May 27. Channel 4’S Comedy Gala dragged on like a Heathrow passport
queue, and was only marginally more entertaining. There was
certainly just as much chance of getting frisked. Keith Lemon
climbed into the O2 audience and fondled a woman’s breasts.
That was his set. “Nice bangers,” was the pay-off, topped by
Jonathan Ross’s tasteful reference to “fingering”.
The show was for Great Ormond Street, a terrific cause, but
you couldn’t take a kid to see it.
How must old-time comics feel, sitting at home with less to
do than a pickpocket at a nudist camp, watching these charmless
berks? Those great old guys had to graft to get for their air-time
and they made every second count. Today’s comics take it – and
us – for granted.
Headliner Sean Lock, good on panel shows, looked like a perverted
uncle as he phoned in a spot as memorable as Bulgarian pop.
But hey, at least Jo Brand surprised us by mentioning that she
was fat and hated her husband.
Indian stand-up Paul Chowdhry made the most impact. “Any BNP
in tonight?” he asked. “I tried to join the BNP recently. Obviously
over the phone... I got put through to a call centre... in India.”
Few of the turns put much effort in, though. And even fewer
deserved the exposure. There’s more chance of finding compromising
shots of Theresa May on a soccer star’s BlackBerry, than of
ITV ever screening The Unforgettable Andi Osho.
The real problem is that there’s an artificial glut of stand-ups
on telly right now. It’s a bubble that needs to be burst. Comics
are rushed on screen too early; they don’t get the time to learn
their craft. TV comedy has been perverted by admen and their
strange obsession with target age groups. It’s not for all of
us anymore. Just better-off under 35 year olds.
The BBC once made the best sitcoms in the world, written by
blue collar geniuses like Galton & Simpson, Johnny Speight and
Clement & Le Frenais. But today’s Beeb, run by right-on snobs
and feather-bedded by public cash, no longer feels any compulsion
to produce shows most of us want to watch. They’d rather squander
our dosh on self-indulgent tosh like Grandma’s House, a show
that got thrashed in the ratings every week by Dad’s Army repeats
from 1970. Or Roger & Val Have Just Got In. Yes, it was clever,
it won awards; the Guardian liked it. But there were more laughs
in the opening credits of Steptoe & Son Ride Again than their
*TOP Gala comedy act? Jessie J in her floral jim-jams... although
she was funnier when she threw that wobbler on The Voice last
EMILY, 23, from Cornwall told Embarrassing Bodies that she
“suffers” from 32KK breasts, prompting base men to chortle that
they could suffer some of that themselves, while speed-dialling
South West trains. Emily’s condition is called Macromastia.
What a mouthful... She had to go on TV about it cos her GP could
never look her in the eye.
ONE of my fears is that thousands of years from now, when
alien scholars study our long-extinct society, the only record
they’ll find will be a Eurovision final. They won’t know we
watched it tongue-in-cheek. They’ll think this over-blown camp-fest,
this monstrous shower of Babel, was our greatest cultural high-point.
They’ll hear songs that are unhinged or unlistenable; see costumes
that make Lady Gaga look like Morticia Addams, watch presenters
with IQs in single figures... And they will come to one inescapable
conclusion: truly these people deserved to self-destruct.
*HIDEOUS ‘highlights’ of the semis: Rambo Amadeus, a middle-aged
bum/rapper from Montenegro with the energy of a hung-over dosser.
Jedward looking like they’d been dressed by a gay Cyberman with
a Game of Thrones fetish. The Russian grannies. And Austrian
gangsta rappers Trackshittaz whose name summed up the entire
HOT on TV: Roger Barton (The Fish Market)... Dominique McElligott
(Hell On Wheels, TCM)... The Bridge finale (BBC4)... Episodes.
ROT on TV: Hart Of Dixie – so lightweight and daft that if
you put a techno beat behind it, it’d win Eurovision...Hit &
Miss – miss... My Big Fat Fetish – a big, fat waste of time...
Gok Cooks Chinese – wok off.
