BUSHELL ON THE BOX - 2012

Oct 30. Lee Thompson from Madness had his saxophone nicked from a TV studio when the band performed on The Xtra Factor on Sunday. Lee is appealing to mates and fans to help find it. He’s had it for years and is utterly gutted. Lee’s sax is a Selmer Silver Mark VI, serial number M108370. If you have any info please email the great man via info@madness.co.uk

Oct 28. ALICE Roberts, Britain’s sexiest scientist, brought us three nights of Prehistoric Autopsy last week. It was deeply unsettling. In show one, she unveiled a reconstructed Neanderthal man who looked the dead spit of Justin Lee Collins. Previous reconstructions had put Neanderthals much closer to John Inverdale...

The stone-aged JLC was based on a 70,000-year-old skeleton. But he and his kind were much more than mere ape-men. They used tools, made art, and went hunting with sharpened rocks. “It must have taken great bravery to take on something the size of a mammoth time and time again,” said co-presenter George McGavin. As any of Lisa Riley’s ex-boyfriends could tell you...

Our genetic cousins were long-haired and ginger with protruding brows and skinny willies. Hang about, how did BBC2’s experts know that? They didn’t, of course, but if they’d given their model a mighty great chopper no-one would have talked about anything else. It was fascinating, even if theories, like the claim early humans mated with Neanderthals, were presented as fact. (Tsk, only in The Valleys... ) We might have learnt more about Neanderthal culture if they’d hired an archaeologist rather than McGavin, an expert on insects and crabs.

Pausing to consider Homo Erectus, who wasn’t particularly, Alice ended up reconstructing our 3.5million-year-old aunt ‘Lucy’. She was tiny, a kind of proto-human monkey-girl with large hands, a hairy face, a tiny brain and shrivelled breasts... whose descendents can be seen most days on Jeremy Kyle. Primitive man invented the wheel to get away from women like her. Women like Alice Roberts are rarer, and her evolutionary assets are worth serious scientific consideration. Homo Robertus has pleasing features, a mighty mind, and fulsome mammary glands (not cheap sexism, this is anthropology, pal). In genetic terms she is almost perfect. Her only defect is a puzzling inability to pronounce words properly.

In Alice’s peculiar accent, now is “neow” and ground is “greound.” By studying other humanoids we know that prolonged exposure to this verbal tick would drive a potential mate completely “reound” the bend.

*BOFFINS synthesised Neanderthal speech in the lab. How long after filming stopped did it take for someone to make him say “Bollocks”?

*MORE amazing facts about Neanderthal Man – he spoke, he bartered, he did the Gangnam dance...

*THE BBC couldn’t have made this show while that creep Savile was alive. If he’d seen old bones laid out on a table, he’d have jumped them.

*SEEN on Homeland: the George Bush Centre For Intelligence. Wow. That’s up there with ‘Oldham Athletic’, ethical politician or ‘BBC Trust’...

*SOME good news at last for the Beeb: Halloween sales for Jimmy Savile masks are through the roof.

* UNRELIABLE X Factor Facts: 1) District 3 took their name from sci-fi film District 9 and are precisely one third as creepy. 2) Louis Walsh is a satanic mastermind who pretends to like Rylan solely to make our lives hell. 3) Christopher’s tan? Dulux Volcanic Splash. 4) Punch ‘MK1’ into your SatNav and it actually replies: “Hello losers.”

THE Crime Thriller Awards were criminally concealed on ITV3, but hosted well by Bradley Walsh. Brad made out he was miffed that Law & Order UK got no nominations. I actually was miffed that Braquo didn’t. Missing awards included Top Naked Dominatrix: Lara Pulver, Looniest Detective: Luther, Grumpiest Tec since Taggart: Vera... Sherlock cleaned up, but is it really as bold and different as everyone thinks? Isn’t Sherlock just The Mentalist spiced up with Doctor Who’s verbal diarrhoea?

