Garry Bushell
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June 27. ON Wednesday, England turned the tide and spanked Slovenia. Was there a pub in the land that didn’t erupt with joy and relief? Why yes. Ladies and gentlemen I give you the Queen Vic, Walford. One of the few East End boozers that didn’t show the match, and certainly the only one not festooned in glorious red and white. Would it have hurt them to splash out on a bit more bunting?

Probably yes – Enders has form for despising England, English culture and traditions. To the BBC’s right-on creeps the cross of St George is like garlic to a vampire. But for a soap that always claims to reflect ‘reality’ this seems a major deviation from life as it’s actually lived. Instead, in BBC1’s god-forsaken alternative universe, Ryan, the murderer, dumped Janine, the murderess, after watching Stacey, the bi-polar killer, give birth to the daughter he doesn’t realise is his.

Elsewhere, as light relief, sleaze-ball Adam was demanding sexual favours from a school-girl in return for stolen exam papers. Nice. (We’d know if he’d got his evil way; he’d have left tread-marks on the bed.) Two old biddies, either side of 70, were lusting after young fellas; a 69-year-old woman was pestering a seventy year old for a portion, conjuring up unwelcome images of mating walruses on the Discovery Channel. And Lucas the homicidal vicar told Patrick he couldn’t have sex in his own house.

In realistic Walford mullahs exude tolerance and understanding while preachers kidnap and kill at will.

Returning stars include Trina’s Tree – the tree of damnation – and Tania who looks pretty chunky considering she’s got a new man. Who is this Greg bloke, by the way? If it’s the baker it explains everything. I’m not too sure why Max the Mekon is still obsessed with the ex who buried him alive. Or why rich bitch Vanessa wants hot portakabin sex with him. Or why no-one remembers that Patrick and Liz lived next door to each other in Love Thy Neighbour. You dread to think what Eddie Booth would make of it all.

On the plus side, Iron Maiden were on the jukebox. Lacey Turner sparkled and Libby must surely see through creepy Adam soon. We can’t expect new EastEnders supremo Bryan Kirkwood to inject any hope or humour into this grim, joy-less world. But with luck he’ll give us less bonkers melodrama and more everyday characters we can care about.

*WALFORD mysteries: has Max forgotten Oscar? Why has no-one got an umbrella? Where did Adam get stolen exam papers from? You can’t picture him shimming up drain pipes. And why does even Jean refer to Big Mo as Stacey’s Nan? Charlie is Stace’s great uncle; Mo is his mother-in-law. She’s as much her Nan as Winnie Mandela is.

THEY’RE having it too easy on Big Brother. If this were a proper circus the only food available would be popcorn, hot dogs and candy-floss. On eviction night they’d be shot out of a cannon. Shabby’s clown braces would be twanged twice daily. And judging by her love handles, Josey would be wearing the tent. Govan had to go, man, but BB is fixing it for Shabby to stay. As a childish middle class show-off, she’s C4’s kind of gal. And Keaver is under her skin like a splinter, much like me and Emma Willis. In fairness, Shabs is more of a man than most of the weeping wimps in here. Memo to Ben: to last longer, try winding it back a bit from posh berk to gormless twerp.

IN V’s gripping finale, Erica wiped out evil Anna’s soldier eggs, triggering her first human emotions – grief, followed swiftly by rage and a burning desire for vengeance. Reaching for her Apple iPlot, Anna summoned her armada and filled our skies with crimson clouds. (Red sky in morning, drunk too much Warninks...) She bumped off Val whose baby was born with a green tail, just like Stacey Slater’s. And good alien Joshua was killed only for Anna’s flunky to resurrect him. Don’t ask. I’m still trying to work out how Erica took a phone call on the mother-ship. That’s some network. I can’t get a signal in the Shadwell Basin.

HOT on TV: Defoe delivering... Mongrels (BBC3) – animal magic... Matt Berry (The I.T. Crowd).

ROT on TV: James Corden’s World Cup Live – laughs as rare as an Englishman at Wimbledon... Kerry & Me – must-flee TV... Fat Families Second Helpings – no thanks, I’m full.

CUTE blonde Ellashaye was the star of Best Undressed. Miss Nude Tasmania had a smile that would bring out the devil in most men. Ella wowed the Miss Nude Australia judges with her sexy bath routine, saying afterwards that she hoped that the sponge would still respect her in the morning. Naturally she won. The pocket-sized beauty grew up just a few miles from Fannie Bay. By coincidence this was also the nickname for the girls’ dressing room.