HELL On Wheels is the antidote to Eurovision (Hell On Ears),
a bleak Western stuffed with tough men who drink hard and play
harder. Men like angry Confederate veteran Cullen Bohannan,
on a mission to hunt down and kill the Yankee soldiers who raped
and murdered his wife. The action follows the building of the
USA’s transcontinental railroad after their Civil War. Tempers
are filthier than the travelling tent city of workers. Corruption
is rife and violence lurks like the Native American tribesmen
who resent the intrusion of “the great steel beast” into their
world. Into this simmering pot come hard-bitten characters like
bent railroad boss Doc Durant, his scary enforcer The Swede
and freed slave Elam. My favourite is gorgeous Lily Bell who,
despite surviving a harrowing Indian attack, still manages to
dress better than Sarah Jessica Parker at any award ceremony
you could name.
*THE All-Time Top 5 Greatest TV Westerns: Deadwood, Gun Law,
Rawhide, Bonanza, The Rifleman.
SKY’S sex-change contract killer drama Hit & Miss (aka The
Hit-man Is Her) raises many questions. Not least, how must an
actress feel to be told: “You’d be really good playing a bloke?
You won’t need make-up. We’ll just get you a prosthetic cock...
” Talk about a concealed weapon. Wouldn’t it be more convincing
if they used an actress with whopping great man-hands, like
Catherine Zeta-Jones? Or an actual transsexual?
*IT’D be easier to take plummy Lucy Worsley seriously as a
historian if her theories made sense... and if she didn’t look
quite so much like a young Stanley Baxter in drag.
*BBC1’s Panorama ludicrously door-stepped Engelbert for starring
in BBC1’s Eurovision. Even dafter, they then forget to ask him
the big question: hey Hump, ya big chump, why can’t you hit
the notes anymore?
*ALAN Carr had Pudsey, Kim Kardashian and Nelly Furtado on
one show. A regular Three Dog Night.
*THE inventor of the TV remote control has died. His wife
came home and found him down the back of the settee... Did he
die, or did his batteries just need changing?
RANDOM irritations: Andrew Lawrence’s voice. The House finale
– two series too late. Geri Halliwell judging talent – that’s
like Harry Hill appraising shampoos. The BBC praising TV centre
while attempting to flatten it. The Apprentice axing its interrogation
show – one of the greatest joys of the series, especially when
Paul Kemsley was asking the questions.
SMALL Joys of TV: Jack Dee’s “So what?” routine. Jimeoin.
Tarby. Hare Krishna sex (Mad Men) – putting the ram in “hare
rama”. Bon Scott on Sounds Of The 70s, not to mention Nazareth.
Embarrassing Bodies finding a nurse called Joy Tickle, next
week her sister Tessa.
CELEB maths: Bill the Butcher + Alf Garnet = Roger Barton.
May 20. They were plugging top-end English sparkling wine on
The Apprentice. Team Sterling’s promo ad, filmed in a posh wedding
setting, couldn’t have gone down worse if Kinga from Big Brother
had provided the bottle. Sugar accused them of creating a “Carry
On Boozing movie.” But at least the Carry On crew would have
squeezed a few gags in it. The vicar would have been called
Reverend Odd-Bins, and while the bride sipped her champers,
the groom would definitely have had a Semillon. (“It sticks
out a mile,” - Sid James. Yak-yak-yak.) They might even have
thrown in some genuine blue nuns.
Sterling’s ad, dreamt up by Jenna and Stephen, wasn’t remotely
funny. It was just cheesier than Donny Osmond dueting with Vernon
Kay in a vat of grated Gouda.
Team leader Ricky had specifically cautioned them against
cheesiness, but this went way beyond any heart-stopping monstrosity
ever served up on Man Vs Food. The bride spat out her glass
of bubbly, squealing: “Urgh! That’s horrible...this isn’t the
English sparkling wine I ordered, darling.” Real champagne was
then replaced with home-grown plonk and the wedding party –
all three of them – raised their glasses crying “Less fizz,
more sparkle.” The toast led, inevitably, to Jenna becoming
toast herself. Although in fairness Stephen was just as guilty.
He’d branded the fine English wine “Grandeur”, which, as Nick
Hewer pointed out, is French.
Jenna came up with the tacky wedding theme: “When I get married,
I want a throne,” she gushed in a voice that was more brown
ale than Bollinger. It was all about as classy as Chelsea Charms’s
charlies. Even the pay-off “oozing luxury from every pour” went
down like the Euro. “Do you think you could fine a champagne
website that would portray itself in that way?” asked one horrified
In the boardroom Stephen insisted that he was “consistent”,
which is true – he consistently comes up with crap ideas...
