BUSHELL ON THE BOX
Oct 30. Candice Brown won BBC1’s last-ever Bake Off. Frankly it was a piece of cake. Who better than the Princess of Pout to triumph in a royal themed final? Candice’s sausage roll pigs for the Queen’s picnic with peppercorn eyes and pork scratching tails were inspired. She wasn’t even fazed when told they had to bake 49 items in one go. 49 items! Or, as Mark Labett calls it, a starter.
Jane almost went into meltdown. Aerospace engineer Andrew used a spreadsheet! The Tilda Swinton lookalike won praise for his “very even rise” but couldn’t match the quality of his rivals’ cakes. True Andrew topped the week’s innuendo chart with “I’m on a crack watch”, and Jane’s Victoria Sponge earned a rare double handshake from Paul Hollywood (“the Roman clasp” gasped Mel). But Candice cheerfully beat off her rivals by always “going a bit further”. The saucy minx, whose lippy changed more often than Lady Gaga in concert, handled the semi well, no chortling at the back please. And at the death no-one could hold a candle to her four-tiered Pavlova. “Well-defined, beautifully flavoured” opined Paul; and her cooking looked just as tasty.
No-one knows how Bake Off will fare when it up sticks to Channel 4, largely because no-one really knows why it’s a ratings hit to begin with. Basically it’s people we don’t know cooking food we can’t eat, taste, copy, buy or smell. There is zero chemistry between Hollywood and Mary Berry. The two go together like smoked salmon and custard. And Mel & Sue are as funny as cramp. Yet millions love it. It’s safe, it’s cosy. It’s Middle England with a side order of diabetes. And the innuendos are naughty rather than filthy, the stuff of seaside postcard. Candice asking Mel “Can you just grab my jugs?” was a classic example and showed early on that the Bedford girl knew exactly how to play it. Nigella needs to up her game. The odds on Candice landing her own Pies, Pouts & Pastries series are shortening like Crisco.
*BEST bake this series: Candice’s cake version of her parents’ old North London pub (but shouldn’t it have been seasoned with thyme, gentlemen, please?).
*RUDEST bake: Andrew’s caramel knight which seemed to come with a thrusting love lance.
*TOP innuendo? Mary telling Candice “I’ll eat a bit of carpet”. Runners-up – Paul “You’ve got great penetration with the syrup”. Kate: “I like the flavour of Cox”.
WHY all the hysteria about the Poldark “rape”? It’s fiction! It’s in the book! What next, calls to take the murders out of Midsomer? Ross, who’s like a young Victor Meldrew at the best of times, went bananas when he heard Elizabeth was marrying George, his archenemy. He stormed round and, ahem, kicked in his ex-sweetheart’s front door literally and metaphorically. Liz turned him down three times but after Ross pinned her to the bed she arched her neck up and returned his kisses. It’s a rape fantasy, complained feminists. Possibly, but wasn’t it also entirely in keeping with his headstrong behaviour and the longing looks she’s been giving him for two series? Do we want drama to show life as it can be, or as feminists think it should be? There’s enough right-on propaganda in the soaps as it is. Besides shouldn’t women be more irked about the indecent speed he bolted from her boudoir the next morning? Ross went muttering “I must think”, promising to sort things “soon”. Typical bloke, then... His wife Demelza got womankind’s revenge on the dirty dog. When he told her “You must see I had no choice”, she decked him with a roundhouse right.
JUDE Law plays hunky, chain-smoking, Cherry Coke Zero-swigging Pope Pius XIII in The Young Pope. It sounds bonkers, but it’s strangely compelling. No (papal) bull. Jude is Lenny Belardo, an orphan who becomes the first-ever Yank Pontiff after a botched plot. Vatican schemers try and make him their puppet, but Lenny is as cunning as Tyrion Lannister and plays just as dirty. He’s a loose cannon taking on louche canons. The show is so full of intrigue it’s already been dubbed House Of Cardinals. Len makes Sister Mary, the nun who brought him up, his special adviser – and Diane Keaton in a habit constitutes a small joy for many men of a certain age. Here’s hoping he fits low-pros on the Pope Mobile.
