Garry Bushell
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March 31. IT wouldn’t be Easter without a resurrection, so it was good to see Clara Oswin Oswald back on Doctor Who. It was the first episode she’d been in without dying. Clara is like Kenny from South Park in camiknickers. She’s pegged it twice and even last night she was nearly lost in cyber-space a couple of times.

Sinister bods were sucking the minds out of internet users on behalf of Richard E. Grant, playing against type as The Great Intelligence. Joey Essex was presumably unavailable. For unexplained reasons, they then created creepy robot clones of them that looked like a giant toddler had scooped off the back of their heads with a spoon and left an electronic thumbprint.

The unspoken theme was Bond – sort of Live And Let Wi-Fi. Celia Imrie played an iron-knickered baddie, possibly Miss Moneypenny’s evil twin. And there were dazzling set pieces, like the Doc roaring out of the Tardis on a Triumph motorbike (shades of Skyfall). He then apparently rode up The Shard on the same bike thanks to an anti-gravity device. Whether the Doc will ever take cheeky Clara up The Shard is another matter. For all his brains, this Doc has never exactly been a magnet for Pussy Galore. River Song was far more Mrs. Robinson. (At least David Tennant’s off-camera romp with Madame de Pompadour felt right.)

In truth the story was a tad throw-away. The Spoonheads didn’t do much and the Doc didn’t even meet The Great Intelligence. Once again he solved the problem with his sonic screwdriver/magic wand.

Doctor Who scripts are often the opposite of the Tardis – they always look much bigger than they are. But thankfully Steven Moffat’s episodes are less tiresomely camp than Russell T.’s were. What worries me more about the Doc is his choice of bolthole. This time he surfaced in a medieval monastery in Cumbria, living like a monk with the hump. Hell’s teeth, the man’s got a time machine, he could go anywhere; he could be soaking up a Bacchanalian orgy, or shooting the breeze with Bertram Russell. Where does he go? Ancient monasteries, Dickensian London and lakes in Utah. The bloke’s a chump.

KARL is weaselling his way back in with the Price women on Corrie. Could he, like the economy, be heading for a triple dip? Gloria adores him, Stella’s forgiven him, and Eva, who’s about as hard to get as measles, has already been giving him bacon; triple helpings of sausage could well follow. It’d be an incredible soap first. The biggest danger is Gloria, the HRT honey-pot (that’s HRT as in High-Risk and Trappy.) Why is beyond me though. Sure, Karl knows how to light up a room. Look at the Rovers. But I can’t see his appeal. Northern women may dig feckless, work-shy layabouts but he’s no Stan Ogden.

*POOR Tyrone was accused in court of an “amiable grease monkey act”. Let’s hope the monkey wasn’t too traumatised.

LIAM’S initiation tests for Kane’s EastEnders gang included walking along a wall and smashing a car window. The Crips must be bricking it. To join the gang’s elite inner guard, you’d have win thumb war, master Knock Down Ginger and give Dot Cotton a spiteful Chinese burn. This tedious storyline had gone on longer than a Cyprus bank holiday and only one person comes out of it with any kudos – Peggy Mitchell. Oh, we laughed at the time, but now Peggy’s “gwime night” at the Vic seems pwopa visionary.

SOAP Maths: Kearney (The Simpsons) + the Disney cartoon Hunchback of Notre Dame = Kane (EastEnders).

HOT on TV: Lacey Turner (Our Girl)... Steve Evets (In The Flesh)... new Modern Family (Sky1)... Doctor Who.

ROT on TV: Bluestone 42 – It Ain’t Half Cock, Mum... Paul Hollywood’s Bread – mouldy... Love Matters (Sky Living) – in comedy, so do laughs; where were they?

ON 40-Year-Old Virgins Clive felt queasy about losing his cherry to therapist Cheryl, 68. He wasn’t the only one. When she stripped, it put me off dried fruit completely.

*SEX with a 68-year-old? They call that the Rooney special. We were shouting at the telly: “Get a tomb!”

