BUSHELL ON THE BOX
*This is an edited version of my TV column. The real thing, plus contests, goofs, lookalike pictures and more, can be found each Sunday only in the Daily Star Sunday.
Oct 31. STATH in Stath Lets Flats is like a cross between Mr Bean and Nellie Pledge. The dim-witted Greek-Cypriot letting agent mangles English like the Mind Your Language cast on piece-rate. “I’m going to be my father soon,” he tells a bloke who he mistakes for a client, adding, “Our father to my dad... Son! I’m trying to tell you I’m going to be a dad!” He croons, “Your teeth is how you breathe” to a baby, and points at a pal singing “The father of the bride!” Asked why, Stath replies “Because I’m going to be a father.” Seriously, if he went to a mind-reader they’d charge him half-price.
Jamie Demetriou’s performance is so warm, giving him a bad review feels like kicking Bambi. But the show’s central premise – in fact its only premise – is: let’s laugh at the soppy immigrant. Alert the thought police! Incredibly, it’s won three Baftas – one for every viewer. I exaggerate, but not by much.
Curb Your Enthusiasm is in a different league. Over-lapping storylines and curmudgeonly encounters build to genuinely hilarious pay-offs. Tetchy Larry found a burglar has drowned in his pool. But the pool broke by-laws by not having a fence, which allowed the burglar’s brother to blackmail him... And Larry was forced to cast his talentless daughter in his new Netflix show...even though she’s a chubby Latino, not a skinny Jewish girl. Side-plots involve the dangers of “plopping” – people hurling themselves down onto settees; unpaid debts, and Larry looking befuddled after walking into a glass door, losing girlfriend Lucy Liu because of it. We also got US comedian Albert Brooks’s disastrous “living funeral” which saw Brooks exposed as a Covid hoarder. It’s like a rawer, ruder, taboo-busting version of Seinfeld which David co-created – brilliantly cranky George Costanza was based on him.
COP show The Long Call gave fresh meaning to the “Plod”. Stone me, it was slow. Laidback Inspector Venn made Rosemary and Thyme seem like Regan and Carter. As TV detectives go, Venn seems to lack key elements, like personality and gumption. He also lives, like many ITV characters, in a house absurdly beyond his income...unless he turns out to be corrupt, which would at least make him more interesting. We were in Devon where a bloke had been stabbed and chucked off a cliff. And Venn was a refugee from a repressive religious cult (Christian of course, TV’s bad religion of choice). It was heavy-going; but Anita Dobson stole the show.
*ITV tried to sell Venn on his sexuality. Old news. The first gay TV tec was Fraser on Taggart, and the first gay cop kiss was Ashton and Gilmore on The Bill.
ASKED, on the increasingly potty Family Fortunes, to name something you cuddle, contestant Elaine replied “Money.” Eh? Name someone in a job you’d avoid, generated answers like “Fishmonger” and “doctor”. Have you even seen a fishmonger lately? And why swerve doctors? Half the country is waiting to see their GP. As it stands, you’d have to join your doctor’s picket line for a face-to-face consultation.
HOT on TV: The Forgotten Battle (Netflix)... Anita Dobson... Curb Your Enthusiasm (SkyCom)... Ellie Taylor.
ROT on TV: Celebrity Ghost Hunt – neither trick nor treat, just tripe... Sex Unzipped – show unloved.
AL Murray’s take on World War II didn’t bomb, but it told us very little we didn’t know already. And although Al had fun in a Spitfire, his lacklustre schtick with German stand-up Henning Wehn went down like the Sixth Army at Stalingrad. Murray’s straight-talking Pub Landlord was a breath of fresh air in the 90s, unafraid to take on sacred cows. But rather than mine his satirical potential, he’s turned him into a knockabout cartoon. Lucrative but shallow, much like his latest series.
