Dec 30. XMAS night telly was the biggest wash-out this side
of Mr. Stink's bath. We got death and heart-break by the bucket,
but comfort and joy were in woefully short supply. Between them,
BBC1 and ITV churned out more soap than a Lifebuoy factory -
posh soap, medical soap, everyday soap... over six hours of
it; the TV equivalent of workhouse gruel. Seventy-five minutes
of Call The Midwife had me calling for an epidural. You can
see the show’s appeal: abandoned babies, poverty, tough, dedicated
women... But unless they’re a Jeremy Hunt, most blokes need
gas and air to get through it. I’d rather give birth to a bowling
ball than suffer that again.
BBC1’s first new comedy, the Royle Family, didn’t go out until
9.45pm. It wasn’t worth the wait. There was some good news –
Derek Branning died. But Matthew’s collision with the Grim Reaper
on ITV’s over-long, under-par Downton was sadder. As for the
alleged Strictly “treat”, we’ve just endured four months of
Brucie and co’s lame banter. Last weekend’s final had more filler
than a Mark 2 Cortina. Please sir, I want no more.
Maybe it’d be easier to bear if the ghosts of Xmas Telly Past
didn’t haunt our channels. Festive specials from Eric and Ernie
and the Fools & Horses gang were worthy of the name. When the
Trotters came back eleven years ago, 21.3million viewers – three-quarters
of the audience – tuned in. This year the most-watched show
was EastEnders with 9.4million, half a million fewer than last
year and two mill down on 2010. It could be those viewers are
lost permanently to game consoles, social networking sites or
rehab. Or it could be they’re just bored rigid by the Xmas misery
served up by TV Grinches?
Can anything be done? Yes. BBC1 should immediately revive
Comedy Playhouse for writers who aren’t part of the Oxbridge
mafia; because if we want a new Del-Boy, Tarquin Farqemhall
isn’t going to create him. All current TV hits are re-boots
of old formats, yet bizarrely no-one tries to make a down-to-earth,
family friendly sitcom or mainstream sketch show. Why aren’t
popular modern comics given the budget and creative control
to make Yuletide specials as Dave Allen and Les Dawson did?
Whoever casts off the ghost of the Xmas TV Scrooge will earn
the nation’s gratitude. But make it quick; the Ghost Of Xmas
Future is probably already working on a festive Embarrassing
Bodies for 2013... Cringe as Dr Jesson shows how to check yourself
for jingle balls before tackling a nasty outbreak of genital
CLARA is the best thing to hit Doctor Who since leather-clad
Leela. Saucy, smart and stunning, she’s a barmaid and a governess,
and is thus capable of bestowing the twin gifts of beer and
discipline – a quality even moody Gallifreyans must find appealing.
The Doc, still mourning Karen, bumped into her as they faced
a flesh-hungry snow monster, possibly the John Lewis snowman’s
evil twin. Their real enemy was a kind of giant snow globe wonderfully
voiced by Sir Ian McKellan. Small delights abounded, like Tardis
hidden above the clouds, Strax the butler and the in-joke of
the Doc posing as Sherlock. Lizard lesbian Madame Vastra came
back to administer a one-word lie detector test. (My one word
to her? Moisturise!) In the end, the world was saved by human
tears, which at least means Albert Square will never face an
invasion of alien snow fiends. Worryingly, Clara (Jenna-Louise
Colman) has been in two episodes and died in both. Maybe she’s
channelling Kenny from South Park. This time round she was killed
by a deadly ice maiden (think Anne Robinson with frostbite)
but lives on in the trailers.
* DR Who’s memory-erasing worm was rather phallic. If Tulisa
used it to pleasure herself, she could sing Like A Virgin without
DEREK Branning had a heart attack on EastEnders, which came
as a surprise. Who knew he had a heart? Like Phil, Del was more
a bully than a villain. Although billed as a Kray for today,
his criminal activity seemed to consist entirely of emotional
blackmail and manoeuvring to be “’ead of the fam’lee”. The death
of this scumbag will only trouble those who enjoyed pondering
how he could possibly be related to Max and Jack. Their old
Mum must have really put it about. The slagggg! Elsewhere Tanya
found an unexpected surprise in her Xmas stockings - Kirsty,
an “exotic dancer” all earrings and cleavage, who Max had absent-mindedly
married in Manchester. The guy has more secret past than a Bangkok
ladyboy. Max had trusted Derek to pay Kirsty off so he could
marry Tanya (the ex-wife who buried him alive). All of which
proves you’d be lucky to find one wise man in Albert Square,
let alone three. There haven’t been any virgins here for 27
*WHEN they bury Derek will someone please spray-paint his
tombstone with the slogan: ‘Toad In The Hole’.
