Despite looking like Charlie Drake or a shagged-out version
of Mr Tumble, Harry is the glue that holds this show together.
Last series, to save Ruth’s life, H gave the Chinese ‘Albany’
– a lethal device that targets victims by their ethnicity (also
known as the Starkey). But our government needs him as they’re
getting cosy with the Russians. Although not as cosy, it turns
out, as Harry had been with Elena – the wife of an old KGB rival.
He turned her in ’81; many times by all accounts.
“We had Gavrik’s wife?” gasped one spook. Well H certainly
did, she had his kid, Sasha, now a fully grown FSB agent who
naturally wants to top him. Raising the stakes, Elena is played
by Alice Krige – Star Trek’s Borg queen. Harry had been gorging
on the Borg, accessing his asset’s assets, enjoying perhaps
a Borgy... talk about Tinker Tailor Shagger Spy.
Things have changed at MI5 though. Section D has been taken
over by Erin, a woman who scales Louise Cliffe levels of lusciousness.
In fact, the whole fresh-faced team could have waltzed in from
Cold Feet. New boy techie Callum has a new toy, too, a “motion-analysis
filter” that identifies people by how they move (“your walk
is like your fingerprint.”) Really? I don’t want to sound negative
but how hard would this be fool? Adopt a limp or a Monty Python
silly walk and you’d get away scot free. Already there’s been
a breach at the highest level (and breeches as low as they can
go). We’ve had a Chechen assassin, finally answering the age-old
question: why did the Chechen cross the road? And our screens
are full of stern-faced nutters muttering into their sleeves.
But, hey, enough about the Lib Dem conference. It’s not enough
to dent Downton’s ratings, but Spooks is going out in style.
SOME big revelations on The X Factor USA: Steve Jones is now
apparently working as a truck driver, Cheryl Cole did surprisingly
well, and Paula Abdul vomits at the sight of a penis. So for
god’s sake keep her away from the England rugby squad. LA Reid
is the new-boy judge. He moves like a Thunderbird puppet and
said he’s been “looking for Bobby Brown”. But obviously not
too hard. How many crack-houses can there be out there?
IF This Is Jinsy were a person, it’d be auditioning for X
Factor. That’s how barking mad it is. The show is Balamory meets
the Mighty Boosh, or The Prisoner crossed with the Chuckle Brothers
and a half-digested Goons script. Jinsy is a remote island (population,
971) full of oddballs and perverse customs. Harry Hill as Joon
Boolay (imagine Stanley Baxter dragged up as Katie Boyle) presents
‘Punishment Round-Up’ where offenders are blitzed with electric
shocks in their own homes: Big Brother is zapping you. Much
of it is hilarious, from the gloriously daft theme tune to David
Tennant channelling the spirit of Dale Winton to present the
Wedding Lottery: “forcing complete strangers to marry” (like
Asian elders). Sometimes flimsy, but full of whimsy, Jinsy is
addictively bonkers, especially when tipsy on gin, see. Nightly
NICE to see ex-EastEnder Shobu ‘Gita’ Kapoor on Celebrity
Masterchef. Could she reinvent herself as a TV chef? Sadly no.
The hapless actress tried to seal ravioli with a knob of butter
(wasn’t that Roy Evans’s nickname?). It disintegrated as quickly
and completely as a soap marriage.
*DARREN Miller jilted Jodie on Enders. “I wanted to show you
things you only read about in books,” he told her. Dirty boy!
I’ve read those books. Brother Mickey returned for the wedding.
Has he been on the witless protection scheme? Darren’s Mum,
Dad and sister couldn’t be arsed. (Unlike Ben, it appears).
HOT on TV: Downton Abbey... The Fades... Spooks... Jinsy...
Sandhurst – good lads’ army...Sons Of Anarchy... New Two & A
ROT on TV: 71 Degrees North – I’d rather watch a fridge defrost...
Fresh Meat – truly offal...Jo Brand’s Big Splash...Holding Out
For A Hero – we’re holding out for a watchable ITV quiz.
MANY joys on Big Brother last week. Alex got multi-tanned
and ended up two shades beyond Umpa Lumpa. Any darker and she’d
have set off smoke alarms. Then Jay scoffed three whole roast
chickens – only Charlie Sheen’s had more birds in one go. All
this and Rebeckah got the boot too. Happy days.
