May 29. THE funniest sight of the week was Martin Freeman’s reaction
to The Only Way Is Essex winning a Bafta. He couldn’t have looked
more aghast if he’d just caught his missus in bed with Mr Darcy
the pig while Arnold Schwarzenegger filmed it. Well jel!
There are those who’d say that Mr Darcy was more deserving
of a Best Supporting Actor gong than Freeman. I wouldn’t go
that far, but Brendan Coyle was robbed, along with the cast
of Downton Abbey in general (as was Johnny Harris). At least
when the Baftas ran on pure snobbery they made sense. Now TV’s
self-styled ‘great and good’ play to the gallery and you end
up with the Best Entertainment Bafta going to The Cube. Or as
host Graham Norton put it: “The Cube? Seriously? The Cube?”
Stick in there, Don’t Scare The Hare, you could be a shoo-in
We knew standards were slipping from the off, when instead
of Dame Maggie Smith, the director teased us with arrival shots
of Gypsy Wedding guests and that great thespian Louie Bloody
Spence. Bafta should carry more weight than Katie Price’s bra,
not aspire to do her nails. The distant rumbling heard when
Paddy McGuinness came on to crack one of his famous non-gags
was just the sound of Lord Reith revolving in his grave.
Steve Coogan, Vicki McClure and Daniel Rigby deserved their
wins, as did Jo Brand for Getting On. Jo reckoned that some
male critics would be incensed but not me. After two decades
on TV it was about time she did something funny. Less merited
were Baftas for EastEnders (why?), Rev (a sitcom with no laughs)
and Harry & Paul (a result so surprising that they hadn’t even
bothered to turn up.) Norton’s chat show is the best on British
TV, but his opening monologue had a distinct whiff of “This’ll
do" about it. Even Brian Conley would have thought twice
about pressing the old fluffy towels/suitcase gag into service
(not Davro, though.)
The theme of the night was nostalgia. With gongs going to
the ghosts of Eric & Ernie, and old-school Corrie, this was
British TV toasting its past. It also reminded us what today’s
TV lacks: great contemporary dramas, giant entertainers and
popular sitcoms that touch the nation.
*THE TOWIE mob were delighted with their Bafta. They thought
it stood for Blinding, Amazing Fake Tits Amy. (Idiots! It’s
Bonking & Fondling Tarts Again). Giving them a gong for TV excellence
is like giving Ryan Giggs an award for fidelity.
*IF the Made In Chelsea girls met the TOWIE boys would they
be Laid In Pitsea?
*LOUIS Theroux met a man “known to be a big masturbator” on
Miami Mega-Jail. So two for the price of one... Self-abuse is
a problem among inmates awaiting trial here. They don’t just
do it openly, they do it at the female screws – a practice known
as ‘gunning’ (giving new meaning to Bullet For My Valentine.)
The jail conditions are the real scandal, though. This place
makes Strangeways look like The Savoy. Kept twenty-three to
a cell, men battle for status, battering the weak half to death...
It’s a wonder they have energy left for the gunning. Seriously,
you wouldn’t treat animals like this.
GEORDIE Shore is basically an hour-long advert for Chlamydia,
full of blokes devoted to “smashing” birds and women who say
“I’m 21 and I’m going to put out.” Whether that’s a reference
to age or IQ, I couldn’t say. This is Jersey Shore relocated
to Newcastle, with ripped blokes and mint lasses sharing a house
and various acts of intimacy. One girl was gobbling like a Norfolk
turkey within hours, but insisted it wasn’t cheating on her
boyfriend as it wasn’t sex (the old Bill Clinton defence). The
slang is different: “tap, tap... boshed it... in there like
swimwear”. But other than that, it’s same old, same old.
*ESSEX, Chelsea, Geordies... where next? I’d recommend the
village of Burwash, East Sussex. I’ve fallen in with a fast
set of women there who meet for daily coffee sessions and openly
admit their addiction to keep fit, cream cakes, farmers’ markets
and pub quizzes. That, my friends, is reality.
TV needs another antiques show like Tripoli needs more pot-holes.
But Four Rooms gives Roadshow greed a Deal Or No Deal spin.
You show your collectible to four dealers who bid for it one
at a time, rather like orgy night on Spartacus. Turn one down
and there’s no going back. Jeff Salmon stands out. Cynical and
full of himself, he challenged one punter to settle a deal on
the roll of a dice – and won. Items included a cast-iron bust
of Hitler. Imagine that, looking straight into the face of unspeakable
evil. But enough about Jeff...