NICK called off his wedding on Corrie and bedded his brother’s
wife instead. Kylie – one cracker worth pulling... It was all
Leanne’s fault. The bride-to-be stopped off en route to the
ceremony to offer Peter first refusal. “I’ll take this dress
off now,” she promised; something she used to charge £250 an
hour for. Jealous Eva grassed her up, Nick stormed off and Leanne’s
big day was as ruined as Kirsty’s turkey. Nick and Kylie got
as rat-arsed as Mylie Cyrus’s barber. She offered him a shoulder
to cry on, he offered her something harder. Sozzled sex ensued
(a ménage Artois?), and it won’t end there. Nothing stays hidden
in t’Street, except Peter’s appeal to womankind, and Nick’s
*WHY is Tyrone marrying Kirsty when he could prove he’s Ruby’s
Dad with a simple DNA test?
*KIRSTY’S alternative Xmas recipes: chilli con carnage, crushed
nuts, battered cod piece, broken leg (possibly of lamb).
*EMMERDALE got their Yuletide slaughter in early – Cameron
killed Alex Moss on Xmas Eve. Doctors say he’s still well enough
to play for QPR.
HOT on TV: Jenna-Louise Colman (Dr Who) – Karen who?... Room
On The Broom... Outnumbered... Kirsty (EastEnders)... Restless.
ROT on TV: Xmas telly – a great advert for Netflix... Mr Stink
– Roald Dull... The Girl – stitching up Hitchcock... Doors Open
– Rankin ruined ... That Dog Can Dance – stank like Jim Royle
on an all-sprout diet.
THE Royle Family revolved around neighbour Joe’s lonely heart
ad: ‘Vacant Lady Wanted.’ And they don’t come more vacant than
Denise... The rest of the plot involved her equally dim husband
Dave’s impotence and was as limp as he was. The Royles should
have been allowed to die after 2006’s brilliant, moving Queen
Of Sheba episode. The writers have been running on empty ever
since, and the odd nice line can’t sustain an hour of screen
*BEST gag? Barbara: “I’ve gone over the top with presents
this year; I spent two hours in Poundland.”
*COULD anyone be as dim as Dave in real life? Yes. Joey Essex
thinks Danish bacon comes from Germany. The kid’s as thick as
TOWIE Gemma’s love handles.
*R.I.P. Gerry Anderson, creator of TV’s Katherine Jenkins
and Noel Gallagher... sometimes known as Lady Penelope and Parker.
*FIVE people were credited with writing the Miranda script.
Does it really take that many to type ‘tall woman falls over’?
*THAT Dog Can Dance with Christine Bleakley... Yeah, we know,
we saw her on Strictly.
*THE Yanks are trying to deport Piers Morgan. That’s baffling.
Big gob, big head, no talent... America, he’s made for you.
*ON Downton, Edith’s editor told her: “I want you to be in
my life, and I want to be in yours.” Her what, he didn’t say,
but then it was Xmas.
*PANTO? Oh no it wasn’t! John Bishop’s comedy drama was an
odd mix of slush, slapstick and caricature. If the script had
been funnier, no-one would have minded.
SMALL Joys of TV: Strax, Doctor Who’s “psychotic potato dwarf”
of a Sontaran butler (Jeeves and Who-ster?). Miranda having
“the nipple equivalent of a lazy eye.” The darts. The Peep Show
finale. Bobby Ball (Strictly). Pete describing vomiting Jane
on Outnumbered: “She’s a Vesuvius full of trifle and we’re Pompeii.”
RANDOM irritations: Friday Night Dinner – the only Jewish
family in Britain without a sense of humour. Chummy on Call
The Midwife – a drunken giraffe in a nurse’s dress would be
less awkward. The demise of the Xmas Day blockbuster movie.
Let's Do Xmas With Gino & Mel, there was more festive cheer
in King Herod's house.
*AN anagram of Gino and Mel is: “Dim, no angel”... but that
just refers to Mel of course.
SEPARATED at birth: Merlin’s Dad Balinor and Eric Cantona?
THEY drop babies everywhere on 1950s medical saga Call The
Midwife; in the khazi (very hygienic), in empty shops... Where
next? At a skiffle concert? In the Quatermass pit? Bring on
Mrs. Brown with her baby cannon.