HOT on TV: Candice – pigging brilliant... Jude Law, The Young Pope (SkyAt)... Jeffrey Dean Morgan as nasty Negan, The Walking Dead (Fox).
ROT on TV: Celebrity Haunted Hotel – dead silly... The Fall finale – falling flat... The Collection... Ed Balls – what the flying foxtrot is he doing on Strictly?
R.I.P. Jimmy Perry, the genius who co-created Dad’s Army, not to mention Hi-di-Hi! and It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. None of them would be commissioned to day because they don’t fit the BBC’s all-important diversity agenda; the Beeb won’t even repeat Hot Mum in case it gives some delicate Guardian reader palpitations. How galling must it have been for Jimmy to have his later work rejected by smug Oxbridge numbskulls who merrily green-lit flops like Big Top, Heading Out and Monks instead?
*SAD news from Corrie, Ken Barlow is still alive. Strokes are no joke, but in Ken’s case isn’t the silence a blessing? (Ditto Anna in a coma). With his kids, Boring Barlow shouldn’t have the front to lecture anyone. The sanctimonious old git will die at some point. He can’t live forever, he’s not Dot Cotton.
*FOR Halloween, the Strictly dancers put on costumes and make-up to look scary...Claudia just applied a little less eye-liner.
*DANNY Baker should walk I’m A Celeb. Witchetty grubs hold no fear for anyone who’s eaten “meat” pies at the old Den.
*REMEMBER the clocks went back and we gained an hour last night. But you’d have lost the best part of two if you watched The X Factor.
SMALL Joys of TV: TOWIE’s Kate Wright on a trampoline – shame it wasn’t for the whole show. Ice Road Truckers. Ore on Strictly. Black Mirror. Nick and Ayo outwitting the Hunted hunters. Grainne’s cheekbones (The Apprentice).
RANDOM irritations: Bogus science on Married At First Sight. X Factor’s Diva Week and their “random” jukebox – as fixed as a showgirl’s smile. Every Strictly: It Takes Two including the phrase “Of course everybody’s so good this year... ” Can we take that as given?
SEPARATED at birth: Mock The Week’s Angela Barnes and Olive from On The Buses, one associated with a stale, discredited comedy format, the other was in an ITV sitcom...
*Runners-up: Hunted’s Julie Clegg and The Apprentice’s Rebecca?
TV maths: disgruntled pigeon + this wig = Gail Platt.
IS Ed Balls dud-dancing as Labour self-destructs the modern equivalent of Nero fiddling while Rome burns? Last weekend his head got trapped between Katya’s legs, so you can see the appeal.
PHIL Spencer was talking about wallpaper on Secret Agent when he said: “Simple changes make a huge difference; hopefully I can make her gasp in the bedroom too.”
Oct 23. The real King Tut was a sickly inbred with a club foot. US TV turned him into an action hero. ITV’s Tutankhamun isn’t quite that dodgy. As Nicole Scherzinger might say, they’ve just smacked the story around and made it their banana. So Howard Carter, the guy who discovered Tut’s long-lost Egyptian tomb, has been re-invented as archaeology’s equivalent of a rule-breaking maverick detective. He’s a posh loose cannon, so focused on his digs he can’t see how much Maggie the Yank digs him... Until the smitten minx makes a whisky-fuelled pass at him on the eve of World War One.
Hmm. Tut’s burial chamber was the biggest find of the 20th Century. But Carter didn’t look like Max Irons. Maggie didn’t even exist. His second love interest, Lord Carnarvon’s flame-haired daughter Evelyn was 13 in 1914. And Carter himself was probably gay. It’s Victoria and Lord M all over again!
Does it matter? I think so. TV can do what it likes with fictional characters, but with actual events there’s a thin line between sexing up the story and completely rewriting history – as the Yanks did with U-571.