*DISHY dealer Emma Hawkins specialises in taxidermy. All possible
jokes about stuffing will be dated, valued and rejected.
* EM paid £48K for a ripped Francis Bacon painting. Give me
half an hour in Tate Modern with a Stanley knife, I’d make absolute
HOT on TV: new Human Target (SyFy)... Glenn Martin DDS...
Secret Millionaire – heart-warming.
ROT on TV: Diagnosis Live – televised flashing... Funny Or
Die – dead on arrival... Geordie Shore – as shallow as Atom
Ant’s paddling pool.
*C4’s pitiful Diagnosis Live featured genital warts, vaginal
discharges and crusting nipples – three of the worst punk bands
ever to play the Roxy. Their music was infectious, though.
*TO cure genital warts, Doc Jessen recommended “a freezing
session” – otherwise known as a night with Anne Robinson.
*CHERYL Cole “failed to connect” with fellow judge Paula Abdul.
Tsk. Should’ve introduced her to the toilet cleaner.
*POOR Cheryl. The Yanks didn’t get her accent. Why didn’t
she just mime? She’s good at that.
RANDOM irritations: Andy ‘Goals!’ Townsend. The BBC’s one-sided
‘news’ presentation of anti-booze, pro-tax propaganda. Armando
Iannucci – his name is actually Italian for smug git. Armando
Iannucci , so many vowels, so few laughs.
SMALL joys of TV: The LSD/cartoon episode of Fringe. Daisy
Lowe’s see-through Bafta dress. Dara (You’re Fired). Johnny
Vegas’s Kara Tointon/Paul Weller dream on Ideal. Potty Paula
Hamilton (Celeb Five Go To) – as mad as a wet ferret.
*PAULA moaned that there were no dik-diks on safari. She can’t
have seen Baggs The Brand in lady-boy make-up.
*SEPARATED at birth: Michael Chaklis and Super Mario’s Goomba?
May 22. IT’S official! EastEnders is Britain’s Best Soap once
again...which mostly tells you how grotty Corrie has been lately.
Albert Square’s baby-swap nonsense has hung over the nation
like a dark cloud of putrid misery since New Year’s Eve. It’s
been so dull and depressing the Soap Awards couldn’t even bring
themselves to include it in their montage of the year. The BBC
promised us a happy ending, but as yet no-one has tarred and
feathered Ronnie and run her out of town. She’s still hanging
around like a sour-faced zombie with tooth-ache (which is pretty
much how she’s looked ever since she got here).
It’s been a lousy year in Britain’s ‘Best’ Soap as the writers
recycled their three obsessions – prostitution, child loss agony,
and humiliating Ian Beale. Family-friendly it isn’t. Millions
are still traumatised by the memory Darren showing Max his foreskin,
a scene described by many as “cheesy”. Well, I hope they were
talking about the scene.
They also gave us Phil’s nasty crack addiction, but enough
about Shirley Carter. How did Corrie lose to that? Step forward
the Fishwick Saga. John Stape, teacher turned kidnapper turned
killer turn-off, throttles pensioners like a door-to-door Dignitas
salesman and takes more hostages than a Somali pirate. It really
is nonsense on a stick, cobblers on t’cobbles.
The Street’s sweetest story all year was Graeme’s romance
with über-babe Tina, a development that gave hope to plain but
witty window-cleaning arsonists everywhere. Naturally they ruined
that with Xin, the visa-cheat Chinese cutie who’s sometimes
sweet but generally sour. Tina star Michelle Keegan deserved
Sexiest Female. But how did Rita Simmons get on the shortlist?
Roxy’s not the Sexiest EastEnder. She’s not even the Sexiest
Mitchell. Emmerdale temptress Eve Birch wipes the floor with
her. Still, Jane Danson, Emmett J Scanlan and Bill Tarmey were
worthy winners. And I’ll grudgingly buy the Corrie tram smash
as Most Spectacular Scene. But how many OTT crashes and exploding
pubs can the soaps throw at us before viewers get bored with
all the melodrama? ITV’s strategy of turning Weatherfield into
Canal Street with a Moss Side crime rate seems particularly
ill-considered. They’re in danger of forgetting the First Commandment
of Soap: thou shalt not omit adultery.