*IS it me, or does Maisie need a really good plucking? Her
eyebrows! Your minds...
*A GRIM week on Corrie: first Carla’s rape, then Sean breaking
up with Marcus. “It’s because I push too hard,” he said. Way
too much information.
*JAKE Whitehall was utterly convincing as a loathsome upper-class
git with a towering sense of entitlement on Fresh Meat. Ah,
the joy of type-casting.
*THEY had a severed hand in a box on The Body Farm. Was I
alone in hoping it’d spring up like The Thing from The Addams
Family and check out Dr Eve’s evidence bags?
*PETER Andre loves his kids. It’s surprising he doesn’t mention
Small Joys of TV: An Idiot Abroad 2. Terry the scaffolding
grandad (X Factor). Funkhouser (Curb). Ironman 70.3: truly challenging,
and also the only time you’ll ever see the words ‘pro-men’ on
RANDOM Irritations: C4 burying Curb Your Enthusiasm in a More4
graveyard slot. Kate Wynslet’s gushing luvvie twaddle at the
Emmys. TV exploiting confused, slow-witted and unfortunate women
– Lynne Featherstone, MP, should never be seen on our screens
SEPARATED at birth: Darryn Lyons and Neelix, from Star Trek
Voyager; one a bizarre weird-haired fatso from a distant world.
And so’s the other one.
MYSTERIES: how do you make Michelle Mone? Why did The World’s
Most Dangerous Roads ignore Corrie and Albert Square? Who is
the World’s most dangerous Rhodes, Nick, Zandra or Gary?
*JAMES Bolam is quitting New Tricks creating a vacancy for
a grumpy old curmudgeon with a tenuous grip on reality. Finally
a job Vince Cable could manage.
Sept 18. BIG Brother cops stick from snooty critics, but the
show scaled new peaks of cultural achievement last week. I’m
talking of course about the slo-mo Baywatch beachwear challenge,
the type of quality TV that freeze-frame was invented for. It’s
just a shame Pamela Anderson didn’t join in, and bring Jenny
Frost with her.
It’s an odd cast this year; no-one is older than thirty, and
the house is awash with hormones, confessions and inappropriate
chitchat. It took less than a day for Rebeckah to reveal that
she’d once “wee-ed on a boyfriend”, adding perhaps unnecessarily
“I’m a people pleaser.” No wonder she got a golden swimsuit.
The 28-year-old screwball works as “a hostess in a gentlemen’s
club” (not White’s) and led on teenage Aden (aptly pronounced
“Ard-on”) before kicking him out of her bed - the poor sod was
as frustrated as a eunuch at a Bon Temps orgy. She’s a needy,
mixed-up nightmare, professing to hate men while craving male
But Rebeckah isn’t the biggest nightmare here. That honour
goes to big-headed sleaze-ball Anton who asked Pamela Anderson
if she’d ever “sexually been with a woman.” What a gent. Anton’s
nickname in the house is ‘SP’, short for Sexual Predator. He
seems like the sort of bloke whose dream date is to take a girl
dogging. He’d be drummed out of the Inbetweeners for lacking
The ones who aren’t annoying are plain deluded. Tearful Tashie
thought Pamela was her bestest friend, and was first out. Alex
thinks she looks like a human Barbie, failing to add “that has
been jogging behind a council gritter”. I don’t believe that
Mark is as dim as he pretends to be, or that Tom is as quirky
as he thinks he is. But it’s clear that Heaven is barking and
that alpha-male Geordie Jay is here for the duration. Jay’s
Wolf Pack already look stronger than the Jungle Cats ever did.
They’ll baste those Ducklings in orange sauce before long. Aaron
and Harry, who weren’t in either gang, both found themselves
nominated and won’t last. I worry for sweet Maisie. Her best
chances of survival are nightly pillow fights with the lovely
Louise. Those Prison Break-style shower scenes are disturbing
too. With the amount of testosterone sloshing around the house,
if the girls won’t play anything could happen.
DARREN Campbell got a raw deal on Celebrity Masterchef. Michelle
Mone’s scampi, chips and mayonnaise dish came with neither scampi
nor mayo. Yet she lasted longer than the champion sprinter.
