BUSHELL ON THE BOX
Sept 25. Accused of an historic rape, Paul Finchley shrugs it off as a case of mistaken identity. It's a defence that would only work if the poor woman's attacker had been an overweight, over-sexed arthritic walrus. Although she could of course be lying. Robbie Coltrane is superb as the blubbery has-been comic in National Treasure, a fictional story ripped from recent headlines. His career already on the slide, Finchley is about to be engulfed in the quicksand of scandal and shocking accusations. The newsprint is barely dry before other alleged victims come forward, including his babysitter who was fifteen at the time. "They think I'm Jimmy f***ing Savile," the fat man moans. But is he innocent, like Tarby, Jim Davidson and the other star names carved unfairly into the old yew tree? Or a revolting monster about to get righteously shafted by his victims? Either way, Finchley's family man reputation is already crumbling away like dry rot.
Wife Marie, played by Julie Walters, is a staunch Catholic who for years has suffered his philandering in silence. His arrest shocks her so badly her accent wanders from Highlands to Ireland. Cops ransack his home – you'll have seen tidier burglaries. His mobile contains "quite violent" porn, nothing illegal but enough to build up the prosecution image of a cynical sleazebag. And isn't he one? After branding his first accuser "a desperate woman being desperate", Finchley spends the night hooking up with a good-looking hooker. Even if he's cleared he's tarnished.
The show is absorbing. Dark, disturbing, and only occasionally dull – that long interlude with his addict daughter relating her odd dream must have meant something. Has he abused her too? Coltrane is marvellous but Finchley is unsympathetic and strangely pitched. He's 66, part comic, part RADA trained actor, star of the once hit sitcom Crooked Peaks, and clearly more middle class than most of the comedians wrongly accused by Operation Yewtree cops. As other women come forward news coverage assumes he's guilty. Presumption of innocence goes out the window where celebs are concerned. Jimbo, Freddie, Cliff, Gambaccini... all were named unfairly as part of the post-Savile war on the past, a distraction from the real blunders of those in authority who turned a blind eye to the creep's horrendous crimes. They were cleared, Jimmy Savile remains dead.
HUNTED, the show that turns hide-and-seek into an extreme sport, is back with ten more fugitives out to evade capture and bag £100K. Dippy Nick ducked his pursuers by getting lost, daft parents gave away their daughter's strategy and ex-soldier Kirk met his missus for their son's first birthday disguised as a bush. The poor kid will be scarred for life. He'll grow up believing his Dad was Swamp Thing. It's brilliant TV, although obviously fixed. The lessons for would-be fugitives are crystal clear: never phone home, leave no written record of your plans, avoid ATMs and live off the land. Alternatively, to stay completely undetected, set up camp in Rochdale AFC's trophy room... or be a guest on Victoria Derbyshire's show.
*BEGINNERS' guide to how to spot Hunted fugitives: they're the ones with the camera crew...
AH, Celebrity Island. Where better to see weeping, foul-mouthed micro celebs demonstrate how utterly useless they are? Josie Long was billed as "comedian". Prove it! The semi-famous wasters barely have the survival skills to get through a photo-shoot. They put in their first SOS call within 24 hours of arriving, and another one shortly after. Aston Merrygold (from JLS, not a cider) already wants out. To no-one's surprise nonentities from little-watched reality TV shows, like Mark Jenkins from The Hotel and posh wally Ollie Locke (rhyming slang) aren't cut out for roughing it. Dom Joly, whose last decent series ended in 2003, was appointed leader and hasn't made a sensible decision yet. Dom's chief castaway skill is swearing. He's Robinson Crude-o. Locke was the first to blub, but in fairness he has also given us the quote of the series. "I'm known as the camp one from Made In Chelsea," he said. "But is there an alpha male waiting, screaming to come out of me?" For all possible answers see It Was Alright In The 70s.
HOT on TV: Hunted – proper escapism... National Treasure... Orphelia Lovibond, Hooten & The Lady (Sky1).
ROT on TV: Josh – still tosh... Celebrity Island – as welcome as an Asian hornet at Highgrove... Ottavio & Bradley – Pox Factor (see also Honey G, Bradley Hunt etc)... Victoria – Mills and Boo.
ANOTHER week, another half-baked political lecture from EastEnders as characters condemned the very idea of Sonia working for a private hospital. But if you lived in Albert Square wouldn't you have to go BUPA? The death rate is on a par with Raqqah, and they haven't had a resident GP since 2012.
