Garry Bushell
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June 29. Do black British actors work in America because of in-built prejudice at home, as Lenny Henry says? Or are there just more opportunities on US TV for anyone talented? Look at Damien Lewis in Homeland, Stephen Moyer in True Blood or Andrew Lincoln in The Walking Dead. All white, all Brits, all making mints in the States. US TV resurrected Ian McShane, reinvented Hugh Laurie, and made Dominic West an international star.

Matthew Rhys, the lead KGB spy in The Americans is Welsh. Californian biker Jax in Sons Of Anarchy is played by Geordie Charlie Hunnam. While Yorkshire’s own Lena Headey portrays one of the strongest female characters in Game Of Thrones. The brilliant medieval fantasy inspired by our history and folklore is full of British faces, not least Charles Dance and Diana Rigg. We don’t make brilliant medieval fantasies. The sharpest satirical show on US TV, Last Week Tonight, is presented by Englishman John Oliver. We don’t really do satire. Their funniest nightly talk-show, The Late Late Show, has been hosted for nine years by Scot Craig Ferguson. We don’t do nightly talk-shows.

Great black British actors go to America for the same reason white British talent does. The Yanks make better telly. Not all of it of course, but can you name one recent home-grown drama that comes close to The Sopranos or Breaking Bad? BBC boss Danny Cohen reckons Call The Midwife is in the same league as The Wire, but he can’t be serious. BBC1 dramas are generally soaps, or kidult fare like Atlantis. Their crowd-pleasers are old ideas revamped and in the case of Doctor Who and Sherlock rationed miserly. What would we offer Dame Diana Rigg? A weeping sore in Holby City?

For every Peaky Blinders or Happy Valley, we get umpteen BBC misses. ITV has upstaged them for decades, from The Sweeney and Brideshead to Downton and Broadchurch. Lenny is wrong, the answer isn’t positive discrimination at the Beeb; it’s root and branch reform of the commissioning process. Idris Elba and Chiwetal Ejiofor combined, with Thandie Newton thrown in for luck, couldn’t have saved The Deep from the wetness of its script.

*GOOD old Lenny Henry, he’s had more chances than a Monopoly board but still hasn’t made a decent show since Tiswas.

TINA’S pals let off party balloons to celebrate her life on Corrie. It made sense. Balloons are colourful, fun to blow, full of air, prone to fly off in wild directions... and one careless prick can utterly ruin them. But more about Peter Barlow later... The funeral itself was the biggest wash-out since Spider Nugent’s annual bath. Half the Street swerved the ceremony, including Tina’s boss Liz, her friend Roy, and flat-mate Steph. Even Tina’s family snubbed it, except her Mum, which at least left room in church for Rob, her killer, and that detective who looks like Mr Bean. Peter turned up half-cut for a traditional graveside dust-up with Rob. It was grim. Poor Tina, for the first time in her adult life the only man who wanted her body was the undertaker. Mercifully David’s eulogy omitted to mention that happy day he attacked her.

*RITA claimed that Tina touched lives. Really? I remember her touching husbands... and spray-tans... and bricks to lob through windows... What book was she supposed to have been reading? The Ronseal Colour Guide?

*IS Alya the next Tina? Her name, aptly enough, is an anagram of A Lay.

*LIZ told shifty Tony “boyfriend-wise I’d give you nine and a half.” If he’s giving her nine and a half you can see the attraction.

ANYONE missing the vuvuzela this World Cup should check out Big Brother’s Helen who produces a similar non-stop irritating drone. Unfortunately it comes with a side order of aggression worthy of a grudge match weigh-in. When Matthew ducked their Truth Or Dare game, Helen was in his face calling him “a bitter, back-stabbing, nasty little bastard” and a “pigeon-chested twat” before really revving up. Imagine how she’d be if someone properly upset her. A bolshy boiler laying into a slighter, brighter, bullied man... that’s how Lester Nygaard started. Keep pushing, luv. There’s a chance Matt might just go Fargo on your arse.

