Tuesday, August 22, 2006

George - the greatest housemate that never was.

For my feelings on the end of BB, please see my sister column - 'Lucky Blue Suit' - whose author puts it better than I ever could. In fact, I didn't even watch the finale. Why mock up a sense of faux-anticipation when it was clear that the slightly tawdry Brighton crustie was bound to walk away with the title? What an interesting BB though. All the way from Shahbaz to shambles. Jesus. I can hardly recall all the twists and the turns, the deceptions and the disappointments, which have suffused my life for the past three months. I have a feeling that this is a BB from which there is no going back. Another landmark series in which another layer of innocence was peeled away, in much the same way as Jade Goody got her kebab out three years ago. Weirdly, the only person who I cared to see again during the reunion barbaeque on Sunday was old Harry's chum, George. I spied him twitching and ticcing away behind Dermot, desperate in equal measures to avoid the cameras whilst fulfilling the terms of the contract he had signed in order to receive payment. 'How different would this year have been', I thought, 'if George HAD wanted to be famous?' What effect would his outrageous poshness have had on that idiot Glyn - whose mindless patriotism and hatred of anyone who doesn't speak in a regional accent would have been thrown into relief if George had remained. What about Grace? Would we have had another version of the love story if George had stayed to stimulate her inner gold-digger? What about Nikki? If she had hooked up with the aristo, would Pete have ever bought her story about learning to love people from the inside rather than the outside? Who knows? But still a George-shaped ghost haunts BB7. I feel he may have been the catalyst that made the housemates reveal themselves, and that because he wasn't there, we got played as an audience by the likes of Nikki. Pete and Glyn. Maybe, in another dimension, George stayed in BB, and Nikki is already signed up to the Fantasy Channel. But I suppose we'll never really know.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (15/8/06 - Birthday of Jaxsta, pbuh)

Bit of a 360 on the last post. I expected Nikki to re-enter the house and heighten the tantrums. I expected her to wrap herself around 'Petey' and giggle like a love-struck teenager. She is permanently frozen at age 13 after all. Yet I didn't expect her to re-enter the house and pull a Grace; taking the opportunity to settle old scores, and making Aisleyne feel incredibly uncomfortable in last night's episode. There's been a lot of talk of bullying this year what with Grace and her army. Nikki's behaviour towards Ais last night reminded me that she was often the malevolent earpiece Grace would test her poison out upon. I attributed this towards a social malleability in the little princess but discovered last night that it was an equal ability to torment others. For this reason, and this reason alone, Ais deserves to win. In a BB year in which backstabbing, snide comments, cruel laughter and downright malevolence have become de riguer, I am supporting the one housemate who refrained from slagging others off as far as she could. The one time Ais had a problem with Nikki she told her straight away - no diary room impressions, no bitchy interviews in Now - just a straightforward 'why don't you shut up? You're boring'. That's what Nikki can't handle, the truth.
The reemergence of the divide since Nikki went back in the house has also made me nostalgic for Imogen. She got a bad rap but I think I managed to look beyond the void in the end and find just a really nice, sweet girl. She's not going to discover the cure for cancer, but at least she acts her age and sticks up for others when they're being taunted (Imogen was the only HM to support Shahbaz when Richard - he truly is a Dick - had it in for him). Imogen and Ais, the true winners of BB because they kept their integrity. Nikki and Dickie, in the words of Bjork, can sod off.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (8/8/06 - Birthday of Princess Beatrice, May God Save Her Soul)