Tom’s team didn’t do much better. He and Adam used “wine-tasting”
as an excuse to get legless while the others knocked up a website
Sugar called “yawn.com”. A definite Bore-deaux. This series
hasn’t been vintage, but I’m looking forward to Sugar’s experts
bursting their bubbles.
*MY verdict? Slight-bodied with a nutty base, a sharp bite
and a bitter after-taste. That’s Jenna, I’ve never tried the
WHY do Embarrassing Bodies “live from the clinic”? Were C4
hoping someone’s rectum would actually implode on air? Instead
we got Ben, 20, showing off the gaping hole in his penis caused
by his piercing falling out. C4 call this “educational.” Yeah,
because who’d have thought bolting a lump of metal through your
manhood would end in tears? They’ll be telling us not to clean
our teeth with barbed wire next. Ben got his screen time and
presumably was cock-a-hoop. Then came sweaty Laura, scabby Joe
and Bill with a gut the size of an over-inflated space-hopper.
The worse thing about this freak-show? The certainty that some
sick bastard somewhere is getting turned on by it.
*Embarrassing Bodies that should be exposed on TV: the UN,
the European Commission, Bafta, the BBC Board Of Governors...
*FOR Embarrassing Bodies NOT live see Heather Trott...
A NEW study shows that fathers can suffer post-natal depression
after their child is born. In the case of Phil and Ben Mitchell,
it’s lasted sixteen years. While the Square is wrapped up with
the traumas of assorted murderers, weasels and hypocrites, I’m
more concerned with why Alfie and Roxy can’t get it on. This
is a woman who’s used to getting poked 20 times a day and she
isn’t even on Facebook. Also, how come Jack’s single? In real
life, women would be over him like a doughnut in Fat Club.
HOT on TV: Rose Leslie (Game Of Thrones)... The Walking Dead
(C5)... Man City’s epic extra time come-back – drama of the
ROT on TV: Embarrassing Bodies – Britain’s Got Warts... School
Of Hard Sums – doesn’t add up... The Pitch – ditch... The Exclusives
– spike... Sex, Lies & Rinsing Guys –as shallow as a Lilliputian
BLUE Peter is moving to CBBC. The alternative was a raunchy
adult version. I’m not sure what Blue Peter sex entails, exactly,
but I understand it involves plastic and you get a sticky back.
*STREET of Dreams, the dismal musical based on Corrie, has
been shelved. By all accounts it was just cobbled together.
*KYLIE Platt’s lap-dancing stint didn’t last long. Shame.
OK the girl’s bonkers, but put a lead on her and she could win
Britain’s Got Talent.
*WELL done Pudsey, TV’s hairiest star since Martine McCutcheon.
What next for the dancing dog? I’d like to see him as an X Factor
judge. He couldn’t do any worse than Louis Walsh.
*THE Voice is an “X Factor rip-off,” says Simon Cowell, whose
highly original servings of pop idols and new faces are relished
whenever opportunity knocks.
* 56 UP was a bit of a let-down. I was expecting a Peaches
*ITV’s Wednesday: The Unforgettable Noele Gordon, the incomprehensible
Lewis, the unpalatable My Dad Is A Woman...
SEX, Lies & Rinsing Guys was about girls who con gullible
blokes into buying them expensive gifts in return for sod-all.
There’s a name for women like this; two words, second one: teaser.
And sadly, a very real danger of a Ben Mitchell photo frame
THE jury is out on Silks. This show doesn’t engage like Rumple,
or delight like Boston Legal. It’s okay, but it’s not exactly
Law & Order.
*One Silks question: why wasn’t Brendan put on the Witless
RANDOM irritations: Dexys ruining Come On Eileen (Later),
there’s more life in the Tupac hologram. Sugar waiting till
Laura had gone before breaking out the Jacuzzi. The BGT final
being described as a “proper old-fashioned variety show.” Er,
no. A variety show involves varied acts, not just singers and
dancers – the clue is in the name.
SMALL Joys of TV: Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls). Matt Le Blanc
(Episodes). Archive Specials footage (The 70s). Sara Cox. Fernando
Peire (Restaurant Inspector) – wise, patient, charming.
