalgia, along with secret government labs, super-powered Eleven, dodgy agents, dodgier Russians, and Vecna killing people inside their own minds. Heroes died, Vecna didn’t. A seat in the next cabinet surely beckons...
*UPSIDE Down, not to be confused with Westminster. That’s part snake pit, part Cloud Cuckoo Land.
HOT on TV: Spitfire Paddy (PBS) – the “Irish Biggles”... Beth Mead, Lionesses... Black Bird (Apple).
ROT on TV: McDonald & Dodds – mostly duds... Snooze Night... Lycett’s Big Pride Party – pride takes a fall.
THE Terminal List is somewhere between The Punisher and Commando with a pinch of John Wick. That brutal. When an overseas mission goes belly up and has family are murdered, Navy Seal James Reece (Chris Pratt) seeks bloody revenge. Boris take note.
*TUESDAY on ITV. Every afternoon show was a repeat, with the news followed by an hour and a half of soaps... Suggest new slogan: ITV, working as hard as a sun-bathing civil servant.
*WHY has no TV psychic ever won the Lottery? Not even Mystic Meg?
*ECONOMICS reporter Anna Isaac clearly referred to “tax c***s” live on BBC News on Wednesday. My feelings exactly.
*THANKS to BBC subtitles we now know that tennis ace Stefanos Tsitsipas’ real surname is “Sissypants”.
*THE great Bo-Jo heave-ho was the week’s hottest drama. Who will turn into it a TV mini-series first? Shame the Carry On mob have hung up their innuendos.
*A NEW Netflix show tells us “how to build your own sex room”. Surely, in the right mood, any room could be a sex room? Although you’d probably draw the line at an abattoir or a chapel of rest.
SMALL Joys: Boys From The Blackstuff (BBC4). The Terminal List (Prime). Amazing nature show America The Beautiful (Disney+). Diana Dors (Talking Pictures).
RANDOM irritations: The “experts” on Flog It with their deliriously bonkers price estimates. The total lack of celebs on Celebrity Eggheads. Robert Peston-and-on-and-on.
7 iconic TV objects. Daisy Duke’s shorts. Columbo’s mac. Hilda Ogden’s ducks. Del-Boy’s three-wheeler. Kojak’s lollipop. Morse’s pint. Maigret’s pipe.
SEPARATED at birth: Noel Edmonds and Animal from the Anti Nowhere League? One associated with a ghastly racket and clownish antisocial behaviour, the other never met Mr Blobby.
3rd MAY. JAMES Corden is a lot like the Pillsbury Doughboy – he’s happy, he’s harmless, and millions want to pull him apart.
But hasn’t he done well?
Corden’s breathless enthusiasm has made America’s The Late Late Show the antidote to smart-arse cynicism.
His warmth is infectious and as London week showed he’s still loving every minute.
Corden packs in cute elements like Carpool Karaoke into the programme, singing along with everyone from Harry Styles to Michelle Obama.
He belted out a medley with Lisso, who revealed that her “cussing” and taste for public nudity horrify her religious family.
On Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts – a segment inspired by the Bushtucker Trials – stars either tell all or pay a fearsome food forfeit.
Here it became Spill Your Tea with guest Billie Eilish.
James pulls in huge names – Vin Diesel and Ed Sheeran on Wednesday. He even recorded a skit with sleepy Joe Biden – sadly laugh-free.
Guests know they’ll get a soft ride. His interview technique makes Des O’Connor look like Vlad The Impaler. But here’s my question: where are the jokes?
Topical comedy is the bedrock of late-night telly.
Jay Leno did eight minutes of new gags at the top of each show, Corden prefers bantering with the band and crew.
His forgettable lightweight jokes, when they come, are delivered sitting down.
He did none at all on Tuesday. The US edition featured a monologue on their abortion row (dropped here). Very worthy, but is that what people watch late night entertainment shows for?
Come on James. We want laughs, not lectures.
It’s not like it was a slow news week. There was Prince Charles’s suitcases full of dosh, Wimbledon, Raab’s wink, the Pincher turned Groper...