IT’S not usual for love to blossom in all that heady World Cup excitement, but who expected it to happen for Adrian Chiles and Fabio Cannavaro? Joking about bikini colours, the legendary Italian defender told Adrian he’d picked out a blue one to “match your eyes”. “Don’t flirt with me,” Chiles scolded. “I’ll fall off the edge into the sea.” We’ve already seen Chiles in shorts. If he’s not in a cheeky mankini by the final we’ll all feel cheated. Especially Fabio.

*BBC1’s sharpest commentators? Seedorf, Henry, Friedel. Unfortunately for them, two have already left.

*JOHN Prescott on solving the Suarez problem: “Take out his teeth.”

HOT on TV: Fargo finale... Vanessa Huppenkothen... Sair Khan (Corrie)... Baker & Kelly Not In Rio (BT Sport).

ROT on TV: Hell-spawn Helen (Big Brother) – as calm and rational as a Force 12 hurricane... Backchat – lazy and flat, posh dross... Love Your Garden – sod off... Educating Joey Essex – it taught me a lesson.

ON Last Week Tonight, John Oliver cuts politicians and phonies down to size like a bright but belligerent lumberjack. This week’s target was Dr Oz, infamous for plugging “magic bean” diet supplements on TV. “What’s so wrong with that?” John wondered. “Name one case where a man called Oz claimed mystical powers and led people astray... ” Our Mock The Week rarely takes on the rich and powerful. The best we can hope for is Hugh Dennis cranking out a lame one-liner.

*RONNIE is pregnant by Charlie Cotton on EastEnders. That’s going to end well. Think Rosemary’s Baby but more Satanic.

*THEY’VE got sponsored swimming too. It’s 50p a length, which I believe is what they used to charge at Gilly’s massage parlour.

*ALFIE and Terry worked the market in drag – they looked like two ugly sisters in search of Cinderella.

*I’M curious. We’re getting coverage of the battle of Bannockburn, when do we get the rematches – Dupplin Moor, Halidon Hill and Flodden?

Small Joys of TV: Messi. Dolly Parton, Glastonbury. George R. R. Martin’s cameo on Last Week Tonight. Bob Monkhouse on Bob’s Full House (Challenge) – that’s how to host a quiz show.

RANDOM irritations: BBC1’s World Cup team - they need more wit like Suarez needs a muzzle. Michael Whitehall’s voice. Mick Carter’s swimming ordeal (EastEnders) – someone drown the writers.

TV Maths. Nick Griffin + Peter Griffin = Mexico manager Miguel Herrera.

SEPARATED At Birth: Brad Friedel and Ben ‘The Thing’ Grimm?

*HOW does Theresa May board a plane with all that excess baggage under her eyes?

June 22. Our TV screens are suddenly awash with incredible drama – unexpected twists, high hopes and shattered dreams. And as well as all that World Cup excitement, we’ve got the soaps... EastEnders’ current strategy is to hit us with so many recycled characters we won’t notice the pot-holes in their recycled plots. So Rainie Cross, the world’s best-looking crack whore, has resurfaced to blackmail hapless weasel Ian Beale for using her services – just like Janine used to. Ian being an idiot didn’t think to ask Rainie how she could actually prove he was slipping her the goldfish while his daughter was being murdered. Or to ask himself why he was paying for something most Walford women dish out for free.

Elsewhere, Filthy Phil and Miss Piggy are in yet another love triangle; this time with Shirley the Terrahawk. Not saying that Shirl’s a geezer-bird, but he’d look better in a skirt than she does. Phil sent two heavies to smash up the Albert to show Sharon her bar needs security; a cunning plan worthy of Baldrick. But Shazza had sacked her big dumb bouncers (a phrase that strangely brings Dawn Swann to mind). So she and Johnny were the only people there - and that kid’s so wet that if you blew on him he’d ripple.

It wasn’t the first time a randy blonde had ended up flat on her back in an Albert Square bar, or the first time she’d subsequently needed an unsightly organ removed. It wasn’t the first time a character hid quaking with cowardice either - remember Billy when Jase got pasted? Phil was so gutted he proposed to her – a bit of a blow for Shirley who in another well-worn soap cliché over-heard every word...