*ONE good thing about the budget – for once the words ‘battered box’ and ‘media frenzy’ didn’t involve John Terry. *A FOX dated a chicken on Mongrels. “There's a Nando's around the corner,” he told her. “Oh, sorry; I didn't think.”

*BECKY disappointed on Tribal Wives, refusing to go topless as is the custom on Kitova Island (short for kit-off, leg-over - probably). BBC3 should have told her, either they’re out or you’re out.

*BRUCIE will appear in a future Who Do You Think You Are? By coincidence, Matron will be asking him that same question by the time it transmits.

*ON Spartacus, Crixus turned down oral sex with his mistress Lucretia cos he had a fight the next day. Bah. If I were Lucy Lawless’s slave I’d do what I was told and be gladiator.

RANDOM irritations: C4’s indigestible daily Come Dine With Me marathon. BB’s Big Mouth not having a comedian host. ITV needing to watch ten hours of David Dickinson’s chat show to realise he can’t interview. It took most of us five minutes.

SMALL Joys of TV: Hamish, Andy and the art of ‘ghosting’ (Graham Norton Show). Maria Kirilenko’s skirt (Wimbledon). Maradonna. Lee Nelson: “I hated school, man, they were the worst three days of my life.”

June 20. WELL it was a frustrating first week made worse by all that constant bloody droning. But enough about Sunshine on Big Brother. The World Cup meanwhile brought millions of viewers to the beautiful game. So here, as a public service, is my guide to the strange new lexicon thrown up by the tournament.

Vuvu: a loud, horny object which is anyone’s for a couple of bob – the Roxy Mitchell of the trumpet world.

Capello: either a footballing genius, or, more likely, an over-paid over-rated Italian berk; the modern day Bertorelli from ’Allo ’Allo: “4-4-2 – what a mistake-a to make-a.”

ITV Sport: a contradiction in terms, like care-free North Korean.

Jabulani: a round but utterly lightweight object that flies far higher than it should; see also James Corden. Actually it’s best not to see Corden’s World Cup Live. The thinking behind the show is as fragile as Ledley King’s groin. It’s TFI Football, without much humour, brains, or crucially football. The series is so in love with itself and its minor running gags (they’re growing beards, they’re brought in Ireland, their producer likes Glee, snigger) it’s overlooked the need for substance. Like Emile Heskey, ITV has missed an open goal. Fans want passion, post-match debate and belly laughs. Corden supplies just the belly, and a few pointless celebs.

Renowned soccer experts Katie Perry and Simon Cowell brought less to the party than the French squad. Even Jimmy Greaves, who has wit and insight in abundance, struggled to be heard. A shame because the opening games were so feeble they needed to be mocked. Corden’s guests on Friday must have been the only fans in England not ripping the team and Crapello apart. It’s not good enough. We want the attack of Chile, the heart of Jong Tae-se and some wag asking Pixie Lott to blow his vuvuzela.

The studio pundits aren’t much cop either. On ITV, nice-guy Chiles tries and fails to inject some energy into Keegan, Viera and Davids whose sole contribution is inertia. Gary Lineker got off to a good start announcing that the whole England team “is behind Robert Green – in retrospect that's a good place to stand”; stealing the joke from Russell Brand as shamelessly as if it were an unguarded packet of Walkers crisps. Mick McCarthy hits the mood just right. Mick couldn’t be more miserable if the Korean team had just barbecued his dog.

*I FEEL for Robbie Earle. He’s not the first bloke to be duped by an untrustworthy orange woman, as students of Kat Slater’s love-life could tell you.

*VUVUS: annoying, plastic, monotonous and they make TV viewing an ordeal – it’s like Nikki Grahame never went away.

*SARAH Jessica Parker has suffered many a cruel jibe about her horsey looks, which must have upset her as well as her late father Arkle. But her past held bigger upsets. Who Do You Think You Are found that one of SJP’s ancestors had been nicked for alleged witchcraft. The case against Esther Elwell, who was said to have killed while in spirit form, never came to trial. Could it have been true? Unlikely you’d think but surely only the blackest magic could explain the worldwide popularity of tripe like Sex & The City? I’m not saying SJP should be forced to take a ducking stool test with her three cackling mates. That is obviously a matter for her. But the least we should do is flash pictures of Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz at her and see if she flinches.

*Sex & The City: these days it’s like the Golden Girls with dildos.

*THE Donald McGill postcards were the best thing about Rude Britannia. Like the sales leader who tells a shopper: “Gentlemen’s Requisites? Yes sir, go right through ladies’ underwear.” Shockingly McGill spent a night in the cells at the grand old age of 79 for offending prudes with his genius. He pleaded guilty over a postcard of a skimpily attired nurse which was described here in all seriousness as “the little crack the prosecution could force open.” Donald would have approved.

