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 30. IN Halloween week, ghosts of comic giants haunted BBC4. We saw Tony Hancock’s glorious courtroom plea, “Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?” And Harold Steptoe describing dad Albert as “a festering, fly-blown heap of accumulated filth”. Looking at the squalor the rag-and-bone men lived in, Harold snapped: “That’s not dust, it’s top soil”. They screened episodes of Dad’s Army, The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin, Till Death with Alfie Bass and Patricia Hayes... Familiar faces, recognisable fleshed-out characters, warmth, belly laughs... genuine golden days. Which begs the big question, where are today’s equivalents?
Most modern BBC sitcoms are as welcome as Kanye at a bar mitzvah. More sit than com, and more crude than funny. Pat Coombs wouldn’t have said “orgasm” on telly even if she was having one. (Hylda Baker would have said “organism”). They’re so obsessed with minorities they’ve forgotten the majority.
Criticising the Beeb is like taking on a battleship with a pea shooter. Like the NHS, people love it for what it was rather than the bloated many-tentacled monster it has become. But the case against the Corporation has more levels than Call Of Duty: WWII. Self-inflicted cock-ups include Martin Bashir, the Diana conman who they made BBC religious affairs correspondent. Vile paedo Savile... the £100million they blew on a doomed digital archive project... feeble, failing output... In days of intense competition, viewers increasingly ask why we’re forced by law to pay for bilge like Unbreakable and endless bleeding-heart lectures. Look how careless they’ve been with Doctor Who, Strictly, Question Of Sport and EastEnders. The soap’s soppy writers have forgotten they should reflect life as it is, not how they’d like it to be. In fairness, BBC drama can still deliver – Life On Mars, Peaky Blinders (first series), Killing Eve (first series), barking mad Luther, early Line Of Duty. They have Attenborough of course. But It’s been a mighty long time since Del-Boy and Rodney.
JUST like Wagner, the Doctor Who special had lovely moments but awful half-hours. Small joys included the return of old companions – Tegan and Ace (Wot? No Leela?) – who were then trumped by old doctors. In a fan fantasy come true, Jodie’s Doc met Colin Baker, Peter Davison, Paul McGann, Sylvester McCoy and David Bradley (playing William Hartnell). We also had Fugitive doctor Jo Martin and, in the greatest twist, Jodie regenerated into David Tennant. It was enough to thaw an Ice Warrior’s frozen heart. The actual plot was a pig’s ear of sloppiness involving Cybermen, Daleks and the “human-intolerant” Master. The next series needs new villains and sharper writing.
JIMMY Carr set out to “destroy art”. Why? Tate Modern does a much better job of that. Jimmy’s audience voted to shred Hitler’s painting and torch predatory nonce Eric Gill’s doodles. Discussing Gill’s Prospero & Ariel statue, Carr quipped: “So a naked boy carved by a paedophile on the headquarters of the BBC... what the hell is that doing on the spiritual home of Jimmy Savile?” The odd mix of one-liners and short debates felt as shallow as an art room canvas. But decent points were made. Destroying old artwork doesn’t change history. Great art can be separated from vile artists. And historic wreckers include the Nazis, Red China, religious fanatics and free-speech-hating far-Left stormtroopers with their cancerous cancel culture. Why pander to the small-minded berks?
HOT on TV: Virat Kohli... The Offer (Netflix)... House Of The Dragon finale.
ROT on TV: Made In The 80s – C4 rewriting history, again... The Pact... The Tournament – joust awful.
HAVE Channel 4 gone senile? Their obsession with genitals, shocks and piss-poor humour doesn’t become a grown-up broadcaster. Last weekend they gave us a flashing transexual playing a piano with “her” penis. And trumped that with the blokes on My Massive C*** who could have banged J. Arthur Rank’s gong with theirs. It wasn’t a budgie they were smuggling, more like a Jersey Giant rooster.
