BUSHELL ON THE BOX
Oct 25. LADY Gaga looks incredible as Countess Bathory in America Horror Story: Hotel. So it’s a shame she has the acting range of the lobby front desk.
LA’s Cortez Hotel is an art deco death-trap riddled with ghosts, zombies, vampire brats and a dodgy drag queen called Liz Taylor.
It’s the kind of place where the room service number should be 911.
The Countess and boyfriend Donovan lure a lusty couple back to her suite for the sort of romp you don’t see on C4’s Four In A Bed... then slash their throats like halal goats...
Room 64 is particularly grim. A junkie who books in for his fix is sodomised by a creep in a gimp suit wearing a solid steel S&M strap-on. Blimey, I thought, that’s torn it.
Swedish tourists Agnetha and Vendella find a zombie in their mattress. They kick up a stink, but in fairness so did the zombie.
Grumpy housekeeper Iris then takes the scantily-clad beauties prisoner, force-feeding them offal smoothies like a demented Heston Blumenthal.
Kindly spook Hypodermic Sally helps Vendella leg it in her smalls, only for the callous Countess to slit her throat too...
Like the Eagles’ Hotel California, at the Cortez you can check out any time you like but you can never leave.
One victim, listed as “Man Nailed to a Headboard”, is found with his penis super-glued inside his lover’s corpse with his eyes gorged out.
Horrible, yes, but at least he’ll never have to watch another gruesome AHS episode.
This Fox series is a triumph of style over substance, with elements shamelessly stolen from Se7en and The Shining.
Gross twists and slasher-porn matter more to the makers than the plot, which aptly enough is also a bloody mess.
Sure it looks terrific; but unlike West End hotel bar prices, it never actually scares you.
It might revolt you, but where’s the fear factor? And where’s the humanity? The only good guy appears to be a glum cop haunted by the awful sadness of an abducted son.
Gaga, of meat dress fame, must feel at home in this slaughterhouse of a show. And in fairness although her acting skills are minimal, she is a slight improvement on that previous hotel horror Amy Turtle...
THE Apprentice candidates had to meet in Dover. “Where is Dover?” asked Elle. “What coast? Maybe we’re going to Ireland.” D’oh!
The teams had to cheaply source nine items, including snails, mussels, an inflatable boat, a whole cheese and 30kg of manure. Cue women in heels bagging cowpats in a Kent field.
Still it made a nice change to be shovelling sh*t rather than gushing it.
Both teams struggled without Google; neither could speak French –parlez-vous plonker? – a bit of a drawback in Calais.
Team-leader Vana insisted the snails and mussels were purchased from random restaurants rather than say a farm or a fishmonger’s.
She bought the wrong quantity of cheese, arguing “any bit of cheese could be a whole piece”.
And ordered Elle to buy the boat for a whopping £250 when the fine for not buying one was far less. (Gary got a toy boat for £9.50.)
“I’m struggling a little with who to blame,” Vana moaned. We weren’t. The brusque New Yorker was entirely responsible. Yet bizarrely Sugar sacked student Jenny instead.
Vana was spared purely because she’s better value on screen. Which makes The Apprentice as bent as Big Brother, if arguably more fun.
KERMIT isn’t making bacon with Miss Piggy anymore! They’ve split.
“If you take dating out of the equation, she’s just a lunatic,” the world’s favourite frog confessed (which is also true of the Mitchell sisters).
The Muppets places Jim Henson’s brilliant creations in a spoof documentary. Kermit produces Piggy’s chat-show; Fozzie Bear is the porcine diva’s warm-up man.
Foz, who’s dating a human woman, admits “When your profile says ‘Passionate bear looking for love’ you get a lot of wrong responses...” adding “Not wrong, just wrong for me.”
Funny, but did the Muppets need an adult spin? The original Muppet Show worked for all ages. Why not just revive it?
HOT on TV: The Last Kingdom... Fargo... Lenny James, The Walking Dead (Fox)... Anton Stephans (X Factor).
ROT on TV: Cheryl, Britain’s Most Shameless Mum... Pick Me – Call My Duff... Bull (Gold) – they said it.