*ROSIE, 39, thought her therapist’s Hampton looked like “an uncooked sausage.” Mercifully he didn’t try to brown it.

*40-Year-Old Virgins? In Walford, 14 would be a miracle.

REVOLUTION starts with a simple premise: what happens if the world loses power? Lights go out, cars conk out and planes plummet from the sky... but why? If the national grid failed cars wouldn’t be affected, nor would batteries. Back-up generators would kick in... The show cheerfully rewrites the fundamental laws of physics. You picture Brian Cox watching it and tearing out his hair. So what’s the cause - magic, a Mayan curse, alien technology? Ben’s fancy amulet might hold the clue, but on past form J.J. Abrams probably intends to string us along for years before fobbing us off with a so-what reveal. Fifteen years on, there’s still no power, the Government has gone and militias run the show. (Mercifully hair gel supplies are unaffected.) Everything is rosy until Nasty Neville turns up to kill Ben and kidnap son Dan. Daughter Charlie sets out to save him with her Hunger Games crossbow. For such a high concept it’s surprisingly dull. Like post-Apocalypse society, Revolution lacks spark. It’ll probably prove as disappointing as The Event, which wasn’t, and Flash Forward which didn’t flash past anywhere near fast enough.

*NO cars, no energy... with spiralling fuel costs and falling gas supplies, that could be us by 2015.

*THE Voice is back. Hurrah! The first series did wonders... for sales of swivel chairs.

*BORIS Johnson is “a sly fox disguised as a teddy bear”, says Conrad Black; and not as previously thought a great tit disguised as an over-sexed honey monster.

*OVER on Spartacus, Gannicus gave Sybil one in the middle of a blizzard. Talk about Winter’s Bone. We knew he was brave, this proved it. For most blokes, sex in the snow would turn into Hunt The Thimble.

RANDOM irritations: England’s second half against Montenegro. The BBC freezing out celebs who questioned global warming while turning a blind eye to paedophiles on the payroll.

GARY: Young, Psychic & Possessed: Does Gary have the power to heal? No. Does he channel the spirit of Abraham? No. Did this show insult our intelligence? Abso-bloody-lutely.

SMALL joys of TV: Plebs (ITV2) – it’s like The In-Betweeners do Up Pompeii. Catfish: The TV Show (MTV). New Simpsons Treehouse Of Hoorror XXIII. Great Old Amusement Parks (PBS).

SEPARATED at birth: Corrie’s Julie Carp and the Creature From The Black Lagoon? One a fish-faced menace, the other a horror film creation.

QUOTE of the week from Rupert Penry-Jones, talking about meringue on Bake-Off: “Ensure it’s completely stiff before you start piping your Pavlova... keep beating it until it coats the back of the spoon.”

March 24. FLAMIN’ Nora! What a tragedy. Fire consumed the dear old Rovers last week and a character we barely knew croaked. I was in tears – all that good booze wasted. It’s a wonder wooden Nick Tilsley didn’t go up like a torch too, not to mention Rita’s bouffant wig. The heat was so intense that Kym Marsh had to turn her fake boobs away. Two more minutes and she’d have gone from a 36D to a 42-long.

Cuts to front-line services are biting up Weatherfield way. Emily Bishop dialled 999 on Monday and no-one turned up until Wednesday – or Ash Wednesday as it’s now known locally. Corrie folk are coping with the awful fall-out. Toni is toast, Sunita’s in a korma (sorry); and what little brains Stella had are likely to have boiled away. It’s nearly as shocking as Bill Roache’s thoughts on sex abuse victims.

Calamity Karl started the blaze as part of the world’s least logical revenge plan. To make it look like an electrical blaze he’d splashed accelerant all over the cellar. D’oh! Poor Sunita confronted him, fell and was knocked sparko. Normally smoke inhalation would have killed her in minutes but with those giant nostrils, Sunita takes most of her oxygen direct from the stratosphere. Somehow she climbed the red-hot metal steps of the cellar without flinching, and staggered into the burning boozer. We hadn’t seen that much smoke in the bar since the golden days of Bet Lynch.