Right. Where was I? Oh, I stopped writing about BB because Nikki left and it became boring. Now it looks like she's going back in on Friday, and it's become exciting again. Clever old Endemol. Except everyone's furious at them for stealing the quids they spent getting rid of people, and the perceived breach of the contract of trust between BB viewer and producer. I don't care as long as Nikki gets back in the main house pronto, and ousts that scally Jen from her relationship with Pete (Can't stand Jennie. She claims to be "like a lad", and then spends the whole time asking Glyn and Pete if they think she's pretty). I do have reservations about Nikkie's re-entry though - she knows that the public favour her childish tantrums, and if she heightens them, she truly will become the "fake" housemate that viewers and HMs alike have obsessed about for the entire series. She could seriously mess up her opportunity to walk away with the 100k. If so, it's a straight two-horse race between Pete and Glyn for the final. We're supposed to like Glyn because he's been "on a journey". All the way from Butthead to Beavis ("Huh. 69. Uh-huh-huh-huh. Yeah. 69. Uh-huh-huh-huh"). Petey it is then I suppose. And, as much as I adore Nikki, he really does deserve it. There's so much less scope for him to get his baps out in Nuts and Zoo following his departure, that he actually needs the prize money. Yeah, let Pete have it, and keep him in children's entertainer clothes and ketamin for life.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Last week's TV

This harks back to last week but has been preying on my mind, so I hope to get some relief by sharing. Last Tuesday's ''Bad Lad's Army' featured such heartwarming vignettes as the "recruits" examining their tackle for pubic lice, and a skidmark inspection charmingly performed by the Sergeant Major, who shone a torch into the pants round their ankles in order to show up any dubious markings. And people say 'Big Brother' is low-brow. This sort of telly humiliation is seemingly okay because the participants are all criminals and have been sent into the "army" for self-improvement. Yet when any of the 'bad lads' speak on-screen, they always have the same description appear beneath them - "Danny Walker, 26. Thief", "Andy Pearce, 21. Shoplifter", "Tyrone Tyrell, 23. Flasher and pirate". Have the programme makers not heard of Becker's labelling theory? The deviants are attempting to move on with their lives via a vigorous regime of knob-watching and full arse-wipage, and ITV continually reiterates the identities they're trying to leave behind. It did elicit a few giggles though. Cruel, unkarmically friendly giggles. Don't watch the show if you expect great feats of heroism. Do if you like watching spotty/fat/nefarious proles being forced to do one-armed pressups for insubordination.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Friday Night's TV (21/7/06)

As BB seemingly moves into phase II, initiated by the arrival of a whole new bunch of housemates who bring into question whether Bonnie and Sezer in fact ever existed, it is time to take a moment to reflect. Why is it I feel so disappointed this year? Why do I feel only marginally more entertained than when I watched BB4? Why, indeed, have I virtually stopped blogging when BB is one of the raison d'etres of my messages to you? I suppose sometimes that the personalities chucked into the BB house just don't work, and sometimes they just do. Imagine how awful Jason would have been without Emma and Victor to show him up, Craig without Anthony and Makosi? In BB7 there aren't many interesting interrelationships between people, and very few interesting people at all. It's not even - as people have already started to claim - because we have taken out the so-called "big personalities". There was nothing charismatic about Lea looking like a depressed tortoise, or Grace's uberbitching. Nikki's tantrums were a highlight of the series for me, but even those started to pall after time. But don't listen to people when they say BB is over. Of course it's not. The right chemistry might always be six months or a year round the corner, and any fan of Big Brother has to learn to take the rough with the smooth. With this in mind, I have compiled my favourite moments from the series so far, which all happen to come from the diary room.....

Moment number 3:- [Imogen on Lea's conversational style] It's always COCK and TITS and SPUNK
(sounds so much better when said in a Welsh accent, and when followed up with "I am SOOOO OOOver it")

Moment number 2:- [Nikki on Aisleyne] Who is she? Who IS she? Where did you FIND her? Who IS SHE??
(Nikki should be sent into schools to teach spoken English and contemporary rhetoric. I marvel at her apposite, economic use of language)

All-time favourite moment of BB7 Phase I:- [Glyn on Susie's excessive tea-drinking, and the general lack of partying and snogging] This isn't Big Brother, this is Crapland
(I couldn't have said it better myself, Glyn)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Thursday Night's TV (13/7/06)