LES Coker revealed his dramatic secret on EastEnders. “I am Christine!” he told distraught wife Pam.
He should’ve done it in the Vic. Cue Billy: “No, I’m Christine!” Mick: “I’m Christine!” Patrick: “We’re all Christine! You can’t crucify us all, man... ”
Some may mock but as geezer-birds go he knocks Shirley Carter into a cocked hat.
*I DON’T mind Enders embracing cross-dressing, but what a shame it wasn’t Phyllis Mitchell... In the real East End they’d call Les “Norma Tebbit”. Or “Rough Langsford”.
*THINGS EastEnders don’t do: bondage, football, shopping trips to Westfield mall; discuss immigration, join unions, abscond to Syria, ask why Kathy looks younger than son Ian...
Things Enders should do: alien abduction, spontaneous human combustion, local squirrels spelling out “HELP” in giant letters with their nuts.
*ARG and Lydia have separated again on Towie. They had to, it was in the script.
*LIAM should back away from Ferne McCann pronto. Play join-the-dots with her vajazzle, mate, and it actually spells “Too risky”.
*IF the Tories do bring in a sugar tax, the Beeb will have to move Mary Berry offshore. Don’t tax Sugar! Just give him better one-liners.
*MORE amazing scenes on The Walking Dead. BBC1 have their own hideous zombie show of course. Question Time.
*AFTER Robert Sugden can we please just shoot the next lazy, unimaginative, over-paid soap exec who suggests yet another hackneyed ‘Who-Shot?’ storyline?
SMALL Joys of TV: SAS Who Dares Wins. Bupsi. Muppet hecklers Waldorf & Statler. Lord Grantham’s “Alien” moment. Psychedelic Britannia. DIY SOS – Homes For Veterans. Priceless clips of Frankie Howerd, Les Dawson & Victoria Wood (Legends Of Stand-Up).
RANDOM irritations: ITV daytime shows shamelessly begging for TV Award votes. Downton’s hospital-merger yawn-in. EastEnders storylines apparently drafted by Bernard Righton – Fatboy and Donna the dwarf? Fats enjoyed it but won’t be making a Hobbit of it.
SEPERATED at birth: John Hind in From Darkness and Karl Pilkington, one a bald, charmless loose cannon, the other Karl Pilkington.
Oct 18. The Apprentice candidates had to make money from fish. Slimy, dead-eyed creatures with little chance of survival... And the fish weren't much better. April had her team of chumps selling over-priced tuna salad at £9 a pop to office workers at the end of their dinner hour... after they'd eaten. While in Camden, dimbo sales manager Mergim tried to flog fish-fingers to a vegan café – which would have made him salesman of the year if he'd managed it. But he didn't. He didn't even recognise a spring onion. Only Brett's fishcakes were thicker.
Like their product, Sugar's would-be tycoons are wet behind the ears and green at the gills. Most of them stink like Billingsgate, but we knew that from their opening sound-bites: "I'm a captain at the front of a cavalry charge," said marketing man Richard – yeah, the Light Brigade. "I want the cars," plumber Joseph told us. "I want the girls, but most of all I want... " a kick in the ballcock? What a blowbag. (Although you wouldn't bet against him laying pipe).
The winners, Versatile, made £200, or £25 per head for a day's work – a lucky escape considering they let their calamari go off in the sun (insert your own sick squid joke here). Losing team, Connexus – Latin for joined together, made a "pathetic" profit of £1.87. What's the Latin for screwed? April's prices were a problem (she said she liked having "room to go down", but sadly was referring only to negotiation). The former Miss Jamaica tried to blame builder Brett for making too few of his over-sized fishcakes. But in the end, dismal "fragrance retailer" Dan was the fall-guy. "I can't sell, I can't cook – so shoot me," he said. Sugar duly obliged.
The second task involved a cactus-based shampoo. The blokes called theirs Western, cowboys being renowned for the cleanliness of their locks. Deluded big-head Mergim suggested they film "a gentleman with a sexy haircut, similar to mine." Aisha's losing all-female team had a dull, cactus-free bottle, a naff name Desert Secrets (there were no secrets) and the most boring pitch this side of Kidderminster Harriers. None of this is about business, though. There's no potential Steve Jobs here; no Mark Zuckerberg. They're in marketing, or management or hairdressing. April is a food blogger, sultry blonde Selina was a podium dancer. And the only job sneaky Mergim seems qualified for is a professional backstabber on Game Of Thrones.