*HOUSE was Holmes in a hospital. Monk was Holmes with OCD. Now there’s Elementary which is Holmes in Manhattan. Jonny Lee Miller sparkles as the recovering drug-addict genius. Daddy wanted him to go to rehab, he said “No, no, no.” Instead he’s a consultant with the NYPD; with Lucy Liu as his slightly bored looking Watson. Cumberpatch has the edge, but Miller may have better stories. TV is big enough for both of them.

*HOW about a tight-fisted moneylender who solves murders? Shylock Holmes.

GIRLS is as charmless as a Damien Hirst statue; it’s caustic and sharp, but utterly depressing. Who are we supposed to like here? Listless spoilt brats cope with life and bad sex in recession-blitzed Brooklyn... the heart bleeds. Maybe you have to be a whining rich-kid who thinks the world owes you a living to get it. Sex & The City minus the camp and the warmth (and the smugness).

HOT on TV: Chas & Dave: Last Orders (BBC4)... Hatfields & McCoys (C5)... new Fringe (Sky1)... Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary)

ROT on TV: George Entwistle – there’s more life in John Entwistle... Switch (ITV2) – ditch... House Of Lies... Brazil with Michael Palin – Brazil nuts; I love Palin, but why are we paying for his holidays?

NEW telly pin-up Oliver Queen sounds like he should be a judge on Strictly. He’s actually the hero of Arrow. Based loosely on Mort Weisinger’s Green Arrow, playboy Oliver is shipwrecked on a desert island and comes back as Batman with a bow for good, clean, escapist fun.

*MY guide to top British comic book creations TV should make more of: 1, Dan Dare. 2, Jenny Sparks. 3, Halo Jones. 4, Alan Moore’s John Constantine. 5, Neil Gaiman’s Dream. 6, Viz’s late, lamented Bushell the Bear (cough).

*WHEN a continuity announcer says, “Next it’s Homes Under The Hammer” does your heart sink when you realise it’s not Eamonn?”

* PIPPA Middleton’s new book includes the recipe for Royal Pudding. It starts: ‘First inherit one egg... ’

SMALL Joys of TV: A Wolf Called Storm. Richard E. Grant’s Hotel Secrets. The Crime Thriller Awards having three of The Bill washing up and waiting tables. Len Goodman telling Jerry Hall “Downstairs you’re quite neat and tidy” (unlike Ann Widdecombe who must look like she’s got Brian Blessed in a headlock).

SEPARATED at birth: Brazilian cowboy meeting Michael Palin, and an evil elf from Second Life?

RANDOM irritations: Claudia ‘Squinting’ Winkleman. The line-up for the Royal Variety Show: 90 per cent music plus David Walliams and a comic who didn’t work the last time he was on. Where’s the variety? Where are the entertainers?

*LEXI’s prospects were bad on EastEnders, but at least now her violent alcoholic, recovering crack-head ex-con grandad Phil looks set to adopt her.

*FIDEL Castro is still alive, but he can’t live forever. He’s no Bruce Forsyth.

*BRUCIE had to take time off; the Strictly band keeps being drowned-out by the creaking of his joints.

*BRUCE takes a break and suddenly we have Prehistoric Autopsy. Coincidence?

*TV maths: David Essex + DLT = Russell Crow as Noah.

GREAT goof from June, talking about a rival’s fishing rod on Come Dine With Me: “I felt a little bit violated by Cyril’s rod tonight to be honest.”

GOOD to see all those light entertainment faces on Pointless Celebrities last night. Would it hurt to give Cannon & Ball a Christmas show this year? They couldn’t do any worse than last year’s ‘specials’.

Oct 21. Debbie Dingle gave birth on all fours while screaming the house down on Emmerdale Live... which, by coincidence, is exactly how she got pregnant in the first place. See also Gennie bouncing on the settee and moaning like a wounded bison.

Guests stood around Gen chanting “Get it out!” which could have caused all kinds of problems down the Woolpack. Drunken Paddy tried to call her an ambulance, but rang the speaking clock instead: “At the third stroke, it will be legs at 4.40... ”

Emmerdale’s live episode out-classed EastEnders’ 2010 effort hands down, which on balance was a crying shame. Few recall the plot on the live Enders show, but we can all remember Scott Maslen losing it. “You’ve helped the flack from the plack, Bradley,” the great thespian yelped. Eh? It was the like the good old bad old days of Amy Turtle on Crossroads (ask your nan).

