Garry Bushell
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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 entire series.

*TOP Gala comedy act? Jessie J in her floral jim-jams... although she was funnier when she threw that wobbler on The Voice last weekend.

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 contest...

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 wine bod.

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 “”. 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 wine.

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 week.

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 bird bath.

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 Geldof documentary.

*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 make-over.

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 Protection Programme?

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 an Avenger.

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 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 Dad.

*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 rock'n'roll twist.

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 contestants.

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 did.

*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 War I.

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..