ITV have made a four-part series from a tale BBC’s Egypt told more convincingly in two. The result falls somewhere between dull and daft. The dialogue is either stilted or just there to join the dots. And the only laugh came when veteran bone-kicker Sir Flinders Petrie burst out of a hole stark naked, sweating like Hillary on a lie detector. It looked like a lost scene from Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian, or It Ain’t Half Hot, Mummy. The series opened in 1905 with Carter chinning a French duke who’d manhandled one of his team and losing his licence. Two years on, Carnarvon rocks up looking for Carter’s help. Things aren’t good. Everyone agrees the Valley Of Kings is “all dug out”. Until an ancient cup from Tut’s coronation convinces Carter the boy king’s tomb could be near. “People lose things all the time,” agrees Evelyn. Unfortunately having started the dig, news breaks that “some idiot kid just shot the Archduke of Austria”. Tut. And to think ITV once made Brideshead...
*THREE things that are more fun than Tutankhamun: 1) Steve Martin’s King Tut dance 2) Tasty Ska covers band TooT’n’Skamen. 3) King Tut from Batman. “Tutlings! Sic ’em!”
WHAT’S happened to Harry Hill? The great clown has gone to pot since he walked away from TV Burp. Stars In Their Eyes was axed, I Can’t Sing flopped like Fosbury, and his movie stank like the aftermath of his badgers’ parades. His new Harry Hill’s Tea Time is a spoof cooking show that’s at best tepid. The highlight was old footage of James Martin staring at Paul Hollywood with something like unrequited love in his eyes. The rest would’ve reduced to five strong minutes of slapstick nonsense on Burp. Isn’t it time he brought it back? TV could do with Harry’s potty take on cobblers like Dot and Kim’s 2mph car crash and Ed Balls’s medieval Paso Doble on Strictly – definitely a knight to forget. Imagine the fun he’d have with Emmerdale’s creepy Emma and the soap’s odd obsession with bundling people into car-boots. Harry quit Burp because writing it was tough. But that effort paid off. The show was brilliant; a surreal mix of gags and sly satire held together with warmth and comic invention. Mocking TV cookery is easy, it’s already ridiculous. Think of Nigella roasting lettuce or Benjamina’s loco Mexican adventure in Bake Off’s Tudor week. It’s like kicking away a blind man’s stick.
THE Apprentice sweets week started with Lord Sugar praising Willie Wonka, who was fictional... much like the business acumen of his alleged “aspiring tycoons”. Retail pricing strategy is just an abstract theory to these woeful Wonkas; they make everything up on the hoof. They can’t negotiate, they struggle with calculators. Bow-tie Mukai even managed to talk down his own prices. He survived but only because team leader Ollie was wobblier than Mavis Riley on a bouncy castle. The boldest candidate was Karthik who proudly shouted the brand name “Suck it and Sea,” in Brighton, the gay capital of the south coast, adding “Who wants to suck it?” Let’s hope the self-styled Big K and headstrong Sof reach the interviews if only to see them crash and burn like the Mars landing module.
*YOUR Face Says It All? Apprentice wally Ollie’s face says “I surrender”. Coming next: Your Face Ate It All, the Mark Labbett story.
HOT on TV: Gifty, The X Factor... SAS: Who Dares Wins... Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld... Black Mirror (Netflix).
ROT on TV: Andrew Marr and his “comedy” accents... Tutankhamun – ’king tut alright... Married At First Sight – off at first glance... Him – hmm, humdrum.
ANDREW Marr’s documentary on paperback detectives was an aggravated assault on the patience. The bizarre Marr bombarded us with accents more painfully mangled than Sandra Redknapp’s right foot. After dissing Agatha Christie on Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers he then descended into a half-baked history of telly ’tecs – a completely different show. And a contradictory one. Marr’s universal rules for crime fiction included “the detective must be flawed”... as proved by Father Brown, Sexton Blake and Miss Marple. Oh wait, hang on...
*CANDICE can do no wrong in my eyes. Despite being criticised bizarrely for being “quite tight inside”, the pouting saucepot is through to the Bake Off final. Mary claimed Candice had “too much filling”, but frankly that’s her business.
*SHARON Osbourne forgot Saara’s name twice on The X Factor. That’s nothing. Simon forgot one contender’s name for years, his first winner Steve Brookstein.
*HIP Hop songs Honey G should sing: Ginster’s Paradise. Straight Outta Rampton. Welcome To The Terrordome. It Was A Good Day (Till I Turned Up)...