*MICK Carter slang update. Two bags = £2K, not the Mitchell sisters.
*ON Bake Off Candice announced "It's good to get your hands in and give your sausages a good feel". Well it's always worked for Roxy Mitchell.
*DID you see Victoria and Albert snogging away up against an outside wall? I can't have been the only one shouting "Sheesh, get a palace!"
*CHARLIE went on First Dates looking for "a unicorn". Let's see, a rare, exotic creature with a prominent horn... isn't that Julian Clary?
*I SAW something very odd this week. A TV panel show without Katherine Ryan.
*WILL the military groupie known unkindly as "The Horse", because so many have enjoyed a ride, be mentioned on Secrets Of The SAS? And is her motto: "He Who Dares, Whinnies"?
SMALL Joys of TV: Red Dwarf. Madness & Prince Buster R.I.P. on Later. Phil Davis as Poldark's Jud Paynter. MP4. Keith Richards' Lost Weekend. The Maltesers sign language ad. Ozzy & Jack's World Detour. Corrie's slippery Pat Phelan, surely worth a spin-off show?
RANDOM irritations: X Factor's six chair challenge. X Factor's wall of songs. Right-on prig James O'Brien. People who literally don't know the mean of the word literally. Unfunny, uniformative talking heads on Richard E Grant's Ealing comedies doc – just show us the films!
SEPARATED at birth: The Strain's Quinlan and Wilko Johnson? One a bald semi-human hybrid defying medical science... and so's the other one.
*IS it me, or are the newer bands on Later Live a bit dull? Jools should find room for The Graveltones, The Spitfires, Buster Shuffle and barking mad King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.
*WE'VE had Neil Kinnock, Vince Cable and Paddy Pantsdown on screen this week. Politics meets The Walking Dead. They only need Heseltine for the set.
*WHO'S Afraid of Conceptual Art? Shouldn't the real question be who's impressed by it?
TV Maths. Ray Donovan + Danny Dyer = Jeremy Scarratt, Hunted.
Sept 18. One of my earliest TV memories was seeing Albert Steptoe in a tin bath scoffing pickled onions. A scene topped only by his later bath in the kitchen sink when, drying himself with the net curtain, he accidentally flashed the woman next door. “You dirty old man!” the nation cried as one. Steptoe & Son was genius. It had giant laughs, it had pathos; it was as sad as it was funny: father and son trapped in a claustrophobic love/hate relation, Harold dreaming of a better life but never breaking free. Annoyingly it was also the latest victim of the BBC’s insanely misguided Lost Sitcom series, an average episode remade by actors who completely lacked the chemistry of the originals.
It was a particularly pointless exercise because the original isn’t lost at all; the Beeb are flogging it on DVD. What the Corporation have lost however is their ability to make comedies the whole country love. It was only 20 years ago that the Trotters got 24.3million viewers. Nothing comes close to that now. BBC comedy has castrated itself with cowardice, political correctness, box-ticking, and a reliance on focus groups. They’ve also made it far too hard for working class writers to break through. Not that they’ve lost their arrogance.
The underlying assumption of this entire season has been that Sitcom means BBC Sitcom. I’ll accept that they made most of the all-time British greats. But they never had a monopoly. At the start, big-hitters included The Army Game, Bootsie & Snudge and the Larkins – all ITV. As were 70s smashes On The Buses, Please Sir and that genuine classic Rising Damp. We always had great Yank imports too, like Bilko, Bewitched, Mr Ed, I Love Lucy and The Beverly Hillbillies.
When the BBC’s hit sitcom output slowed to a dismal trickle, the US was still churning out gems: Friends, Cheers, Frasier, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Malcolm In The Middle, Weeds, Arrested Development... Seinfeld was the greatest, but no UK broadcaster ever had the brains to show it in primetime. At home, increasingly, Channel 4 is setting the pace for sitcoms. We’re reminded of the BBC’s abject failure every Christmas. It’s a far bigger threat to their survival than the loss of Bake Off. They should have called this season the Good Old Days.
*THE ten best non-BBC Britcoms: Rising Damp, Phoenix Nights, Catastrophe, Father Ted, The Grimleys, Hot Metal, After Henry, Peep Show, Desmond’s, Spaced.
*SEVEN under-rated gems: Married With Children. Sykes. Dear John. Just Good Friends. Early Doors. 15 Storeys High. Colin’s Sandwich.