*I HEAR EastEnders are working on their most horrific twist
to date: Fat Boy chokes to death on Mercy’s gusset, but his
brain is kept alive in a tank, attached to one eye which he
can never close...in Big Mo’s bedroom. The horror, the horror!
*MORE Soap Awards, Least Sexy: Heather Trott. Worst coupling:
Connor and Carol (Enders). Worst pub landlady: Nicola (Emmerdale).
Least missed: sex-pest Adam Best. Most missed: Corrie’s Blanche
Hunt. Most missed East End regulars: The Luftwaffe.
LARRY Jaffee is my natural enemy. As editor of The Walford Gazette,
he is EastEnders’ biggest fan. Larry’s new book Walford State
Of Mind tells the story of the fanzine, of his fight to keep the
soap on-air in the US, and much more. I have a signed copy to
give away to whoever emails me the best plot suggestion for the
show. You also have to tell me where the soap is set. Is it: a)
Essex b) East London or c) Hell? Email answers and suggestion
TOM was a man on a mission on The Apprentice: “I’m trying
to find a ten inch cloche,” he said. Yeah, you and half the
women in Britain, mate. I know my wife struggles so with my
twelve inch one. A cloche is a bell-shaped metal cover for a
plate of food, of course, something anyone genuinely tasked
to find one for the Savoy would have discovered in thirty seconds
on Google. But I’m not sure internet access would help Vincent,
a nitwit of such magnitude that he rang a fishmonger to ask
where he could buy steak. Calling this bunch Team Logic is like
Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Ken Clarke calling themselves Team
Feminist. Gavin attempted to buy a top hat from a shop called
Top Hat Drycleaners (d’oh!), Natasha wanted rival hotel The
Ritz to fax over their supplier list. Sure, here, and take our
customers too while you’re at it. Various halfwits tried to
find discount deals in Mayfair, or drove to suburban Teddington
for light-bulbs (why stop at there, guys, Bognor’s just down
the road?) Incompetence reigned supreme. Only Jim, the “Irish
bulldozer of charm”, impressed.
*PUNDIT Jane Moore claimed to be “pre-Internet” on You’re
Fired. Clearly not pre-Botox, though.
THE Street That Cut Everything channeled the spirit of Joseph
Goebbels. No-one, not even the maddest Tory back-bencher, has
ever suggested that all council services should be axed.. .but
BBC1 withdrew the lot from a Preston cul-de-sac anyway. And
then sprayed graffiti, dumped sofas, and sent in packs of dogs
to crap everywhere...It’s a wonder they didn’t chuck in a few
corpses and a Martian invasion for added effect. Next time send
home all council ‘community empowerment managers’, ‘cheerleading
development officers’ etc and see if anyone notices.
*WHAT The Street That Cut Everything clearly didn’t cut: chips,
cakes, pies, crisps...
HOT on TV: Game Of Thrones (Sky Atlantic)... Rafe Spall (The
Shadow Line)... Jennifer Beals (Chicage Code)... another strong
ROT on TV: Compete For The Meat – prize turkey, needs stuffing...
Two Greedy Italians – one lousy show... Made In Chelsea – duller
than Monty Don; why not film their butlers instead?
WHEN Aliens Attack discussed the possibility of Earth being
invaded and conquered by hostile ETs. What makes them think
they’re not here already? Possibly posing as Moldovan hip-hop
act Zdob si Zdub...
... *IF aliens attacked, the IMF would demand an immediate
merger – the million mile high club. (Great if they looked like
Seven Of Nine, not so great if we’re talking District 9).
*IMF: Intentional Maid Fondling.
*CAN we be sure all of the countries taking part in Eurovision
were genuine? One or two entries had a definite touch of Narnia
about them. I kept hoping to hear “Next up, representing Mordor,
death-metal band Sauron & The Orcs...”
*X Factor fans say the show will be rubbish without Dannii,
compared presumably to the peaks of musical excellence it scaled
with Jedward, Same Difference, Chico, Eoghan Quigg (continued
*THE real reason BBC1 held Question Time in the Scrubs? Historical
interest. Give Ken Clarke another year or two and there won’t
be any prisons left.
*WAYS to improve Dating In The Dark: 1) Move it to Essex 2)
Or better still, Midsomer 3) Send in new contestant, Dominique
*SMALL joys of TV: Melody sounding like she was asking people
if they had syphilis on The Apprentice (actually physalis -
a Cape gooseberry). Our ’Enery. Extreme Fishing (C5). Extreme
breast-feeding (Game Of Thrones).