’Dale fans hoping for something really bold - a live plane crash, field-ploughing, Kathy Bates stepping out of the shower Dallas style - were disappointed. But ITV did deliver two weddings and a murder as well as the two births. For a moment I thought Katie was a goner. Mean Megan shoved Katie’s face into her own wedding cake, and her eyes glazed over. (Sorry). But it was dirty no-good, blackmailer Carl King who copped it. The weasel had it coming. Carl told Chas he’d killed his own Dad. She told him: “I can taste you in my mouth and it’s making me feel sick” - which makes you wonder what exactly was going on during the ad breaks.

Chas smashed him over the head with a rubber brick, and then Cam finished him off with the same lethal prop. I’m not sure what Amos Brearly would make of it all. Some of us are old enough to remember when most Emmerdale men-folk, and some of the women, had mutton chop whiskers. Back then, the show had ‘Farm’ in its title. These days, their only crops are shock and disaster in heavy rotation. The soap has become Yorkshire’s answer to Sodom and Gomorrah, with dairy fields given over to lying, cheating and sexual intrigue. Drive down the country lanes here and the only sign you’ll spot is ‘Pick Your Own Bastard’. No wonder Zak Dingle blew his beard-dye budget on booze.

*THE title Emmerdale Live brought Springwatch Live to mind. They’re two very different entities. One is renowned for its great tits... and for the rest of this appalling gag, see the 1970s.

*POOR Katie. What bride wants her face all white and sticky at her wedding breakfast? That’s for the honeymoon.

R.I.P. Downton Abbey rebel Lady Sybil who died in a medically dubious plot twist last weekend, leaving her family as crushed as Jimmy Savile’s gravestone. If Fellowes can do her in, no-one is safe. So here are my runners and riders in the Downton Death stakes:

3-1: The Earl. Shunned by grieving Cora, he finds solace with Ethel the fallen woman, and perishes from an unmentionable disease. (Carson: “Might I have a word, m’lord?” Earl: “What is it now, Carson?” Carson: “Syphilis m’lord, please stop chewing the carpet.”)

10-1: Dowager Duchess. Martha Levinson’s brothers Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro aren’t impressed by Violet’s snobbery and introduce her to a ‘Chicago typewriter.’ Her last words are “How frightfully common.”

60-1: Strallan. Edith catches the cad in bed with Thomas, finding out exactly why he’s called the footman. Unable to cope with the humiliation, she batters both to death with a highly-polished bouillon spoon.

100-1: All of ’em. O’Brien discovers evil Vera’s recipe for poisoned pie and serves it to the family before running away to join the Bolsheviks. Now, that’s what I call a bake off...

ITV bosses are heading back to the future faster than Michael J Fox on double-time. It’s understandable. Red Or Black was the priciest flop in broadcasting history. Other new ideas – The Door, Sing If You Can – stank like a fishmonger’s bin. So they’re recycling old hits instead. After Mr & Mrs. there’s Surprise Surprise, Catchphrase and Play Your Cards Right to come. Celebrity Squares would make sense too (celebs are cheap and plentiful these days; some are even recognisable). And 3-2-1, with its clues as indecipherable as anything Bletchley ever decoded, was always popular. The one thing ITV won’t consider reviving is variety. Presumably creating a vehicle for highly-skilled professional entertainers who are good at what they do is against everything these clowns hold dear.

HOT on TV: Fearless Felix Baumgartner... new Walking Dead (FX)... Homeland... Vicki Pepperdine (Getting On).

ROT on TV: Hunted – Mission Unwatchable... Spy – O-O-Dear... Louis Walsh – I love what he brings to X Factor: punch-ability...