*THEY danced to BBC TV theme-tunes on Strictly last weekend, sensibly swerving Sean Bean’s Marriage – a godawful racket. Perhaps Jim’ll Fix It was saved for Halloween. Where was the theme from The Split though? What better music to celebrate the perennial Strictly curse?
*DIDN’T think much of Halloween telly. TV’s cocktail of scares, curses and blood-chilling doom had nothing on the nightly news.
*KING Charles visited The Repair Shop. Why didn’t he take that poxy leaking pen?
*SUSIE McCabe on ankle tags: “In Scotland we call them the Glasgow Rolex”.
*EVER look at Simon Weston and Charlie Mullins on Unbreakable and wonder who’d had the most cosmetic surgery? (This won’t get in the paper but Simon wouldn’t mind).
*YOU know your relationship has gone down the crapper if you haven’t had sex “since voting for Brexit”... like Murder, We Hope’s Tamzin Outhwaite. Oof. Worth the wait?
*BREXIT sex! That’s when you mean to withdraw but can’t quite pull out all the way.
*NOW Ghosts is a Mastermind subject, will Naked Attraction follow? Just be aware that the “biggest plonker” is a trick question. The answer isn’t a contestant, it’s C4’s CEO.
SMALL joys of TV: Just Good Friends (BBC4). Leonard Rossiter clips. Banshee (Pick). Stormzy. Ainsley’s World Cup Flavours. My Dynamite: James Brown (Sky).
RANDOM Irritations: Richard Osman claiming on BBC2 that Liz Truss had “a very, very low tax agenda”. Income tax top rate was 40% (exactly the same as Liz’s “libertarian” proposal) under Tony Blair! Libertarian, my arse.
7 scary shows: Midnight Mass. Penny Dreadful. Stranger Things. Whistle & I’ll Come To You. American Horror Story. Grimm. The Haunting Of Hill House.
Oct 23. HIGH drama and high winds on Emmerdale. High farce too. I haven’t laughed so much since Fat Barry Evans died. To celebrate the ITV soap’s fiftieth, a mighty storm battered the ill-starred village for days on end. The wind was so great it blew a 37stone quad bike on top of Harriet Finch, and yet oddly it couldn’t shift Ethan’s hat. It set a killer caravan rolling and swept poor Amelia into severe over-acting mode. Another hour and it might have blown Malandra Burrows back. It also liberated a herd of cattle, giving us Yorkshire’s answer to the running of the bulls in Pamplona as Sam and Nate legged it from stampeding cows. The thought of leaping over the handy fence never occurred to them.
I felt for Harriet. When she dreamed of ending up flat on her back, groaning under something heavy and hard, she meant Will not a quad bike. Mercifully her agony didn’t last. A handy bolt of lightning missed the trees and ignited the bike – the soap’s first lightning-themed death since Tricia Dingle. How unlike 1972’s down-to-earth Beckindale. That had actual farming. Jack Sugden read books! And the only tragedy was Bundle the dog getting shot for sheep-bothering... something which never happened with the Dingles. One law for dumb animals, another one for dogs...
Now it’s as potty as the other soaps, over-stuffed with love rats, over-doses and doom. Their 1993 plane crash killed four. Meena slaughtered more. But the “Emmer-Gale” was the show’s dumbest ever disaster, up there with Corrie’s sinkhole and Walford’s collapsing funfair. Soaps are trapped in an escalating cycle of shock, gore and shagging. Restricting them to two episodes a week is the only way to save them.
*NO cows were hurt in the making of these episodes, except Harriet. The cowpats will be recycled as scripts.
THANKS Friday Night Live for answering the question: how low can comedy go? Smug old frauds relived their 80s “glories” in a joke-free bombardment of bile. We got f-words and c-words, but not a single decent joke. The witless shower of shabbiness went down like the Moskva, reaching rock bottom with Rosie “f***ing” Jones talking about fingering her neighbour. That was it. No punchline. Harry Enfield went through the motions, Ronni Ancona bombed. And posh professor’s son Ben Elton – dubbed a sell-out by more radical comedians – had another pop at Benny Hill. At least Jo Brand had a new joke – “I’m old” – to go with “I’m fat, I eat cake, I hate men... ” FNL inspired a purge of older, warmer comedians people loved. It has led to a culture where unfunny jerks, identifying as comics, are promoted for the boxes they tick rather than their actual ability.
