Nov 28. The message of BBC1’s Accused was a simple one: the British
Army, they’re bastards aren’t they? The show, about bullied Tommies
in Afghanistan, was about as realistic as Pingu. MacKenzie Crook
gave a stunning performance as sadistic Lance-Corporal Buckley.
But Jimmy McGovern’s version of military life made Turkish prisons
look like Sandy Lane. Tormented soldiers were called ‘bitches’
and bombarded with buckets of excrement by the psychotic Buckley
or his henchmen. One was driven to suicide, the other to murder.
The sergeant condoned it, and there wasn’t a senior officer in
sight to turn to. It was hell.
Military bullying does happen, but to suggest that the whole
army runs like this is a sickening insult to our brave troops
on the front-line and grossly insensitive to their families.
Accused was riddled with laughable errors – from the absence
of a coroner to the unlikely presence of joke berets and goatees.
BBC weasels defended it in the name of drama. Yet their notion
of what makes good drama is as well-balanced as Ann Widdecombe
on a tightrope in a force nine gale. They’re happy to portray
Deepcut Barracks as the norm, but you won’t see a BBC drama
about, say, Muslim perverts preying on teenage girls, or corrupt
EU officials, or the culture of bullying that powered Gordon
Brown’s government. They refused to broadcast The Falklands
Play by Ian Curteis for two decades because they only want drama
that reinforces their own prejudices.
Jana Bennett, the Beeb’s ‘Director of Vision’, swore on her
bleeding heart that this episode of Accused should be judged
purely as a work of fiction. Yet after the show, the channel
ran a helpline suggesting that they really do believe the army
runs on bullying and sadistic brutality. In contrast most actual
soldiers talk about the camaraderie and trust that binds men
together, along with black humour and selfless bravery.
The BBC’s ‘vision’ involves seeing the world entirely through
right-on specs. Featherbedded by the public purse, but recruited
largely via the Guardian, they share an ingrained hatred for
values most people hold dear. If the Corporation is impartial,
then Gillian McKeith is calm and rational and Wagner is a world
*GILLIAN McKeith claimed she was pregnant last week - one
bushtucker trial I’m glad I missed. This woman is the worst
possible advert for nutritionists. She looks like a re-animated
corpse, or a banshee that’s been hit by a death ray. McKeith
started the week by pretending to faint. It was so badly faked
even Francis Jeffers protested about her taking a dive. “We
get twelve meals and Gillian gets an Academy Award,” said Shaun.
If she was any more transparent we’d see her spleen.
McGrief also coughed to smuggling herbs into camp. That disappointed
me. I’d assumed the mystery powder she was sprinkling into her
food was an alien drug designed to keep her in human form. She
hid the contraband in the one place she knew it’d never be discovered:
her knickers. But horrible, po-faced, selfish and cowardly though
she is, McKeith has taken over this series, which probably means
we’ll never see the back of her. Ditto Wagner and Widdy. Lord
forgive the nitwits voting for them for they know not what they
*GILLIAN took salt into camp. Everything she says requires
you to take a pinch of it...
*SHAUN was bitten. Shame. The one who’d really appreciate
some big snake action is Kayla.
*KATIE Waissel sang ‘My Sex Is On Fire’ last night. Her grandmother
knows a place they can clear that up. Yes, Gran Sheila, 81,
is a working whore. Insert your own Wayne Rooney punch-line
here. “How can she embarrass me like this?” asked the distraught
*SIMON congratulated Katie for “taking it on the chin”. (It’s
big enough). Where Sheila takes it depends entirely on your
credit card limit.
*IF Katie pronounced her Ws like Wagner, could we say empty
Vaissels make the most noise?
* “FOR a short time I actually felt happy,” moaned Mrs Masood
on EastEnders. Don’t worry, love, this is Walford. It won’t
happen again. The soap’s first big storyline for 2011 involves
a dead baby. Happy New Year! Even by their standards of grief
addiction, this is utterly, wretchedly depressing. Incredibly
lazy, too. It’s very easy to make people cry – there’s nothing
sadder than infant death. It’s much harder to raise a smile.
And judging by last week’s ridiculous antics – Ian hiding in
a cupboard, Ryan locked in a fridge - harder still for the writers
to come anywhere near reflecting reality.
HOT on TV: Raising Hope (Sky1)... Sharon Horgan... Peep Show
– despite it having more awards than viewers.
ROT on TV: Any Human Heart – little human interest... Konnie
Huq – pox factor... Garrow’s Law – as dull as the Mandelson
doc... Film 2010 – Claudia Woeful, man; she bombs like North
*SARAH Beeny: Restoration Nightmare. Or is that just gynaecologists’
*GOING by the number of kids Sarah’s had it’s a wonder she
doesn’t live in a shoe.