Unpleasant image of the week. Brucie asking judge Bussell
for a score on Strictly: “C’mon then Darcy, finish us off, love!”
Dec 23. IT was Derek! Dirty dog Derek has been slipping Kat
the goldfish on EastEnders... just as I predicted back in September.
Let’s hope he lit her fire better than he lights his cigar.
Even Alfie can’t have been that shocked. Kat had his cousin’s
kid! She banged Andy the gangster! She did time for prostitution...
The woman has handled more suspect scrotums than Christian Jessen.
Poor cuckolded Alfie discovered it was a Branning on Thursday.
But which one? Sadly Grandad Jim is indisposed. Jack’s loved
up. And it couldn’t be Max cos we saw lover-boy’s legs one week
and he wasn’t dragging his feet. Max always drags his feet.
No, pug-faced Derek fitted all her requirements being male and
available. Never mind ‘Who shagged Kat?’, ‘Who wouldn’t Kat
shag?’ is the question, and no doubt a shorter list.
There have been twelve men on the actual moon – that’s a slow
year for her.
Alfie was gutted, naturally. I mean you marry a slapper, you
don’t expect her to break your heart 97 times. If you’re Alfie...
Let’s hope he doesn’t try picturing Derek giving Kat the cream.
It’ll have the same effect as the Winter vomiting bug. Still,
it’s easier to believe in their fling than the Brannings sharing
a gene pool, though. Hunky Jack, Pug, human baked bean Max...
they’re the least likely brothers since Arnie and DeVito.
We’ll never learn what Derek’s rose petal fetish was all about.
Every rose has a prick, perhaps. But expect endless close-ups
of Kat in tears, her clown make-up running hilariously – just
like Del did from those random thugs last week.
Elsewhere in fun town, Bianca is still working for tips. Here’s
my tip, love: get down the benefits office, you must be owed
a fortune. Whitney got her bucket filled, not for the first
time. Alfie found a bell (for the bell-end see Ian Beale). And
the German theme, reflecting East London’s long-standing love
of the Luftwaffe, saw Big Mo, 76, dressed up as Brunhilde. Tune
back on Xmas Day for the seasonal joy of Del’s death and a drunken
Fat-boy mistaking Lucy’s legs for a wishbone.
Enders is as doomed as Derek is, a worn-out soap on the ropes,
recycling the same tired ideas in ever decreasing circles. Even
a great writer like Simon Ashdown can’t do much with characters
who have had every interesting facet of their personalities
sand-blasted out of them by the show’s tiresome demands for
Misery Über Alles.
*MAX has a dark secret. Yeah. Play join-the-dots with his
freckles and it actually spells: ‘Muppet’.
*JOEY Branning has bedded Lauren and Lucy. So technically
he’s been through thick and thin.
*DEAR Just Jane, I found Big Mo quite horny as Brunhilde.
Do I need psychiatric help? Yours, Jason Grimshaw, Weatherfield.
WELL done Bradley Wiggins for winning Sports Personality of
the Year in such a brilliant, tight field. And hard luck to
second-placed Jessica Ennis; if it’s any consolation you always
come first in my dreams.
C4’s Bad Santas had nothing on Ian McShane as loony Lee Emerson
in American Horror Story: Asylum. Lee shot a chain-store Santa
dead for promising a kid a racoon skin cap. Wearing his bloodstained
suit, he then bumped off a couple for having too many Christmas
decorations. Scrooge, eat your heart out. And on Xmas Day in
the asylum, he ate an orderly’s face (so many office parties
end like that). Now that’s a bad Santa.I believe Lee has since
emigrated here and works for the BBC, developing festive storylines
HOT on TV: Little Crackers (Sky1) – especially Jason Manford’s
and Paul O’Grady’s... Christine Scott Bennett (Inbetweeners
ROT on TV: The Making Of A Lady – less Downton Abbey, more
downright shabby... Three Go Mad At Xmas – mistle-turd... Celebrity
Eggheads – most contestants were neither.
THE Making Of A Lady was comfortably the worst period drama
this side of Tracey Barlow with PMT. ITV claimed it was “based
on a forgotten classic.” Yeah? Well three cheers for amnesia.
The poor man’s Downton (sort of Downsize Abbey) lurched from
dull to melodramatic without ever coming close to surprising.