*FIVE Seinfeld episodes straight out of comedy heaven: The Contest, The Frogger, The Soup Nazi, The Yada Yada, The Marine Biologist. Every one of them a copper-bottomed classic.
SOME lunatics think man didn’t walk on the moon, or that the moon doesn’t even exist. Others swear blind that aliens crash-landed at Roswell. It’s my belief that Ken Barlow died in 2013 and has been CGI-ed on screen ever since. But 9/11 attracts a special kind of crazy. 9/11: Truth, Lies & Conspiracies started with the demented claim that New York’s Twin Towers were blown up from the inside and that the planes were “computer generated” holograms. Thousands of eye-witnesses disprove the second theory; building engineers repudiate the first. But that can’t convince the likes of Jimmy Walter who seems to think we’re living in The Matrix. “Truther” Walter reckons US government agencies murdered 2,996 of their own people to ferment war and boost their funding. The show’s other claim, that that the CIA let two hijackers enter the US to try and recruit them seems far more likely. It’s what they do! Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if all of these swivel-eyed conspiracy nuts were plotting to destabilize the West by subverting reality on behalf of their sinister lizard masters.
*WAS Einstein murdered by the KGB because he knew too much? Discuss...
CHANNEL 4 will launch their version of the Great British Bake Off with celebrities. Is that all? I was hoping for Bake-Off on Benefits, My Big Fat Gypsy Ganache, Dogging Doughnuts, Naked Nachos, Embarrassing Eccles Cakes and possibly Muff Pastry, tipped by some to replace the jazzle. Would anyone genuinely miss Perkins shouting “Bake!” in a daft voice or Hollywood chomping away like a hungry shire horse? Mary Berry is tougher to replace, but surely Nigella’s hot baps would keep everyone happy.
HOT on TV: Hooten & The Lady (Sky1)... Cold Feet & Hermione Norris... Beck (BBC4).
ROT on TV: Absolutely Fashion – tots unwatchable dahling... Death By Selfie... One Of Us – the number of viewers left by the end.
“WAS Poldark hung?” was the big question in my local last Sunday night. To which the only answer was no idea, he didn’t even take his shirt off that episode. They were never going to hang him, though, and consequently the show had all the dramatic tension of Labour’s leadership election or Victoria and Albert’s “will-they, won’t-they” romance. Would the Queen date her stiff German cousin, the puffed-up ITV drama asked? Something to ponder while, say, walking over Albert Bridge, taking in the V&A museum or waiting for a concert to start at the Royal Albert Hall.
*IS Piers Morgan absent from the Good Morning Britain sofa two mornings a week so they can have it re-sprung?
*ON Extra Storage, Frank Skinner told how I’d helped him get a natural grin in photos. Happy to be of service, Francis. But beware my evil twin who: advised Biggins to go on CBB, assured Jimmy Nesbitt no-one would clock the eyebrows and encouraged Amanda Holden to work with a Labrador. “Look at that old dog go,” said the lab.
*RYLAN and glove puppet Matt Edmondson are ridiculously mismatched on The Xtra Factor. Rylan is 6ft 3, Matt would be turned away from every ride at Alton Towers. We haven’t seen such a bizarre Little & Large pairing since Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood at the Brits.
*I MISSED the new American Horror Story. Is it about their election?
SMALL Joys of TV: Butch Dingle resurfacing on Corrie. Golovkin – the scariest middleweight since Marvin Hagler. Jeff Stelling. The balding Last Night of the Proms oboe player whose neck expanded every time he blew. He looked like a constipated bullfrog.
RANDOM irritations: 9/11 conspiracy nuts. John Bishop’s piss-poor chat-show. BBC4’s British Sitcom documentary pompously seeing comedy through a veil of right-on smugness. Ed Coleman’s extremely dodgy take on Harold Steptoe’s accent.
SEPARATED at birth: John Pienaar & Mr Potato Head? One an amusing plastic character with a history of getting seriously stuck into spuds, the other’s a toy.
MORE things I’d like to see: My son Dan’s idea for a button on your TV remote control that allows social media comments on the programme you’re watching to run across the bottom of the screen in real time. Come on Sky! It’s the future.