*BEN Elton peaked in the 80s when he co-wrote Blackadder and The Young Ones. Few miss his later flops like Happy Families and The Wright Way or his 2011 stand-up series Live From Planet Earth, axed after three dismal episodes.
GANGS Of London hits like Ronnie Kray, packing in brutal brawls, callous sadism, and constant intrigue. Gone are the Cockney villains of Harold Shand’s day. The hoods behind these murder sprees are Turks, Albanians, Kurds and Asians. And who knows who will wash up on dinghies next week. Heroin boss Asif, backed by the sinister “investors”, brought in Palestinian psycho Koba to restore order to London streets. (Any chance he can sort out the eco-loons while he’s here?) Ex-undercover cop Elliott is doing the investors’ dirty work, taking out wrong’uns in eye-popping fights, often involving actual popped eyes. It’s not for the squeamish, but the action scenes are spectacular.
HOT on TV: Sope Dirisu, Gangs Of London (SkyAt)... Lewis Capaldi – funnier than most comics... Isobel Steele, RIP Liv, luv.
ROT on TV: This England – biggest waste of time since the Tory leadership race... Greta Thunberg – all attitude and platitudes.
HOT not on TV: Hancock’s Half-Hour (BBC Sounds).
I’VE said it before but the current chaos – the political equivalent of Whack-A-Mole – proves we need NIGHTLY topical satire shows. Why not commission five comics, coming from different angles, to rotate as hosts with separate producers and writing teams to add an edge of competition? These are grim days with coups, clots and plots among the haves & have-lots. Only fresh satire can reflect the absurdity. Tired old HIGNFY doesn’t cut it.
*THE BBC is 100years old and to celebrate their commitment to excellence they’re screening Unbreakable, Doctor Who and The Wheel. Oh, hang on...
*MY pal tried to get an advance copy of tomorrow’s My Massive C***. But the PR handling it wanted to sit on it for a while. Then she started moaning...
*WOULDN’T it be great if every character missing from our soaps – Andy McDonald, Adam Barton, Ben Mitchell’s other heads etc – turned out to be living together in a remote village... and nobody filmed it?
*WHO said, “I surrender to the pork” this week? Was it a) Stanley Tucci or b) Lola to Jay on EastEnders?
*HOW is Judi Love “Black, Female & Invisible”? She’s on telly every week.
SMALL joys of TV: Dancing rooftiles on Emmerdale. Dilksy, Celeb SAS. Amanda Holden’s legs. Marty Robbins, Somewhere Boy soundtrack & Lewis Gribben.
RANDOM Irritations: The Larkins, reducing the cheery optimism of the 90s original to a cringe-worthy cartoon. Rosie Jones. Prime’s The Peripheral – meta-bollocks.
SEPARATED at birth: Crispin Blunt and Up’s Carl Fredricksen? One fuelled by helium, the other entirely by hot air.
7 UK gangland dramas. Big Breadwinner Hog. Out. The Long Firm. Peaky Blinders. Top Boy. Gangsters. The Firm.
Classic Clanger. Lee Hendrie was talking about football on Sky Sports when he said, “It’s quite warm down there, even the balls are sweating.”
Oct 16. NO MATTER how often ITV muck up they can always blow their own trumpets at the National TV Awards. This over-blown back-slapping fest is so predictable it’s a wonder they didn’t just repeat last year’s show with a few green screen inserts of the newer contenders. As usual, and perhaps rightly, Ant & Dec triumphed for the 199th year on the trot. I’m A Celebrity won, despite being years past its noughties best. Ditto Strictly which has waltzed into woke wonderland. The usual TV obsessions (drag queens, obscure teenage gay dramas) were all present and politically correct. Here’s the thing, though. We’re told the NTAs are TV’s most democratic awards, yet they never show us the voting figures. TV bods choose the longlist and have no way of stopping repeat voting. The public have no say over the special gongs, going this year to Emmerdale, for its green agenda, and Sir Lenny Henry. At least the Baftas are transparently fixed.