*THE Making Of A Lady? Nothing like how they did it on My
*JENNIFER Saunders told Graham Norton how she got chewing
gum in her knickers. It made her Extra Wrigley. (Dawn French
had two pies, and a pasty in hers.)
*DID Jennifer have Juicy Fruit in her underwear? Probably,
back in the day... Flavour? Tuna. Eventually...
*EX MP Oona King will be Dancing On Ice alongside Pamela Anderson.
Oona says: “I have no strategy; I just want to stay upright”
– so pretty much the opposite of Pam’s life-story.
*ANTHEA Turner’s booked too. Makes sense. Her career’s been
on ice for years.
*LISA Riley claims Strictly is better than sex, which begs
the question how lousy must John Sargent’s love-life be?
*MAGENTA Devine turned up on Celebrity Eggheads. I thought
she was dead! Having watched it, I’m not convinced she isn’t.
*EAMONN Holmes is to appear in Holyoaks. He’ll be playing Birkenhead.
*ODD Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways ended and still no mention
of London’s Northern Line.
*LEANNE had an ice-skating disaster on Corrie – she couldn’t
keep her legs together. Old escort habits die hard...
*POOR Tyrone got battered again. He’s like a Teddy Bear ravaged
by a Rottweiler. Life with Kirsty is painful, sure, but think
of the make-up sex...
*RAMSAY’S Kitchen Nightmares? Boring now. Suggest Ramsay’s
Kith & Kin Nightmares, co-starring his father-in-law.
*THOMAS Kochs is general manager at Claridge’s, so when Inside
Claridge’s voice-over revealed “At the helm is Kochs” it didn’t
mean the same as when similar things are said about QPR...
SMALL Joys of TV: Slade Night (BBC4). The Graham Norton Show.
US weathergirl Ginger Zee. Fringe’s homage to Monty Python.
Kirk’s floating birds on Corrie – the biggest collection of
unsinkable turkeys this side of the Xmas TV schedules.
RANDOM irritations: One Direction playing at Max Branning’s
stag do – yeah, that’s what Cockney geezers want. “Crisis meetings”
to save X Factor – why bother? It’s had its natural run. We’re
bored with it now.
SEPARATED at birth: Kat Moon and the Saturday Superstore crow?
One a mucked-up squawking mess of a bird who’s seen better days,
the other a puppet. Runner-up: ‘Lord’ Patten and a knackered
TV Questions: why does Michel Roux always look like someone
experiencing the final part of a back, crack and sack procedure?
Why does Strictly’s results show need two writers? What’s to
write? A semi-stunned gibbon could knock out those links.
Quote of the month, Mel Giedroyc choosing between Jason Statham
and Brian Cox announced: “Give me Cox, definitely.” Her mate
Sue begs to differ.
Dec 16. JULIA Davis echoed the thoughts of millions of viewers
at the British Comedy Awards. “Say something funny for f***’s
sake,” she begged her team. Most of the winners couldn’t be
arsed to try. So well done Lee Mack for snogging Augustine Kwembe
to the floor, and Bob Mortimer for saying “We’d like to thank...
so many dealers.”
Host Jonathan Ross had some half-decent lines. He called David
Mitchell and Victoria Coren “the oddest pair in showbiz since
Russell Howard’s eyes.” And claimed: “John Bishop appeared on
Who Do You Think You Are and managed to trace his act all the
way back to 1972” (still no word on his accent).
Yet most of JR’s script had the distinct whiff of “that’ll
do” about it. No wonder the show’s end credits sped past like
a North Korean rocket.
The judges’ decisions were as baffling as Hunted. Gloomy curmudgeon
Charlie Brooker was named Best Entertainment Personality, despite
having the disposition of a toxic dump. The unwatched Hunderby
won Best Sitcom; Morgana Robinson, who’s been on TV for three
years, got best Comedy Breakthrough Artist. And Jack Whitehall
is the new King Of Comedy, a result C4 fixed by making sure
he wasn’t up against any big box office comics, or popular contemporaries
like Kevin Bridges and Micky Flanagan...
Vic and Bob richly deserved their writing gong, but Moone
Boy was disgracefully snubbed. And why was there no international
award? Is it because smart Yank sitcoms like Modern Family still
aim for a mainstream audience? Most of the night felt like a
small, self-satisfied elite patting themselves on the backs.
It took the show-closing return of Ali G in his Jimmy Savile
tracksuit to make the event come alive. C4 should pay whatever
it takes to get Danny Baker back writing the opening monologue.