It was a travesty. My old pal Linda Lusardi, famous for her
dumplings, didn’t let us down, though. I had a nasty shock when
my wife shouted “Linda’s burnt her puddings.” Mercifully she
was just talking about her dessert – an unorthodox ‘blackened’
pineapple sponge. “I just hope I can stay in,” Linda confided.
No doubt echoing the thoughts of every one of her ex-boyfriends.
THE TOWIE gang went ghost-hunting on ITV2. It was late, it
was dark, there was moaning and screaming, Amy Childs got touched
up...it was just like any other night out in Essex. I can understand
the producer’s desire to put the willies up Sam Faiers but NOTHING
happened. The biggest laugh was Joey Essex saying: “If you like
us, whistle”. Did he think the ghosts were all building workers?
Amy’s leg got wet; I don’t think it was ectoplasm.
*SHAME a saucy spirit didn’t give Amy a flash of a pre-Brazilian
Tudor vajazzle, or to give it its technical name: diamonds in
HOT on TV: The Bomb Squad – real heroes... Entourage finale...
Jenny Frost (Ok!TV)... Billy Connolly’s Route 66.
ROT on TV: Torchwood – Rex came back from the dead; the plot
never recovered... The Fun Police – a crime against comedy...
DCI Banks – rhyming slang... EastEnders – only Brian Cox knows
more inert Moons.
*POOR Brenda suffered with “labial fusion” on Embarrassing
Bodies, her privates had sealed over - a rare complaint usually
associated with women who’ve dated John McCririck. Dr Pixie
(is she National Elf? sorry) couldn’t help. So why not call
Des O’Connor? He knows all about “take the money, open the box”.
*Medical note: a labial fusion is a bit like jazz fusion,
but without the horn section.
*RICHARD Dawkins was very assured on Newsnight, but surely
that tie he was wearing could never be explained by natural
IS Russell T. Davies a genius or a great festering polyp on
the backside of small screen sci-fi? Torchwood suggests the
latter. Over-blown, illogical and full of holes, his plot had
more red herrings than a North Korean trawler. Many switched
off after the long, gratuitous gay sex scene mid series, but
Barrowman fans were left confused. They didn’t know whether
to keep Captain Jack on, or Jack off.
*THE Leper King Baldwin IV featured on Crusaders: Back From
The Dead. Incredibly, he was married. Experts say that the sex
was good to start with, but then it dropped off.
*71Degrees North is unusual for celebrity TV - most of the
contenders are actually recognisable. Brave of bra-hating Charlie
Dimmock to take on Arctic challenges. It brings new meaning
to freezing your tits off.
*MISSING from Alan Carr’s Who Do You Think You Are: his long-lost
twin brother Bingo from the Banana Splits. (Oddly Alan’s footballing
Dad Graham looked the spit of Martin Platt in his prime).
*NEXT week: Peaches Geldof, Where Do You Think You Are? Followed
by Nancy Dell'Olio, What Do You Think You Are? Followed by Paddy
Doherty: Who Are You, Do You Think?
RANDOM irritations: fat birds in jeggings. The standard of
‘analysis’ on Match Of The Day. Simon Cowell reportedly bringing
back Cheryl for The X-Factor live shows – why? She’s indecisive
and weak. We don’t need her.
SMALL Joys of TV: Susan Bullock’s Britannia helmet sliding
off her head during the Last Night Of The Proms. Planet Dinosaur
escapee John McCririck getting billed as “Mr Lover Man” (Big
Bro). Gory old nonsense Body Farm inspiring a million viewers
to burst into a chorus of “Woah, Body Farm, Body Farm for you...”
Separated at birth: Angelos Epithimou and Fabio Capello? One
an unconvincing joke figure relying on lame, lacklustre routines,
the other a character on Shooting Stars.
MYSTERIES: when will ITV’s Missing Millions investigate Red
Or Black’s viewing figures? Is Doc Martin appointment TV? Did
David Walliams really push himself or was he just going through
*WALLIAMS felt sick after swimming through sewerage. Now he
knows what it was like watching Little Britain.
Sept 11. TWO-FISTED Paddy Doherty won Celebrity Big Brother.
Good, because let’s face it, they would never have evicted him.