Poor Stella was trapped upstairs. Hilariously she tried to smash open her bedroom window with the soft shade of her bedside lamp. Daughter Leanne stared at the Rovers in cross-eyed horror, so no change there. Tragedy could have been averted if anyone had thought to use the beer to fight the flames – they’ve been watering that down for years - or if Paul had used Eileen as a bouncy castle for Stella to jump on. The big disappointment was that no-one threw Gail into the pub – her cloven hooves would have gone up a treat. The drama distracted us from the creepy weirdness of Eileen and Carla respectively watching their son and brother do the Fool Monty. Now ITV have made women and gay men happy, when do us blokes get to see Eva on the pole?

*RIP Sunita. She’ll die as she lived - on her back, moaning loudly, feeling hot...

DALLAS did JR proud. The great rascal’s funeral episode had fist-fights, shagging and bucket-loads of his favourite tipple “bourbon and branch.” In 1980, the ‘Who shot JR?’ storyline made world news. ‘Who Killed JR?’ won’t have the same impact, but it’s already given the sagging soap fresh life. Christopher punched out a drunken JR detractor at the wake, Sue Ellen hit the bottle and John Ross had sex in a car with drugged-up Emma, whose three point turn would make your hair stand on end. What’s the betting he failed the emergency stop? It looked like JR had been topped in a robbery in a Mexican hotel, but bigger forces are at work. Cliff Barnes has probably teamed up with Harris Ryland in a kind of Axis of Cranky. Bobby’s ex Pamela could be involved... JR left unexploded plot bombs – a letter to Sue Ellen asking to get back together, a letter to Bobby saying who’d killed him. Expect more twists to come, because the old stoat had at least two more sprogs – his first-born James and the kid he had with Cally (stunning Cathy Podewell) who came back for the wake...

BBC4’s lengthy tribute to Television Centre was about as sincere as Ed Balls heaping praise on George Osborne. If the place was as wonderful as they say it was, why close it? Why not refurbish it? Unlike BBC bosses, I genuinely did love the old ‘doughnut.’ Our greatest sitcoms were made at TV Centre: Steptoe, Hancock, Porridge. Python and Spike Milligan’s Q were filmed here. As were I Claudius, The Forsyte Saga and Saturday night mega-hits such as Noel’s House Party, the Gen Game and Strictly. Within those walls, shows were originated, produced, edited and broadcast. It was the hub of an entire network. All that is gone, simply it seems because the dogmatic philistines who run the Corporation now hate London. It’s like turning the Palladium into a Tesco.

*MY Top 3 personal TV Centre memories: 1) Noel’s House Party, even though Edmonds gunged me seven times 2) Getting carried off by a pterodactyl on the Gen Game 3) Paul McKenna making me chat up a broom live on air, for Children In Need.

HOT on TV: Kelsey Grammer (Boss)... JR’s funeral, Dallas (C5)... Pauline Quirke (Broadchurch)... In The Flesh (BBC3).

ROT on TV: It’s Kevin – it’s chronic... Bedtime Live – sent me to sleep... The Lady Vanishes – so did the viewers... The Syndicate – bin it to win it.

GEORGE Osborne’s Budget was like watching Mr. Bean attempt to stuff a partially-inflated blow-up doll into a bedroom drawer. He got hilariously het-up to little effect. Geo is sticking to his Plan A: build up debt but lie about it. (As opposed to Ed Balls’s Plan B: Beat debt by borrowing more. Nice one, Einstein.) Next year he’ll sex it up by wearing a Borat mankini.

*TRAUMATIC scenes on EastEnders. And as well as Phil Mitchell flirting, we got Liam: Prisoner Cell Block Ginge. We know Liam’s gone bad cos he’s swigging OJ straight from the bottle. Tsk. Why can’t he be a normal Walford kid and start shafting his cousin?

*I WROTE off Prisoners’ Wives too soon; it’s a cut-above bog-standard BBC1 soap-drama; and Polly Walker would still look hot in a top-shelf mag of the same name...