SMALL Joys of TV: Aunt Agatha, Poldark. Josh Widdecombe bringing Hobbit Zone to The Crystal Maze. Louis likening Honey G to “David Cameron in a wig”. Stephen Merchant. Pink Floyd: The Beginnings. Catherine Steadman’s smile. Cold Feet. Blackish. Yonderland.
RANDOM irritations: Honey G’s smirk. Kim Fox’s driving disasters on EastEnders, a crashing bore. The Victorian Slum – just fancy dress and platitudes. The Missing, missing coherence. Clunking dialogue in TV dramas. Endless dull squabbling on Towie.
SEPARATED at birth: Dad Jay on Meet The Parents and Harry Hill? One hammed it up for the TV cameras, the other does it for a living.
TV maths: Ian Paisley + Rob Beckett = Donald Trump fright mask.
*MEN who look like lesbians: 1) Paddy from Emmerdale 2) Andrew on Bake Off 3) the army captain on Tutankhamen.
*RUBY on First Dates didn’t know octopus was edible. But she worked out pretty quickly that her charmless date would end the night as boneless as one.
Oct 16. How does Derren Brown do it? Year after year he pulls off tricks that make millions of jaws hit the floor. In his aptly-named Miracle show, Derren duplicated the stunts evangelical faith healers use to con their congregations while rightly denouncing them as "shysters". Danielle had eye-sight like Mr Magoo. Without her glasses she couldn't read the programme. Trying them on, Derren quipped "Wow, the Lord has his work cut out tonight". The dapper deceiver then grabbed her head, blew on her kisser and lo her optic nerve was "healed". "F*ck me sideways," gasped Danielle. She could now read every word. Brown had restored her failing vision by the power of suggestion alone. "I took from Danielle the devil of blindness," he declared, tongue-in-cheek. Then, sensing a non-believer, he pulled Andre on stage and nobbled his 20:20 vision. After that it was all a blur...
Cynics might suspect that Derren uses more plants than Monty Don, but there were too many "miracles" for that to be the case. Decades-old ailments, crippling arthritis... all were cured. This guy does the laying on of hands like Donald Trump at a beauty pageant. It was incredible, real gee-whiz TV. I haven't seen recoveries this spectacular since Paul Spector on The Fall.
Brown pulled off similarly stunning stunts in 2014 when he aped professional mediums. He hot-read audience members as if communicating with their dead loved ones, telling them things he couldn't possibly have known, openly using the same techniques charlatan psychics employ. Derren can no more talk to the departed or cure ailments by touch than Doris Stokes and Peter Popoff could. He duplicates their "powers" in order to debunk them. Maybe he should try a tub-thumping political rally next.
Brown's magic is actually a mixture of body language reading, hypnosis, suggestion, memory feats, mental agility and polished misdirection. He never explains the trick, but always makes it absolutely clear that he's hoodwinking us. At heart Derren Brown is a superb showman. And in a TV world increasingly populated by talentless amateurs it's no wonder he stands out. He's not the Messiah, he's a very gifted boy.
DIVORCE, said Robin Williams, comes from the Latin for ripping a man's genitals out through his wallet. Divorce, the latest caustic comedy from Sharon Horgan, looks more painful and almost as funny. It began with a 50th birthday toast that was more like a roast. "I think we can all agree Diane has never looked her age," said husband Nick, adding: "Until this year... when it all just came crashing down on her. "You look amazing... one of the many benefits of not bearing any children, which is of course your biological function". She pulled a gun on him minutes later. Diane's pal Frances is the main character, a cheating wife who tells boring husband Robert she wants a divorce. Long-time lover Julian isn't too chuffed about her moving in though. "I thought that was role-play and sexy talk," he moans. Frances runs back to Robert, but he's discovered her affair and changed the locks. "I want you out of our lives and I want you out of my house," he says. "I'm gonna make your children hate you". Ouch.