Sept 11. IS Del-Boy Trotter running TV these days? The schedules are like Arthur Daley's lock-up, you can barely move for old tat sold on as new. Cold Feet is the latest blast from the past to follow Poldark, Sherlock and Doctor Who back from the TV scrap-yard. ITV killed off the hit middle class rom-com, along with Helen Baxendale's rather wooden Rachel, 13 years ago. Remarkably the reboot worked a treat. Mike Bullen's warm, upbeat script was as tight as Sharon Osbourne's face and the cast still have real chemistry. Only the logo looked dated. Bullen even got in a gentle dig about James "Adam" Nesbitt's miraculous new barnet. "Have you got more hair?" asked Pete. "Nope," he replied defensively. "Maybe... " Maybe next week they'll notice his eyebrows too.
If Cold Feet clicks, how long before BBC2 recycle the This Life mob? Reboots and revivals have become an obsessive compulsion. In fairness, some are magical. The Night Of (based on our Criminal Justice) is by far the best drama currently on TV. Fargo and House Of Cards were works of art. We'll draw a veil over The Prisoner and Minder. But it makes you wonder how anything original has a dog's chance of reaching prime time.
The unrelenting avalanche of nostalgia should worry anyone who cares about TV's future. Virtually all of ITV's entertainment output is old-hat: Mr & Mrs, Family Fortunes, Celebrity Squares (minus celebs), Through The Keyhole. Go For It is You Bet re-booted, Ninja Warriors is watered-down Gladiators, Take-Away is House Party, BGT is a puffed-up New Faces... Similarly, the Beeb killed off ballroom dancing only to bring it back six years later dressed up in celebrity glitter. And the new Robot Wars is just as successful as the old one... so why was either of them axed at all?
Only archaeologists recycle the past more keenly; which makes you wonder which barrel lazy TV bosses will scrape next. Touch The Truck, perhaps. Or Minipops. Maybe The Flying Nun. It's been sometime since I've thought of Kate O'Mara's Triangle. Remember that? A soap set on a cross-channel ferry. It was diabolical, of course, but so what? It didn't stop ITV remaking Crossroads...
*GOLDEN oldies TV should re-make: Sharpe. Hornblower. Big Deal. Adam Adamant Lives. Prospects.
*ONES we should revive: The Comedians (for gag-telling comics). Bushell On The Box (natch).
*SHOWS they're more likely to bring back: 3-2-1, Sexton Blake, Name That Tune and Take Your Pick (again).
HANCOCK'S Half-Hour was Britain's first great sitcom. Remaking it was like photocopying a Renoir. In fairness, Kevin McNally made a better fist of playing the Lad Himself than Paul Merton did. But Jon Culshaw's feeble Sid James impression rendered it unwatchable. Although there's some merit in remaking lost episodes, it would have been better if they'd just re-shown the 1950s originals. When they were repeated in primetime in the late 80s, the old black and white shows were Top Ten hits all over again. Classic moments like Hancock's passionate jury room speech – "Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain... " – are still laugh-out-loud funny. Galton and Simpson's brilliant Twelve Angry Men-inspired episode from 1959 made BBC2's abysmal 2016 We The Jury pilot look like juvenile junk.
HOT action on Poldark as our moody hero galloped across Cornish cliff tops from left to right and occasionally from right to left. Ross also chopped wood fiercely, worked in the mine furiously and faced down all-comers fearlessly, often without recourse to a shirt. This guy smoulders more than a London's Burning extra. Yet he faces hard times. "There's a storm coming," he muttered gazing out to sea. I'll say; not just financial ruin, but a murder trial at Bodmin Assizes. And dodgy George Warleggon is doing his damnedest to get Ross strung up. As old Jud would say "'T'in't right, 't'in't fair,'t'in't proper". But it is great escapism. Elsewhere drippy cousin Francis Poldark topped himself as Aunt Agatha toyed with her tarot cards of doom (in the original series he drowned). So Elizabeth, Ross's first love, is now a widow... and a likely target for a Warleggon leg-over. On the plus side Bergerac has rocked up with his snooty beauty of a niece and we all know there's more chance of her silk drawers hitting the floor than of Poldark pegging it.
HOT on TV: Anna Maxwell Martin, Motherland... Secrets Of The SAS... Gabriella Wilde, Poldark... Sonya Cassidy, Ripper Street.
ROT on TV: Slovakia v England – duller than Question Time... We The Jury – guilty, of making the Chuckle Brothers look sophisticated... Go For It – gone off it.