Beyond the inevitable wins, the very age of the heavy-hitting shows should disturb us all. I’m A Celeb started 20 years ago, Strictly 18, Gogglebox 9... Where are the new formats? And where are the comedians? Even Ricky Gervais couldn’t be arsed to be funny. You could count the laughs in the 150minute ordeal on Captain Hook’s bad hand. Although I did grin when the audience booed Phil and Holly. Missing gems included Reacher, The White Lotus, Squid Game and Mare Of Easttown. Ho-hum. Odds on, BBC1’s Unbreakable will be on the 2023 contenders list – a show that makes Touch The Truck seem like The Ascent Of Man. ITV are pinning their hopes on reviving Big Brother, Survivor and Gladiators. They’re dancing on the deck of the Titanic.
*ITV’s Phil & Holly were the first celebs seen on screen – jumping the queue again, eh chaps?
KAREN Pirie dragged on longer than most prime ministers, but it was worth sticking with. When a true-crime podcast started picking over the bones of the 1996 killing of hot barmaid Rosie Duff, top brass ordered a cold case investigation. Young inexperienced DS Karen got the job purely because they thought she’d fail. Instead, pint-sized Pirie displayed the dogged determination of that Arctic fox head-butting the snow for lemmings on Frozen Planet. Red herrings abounded, and an ex-student suspect was topped by a vengeful vigilante – not Rosie’s killer but the daughter she’d had with DCS James Lawson... who turned out to be the perp. Once, that twist would’ve shocked. Sadly, in today’s sick world, it barely raised an eyebrow.
*7 More great British female TV cops. DCI Jane Tennison. June Ackland. Harriet Makepeace. Vera. Sgt Cathy Cawood. DI Maggie Forbes. DI Vivienne Deering.
CHURCHILL-hating Danny took minutes to go from dove to hawk on Make Me Prime Minister. Cyber-hackers based in Oman targeted Britain. Danny didn’t want to send in the Marines, saying “that would look aggressive”. So instead, he fired a tomahawk missile at the hackers’ compound. An act of war worthy of Mad Vlad. D’oh! The thought of ringing up the friendly Sultan and asking him to shut them down escaped them all. Yet Danny survived. Alistair Campbell and Baroness Warsi fired Verity instead cos she’d fibbed to the French. “Lying was catastrophic,” said Campbell. Talk about front! Blair took us to war on a wave of fiction. Boris’ default position was “It wasn’t me, I didn’t do it, and I’ll never do it again”. Harsh then to punish candidates for believing modern politics is powered by porky pies.
*THESE people aren’t PM material. They’ve been there weeks and no-one has blown thousands on £840-a-roll gold wallpaper.
HOT on TV: Lauren Lyle, Karen Pirie... Babylon Berlin (SkyAt)... Matt Smith, House Of The Dragon.
ROT on TV: Maxine – a gormless Carr crash... Wreck – dreck... Unbreakable – unbearable and unfathomable.
ELON Musk’s ex-wife Tallulah Riley told how, on an early date, he invited her back to his hotel room to look at his “rocket videos”. They duly did. No word on whether they docked, attempted re-entry or achieved maximum thrust.
*BEN Elton moaned about woke warriors censoring comedy. Well said! There was a creep like that in the 80s. A gobby little mockney who helped drive Benny Hill off TV. What was his name again? Oh yeah, Ben Elton...
*IF Strictly’s Fleur East is a Ferrari, is Jayde Adams a corporation dust cart or a Bedford S type?
*THANKS to BBC2’s Sensationalists for reminding us 1990s “art” really was as bad as it was painted. A better title would have been Shysters.