They need to up the anarchy, too. Get Johnny Vegas blathered,
bring on the Browns (Mrs and Chubby), have Peter Capaldi host
in character as Malcolm Tucker and give pride of place to comedy
psychopath Jerry Sadowitz.
*JACK Whitehall has overcome tremendous odds to triumph. The
son of a leading theatrical agent, he attended two top private
schools before breezing through an art degree. What chance did
he have in life?
*OF course the real fun is in the bogs at the after-party,
which traditionally see a heavy, seasonal layer of Russell Brand
*WHY was vent Nina Conti up for a ‘breakthrough’ gong? Nina
broke through a decade ago when she won a BBC New Comedy award.
WRESTLING’S Golden Age knocked the stuffing out of any rosy
nostalgia you might have had for the, ahem, sport’s ITV glory
days. It’s hard to believe that millions of us brought in to
grotesques like Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks. The 40-stone
Haystacks had just three moves in his repertoire and barely
enough stamina to go two rounds. At least Hulk Hogan looked
the part! BBC4 recalled the legends: Mick McManus, Jackie Pallo,
Johnny Kincaid... Sadly they missed Brian Glover as French fighter
“Aris from Paris”, but who could forget the enigmatic Kendo
Nagasaki and flamboyant Adrian Street who was half Tarzan, half
New York Doll? Equating these old grunts and grapplers with
today’s WWE would be like comparing a tin-can telephone to Skype.
Yet kids and grannies lapped it up, the old dears going nuts
at ringside wading in with their handbags. It may have been
as authentic as Mick McManus’s hair colour but millions were
suckered, much as some today believe that X Factor is a guileless
singing contest designed to produce pop stars.
HARD-working builder Jason had a fair bit to see to on Corrie
– landlady Stella! Their fling has all the future of the John
Lewis snowman, of course, but Audrey should probably brace herself.
Now he’s had cougar, he might fancy some moose.
*MEMO to Corrie: next time Carla and Leanne have a public
cat-fight, please make sure it involves water, oil or a pyjama
party, with Tina vs. Kylie on the undercard.
*ON Misfits, a woman switched her baby to another bird’s womb,
like Izzy and Tina; and a fella had his wedding tackle stolen,
just like Tyrone and his cojones. Misfits, it’s Corrie for mutants!
HOT on TV: Boardwalk Empire season finale... Jack Irish (FX)...
Micky Flanagan... Karla Crome (Misfits)... Pacquiao vs Marquez.
ROT on TV: 15-Stone Babies – nappy saps... Susan Calman –
as funny as Syria... The Hour – clocked up more clichés than
the X Factor judges.
LIKE many parts of the East End, Albert Square has been transformed
into a German Xmas market... Hmm. Maybe the soap’s ratings would
pick up if they got real. Walford General must be one of the
few London hospitals left with a functioning A&E department.
And why is Bianca working for tips? Unionise, girl.
*WHO should help bring up Lola’s baby, Phil or Shirley? Strewth,
Tarzan had a better start in life raised by apes.
ON Weight-Loss Ward, a consultant told 47-stone Terry how
much his treatment was costing. “How’s that my problem?” he
responded indignantly. “It’s not a cost to me. That’s a cost
to the NHS.” Yeah. US! Thanks fatty.
*PLEASE note: Life Of Pi is a movie, for Life Of Pies see
*15-Stone Babies? Yikes! Imagine the stitches!
*WHAT connects 15-Stone Babies, Rylan Clark and the Spice
Girls musical? They’re all signs of the forthcoming Apocalypse...
BIG drama on Strictly when Darcy told Lisa Riley “your cha-cha
got loose.” Mercifully the cameraman missed that. Kimberly Walsh
got four “tens”, which made sense. She’s always been a ten to
*STEWART Francis: “People say I have the legs of a dancer,
but until the cops find the rest of the body they’ve got nothing
on me, man.”
*LOVE Archer on C5, but when is he going back to Ambridge?
SMALL Joys of TV: Tommy Tiernan. Stewart Francis. Moonshiners
(Discovery). Cheers re-runs (ITV4). Kirsten Price (My Bare Lady).
Lorraine Pascale sharing her preference for meringues (“I like
them stiff and shiny”) and a seven inch loose bottom (tin).
RANDOM irritations: unfunny Comedy Awards acceptance speeches.
Daphne’s voice (Eggheads). People calling Maloney “the new Steve
Brookstein” – Steve had and has a great soul voice. Have I Got
News For You persisting with joke-free female panellists. Film
2012, rendered unwatchable by Winkleman. And Alfie Moon: ditch
her you wuss!