*SEPARATED at birth, Apprentice special: Ruth and Nurse Diesel, one a creepy and slightly terrifying creature, the other a character from a spoof horror film... Runner-ups: Claude Littner and Superman villain Lex Luthor; Vana and Steve Tyler; Joseph and Jimmy Hill.
THEY had a singing ghost on River. Wait till Simon Cowell hears about that! X Factor contenders won't just be talking about their dead relatives, they'll join 'em for duets. River is Randall & Hopkirk Deceased re-imagined as mental illness. D.I. River is Swedish and consequently makes Morse look cheerful. He spends most of his time talking to "manifests" of dead people, including a 19th century poisoner. They're a lot more fun than the living. As Tina Turner never quite sang: River deep, expectations high.
SEX Diaries opened with the claim that "ordinary British men are now openly declaring their attraction to women with penises" – the greatest TV lie since Matthew Wright claimed "I am not a halfwit." "Trans-dating" is the term for men who bed guys who choose to dress as women. Window cleaner Mark had married blonde Brazilian Lorena (32-24-32, and 6 when aroused) but still insisted he was fully heterosexual. At what point might it seem ever so slightly gay, Mark? When you're in her, when she's in you... or when she takes off her make-up? Newsflash: fellas, if the woman you're having sex with is a bloke in a syrup you're technically as straight as FIFA.
NOTE: trans-dating is not to be confused with tramp-dating, that's definitely hobo-sexual.
HOT on TV: River... new Walking Dead (Fox)... April Jackson, The Apprentice... new Homeland... TFI Friday... Mr Robot (Amazon Prime).
ROT on TV: Eternal Glory – infernal folly... Bernard Righton – comic write-off... The Edge... Nick Grimshaw (X Factor) – cloth-eared, indecisive and wrong (like most judges).
OLD clips of great comics still tickle on The Legends Of Stand-Up. But host Bernard Righton seems hopelessly out of time. Righton (John Thomson) is a one-note comedy character who made some sense in the 80s but wasn't particularly funny even then. Unlike Frank Carson, who was featured reading a letter from his mum: "Since you left home your father has become a sex maniac and tries to make love to me every opportunity he gets. Please excuse the wobbly writing."
*WHAT was more tasteless, the calamari on the Apprentice or Autopsy: The Last Hours Of Joan Rivers? No autopsy was ever performed on the late and truly great comedienne but that didn't stop C5 dishing up an hour of tasteless speculation peppered with laughably bad lookalikes.
*HOW about a celebrity version of Hunted? Imagine – Gemma Collins, Davina, Phil Schofield, CJ off Eggheads... no-one would find them. No-one would want to.
*LIFE is full of let-downs: England rugby. The latest Lady Chatterley. Max Branning jumped, Ian Beale didn't... But nothing disappoints like the Visit Wales promise that visitors to the valleys would be "pulling on your helmet for 48 hours of gripping weekend adventure."
*MORE unlikely BBC Xmas products: the Dr Foster deluxe Guide To Dinner Party Etiquette. Mary Berry's Great British Urinal Cakes. And if you're dressing up for Halloween, the Cora Cross fright-mask plus allotment crust body spray works a treat.
SMALL Joys of TV: Spike Milligan's Flight of the Bumblebee (Legends of Stand-Up). Jay and Aliona's Pulp Fiction jive (Strictly). The Hunted finale. The Celts. Arrow. Megyn Price. River's shock reveal that DS Stevie was a ghost.
RANDOM irritations: Xmas shows in October. Question Time audiences. The curse of celebrity travelogues. Les Coker putting the why in y-fronts. And X Factor flop Papasidero, as Anne Murray didn't sing: spread those tiny wings and eff right off.
*RECENT TV subtitle cock-ups include the claim that the Eternal Glory contestants were "Andy Singh on one leg" (balancing). And ITV weather reporting there was "no real problem with Poland today". They meant pollen, but I suppose you can never be too sure.