I was hoping Big Brother’s Winston, spotted in the Albert earlier, would be one of the attackers – what an alibi he’d have. But they had foreign accents; like most people in East London. In less exciting news, dodgy Deano came good. And Max, the human baked bean, managed to keep his trousers on all week.

*WALFORD mysteries: why hasn’t anyone pointed out that “Alberts” is rhyming slang for balls? A Cockney would know that. How come the writers remember old characters but forget entire storylines (Sharon’s pill-popping, Masood nicking post)? Why did Phil take against Max for shagging Lucy? She was 20 and he’s done much worse. She was also wafer thin, so why did it take six blokes to carry her coffin? The box weighed more than she did.

APPALLING Pauline took a mauling from Friday’s Big Brother eviction crowd. She couldn’t be more unpopular if she went straight to Iraq and joined ISIS. And you wouldn’t put that past her. Did you see her grinding on Steven? He’s lucky he hasn’t been charged with having an offensive person on his weapon. Not saying her backside is massive but when she shakes it the tides change.

*KIMBERLY chewed out Marlon for the male housemates’ “sexist” chitchat. Yeah, heaven forbid blokes would take any notice of a former Playboy model working out... Anyone would think they’d booked her for her mind. Kim was in the right though. The remarks were totally uncalled for. She’s no Imogen Thomas.

ON Corrie, Carla drunkenly turned on her own workers before snogging Peter the cheater. It was splendid. She called Beth “gobby misfit”, Sean “campy self-obsessed misfit” and Sally “snobby misfit.” Peter, old Knobby Misfit, was on hand to tell her he loved her. Carla wanted proof, 40% proof to be precise. She should call her liver Sepp Blatter, it’s absolutely indestructible. When he resisted, she taunted him: “Oh I won’t take the tops of vodka, but I’ll take the tops of babysitters.” Boozing sure beats Owen’s fate – kipping on the floor of his own home after slump-shouldered Annie slept with Phelan. Later she’ll use his testicles as paperweights.

*RITA should tell the truth at Rita’s funeral eulogy: “Tina was the good time had by almost all... David, Graeme, Jason, Matt, Tommy, Peter... it was only a matter of time before Norris had a go. Remember when she put Rob’s window in and when he got caught snogging her? It’s a wonder no-one’s told Plod because it might just be a clue... ”

*ROB Donovan: officially rated 11th in Nigel Marven’s Ten Deadliest Snakes.

HOT on TV: Game Of Thrones finale... Fargo... Tanya Franks as Rainie (EastEnders) – she’s just Ian’s Cross to bear.

ROT on TV: England’s World Cup downfall... Phil Neville – endlessly saying nothing... wobbly gob Helen (Big Brother) – you can’t beat a bit of bully, they say, but let’s hope someone beats this bully a bit.

AT the end of England’s first half against Uruguay the idiot Chiles remarked that we’d been playing very well. Was he watching the same game? I hadn’t seen such lousy passes since Blind Date. England couldn’t keep possession and got closed down quicker than a licensed strip club in Tehran. We looked dangerous for about ten minutes, but lacked the one thing that won Uruguay the match: a Suarez.

*TYWIN the tyrant died on the bog on Game Of Thrones, just like Elvis. Granted he was killed by his son’s arrows rather than his 95th deep-fried double quarter-pounder with cheese, but what an indignity... A former king found brown bread on the small throne... On the plus side it probably cured his constipation.

What a series it’s been. We’ve seen regicide, incestuous grief-rape, Tyrion’s trial, Shae’s murder and climatic battles: the Mountain vs The Viper, Brienne vs The Hound, and four brave warriors taking on a rampaging giant. The beauty of this great series is that you can never second guess anyone’s fate. Unless of course you’ve read the books.

*A MALE dolphin was given drugs and hand relief on The Girl Who Talked To Dolphins as part of a communication experiment. Simple creatures fed LSD and pleasured by willing women, isn’t that the Black Sabbath story?

*DID you clock that big bronze sculptured vagina on The Auction House? I swear we’ve seen something like that before...on Geordie Shore.