TV dramas that pretend to be historical are a constant irritation. Ridley Road claimed to be “inspired by real events”. Maybe so, but very loosely. Fascism wasn’t “on the rise” here in 1962, as the BBC pretended. The self-styled National Socialist Movement was pathetically small, and although thoroughly despicable, was never infiltrated by a Jewish woman from the anti-fascist 62 Group. That part of the story was lifted from the better-known 43 Group, formed by Jewish ex-servicemen to fight Nazis after World War II. Brave Wendy Turner slept with fascists, suffered a breakdown and was institutionalised for decades.
*ODD. I watched two nights of Celebrity Ghost Trip and didn’t see a single one. Or a ghost. Rishi’s reckless budget was far more frightening.
*FOR a real Halloween scare, keep a pumpkin in your garden. After a month it dries out and starts to look like Dot Cotton...
*WE saw stags wet themselves to make them more attractive to females on Autumnwatch. Happens all the time in Blackpool...
PS. I believe zoologists call this the “Phil Mitchell Technique”.
*THEY’VE made Superman bisexual. Risky. If the Man of Steel has a rod of iron, that’s going to hurt. Besides, he has superspeed. What lover wants that?
*THE 80s: Music’s Greatest Decade? No. Next question.
*ANYONE else find Brian Cox’s ponderous delivery made Universe a (literal) waste of space?
*I FEEL for lovely Isla Loba (Peckham’s Finest). Imagine how often she’s introduced herself only for some crass bloke to reply, “Really? Ivor Lobon.”
Small Joys of TV: Quantum Leap (Pick). Buddy Guy (Sky Arts). Irish stand-up Joanne McNally. Issa Rae. Guilt. Chris Packham’s “ventral patch”. Autumnwatch.
Random irritations: Brian Cox’s travel bill – nice work if you can get it. Breastfeeding My Boyfriend – grow up! BBC2 blowing our dosh on time-wasting poser Dylan Jones.
TV Maths. Comic Rhys James + lightsabre = Daisy Ridley.
TV questions: Why was Impeachment’s Linda Tripp called Deep Throat when Monica was supplying it? Why doesn’t Inspector Venn draw diagrams? Why was Claudia wearing leopard skin leggings on last week’s Strictly? She looked like the lovechild of Bet Lynch and Max Wall. (Ask your grandad).
Oct 24. THEY don’t teach kids about British history at schools anymore, so who better to fill the gap than a make-believe publican in a comedy blazer? Why Do The Brits Win Every War? asked Al Murray on Sky History. Point of order, guv. We lost the US War of Independence in 1783. Although in fairness the Yanks were British then, and had a lot of help from the French. The charge of the Light Brigade (1854) was nothing to write home about either, unless you were Alfred Lord Tennyson who turned defeat into a stirring poem. Al was perfectly entitled to ask the question, though, even if recreating the Battle Of Trafalgar on pedalos with Fred Sirieix might have made poor old Nelson spin like a turbo-charged Ann Summers’ special.
It’s a cheerfully daft series, but with plenty of facts in the mix. Did you know British sailors had far better grub than “the rampant baguette lovers”? Nelson loaded fifty live bullocks onto every battle ship so our jolly Jack Tars could tuck into proper beef dinners with their daily issue of eight pints of beer. Cheers! We had great allies too. Wellington crushed Napoleon and his elite Imperial Guard at Waterloo with the help of the Prussian Army – despite Bony putting his troops through parade ground pirouettes worthy of Strictly. And our ranks were swelled by Dutch and German soldiers. Les crapauds have never forgiven us. Al introduced genial, glorified waiter Sirieix as a “French superstar”, but then he is a comedian. Future experts include German comic Henning Wehn for World War II and Italian military historian, cough, Bruno Tonioli for the Roman invasion. Maybe series two will cover Agincourt, Plassey and Aliwal. Afghanistan might be more problematic. Best steer clear of Singapore (1942) and Isandlwana (1879).