*HEADING Out? Me too.

*JAY Leno caused outrage in the US when he likened TV executives to snakes. Too right; snakes are relatively likable.

RANDOM irritations: Tanya and Phil (Enders) – make it stop! Celebrity travelogues. The Beeb blowing £80million of our money on their Lonely Planet sale – why buy it in the first place? We pay a telly tax for them to invest in broadcasting, not travel guides.

SMALL joys of TV: Gannicus’s escape (Sparticus). Norris Cole calling Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff “the song of the menopause.” Ellie Miller on Broadchurch telling Alec Harding: “With respect sir, walk away from me now or I will piss in a cup and throw it at you.” By the look on his face, I assumed someone already had.

SEPARATED at birth: Alexa Chung and Lauren Cohan – one from The Walking Dead, the other from Get A Grip, which is deader... Runners-up: Gareth Thomas and Vincent Van Gogh.

QUOTE of the week: Jeremy Vine, referring to a contestant’s job as a plater on Eggheads, asked: “Are you ready to be plated, Daphne?” Probably yes, but it’s bound to uncurl her hair...

March 17. LET’S not kid ourselves, Comic Relief has always been about as funny as an outbreak of superbugs in a children’s ward. Most comedy fans would rather streak though a Channel Island snow storm than endure another of BBC1’s mirthless marathons. All those endless hours of self-righteous drivel for the odd solitary titter...

It was bad enough when it just took over one night, but now the event spreads like Gemma Collins bursting out of an over-tight corset. Comic Relief now takes up the best part of a month, giving us the chance not to laugh at ropy red-nose editions of guff like Great British Menu. Let’s Dance served up Vanessa Feltz dressed as Cher straddling a cannon but regrettably forgot to put her in and fire it. Then we had Jack Dee, Dara and some chumps you’d pay never to see on TV again paddling down the Zambezi. Be still my aching sides.

Yes, Friday did deliver moments of genuine merriment - like David Brent and Doc Brown’s Equality Street song, Peter Kay’s silly, celeb-studded settee trek and Dr Who’s Jedward reveal. But to get there we had to suffer hours of under-cooked over-camp sketches, not to mention a six minute mini-episode of EastEnders – the antidote to laughter - devoted to the rib-tickling subject of gang culture.

I have nothing against charity telethons. They’re preferable to the government picking our pockets to blow billions on ill-spent overseas aid. But surely we can make them funnier? Comic Relief gives comedians, singers and celebrities the chance to generously give up their time to make us aware of those less fortunate  while selflessly plugging their latest tour/DVD/album/series... Let’s make them work harder for their air time. David Walliams in drag? Again? It would have been funnier to have Jason Manford on, sexting random women. That’s what I call comic relief. He could have asked ’em if they knew any decent gags because Dermot didn’t. (Someone tell him that Lenny Henry’s name is Lenworth not Leonard).

Or maybe get Frankie Boyle to stop mocking disabled kids for a day and try targeting al-Qaeda instead. In Leytonstone. £5 for every minute his kneecaps last. We suffer Comic Relief because it’s a good cause – no-one wants to see starving kids. And corporate donations virtually guarantee it’s going to keep breaking money-raising records. But would it hurt if one year the money went to cancer research or heart disease charities? We fund the BBC. We should have a say.

MASTERCHEF seems to have lost its sparkle. Where are the goofs? Previous series have served up gourmet-level innuendo; such as Boiled-Egg Gregg telling a woman: “Your squirrel is moist and deep.” And Torode the Toad revealing: “Shelina blows me away... it comes at you in waves, and boom! It starts to explode in your mouth and just keeps coming.” That’s the kind of accidental filth we want. Not Emily’s thick date sauce looking like it’d just been scraped out of the Queen’s bed-pan. The closest we got was blonde Sarah who confessed: “In the kitchen I like trying out new things” - which is just the sort of talk to win her a date with hard-to-get Gregg. Perhaps they were all just blinded by Dale’s Osmond-white choppers. That guy’s lamb was so raw you could still hear it bleating.