*MEMO to Holly Willoughby on The Voice: is your use of the
word ‘journey’ strictly necessary?
SEPARATED at birth: Thor and Swap Shop era Noel Edmonds? One
a powerful god-like being in touch with the cosmos, the other
STOP PRESS: Britain’s most promising new talent of 2012 is...
a dancing dog! Pudsey just won half a million quid on Britain’s
Got Talent – and knows sod-all about it. He’ll be happy with
a biscuit and a quick sniff of a crotch. Ashleigh and Pudsey
are the first dancing dog act since, ooh, Tina and Chandi two
years ago (previously seen on BBC1’s When Will I Be Famous in
2007, which is probably why Cowell turned on them in that final).
And they’ll probably be remembered just as long. In fairness,
at least he didn’t sing. ITV should re-name this show Britain’s
Got Too Much Karaoke.
May 13. IT'S Thursday night on ITV's biggest show and a geezer
with a saucepan on his head is pretending to be a Dalek. Exterminate?
If only we could... Welcome to Britain's Got Talent, this year
boasting "the highest level of talent we've ever had." Like
alleged Latvian comedian Gatis Kandis, with jokes so feeble
he made Joe Pasquale look like Jerry Seinfeld. "So terrible
it's fantastic," claimed Simon Cowell. Yet viewers who endured
Wednesday night's show would surely have concluded BGT is now
so terrible it insults the intelligence.
Take Chica Latina, Madonna's Gran crossed with Wagner in drag,
who mimed her way badly through 'On The Floor' while oozing
all the Latin sensuality of General Pinochet with in-growing
toenails. On the floor? She should have been straight out the
ruddy door. Yet Simon told her: "You're a British Columbian
Jennifer Lopez," which suggests his grasp of geography is as
skeewiff as his hearing. She was also likened to "a Brazilian
carnival." Yeah extremely noisy and best experienced half-cut.
Si gets the hump when we complain that so many of his wannabes
are foreign. But if he were scouring the globe for top turns
no-one would mind. Instead he serves up the Sugar Dandies, two
gents ballroom dancing not particularly well, who got through
simply cos they're gay. The Swedish magicians were okay, but
we'd seen them before on Penn & Teller. While Gatis was like
Kev Orkian without the gags. From Britain we got cute kids,
Sam Kelly busking and a burlesque stripper whose act was as
flat as her chest. Listen love, if taking your clothes off was
a talent Imogen Thomas would be a superstar.
Incredibly the puffed-up judges lapped up this underwhelming
deluge of the duff and tone-deaf. David Walliams has been good
value but his gushing praise for so-so acts was farcical. Ditto
Alesha telling familiar clones "I've never seen anything like
that before." Of course you haven't, youve never seen a variety
show, you don't know showbiz and I wouldn't trust you to judge
cakes at a village fete.
Cowell has unearthed some talent, but not enough of it. Jonathan
and Charlotte will do well. And I like the Loveable Rogues.
But it's likely that the series will be largely remembered for
generating the most irritating ring-tone of 2012: 'Where's me
keys, where's me phone, where's me keys...' (Continued on a
loop-tape to Hell).
*WOULD Dalek nutter Martyn Crofts have done better with a
version of the Caan-Caan? One for Dr Who fans there...
*ONLY Boys Aloud: not just a choir, also the sign on Caroline
Flack's dressing room door.
VIEWING figures for EastEnders are plummeting like Bradley
Branning from a Walford roof. And all soap bosses have got to
remedy that is the return of Sharon Watts. Yeah wobbly-gob Sharon
who was barren for decades until the writers conveniently forgot.
I'd imagine the East End would rather have rickets back. Or
the Luftwaffe. Bereft of big characters, the soap is sinking
under the weight of flawed logic (Phil's latest incarceration)
and endlessly recycled plot-lines. We're getting Lauren's booze
hell just 19 months after Billie drank himself to death. And
oh look, here's another previously unmentioned relative turning
up. Enders needs fresh thinking, down-to-earth humour, and the
kind of strong central characters that made the show great at
the start. Alfie Moon was terrific when he first arrived, a
fast-talking rascal with a finger in every pie. Then the writers
sucked all the jam out of his doughnut. Life is sad; it's easy
to make people cry. Making us laugh is a gift beyond the reach
of these clods. See Fatboy in the kebab shop for proof. I'd
kill off half of the cast and start again.