WHEN Andrew Lawrence attacked panel shows for cracking cheap, lazy gags about UKIP, he was howled down by the comedy establishment. In his Facebook rant, he also had pops at "women-posing-as-comedians" and over-promoted ethic stand-ups. Sky's po-faced documentary The Outcast Comic treated Lawrence as an outrageous heretic. But was he entirely wrong? Topical comedians ARE obsessed with losing the referendum result. HIGNFY is soft on Corbyn, Abbot etc. Last week's Unspun swerved Shami's schooling hypocrisy and all that hard/soft Brexit malarkey to lead on, you guessed it, cheap, lazy UKIP jokes. No bold TV satirist ever targeted the staggering corruption at the heart of the EU. All share the right-on views of the executives who hire them. And some women panellists clearly are booked more for their gender than their ability. He's on less solid ground with ethnicity. Shazia Mirza aside, there are many strong non-white comics on screen; we should see more of Tez Ilyas and Gerry Kyei. But the Jon Holmes sacking shows that BBC bosses care more about quotas than talent. When it comes to comedy, race, genitalia and sexuality shouldn't matter a jot. All that should is how funny you are.
HOT on TV: Ed Harris, Westworld – scarier than any clown mask... Divorce... Derren Brown... Michelle de Swarte, World Of Weird... The Missing.
ROT on TV: The Edge – push it over... Mark Benton – quizmaster disaster... Honey G – when she says "Honey", I say pass the tranquiliser darts... The Hive – buzz off.
YOU knew The Apprentice goons were as doomed as that Celebrity Island caiman as soon as you clocked their team leaders. One was Jessica, a woman as calm as a recently disturbed wasp nest, the other was Bow-tie Mukai who is to leadership what Donald Trump is to chivalry. Their Japanese denim ad campaigns were "totally, absolutely useless" fumed Sugar. Natalie got nuked, but it could have been any of them.
*IS it me or did Nat look like an Ashley Jensen waxwork left slightly too close to a fire?
*DID you see the "tuppenny hangover" on The Victorian Slum? Poor folk who couldn't afford a doss-house bed were forced to sleep upright supported by a rope. It was cruel, it was shocking, and it'll be coming to Ryanair by Xmas.
*I LIKED Tameka on Strictly. She danced like she was being goosed by the Invisible Man.
*CLAUDIA's squinting is even more irritating than Bruno Toniolo. Either use a bigger autocue or get yourself to Specsavers, love.
*LONDON was on high alert on Thursday after a bad-tempered silverback gorilla escaped. When questioned, the ape, Grant Mitchell, said "There's no way I'm going back to Walford, what a depressing dump... "
*XMAS gift suggestion: The Megan McKenna doll, beautiful but explodes like a Samsung Note 7 at the slightest provocation.
*RYAN and Emily have been making out on the X Factor house stairs. Talk about three steps to heaven. Wait till they decide to escalate it.
SMALL Joys of TV: Issa Rae, Insecure (SkyAt). Joanne Shaw Taylor, Later. The "prancercise" fruitcake' on World Of Weird. Candice's pout on Bake Off. Zapped (Dave). Ricky Grover. Nick tricking Hunted's hunters.
RANDOM irritations: Cloth-eared X Factor judges. Quiz players who describe absurdly wrong answers as "educated guesses". News as Remoaner propaganda. Will Young flouncing out of Strictly.
SEPARATED at birth: Hitler's pal August Kubizek and Rick Mayall? One associated with a creature of evil genius, the other never even met Vyvyan Basterd.
CORRECTION: Louis Theroux filmed Savile groping a teenager after he made his original documentary. Even so, this vile behaviour was going on under BBC's noses and no-one did a thing about it.
TV maths: Mel + Sue = Ed Byrne (says Nish Kumar).
*DON Letts took on the chequered Story Of Skinheads for BBC4. He was fine on the early years but lost his way when it came to the 80s – see my blog page for why. A pity, but at least Don attempted to be fair.
Goof of the month, host Vincenzo talking about his food-mixer on Come Dine With Me: "The last thing you want is your sausage to slip while you're grinding."
Oct 9. In they came, the new Apprentice candidates, spouting boasts so crazy they almost made Tyson Fury sound sane. Aleksandra said she could "mimic a nuclear explosion" – me too after a good madras. While Karthik is "an emperor, a true leader" out to "conquer the world" – so he's Doughnut Trump from now on. The heavily highbrow, sorry eyebrowed contender calls himself the Big K, so he clearly can't spell.