THE BBC unveiled their “best TV shows of the 21st Century”, a list as credible as the Platts’ sinkhole storyline. For starters, their rather snobbish Top 100 snubs Life On Mars, Peaky Blinders, Phoenix Nights, The Long Firm, Braquo, Blue Planet II, Harry Hill’s TV Burp and Afterlife – all better than The Leftovers, ranked 7th. There is no sign of Extras, Early Doors or Romanzo Criminale either. Stranger Things is 68, while patchy old Sherlock (good every third episode) is 25. The Shield, Line Of Duty and Fargo don’t even make the Top 30. Fleabag came 4th. Why? Were there any laughs in series two at all? And does second-place Mad Men really trump House Of Cards and This Is England? At least Succession made the Top Ten. The dialogue in this brilliant, back-stabbing business drama is so sharp it’s a wonder don’t cut their own tongues.
DAME Judi Dench learned a lot about her dad on Who Do You Think You Are. Reggie was awarded the Military Cross twice for courage at Ypres and Arras in the First World War. He’d led a raid into an occupied German trench to measure its size, holding off the enemy... a knee injury incurred in training meant he’d missed probable death at The Somme. Like many veterans, Reg never spoke about his wartime experiences, but by God he’d done his bit. Bard-loving Dench was also chuffed to find a Danish family link taking her back to the castle that inspired Shakespeare’s Elsinore. Ah, the slings and arrows of outrageous genealogy.
*JUDI was one of the few dames they’d heard of on Family Fortunes. How could anyone forget Helen Mirren? Seriously! Watch her in O Lucky Man! She was hotter than the Notre Dame fire.
HOT on TV: Succession (SkyAt) and Brian Cox... Deirdre O’Kane... Isla Loba, Peckham’s Finest.
ROT on TV: The Trick – thriller with no thrills... Angela Black – about as plausible as BoJo’s energy plan... Celeb Trash Mountain – put the “waste” in time-wasting.
ASHLEY Banjo’s doc, responding to complaints about Diversity’s George Floyd dance routine, was too patronising to do much good. It’s perfectly possible to loathe racism and also be irritated by extremist calls to defund the Old Bill (a demand backed by the National Federation of Leg-Breakers & Cat Burglars). Ashley undermined his Mr Reasonable stance by wearing a Fidel Castro t-shirt. The Stalinist Cuban dictator banged up thousands of gay people. Let’s hope Ash doesn’t get cancelled.
*BILL Clinton’s oral sex shenanigans – recalled on Impeachment – kept US comics in jokes for months. Jay Leno claimed he’d been at an awards do with Monica Lewinsky. “I was on table 14, she was under table 12.”
*DID Blankety-Blank blow their comedy budget early? Week one: Jimmy Carr and Johnny Vegas. Quality comics. Last night: Baga Chipz and rasping Rhod Gilbert...
*WHAT’S the deal with all the dream kitchens in ITV dramas? It’s like kitchen islands have become the portal to middle class doom. Buy a fancy boiling water tap at your peril...
*THIS week’s kink? Superhero sex. A great idea... until Wolverine claws your back to shreds.
*RE Michael X: Hustler, Revolutionary, Outlaw. Don’t forget Murderer. That bit’s pretty crucial.
TV Maths. Bruce Willis + false nose = Cockney comedian Jeff Innocent.
Small Joys of TV: Zappa (BBC4). Hitsville: The Making Of Motown (SkyArts). Robert Bathurst, The Larkins. Geoff Norcott. Tom Fletcher & Amy Dowden, Strictly.
Random irritations: The shameful ordeal of Dennis Hutchings, R.I.P. C4’s lack of subtitles for the deaf; ditto Sky History. BBC plans to revive, sorry, ruin Bergerac. Don’t.
Classic Clanger. The BBC’s Lucy Grey reported: “Scientists warn that ten drinks a week may cost you six months of your life. Our health correspondent Charlotte Gallagher has more.” Hic. Me too.