THE Voice is getting a lot of stick but in fairness it has
done wonders for the sales of swivel chairs. Last weekend's
show was so dull it should have been called The Void. Ruth-Ann
performed a Cheryl Cole song live and even Cheryl hasnt attempted
that. Unfortunately she was out of tune for most of it. The
judges didn't tell her but with Will.i.am texting, Tom dozing,
Jessie singing along and Danny gurning it's highly likely they
didn't even notice.
*I LOVE Tom Jones, he's a proper star. I can't be sure about
it, but I wouldn't be surprised if he'd even met Elvis.
HOT on TV: Homeland finale - heart-stopping... Cardinal Burns
(E4)... Prisoners Of War (Sky Arts 1)... Episodes... Nicholas
Blane (Game Of Thrones).
ROT on TV: the Show Bears - just grisly... Foxes Live - as
pointless as the Coalition relaunch... Tulisa's dancing (BGT)
- it looked like she'd been taking lessons... from someone's
*TULISA didn't go down well on BGT, which in many ways was
surprising. Still it was good to see her finally using her lips
for good not evil...
*DUSTIN Hoffman saved a jogger's life. He hadn't heard breathing
that heavy since Mrs. Robinson.
*I LIKE the way different areas have their own slogans now.
"I'm from Essex, I'm reem." "I'm from Chelsea, I'm posh." "I'm
from Walford, I'm moving."
RANDOM irritations: Alex Horne's teeth - does he use the same
dentist as Shane MacGowan. Simon 'Cutting Edge' Cowell fronting
a show that recycles more old junk than the Green Party. Dog
acts - who'd pay to go and see one? How long could a dog do?
SMALL joys of TV: Julian Clary looking as bored on the Matt
Lucas Awards as I was watching it. Classic Peter Cook interviews
(BBC4). Hugh Scully narrating the saucy Get Em Off. I like Scully
but he didnt half look different on The X Files.
TV questions: how did Brody get mobile phone reception in
an underground panic room (Homeland)? The Aquabatics are sexy
in those small tanks, what could they do with a full length?
HOT not on TV: Buster Shuffle cheeky Cockney Ska with a
May 6. The British Soap Awards traditionally provoke big questions.
Like why do Doctors bother turning up? Will ITV ever tire of
Keith Lemon’s one joke? And are the results slightly bent or
more fully rigged than HMS Victory? The ceremony rarely surprises.
Sexiest male is always Scott Maslen – how much longer must Norris
Cole be denied? Sexiest female is usually Michelle Keegan –
and even that perplexes me. She is naturally beautiful, but
sexy isn’t the same thing. Sexy comes with a side order of dirty.
Carla Connor is sexy. Carla looks like she’d surprise you in
the bedroom, and possibly make your eyes water. Tina is girl-next-door...
if you’re lucky enough to live in a street full of Miss Manchester
Many nominations beggared belief. Take Jacqueline Jossa, also
up for sexiest female. Pretty girl, but her character Lauren
Branning has spent most of the year rolling around pie-eyed,
caked in her own vomit... Nothing says sexy like a drunk in
a gutter... But how sober were the judges? They gave Enders
best soap for twelve months of wretched misery, a Square over-flowing
with ex-whores and more lifeless Moons than Uranus. They must
have been as bored with John Snape as I was.
Corrie’s recent lap-dancing furore is also puzzling. That
street has alkies, adulterers, asset-strippers and an arsonist
hooker, but the thought of a bird swinging on the pole incites
an uprising... And not just in the trousers.
Deserved awards went to Jo Joyner, Natalie Gumede, Stephanie
Cole and human baked bean Jake Wood. Shocking over-sights included
Hollyoaks’ Jeff Rawle – brilliant as evil Silas, and funny Joe
Tracini (also best Ben Mitchell lookalike.)
ITV should liven up the ceremony by introducing fresh categories.
Like Worst Wardrobe: Biana. Wobbliest Cleavage: Kym Fox. Prettiest
Horse: Amira. Most unconvincing transvestite: Marcia (Corrie),
Shirley (EastEnders). Best Inanimate Object: Anthony Moon...