CELEBRITY maths: Mackenzie Cook + Basil Rathbone = Vincent
from The Apprentice.
RANDOM irritations: Cowell keeping Louis Walsh, the idiot
responsible for Wagner, as an X Factor judge. Jedward landing
a BBC series. Brenda Blethyn playing Vera as a grumpy Tyneside
housewife with a migraine coming on. I keep expecting Sarah
Millican to pop up as her assistant, eating a Stottie.
May 15. The Apprentice is back and it still delivers, although
no-one seems entirely sure what. BBC1 reckon their contestants
are the cream of the country’s “entrepreneurial elite” when
they’re clearly just the usual bunch of puffed-up nitwits: an
estate agent, an actress, an accountant, a “business psychologist,”
a borderline psychotic... And an “inventor” who looks like Michael
Sheen impersonating Mister Bean with his head squashed between
two lift doors. But at least we’ve got a fresh crop of boardroom
clowns to laugh at.
Within minutes of series seven starting, the air was thick
with cringe-worthy quotes. “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit
when there are footprints on the moon,” parroted Melody. Okay,
love, you moon and I’ll supply the boot. She said she’d been
“personally taught by Al Gore, the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu”.
But in what we can’t be sure. Melody only survived because rival
team leader Edward Hunter was an even bigger idiot. Ed was an
accountant in denial, a monumental arse with Stuart Baggs potential.
“I don’t fit the mould,” he claimed, just before Sugar decided
he didn’t fit the show.
Telecom software salesman Vincent is priceless. He looks like
a cross between D’Artagnan and Mickey Pearce from Fools & Horses,
wears pink socks with brown shoes and comes across like a sitcom
romeo. While Edna Average “seeks out pain rather than pleasure”
making her ideal for a merger with Max Mosley. Who’ll win? Gavin,
or maybe Jim. Glenn could have a shot, except he was responsible
for crap-app Slang-a-Tang and didn’t recognise an orange. Is
the ability to squeeze oranges by hand really a guide to business
potential, btw? Or just a middle class version of the Gen Game?
Either way, the only real change this series is the prize. “I’m
not after a sleeping partner,” insisted Shugs as the camera
cut to Melody (though you wouldn’t kick her out of bed for making
crumbs.) Instead he’s offering an “uncivil partnership”, which
sounds like Steve MacDonald’s marriage but actually means that
instead of a job the winner cops a £250K business investment
- with Shugs as partner. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh
TOP 5 Apprentice complaints: 5) Karren Brady, she’s no Margaret
Mountford. 4) Rubbish pundits on You’re Fired - fire the booker.
3) Daft challenges - making soup without a recipe? Why? Can
Bill Gates make soup? 2) The Beeb claiming Sugar’s scripted
lines aren’t scripted. 1) Eight women, not one vajazzle.
MADE In Chelsea is E4’s answer to The Only Way Is Essex: only
with debs and hoorah Henries instead of wide-boys and wannabe
WAGs. There’s Binky, Cheska, Caggie, Ollie, Funda Onal (honestly)
and Tarquin Tingtong Biscuit-Barrel the Third, probably. Just
to hear them bray brings out the inner Bob Crow in me. They
have their own Mark Wright in Spencer, who’s with Funda but
fancies Caggie, a younger upmarket version of Tanya from EastEnders.
They go to Cannes instead of Marbs and Raffles instead of Sugar
Hut, but they’re just as thick as their Essex counterparts –
Binky thought Dickens wrote Winnie the Pooh! They’ll never be
as likeable, though. These spoilt rich kids have had everything
on a plate since birth. At least Essex families earn their money
the hard way – theft, fraud, fiddles...
*ANAGRAM of Funda Onal: Do anal fun. Well, it might stop Spencer
from straying. It’d probably remind him of Eton.
HOW about this for a TV show: we take the visionary who commissioned
Don’t Scare The Hare and horse-whip them live on telly – one
stroke for every hundred disappointed viewers. It would go on
all night. Hare is so crass, dumb and pointless it makes Hole
In The Wall look like The Krypton Factor. It’s presented by
Jason Bradbury, an unpleasant lisping tool who’s like a bald
Timmy Mallett without the charm. This show’s sole redeeming
feature is that it prevents Sing If You Can from winning Worst
Entertainment Format of 2011.
HOT on TV: The Chicago Code (Sky1)... Neil Gaiman’s Doctor
Who – at last an episode that’s well-written and exciting...