Is Love Island the most offensive programme on TV? It seems deliberately designed to humiliate the female "celebs" as much as humanly possible. Not only have they matched them up with some of the ropiest men on the planet (Lee Otway? He's just a chav with an eating disorder), but they've done so unevenly in order that one woman will always be a 'gooseberry'. While the women aren't exactly 'top spec bitches' (Has Alicia Duvall been in a horrific fire??), I do think this is slightly unfair. What puzzles me is that the "celebs" genuinely seem to be going on the island to find love. I thought the embarrassment of Middlemiss/Titmuss/Sharpe last year was just a spot of luck for the producers, but Sophie Anderton seems to be heading for exactly the same pitfall this time around, obsessing over Boyzone's Shane Lynch who is probably wary of her past drug addiction and promiscuity and understandably wants to distance himself from the adenoidal idiot. Sophie, however, has no idea and is gushing about him to anyone who will listen; interpreting his awkwardness as a strong, silent manliness and going all girly when Patrick Kielty and Fearne Cotton urge her to "tell him!tell him!" how she feels so that she makes a total arse of herself. It should be called Pimp Island. It leaves me feeling all sordid. It might just get good though, I'm going to give it another week.
PLEASE DON'T EVICT NIKKI FROM BB. She may have her problems but the show is going to be dire without her. Evict one of the 'voids' instead - Mikey, Imogen, preferably SUSIE. I think I'm going to have to vote for the first time. It's so wrong that she's the bookies favourite to go, when there are peasants like Spiral and Jennie in the house. DON'T RUIN THE END OF BB. KEEP NIKKI IN!!!!

Monday, July 10, 2006

This weekend's TV (7-8/7/06)

Look it's been while. I've been technologically moved back to the last century over the past few weeks - DIAL-UP???? So while I've got a broadband chance, just wanted to register some views on the BB housemates.
Glyn (aka Beavis) and his new blonde hair. Wonderful. Normally such a teenage fashion mistake would only be caught on photos, but unfortunately the whole nation can see this one. In a way it makes him an even more suitable companion for......
Mikey (aka Butthead). Put the goon back in a majorette costume someone PLEASE. I haven't seen anything as funny all BB ias his galumphing around in lycra like a latter-day village idiot. More fancy dress for Mikey full stop.
Spiral - "Oim Spoiral. Oim a total steretoipe. Listen to how I say terty tree" - Spiral may make out like he's all pre-colonial Irish hospitality but rub him up the wrong way and his face darkens to reveal one of the strange locals from Craggy Island. Somehow Spiral has put the phrase 'Bog Irish' back in my head.....
Right gotta go, more soon.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

This week's TV (19-22/6/06)

Richard is doing my nut in. If the cadet-cap-leather-arm-thong-and-one-glove-with-pearl-bracelet outfit wasn't offensive enough a parody of homosexality for every BB viewer regardless of their sexual orientation, he also fulfils all other requirements of the gay from hell. Throw in a dash of misogyny ("Oh, all girls are like that. Don't you know what girls are like, Mikey?") and at least six litres of lifestyle-choice smugness ("I wait tables because the flexible work allows me to concentrate of my writing"; "Monogamy is so boring. I like to have sex with my harem of men"), and you get closer to what a deluded and essentially lonely person Richard must be. And because he obviously has a much better life than all those sad heterosexuals who knuckle down and get on with their uncreative work during the day, returning home to their long-term partners and missionary-position sex in the evening, the man thinks he has a right to tell EVERYONE how to live their lives. The poor housemates can't turn without finding Richard saying, "You don't want to turn like that. You want to bend your knees much more and find the fulcrum point from within your torso". Later on you'll see him bitching under his breath, "I can't believe Imogen turned without bending her knees. I think you and I are going to have to have a word with her about that. Ya, I think we are all going to have to, we just can't go on like this." Oh, do SHUT UP you bloody KNOW-ALL!
While I'm in 'annoyed mode', can I also just say that I'll be very very thankful when Grace's time in the spotlight is finally over and I don't have to see her stupid, grinning mug all over my tellybox anymore. Her professional smile has become so fixed to her face, and to such cartoon-like proportions, that the evictee, to my mind, now looks criminally insane. I'll just be glad when that vile little pro is back where she belongs, starting fights in the bogs of Chinawhites and Boujis with Davinia Taylor.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I'd just like to write a few lines about the very strange breasts going down in Big Brother. Or should that be up, given the ubiquity of implants in the house? When Grace was evicted on Friday, she also affected the ratio of real-fakies so that now 66.6% of the female housemates in BB are cosmetically enhanced. Not that I have a particular problem with fake boobs but it's just that these are an especially rum bunch. Lea is obviously the Queen of Tits with M-cups which she insists on covering up with only the teeny-tiniest triangles of fabric (or maybe they're not teeny-tiny, maybe they're as big as ground sheets - but her breasts are SO massive that she's skewed my sense of perspective). The thing I find particular disturbing about Lea's boobs is the way they escape from her half-arsed attempts to cover them. I'd find it very offputting if involved in a conversation with a bikinied Lea to ignore the bottoms of the beachballs protruding from underneath her nipple patches. Maybe it's because it's possible to gain an idea of just how big her boobs are when you can see the underside of them. I'm just astounded that the woman can stand upright.
I find something about Suzie completely obscene. I don't buy this upper-class act, and read her hugely inflated assets as the evidence. It is impossible to have a boob job over a D cup and to remain classy anyway, perhaps even to have a boob job at all. Extreme boob jobs betray a certain desperation to be viewed as sexually attractive which belie class in a female. Which brings me onto Nikki; the woman with a body of a child and the face of Old Man Steptoe. Having found topless pictures of Nikki on the Digital Spy forums, I can confirm that she has the strangest breasts in Christendom, and got some really bad advice from her surgeon when he said implants would work on her little boy body. Her fellas look like tennis balls inserted below the most superficial layer of the dermis, and yet are still invasive enough on her tiny frame to push her nipples skywards. It looks like she's trying to locate a radio station with 'em.