*ANTON wiped the floor with Widdecombe last weekend. Let’s
all write in suggesting things we wouldn’t wipe with her...
RANDOM irritations: Bruce Forsyth’s script – as lazy as Tess’s
left eye. Strictly: Take Two hiring a “dance psychologist.”
Charity telethon ‘entertainment’ – wouldn’t you pay more not
to endure Loose Women singing and dancing newsreaders?
SMALL joys of TV: Caroline Flack’s legs. Len Goodman claiming
to be “as confused as a baby in a topless bar” by Kara Tointon’s
dancing. Ex-Cockney Reject Vince Riordan on Buzzcocks. Stacey,
Shaun and Linford in the jungle. McKeith’s acting. She reminds
me of a great movie star – think Gollum, with hair.
*A German cafe owner on The Apprentice described Chris’s crisps
as “fanny chips.” Ahh. Must have been the sashimi flavour.
SEPARATED at birth: Harry from Wand Erection and Joanie from
Happy Days? One a character in a long-running comedy... and
so is the other one. Runners-up: Katie Waissel and Frodo.
RANDOM ways to improve life: 1) Come Dine With Me – Cannibals
edition. 2) Harry Potter & The Quest to See Emma Watson Naked.
3) Strand Jedward, Katona, Heather Mills and Baggs The Brand
on an island; then invite North Korea to shell it.
*WHY so little of Dale Winton on TV these days? Dale’s camp
touch imbued many bizarre formats with a kitsch student-calming
charm. No-one rioted when Sweep was on. Or woke up.
Nov 21. Gillian McKeith seemed surprised when she was expected
to eat bush-tucker on I’m A Celebrity. It was a bit like Audley
Harrison saying “Well I got in the ring didn’t I? No-one told
me I had to fight as well!” The show is set in the Aussie bush,
yet she’s startled by the presence of spiders. “I’ve got a serious
phobia for insects,” Gillian protested, prompting ten million
viewers to shout: “Then why go on the show, you poo-bothering
McGrief’s moaning and shrieking was irritating enough when
it appeared genuine. But her hysteria didn’t quite add up. After
she ‘fainted’, Gillian was clearly seen adjusting her top. And
later, on the ITV2 spin-off show, she was shown telling fellow
campers that fainting was “more entertaining” than just doing
the tasks. You suspect that the only thing she has a true phobia
of is the obscurity she richly deserves.
If you really are what you eat no-one in the world is better
qualified to live on a diet of wizened dingo anus.
Nearly as annoying as McKeith is the uninspired casting. Havers,
Britt and Shaun are good calls (on paper), and I can’t help
liking Stacey and Linford. But Aggro Santos? Strewth! More people
have seen the Argos Santa. And how many had heard of Kayla Collins?
How lazy was that booking? If all they wanted was a generic
blonde to fill out a bikini, they could have dragged someone
cheaper off of a pole in Stringfellows. Footballer’s ex-wife
Sheryl Gascoigne is no more riveting than Alex Best was. While
ex-MP and failed comedian Limp-dick ’Opeless only qualifies
as a celeb because he dated a Cheeky Girl.
Luckily, the format is so strong and Ant & Dec work so well
that the show still delivers like Amazon. It’s basically televised
torture, with viewers persecuting anyone we choose to humiliate.
The sight of Stacey Solomon swallowing crocodile dick will stay
with me for some time. Just as well it wasn’t Linford’s or she’d
still be choking. ITV upped the ante on Thursday by sending
in Jenny Eclair and Dom Joly. She’s sparky enough, but Dom could
be this year’s Vic Reeves – an expensive under-achiever. Oi,
fatty: make us laugh or sod off. At least Jason Manford would
have flirted a bit. He’s had more web sex than Spiderman.
*KAYLA said her Mum advised her: “Just put it in your mouth,
don’t chew it and swallow like a pill.” That’s how you become
a Playboy model. No idea if it works with bush-tucker.
*HOW does Lembit keep a straight face?
*IMAGINE sex with McKeith. It’d be like riding a really noisy
*JUNGLE joys: Alison Hammond arriving, Shaun immediately wanting
to go. Stacey comparing croc cock sizes. Russell Kane claiming
that the sight of Nigel showering had reversed his Nan’s menopause.
*THERE weren’t many soap kids on that Children In Need ‘East
Street’ special. Basically because most soap brats are Children
In Need... of a good hard slap.
*MY Sex Robot looked at the race to create ‘Fembots’ – bed
partners for lonely men. And fellas, if you want to know what
it’s like to sleep with a cold, mechanical female-looking machine
just ask Anne Robinson’s ex husband. Seriously, guys, would
you put percy into a robot woman? Have you seen what machines
on the wrong setting can do to toast?
*HMM. A custom-made passive woman who can’t talk and is always
available for sex? Nope, I can’t see the appeal either, darling.