OVER on War Of The Damned, Spartacus’s army of liberated slaves is awash with sex, deceit, drinking and betrayal. In many ways, they’re the first Liberal Democrats. We know that in just five more gore-blimey episodes, the gladiators will be properly stuffed by Cassius and his Roman legions. Every twist has been sign-posted. Pirate Heracleo, who betrayed them, couldn’t have looked dodgier if he’d worn a sign saying “Will back-stab for cash”. Sparty’s right-hand man Gannicus is knocking back so much plonk that even Corrie’s Carla Connor would tell him to go easy. While Caesar, an obvious wrong’un with that Eddie Izzard goatee, easily manipulated poor dumb Crixus. Now they’re planning to retreat up a mountain, with an impassable exit. D’oh! They’ll hang around there for while, but they’ll be hanging around on Roman crosses a lot longer... What geezers though. They’re strong, fearless, and loyal. And despite the carnage, orgies, and impending doom, they always find time for waxing, plucking and muscle toning. Eat yer heart out, TOWIE.

HOT on TV: Olivia Colman (Broadchurch)... The Following... Ellen Holman as savage sexpot Saxa (Spartacus: War Of The Damned).

ROT on TV: Shetland – shite, man... The Mimic – failed to make much impression... The Crash – lacks impact... Prisoners’ Wives – lags lustre... The Body Shocking Show – pierce off.

ON Toughest Place To Be A Taxi Driver, nice guy London cabbie Mason McQueen tried working in the city formerly known as Bombay. “It’s like Mad Max meets the Kumars,” he said. Big-hearted Mason was clearly moved by the plight of fellow cabbie Pradeep, working long hours for little reward. The city is booming but people still sleep on the streets. A crying shame.

*THINGS taxi drivers say in Mumbai: “Sorry guv, I don’t go south of the Ulhas after midnight... I had that Mahatma Ghandi in the back of my cab... and with my driving, no wonder he wore a nappy... ”

*IT’S a shame Channel 4 Racing dropped John McCririck, but he’s 72. And in horse years, that’s ten pots of glue, five quarter-pounders and a Findus lasagne.

*DID you see that hairy fella on Embarrassing Bodies? Strewth. When he took his shirt off it was like a scene from Gorillas In The Mist. He looked like a werewolf at full moon. Anti-fur campaigners were on stand-by...

*SUNITA should cherish that necklace on Corrie; the next thing Dev will be buying her is a coffin.

*SARAH Jessica Parker says that wearing high heels has ruined her feet. She should never have used them as a face-pack.

*CRUFTS was hosted by Clare Balding.  Nice to see her back on the box after such a long break. How long was it exactly? 48 hours?

*IN The Mimic, a bloke with no personality spent his time impersonating famous people badly. Wasn’t that The Peter Serafinowitz Show?

RANDOM irritations: sweat-dripping chefs. Jeremy Piven as Mr. Sainsbury, over-acting to the end. Heading Out – worst sitcom since Big Top. How do the commissioning editors keep their jobs?

SMALL joys of TV: David Icke on This Morning (careful mate, Schofield’s a lizard). Stephen Hawking’s Go Compare ad. The amazing Metamorphosis footage.

SEPARATED at birth: Beth Tweddle and the abominable Dr Phibes...

Celeb Maths: Norris Cole + Jeffrey Tambor = Pope Francis.(Although he also looks a bit like Justin on Embarrassing Bodies, who was plagued by a large backlog of crap, just like His Holiness.) Quote of the week. Adam Henson was talking about hedge-laying on Countryfile when he told Prince Charles: “It's my first experience of something this length!”

March 10. IT’S the daftest dating show ever. My Little Princess is Blind Date meets Total Wipeout in the grounds of Takeshi’s Castle. Ten young ‘princes’ take on barking mad challenges in an idyllic medieval setting to win the hand of a fair young maiden. A perfect fairytale romance... except that every Dad is Shrek, and rejected suitors are hurled bodily into a moat. Never mind “no likey, no lighty”, give Dad the wrong answer and you’re in the drink, pal. This is “Take Me Out - and use a broadsword.”