They split into two teams, Titans (the cocky men) v Nebula (the nebulous women), to tackle Sugar's first task – flogging antiques, collectibles and cheap tut. The girls' performance was a glorious slo-mo car crash, almost as hypnotic as Daisy Lowe's hip action on Strictly. Everything that could go wrong did. At a boot sale they flogged off their stock without knowing its value. They ignored expert advice to target Portobello Market. They went to see a dealer without any gear, forgetting they'd sent their van on to Camden. They sold vases worth £300 for £15... No wonder Sugar had a face on him like a wet weekend in Walford.
"Britain's brightest business brains"? Yeah, right. The 18 contenders include an art director, a hair-dresser, an estate agent, an IT recruitment agent and some online marketing bods. And I wouldn't be too surprised if Ollie's food distribution business turns out to be a sandwich trolley. The biggest let-down was Jessica. The "online fashion entrepreneur" (does she sell knickers on eBay?) is double gorgeous but is already as irritating as an empty cycle lane in a traffic jam. Her business plan probably involves whoopee cushions at funeral parlours and covering the White Cliffs of Dover with giant selfies.
Jess thinks she's the female Jim Carrey. Is that dumb or dumber?
Team leader Michelle turned out to be the Diane James of "this process", in and out before we'd even noticed she was there. But there are plenty of other lightweights to keep Sugar ratty for our viewing pleasure. Like Courtney who modestly describes himself as "awesome". And Dillon whose mascara is sure to play well in the boardroom; the camp art director claims he's "the business equivalent of a diamond", though his performance to date screams cubic zirconia. So far, Sofiane seems the one to watch.
*MY business plan? Supplying referees for UKIP meetings.
*THE show started with the claim that we live in "times of economic turmoil". Is nothing free of the BBC's Brexit-bashing pessimism?
IMAGINE a theme park where you could act out Wild West fantasies – shoot bad guys with real bullets, brawl in bars, bed good-time girls... That's Westworld, a fantasy land staffed by hyper-realistic android hosts, the place where Humans meets Deadwood. In the 1973 movie, the machines malfunction and start murdering the guests. In this beautifully shot HBO re-boot a few hosts start to think for themselves. These include wholesome farm girl cyborg Dolores and Thandie Newton's sassy brothel madam Maeve who'd definitely be on my Wanted poster. In the film, gunslinger Yul Brynner was a robotic killing-machine, here the villainous Man In Black (Ed Harris) is a sadistic human. Dolores's Dad starts to go wonky after seeing a visitor's discarded photo of herself in Times Square. Grilled by Westworld founder (Anthony Hopkins), he vows revenge on his creator, quoting King Lear. The show raises big issues like how humanity would be without rules, could artificial intelligence become self-aware and the role of memory in making us who we are.
*SEXY robots acting out pre-determined roles and going dangerously rogue... it's like Big Brother on a bigger budget.
LOUIS Theroux's second Jimmy Savile documentary was largely about himself, but he still couldn't admit the vile DJ had run ring around him. Footage of Theroux trying to befriend Savile, offering him to put him up in his spare bedroom was cringe-worthy. Savile's shameless perving had actually been caught on camera for the original doc. We saw the creep grope a teenage girl in a Leeds pizza restaurant, rubbing his groin against her and grabbing her buttocks. Theroux was there; her Mum was next to her. It was blatant. But shamefully it was CUT from the first show. Louis had been "gullible" said one victim, "groomed" suggested another; completely out-smarted. But in fairness, Savile also mugged the entire establishment.
*BOY George was back on the BBC last night. No-one cares about that bloke he handcuffed to a radiator and beat with a metal chain then?
HOT on TV: Westworld (SkyAt)... Thandie Newton... Graine McCoy, The Apprentice... Ripper Street finale.
ROT on TV: Louis Theroux's self-pitying Savile doc... Damned – damned lazy... Jamie's Super Food – where hype meets tripe... Crisis In Six Scenes.
LYDIA Bright offered a jaw-dropping diagnosis of Zoe Salmon's "downstairs" health problems on Celebrity Island: "Basically her fanny's starving". Sadly no-one thought to feed it sausage.