*WAYS to tell if you’re a loser? 1) You’re Audley Harrison.
2) Your Fembot has a headache.
*SEX robots seem harmless now, but just wait until 2029 when
they rebel and come back in time to kill John Connor by shagging
him to death.
*STUART Baggs, the twerp who models his management style on
Saddam Hussein, survived another task on the Apprentice. Good.
I want him to last until Interview Week. Nothing would give
me more pleasure than watching Sugar’s clever mates pull the
cocky little weasel apart. Baggs spoke about reining in his
“extreme masculinity.” Stella looked like she could rein it
in for him, with a barbed wire lasso. This guy is so deluded
even David Brent would notice.
HOT on TV: Pacquiao v Margarito...True Stories: Tyson (More4)...
The Accused... Raising Hope (Sky1)... The Increasingly Poor
Decisions of Todd Margaret (More4).
ROT on TV: Audley Harrison – Ainsley Harriet would have put
up more of a fight... the England football team – were they
coached by Audley?... The Impressions Show – doesn’t make a
*LEANNE cheated with Nick again on Corrie. What a terrible
blow this will be for Peter. The worst blow since, well, since
Leanne was on the game. Peter needs a wake-up call, though.
If being sober means turning down a romp with Carla, then make
mine a large one.
*THE difference between Leanne and Audley? It takes four rounds
to get Leanne on her back.
*THE Andy Parsons guide to comedy: drone on like Griff Rhys-Jones
reading a badly-typed auto-cue full of odd pauses and then suddenly
get louder as a substitute for saying anything remotely funny.
*ROYALIST or not, we all owe William and Kate a huge debt
of gratitude - for knocking Katie Waissel off of the front pages.
*CHERYL told Katie “I know what it’s like to be knocked.”
She could have add: and to be over-promoted, infuriating and
not very talented.
*WAGNER is on incapacity benefits. Yeah. For his voice.
*VERNON Kay is moving in to US TV. Who knew the Yanks had
a gormless buffoon shortage?
SMALL joys of TV: Cheryl Baker telling David Van Day “I really
don’t like you” (Celeb Coach Trip). Iron Maiden’s Dennis Stratton
on Buzzcocks. The Masoods. Jim McDonald, back on Corrie, so
he is. That horrible, squawking monstrosity on Coppers. What
a delicate flower. She made Kat Moon sound like a Downton deb.
RANDOM irritations: McKeith - as flakey as Greek pastry. Kathy
Lette. The Kardashians. Ex-MPs being passed off as ‘celebrities’
- seeing Widdy’s paso doble made me want to pass the sick-bag.
*SEPARATED at birth: Apprentice loser Sandeesh Samra and a
*WHAT annoys me most about Lauren Branning isn’t her new head,
or personality transplant. It’s her having the cheek to impersonate
Dee Dee Ramone.
*TV should use mimic Francine Lewis more. Her Stacey Solomon
impression is spot-on; and her Katie Price take-off makes Debra
Stephenson’s seem amateur hour.
Nov 15. Where do I stand on water-boarding, asks a TV researcher?
Hmm. Well it’d certainly kick some life into Question Time.
NOV 14. IS the Treyc Cohen fiasco the beginning of the end
for The X Factor? Like Ricky Groves flashing Bianca Gascoigne,
it’s opened a few eyes to the nature of the beast. TV’s Number
One talent show is quite clearly as fixed as ITV wrestling used
to be. They take our money but ride rough-shot over our opinions.
Who do they think they are, the EU? It’s a disgrace.
Treyc went cos the producers wouldn’t let the judges go to
deadlock. They wanted Katie through - despite the Weasel forgetting
her words and flipping out yet again - and they weren’t going
to let anything as trivial as democracy and fair-play get in
the way. Simon even had the cheek to claim that the public wanted
Katie back! Sure – that’s why she ended up in the bottom two
weeks on the trot.
Cowell’s reputation for honesty is evaporating like Steve
Brookstein’s dreams. Stung by viewers’ anger, he’s talking about
bringing in a fifth judge - like we need another big-headed
bag of wind on that over-paid, under-qualified panel. All this
great format really needs are hard and fast rules to rein in
the arrogant production team.
1) Judges should be forced to vote – or be axed themselves.
2) Acts must be judged by the standards of that night’s performance
alone. 3) The viewers’ verdict should count as the fifth vote
each week. 4) The performance order should be picked randomly
on the night to stop the producers putting the acts they want
out on first.
It’s too late to save this series which is now as tarnished
as the Lib-Dems. We pretty much know the final four will be
squeaky Matt, the wonderful Rebecca, Tugboat Mary and Wand Erection.
But I hope we haven’t heard the last of Treyc. The Tamworth
Tiger should cheer herself up by thinking of how many real stars
would have failed to impress the X Factor panel: Bob Dylan (with
that voice?!), Elvis Costello (bad attitude), The Boss (cack
in disco week) etc. Then she should get herself a decent hard
rock band and come back as Treyc/DC...