p.s. While I do not think it is right to view women as sexual objects, the multitude of fake breasts in the house is worthy of comment. I also wonder why the producers have started trying to develop a boob signature for each series of BB? Last year was like an episode of Benny Hill what with Lesley, Saskia and Makosi's mammoth melons, while this year is like watching any programme after 9pm on channel 5. Is someone at Endemol a tad fixated?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Monday Night's TV (12/6/06)

So, Nikki and Grace up for eviction this week then. Obviously Grace is going to be the one to leave, despite the fact that she's actually no more appalling than Nikki, who is four years older than her and also says completely awful things - but in a funnier voice. The real point of contrast between the two is their relations with men. From the first night Grace slid into bed with someone with whom she had very little in common other than the fact that they're both young and cute, while Nikki had to survive on her own terms in the BB house (not through choice, admittedly, but through her perception of a lack of available men). Her reward has been the gradual development of a relationship with Pete - a person who I am sure does not fulfill her pre-BB criteria for romance - resulting in a kiss during a game of 'spin the bottle' last week which contained real magic. Since then the pair have been magnetically drawn to each other, and - like Chantelle and Preston initially - are completely unaware of what is happening between them. Like two 'real' people in the first flush of love and attraction, this is simply gorgeous to watch; life-affirming, heart-warming and entirely natural. Grace and Mikey, meanwhile, formed an artificial bond almost immediately and - because nothing really links their spirits besides circumstance - have run the whole gamut of a relationship in a month. From hanging out and going to bed, they began to make demands of each other and now the arguments have started. Why? Because there is no profound base to their friendship. It is for this reason that Nikki should stay in BB. Not because she is nicer than Grace - she's not - but because something is really happening between her and Pete, the start of something exciting and new and delightful. A smile doesn't creep onto my face if I see Grace and Mikey holding hands as it does with Pete and Nikki. Their compromise already feels tired, sordid, and increasingly uncomfortable to watch.

Monday, June 12, 2006

This weekend's TV (9-11/6/06)

My goodness, I'm glad Samuel's gone from BB. I have rarely been more disturbed than when they showed him/her masturbating last week. With her/his eyes wide open. A really very frightening sight to behold. And then there were the embarrassing, ignorant gaffes which any 18- year-old would make, but which aren't usually recorded for posterity, for instance her definition of eclectic (apparently keeping a book after you've finished it, rather than throwing it away). So now we've got Suzie, the "Golden Housemate", a random member of the public who has auditioned for BB several times and spent £4000 on chocolate to find her ticket. Random indeed. Verdict: singularly unexciting, unrepentently bourgeois, drippy drippy drip.
Watched the football on Saturday. Funny to observe the same old World Cup pattern emerging - loads of hype, people tattooing England flags on their faces, then the inevitable realism setting in as we collectively realise we're shit at football. How many TIMES?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (6/6/06)


I just wanted to write something so I had a post for 6/6/6.