*HOW about a Dragons' Den spin-off show weighing up ideas rather than businesses? Like a universal translator for train announcements, which are 95 per cent indecipherable on most journeys... or a button to reduce/eliminate TV background music... or a smart smoke alarm that can distinguish burnt toast from fire... No idea how they'd function. Let the dragons hire techies and work a bit harder for their dough.
*SOME wicked jokes at last night's Rob Lowe roast, but right-wing commentator Ann Coulter copped it the worst. Comic Nikki Glaser told her: "The only person you'll ever make happy is the Mexican who digs your grave." Ouch.
*MARY Berry won this week's Bake Off innuendo challenger with "When I squeeze it, it stays down". Steve McDonald could do with her services... Runners-up: Candice's "Look, I've got a good old split". Kate: "I really want to prove it till it's doubled in size".
*WOLF Creek's evil Aussie serial-killer Mick Taylor killed a mum by throwing his hunting knife into her eye. "Well you can't say you didn't see it coming, eh love?" he quipped. He's like the anti-Crocodile Dundee. Crocodile Do-Die.
*APT. Motherland's snootiest mum, Awful Amanda is played by Lucy Punch. Girls, you'd probably have to.
*DAVINA'S Make My Body Better? Not keen. Suggest Dale Winton's Make My Body Odder.
*NEXT on Supergirl, our heroine faces her scariest enemy: Super-PMT.
SMALL Joys of TV: Grant Mitchell chinning Ian Beale. BattleBots. X Factor's Munchaneta ("Lady of Favour"). Motherland. The Strain. Sian Clifford as Phoebe's uptight sister on the reliably filthy Fleabag. MP Lucy Frazer's legs and their starring role at PMQs.
RANDOM irritations: Grant Mitchell v Ben's kidnappers – the greatest EastEnders wash-out since they hosed down Cora Cross. The Hairy Bikers' eggs-cruciating puns. Claudia squinting – either get contact lenses or ease up on the eye make-up, love.
SEPARATED at birth: Theresa May and Roy Hodgson, one promised much and couldn't deliver... the other managed England badly.
*GAIL Porter says her 28JJ boobs ruined her life. Yes, but think of the joy they spread...
WITHOUT comment, Alex talking about his go-kart steering wheel going into corners on Coach Trip Road To Ibiza: "I liked it when it was stiff, you really felt it go in."
Sept 4. Why re-make classic sitcoms? The idea stinks like Mrs Slocombe's disinterred pussy. Not to mention her cat. Alf Garnett without the offence is like The Sweeney without blaggers or Newsnight without Paxman. Johnny Speight created the character specifically to send-up bigotry. So who was the BBC's lame reboot aimed at? For old fans, Simon Day's karaoke Alf wasn't a patch on Warren Mitchell's raging comic monster. And it's hard to believe young viewers would relate to a time when people relied on phone boxes and left dinners in the oven.
It would've been smarter to update the show; I still have the script Johnny wrote about Alf's grandson. But today's Beeb would run a mile from comedy with un-PC views on Islamism, gender "fluidity" and the like. Patricia Routledge called them "desperate" for reviving old shows. Yes; and deluded if they thought they could come close to the brilliance of the classics they were desecrating. It's also an admission of failure. They're resurrecting past glories because for the last 20 years they've had the hit rate of a blindfolded sniper with cramp. The irony is they still don't get why.
Are You Being Served was comedy karaoke, with Jason Watkins putting in a toe-curling parody of Mr Humphries. The script was desperate, light on plot and heavy on unsubtle innuendoes. Recycled catchphrases got the big laughs. Mrs Slocombe's pussy came 12minutes in (and again and again) – with the first "I'm free" 5 minutes later. Porridge was better. No-one will ever touch Ronnie Barker's Fletch, but Kevin Bishop did a decent job as his grandson, even if the new script by the show's genius creators, Clement & La Frenais felt reined in.
But if it's not as good as the original, why bother? It'd make more sense to re-launch Comedy Playhouse to showcase brand new shows. Not box-ticking exercises like Citizen Khan and Boy Meets Girl but comedies commissioned on merit alone. Most sitcom classics were scripted by working class writers and played by top-drawer actors. Crucially the very best had a core of truth. Del-Boy, Harold Steptoe, David Brent and Victor Meldrew felt real. We recognised their lives and shared their dreams. They were tragicomedies that leavened the laughter with sadness. Today's biggest sitcom tragedy is we've forgotten how to make them.
*THE past flops they should have learnt from: Paul Merton as Tony Hancock (1996). Ant & Dec, the Likely Lads (2002). Shane Richie, Arthur Daley (2009).