*POOR Cheryl. It’s tough having two in the bottom. Ask Jenna
*SORRY; the Wagner joke doesn’t work for me. He can’t sing,
won’t win and looks like something Matt Groening forgot to draw.
JACK Duckworth conked out on Corrie. His moving death gripped
like Wagner at an Age Concern rally. Even Vera’s ghost put in
an appearance. Idle Jack called her his little swamp duck one
last time (not to be confused with Gail, the little swamp-thing),
and shuffled off this mortal coil with a slow dance to Matt
Monro. He died after a surprise party in the Rovers. What kind
of moron springs a stunt like that on a sick man with a history
of heart trouble? Why Tyrone of course; a bloke so dim he doesn’t
realize grease-monkey Kev is the father of Molly’s son, even
though the baby practically came out covered in sump oil. An
emotional Jack begged Molly to “do the right thing” and leave
Ty. It was like his own fling with the fragrant Dulce Froggatt
had never happened. He popped his clogs after a gut-full of
beer and a kiss from Carla; a fitting finale for Corrie’s second
greatest work-shy hen-pecked lay-about (Number one was Stanley
Ogden). Will we ever see his like again? Let’s hope it’s the
last we see of charisma-free Connie.
*BARRY Chuckle naked with Chris Tarrant’s ex and Brendan Seeley
in a bath full of beer... this wasn’t some mescaline-induced
nightmare. It actually happened, on C4’s Celebrity Coach Trip.
Talk about foam a friend. If Wagner had been there it would
have been fastest finger first.
*WHAT ale was it? Something about that scene suggests Old
HOT on TV: Joan Rivers – machete-mouthed mistress of mirth...
The Event... Coppers... The Walking Dead (FX).
ROT on TV: Edwardian Farm – not so much Downton Abbey as downright
shabby... Lucy Montgomery – as funny as genital warts... Giles
& Sue – the TV equivalent of water-boarding.
*THEY came up with a nifty ad slogan for Octi-Kleen on the
Apprentice: “Eight hands are better than two.” Certain Newcastle
United players have been saying it all season...
*MORE zombie horror on The Walking Dead - lurching creatures
staggering about, hungry for fresh meat... a bit like a Blackpool
hen party at closing time.
*MISFITS features super-powered delinquents, it’s Heroes meets
Asbos. If only they could move the script away from the Kryptonite.
*I’M A Celebrity is back! Hurrah! Time once again to get acquainted
with more weird, unpleasant creepy crawlies... but enough about
the alleged celeb contestants.
TV questions: Was Jack Dee too hard on Jedward? No. He let
them live. Would taking a zombie lover cost you an arm and a
leg? Kara Tointon has dyslexia; how inappropriate would it be
to ask her to cook my sock?
BBC TV didn’t cover the Country Music Awards. Dale Winton
was there for Radio 2, possibly in the mistaken belief that
‘Hillbilly Bone’ was something other than a Blake Shelton single.
But lucky Live At Studio Five viewers saw Gwyneth Paltrow sing
live. Cheryl Cole, eat yer heart out.
RANDOM irritations: C4 not driving their coach-load of micro-celebrity
losers straight off a cliff. Harry Hill going off the boil.
Lotto draw-master Matt Chamberlain, the dullest man on TV, overseeing
the excitement with all the enthusiasm of a depressed undertaker
with piles - a true chip off the old block of the original dullard
draw-master, John Willan.
SMALL joys of TV: the hole in Jack Duckworth’s sock. Acoustic
Lemmy (Kronenbourg advert). Wogan (Buzzcocks). Octi-Kleen ad
(The Apprentice). Ricky Groves flashing Bianca and Imogen (Celeb
Coach Trip) and them pretending to be shocked... Why get so
worked up about such a little thing?
SEPARATED at birth: Charlotte on Corrie and the Mayor of Whoville?
One a barely-believable fantasy buffoon, the other a Dr Seuss
WHY doesn’t the BBC do Strictly: The Professionals for ballroom
dancers without ‘comedy’ amateurs and a cringe-worthy host going
gaga? They could call it Come Dancing. It might catch on.
*IF you want the goof and the contest, you have to buy the
NOV 7. HOW tough was that French assassin on Spooks? Ruth
smacked him round the ear-hole with a hot iron, walloped him
with a darts trophy and squirted bleach in his face... and it
still took five rounds fired at point blank range to drop him.
The geezer hung on like Obama. Dave Legeno oozed menace as the
Gallic hit-man as hard as Revel Horrid’s heart. Not quite
sure why he was French when he was clearly ex Foreign Legion,
but in fairness that’s one of the smaller mysteries in
a series that prides itself on being as baffling as Klingon