HOT on TV: Mexico 2, France Nil... Maicon’s wonder goal... Spain spanked... Uruguay’s Forlan silencing the vuvus.

ROT on TV: England – dismal... Jacques Peretti – the biggest pants this side of Peaches Geldof... Accidentally On Purpose – a mirthless waste of Jenna Elfman... Kimberley Walsh (Blue Jean Girl) – as wishy-washy as the Venables version of ‘If I Can Dream’.

*FROST On Satire? Don’t make me laugh. If Frosty had any teeth they would never have given him a knighthood. What kind of satirist pretends that Uri Geller has supernatural powers? We don’t do satire any more. Nothing challenges Brussels, where the real power lies; we don’t send up the over-paid lawyer caste, toothless courts, the sanctimonious new puritans, H&S zealots or PC ‘liberals’ in thrall to Islamic extremists. Mock The Week and HIGNFY can occasionally be funny, but when I hear them described as satire I want to dig up Hogarth and Swift and see who is spinning fastest.

*RE: Tiger Woods. According to his girlfriends the gap between his fall and rise is about 15 minutes.

*TV questions: If soaps can be re-shot to avoid causing offence after tragedies, why can’t the scripts be re-edited to avoid offending common sense? In that Cadbury’s flake ad why is her dress made of tripe?

*CLASSIC Corrie line; Mary to Gail: “And when that jury came back in, and we heard those magic words, 'Not Guilty' ... I've never been happier to lose a fiver in my life.”

RANDOM irritations: Kirsty Wark’s dress sense. Crabby Shabby (BB). The Loose Women world cup anthem; and the thought of any of these harridans “going all the way.”

SMALL joys of TV: The ending of last night’s Dr Who – at last he stops fidgeting. The Adidas Star Wars ad. The Nationwide Little Britain ad. Kate Humble saying: “It’ll be cold in Norfolk tomorrow but our tits will be snuggled up nice and warm.” (Springwatch).

*CURSE of the week: “May the gods shrivel your cock.” (Spartacus)

*SEPARATED at birth: Miroslav Klose and Odo? One an odd-looking alien who isn’t quite what he seems, the other a character in Deep Space Nine.

*NATALIE Cassidy’s stint on The 5 O’Crock Show made Peter Andre look like Larry King. Can you believe Lenny Henry is involved in this car-crash? What was his agent thinking?

June 13th. IT’S Wednesday night and the circus is in town. Tired old ringmaster Big Brother flung open his gaudy doors one last time for a brand new carnival of clowns. Roll up, roll up and try not to throw up as we decide who we’ll hate, who we’ll loathe and who we’ll really despise. Big Bro works best when it shows real human emotion. At its worst it’s a freak show for weirdoes and wannabes. So well done BB for choosing God-botherer Dave who came dressed as Friar Tuck - he’s Friar F*ck-wit. Corin who claims she gets mistaken for Jordan (in her dreams) but is more like Lorraine Chase with boobs. Katie Cut-Price. And middle class squatter Shabby, an alleged “film-maker”, who came as Charlie Chaplin and “takes myself seriously”. No-one else will.

Contenders were selected live from a clearly stagnant “talent pool” of 81 nitwits top-heavy with deluded lookalikes. Big-headed Beyoncé clone Rachael loves herself so we don’t have to. Hair-dresser Rach won’t be adjusting any lengths in here but I’d pay her to sort out Nathan’s mono-brow. Aussie Becks-double John calls himself Achilles. Let’s hope he enjoys his next stand with dopy ‘Sunshine’ (born Yvette), and then dumps her so she can change her name to Downpour.

Posh, punch-able Ben will prove as popular as a BP boss in Washington. Govan reckons he has a big dick and probably is one. Dancer Ife is cute but catty. She says she’s performed with Cheryl Cole but not in a way that would interest Ashley. Irish Caoimhe (pronounced Keaver) is up herself and claims she may be up for beaver too.

So far I like blonde Josie, a sales rep from Bristol, who lives on a farm with chickens and says she “likes a cockatoo”.  And Mario, picked at random and dressed up as a mole (shouldn’t he have tunnelled in?). But best is Steve, a cheery can-do ex-soldier horribly injured in a Belfast bomb blast who’s only here to raise money for a good cause.

Will anyone be as magnetic as Pete, as funny as Brian, as infuriating as Nikki, or as dim as Jade? I doubt it. The inmates have a lot to live up to. This show has already done love, lust, open air masturbation and demented rage (missing you Charley). There’s nothing left that doesn’t come with a jail sentence. Here’s hoping.