*I DIDN'T mind the new Goodnight Sweetheart, although it hardly classifies as classic. My problem with the show is Gary Sparrow's failure to make money from his time-travelling experiences. All the while he was nipping back to the past he never once thought to patent the internet, invest in ICI or manage the Beatles. If he'd bought a couple of properties in Docklands back then he'd have been a multi-millionaire now. What a plonker.
*WHY adopt kids, asked the mum in the watchable The Coopers Vs The Rest. "We could have adopted a panda. They send a newsletter and photos... " Dad: "And you don't have to worry about pandas having sex".
JENNA Coleman is one Queen who deserves a bohemian raspberry. Having her play Victoria is like casting Angelina Jolie as Hillary Clinton. Worse, this slow, dull ITV costume drama does for British history what micro-beads are doing for Arctic wildlife. It's riddled with errors. The teen queen's German mum never attempted to send her nuts, her uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, never tried to depose her... And there's absolutely no evidence that she ever wanted to, ahem, exercise the royal prerogative with Lord Melbourne. During Victoria's 19th Century reign, the Houses of Parliament were built, Britain defeated China (the Opium wars) and Russia (Crimea), and vastly expanded the Empire (India, Hong Kong, New Zealand etc). It's downright shabby to reduce all that to Downton Abbey tossed with a side order of Mills & Boon. The script is over-wordy, the downstairs staff underwritten and it's only been seven years since the film. Don't get me started on the chronic CGI Palace exterior.
CORRIE is in trouble after nitwits complained about Eva's comment "I have more roots than Kunta Kinte". Leave it out. What kind of Kunta thinks it's racist to even mention a black character? Or that anyone referencing the leading character from 1970s TV series Roots must be somehow endorsing slavery and oppression? The problem here is that Eva is way too young for the gag, which the writer lamely acknowledged by having her add: "No idea who that is... just something my Mum used to say". Far worse was Corrie shamelessly stealing Steven Wright's joke: "It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it".
*CORRIE's half-cocked strike would have appalled militant machinist Red Ida Clough. There was a woman who knew how to down tools (in both senses). I believe she's working in the soap's continuity department now... been on strike since 2013...
HOT on TV: The Night Of (Sky Atlantic) & Sofia Black-D'Elia – stunning... Alex Hales... Jay Leno's Garage (Dave).
ROT on TV: Victoria – we are not amused... Joe Wicks: The Body Coach – more tosh than bosh... Think Tank... Celebrity Home Secrets – Through The Keyhole goes down the plughole.
THINGS on TV that I've had more than enough of: people who are only famous because of who they married, divorced or slept with. People with bizarre perversions: man-babies, human pups, doggers and so on. Former politicians desperately trying to make it in showbiz: especially Limpdick Opeless. Brace yourself Ed Balls.
SELASI won this week's Great British Bake Off innuendo challenge with: "I just need to give it a bit of a beat, to soften it up a bit". Runners-up – Candice to Mel: "Can you come and grab my jugs"; Mary Berry: "I'll eat a bit of carpet". Best deliberate filth – Mel to Rav: "Do you want a pair of warm hands on your bag? Why is it so stiff?"
*ISN'T 16 a bit late for sex talks on EastEnders? Most are on their second kid by then. By 18, Roxy's wotsits had entertained more strangers than a seaman's mission.
*WHO watches dull, plodding DCI Banks? People who find Vera too racy? It's the Banks even Corbyn wouldn't nationalise.
*IF all TV shows were naked, by popular demand Loose Women would be filmed in the dark.
SMALL Joys of TV: Mary Berry gurning. Long Susan's great escape, Ripper Street. Steve Tyler, Nashville. Jorgie Porter, Are You Being Served. The Criss Angel episode of Dice. Newzoids' puppets.
RANDOM irritations: Nadiya overkill. Channel 4 morons censoring The Simpsons. Anita Rani and co somehow making New York City seem dull. TV crime drama's lazy over-reliance on brutalising young women.
SEPARATED at birth: Sharon Mitchell and Jynx? One a barely credible character cursed with appalling bad luck, the other is from Pokémon.
*JEREMY Vine unveiled footage of a foul-mouthed woman driver threatening him. Some idiot producer is probably already thinking what an asset she'd be to the next Big Brother.
*ANY chance of BBC4 running a Brian Rix farce in his memory?