Oct 17. EARLY on Who Do You Think You Are, Josh Widdecombe said, “Oh no, all my street cred’s gone.” Don’t worry, mate, you never had any to begin with. This was a hell of an episode as alleged comedian Josh realised how “uber posh” he was. One relative was in the Barings Bank clan, another, the Earl Of Holland, was high up in the court of King Charles 1. His job was to wipe the royal arse, presumably when the other courtiers weren’t kissing it. We knew he wouldn’t have been the court jester; we’ve seen Josh’s act.
It wasn’t over. Josh’s 13-times great-grandad Sir Francis Knolly was Elizabeth I’s favourite toady, sorry, courtier. His daughter Lettice was her lady-in-waiting, but the trollop had a fling with Robert Dudley, the earl who was wooing Good Queen Bess. “You’re telling me is my 12-times great-grandmother was in a love triangle with Queen Elizabeth I?” said an almost animated Josh. Yes, but there was more. Lettice’s mum Catherine was the Queen’s cousin (daughter of Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne, Henry VIII’s second wife). Which explains why Lettice wasn’t horse-whipped for copping off with Dudders. Mary was also the King’s mistress, so there was a strong chance Henry was Witless-Chump’s direct ancestor. Wolf Hall had nothing on this! Further up his highfaluting family tree Josh was very nearly impressed to discover his 23-times great-grandad was Edward I (“the Hammer of the Scots”). Then came French royals... It was only a matter of time before we’d have reached the original Cnut.
Yet no-one asked the obvious question – where did Danny Dyer fit into this? And who’s more royal, Dyer or Josh? As Harry Hill knows there’s only one way to find out... FIGHT! Winner to take on Charlie. Loser to lose their head, like the poor old arse-wiper did.
*THE Beeb couldn’t do dimwit Charlotte Crosby’s ancestors. She hasn’t got a family tree, more a cabbage patch.
BRADLEY Walsh stars in THREE big weekend shows. Great to see broadcasters giving new talent a chance... I’m kidding. If Brad were any more exposed, he’d be had up for indecency. But he’s brilliant on Beat The Chasers and who else could host a friendly, funny, family show like Blankety Blank? TV bosses turned their backs on down-to-earth mainstream comics years ago – a barmy act of self-harm that destroyed the warmth supply chain and resulted in the misjudged mess of Mel & Sue#s Generation Game. Shame about The Larkins though. Brad and Jo Scanlon may be “perfick” as Pop and Ma, but ITV have sabotaged it with bonkers castings and unlikely dialogue. The woman playing teenage Mariette is 30! The twerps have even ditched Pop’s catchphrase. At least they haven’t made them vegans. Yet. Be choosier, Brad. It’d be awful if it all this attention went to your head and turned you into a rampaging diva.
*BRAD’S on telly all the time. His old pal Joe Pasquale’s still on helium.
CAN we start a campaign to give Jo Froggatt happier TV roles? The poor woman was date-raped on Liar, raped on Downton Abbey and now she’s getting battered by her horrible husband on Angela Black. All on ITV. I’d hate to think what would become of her on a daytrip to Midsomer. On this latest grim series, she’s trapped in a loveless marriage to violent and mysteriously loaded booze-hound Oliver who wants a divorce. Or her funeral. When Ollie isn’t knocking her teeth out, he’s hiring a hitman to knock her off. Even her dogs bite her. The woman’s clearly jinxed, and way too trusting. Dear ITV: is it too late to stem the torment and bring back Sanditon?
HOT on TV: Tyson Fury... Paris Police 1900 (BBC4)... The Velvet Underground (AppleTV+).
ROT on TV: Angela Black – yet more grief... Scenes From A Marriage – yes, and all of ’em tedious... Diana: The Musical – it’s a royal cock-up.
ANOTHER sleazy doc on C4 – My First Threesome. Yawn. Come on guys, where’s the space shagging? It can’t be long before pioneers are “initiating docking procedures” and joining the 66-mile high club. It’s what Captain Kirk would have wanted.
*I’M hoping for circus sex. I hear those contortionists bend over backwards for you.
*WILLIAM Shatner went into space at 90. By the time he got there, he’d forgotten why he’d gone.