Suranne Jones as the Tardis in human form (Tar-dish?).
ROT on TV: Vera – least convincing cop since Crabtree on ’Allo
’Allo... Atlantis – it sunk like Osama... Life Of Riley – as
limp as Ed Miliband’s handshake.
Hot NOT on TV: motorbike death-riders at Zippo’s Circus. Brian
Conley - sensational in the Neil Diamond-themed musical Brother
*JUNKIES shooting up, televised deaths, on-screen suicides...
how much lower can TV go? Three ideas: 1) Anorexic Come Dine
With Me - four skeletons staring at carrot. 2) Al-Qaeda’s Next
Top Terrorist - bearded lunatics compete to replace Bin Laden;
challenges to include goat-bothering, gelignite pants juggling
and a race to replace that tired old “Death To America” slogan.
3) Inside The Human Body with Ashley Cole, a hooker (vile but
of a bonny hue) and a trio of super-injunction soccer stars.
*PIERS and Prescott? Why give this blundering waste of space
air-time? And Prescott isn’t much better.
*QUESTION Time will come live from Wormwood Scrubs with a
panel of crooks, conmen and scoundrels. Tsk, same old, same
*A BBC drama exec has admitted that EastEnders is “unrealistic”.
We’re now awaiting that Marcus Brigstocke “not funny” confirmation.
*POOR Heather Trott, what a waist. But this is what happens
when you try and date outside your species. Oi, Hev, three words:
chubby chasers website.
*BLUE said they’d emigrate if they didn’t win Eurovision.
* THE Times called Stewart Lee “a considerable bellwether
in the schedules.” Idiots. The word is spelt bell-end.
RANDOM Irritations: BBC news describing EU flag flying as
a tradition! US X Factor hype apparently qualifying as news.
Foreign contestants on Britain’s Got Talent – why? Jason sodding
Bradbury, never mind scaring the hare, who scared his sodding
hair? The jumped-up bald git.
SMALL joys of TV: Bobby Slayton, the ‘pit-bull of comedy’
playing a wise-cracking wise-arse (i.e. himself), on The Mind
Of The Married Man. Julie Bradbury’s Canal Walks taking in ‘Stoke
Bottom Lock’, which sounds like a wrestling hold George Michael
THE latest hip LA surgery procedure is elf ears. Wow, a whole
fashion trend inspired by Alexander Armstrong.
May 13. JOHN Sullivan is up there with Galton & Simpson and
Clement & La Frenais: a pukka, sitcom-writing genius. Del-Boy
was such a national institution it was easy to forget that John
also created Citizen Smith, Vincent Pinner, Kirk St Moritz and
a host of other diamonds. The best tribute the BBC could pay
him would be to open the doors to other working class comedy
I HAVE loved Only Fools & Horses since my days on Sounds and
maintain that Sullivan only made two glaring mistakes with the
show. 1) He should never have made the Trotters penniless again,
it ruined the perfect pay-off to the original ‘final’ series.
Instead of reviving Fools he should have launched a spin-off
moving the newly-rich Trotters to upmarket Chislehurst. 2) Green
Green Grass was a tragic error. Fools always seemed rooted in
reality. Away from Peckham and surrounded by stereotypical dimwit
yokels, the great Boycie and Marlene finished up washed up in
May 7th. GEMMA had a Union Jack vajazzle done for club owner
Mick on The Only Way Is Essex. Except it was on her stomach,
making it technically a flabazzle. And with her belly, the flag
could have been full size... Gem is TV’s chunkiest motor trader
since Roy Evans on EastEnders. If her heart hadn’t been broken,
the arteries would probably have just clogged up. She wept buckets
over Mick, even though their relationship only ever existed
in her head. He’d shown as much genuine interest in her as English
voters did in AV.
Gemma wasn’t the only tubster in tears, though. Arg got choked
up over Lydia after she turned up at Mark’s pool party with
another fella. It’s just a shame ITV2 didn’t caption it ‘Fatty
Arg Buckles’. And big-head Mark ended up getting shoved fully-clothed
into the pool by Lauren, who finally realised he was “mugging
her off”. TOWIE hasn’t made the soaps redundant, but it’s certainly
made them seem stale. When was the last time Enders served up
a character as likeable as dimbo Joey Essex? Or as sweet-natured
as Chloe, a girl who’s goofier than a Disney dog? Most Corrie
women come job-lot from the psycho-bitch aisle of Costco – no
wonder so many Weatherfield fellas prefer male company.