SEAN Lock got worked up about things the US can have back: Trick Or Treat, the phrase “can I get” to mean “can I have”, the Easter Bunny... I’d throw in the Kardashians, ‘fanny-packs’, ‘candy’ meaning sweets, and ‘bathroom’ for toilet – a room which frequently has no bath in it. Although we can’t get too sniffy about Americanisms when in terms of drama and comedy output they’ve been kicking our, ahem, asses for decades.

*BBC1’s latest wet sitcom Me & Mrs Jones goes out straight after Have I Got News For You. And so do I...

*THINGS that keep me awake at night: what if Scotland breaks away and we still get Andrew Marr?

*TULISA called Melanie Masson a MILF. Ridiculous. Jade is the MILF. Mel’s actually a RPLOCOC: ‘Robert Plant Lookalike Over-qualified for this Contrived Old Cobblers.’

JANET Street-P’aw’er, Liz Kershaw and Sandi Toksvig all claim they were victims of foul sexism at the BBC. The culprits should be named, shamed and made to hand over their ten-foot barge poles.

*BRUNO was talking about Colin Salmon’s height on Strictly when he gushed: “You’ve got plenty of length to work with.” Well, so it’s said...

SMALL Joys of TV: Gloria (Modern Family). Miss Diane from Crossroads on Corrie. Angel Coulby. Hebburn. Horrible old git Mr. Morris (Friday Night Dinner). Crazy-eyed Carrie on Homeland – when she orgasms her eye-balls must spin like a Vegas fruit-machine. (Insert your own ‘hold the plums’ reference here).

NO-neck Lucy Ewing reminded John Ross of his teenage drinking on Dallas: “You were half-past gone on the floor.”

SEPARATED at birth: Graham Linehan and Lotney ‘Sloth’ Fratelli from Goonies; one a weird potato-headed abomination, the other a film character.

RANDOM irritations: BBC apologists trying to play down Savile, the worst celebrity scandal in living memory. 8 Out Of Ten Cats on a Monday. Bloated, bum-numbing Saturday night formats. EastEnders – all the gritty reality of the unicorn preservation society.

QUESTIONS: Has Cheryl Cole taken to wearing that gold panto-style costume because her career’s behind her? Are these loopholes for millionaires we hear about connected to the wormholes on Star Trek?

*THOUGHT: If Charlize Theron can fall for Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet, there is hope for all of us.

Oct 14. WE’VE learnt a lot from TV antiques shows. We’ve learnt that jugs are best in pairs, that knobs can be “magical”. And that “traditional Pooh is always very collectible” (probably a reference to Winnie, but you never know... ) Arthur Negus once told a fat bloke with a porcelain ornament: “I’ve just checked your bottom and noticed an unsightly crack” which tickled me for weeks.

Yet the greatest joy of antiques TV is the suffering – when some greedy git from Smugton-on-Sea has to keep smiling through gritted teeth when told his priceless family heirloom would fetch about two bob at a car-boot sale. One generation’s junk is another generation’s cash in the attic, of course; but a lot of it is just junk. Most Antiques Road Trip “finds” are as much use as a rain-damaged brolly... An old biscuit tin, a broken cello, an ancient chest filled with clapped-out tools. Yeah, thanks guys.

At least the Antiques Roadshow unearthed genuine curiosities – like that cast iron spittoon shaped like a turtle. Imagine going on Dragons’ Den with that. “What? You lift up its shell and gob in it? Get out of here!” They’d fry you alive. Yet sit on it for a century and it's worth thousands, which is what I intend to do with my patented portable pelican pouch urinal.

Some fans stopped watching Roadshow when Michael Aspel left - Mike was so old that whenever he turned up at an auction people tried to bid on him. But it still delivers surprises: an old clock left in a wardrobe for 15 years, £3K; a stoneware tree-effect garden chair, as comfy as the average Bushtucker trial, £4K... And it proves my rule of thumb that anything hard to dust is almost certainly an antique.