*CORIN thinks she’s Katie Price’s doppelganger. With a natural 30G bust she’s more like a topple-ganger.

*SMALL joys of Big Bro: freaky Bob Righter, the tree of temptation’s re-birth as a sweary chest of drawers, and ‘Davina McCaw’ proving a mechanical parrot could do Davina’s job (with less squawking.)

CHEERIO Jack Bauer, TV’s toughest cop. After the worst eight days this side of a Middle East cruise on a Turkish aid ship with Maxxie Oliver as cabaret, 24 has called it quits. It was one hell of a ride. In the last episode, Jack bit off a bad guy’s ear and almost topped the Russian president. Two hours earlier he’d slit open a conscious man’s guts to retrieve a SIM card. Talk about hard to stomach. Imagine trying that with James Corden. You’d need a chain-saw. This show has seen traitors, double agents, murder and a nuclear bomb going off in LA. They saved the most far-fetched twist for last: a US President acting honourably.

GOD’S cock! The helmets were out again on Spartacus; and the horns were on proud display. They even managed to squeeze in some fighting. Crixus is bedding Lucretia and her hand maiden Naevia; bringing new meaning to the phrase ‘slave uprising’. And the writers are having a blast cooking up classy exchanges like “I will f*** your corpse”, “With what cock?” It’s odd to spot obvious boob jobs in Ancient Rome. But this isn’t history, it’s Up Pompeii with bigger spears. Titter ye not. Lay, lay and thrice lay.

HOT on TV: 24 finale – bring on the movie... Sons of Anarchy (Bravo)... Elizabeth Mitchell (V)... new Lie To Me (Sky1).

ROT on TV: The Baftas – laughable, unlike Norton’s script which was utterly laugh free... Mary Queen of Flops... the Corrie trial – no forensics, no eye-witnesses, a trumped-up case built on straw and lies, and after all that Gail gets off. Where’s the justice?

I’VE had it with Doctor Who. That giant chicken was bad enough, but last night the Doc was transferring his memories with head-butts; he also became a football wiz and had a chat with a cat. So suddenly he’s Mr Spock, Yosser Hughes, Georgie Best and Dr. Doolittle all in one. No-one could Dr. Do-Less than the lazy writers. But in fairness I would feel a lot happier with Who in the England squad.

*JUDE Cisse took Come Dine With Me from wags to bitches. Shame the WAGs special didn’t feature Vanessa Perroncel’s French dishes. I know we’d spot something tempting between the frogs’ legs.

*ON V, Anna had her daughter’s legs broken. Even Jackie Dobbs thought that was harsh. But in the light of previous celeb winners, I understand Anna is still in with a shot of getting mother of the year.

*TASTY Opal Bonfante was the adjudicator of the 5 O’Crock Show’s less than riveting Spelling Bee. She clearly had more idea of what was going on than host Peter Andre or question master Julian Clary. Earlier pea-brained Pete had fed Julian the first line of a dirty joke and then moaned when he finished it off live on air. D’oh! Though I bet he moaned more when Katie used to finish him off. Peter should get back to what he’s best at on TV – chewing on kangaroo cobblers in the outback.

* DOES working with Bonfante make Clary an Opal fruit?

RANDOM irritations: Rob Green’s Hand-of-Rob schoolboy error. ITV turning Millionaire into a chat show. Saskia Reeves’s ‘Cockney’ accent (Luther).The BBC having the temerity to debate Big Brother’s “impact on our morality” while churning out amoral junk like EastEnders five nights last week.

*WHY are the Beeb blowing £2mill on Christine Beakley? She only worked as half of a double act and Chiles has gone. Someone had better call the spending cuts suggestion hotline.

JUNE 6. SO who was the worst act on Britain’s Got Talent? That loopy leprechaun, the gormless berk who thought he was Madonna or the two clowns who insulted viewers by putting most of this garbage through? Amanda and Piers wouldn’t recognise talent if it tap-danced down a star-lit staircase eating fire with a cast of Busby Berkley dancers behind them firing rockets out of their backsides. Holden loves any deluded dragged-up freak. Morgan seems to think his chief function is to wind up Simon Cowell. Why else would he have attempted to justify a man chopping wood badly to music as a suitable act for the semi-finals?

Amanda claimed Sean Seehan was “bringing back a dying art.” Even Stevie Starr couldn’t have swallowed that.