For goofs and a chance to win season three of Hannibal see today's 50p Daily Star Sunday.
October 11. Nadiya Hussain winning Bake Off is already the greatest source of conspiracy theories since the moon walk: it was a BBC fix, a PC plot, Ian took a dive etc... But Nadiya didn't win because she was Muslim; she won because she was good.
Neither Ian nor Tamal could top her heart-popping combo of iced buns, raspberry mille-fueilles and a triple-tiered lemon drizzle wedding cake.
It was one small step for a woman in a headscarf, one giant leap for diabetes.
It was close though, and Nad knew it. She frequently looked like a worried toddler who realised she wouldn't make the potty in time.
But she did produce the show's greatest goof: "He's enormous... after doing him six times the trick is to keep him small to begin with."
She was talking about snake-shaped bread. "I've tried the snake loads of times and he just explodes," she confided. The saucy minx.
Why do women love Bake Off?
Simple. It's safe and cosy; as warm as summer sunshine... even if you are watching people you don't know make cakes you can't eat, taste or even smell while Sue yells "Bake!" in a silly voice.
There's no misery, no nastiness, no ego-driven wannabes (apart from Paul Hollywood). The show's biggest/only scandal was someone taking a Baked Alaska out of the freezer.
Incredible creations abound. Paul Jagger's lion loaf was so realistic you half-expected a US dentist to pop up and plug it.
While Tamal's intricately crafted sticky toffee pudding re-imagined as cake must have made Gregg Wallace cream his boxers. But clever doesn't guarantee victory.
You could re-create the DNA helix as dreamt by Salvador Dali with fruitcake infused with the tears of a fallen angel and there'd still be a chance Mary would pucker those disapproving lips if you put the wrong jam in it.
Nadiya deserved her win. Ian beat her most weeks, yet his chances melted away like Dorret's Black Forest gateau after he forgot to add sugar to his dough.
While Tamal's precariously balanced "mess" of triple-layer mille-feuille was the biggest let-down since Flora's macaroons.
There was no Ruby Tandoh this year, but if you wanted innunedos, there were big ones to savour. Mary's were best:
"It's great that you can enjoy the horn right down to the bottom." And "Your crack is nice and moist." More next year. Inevitably.
*OF course Paul Hollywood feels a strong James Bond connection. Wasn't he Dr Strangeloaf?
*SUE said Ian's cakes were decorated with "cascading liquid carrot". The tension must have got to him.
WHAT an ending on Dr Foster! The mental medic turned a dinner party into a smorgasbord of confrontation, exposure and retribution.
Viewers' toes must have curled up like Sinbad's slippers as Gemma, GP (Generally Psychotic) took her revenge with surgical precision.
She told the Parks her cheating husband Simon had been knocking off their 23-year-old daughter Kate for two years, knocking her up in the process. Patient confidentiality? Forget it.
She also sussed out that Kate's Dad was funding Simon's floundering business plans. The only problem was Slippery Si was far more likable than her – even after she'd goaded him into knocking her out.
He may have been a feckless rascal who liked a loose screw, but she was the one with the screw loose.
When Gem made Simon believe she'd killed their son rather than have him grow up to be like his Dad, few would have put it past her.
Dr Foster seemed more far-fetched than Dr Seuss at the start, but in the death Mike Bartlett's divorce drama gripped like Lorena Bobbitt's hand on a castrating knife.
THEY'VE had many unlikely couplings on EastEnders: Ian and Melanie, Phil and Dawn, Phil and Stella, Phil and that Romanian bag-lady... but Jason and Aunt Babe? What was that, Grab-A-Grumpy?
Even for a shameless conman, it was a flirtation too far. (Unless he recognised her from Dr Who and just wanted to release her inner Slitheen... )
Elsewhere, Ian Beale contemplated suicide, just months after Kat did. It was so half-hearted the director couldn't even be arsed to put Beale's stunt double in a fat suit.
The corny scene was played out on a road miraculously devoid of traffic. But as soon as Ian came down, he got knocked down. Mercifully there were no injuries. I was really worried... about the car.