Wish they'd stuck the real The Omen on last night, the proper one. The rulers of telly really didn't make enough of the unusual date yesterday. However, I did see something on 666: Searching for Satan on the intellectually highbrow Channel 5 suggesting that if numbers in Hebrew correspond to letters, then 666 could actually be WWW. As in World Wide Web.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Monday night's TV (5/6/06)

By the way, if anyone tells you Desperate Housewives is a kooky, cool, surreal American drama with a Twin Peaks sensibility, smack 'em in the face. Judging on several episodes of the second series which I have been unfortunate enough to catch, I can reveal that it is weakly written and even mildly offensive (last night Gaby and her husband coerced their Chinese maid into carrying their baby; apparently you can trick domestic slaves into that sort of thing because they are stupid and foreign). I can't even be bothered to dissect it further, suffice to say that why any man would go through the niggles of relationships with the deeply unlikeable and two-dimensional main characters is beyond me. And there's only so much Botox a face can take, Teri Hatcher. Something's going down on Wisteria Lane? The show itself, it would seem.

I got into an argument on the Digital Spy forums last week when I started the thread 'Where are the intelligent women on BB?". Many people seemed to think that Grace was intelligent, despite my pointing up that confidence and intelligence aren't necessarily the same thing. I now have my own conclusive proof that she is in fact a silly moo, complaining about the "amniosity" in the house during yesterday's BB. Amniosity? Is that the feeling you get when you don't want a baby? I actually wonder if there have ever been any intelligent people in BB, because intelligence is, in most cases, linked to reading and anyone who is happy to go into a house without the possibility of picking up a book for three months has to be a bit of a thicko in my opinion. If I was a housemate, that would be far more difficult for me to come to terms with than Sam continually trying to make me look like I had rosacea. Honestly, can you imagine it? No printed word? I'd rather felch Richard.

Lea's accurate age is still up for grabs. Saw a lovely little self-adjustment on the live screening where she claimed to be 15 years older than Nikki's 24 years, which was quickly downscaled to 11. We're getting closer......

Sunday, June 04, 2006

This weekend's TV (2-4/6/06)

It's almost too facile to register my happiness that Sezer has left the Big Brother house and what that reveals about the voting public, so I won't - but I will register my surprise at his demeanour during the eviction interview. You had to forgive him a little bit for his behaviour in the house because the poor boy obviously didn't realise he was such a colossal COCK, and that's certainly no-one's fault, just a reflection of his impaired mental function. What I was also too insensitive to see when blinded by irritation was the fact that he's incredibly insecure - that all that macho bravado was premised on the unstable and hidden foundations of his own probable homosexuality. I must be losing my touch. I've always been good at picking up on those who fear to be queer in the past. But then Sezer is a chimera to me. I even thought he had charisma for about two seconds.