Other embarrassments included Kevin Cruise, the fat fake-tanned creep who stripped off during a tuneless rendition of ‘Agadoo’. Looking like the love-child of Larry Grayson and a bucket of lard, clueless Kevin performed under a giant anchor. The ‘w’ was clearly silent. But even he looked good compared to Maxxie, the minimum-talent Lady Gaga wannabe. Neither of these two creeps would have got past the auditions at the Phoenix Club but here they were on prime time ITV with lavish sets and choreography. What an insult to hundreds of genuinely talented pro and semi-pro performers who can’t get a sniff of telly. And yes I know TV talent shows needs nitwits and nut-cases to get us talking but not at the semi-final stage.

Talent shows have been ratings winners since Op Knocks started in 1956, and well done Simon for remembering that. But BGT isn’t flawless. The real problem is the judges don’t know variety. That’s why Cowell told Spelbound, “I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life”, when Cirque du Soleil has been in the West End for more than a decade. And why none of the judges asked Tina Humphrey “Didn’t you and Chandi win When Will I Be Famous in 2007?” Although they did happily blow Kev Orkian’s secret, ruining his act. D’oh. No wonder proper turns won’t go in for this show. There were some decent acts in the final; proving Britain has got talent. It’s just a shame there was too little of it on this series.

*COWELL called his side-kicks “Squiddly and Diddly.” Unfair! The cartoon octopus was a multi-instrumentalist. What can these clods do? Dull, witless and undiscerning, they’re about as much use as Rio Ferdinand’s knee.

IT was time for gladiator school on Spartacus, where it seems the blokes liked to strut around with their weapons on display. So that’s what happened to Biggus Dickus... It was like this on ITV’s Gladiators too but normally only in Ulrika’s dressing room. This show stinks like a Thracian’s jockstrap on many levels, and yet where else can you find John Hannah and Lucy Lawless getting in the mood for love with the help of two sexy slave girls? I believe their names were Filfia and Tartius. One fellated him while the other touched up his missus. Talk about fastest finger first. You don’t get marriage tips like that on This Morning. The real Spartacus must be spinning on his cross.

JASON Cundy renewed his vows with wife Lizzie on Celebrity Four Weddings. It must have been like marrying a new woman. I’m not saying Lizzie’s a surgery addict, but a few more ops and she’d be a Bogdanoff. Kate Hopkins’s wedding was like a fairytale: Grimm - with Kate cast as the evil queen. She’s more of a bitch now than she was on The Apprentice. Does not winning a reality show qualify you for celeb status these days? At least David Van Day has had hits. Prettiest bride by far was Francine Lewis, a genuinely talented mimic who deserves better TV than this. Her brilliant Jordan and Cheryl Cole impressions can be found on you-tube.

HOT on TV: Going Postal (Sky1)... Genius Of Britain... Haddy N’jie (Eurovision)... Luther – barking mad... 24 (Sky1) – going out with a bang.

ROT on TV: Philip Grimmer (Britain’s Got Talent) – he should have been buzzed off; with a taser... Maxxie Oliver – lad’s gone gaga... C4’s Five O’Crock Show – no O’Grady, no fun... The Secret Diaries Of Anne Lister – not secret enough.

*JOHN Barrowman joined Desperate Housewives as evil killer Patrick. And if you think he’s scary now, wait till he starts to sing.

*DID ITV drop Corrie because of the Cumbria shootings or cos they realised lingering HD close-ups of Gail in half-term week would traumatise a generation?

*TV mysteries: why can’t Spelbound spell Spellbound? On Corrie, why aren’t Gail’s Dad and daughter at her trial? And on BGT, was that the first time Amanda had to rinse her ring during an ad break?

SOME of these England World Cup songs are lousy enough to be Eurovision entries. Best is the Blades UK’s punky ‘Spirit Of England’; and I like ‘Confidence’ by Ken Dodd’s Dad’s Dog’s Dead. Sexiest contender is Chenille Steele, who popped up on the ITV news. It makes a nice change to see a glamour girl opening her lips for the England team in an entirely wholesome way.

RANDOM irritations: The England football team’s piss-poor friendlies – as feeble as the UK’s Eurovision entry. TV news banging on about “the peril of cheap alcohol”, as opposed to the perils of the unscrupulous corner shops who sell it to kids. Hands off our beer! And Bravo trying to be “female friendly”. Why? All today’s TV is feminised. Why not give us one channel that isn’t?

SMALL Joys: Lucy Lawless being Lucy Topless on Spartacus. Chloe Hickinbottom (BGT) singing ‘Moon River’ like Crabtree from ’Allo ’Allo! “Moan river...” Clive Tyldesley warning of “dangerous balls on a very fast surface” - unwise when said of Ashley Cole.

SEPARATED at birth: John Prescott and Butterball Cenobite? One a hideous mutilated fat man seeking unusual pleasures, the other a character from Hellraiser.