*WHO could begrudge BBC’s Head Of Comedy Shane Allen claiming £48 on expenses for buying cupcakes? The poor guy only gets paid £207,000 a year and he’s done so much for TV comedy. Oh, hang on...

*FORGET cupcakes. Going by the Beeb’s recent comedy output the entire department is clearly run by doughnuts.

*KIM Kardashian is getting her own video game. If you spend your day shopping, tanning, getting beauty treatments and/or sitting on your fat arse you’re already living it.

Small Joys of TV: Tim Cahill’s equaliser for Australia. Ochoa’s wonder save. Chile bidding Spain “adios”. Thierry’s cardigans. Sword-fighting skeletons – Game of Thrones’ tribute to Jason & The Argonauts.

RANDOM irritations: Adrian Chiles; I can get all the anxious nail-biting I need at home thanks. Immigration officials apparently turning up at a couple of hours notice on EastEnders – about as true to life as Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons.

SEPARATED at birth: Pepe and Rich Hall – one got sent off, the other should get sent home.

FATHER & Secret Son: Volker Finke and Ian Beale?

MARK Cole was talking about Le Mans when he revealed: “They want as wide a spread as they can get, and deep penetration.” Send me any innuendo-laden howlers you hear and you could win £35.

June 15. Big Brother offers one escape from World Cup mania this summer, but we already know the games won’t be anywhere near as beautiful. It took slapper Helen Wood and strict Catholic Danielle McMahon less than five days to hit full-on Itchy and Scratchy mode. The resulting mayhem made Gove vs May look like a vicars’ tea party. The air was thick – and I mean Joey Essex thick - with insults. It kicked off when stirrer Steven told Helen that Danielle had called her “a slag” – a shocking slur on a woman who’d shown Rooney how to score while his wife was up the duff.

In reality Danielle, upset at being nominated, had simply said she was up for eviction “because I’m not a slag” (a ridiculous claim as Tamara was up too – and she vanished quicker than World Cup referee’s spray paint.) Helen confronted the bashful lingerie model, calling her fat and ugly and advising her to “get yourself a wash and a hairbrush.” She then told her: “Stop shagging Jesus, you tramp.” (Try that with Allah, luv). Later she said she wanted her dead and told her to stick her apology “up her f***ing a*se.” What a loss the woman is to Cbeebies.

You might feel sorry for Dani, stranded with a bunch of vain nitwits obsessed with talking about sex, genitals and intimate vomit. But then what did she expect to find on Big Brother? Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin roundtable?

For a Christian, Danielle doesn’t seem that keen on turning the other cheek. She swears like Father Jack and seems wetter than the business end of one of Boris’s water cannons. With Helen guaranteed a place in the final, and more housemates already in her sights, rows will carry on blazing like the Aussie bush in January. It’s a classic recipe: fit bodies, flirtation, big gobs and bust-ups. And if that doesn’t appeal you’ll find Ray Donovan and the excellent Banshee on Sky TV box-sets.

*CREEPY Chris has got the biggest bonce I’ve ever seen. It looks like one of those giant heads you see on the Macy’s Parade in New York. A quiet guy, he worries that it’s “easy to get swallowed up in a group this size.” Although, with Jale around everyone could get swallowed up. Helen called her a “slug”. She’s more like a cross between a young Jo Brand and Olive from On The Buses, but not quite as cheerful.

*WINSTON bowled Tamara over with his sparkling anecdotes. Oh, Winnie, tell us again about the time you chundered on your girlfriend’s down-unders. Move over Oscar Wilde, there’s a new wit in town.

FOR a moment the centre-piece of the World Cup opening ceremony looked like a giant crystal ball. But you don’t need Mystic Meg to know that Adrian Chiles will spend the month boring for Britain. What a bizarre night: they had people on stilts, people dressed as broccoli on stilts, J-Lo singing with the lost Mitchell brother through what sounded like a scout hut PA... Half the world must have been shouting: “Hey Fifa, who do we have to bribe to get this match started?”