The soaps don’t give us catchphrases like “Well jel”, “Shuuu’UP!”,
“ream machine” and “No carbs before Marbs.” They don’t feature
a female Merlin (Debbie), vajazzles and pet pigs. Kirk, Sam,
Nanny Pat, camp Harry with his legs like pipe-cleaners – they’re
captivating. Mr Darcy is better company than Heather Trott,
Lauren Pope is hotter than both Mitchell sisters. And OK, they’re
mostly shallow nitwits but they’re also real people who laugh,
flirt and aspire, which is why viewers relate to them. The only
way TOWIE could get any better is if we could vote on what happens
next. Imagine that, a living soap we controlled. The power!
I’d have Mark marry his own reflection, Joey find a brain donor,
Debbie exiting by broomstick, Arg and Gemma finding true love,
on a reinforced mattress. And as for Mr Darcy? Two words: hog
*Clarification: a royal sausage plait is a Nanny Pat dinner,
and not as previously thought Prince William’s honeymoon treat.
ON Doctor Who a scary musical siren lured men to an uncertain
fate. It was like Kerry Katona all over again. Our heroes materialised
on a pirate ship where Captain Hugh Bonneville, looking no stranger
to a Jolly Roger, faced a fearsome enemy: the budget. BBC Wales
had blown so much on the US episodes that they could only run
to a crew of five. They had a plank (Rory) but Hugh’s character
was called Captain Avery and he didn’t even have a parrot. Even
the dodgy siren, who looked set to splice his mainbrace, turned
out to be a holographic doctor from another dimension (Star
Trek Voyager?). They’d clearly spent half a doubloon on the
script. It was all yo, and no ho. Tsk. Poor Hugh. From Downton
Abbey to downright shabby.
NO wonder Ian Beale’s escort looked familiar! She’s the Mum
from the Renault Twingo advert whose dishy daughter plays ‘Lola’
in a seedy Parisian club. Even tightwad Beale might have paid
full price for that particular Mother and daughter special.
(The drag queen from the other Twingo ad is probably auditioning
for Corrie as we speak). *OTHER ad transfers to brighten up
Walford: meerkat madras; a warbling opera singer to kill; new
Vic barmaid, Amanda Landry; launderette operated by Cravendale
HOT on TV: The Shadow Line... brand new Archer (5*)... Andrew
Lincoln (The Walking Dead, Five) - hard-boiled Egg.
ROT on TV: crisp-obsessed Stuart Lee – all cheese, no onions...
So You Think You Can Dance – strictly dumb prancing... Case
Sensitive – as believable as a Pakistan government denial.
*MORGAN Freeman raised many vital, fundamental questions on
Through The Wormhole, the biggest being why was the great actor
only wearing one ear-ring? Had he lost one or found one?
*THE biggest shock about the Bin Laden assassination is how
little you get for £600,000 in Pakistan. No phone, no internet,
poor decor. Tsk, should have called Location, Location, Location.
*THE BBC must spend big on top talent, says Lord Patten. Good
idea. When are they going to start?
*AMANDA Holden is to appear on stage with an overweight green
ogre. Those years of training with Piers have finally paid off.
*NEIL Delamere on Ronan Keating having a fling with his wife’s
double: “Only a member of Boyzone would do a cover version of
*SIMON Cowell thinks Louis Walsh as judge will improve Britain’s
Got Talent. That’s Louis whose chief criteria for a promising
act is to ask himself “How Irish are they?” What the show really
needs is a) more actual talent – the clue is in the title b)
at least one judge whose critical faculties are intact.
*NICK Clegg missed a trick last week. If he’d explained that
using the AV system on Britain’s Got Talent would have made
Stavros Flatley the 2009 winner, he’d have swung the entire
ITV1 voting base behind it.
AFTER two new (dull) female detectives hit our screens, here’s
my guide to TV’s All-Time Sexiest Female Tecs: 1) Pepper Anderson
(Police Woman) 2) Laurie Berthaud (Spiral). 3) Anna Lee – axed
after one run. Odd. You’d expect ITV commissioners to be Anna
*ON May 25, I’m hosting a night of Cockney comics at the Woodville
Halls, Gravesend, Kent. They’re all working class and over-fifty
so they won’t get on telly, but they might just make you laugh.
Random Irritations: Peter Andre’s inability to pronounce “HD”.