In this show the protective fathers are the real stars and they do everything in their power to make sure their darling daughters don’t end up on the receiving end of a one knight stand from some devious Prince Charmless.

I liked Dickie Plum, a snarling geezer Dad with no time for modern fashion (“pull yer trousers up, know what I mean?”). Dad Gerry was more softly spoken, but a former Hell’s Angel. He was probably joking when he suggested anyone who treated his Lisa badly could face a “shotgun and shovel” solution. But who’d risk it? The Dads’ enforcer comes with the scariest studded helmet this side of an extreme piercing convention.

The ‘princes’ don’t actually see their date till near the end so they don’t actually know if they’d want to, um, Lancelot or not. This doesn’t stop them trying. Blinded by mouse masks, they must run at each other and collide. Whoever runs the farthest and fastest wins. The Q&A rounds are dafter, though. Would the Princess, who they haven’t met, prefer a KFC bucket or a Whopper burger? Ridiculous. How can they tell? It’s pure guesswork. All they know for sure is that she’s a cheap date. But give the wrong answer and they’re left soaking in the Latrine of Lament.

Then there’s the lie detector Catapult of Truth that shoots suitors into the lake if they give the wrong answer... “Have you ever worn women’s underwear?” asked Dickie. Admit yes, and bosh, you’re gone. Lie no and it’s guess again Pinocchio... This is not a show for metrosexuals or feminists. It’s throwback TV about old-fashioned men looking for blokes capable of looking after their girl. Whether the damsels involved would qualify as Snow White, I couldn’t tell you. Given the tempers of the Dads it’s best not to speculate. But with a bigger budget and more twists – like a dragon or two – and this would be unmissable. Who could resist the promise of “mighty hose action”?

BBC3 axed Frankie Boyle from a Comic Relief show for telling jokes that were OTT and sick. That’s like hiring Phil Mitchell and complaining that he’s crabby and unreasonable. Or booking Eddie Izzard and then moaning that he just turned up and talked drivel. Being OTT and sick is what Boyle does. The question is: did the Beeb cut him to avoid causing offence or because he was booed by the crowd? And who do these acts think they’re kidding anyway? They’re campaigning “against drink and drugs” when their industries are awash with both. Rockers against drugs are like bankers against bonuses. I’d like to have a fiver for every wrap of cocaine backstage at Wembley Arena. Russell Brand could have wheeled out Noel Fielding and said “If you laugh at his act you’re smoking way too much Skunk.” If Noel Gallagher hates narcotics, maybe he should sling away his Beatles collection.

*JIMMY Carr: “I tell you who I blame for all the drugs in schools... supply teachers.”

CORRIE should have had Enders on the ropes this week. BBC1’s libel on Londoners has hit a new trough of despondency. But instead of playing to their strengths, Corrie gave us lardy Eileen and fish-faced Julie hiding in a cupboard. Feeble slapstick. Elsewhere Karl has gone nuts, but can you blame him? A year ago, he was shacked-up with Stella, a woman with a) her own pub and b) the dishiest daughter in Weatherfield (with Eva, it’s always bangers for breakfast, no matter what you’re eating). He threw all that away for a miserable, short-lived fling with Sunita. Now he’s jobless, homeless and loveless. It’s wonder Rita hasn’t proposed. It could be worse though; if he were still on Taggart there’d be a mur-dah. What’s that? No! Keep away from the Rovers, Sunita! Oh flamin’ Nora... Still as long as the meerkats are safe.

*HAVING Eric’s funeral off screen was a missed opportunity; funerals are the perfect place for Gloria to pick up more rich old codgers. They’re like for the doddery and bewildered.

HOT on TV: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway... Phil Davis (Being Human) – “I’m only the f***ing devil, sweetheart.”

ROT on TV: The Matt Lucas Awards – Room Why-oh-Why... Heading Out – nodding off... Mayday – drama in distress... Anna & Katy – nice idea, next time try making it funny.