DID you clock grandad Mildew on Football Hooligan & Proud? I had to check the credits to make sure it wasn’t a spoof. The self-proclaimed Rochdale hard-nut was 48 going on 70. He was scruffy and whippet thin, with short black curly... teeth. He looked like a gust of wind would blow him back into the Jeremy Kyle holding pen where he belongs. Surely film producer Jon Sothcott was on a wind-up when he suggested TV reporter Donal MacIntyre vs Chelsea head-hunter Jason Mariner could be the next Frost/Nixon? Slippery, tattooed and suspect... that’s MacIntyre. I haven’t met Mariner.

*UP-DATE: the hardest firm in action at any London football ground? Still the Met...

HOT on TV: The World Cup... Emma Willis... Game Of Thrones’ episode-long Battle of Castle Black.

ROT on TV: Dan Snow – there’s more life in a sick-note... Tina and Tosh on EastEnders – just tosh... Stephen Fry as PM Trevor Davies (24) – he’s Q.I. all right, quaintly irritating.

ANYONE claiming to have assembled a “definitive” Greatest 80s Movies list who can’t find room for Scarface, First Blood and The Long Good Friday deserves to be house-whipped by Indiana Jones. And then served up to Predator... which was also missing. C5 remembered Roger Rabbit but forgot Terminator, Airplane and Platoon, along with the Star Trek films, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Commando, Lethal Weapon and Raging Bull. If you waited for Caddyshack you waited in vain. Poor show.

*JACK Bauer motored through London like a drunken lunatic on 24; who was his stunt driver, Paul Merson? Earlier, terrorists had rained missiles on an NHS hospital, leaving it as devastated and devoid of hope as it had been before.

*AH, Celebrity Masterchef – a show where people you barely remember, (or in some cases recognise) prove they can barely cook... I’d rather see Russell Grant in a banana sling thong.

*SOPHIE Thompson, Phil Mitchell’s ex on EastEnders, made a mousse that was too runny. Some would make an unkind “loose moose” remark. Not me, but for the record Phil was the one who wouldn’t kiss her.

*REAL tension on the BGT final as one plucky contender defied death to get through their act. Well done, Paddy.

*A SUPER-computer has duped people into thinking it is human. Ah, but could Robert Peston?

*ITV have axed Law & Order: UK but should give Ronnie Brooks his own series. That character has got more legs than the Betfair octopus.

*MEL B will spice up the X Factor. As cruel and subtle as a robber’s cosh, she’ll be a welcome relief from beautiful but bland mime artist Cheryl and Louis re-working his 101 favourite clichés.

*ITV paid someone to drink 48 units of alcohol in one night. I’m guessing it was the clown who commissioned Party Wright Around The World.

*LORRAINE Kelly was probably talking about a grilled steak roll when she said: “This is how I like to eat, when it goes all over your face”, although she could have been auditioning for an adult chat-line. Saucy minx.

Small Joys of TV: Van Persie’s header. The Bat Man Of Mexico. Police Interceptors revealing a suspected drug-dealer “admitted to having weed in his pants.” Celebrity 15 - 1. Beckham admitting he’d “never ridden anything up the dirty track”, proving a thousand terrace chants wrong.

RANDOM irritations: Sepp Blatter. The lack of England flags in Walford. Ludicrous/bent World Cup decisions. ‘Psychic’ Mark on Big Brother, his voice grates like Masterchef. C4 commissioning yet another karaoke talent contest. Amanda Holden talking cobblers.

SEPARATED at birth: Steven from Big Brother and Iain Lee (after a course of steroids).

TV maths: Grant Mitchell + brother Phil = Walter Morlighem (Braquo).

ANDREW Neil, discussing the state opening of Parliament, noted: “The Queen paraded in her brand new spanking carriage.” Bottoms up!

June 8. C4’s Comedy Gala delivered 15 minutes of laughter crammed into 150 minutes of air-time. It seemed to go on longer than Tina McIntyre’s fight for life, and like Tina most of it flat-lined. Jason Byrne’s struggles with a suppository, Paddy McGuinness’s lame audience participation routine... this was dire gear. Maybe you had to be there, drunk or comatose.