*LYDIA admitted her own hair smelt of "burning, mud and sh*t". Nasty. But still not quite as foul as the One Direction fragrance Our Moment.
*KAREN Danczuk strangled a turkey, for all possible chicken-choking remarks see Keith Lemon.
SMALL Joys of TV: Bobby Davro clearly "refreshed" on The Chase Celebrity Special. The Stones and Soundgarden getting Spaghetti Western make-overs on Westworld. Still Game. Naga Munchetty in that wig on Strictly, looking that hot she could munch anybody.
RANDOM irritations: the utter farce of acts like Bratavio and Honey G making the live finals of an alleged singing contest. Weak scripts on Newzoids and The Agency. Tory conference speeches that could cure insomnia. The lack of subtitles on the otherwise cracking Sky Atlantic.
TV Questions: will there be Westworld spin-offs like sexy Mae-Westworld scary Fred-Westworld or the even more terrifying Kanye Westworld? Will EastEnders writers ever get tired of preaching at us and try to tell compelling stories instead? Kim Kardashian fears thieves might leak her most intimate pictures; which bits haven't we seen?
*I LOVE the dumb answers on The Chase. No-one will ever top the contestant who, when asked what town New York, New York was about, replied "Chicago".
*BOFFINS say humans won't live past 125. Didn't Ken Barlow beat that decades ago? Only Costa coffee cups last longer.
SEPARATED at birth: Chris Peyton from The X Factor and Poldark's Cary Warleggon? One was involved in a dark web of deception and humiliation, but luckily he got booted off at Judges' Houses.
CRAIG Revel Horrid was discussing Melvin Odoom's hips on Strictly when he said: "An ironing board is less stiff down below." Lucky Mrs Odoom.
FOR a chance to win BECK season two on DVD buy today's Daily Star Sunday.
Oct 2. Terrifying scenes on Celebrity Island as Lydia Bright lay on her back screaming in agony. "Get it out of me," she wailed. "I am not ready!" It was like she was back with Arg. In fact Towie twerp Lydia had impaled her own finger on a fishhook. Luckily not the finger she'll be flipping at her agent.
Like all Bear Grylls's alleged celebrities, Lydia is proving laughably hopeless at survival. The world's worst castaways are marooned on an island teaming with wild-life but they still went a week without eating. Correction: without eating food. Dr Dawn mistook inedible roots for a yucca plant so they ending up chewing on boiled tree. Poor Karen Danczuk. Sucking on foul tasting wood must have been a first for the highbrow adventurer.
None of these doughnuts managed to spear any of the fish that flourish in the shallow waters around the shore. This lot would struggle to catch Chlamydia on Love Island. Zoe Salmon was outwitted by a turkey! It wasn't the biggest one there either, that's Dom Joly a bloke who is to leadership what Pat Phelan is to starter homes. Bone idle Dom wasn't even bothered when The Hotel's Mark Jenkins seized power in a bloodless coup. He has the blubber to sustain him, though. Dom lost a stone in one week but you couldn't tell. Rugger ace Thom Evans shed two stone and looked weaker than the Lib Dems.
Thom was the second to bail out after Aston Merrygold who quit insisting that his dance work was a "different endurance". I'll say. Aston reckoned he'd be "better off in the studio writing songs"; sadly viewers weren't allowed a vote on that. Peter Andre apologised for Insania, the dreadful old racket he knocked up in ITV's jungle shortly before he knocked up Katie Price, his brain boiled by the Aussie heat. But there's been no apology yet from Aston for Give Me Life, the JLS horror that included the line 'intravenous love, feel it pump-pump-pump'. The only thing pump-pump-pumping intravenously here in Bear's wilderness is likely to be a tape worm. The real action is likely to come when Lydia and Zoe clock how spotty they looked in the close-ups. Talk about pizza to go.