I guess it just bounced off him.
*MAX is gutted about his 20 year sentence, but two decades away from Walford is better than nothing, mate.
HOT on TV: Clare Miller, Special Forces: Ultimate Hell... Unforgotten... The Paras – Making The Cut (Quest)... You, Me & The Apocalypse... Together (BBC3).
ROT on TV: Robert Peston – more over-rated than Sherlock... CSI Cyber – a crime against the franchise... From Darkness – Nordic nah... The Job Lot – sack it.
ETERNAL Glory could have been ITV's answer to Superstars. Instead, we got aging athletes balancing on one leg, and games sabotaged to stop the best contenders winning – like a school sports day run by Camden Council.
*FERNE McCann is still gobbing off on Towie. Her spokesman said she'd be embarrassed, if she knew how.
*BRIAN Blessed once delivered a baby with his teeth. Hey, Call The Midwife, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
*CORRIE update: Callum died a fortnight ago and he's still not as stiff as Nick Tilsley.
*BLOOD-thirsty rats on Zoo! Ho-hum. This animal revenge tale is too tame. Give us lions hunting dentists, outraged hogs besieging Downing Street, angry squirrels munching on George Monbiot's nuts and that meerkat Brucie wears on his head biting back...
*MORE possible if admittedly unlikely BBC Xmas products: Strictly Come Last – the delay spray ("so two can really tango"). The "Who-Killed-Lucy?" Cluedo edition – you know whodunit, where, why and how but still the game never bloody ends...
SMALL Joys of TV: Lucy Speed, Cradle To Grave. ITV2's Almost Impossible Gameshow. Violet's Downton contention that "second thoughts are vastly over-rated". Close To The Edge – it's TOWIE for pensioners; so less sex, more wine, golf and UKIP.
RANDOM irritations: anyone saying "a million per cent". Anyone saying "axe" when they mean ask. Tedious padding on Pointless. Laura's Kuenssberg's chin. The EastEnders writers' quaint belief that Cockneys use the word "whilst" in regular conversation.
SEPARATED at birth: David Cameron and Odo, one a shape-changing alien whose natural form is jelly; the other a character from Deep Space Nine.
For this week's goof and contest see today's Daily Star Sunday, champion of the meat pie (in crust we trust).
OCT 4. WHAT an incredible week on EastEnders! I didn't think they'd ever match Alfie at Southend airport for sheer unadulterated cobblers but Max Branning's great escape came close. The human baked bean leapt straight out of the dock after being found guilty of killing Lucy. He chinned his old love rival DS Bryant and legged it to freedom. It was thrilling.
Except in real life Max's murder trial would have been at the Old Bailey, and you can't leap out of the dock there.
Max clearly hasn't been watching Hunted either because the great ginger sex machine headed straight back to Albert Square, phoned his sister and hid in an allotment shed.
Presumably the swings were both in use for a counselling session... Hilariously the shed was already occupied by Cora Cross, his ex-mother-in-law who's currently living like a mad tramp. I'd love her to pop her head out and slur: "This week I've mostly been drinking meths... "
Cora distracted/terrified Walford's Keystone Cops while Max broke into Chateau Beale looking for answers. Why, he wondered, had Jane, one of the few local women he hasn't bonked, given him an alibi by saying she had? It was a mystery up there with how did Peter's clothes fit him so well, how did the split jury reach a guilty verdict so quickly, and why did no-one notice that one of Harry Enfield's double-take brothers was the foreman?
Max's flight was delayed by visits from Stacey and Carol. Naturally, Plod didn't think of watching the fugitive's self-confessed lover, his ex or his sister. The on-going farce escalated when Carol told Abi who promptly grassed her Dad up.
Pausing only to pleasantly snarl "You're dead to me" at Lauren, Max left by the front door walking into the arms of the waiting Old Bill.
"It was Bobby," he shouted but no-one gave a monkey's. He now faces a horrible fate, playing Captain Hook in panto for four weeks in St Albans.
After picking up 18 months ago, Enders is bang in trouble, what with miraculous returns from the dead, unlikely relationships, and the most irritating females this side of Loose Women (Sonia, Sharon, Cora etc).