In contrast, Lee Evans really worked the crowd, sweating like he’d just gone eight rounds with Carl Froch. His act, a strong combo of physical comedy, observation and gags, gripped like Charles Saatchi on a dinner date. But just when he was cooking, off he came for a naff pre-recorded clip from Noel Fielding. Michael McIntyre also put the effort in, with an exasperated routine about having booking cinema tickets online. They demand to know your country of residence. “Who the f*** is coming from Uzbekistan to see Despicable Me 2 in Finsbury Park?” he asked. Do Angolans think: “I’m sick of my local multiplex, we should fly eight hours to North London to see Despicable Me”... and then fly home again?

At the other end of the scale, slacker Seann Walsh sauntered on for a spot as devoid of decent content as the Queen’s speech. Jack Dee delivered, Kevin Bridges too. But few others bothered. If Aisling Bea had promise, Jo Brand was predictably dreary. For much of the night, modern comedy looked as healthy as Susanna Reid’s ratings. Comedians of previous eras are much derided, sometimes deservedly, but I grew up with Spike, Dave Allen, Les Dawson, Pete & Dud, Billy Connolly and the good honest filth of Jim Davidson. Compared to the likes of Walsh and Brand, that was a golden age. These days stand-ups are everywhere on TV, from science shows to Question Time, yet few seem capable of playing to anyone other than the converted.

*JOHN Bishop got the first belly-laugh comparing marriage to a dishwasher – ace at first but after a while you realise it’s quicker and easier just to do it yourself by hand...

*BOBBY Davro gate-crashed a small London comedy club recently, and stormed through a short punchy set that had the crowd in hysterics. Millions love this stuff, why can’t we see it? Nobody could fault his confidence and attack.

A NEW run of Big Brother brings fresh idiots to detest. The producers seem to have found most of these clowns in The Apprentice holding pen. There’s Steven, 23, who made his first million two years ago, stuck-up Matthew, and Tamara who thinks she’s “better than everyone”. Lovely. Even the Essex box Winston, a personal business developer thinks he’s “a bit more smarter” than most – he’s like Joey Essex with a GCSE. In woodwork. Tamara thinks men are disposable “like an all you can eat buffet”, but ex-hooker Helen, 27, seems more likely to lay on a spread. I like Pauline. At 49, she’s twice as old as most housemates - and viewers - and will probably need Qatar’s help to win, but rather her than Rooney’s squeeze.

POOR doomed Tina had an operation for swelling of the brain, but it was swelling of the pants that led to her downfall. Her affair with Peter Barlow – as likely as seeing the Queen’s Speech delivered by Mrs. Brown – ended in yet another Corrie tragedy. This small Manchester backstreet has seen more murderers than HMP Larkhall: Richard Hillman, Tony Gordon, John Stape, Karl Monro, Toxic Tracy and Rob, her intended – two peas in a poisonous pod. All in little over a decade... Plus Mad Maya who tried to run down Sunita and Dev, psycho hair-stylist David Platt, and now Les Dennis who’s been getting away with murder for thirty-odd years. Soaps need drama of course, but by neglecting its core strengths, Corrie is painting itself into a melodramatic corner with the ceiling on fire and the first sniff of a gas leak.

*SAD to see Tina go, but at least Good Morning Britain will outlive her... by a week or two.

HOT on TV: D-Day Sacrifice (NatGeo)... Nathalie Emmanuel, Game Of Thrones... Allison Tolman, Fargo... Paul Chowdhry... Vikings (History).

ROT on TV: Original Comedy Shorts – shockingly short on comedy... Dinner At 11 – indigestible... Jo Brand – stand-up is in her blood, unfortunately so are lethargy and lard.

THE week’s best bout wasn’t at Wembley but at Westeros on Game Of Thrones. Swaggering Oberyn, the Red Viper, took on The Mountain in a battle to the death that would have made Jack Bauer wince. What an episode! What a show! I genuinely envy people watching by box-set who won’t have to wait a week for the next blood-soaked installment.

*ANGUS Deayton was called a “legendary dribbler” on World Cup Epic Fails, but then I suppose for the sort of money he was paying the hookers weren’t complaining.

*NOT sure what was more disturbing about the England match – our defence or Andy Townsend revealing “Rickie Lambert likes to receive it in the hole.” Tsk. Modern footballers, eh?