SEPARATED at birth: Raymond Blanc and Dudley Moore? One a
comical little fella with a daft accent, the other Dudley Moore.
Runners-up: James Arthur and Sloth from the Goonies.
*CAROLINE Quentin: Little Cracker? A little crackers, surely?
DEC 9. The Royal Variety show was more to do with Britain’s
Got Talent than a 100 years of showbiz. This was the Simon Cowell
vision of popular entertainment; a vision with all the breadth
of a model village drainpipe. Variety didn’t come into it; it
was 95per cent music with a lazy pinch of nostalgia and a dancing
dog. And when ITV did pay tribute to the greats of yore, it
only served to remind us what we’ve lost. Then Sammy Davis,
now Stavros Flatley. Then Tommy Cooper, now Rhod Gilbert hollering
pointlessly about potatoes. Then Morecambe & Wise, now David
Walliams cracking feeble Queen/ Cowell gags; be still my aching
David’s turn with Alan Carr as Ashleigh and Pudsey was a comic
dog turd of Digby proportions. Even the old pros couldn’t be
arsed. Tarby phoned in an ancient anecdote; Brucie tap-danced
sitting down. At least he didn’t sing. Hype triumphed over substance.
Bill Bailey was hailed as a ‘comic genius’. Eh? Sure he’s clever
and musically adroit, but we’ve seen seals play tunes on car
horns. One Direction were fine if you like that sort of thing.
Rod managed to croak out one song, headliner Neil Diamond just
two. Not much of a climax.
It’s tragic that comedy takes a backseat these days. You only
have to go back to 1996 to find a bill that packed in Bob Monkhouse,
Jackie Mason, Jim Davidson and Joan Rivers – all hosted by Brian
Conley. There are still international acts who can deliver classy
comic punch: Jay Leno, Bobby Slayton, Robin Williams, Chris
Rock, Lewis Black. And home-grown craftsmen such as Adrian Walsh
and Johnnie Casson who deserve the screen time. Terry Alderton
would smash it. The Royal needs world class variety stars: magician
Lance Burton, impressionist Rich Little, ventriloquist Jeff
Dunham. It needs younger UK pros like vent Steve Hewlett. And
why not Joe Longthorne? It seems odd that an event raising funds
for old stagers turns its back on Britain’s living gold. Above
all, the show needs a natural entertainer like Bradley Walsh
or Brian Conley at the helm. And Pasquale. Don’t scoff. Check
out Joe’s panto takings. People love him.
*TOP Royal performance? Prince William, about eight weeks
*SO, the big result this weekend at last. The final battle
after all that build-up. I don’t know who the winner was yet,
but my money was on Pacquiao. Apparently there’s some singing
contest going on as well.
ALIEN Investigation hyped up their ‘aliens’ as shamelessly
as a Victorian freak-show: Roll up, roll up for the Montauk
Monster, a mysterious corpse found on a beach that was “no match
to any known species.” Was it the result of secret genetic experiments
at a near-by government complex, C4 asked breathlessly? Nope.
It was a partially-rotted racoon. Wayki, a tiny skeleton in
Peru with Marty Feldman eyes and a bigger head than David Walliams
turned out to be a deformed baby. While the Alien Mummy of Metepec
was actually three marmoset monkeys stitched together by a bored
taxidermist. Conclusion? People will swallow anything. Mermaids,
Big Foot, Boris Johnson... we want to believe that something
more than human exists.
*PEOPLE who claim they’ve been abducted by aliens always report
the same things: odd bruising, memory loss, the feeling they’ve
been fiddled with. That’s not alien abduction, that’s a night
out with Denise Welch.
TOWIE Live was everything you could have hoped for if, like
me, you were waiting to see the biggest TV disaster of 2012.
The setting was a variety night performed by the cast, people
who are to talent what George Osborne is to economic growth.
The episode was directed with the grace of a blind air traffic
controller with a migraine. Scenes were cut off mid-sentence,
sound faded, people talked over each other, or looked around
desperately for cues... It was so far beyond horrendous, it
lurched into hilarious. The producers clearly forgot this show
only works as a heavily-edited soap about the young and dim
blowing their dough. We don’t need Arg in his pants looking
like he’s auditioning for a West End farce, we need the next
step beyond the vajazzle. And as I’ve argued before that innovation
is the surgically constructed second “Minnie”. C’mon Chloe,
you’ve had fake boobs, a butt lift and veneers, why not an extra
fanny? You’re already called ‘that woman with the two prats’...
every time you’re seen out with Joey and Diags.