BRADLEY Walsh got through The Chase's 1000th episode without cracking up or falling over. A shame. Brad losing it over foreign names like Fanny Chmelar is one of the quiz-show's great joys. His reaction to a question about how Andy Capp is known in Germany could cure depression. The options were Dick Tingeler, Helmut Schmacker and Willi Wakker. Brad couldn't get past the first name. I love this show. It's straightforward, fun and engaging, and the Chasers are endearingly eccentric. Some elements irritate. Like weasels who go for a minus figure to keep themselves in play or Shaun persisting with his "one-question shoot-out", a catchphrase that will never catch on. But simplicity is the key to all great TV quizzes (Cash Trapped please note), along with a likeable host (i.e. not Giles Coren) and a sprightly pace. And The Chase has it all. It's no surprise that its waiting list is two years long.
*THE show has its share of dimbo answers too. My favourite – Brad: "Which Prime Minister did Geri Halliwell call the first Spice Girl?" Contestant: "John Major".
HOT on TV: Gabriella Wilde, Poldark... Marvel's Luke Cage (Netflix)... John Turturro, The Night Of (SkyAt).
ROT on TV: Honey G – Ebola in human form... The Retreat – beat it... Aston Merrygold, telly's wimp of the week... Celebrity Island – making the case for mustard gas.
OLA Jordan says some male celebs get accidentally aroused on Strictly, but she spared their blushes by asking "Did you leave your mobile phone in your pocket?" Any self-respecting bloke should surely have replied "Yes but I'm afraid I'll have to put you on hold". Adding: "What happens next may be recorded for training purposes".
*OLA's ploy wouldn't work with Dom Joly. She'd feel that big cumbersome thing a room away. Not to mention his phone.
*LEN Goodman went Bluetooth. It was probably the war diet.
MEDICS fought to save Paul Dornan's life on the BBC's torture-porn drama The Fall. Why? DSI Stella Gibson, who remains unfeasibly attracted to the Belfast Strangler, insisted the charismatic killer had to face trial so his victim's families would have "closure". Isn't it more likely that they'd prefer the real closure of Dornan's richly deserved death? It'd beat knowing the creep was living the rest of his life behind bars, earning privileges and perhaps parole. The Fall is slick but morally flawed. It's gone from rape-fantasy to a super-charged ER clone without gaining a shred of cred.
*ON Poldark, snooty beauty Caroline questioned Dr Enys's devotion to the poor. "Will you do any good by attempting to save these people?" she asked. "They will only multiply and then there will be more mouths to feed. It's sad to see them die but at least it keeps the numbers down." And for the rest of that speech see this week's Conservative Party Conference.
*I HAVE a problem with National Treasure. I can believe Finchley is innocent. I can also believe he's guilty. But there is no way on earth Robbie Coltrane was ever as skinny as Trystan Gravelle.
*YANK comic Jimmy Fallon had the best take on the Clinton v Trump debate: "The audience were instructed not to applaud or cheer. People watching were like, 'What about sobbing? Can we quietly sob?'"
*THEY had a bloke on World Of Weird who paints with his penis. I believe it also doubles as a wetting agent.
*ON Victoria the queen tried to avoid pregnancy by jumping up and down ten times after sex. An old wives' tale. Actually for this to work, a woman must jump and down ten times BEFORE sex... on her fella's genitals. That should do it.
*NEW this Xmas: the Dom Joly Inaction figure. Ola Jordan's Pop-Up Book of Strictly Come Dancing Surprises. Pat Phelan's miracle disappearing doll's house...
SMALL Joys of TV: Ross battering the granny out of devious George on Poldark. Judge Rinder's Cha-Cha. Olivia Colman, Fleabag. Keifer Sutherland, Designated Survivor. Stunning photography on Autumn: Earth's Seasonal Secrets. Vicky Pattison experiencing Japanese zentai on World of Weird.
RANDOM irritations: public humiliation as entertainment on The X Factor. The dreariness of so many of Simon Cowell's young male wannabes – where is the attitude? Where's the oomph? Chronic continuity errors in Cold Feet & Our Girl. New Age cant (misprint) on The Retreat.
SEPARATED at birth: Jo Brand and Boss Nass? One over-weight, heavily jowled and prejudiced against all mankind... the other's from Star Wars.
TV maths. Hagar the Horrible + Catweazle = Steinar from Beck.
ANITA Rani was talking about a farmer's sheepdog work on Countryfile when she said: "Dick and his dogging could be tested to their limit." Or at least I hope she was.