WALFORD puzzles: why are Billy’s ears so red? How does the jellied eel stall stay in business? Who eats jacket potato, chips & beans (£3.25 in the caff) and if they’re feeling flush do they have mash on the side? And when did Honey grow a brain, because back in 2006 she was as smart as a bowl of whelks. Every episode was like ‘Bring a nitwit to work’ day.

* DALE, Noel, Beckham... beard-dying has never been so fashionable. Come back to the fold, Zak Dingle!

Small Joys of TV: Britain’s Greatest Pilot, Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown. Searching For Sugar Man. Danny Baker’s World Cup Brush Up. Rickie Lambert’s goal. The Americans finale, shame it’s so badly scheduled. Bianca’s terrible clobber on EastEnders, the wardrobe dept must really hate her.

RANDOM irritations: Cleo Rocos’s ludicrous Welcome To Rio voice-over. The idiocy of modern policing exposed by Meet The Police Commissioner. The dimwitted Embarrassing Bodies refrain “No shame, we’re all the same” – no we’re bloody not! I haven’t got piles the size of plums (nor plums the size of cricket balls).

SEPARATED at birth: Alex Salmond and the Queen of Hearts, one a chubby unhinged buffoon... the other a Disney cartoon character.

*WELL done to whichever singer(s) won Britain’s Got Talent, but here’s an idea: why don’t ITV put a real variety show on to remind Cowell what the word means?

*HOT not on TV: Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)

QUICK filth update from Springwatch: 1) Chris Packham was talking about blue tits on Springwatch when he declared: “We all like to see tits in HD.” (Yes but 3D would be better.) 2) Michaela told Chris “when it comes to quirky tits, you can’t beat the Scandinavians”. 3) Iola Williams noted “how exciting it is to get a glimpse of beaver underwater.”

June 1st. After nine solid hours of Britain’s Got Talent this week, it’s pretty safe to predict that a musical act will win next Saturday. Not that Cowell has left much to chance. Seven out of nine acts every night were either singers or dancers, with Simon’s favourites getting the prime slots. On the first show contestants who appeared ninth and seventh won. Show two: ninth and seventh. Show three: ninth and eighth. Show four: ninth and eighth... you get the picture? I’m not suggesting BGT is more rigged than the Mary Rose but so much effort goes into getting the “right” result I had to double check that the series wasn’t produced by Tower Hamlets council.

Are the non-musical acts deliberately atrocious? Or had the judges just been smoking One Direction roll-ups when they put Brian Chan through to the semis? He was like Rolf Harris without the talent – painting badly against the clock while models strutted about pointlessly in cardboard boxes. Where was last year’s egg-chucker when we needed her?

Camp joke Cristian gave a moving performance, moving thousands of viewers to switch channels for the duration. Jon Clegg did impressions without gags – it was a rotten week for people called Clegg all round. Ricky K aped Lee Evans again but not as well as last time. While ventriloquist Sam Jones channeled the mumbling spirit of Jamaica Inn; but if you couldn’t hear his poo and nappy punch-lines, you didn’t miss much. You couldn’t expect ITV’s “expert” judges to know that Sam’s big close, with the dummy eerily coming alive, was first done a hundred times better by David Strassman more than a decade ago on, umm, ITV.

The only non-musical act with half a chance to triumph in a series devoted to amateur British talent is Darcy Oake, the Canadian professional magician. If he belts out some light opera between illusions and flashes the judges his cha-cha he could storm it. But my money says the winner will either be Lucy Kay, Bars & Melody or Collabro. The losers? Fans of genuine variety entertainment, as usual.

*CRISTIAN gave us tight trousers, pink umbrellas and ‘It’s Raining Men’ - just another Monday night for many ITV execs.

*BIGGEST talking point? The uneven tan on one of those CountryVive dancers – it looked like she’d fallen akip face-down in a tray of creosote.

*UNUSUAL name CountryVive, it sounds like something you’d do to Peter Barlow after he’d drunk himself senseless.