Corden has 18 writers. What the feck do they do?
*CRAIG Ferguson was a dazzling late-night host. He ripped up interview notes, asked proper questions and his adlibs got more laughs than the scripted jokes. Can we not give him a UK show?
NEW Westworld started like property porn. A rich bloke in luxury house with a stunning view of Vegas... what could go wrong?
Enter robot William, who wants to buy the Hoover dam from Mexican cartel bosses. “Sell it to me today or give it to me for nothing tomorrow,” he rasps.
The hood chooses “manana”. His dream house is infested with robot flies, everyone dies, and William gets the dam... it isn’t so much Selling Sunset as Flogging Bloodshed.
Season two of this robot uprising saga was so absurdly complex, it made Klingon chess look like tiddlywinks.
The next one made more sense, and now, set eight years on, season four seems easier to follow.
Hero Caleb has a wife and kid, “dead” Delores has forgotten who she is, and equally hot robo-babe Maeve was retired in the wilderness... until William’s goons turned up.
All the players are in place, except Delores. But there are no flies on her. Yet.
BBC’s Sherwood missed the target. After all the initial promise, the much-hyped BBC drama just trailed away.
The “Robin Hood” killings were nothing to do with “spy-cops” or old miners’ strike grievances. It was just disaffected loner, Scott, with a grudge against the system.
In a sane world someone would have steered him towards the Team GB Olympics archery squad.
Andy was shot dead, yet absurdly, didn’t stagger back when hit by a high-velocity bullet from a semi-automatic rifle.
And secret spy-cop turned drug dealer Daphne outed herself with a text that wrongly auto-corrected “tickets” to “Keats” – her spy alias. Ho hum.
Oddly not a single anti-strike miner mentioned that Scargill nobbled himself by not calling a national ballot, and walked straight into Maggie’s trap.
*THREE ways the cops could have caught “Robin” quicker: 1) Drones 2) Thermal imaging 3) Bringing in the hunters from TV’s Hunted.
HOT on TV: Katie Boulter... Laura Osma, Blocco 181 (SkyAt)... Only Murders In The Building (Disney+).
ROT on TV: Nick Kyrgios – give him the (tennis) elbow... Hungry For It – cheffin’ awful... Sinnerman on Celeb Catchphrase.
NONENTITY update: We have actors who can’t act, singers who can’t sing and now BBC3’s half-baked Hungry For It serves up cooks who can’t cook.
What culinary cobblers will they commission next? How about The Midwich Cook-Off? You’ve read the book, you’ve seen the show, now try the stew.
*COOKING With The Stars update: Josie Gibson left it in for far too long and everything went rubbery. Not sure about her scallops.
*RUSSIAN hackers tried to take down the internet in The Undeclared War. A terrifying prospect. Millions of Brits would have nothing to do all day except their jobs.
*BEST thing about this iffy drama? Maisie Richardson-Sellers.
*ONE question about One Question: who commissioned this crap?
*BRITAIN is the £3bn fraud capital of the world. Well at least we’re good at something. Hang on though, I thought the Beeb costs us £5bn? That’s proper fraud!
Memo to Prince Charles: £3bn is about 3470 suitcases...
Small Joys of TV: Thandie Newton & her samurai sword, Westworld. Ivanhoe. British Planes That Won The War. The Boss and Dave Grohl jamming with Macca.
Random irritations: Gushing links on BBC’s Glasto coverage. TV numpties who think anything that happens in the US involves us. Sherwood’s wash-out ending.
TV Maths. Vyvyan (The Young Ones) + Beaker (Muppet Show) = Jack Saunders.
7 funniest segments: Noel’s NTV. McIntyre’s “text-to-all”. Letterman’s Top Ten lists. Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. Conan’s Triumph, the Insult Dog. Norton’s red chair. Noel’s Gotchas.
Classic clanger: Steve on Four In A Bed, suggesting a game of crazy golf.
“Okay guys, grab your shafts and let’s get ready.”