Or better still just make all of them come in character. Although
judging by the after-show palaver I think Stephanie Davis already
*IF you were affected by any issues raised by the Soap Awards
you really need to get out more.
*ON Corrie, the big affair is Sunita and Karl. Really? Sunita,
love, you were better off under the rubble.
*I WORRY about Corrie. When Karl stole £2,500 from the Rovers
it was “a whole week’s takings” - that means Stella must be
selling about seven pints an hour.
*HOW many of these babes are vajazzled do you think? Cos I
reckon it’s just Gail Platt and Dot Branning.
WHEN US Navy Seals took out Bin Laden a year ago he was cooped
up in a cramped compound with nine women and 23 kids. Strewth.
It’s a wonder he didn’t shoot himself. ITV devoted two hours
to the Hunt For Bin Laden but glossed over the reason Allied
troops didn’t finish him off in 2001. Osama was cornered in
the Tora Bora Mountains in Afghanistan. Our SAS had two whole
squadrons – around 128 men – attacking the cave complex alongside
Delta Force and 2,000 local militiamen. But dithering Yank generals
halted the action, allowing Bin to leg it to Pakistan. Why?
It’s suspected that they wanted US troops to claim the scalp
but didn’t want to risk any of them dying in the process. ITV
didn’t ask our veterans for their opinions; possibly because
that truth would have hurt US sales...
*WHAT evil was Osama planning next? We can’t be certain but
we do know that he died with £450 sewn into his clothes – exactly
enough dosh to buy a round of drinks at Sugar Hut.
BRAQUO makes the Mitchells look like Geisha girls. It’s full
of hard, nasty bastards – and that’s just the cops. Eddy Caplan’s
team went rogue last series and sprung a gangster from chokey
but got collared because he was wearing a wire. They were then
either sacked, unhappily banged up – Eddy looked like he’d just
spent a week irrigating Simon Cowell’s colon – or busted down
to uniform. Meanwhile, a gang of armed blaggers mercilessly
gunned down passers-by while nicking half a ton of gold. They’re
ex-Foreign Legion, seeking pay-back for a botched mission in
Angola. And jail-bird Eddy is ideally placed to infiltrate them...
This show is as French as a frogs’ legs supper but far harder
for the squeamish to stomach. Absolutely magnifique.
HOT on TV: Braquo (FX)... Awake (Sky Atlantic)... Francine
Lewis (Very Important People)... Game of Thrones – TV majesty.
ROT on TV: Britain Unzipped – baloney unwatched... Francesco
da Mosto – Venetian count (misprint)... Steps On The Road Again
– not half as much fun as Steps On The Dole Again.
*TULISA assured Alan Carr there was no actual sex in the sex
tape she’d made at 19. (Ah, the Bill Clinton defence). And besides,
she’d swallowed the evidence. The whole experience obviously
left a nasty taste in her mouth.
*TWO Play School presenters got stoned before going on air.
So? Don’t tell me the people behind In The Night Garden aren’t.
Even Bill and Ben had a Little Weed.
*TANYA star Jo Joyner is taking a break from EastEnders next
year. Who will Max do?
*SOME nice moments on Very Important People: Morgana’s Natalie
Cassidy, Francine Lewis’s spot-on Katie Price, Terry Mynott’s
Bear Grylls. With smarter scripts, this would fly.
RANDOM irritations: BBC news readers adopting absurd ’Allo’Allo
accents to pronounce French names. MPs getting free iPads at
our expense – buy your sodding own! Alleged historian Dominic
Sandbrook not knowing that football hooliganism predates World
SMALL Joys of TV: Brooke Vincent’s neckline (Soap Awards)
– plunging like Cameron’s votes. Tenpole Tudor in Game Of Thrones.
Penn & Teller Tell A Lie (Quest). Craig Revel-Horrid (Maestro).
All-new Beavis & Butthead.
SAM Buttery’s name must live on in popular culture. I’d love
to hear Cowell say “Your singing is so ridiculous, I can’t believe
it’s not Buttery.”
*KELLY Rowland got the boot from X Factor. Sharon Osbourne
is the boot from X Factor.
*THE World’s Longest Snake? Michael Moon. Next question...
SEPARATED at birth: Hoarder Next Door Nigel Jennings and Vic
Reeves... one famed for vast quantities of worthless rubbish,
the other Nigel Jennings..