TINA McIntyre died as she lived – on her back, writhing and groaning. A shame, but at least someone new will win Sexiest Actress at the 2015 Soap Awards. Rob, her killer, told her she was “too full-on, always ranting and raving”, which was odd coming from a fella engaged to Corrie queen bitch Tracey Barlow. What kind of idiot would keep on threatening an ex-con who’d just pushed her off a balcony for threatening him? Probably one daft enough to fancy cheating loser Peter Barlow in the first place... The pairing always felt about as likely as Len McCluskey copping off with Katie Hopkins. Barlow’s so shallow he thought he could walk away from the emotional carnage he’d caused with a casual “So, are we cool?” Rob’s reasons for topping Tina were equally deranged. She couldn’t prove he dealt in stolen goods and if he’d let her blab to Carla they’d all have been shot of Peter. Result! Elsewhere Anna told Owen that Phelan had blackmailed her into bed; describing it as “the worst hour of my life.” An hour? Blimey, the bloke may be a bullying creep but he’s got stamina.

MY favourite elderly hooker on My Granny The Escort was busty Bev, 64, a cheerful soul who provides sex for £50 a half-hour with tea and biscuits. HobNob, Chocolate Fingers and then you get the biscuit... And, if you can afford it, 50 Shades of Earl Grey. Sophie started ticking boxes when she turned fifty, and selling hers soon after. She gets through 100 fellas a month, mostly young, none apparently signed to Man United. Katie Waissel’s granny Sheila, 85, is the nearest you can get to necrophilia and stay legal. She offers punters a “golden flow” – an image grimmer (and wetter) than a bank holiday beach.

*THE best thing about grubby grannies? When the memory goes and they start charging 1970s prices... The worst? Knitted condoms.

*DOES Sheila offer “golden flow to go” - take-away incontinence pants? 85! When she strips, your ardour collapses like George Michael. If you hear something creaking and snapping while you’re at it, you’d never be sure if it’s the rusty old bedsprings or her.

HOT on TV: Fargo... Emily Bevan (In The Flesh)... David Neilson (Soap Awards)... Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley)... Kerry Godliman – Derek’s saving grace.

ROT on TV: Brian Chan (BGT) – the biggest arse since Kim Kardashian... Derek – it wanted to be moving, and ended up mawkish, ham-fisted and crass... Quirke – plodding, muddled and a lot less fun than Star Trek’s Quark.

OVER on The Island, they are still hungry, knackered and glum but mercifully they’ve started to hate each others’ guts. Two factions have emerged: hunters and layabouts. Ian Botham-lookalike Rupert can’t stick the dossers they’re carrying. It’s like Britain’s benefits system in miniature. How long before someone realises that fat-boy Craig would look good in a pot?

*SHIRLEY Carter star Linda Henry was up for a comedy gong at the Soap Awards, because nothing says funny like a drunken lush who abandoned her kids.

*SOAP mysteries: when did Mr Bean join Weatherfield CID? Has that chemist’s opened in Walford cos of all the headaches caused by bucket-gob Bianca and her a*se-ache of a mother?

*NIGEL Farage couldn’t make Question Time at Heathrow – too much liquid in his hand-luggage.

Small Joys of TV: Google’s self-driving cars – a lot safer than being chauffeured about by Sarah Kennedy. Hic. Eva Green’s séance scene (Penny Dreadful). Harry and Paul sending up Hislop and Merton. Sky On Demand revolutionizing the way we watch telly.

RANDOM irritations: Anyone who cares about the Kardashians. BBC drama mucking up sound clarity again on Quirke (berks). Corrie boss Stuart Blackburn claiming Gail joined the soap as Suzie Birchall’s pal; Gail arrived in 1974, Suzie 1977. Good to see he’s paying attention.

FATHER and Secret Son: James Arthur and BGT dummy Baby Leo?

HOT not on TV: Comic Con. 100,000 punters poured into London’s Excel Centre last weekend to celebrate all things sci-fi and fantastical – not just comics, but films, gaming, books and TV too. Thousands came in costume, making the event look like Sonisphere in fancy dress; a refreshing reminder that there is more to popular culture than Towie and manufactured pop.