MICHAEL Grade brought us The World’s Oldest Jokes. Ironically, the very oldest one was just like him - an ancient fart that failed to raise a smile.

*THE antique gags died a death, but then how will Simon Amstell’s material go down in 4,000 years time? It doesn’t do much for me now.

ANT & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeway is such a mishmash of old ideas viewers could get done for receiving stolen goods. House Party, Beadle, Toothbrush – they’ll nick anything. But the lads do it with such infectious enthusiasm, it’s hard to mind. I miss the Jiggy Bank; as base men used to call Kirsty Gallacher.

*WHY did that kid die on Broadchurch? Was it of boredom? Or did the annoying background music wind him up as much as it did me?

*THE message of ITV’s Mayday? Everyone in an English village is dangerous, dodgy or deranged. But we knew that from Emmerdale.

RANDOM irritations: the Santander ad. Phil/Lola/Lexi. The subversion of the news by hectoring health bores. Don’t drink, swerve sausages, don’t eat bacon... these creeps won’t be happy until everyone in Britain is either living on alfalfa or sitting on the naughty step.

SMALL joys of TV: The Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (BBC4). Proper old English accents (Food Glorious Food). Bradley Walsh (The Chase). Boxing At The Movies. Lee Mack in Anna & Katy’s continental Countdown send-up.

SEPARATED at birth: Christian Jessen and Captain America, one a medical miracle popular with soldiers... and so’s the other one. Runners-up: Fiona (Mayday) and Lou from Little Britain.

*TALK of ‘modernised boxes’ on The Railway may have confused viewers in Essex. Please note: they’re not vajazzled.

March 3. SETH MacFarlane’s first and last shot at hosting the Oscars was more misjudged than a kangaroo court. Lines about the Kardashians’ facial hair felt more in keeping with a comedy roast than a night of class, style and superstar movie magic. Seth claimed that Django Unchained’s multiple use of the n-word was “loosely based on Mel Gibson’s voicemails.” And said the film was “the story of a man fighting to get back with his woman who’s been subjected to unthinkable violence; or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it a date movie.” Ouch.

Yet Seth was smart to realise it was a risky strategy, so he had William Shatner materialise as James T. Kirk from the future to warn him against bad-taste moments. This allowed him to toast Hollywood women with a song called We Saw Your Boobs under the shield of irony... a shield badly dented by including Jodie Foster in The Accused, a film about gang-rape. Who was his script adviser here? Frankie Boyle with a grudge?

The bulk of Seth’s monologue was about Seth’s monologue, which was bizarrely egotistic – it’s not about you! And after all that the most memorable moment was Jennifer Lawrence falling over... The bigger problem, other than the gong presenters’ traditionally awful scripted patter, was the quality of the films on offer. Yes Daniel Day-Lewis was outstanding as Lincoln, but the flick goes on way too long – like the Oscars themselves. (To think the Academy has the cheek to give out an award for editing... )Argo is edge of the seat stuff, but distorts history yet again to paint Brits as the bad guys. You wonder if cinema has much left to offer us; the real must-see drama these days comes from TV.

Game Of Thrones returning next month is a far more exciting prospect than G.I. Joe Retaliation at the multiplex. From The Sopranos to Breaking Bad, via Borgen, Braquo, The Wire, Homeland, Mad Men and The Killing, TV has been setting the pace. It’s just gutting that so few modern classics are British.

*HOW about Chubby Brown reworking We Saw Your Boobs to cover Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct and Heather Graham in Boogie Nights when we saw a lot more...

*LIFE Of Pi is the story of a kid cast adrift in a small boat with a tiger. Scary yes, but still safer than being a woman in a Lib Dem bedroom...