Laurie Penny – two-bob pundit. Osama, 53, being referred to
as “a pretty old man.” Heather Trott coming to Blackheath; Oi
Enders no! Keep out of South London, we’ve got enough problems.
Small joys of TV: Graham Grumbleweed as a Corrie hotel owner.
Classic Albums on Screamadelica. Phil Kay on cheap airlines:
“How can the sandwiches cost more than the flight?”
WE’RE spoiled for lookalikes this week: Gemma (TOWIE) and
Ursula the Sea Witch. Lord Patten and a slightly slimmer Chris
Biggins (Chris Middlin’?). Best? Dr Who’s The Silence and Kenneth
Williams in Carry On Matron; one a shocking ham keeping alive
a corny comic tradition, the other Kenneth Williams.
MICHAEL Collins’s documentary on the decline of council estates,
The Great Estate, rang many bells with me. I lived for years
on the Ferrier in south east London. It looked foreboding but
the tenants were hard-working, house-proud and friendly; there
was a real sense of community and civic responsibility. Then
the local council had a change of policy and brought in ‘problem
families.’ Within six months the walkways had to be closed because
of rising crime rates, vandalism and general yobbery went through
the roof, the place was ruined, the community spirit destroyed.
May 1st. NOT sure if you’ve heard about this, but apparently
there was some kind of wedding on last week...I’m joking of
course. You couldn’t move for advance TV coverage of Wills and
Kate’s Excellent Adventure. Hour after hour on the royal love
story, barking mad etiquette experts, what felt like entire
days of idle speculation about That Dress... All we were short
of was Brian Cox to explain how Kate had become so physically
radiant the stars themselves were put to shame.
But the Big Day surely melted the most hardened cynics; even
those of us who’d had our morning viewing plans (George & Mildred
on ITV3, followed by Sky Sports 3’s Aerobics Oz Style) cruelly
disrupted. This wasn’t just a wedding; this was Britain’s Got
Pageantry. Billions around the globe gawped at the majestic
splendour of the Abbey, gasped at the pomp, and beamed at the
beauty of the bride. (Some base men may also have noted the
peachiness of Pippa Middleton’s pulchritudinous posterior).
The BBC won the ratings war - despite fielding Matt Allwright
from Rogue Traders to do the vox pops, raising hopes that he
was about to expose a passing bishop as a dodgy plasterer. Cameras
cut between the mighty throngs on the streets to the chosen
few inside, the long wait made bearable by a rib-tickling stream
of lookalikes: The King of Tonga could have been Mohamed Al
Fayed, the Queen of Norway looked a lot like Dot Branning, while
Michael Middleton was easily mistaken for Thunderbirds’ John
ITN’s coverage had more going for it, but ITV probably lost
viewers with their advance trailer of Philip Schofield’s face
imposed on Buck House like some Doctor Who baddie. (‘Society
milliner’ Stephen Jones had clearly wandered in from the mother-ship.)
Quickly bored, Sky News cut off David Cameron mid-stream to
focus on Tara’s unflattering nose job. Eamonn Holmes mentioned
“sore bottoms” – that’ll be those country piles. No-one suggested
the trees were there so Charles would have someone to talk to.
The ceremony itself lasted longer than one of Jim Davidson’s
marriages. But why had no-one told Rowan Williams to trim those
THE BBC went out of their way last week to find scowling republicans
to pour scorn on the wedding. We were assured several times
that the public weren’t interested. Maybe the million-strong
crowd who packed the Mall and beyond were a mirage. You don’t
need to be an ardent royalist to appreciate the monarchy’s unique
role in our islands’ history. The Windsors are a living reminder
of our independent past, and of our rich and distinctive national
culture. That’s why the world tuned in to watch. Friday was
a celebration of the best of Britain – from Elgar to the RAF
fly-past, from beefeaters to Morris Men, from Chaucer to McQueen.
What was there to hate here? William comes across as a rounded,
likeable chap – he’s the first real royal with a proper day
job (air-sea rescue). Catherine seems gracious and decent. And
if it’s the privilege of constitutional monarchy that boils
your blood, what’s your preferred alternative? A creep like
Blair or Cameron as a puffed-up President, an unelected bureaucrat,
a military dictator? It’s probably fair to say that nine out
ten of the people who profess to hate Wills and Kate also hate
*THE Wedding specials TV forgot: Don’t Scare The Heir (Prince
Charles in a bunny suit). Long Lost Royal Family (Fergie, the
Earl of Snowdon). The Consummation – Live, with running commentary
from Richard Keys and Andy Gray.