* TOWIE: Totally ’Orrible, Witless, Incompetent Effluence.
HOT on TV: The Fear... Peter Mullan... Heather Headley (Royal)...
ROT on TV: live TOWIE – the biggest bomb this side of the Gaza
Strip... Kirk Norcross singing - Kirk No-Voice... Stephen Fry
Gadget Man – bodge-it show.
TO save Britain’s pub trade, Heston Blumenthal built an edible
boozer, which was as logical as trying to keep the Norovirus
at bay with hankies made of corned beef. You could eat Heston’s
pool table, and even his pub walls. I hear the barmaid’s underwear
tasted of scampi fries, although that was nothing to do with
the show. PS. To save pubs, slash beer duty. Simple. Cheers!
*CHARLIE Brooks expressed a preference for old camel penis
on I’m A Celeb. Wasn’t that Dirty Den’s nickname?
*THE Walford advent calendar is full of good cheer: dumped
daughter, cheating wife, dead Derek... Open it Xmas day and
Santa coshes you.
*BOFFINS say the universe is producing fewer stars than it
used to do. For proof, see X Factor.
*JAMES Arthur revealed: “This time last year, I’d given up.”
This time next year? Ditto.
*CHRIS Tarrant’s terrifying train journey through the Congo
had something in common with his trip through Surrey. Both left
*FIVE more top cartoon cuties: Lurleen Lumpkin (Simpsons),
Lana Lockhart (Family Guy), Valerie Brown (Josie & The Pussycats),
Becky Arangino (American Dad), Titania (Simpsons)
SMALL Joys of TV: Kevin Bridges. Chris Tarrant Extreme Railways.
Richard Madeley – out-Partridging Partridge. Anne Hathaway’s
Claire Danes spoof (youtube).
*IRON Maiden Behind The Beast + AC/DC Live At River Plate +
Led Zeppelin Live In London = antidote to X Factor.
SEPARATED at birth: Charlie Baker and Jack Black?
Dec 2. THE sight of Rosemary Shrager in the bath on I’m A
Celebrity was bad enough, but talk of her love-life has scarred
me for life. Rosemary told Ashley that she’d gone without sex
for twenty years. Ash advised her to “release your dragon”.
Possibly a reference to some supercharged vibrating device I’m
Rosemary is a big woman; the telly chef lost two stone in the
jungle and nobody noticed. I’m not saying she’s fat but when
she sat in that bath the water in the dunny rose a foot and
a half. Shrager is so large, a night with her probably counts
as a threesome. But good luck to her next lover; he’ll need
an awful lot of Vaseline - just to fit her through the bedroom
door. (And ear-plugs; big, powerful ear-plugs. Rose bursts into
more tuneless songs than Rylan Clark.)
This hasn’t been a classic series, which is why the producers
nicked old Big Brother ideas (the secret meddling, the shackles)
just to spice it up. ITV’s jungle is always watchable, though.
It shows famous people as they really are. We’ve learnt that
Ashley is down to earth, bright and decent, that actors are
often dull without a script, and that Helen Flanagan is a feeble
flake who looks great in a bikini. Helen’s ‘best bits’ montage
should just have been a video of her in the shower.
In the absence of real needle, Eric Bristow kept the show
alive. Only Pampers take the piss better. David Haye played
it almost right, coming over as easy-going and polite as well
as rock hard. When the Hayemaker was in a confined space with
a crocodile, you were worried for the croc. MP Nadine was a
controversial booking but there was definitely something sexy
about her. Many base men are asking: would you do to her what
she did to her constituents? I’m not entirely sure what happened
with my old mate Brian Conley. I don’t buy the idea that he
was weakened by lack of food. I reckon camera starvation was
the real problem. And that’s understandable. Brian is one of
our last great all-round entertainers. He lives to perform.
Why stick him in the jungle, ITV? He should have been compere
at tomorrow’s Royal Variety Show.
*CHARLIE Brooks won I’m A Celeb. Not entirely sure why; she
did sod-all in there. That EastEnders fan bloc vote is a powerful
force, I guess.
*ERIC Bristow thought Helen was a waste of space. Surprising.