SIMON Cowell’s new cooking series is sorely needed. Why, some days we’re down to just three food shows a night in prime time. It’s a starvation diet. Food Glorious Food is an entirely original idea that only a cynic would write off as The Great British Best Dish Masterchef Bake-Off. It’s been dubbed The Eggs Factor because it has all the traditional talent show elements: the tough judge (steely Anne Harrison), back-stories, deluded contestants... So we got a barking mad woman whose Sausages In Milk looked more like she’d stewed them in rhino semen and wallpaper paste. There were mother-and-son eccentrics dressed as Victorians who made fruitcake without much fruit; and a cranky lady who treads fermented cabbage with her bare feet, no doubt for extra corn. Dishes included the tipsy tart, which made me think of Paul Abdul for some reason. And hot dragon pie. Which I believe is what Sharon promises Ozzy when he behaves himself. The judges are well chosen, the look is sunny, the feel gentler than X Factor, but ratings collapsed like a badly-prepared soufflé. It would have made more sense if ITV had just ripped off Man Vs Food.

NEW sitcom Heading Out stars Sue Perkins as closeted gay vet Sara. Despite being rude and insecure, she charms Shelley Conn’s Eve by claiming to be an elf. Possibly Pixie Grott. Bright moments included the toffee-nosed nitwit who treated her run-over cat with Rescue Remedy. And the unlikely pet cemetery boss who wouldn’t be rushed: “We’re not a drive-through crematorium madam; we don’t do take-aways.” But laughs were few, and compared to Modern Family it felt hammy and old-hat.

HOT on TV: My Little Princess (E4)... Sons Of Anarchy (Five USA)... Kerry Godliman... Iain Glen (Jack Taylor)... Ripper Street finale.

ROT on TV: Heading Out - what most viewers do when it starts... Loaded TV – lobotomised trash... Lightfields – they’ve just remade Marchlands... Shameless – one quick meteorite strike could end this misery.

THERE were agonizing scenes on EastEnders. Not Phil getting KO’d into the car pit (again), but all that old cobblers about Derek. Seems that when he wasn’t nailing people’s heads to coffee tables, dodgy Del loved tucking into pickled herrings on his birfdee. He loved ’em so much he never once mentioned herrings in the thirteen months he was here. Not even on his birfdee. Still, it does explain what attracted him to fragrant fishwife Kat.

JIMMY O walked on with a blowtorch on Funny Business and told a cruise ship audience: “I’m the warm-up... that’s my best gag... ” Sadly it was. The Wigan comic went down like the Titanic: slowly and painfully.

* DO you ever look at the strange misshapen penises on Embarrassing Bodies and wonder what the owner did to piss off Uri Geller?

*THE close-ups on this show are horrific. It’s like Stitch Me, Lift Me, Tuck Me, F**k Me.

*BRIAN Cox revealed that men are wetter than women. For proof see Nick Clegg and Miriam.

*WHAT about Ryan and Katy’s kebab shop kiss on Corrie? Talk about It Started With A Shish. How long before he’s giving her the full skewer?

RANDOM irritations: Corrie’s Gail Platt - in that black coat she looks like some malign human/beetle hybrid. The BBC’s rugby commentary team. Kelly Osbourne being allowed to sound off about fashion...

SMALL Joys of TV: Bassey at the Oscars. Daniel Day-Lewis’s acceptance speech. Hard rock cruise ships (Funny Business). Randy Alexis (Helena Mattsson) on 666 Park Avenue. Johnny Cash Night (Sky Arts 1).

SKY showbiz reporter Lucy Cotter asked Shirley Bassey if she felt Adele had taken over her “mantra.” Eh? When she gets home, Adele will no doubt put her Oscar on her mantra-piece.

SEPARATED at birth: Waldo and Grant Mitchell, one a malignant cartoon, the other a character in Black Mirror. Runners-up: cruise director Richard Sykes (Funny Business) and Michael Crawford

QUESTIONS: did Jennifer Lawrence buy that gown for the Oscars or a gypsy wedding? Does David Cameron dye his hair? Would a lesbian vet get to grips with a rampant rabbit? Was Heading Out commissioned because of the box-ticking or box-licking?

CAT on Dinner Date was talking about her curry paste mix when she announced: “There’s only so much pounding a girl can take.” Although Katie Price might beg to differ...