Our generation are lucky. The Victorians loved stuffing anything that moved. They also liked taxidermy. But how many of the things that we hold dear will end up as collectibles? Fast-forward to Antiques Roadshow, 2097: “These gems made up the actual vajazzle as worn by Chloe Sims of TOWIE, later Queen Chloe the First for the duration of her brief marriage to King Harry the Flasher... ”

*GIVEN TV’s fascination with crime, it surely won’t be long before the Antique Fencing Show gets commissioned. “This is a lovely ring, has it been in your family long?” “Oh, about 25 minutes, but it’s still on the original finger... ”

SUE Ellen’s lips used to have more quiver than Green Arrow. They moved in more directions than spilt soup in a space shuttle. Her gob’s not as mobile as it was, but Swellin’ still manages to mangle the language on Dallas. A problem is a “prarlm”, disgusts is “disgersts” and it’s easy to see why someone “shart” JR with a gern. The old devil was in Vegas to ruin Cliff Barnes’s day (and perhaps sublet his eyebrows as roller-coasters), so Swellin’ had to rescue their hot-headed dwarf-son John Ross by charming truck magnate Harris Ryland. Randy Ryland has the hots for Bobby’s wife Ann too – so what will start pumping first, him or the oil well? Bobby is quick on the quip these days. He called John Ross “all hat, no cattle” and observed “an eye for an eye just makes both people blind.” Not that it stopped him from chinning Harris... The youngsters get the screen-time but the oldies steal this show.

*DALLAS was developed by Cynthia Cidre. Unlike Emmerdale which is clearly written on shed-loads of cider.

LOVING Downton, but isn’t Lady Mary a bit dull now that she’s not topping Turks with her killer clunge? And surely there’s more chance of catching Dowager Countess Violet in a yard of ale contest than of these awfully-awfully aristos putting up with Branson? The Earl should have Carson drop Mrs. Hughes’s new-fangled electric toaster in the upstart’s bath. And then send the tall footman to batter the granny out of the gormless Strallan for jilting poor Edith. No surprise that he got Cold Feet... Come on Fellowes, fast-forward to the General Strike, free Bates, and have the Earl start knocking off Ethel. All a bit livelier than Edith writing a newspaper column, what?

HOT on TV: The Great Train Robbery... Moone Boy (Sky1)... Ella (X Factor)... Modern Family (Sky1)

ROT on TV: Friday Night Dinner – indigestible... Hunted – shunt it... DCI Banks – Tompkinson looks constipated... Rylan – TV’s lamest-ever advert for undeserved fame... Me & Mrs Jones – got nothing going on.

THE prospective new Leeds FC boss reckons the team are “like Pamela Anderson.” On the Sports Tonight Fan Zone, Cockney Rejects singer Jeff Turner quipped that his team, West Ham, were more like Jackie Stallone: “Nothing up-front, wide in the middle, and very loose at the back.”

WAS it odd that so many contenders for Jewish Mum Of The Year were divorced or separated? Having watched them, no - those poor schmucks must be still running for cover. The unedited version of this must have been better: “Again with the cameras?”

*THE Plane Crash was a great advert - for British Rail. I’d have enjoyed it more if the crash test dummies had all been painted to look like Jimmy Savile. *THE safest place to be in a plane crash? In the khazi, joining the Mile High Club. (Not true but spread the rumour, we might as well die happy).

*ALL the first class passengers died. Welcome to Lenin Air.

SMALL Joys of TV: Bradley Walsh (The Chaser). Alan Carr. Billie Faiers’s smile. Deirdre Barlow’s anguished cry of “Wendy Flamin’ Crozier!”

SEPARATED at birth: Sharon Osbourne and boss vampire Rosalyn Harris on True Blood - one ancient evil dressed up as respectability, the other some dumb vampire.

RANDOM TV proposals: Question Time – Tourette’s Special, finally echoing the words we’re shouting at home. Celebrity Plane Crash (not to be confused with Hotel GB; that was a celebrity car-crash).

RANDOM irritations: The BBC being a haven for tax dodgers and child-molesters, Lord Reith would be so proud. Louis Walsh, Fix Factor. Darcy on Strictly, enough with the “yahs”, okay, yah? Bruno banging on about Sid Owen’s “erection”, not so much a goof as wishful thinking.

DAVID Cameron’s story is inspirational. It shows how one man can start at the top and stay there.