*THE end credits of Wednesday’s EastEnders showed a future where the Thames had flooded Walford out of existence. And they say climate change is all bad...
*WHY is Tom sleeping with Olivia on Bloodlands? Because she’s Smurfit...
*QUIZ nitwit of the week, Jasmine on The Chase who thought 1950s & 60s Grandstand got its Saturday football results by “telegram”.
SMALL joys of TV: C5’s Tommy Steel clips. The Civil War (PBS) & Sullivan Ballou’s letter home. Magic & Bird (SkyDocs). Killing Escobar (PBS). Resident Alien.
RANDOM Irritations: Ben Elton, the copper-plated hypocrite. TV’s tiresome Nazi obsession – other tyrants are available, Lenin, Stalin, Robespierre, Putin...
TV Maths: Karen Taylor + Gemma Collins’ wig = Sugar from Total Drama Island
Oct 9. THERE were two nail-biting dramas this week, both awash with bad blood and bitter betrayal. One was House Of The Dragon, the other was the Tory Party Conference. But which of these chaotic fantasies was scarier? It’s a close-run thing. The Tory dynasty looks more at risk. Weak King Viserys might be beset by intrigue, but Liz Truss has just endured the shortest honeymoon since Janine and Fat Barry on EastEnders…and seems just as doomed. Granted, the Tories are expert back-stabbers, but HOTD is bloodier. In Westeros the bastards use real knives. Both sagas are stuffed with ruthless schemers. Queen Alicent constantly tries to undermine Rhaenyra with the murderous help of Ser Larys, while Truss is surrounded by more seedy plotters than Guy Fawkes.
HOTD obviously wins on the dragon front. Liz only has Priti Patel and Therese Coffey. Which ruling junta is sexiest, though? A no-brainer. With Boris side-lined, no one can match Dirty Daemon. The pervert Prince shagged his own niece, Rhaenyra, on the beach (so ITV2!) and then married her to consolidate her claim to the throne. Rhae played hide-the-helmet with doomed lover Ser Harwin, the real father of her princes, while she was married to gay Laenor. Very EastEnders. So which is darker? HOTD, literally, but the Tories win in every other sense. Which is the better spin-off? HOTD! It’s not as complex as Game Of Thrones but it’s given us a heroic battle, a memorable wedding, and a funeral where one stroppy prince lost an eye. Liz’s lot are just a third-rate Maggie Thatcher tribute act. Finally, which dodgy dynasty is most threatened by the enemy within? Tough question. Both will be lucky to last as long as one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriends.
*IT was hard to watch the Tories. My U-turn alert app wouldn’t stop bleeping.
TV is over-stuffed with cooking shows, but at least The Bear dishes up a piping hot restaurant drama with problems even Gordon Ramsay would struggle to fix. Award-winning chef Carmy Berzetto parachutes into the humble family steak sandwich joint – Original Beef of Chicagoland – after his brother Mikey tops himself. He finds a kitchen boiling over with tension, resentment, and a Ramsay-like addiction to effing and jeffing, plus enough debt to trouble the IMF. The pace is frantic, knives fly, tempers fray, egos explode, put-downs hit like pepper-spray and viewer apathy is thoroughly flambeed. Gord help ’em.
WHAT A shame TV bosses aren’t elected. If they had to keep viewers happy to stay in over-paid work, they’d try much harder. Here’s my manifesto:
*Revive mainstream sitcoms – most modern “comedies” are dismal. We need down-to-earth shows full of recognisable characters, warmth and lots of laughter.
*Make more bloke-friendly dramas – where’s our equivalent of Reacher?
*Show us the funny – create space for mainstream sketch shows, joke-telling stand-up and variety formats.
I’d also FIX political bias, DUMP box-ticking and laughable woke casting, RATION soaps, BAN mumbling actors, TAME background music, and STOP lazily recycling clapped-out quiz formats.