I thought the old darts maestro would have an eye for a double
*ROSEMARY claimed Bristow bullied her. (Teased, surely?) She
moaned about not having had rumpy-pumpy. She should have seduced
Eric for some grumpy-pumpy. Remember, Bristow browns, Bristow
thickens all in one go...
DEAN Gaffney applied for a job at MI5. Ridiculous, yes, but
still more believable than Carrie Mathison as a CIA agent on
Homeland. Not only is Carrie a crazy-eyed fruit-loop, she also
disobeys orders, beds her prime target (noisily) and is incapable
of concealing her emotions. She’d make the world’s worst poker
player; every thought shows on her face. There are actors in
silent movies who react less. Boss Saul defended Carrie, insisting
“She’s turning it around” – yeah, reverse cow-girl by the sound
of it. Her possibly deafened lover Brody is now a CIA triple
agent. Last week he was snatched and delivered to Abu Nazir,
the world’s most wanted terrorist, who somehow slipped into
the USA unnoticed. The plots have gone from exciting to ridiculous,
with a side order of dull (hello Dana), but it’s still more
watchable than Hunted.
*HOMELAND mysteries: Why bother bugging Brody’s motel room?
You could hear Carrie’s moaning three streets away. How did
Quinn recover so quickly after getting machine gunned in the
guts? And how-come the terrorists’ teeth are so white? Roya
must use Simon Cowell’s dental hygienist.
*DEAN ‘Robbie Jackson’ Gaffney a sexy Bond-style spy? Jack
from EastEnders is likely to roger more...
KIRSTY beat up poor Tyrone again on Corrie. She also locked
him up in their house. How thick is Ty? He was on the ground
floor and didn’t even think to climb out a window. The boy needs
slapping. Oh, hang on... He is an idiot though. If Kirsty said
she wanted to start swinging he’d take her up the park. Natalie
Gumede is scarily convincing as the female Chris Brown, but
the sooner Kirsty takes up jogging on Blackpool tram lines the
HOT on TV: An Idiot Abroad 3 (Sky1)... The Dust Bowl (PBS
America)... Peep Show – men behaving sadly.
ROT on TV: Kookyville, C4’s “comedy with a difference” - the
difference being it’s not remotely funny... Falcon – falc-off...
Have I Got News For You – all the satirical bite of a toothless
MICHAEL Parkinson, plugging his new DVD, told Loose Women:
“We took twenty of my favourite interviews and gave them length.”
Parky’s guests have included Shirley McLean, Cameron Diaz, and
Sandra Bullock – all worthy of length in their day.
*RYLAN will come into his own on the X Factor Live tour. Those
big arenas always need good ushers.
*THIS year: Sarah Beeny’s Selling Houses; next year: Helen
Flanagan Selling Burgers.
*Married BBC news bods Tim Willcox and Sophie Long are at
it. Every night he whispers those three magic words: “This just
*THEY tackled insomnia on Goodnight Britain. Yeah, trouble
sleeping? Watch BBC1. It always works for me.
*WE never got to the bottom of Secret State’s biggest mystery
– what shade of boot polish is Gabriel Byrne using on his barnet?
*JUST 470,000 people watched Hugh Grant’s C4 documentary on
phone hacking. Poor Hugh. He’s gone from sucked-off to Hacked-Off,
and now his audience have f**ked-off.
*BIANCA is cutting hair on Enders. Who’d trust old wobbly-gob
with scissors? Still, now she’s got ’em, would it hurt to cut
up that poxy puffa jacket?
*RHOD Gilbert’s Work Experience is a great original idea for
a TV series… if only Hale and Pace hadn’t done it before in
1997’s Jobs for the Boys.
*QUICK Crickley question: Devil’s Cleave, is it anywhere near
SMALL Joys of TV: Gyp Rossetti (Boardwalk Empire). Rhod Gilbert’s
egg and cress sandwich train debacle. Ricardo Fuller’s goal
against Peterborough. Eric Morecambe riffing with the Beatles
(Bring Me Morecambe & Wise).
RANDOM irritations: X Factor murdering Motown. Rylan’s inevitable
future on reality TV. Dermot’s ‘concerned’ face. End of year
round-ups already. Chris Patten, there are knitting patterns
with more substance.
*I LIKE the Old Jews Telling Jokes franchise, but what has
the BBC got against old pros telling them properly?
SEPARATED at birth: Merlin’s Morgana and Robert Smith from
the Cure, one a source of terrifying evil, the other a sorcerer
from the Arthurian legends... Runner-up: Eric ‘Beaky’ Bristow
and a parrot.