OCT 7. HOTEL GB coincided with the release of new animated film Hotel Transylvania. It’s easy to tell them apart. One’s dull, time-wasting nonsense full of tired two-dimensional characters, the other’s a cartoon...

Hotel GB was a proper Frankenstein’s Munter of a show; a bastardised hybrid of Hell’s Kitchen and Jamie’s Dream School, mashed up with Celebrity Apprentice. Channel 4’s line-up of alleged talent included Gok Wan behind the bar, iron-jawed Mary Portas as general manager, Kim Woodburn as general man-eater and one-trick Gordon Ramsay as head chef. “I’ll spot bullshit a mile away,” Ramsay claimed, although he clearly didn’t get a whiff when he signed up for this shower of it.

Dr Christian was in the gym, cast adrift from his natural purpose in life, which is to show us exhibitionists with wandering nipples and withered genitals on Skype. Property expert Phil Spencer experienced post-charisma meltdown as a spectacularly useless maitre d’. While Jimmy Carr arrived on day two, not to tell jokes but to oversee a dog fashion show where a pooch pooped on the floor – be still my aching sides. Next time, try giraffes. Then I’d laugh.

VIP guests included Jackie Collins visiting us from the 1970s, David Gest (at least Paris Hilton would have made sense), and Hilary Devey who may have come runner-up in dog fashion. Only cleaner Kim was value for money, straddling Christian like a refugee from a McGill postcard and telling Jimmy Carr “I would take you for a gay but I know you’re not.” Of course not! He’s actually a ventriloquist’s dummy given a semblance of life by Satan.

The resulting mess was so tedious, C4 should set up a victims’ fund for anyone who endured it. Two kids got jobs at the end – that’s the public service remit covered. But how many more jobs would have been created if C4 had invested the show’s huge budget in making something worth watching?

What is the point of C4 anyway? At least in the days of Brookside and The Word it had a reason to exist. But it’s been a mighty long time since it commissioned anything as hard-hitting as GBH or Brass Eye - or created stars as inspired as Ali G. Without Big Brother, it’s all sniggering prurience, property prattle and gypsy weddings.

Where were the tinkers by the way? At least ‘Travellers’ Lodge’ might have had a bit of grabbing. This was the first hotel where the vacancies were all in the heads of the nitwits who commissioned it.

*HOTEL GB missed the obvious celebrity booking. Where the hell was Lenny Henry?

I’M backing Denise Van Outen to win the glitter-ball trophy, of course, but not even Iveta’s legs can tempt me to suffer another series of Strictly. Here are seven good reasons not to watch: 1) Brucie’s tired old schtick 2) The lame panel banter 3) Appalling decisions (like the time they eliminated Ali Bastian and Brian Fortuna, easily the year’s top dancers). 4) Tess Daly’s gushing. 5) Dances that rarely relate to the music. 6) The show having more padding than Hannibal Lecter’s cell. 7) Dancers who can’t dance – as much use as actors who can’t act, singers who can’t sing and comedians who aren’t funny; which is pretty much what passes for entertainment on TV these days.

*Denise got three 6s and a 7 on Friday – for some Essex girls, that’s a slow night out...

TOWIE is back, which came as a big surprise to those of us who hadn’t realise it had ever ended. Like a herpes sore, the series keeps returning, even though it’s given us nothing decent since the vajazzle. ‘Coffee cup reading?’ Give me a break. Even these orange morons wouldn’t buy that. It’s easier to believe that cocky Mario will stay faithful. Or that large Arg’s life was really changed by a One Direction song. Although I understand he always requests ‘More Than This’ in his local pie shop. Who are we supposed to like here anyway? Gobby nuisance Gemma, spoilt rich-kid Kirk? Gertcha. The show is rudderless without Mark Wright. Bring back Nana Pat!

HOT on TV: the Ryder Cup come-back... new Modern Family (Sky1)... Jenna-Louise Coleman... The Middle (Sky1)

ROT on TV: Hotel GB – Hotel Badly-Done... Red Dwarf – abort mission ... The Valleys – wallies... House Of Lies – if we want an unpleasant bunch of self-absorbed, self-serving bastards, we’ll watch Westminster Live.