HOT on TV: Kelly Given, Make Me Prime Minister…The Rings Of Power (Prime) – now you’re Tolkien.
ROT on TV: Good Morning Britain – a dud since Piers quit public life to join Talk TV…Unbreakable – unwatchable.
SOMEONE dressed as a Strawberry fought rival French Fries on Make Me Prime Minister. For Sausage versus Kumquat see Matt Hancock. The wannabe PMs tackled childhood obesity. Kelly’s pitch – free school meals paid for by a 2% hike in corporation tax – won the day. No one asked if using business profits as a public piggy-bank was good for economic growth. Still, I’d take “PMs” Holly and Kelly over the real party leaders any day.
*NEXT? Liz Truss teams up with Diane Abbot for the Truss Abbot Madhouse…Corbyn’s cronies compete to win back power in The End of the Kier Show…
THE Rings Of Power finally hit top gear in episode six as a human and elf alliance did to the Orcs what City did to Man U, and what Adam Levine tried to do to every model he ever met, allegedly. Hurrah! Then, right at the end, the bad guys got away with Mordor…
*VITO compared Fleur East’s body to a Ferrari. Apt. Many blokes dream of having her flat out all night.
*JEREMY Clarkson is launching a fragrance called Grubby Farmer. Ah, the sweet smell of cow-pats, sewerage sludge and slurry…
*ON The Chase, Brad asked, what is Arthur Rank rhyming slang for? The answer was “Bank”. Not when I was at school it wasn’t. A quick J. Arthur left an entirely different deposit.
*NITWIT of the week: Steve on The Chase who thought Rommel’s desert army was routed in 1942 at the second battle of…“Hastings”.
*WHY is Josh Widdecombe on disabled comedy show The Last Leg? Josh’s disability is hidden but sadly tragic – he was born without a funny bone.
SMALL joys of TV: Dolly Wells. Joan Armatrading: Me, Myself & I. Tony Adams. George Carlin’s American Dream (SkyDocs). Fantasy Football League.
RANDOM Irritations: TV’s misery-to-laughter ratio. Blonde – Netflix’s hatchet job on Marilyn. Not one journo had the balls to ask Alistair Campbell about his dodgy dossier.
TV Maths: Chucky doll + blonde hair dye = Liz Truss.
7 more iconic TV objects. Bobby Ball’s braces. Yvette’s stockings (Allo Allo). Frank Spencer’s beret. Mr T’s bling. Nigella’s dumplings. Adam Adamant’s sword stick. The Queen Vic bust.
Classic Clanger. Willie Carson was talking about how jockeys prepare for a big race when he told Claire Balding: “They usually have four or five dreams a night about coming from different positions.”
Oct 2. MAKE Me Prime Minister is The Apprentice for wannabe politicians. Think the Tory leadership battle with less of the ruthless backbiting. There’s no Lord Sugar, just Alistair “Don’t mention the dossier” Campbell and Baroness Warsi in the Tim and Karren roles. Players are split into two competing teams and take turns to be “party leader”. The squabbling candidates included a hot, posh Thatcherite, an Extinction Rebellion fruitcake, Goldie’s son and Jackie Weaver. Not one of them could put a Cabinet together without taking a trip to Ikea.
Task one was to reform primary schools. Darius, from an Afghan refugee family, wanted one subject a day to be taught outside. He obviously hadn’t thought about the weather. Or the cost, other than to slash the Ofsted budget. Darius skipped around a maypole for press photos and did well in front of a live audience but was outshone by Natalie who’d raise taxes to give kids one “open vocational” lesson a week. Um, don’t most 7year-olds want to be cowboys and Kardashians?
Darius refused to fall on his sword – he’ll make a PM yet – and was sacked by Campbell. But Alistair aside, the show lacks anyone to hate, or indeed to love. TV’s first political reality show, Vote For Me was won by Rodney Hilton-Potts with a “cabbies’ manifesto” of castrating paedophiles and halting immigration. Horrified, ITV axed it. But this format needs that edge. It needs someone who takes TV’s The New Statesman as a training manual. Also, a soap-allergic semi-educated layabout who thinks social change comes about from kicking in a McDonalds window. And finally, to reflect modern politics, they need someone to teach them how to lie convincingly with the straightest of their two faces.