*BANNED from this column: puerile bad-taste ‘happy couple’
boob references, any mention of Kate having her ring tightened,
all talk of magnificent organs...
*AMERICAN Idol producers recently judged an audience member
to be too fat to sit in the front row. (Yet oddly Randy Jackson
gets on the panel every week...) I wonder if that’s the reason
Ken Clarke got stuck behind the choir...
SO that little girl in the spacesuit on Doctor Who was the
lovechild Amy Pond and the Doc didn’t know they’d had. I think.
And sinister aliens The Silence had been secretly running earth
for thousands of years, apparently for the purposes of lurking
about in cellars and hanging off of ceilings. Hmm. Great sci-fi
villains reflect the fears of our age. The Daleks were Nazis,
the Borg were Communists. Stephen Moffat gives us squatters.
Quite why the girl had to shoot the Doc was left unexplained.
(It’s almost as puzzling as why Matt Smith is up for a Bafta).
All we know for sure is that the Doc had a dip in the Pond.
Is it cynical to conclude that Moffat deliberately baffles us
with strong images and confusing plot-lines so he can get away
with blowing Doctor Who’s huge budget on lavish foreign jollies?
*TSK. A 903-year-old Time Lord bedding a teenage girl... it’s
wrong, it’s creepy, it’s clearly based on Peter Stringfellow.
Stick to women your own age, Doc. Like Judy Finnigan.
ODD Todd, Sean and Marcus, gymslip lesbians, a tranny... Corrie
is currently camper than Old Compton Street. They only need
gay granddad Platt back for the set. It’s almost as if ITV has
some kind of agenda... Out of that closet, Norris, it’s your
turn next. Come on, Ken, you’ve tried everything else. You wouldn’t
care, but they’re all so ruddy dull. Mind you, even the Street’s
murderers are tedious these days. Any chance of some good old-fashioned
*GAY Sean swanned around London with a large bear which he
left stuffed and forlorn on a park bench... no George Michael
quips by request.
HOT on TV: Rachel Riley (Countdown)... The Defenders (FX)...
Rock & Chips – RIP comic genius John Sullivan: Rest In Peckham.
ROT on TV: Sing If You Can – weep if you watch... Keith Lemon
– pith off... Don’t Scare The Hare – not very bunny... Jason
Bradbury – the worst case of ‘aggravated anus’ since Embarrassing
RICK’s wife Lori wasn’t too chuffed to see him alive on The
Walking Dead. Largely because his cop partner Shane had assured
her he’d perished before virtually raping her in a forest. “You
told me he’d died,” she seethed. Well, duh. When you’re as hot
as Sarah Wayne Callies guys will tell you anything.
MICK on The Only Way Is Essex sees Chloe as “someone good
to bounce off.” Odd, Gemma’s the one who’s built like a bouncy
castle... Self-styled ‘Gypsy Rose Gemma’ got her Tarot cards
out last week. Let’s see. There was The Fool: Joey Essex (hair
from the 80s, IQ stuck in the 50s.) The Hung Man: Mark, allegedly.
The Queen of Wands: Debbie the witch...
*A BLOKE painted with his underwear on Britain’s Got Talent.
Will he do as well as our last pants artist, Tracey Emin?
*THAT AV guide in full: Voting NO will seriously piss off
*MISSING from the final Crimson Petal, the newspaper headline:
WALFORD mysteries: who has a pub quiz night in broad daylight?
What backstreet boozer offers £1K prize money? How did hard-up
Hev afford that lap-top? Why did no-one notice Lydia’s had a
*CHRISTIAN was excited by Syed’s “massive expansion”. Well
we knew he wasn’t with him for his personality.
BY popular demand, here are the rest of my Top Ten Sexiest
Women in Sitcoms: 6) Erotica (Up Pompeii) 7) Karen (Father Dear
Father) 8) Sharon (Please Sir) 9) Polly (Fawlty Towers) 10)
SMALL joys of TV: Andrew Marr, shagger! If he can get his
leg over there’s hope for all of us. William & Kate: The Movie.
The Middletons’ local pub being The Old Boot (coincidentally
also Palace slang for Princess Michael of Kent).
SEPARATED at birth: David Cameron and Iggle-Piggle, as spotted
by reader ‘Ed M’ of Westminster.
*WE should send our drones to Libya, too. Will Self is free.