*PEOPLE say football hooligans, the fuel crisis and food shortages make 2021 feel like the 70s. Yes, but without the TV comedy that made them bearable...
*LOVE the banter between Armstrong and Richard Osman on Pointless. Honestly, it’s a laugh a fortnight.
*WILL Iceland With Alexander Armstrong be followed by Lidl With Joe Swash or Harrods With Gyles Brandreth?
*WHERE can we complain about Complaints Welcome?
Small Joys of TV: Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story. Vintage Seinfeld on Netflix. Dave Chappelle, The Closer. Emily Atack’s holiday police suitcase packing sketch. Bob Mortimer, Question Team.
Random irritations: Kat and Janine’s big Queen Vic pub fight lacking essential elements like mud, or jelly, or conviction. The New Labour doc lacking informed, critical voices from left and right.
TV questions: did royal bum-wiper the Earl Of Holland employ a windmill technique? (And did he clog up the king’s khazi?) If Widdecombe and Dyer are distantly related to royals, who isn’t? And where does Ann Widdecombe fit in?
DAD & Secret Son: Early Man’s Grubup + Rob Beckett.
Oct 10. THERE have been many chronic crime-fighters on our TV screens – the Keystone Cops, Clouseau, Cressida Dick... But have any been as spectacularly useless as the shower on Murder Island? The would-be sleuths in C4’s new “reality detective show” walked through blood at the crime scene, left dabs everywhere, tampered with evidence and missed vital clues. Talk about CSI: Amateur! Still, it’s an original idea... if you’ve forgotten BBC1’s The Murder Game from 2003. Eight players compete to solve a make-believe murder on a remote Scottish island for a £50K prize. The fictional victim is lesbian eco-activist Charly Hendricks (yes, it’s Murder She Woke). Four teams of two try to work out who polished off the poor woman while being barked at by ex-coppers. Was it the shady fat-cat developer, the tight-lipped handyman, her married, shop-keeper lover... ? And why? Charly hadn’t even superglued herself to a passing piper.
The crime element, written by Ian “Rebus” Rankin, is well-plotted, but the show is poorly constructed and its grim realism feels ill-judged at a time when too many young women are being slaughtered on our streets. No doubt ITV are already calculating how long to wait before dramatizing the heart-breaking Sarah Everard tragedy. Would it have worked better in the light-hearted style of the old Jon Pertwee show, Whodunnit? Viewers prefer their homicide served as light entertainment. Hence the global success of Miss Marple and clever-dick Poirot, and the endless presence of Midsomer Murders in our schedules.
*ANYONE else find it hard to care who killed Victor with a life-size Egyptian statue after poisoning him on Midsomer? I wouldn’t have been too bothered if they’d bumped off Barnaby too.
*TV’s least likely detective was flabby Frank Cannon, who’d heave his huge bulk out of his Lincoln Continental and out-fight fit thieves and thugs with feeble karate chops. Fat power!
THOSE randy male kangaroos scrapping over a female on The Mating Game brought EastEnders to mind... it was all very Mitchell bruvvas and Miss Piggy. And the strumpet still slipped off for a crafty shag with a weaker spineless suitor – the local Ian Beale. Cue doof doof drums... Elsewhere a young defeated male ostrich inflated his large sack – careful – and made mighty booming sounds to summon fresh babes, who took him on ten-mile run to test his stamina. Blimey. Getting the girl is all about being the strongest and fittest. But being the best dancer works for feather-fluffing ostriches too – which certainly explains the Strictly curse. And apparently there’s “penis-fencing” to come... (On Strictly, not sure about The Mating Game.)
*THE sneakiest seducer was the “cross-dressing” wading bird who looked female in order to steal a hottie from under the noses of the puffed-up male ruffs. A Corrie storyline waiting to happen, surely?
*TONY Blair & Gordon Brown were dubbed “the Lennon & McCartney of politics” on Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution. Imagine the songs! The Long & Winding War, Please Sleaze Me, Give PFI A Chance... and, for Alastair “Dodgy Dossier” Campbell, Pack-Of-Lies Writer.