Not without getting through Vanessa Redgrave first. In truth,
the fighting traveller didn’t do much, or even say anything
decipherable other than the occasional “Woman!” The big lug
made Fabio Capello sound like Kenneth Branagh. But he was more
down to earth than a knackered satellite and he deserved it
far more than second-placed Kerry Katona. Was she doing it for
her kids, do you think? She never said.
Kerry wanted to right the wrongs of her multiple past mistakes.
Or as Brian Dowling put it, wrong the rights; his tie getting
slightly tongued in all the excitement.
Jedward came third – okay? They were noisy, messy, childish
and spectacularly irritating. If they’d been randy as well,
they’d have stormed it. Unfortunately, the twins are about as
sexy as a pair of pot plants. Paddy called them “the two sausages”,
but (a woman viewer tells me) there was no evidence of sausage
during their strip-tease. Not even chipolatas. In fairness,
they kept the show’s energy levels high, and their innocence
is almost endearing. Jedward are like living cartoons. Someone
should turn them into an animated series on a children’s TV
channel, so we never have to suffer them again.
Bobby was first out on Eviction Night. This came as a surprise,
as I didn’t realise he was still in there. Next went deluded
Darryn, who claimed he’d been “reborn” in the house. As a mutant
turtle, judging by the abs. Womaniser’ played when Lucien, the
world’s worst ladies’ man, got the boot, while Amy left to the
strains of ‘Glad You Came’. Shuu’up! If she had come, she might
have won. As it was, the only way was exit.
The house lacked lurve, and could have done with more confrontation.
But I’ve got a feeling normal Big Brother will rectify that.
What nutters! Arrogant Aaron, spotty Alex aka the Fright Night
Barbie, Anton, the Fresh Prince of Bell End... Bi-sexual berk
Tom boasted “I get my cock out when cameras are around”. This
was very apt, because as soon as I saw him I thought ‘get this
cock out’. There’s Geordie jack-the-lad Jay, posh plonker Harry,
nice-but-dim Mark. Strong characters and potential tension abound.
Decent totty too: luscious Louise, amazin’ Maisy. Fame junkie
Tashie has more curves than a Scaletrix track and looks like
Tulisa eating a banana. But will any of these lads ever get
to enjoy one night (one night!) in Heaven?
*SMALL joys of the CBB finale: The Pamela Anderson reveal.
The ‘Lucien Smash My Back Doors In’ banner – tsk, the aristocracy
never change do they? And Bobby leaving to Snoop Dogg’s ‘Sweat’
– a bit more credible than ‘Pow’ for Darryn. Why didn’t Tara
go out to ‘Bye bye, Miss American Pie’?
*PAM says she’ll leave skid marks on the other housemates.
Let’s hope she’s talking tank tyres, or that’s one dirty protest
DID I miss the meeting where ITV decided to merge with Crimewatch?
A robber on X Factor, a wife-beating millionaire thanks to Red
Or Black... what next, Gaddafi producing Coronation Street?
It could only be an improvement. Talk about Red faces and Black
eyes. Ant & Dec should set up a £1.50-a-call helpline. Or maybe
not. Red Or Black posed a bigger question: on or off? Half the
viewers quickly opted for the off button. Understandable; it’s
a shambles - You Bet puffed up with typical over-the-top SyCo
production values, making it feel like X Factor without the
talent. It’s the biggest over-blown mess since Hurricane Irene
hit the Eastern seaboard. Pointless, often dull stunts lead
up to the roulette wheel finale, where some undeserving schmuck
has a 50/50 chance of scooping £1million through pure dumb luck.
In a real casino, there’s an element of risk – you’re betting
your own cash. Here the only ones with anything to lose are
ITV. It’d work better if the contenders built up a pot of prize
money they then gambled on the roulette wheel. But who cares?
Red Or Black? Kill or cure. Sh*t or bust.
*SIMON Cowell confessed to a 3-in-a-bed romp (an old story
revived). Shame he didn’t say that the unnamed girls were Cuban
and Nigerian; then headline writers could have worked in a cheeky
‘red or black’ gag. For the x-rated ‘red or brown’ spin see
Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown...
*COWELL’S real 3-in-a-bed secret: two huge man-sized mirrors.
