Garry Bushell
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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 next year.

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 fortunes.

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 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 to

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 Doctor Who.

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 Pop Hell).

*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 Strauss-Kahn...

*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 away.

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 Love.

*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 old.

*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. Bye, then.

* 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 might enjoy.

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 writers.

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 Sitcom Land.

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 roast.

*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 cats...

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 his wife.”

*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 Lee retentive.

*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 Tracy.

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 eyebrows?

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 Britain.

*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 adultery?

*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 Bodies.

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 Nick Clegg.

*MISSING from the final Crimson Petal, the newspaper headline: ‘Rackham Ruined!’

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 head transplant?

*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) Samantha (Bewitched).

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.