*GORDON, Gino & Fred were up against Gordon, Tony & Pete (Mandelson). One an unlikely trio faking friendship as things got messy... and so were the others.
RIDLEY Road is about stopping Nazis, and who isn’t up for that? Sadly, it’s historically dodgy. Colin Jordan did lead the loathsome neo-Nazi NSM group in 1962, but he had no children, so he didn’t greet a son with a fascist salute, saying “We come again” in German. There was no “rising tide” of British fascism that year either. The NSM were tiny. They had just 187 full members in their entire miserable history. And despite (later) arson attacks, they never killed a Jewish student with a petrol bomb. BBC1’s prime motive for making the show seems to be to draw laughably false parallels between Nazis and Brexit voters. They forget that Sir Oswald Mosley, Britain’s alpha fascist, was dead keen on making “Europe a nation”.
HOT on TV: Michelle Keegan, Brassic (Sky1)... AJ Odudu, Strictly... Jung HoYeon, Squid Game (Netflix).
ROT on TV: Paul O’Grady’s Saturday Night Line-Up – not the O’Grady after the watershed we wanted, just a watered-down and washed-out one.
ROCKY Cant on fast-sinking EastEnders turns out to be conman Tom Cotton working with niece Dotty (real name Kirsty) to fleece Dot’s fortune from gullible Sonia... I think... so, he’s even more of a Cant than we first thought. Dr Legg’s will made Dot a millionaire. Obviously, he never spent any money on clothes but that’s a tidy sum for an East End GP to amass. Maybe he was doing a Harold Shipman on the side... Or was he Nasty Nick’s real dad? Dot always liked having a Legg over.
*JOHN Barrowman is putting it out there that he’s available for work. And the reason he’s available is because he kept putting it out there... In fairness, John did bring a whole new meaning to “showman”.
*FRIENDLY warning of the week, Dilksy to Wes Nelson: “I’ll fold you like a f***ing deckchair.” (SAS: WDW).
Small Joys of TV: Barking mad Britannia. 15 Storeys High, BBC iPlayer. The interrogation episode of Celeb SAS: Who Dares Wins. Ted the dog on Gone Fishing.
Random irritations: Jeremy Vine, the gangly perma-grinning goon on the new Channel 5 Eggheads, with its dreary, dumbed-down questions and cut-down teams.
TV maths: Lee Mack + David Mitchell = DS Parks, Hollington Drive.
Oct 3. HAVE we just seen the last of Endeavour? At the end of Sunday’s episode, morose Morse told Fred Thursday, “It’s beginning to thaw” just before going into rehab – an obvious nod to John Thaw who played Morse as a DCI. Sadly the plot itself was as impenetrable as Fort Knox. It was less a whodunnit, more a WTF-was-that? Think Agatha Christie by way of Scooby-Doo... after he’d lapped up Snoop Dog’s bong water. But at least it was crammed with On The Buses references. There was creepy bus conductor, Grant – Bob Grant played girl-hungry Jack Harper in the ITV sitcom. A bus depot poster had been changed from ‘A Grand Life On The Buses’ to a randy one, and the bus terminated at the cemetery gates... just like Stan Butler’s Number 11 did.
Writer Russell Lewis loves to lace his scripts with in-jokes. He’s had a window cleaner called Lee Timothy – Timothy Lea starred in Confessions Of A Window Cleaner; a hospital with a Fosdick Ward (frp, Carry On Doctor), and surgeon Sir Merlin Chubb – based on Sir Lancelot Spratt (Doctor At Large). We’ve had a Mr Benn, a Barry Appleby (the cartoonist created The Gambols in the Daily Express) and a Loomis (the boyfriend from Psycho). Fred Thursday (whose name was inspired by Dragnet’s Joe Friday) once mentioned “Sam Vine out of Cable Street” – a cop in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series... True, this doesn’t compensate for bonkers storylines. This peculiar episode was as easy to follow as the Invisible Man in a mineshaft. But the cast are always good, especially Roger Allam. ITV should give his Fred Thursday a spin-off series. He’s a tough, down-to-earth thief-taker who roughs up wrong’uns... even if I’m not sure why he was running around with a service pistol last month. If not, give Allam something established. He’d make a far better Maigret than Mr Bean did.