STRICTLY’s back, posing the question: which celeb will fandango
their dancer first? Robbie Savage is in it, so that’ll save
on the BBC wardrobe budget. Nothing they’ve got can out-ballroom
his normal clobber. Robbie dresses like David Ginola playing
Maurice Gibb on Stars In Their Eyes.
HOT on TV: Back From The Dead: Nelson’s Navy... Bin Laden:
Shoot To Kill... Catch Me If You Can: Armed Robbers... Rugby
ROT on TV: Red Or Black – wheel of misfortune, The Million
Pound Flop... 9/11 conspiracy claptrap... Appropriate Adult
– inappropriate commissioning.
BRAVE of Corrie to tackle big social issues last week. I’m
talking of course about the ever-present dangers associated
with keeping a kidnapped psychopathic drug-dealer in your butcher’s
fridge. They should have run a helpline at the end of the episode:
If you’ve been affected by Kirk’s acting... there is no possible
hope for you.
*CHINESE couple To Chan and Karen Ho failed to interest the
Dragons in their London fish pedicure spa. So no-go for To-Ho’s
so-so Soho toe show. What a low blow.
*LUMBERING prehistoric monsters are back on telly! Hurrah!
But enough about Brucie.
*WE finally saw the Blessing on Torchwood. It looked like
something Amy would vajazzle. The real blessing will come when
this tosh ends.
*AMY aged decades on Doctor Who. She was grumpy, irrational
and stroppy. Nice to see time won’t change her.
Random Irritations: Straight men kissing each other hello
on TV. Or anywhere. The mysterious disappearance of The Bachelor.
ITV attempting to make thick charmless psycho Fred West and
his sick sadistic wife seem engaging.
Small Joys of TV: Nick Hewer on Would I Lie To You. Nicola
McLean’s brunette look. Tough totty Colonel Eleanor (Strike
Back Project Dawn). Emilia Fox’s great aunts (Who Do You Think
You Are) and their verdict on their father: “He went orff with
an American tart. Silly bugger.”
Separated at birth: Noel Fielding and Amy Woodman from Britain
& Ireland’s Next Top Model; one from the Mighty Boosh, the other?
*SIMON Cowell says that when he dies he wants his body to
be cryogenically frozen. Ann Robinson’s already is.
MYSTERIES: did Red Or Black’s wife-beater winner celebrate
with a slap-up meal? Or casino sex (liquor at the front, poker
in the back)? Is John Barrowman the face of Bo, or the face
of Botox? (Not to be confused with Andrew Lloyd Webber, the
face you’d boo).
Sept 4. LAST night’s Doctor Who was a terrific return to form.
The story was simple, effective and (for kids) genuinely scary.
Not since Michael Jackson had a child’s bedroom seemed so terrifying.
In contrast, Let’s Kill Hitler was more frustrating than Klingon
Kerplunk. There was a nice moment when Adolf was shoved in a
cupboard (many suspect he spent most of his life in a closet).
But Hitler wasn’t killed. The evil Nazis, who all conveniently
spoke perfect English, were just a side-show for some tedious
tosh about River Song. Why does show boss Steven Moffet insist
on inflicting these long, baffling and usually unresolved story
arcs on us? Moff is responsible for more loose ends than Masala
The best Who episodes are stand-alone ones with plots that
you don’t need a PhD to follow. The current yarn makes a conversation
with Paddy Doherty seem straightforward. River we’ve learned
is not only the Doctor’s future lover but also Amy and Rory’s
kid, Melody - and their never-mentioned childhood best friend
Mels (Syd, from EastEnders.) Kidnapped by The Silence, Mels
regenerated as a toddler in New York and somehow found her way
to Scotland so she could grow up with her parents (without ever
acquiring a local accent).
She regenerated again into middle-aged assassin Alex Kingston,
who promptly did in the Doc with poisoned lipstick. The Silence
had brain-washed her to top him, and she did; but she then used
up all her future lives to resurrect him for reasons that weren’t
entirely clear. Confusingly, this River has met her folks in
their past and her future without giving the smallest hint she
even knew them. She’s gone off to study ancient relics now (try
William Hartnell’s tomb, the corpse may still be spinning).