IS Rylan Clark really worthy of TV exposure? The wretched X Factor wannabe rolled on the floor and sobbed into a pillow after Nicole put him through to the live shows, even though he can’t sing. Are we meant to be amused by this limp nitwit? Compare and contrast with the young men featured in C5’s Heroes Of The Skies and tell me this country isn’t going down the gurgler.

*LOUIS took the groups to Las Vegas last weekend to show them where one day they could all proudly perform... as waiters, croupiers and bar staff.

*DUNCAN Bannatyne had a heart scare. This was shocking. Who knew he had a heart? It wasn’t anything serious; just palpitations brought on by accidentally catching Hilary Devey out of make-up. (Dunc had his dying words all planned, though: “I’m out.”)

*THE BBC has dropped all shows featuring Jimmy Savile. They also shut some stable doors after the horses bolted.

*THE Story Of Wales: starts boldly with Owen Glendower, ends tragically with the shame of The Valleys.

*THE first sign that Autumn’s here – Bruce Forsyth’s gag-writers have gone into hibernation.

KEN Barlow and Wendy Crozier? Gee thanks, Corrie. In the ‘things no-one wants to think about’ stakes, that’s right up there with Jimmy Savile naked and Lembit Opik’s orgasm face. Imagine Ken’s love nest. Instead of silk sheets and bearskin rugs, every inch of the bedroom would be covered with non-slip bathmats.

*DAVID Walliams tried to hang himself. I felt like that after sitting through six episodes of Little Britain USA.

*PHIL Schofield asked Des O’Connor what song he would chose to duet on with his wife Jodi. How about ‘Dick-A-Dum-Dum’?

*IMAGINE being a Dad at 80. Whenever Des and Jodi go shopping they have to look for a Mother & Dodderer parking space.

RANDOM irritations: the BBC covering up for sicko Savile. Mrs Biggs rewriting history. Domestic products asking us to ‘like’ them on twitter. Celebs who charge to appear at charity events. Citizen Khan getting a second series. Why? Paddy McGuinness, Take Me Out: ITV’s challenge to snipers.

SMALL Joys of TV: Carson singing (Downton). ELO Night (BBC4). Victor Spinetti (Magical Mystery Tour). Eyebrow twins J.R. Ewing and the Grinch - JR’s the Grinch that stole Southfork.

*WAS that some kind of alien on Merlin last night? Bizarre, but still easier to believe in than that black knight and the 6th century waxed chests... Even the dragon said “I’m not buying that.”

*DOCTOR Who is fifty next year. Any chance it could start making sense?

SEPARATED at birth: Nigella and Russell Brand? One a saucy minx with exotic tastes, famous for over-indulging; the other a cook.

Oct 2. Eric Hobsbawn’s death upset the BBC as much as it did the Guardian. He was a brilliant historian, as the first three books in his ‘Age Of’ series proves. Unfortunately he was also a long-time apologist for Stalin’s crimes. Should this matter? Yes, actually. Hobsbawn’s hatred of capitalism blinded him completely to the evil of Iron Curtain communism. He’d believed all his life that the Soviet Union represented a golden dawn for humankind. He stood by it when Stalin was murdering his own people by the million; he stood by it when Russian tanks rolled into Hungary and Czechoslovakia. He stood by it when it executed dissidents and stamped an iron heel around the globe... In fact, Hobsbawn once said that that the deaths of millions would have been “justified” if Communism had worked. His ‘radical socialism’, praised last night by the BBC, was actually an unashamed ideological endorsement of mass murder and tyranny. The end, you see, justifies the means. Except it didn’t. The end was an illusion, a beautiful dream that could never be - because Lenin falsified Marx as much as Uncle Joe falsified Lenin. Even after the Soviet system collapsed, Hobsbawn clung to the belief that capitalism’s demise would soon follow. Ironically, the great historian, like his fan club on the public pay-roll, never learnt the true lesson of 20th century history. Not even when Stalin wrote it in blood.

Previously...