ITV made the right decision by not giving Hollington Drive a laugh track. It was obvious where the guffaws were meant to be – the moody stares, the over-melodramatic music, the mumbled lines... And the glorious moment when icy headmistress Helen launched herself at married lover Gareth. Tsk. Write out 1000 times, “I must not forget the hunt for my missing son to shag the head... ”. I bet she could give it some welly with a cane too. Helen’s sister, Theresa – known as ‘T’, short for tormented – looks like she should be in advert for tense, nervous headaches. Crumbling couple T and hubby Fraser popped round to cheer up their distraught neighbours with tepid, left-over barbecue grub. That seemed more like a King Gary move than something these unaccountably loaded, middle class berks would do. “We’re vegetarian!” snapped Gareth. Of course. Hilarious.
THE veterans’ stories were the best parts of D-Day: Remembered. We rarely hear about the Canadians’ immense courage on Juno Beach, or Bill Millin, the “mad piper of Normandy” – the Germans wouldn’t shoot him because they thought it was bad luck to kill someone insane. The Yanks suffered terrible loses on Omaha. Their troops were segregated but a son recalled his black father sharing a foxhole with a white comrade. “There was only one colour on the beach,” he said. “Red.” Max Hastings was spot on, but there were a few sloppy visual errors. And why no mention of Admiral Ramsay whose masterly planning was so vital for the Allied victory?
HOT on TV: Squid Game (Netflix)... Katheryn Winnick, Vikings (Sky History)... Janine Jansen.
ROT on TV: Outsiders – survival of the sh*ttest... Hollington Drive – wholly drivel... Vigil – battle of the bilge.
DOES Gino D’Acampo really think Athens has pyramids? I suspect he played “stupido” for the cameras. Either that or the octopus they were eating had more braincells than he does. Although largely staged, Gordon, Gino & Fred Go Greek is easy escapism. Greece looked great, the grub less so. The pretend pals got excited about sheep’s cheese in filo pastry smothered in sugar. It looked like a heart attack on a plate.
*THE first episode of The Goes Wrong Show was funny in places, but patchy. They did a much better job with their hilarious “GB News opening night” special.
*YOU know what annoys me most about Take A Hike? Rhod Gilbert’s raspy, sneering voice-over... it ruins a perfectly dull show.
*IF Sex Actually was really about “what sex means for modern Brits”, wouldn’t it show weeks of defeated husbands begging and pleading followed finally by begrudged coitus with the lights out?
Small Joys of TV: Bob Mortimer & Paul Whitehouse. Anna Burnett’s boots (Endeavour). Shirley Bassey At The BBC. Brad’s “Mad and Wild” double act on Beat The Chasers. Dilksy, back tonight on Celebrity SAS:Who Dares Wins!
Random irritations: BBC boss Tim Davie’s whopping £75K raise – for what? C5 losing their Monday night rugby highlights show. The Turner Prize 2021 – turn it in.
*SHOULD Have I Got News For You bring back Angus Deayton? Absolutely. It’s never been the same without him. Ditch box-ticking guest panellists though. Some say so little it’s technically a non-speaking role.
*LOVE Island “stars” won’t win Question Time new viewers. Debating forbidden topics, like restoring capital punishment for cold-blooded killers, might.
TV questions: why do the clever middle-class people on Only Connect have such bad teeth? Does anyone – except C4 – actually need “drag queen therapy”? Exactly how “fearless” must you be to bungee jump, Foxy?
TV Maths: Rosie Wright (GB News) + cheap sunglasses = Bingo from the Banana Splitz.