*LIZ Truss got the top job by impersonating another Prime Minister. She’s the pound shop Maggie, with a third-rate Tony Blair on her tail. Moral? If in doubt, try mimicry.
STANLEY Tucci was terrific as Inside Man’s death row detective, Jefferson Grieff – a Yank murderer who uses his sharp brain to solve mysteries. Sadly, Tucci shared the BBC drama with the utterly unlikely tale of English vicar Harry who locks up his son’s maths tutor when she sees his paedo verger’s child-porn and believes it to be his son’s. But why protect a pervert? None of it made sense. “This has all got very stupid,” vicar Harry says at one point. Yep. Dolly Wells sparkles as tutor Janice, but the plot had more holes than Compo’s string vest. The central idea, that we’re all murderers in the right circumstances, dates back to R.D. Laing in 1967, and the therapist/the rapist twist is even more ancient. Let’s hope shackled Sherlock Grieff saves Jan and lands a spin-off show. With his killer-cannibal sidekick Dillon, it’d be part Porridge and part Morse.
IT’S hard to like the over-paid weasels on Industry, but in fairness the series feels as real as your next mortgage hike. It captures all the stress and insecurities, the hierarchy and high-risk plays of the investment world. The bonking bankers snort blow and stab backs as gleefully as some do in the Commons, allegedly. These greedy, self-centred, ultra-competitive tigers are the kind of people whose bonus caps have just been axed. Trebles all round! Unless New York closes them down... Straight-talking Eric Tao and Harper are always a joy. But didn’t we used to value making things in this country? Sheffield steel? Triumph motorbikes? Hey ho.
HOT on TV: Jeff Bridges, The Old Man (Disney+)... Myha’la Herrold, Industry... Ana de Armas, Blonde.
ROT on TV: Make Me Prime Minister – make it stop... This England – deadly dull, the one thing Boris isn’t.
*LOVED the Tuscany roadside kitchen serving cow belly panini on Gino’s Italy. Our roadside burgers often taste like the meat has been sliced off the arse-end of a pantomime heifer.
*THIS England told us nothing we didn’t know except how much Sky hates Dominic Cummings. Boris merits his own Carry On. You could just see him with his strides at half-mast and Jennifer Arcuri swinging on a pole...
*BRADLEY and Barney Walsh are favourites to host Gladiators. Blimey. I thought Phil and Holly would be at the front of that queue.
*HAVE you noticed when someone is really smart on The Chase the questions get a whole lot tougher?
*SUKI wandered around Albert Square in her nightie. That’s nothing new. Bobby Davro sleep-walked through the soap for a whole 14 months...
*IN The Old Man, a grizzled geezer and his dogs took out three fit 30-something FBI agents. Get in! Jeff Bridges took more of a pounding than the Red Man on Celeb SAS and still won. Next stop, Tyson?
*WORRIED about your looks? Get an ITV make-over. Karen Pirie is supposed to be a “wee fat woman”, old enough to be a DCI. ITV made her a petite blonde who looks twelve.
*NINE Perfect Strangers? Nine perfect plonkers.
SMALL joys of TV: Tony Adams dancing. Tom Jones’s unintentionally funny facial expressions on The Voice. Re-runs of The Persuaders. Alfie Moon’s Mod t-shirt.
RANDOM Irritations: ITV subverting their Sunday crime drama format with Karen Pirie taking two whole hours not to crack the case. Sensationalists on “bad boy and girl artists” – just con artists.
TV Maths: Therese Coffey + glasses = Rab C Nesbitt.
7 Greatest TV politicians: Francis Urquhart. Alan B’Stard. Jim Hacker. Jed Bartlet. Frank Underwood. Harry Perkins. Michael Rimmer.