So when she’ll get to have her unlikely romance with the Doc
is anyone’s guess. ‘Why’ is easy - a multi-tasking sonic screwdriver
could turn any girl’s head. But what would he see in this hammy
old head-case? Many men might consider Syd from EastEnders a
better option (or even Mad Jean.) With time travel anything
can happen, but I can’t be the only one thinking Moff keeps
throwing in extra twists to distract us from the fact that this
actually isn’t much of a story. Stop over-thinking, man, and
send in some Daleks.
WE had to endure three hours of 100 Greatest Gadgets to get
to Number One (the pocket lighter). Three effing hours. It made
you grateful for my own favourite gizmo: the Sky+ fast-forward
button. This show could have been half as long and twice as
interesting simply by cutting all those inane talking heads.
If Al Murray really “can’t imagine life without a toaster” it
doesn’t say much for his privately-educated brain. Use the grill!
Use a toasting fork! Stephen Fry, hosting this joyless slog,
pointed out that these were his personal choices, which presumably
explains why the humble vibrator didn’t make the list. Also
missing were those great civilisation advancing inventions air-con
and the electric chair, along with zips, locks, smoke detectors
and the hypodermic syringe. Chip-and-pin, the device that revolutionised
credit card fraud was included. Fry did time for that, of course,
but his biggest crime is being in possession of life-threatening
quantities of class A smugness.
*SKY+ is a modern miracle. I can set it today to record Yesterday
tomorrow... and watch it next week.
IF Jessie Wallace’s real life gets any more dramatic she’ll
have to hire her own drummer. Trust a Kat to catch a rat. Her
fiancé texted his ex a picture of Jessie’s privates (a snatch
shot?). Similar snaps of Dot Cotton are believed to be safely
under lock and key at Porton Down.
HOT on TV: 9/11, The Firemen’s Story... Milf-to-be Emma Willis...
Fraud Squad... Outnumbered... Strike Back Project Dawn.
ROT on TV: 100 Greatest Gadgets - 180 grating, wasted minutes...
Torchwood – torture... Page Eight – much less fun than Page
THE old boys on David Jason’s Greatest Escapes were what Englishmen
used to be like: calm, resourceful, modest and determined. Quiet
heroes. Quite a different breed to the lowlifes and losers celebrated
everywhere on TV nowadays, from the Jeremy Kyle show to Shameless.
*THE male camel makes himself sexually irresistible by dribbling
and spraying urine everywhere (Inside Nature’s Giants). The
technique works just as well for Frank Gallagher.
*THREE weeks in, does anyone else think that Seven Dwarves
could do with being a bit shorter?
*ESTHER Rantzen says she was abused as a teenager. How awful,
how grim. And here’s what really hurt, the bastard did it with
a comically shaped vegetable.
* GOOD to see the Little Britain guys are concentrating on
what they do best. For Lucas, comedy; for Walliams, swimming.
*I LOVE the VMAs. It’s the only night in the year that MTV
actually plays any music.
THE new Jonathan Ross talk-show is a poor compromise. The
guests aren’t great and his heart isn’t in it. Why not give
him a late night show where he can let rip? He’s not Parkinson
and shouldn’t want to be.
* Have you even seen Jonathan’s Mum, Martha, and Gaddafi’s
wife Safia in the same room? One’s family has got away with
murder, the other is Libyan.
*AFTER a nasty mosquito bite, Kitty Brucknell required “an
injection in her bottom to bring the swelling down.” Let’s hope
that’s the only time those words were used in connection with
an X Factor hopeful.
Random Irritations: Carianne’s voice (The Bachelor). Talking
heads on TV clip-shows with nothing to say. The ‘false start’
athletics rule. Boris banning kids from watching Olympics shooting
events, as if the women’s 10m air pistol qualifiers have the
slightest causal effect on gun crime.
Small Joys of TV: The Twins task (CBB). Marco Pierre White.
Chris Ellison in New Tricks. 3-2-1 repeats on Challenge – the
clues are still as impenetrable as Ann Widdecombe’s drawers.
*PAM got booted off CBB and will return to the home she shares
with 27 animals. After Jedward she could do with the peace and
* IF Kerry reminds Lucien of his Gran, why the hell was he
flirting with her?
Separated at birth: Mick Hucknall and Amy Pond as a human
doll – one a creepy, wooden-headed fright, the other a Doctor
*LOST Girl Bo (Anna Silk) is a succubus who feeds off human
arousal; she’ll suck you but kill you. Like a deadlier Helen