The Square is top-heavy with wrong'uns and grasses. Dawn Swann's been gone far too long. And there's still no end in sight to this bloody Lucy Beale story-line.
They'll drag it out longer than a Carpetright sale.
I'm only watching for Mick Carter's slang and the resurrections. We know for sure that Mad Joe won't come back, he's writing the scripts.
THERE'S another corpse in Vegas, another chalk outline on the sidewalk. But this time the victim is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, bumped off by ruthless CBS bosses after fifteen years.
CSI's lurid flashbacks, gallows humour and CGI effects made forensics sexy. It must have terrified villains. Even the smallest thing could give you away. "I have a warrant for your toe-nails," Gil Grissom once told a suspect. But over 334 episodes the plots got ridiculous (remember the octopus on tram?) and the science iffy. Can old conversations really be "recovered" from leaf vibrations? That's more Doctor Who than Columbo.
Grissom returned for the gruesome, half-barking finale. A bloke with no motive blew himself up a casino and was linked to Gil's pal Lady Heather, a striking dominatrix.
The bizarre plot involved a freshly skinned corpse, a psycho-bomber and sniffer bees ("the world's greatest bloodhounds").
At the death Gil sailed off into the sunset with true love Sara to save marine life. Good man.
*CSI Walford is less impressive. Their CSI stands for Can't Solve It.
SO people web-cast their sex-lives now? Blimey, being a Peeping Tom has never been easier. Let's hope Big Mo Harris doesn't start. She could traumatise an entire generation.
Sex Diaries brought new meaning to Neighbourhood Watch, with four exhibitionist couples who hawk their coupling to internet voyeurs.
(And for worst sex, read a Morrissey novel.)
It didn't go well. Newly-wed Ari dumped husband Glenn during the filming. He ended up living in a caravan on his dad's drive. While in Phoenix, Emma's Eddie got banged up and deported.
Enterprisingly she brought in her busty mate Nicole to, um, fill the gap.
Kitty and Moses wore utterly useless butterfly masks, as a ruse to distract us from their revolting wallpaper. (Their baby presumably has a chrysalis one.)
Angel and Dagan had the best idea – they charged punters to watch her washing up. I think I'd hold on for the Cillit Bang.
HOT on TV: Suranne Jones, Dr Foster... Gaia Scodellaro, You Me & The Apocalyse (Sky1)... Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black (BBC3).
ROT on TV: X Factor – two hours of telly, ten minutes of talent... Nick Grimshaw – wetter than Mars... Boy Meets Girl – worst sitcom since Heading Out... This Is England 90 – makes Ibsen seem uplifting.
BRITAIN'S Best-Loved Sitcom? Fools & Horses, surely. No recent comedy has touched us like the Trotters did.
Hancock's Half-Hour and Steptoe & Son were arguably better, but John Sullivan deserves the crown. Just don't mention Green Green Grass.
*IS this true? I hear two Yanks lined up for the next Celebrity Big Brother have been dropped after shocked producers discovered that they were pleasant, polite and almost entirely sane.
*WHAT about those eye-less ghosts on Doctor Who? They were so creepy last week's hand-mines were giving them the thumbs down.
*ROBOTS could be allowed to join the Screen Actors' Guild. Well if Ben Price can get a union card...
SMALL Joys of TV: Music For Misfits. Oak Tree: Nature's Greatest Survivor. Jumpin' Jake Wood (EastEnders). Eva's cleavage (Corrie) and the suggestion that Callum had "gone underground". Peter Bleksley, Hunted.
RANDOM irritations: The BBC lazily pumping out sub-par versions of old hits rather than making anything new. Honey Boo Boo's horrendous music video. PBS saddling Alexander Graham Bell with a Yank accent when he was from Edinburgh.
SEPARATED at birth: Susan Boyle and this cheeky chap from First Humans. One a wild, near-human creature on the edge of reason... the other an archaeological reconstruction.
TV maths. Wagner + Rick Wakeman's old barnet = ASLEF boss Tosh McDonald.
*POSSIBLE BBC Xmas products: Lady Chattersley's Loafah, Danger Mousse, Nigella Jugs (disappointingly just plastic containers).