I'm wondering about the sense of a BB blog, you know. Not only are the rapid developments adequately covered in the Digital Spy forum and more quickly than TellyEllie, but everyone seems to have the same opinion about the housemates anyway. Largely because everyone I know is nice, hates bullies and likes funny individuals with Tourettes syndrome which only serves to enhance their funniness. I reckon I'm onto a loser. For this reason I am going to review Wilde which was on BBC2 last night, a biopic of the notorious Irish arseraider whose sodomitical exploits landed him in jail for two years. Call me grisly but I thought this period in his life might be one of the more interesting areas to explore, yet the film focuses on his relationships with Constance, his wife, and his subsequent male lovers. All very well, but there was a little bit too much, "your youth is like the golden halo of your hair", and "your body is so white, as white as the snow that blankets the mountaintop. It is studded with the flowers of your beauty" in the portrayal of Wilde's homosexual relations. The film seemed to endorse the Platonic notion of love between men surpassing the love that exists between a man and a woman, an idea which resurfaced to provide a valid excuse for those men whose sexual preference criminalised them (Wilde included). I wouldn't mind, but the representation of Constance in the film tended to portray her as silently submissive, or with babies hanging off her like possums, or sickly and pathological. Not so much mad, bad and sad as sad, sad, SAD. As such, I don't think the screenplay of Wilde resisted the narratives which produced sexual difference during the nineteeth century, narratives which saw women as more 'natural' and 'irrational' and men as more 'intellectual', thereby rendering love between men, with its basis in rationality, both better and purer. And the end was bloody awful. Loads of musical crescendoes as Oscar and Bosie clasped hands through the grate that separated them, declaring, "I love you, my darling boy! Not a day shall pass when I shall not be kept alive by the thought of your golden hair!" (There was a lot of talk of Bosie's golden hair). Anyway, it wasn't that bad. I just thought I'd expose the fact that the film didn't necessarily challenge the picture of male/male love presented by Wilde himself during his trial. It reiterated it. And I don't think that's very exciting.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (30/5/06)

Imogen gets plainer by the day, doesn't she? That's what happens if you rely on your looks. I predict she will practically become invisible before her inevitable eviction.
Aisleyne, though, is a wonderful addition to BB7. Not just for her bravery in calling Sezer a bully on her first night. Not just for her exposure of the cracks in Mikey and Grace's convenient arrangement. But, additionally, because today on the live streaming she took issue with Sezer for saying she was from the "ghetto" (he was too cowardly to admit that he had actually called her a "ghetto ho"). How dare Sezer a) make that assumption, b) publish his notion to people either too Welsh or posh to know that she isn't, and c) use the word "ghetto" in the first place? He, apparently, claims to be from the "ghetto". The ghetto? Just because you're dad is a horrible drug-dealing crim it doesn't make you from the ghetto. He means he's from Hackney. There is no such thing as a ghetto in this country. It's simply an attempt by Sezer to glamourise and Americanise what was just a shoddy moral upbringing, the fruits of which can quite clearly be seen in his behavour on Big Brother. Sezer is infuriatingly twatty, and the sooner the bullying little runt is evicted the better. Unlike most BB viewers, I actually want to see Grace stay so that she can get a dose of her own medicine as the numbers of Plastics dwindle and the rest of the house turn on her. But every week Sezer remains will be interpreted by him as confirmation of his popularity. That smile of invincibility must be wiped from his face. Anyway, Aisleyne's from Regents Park. Idiot.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Monday Night's TV (29/5/06)

New housemates, eh? Not particularly interesting in their own right, but interesting to see their instant effect on the group. Outcast Nikki was immediately reabsorbed into Team Smug, becoming the lesser of two evils after another promos girl Aisleyne entered the house. There's also a tranny who says 'oh my god' a lot, a phrase more than a little exhausted by Ms Houghton. My ears pricked up when Sezer spoke to Aisleyne about the dramas that have already happened, and claimed that the group had "got rid of" the ones they didn't like. "Ah, bullies?" said Aisleyne, to Sezer's non-comprehension. "You're a bunch of bullies then?" she repeated. Sezer answered in the negative. Has she been watching the programme or what? If nay, she's incredibly astute. If yay, then good, it doesn't look like she likes Grace/Mikey/Imogen/Sleazer contingent, raising the likelihood of the four of them being crushed like Maxwell and Saskia before them. Imogen and Grace were hilarious last night, clinging onto their boys like limpets. I can see why Grace, in particular, is worried. Not that Aisleyne is especially beautiful, but surely Mikey's going to get sick of that fat mouth and the constant stream of rubbish that comes out of it soon enough....

Monday, May 29, 2006

This weekend's TV (26-28/5/06)

I can't let it go yet. Grace and Imogen are still getting to me. And particularly Grace - Imogen can be partly forgiven for the fact that she is essentially a void. Is this what women in the 1970s fought for when they took to the streets to demand equality? So that these 1980s babies could slide through life, riding on the crest of their prettiness? Getting into bed with men they have absolutely no chemistry with because they can't THINK OF ANYTHING ELSE TO DO, and because using your brain might actually HURT? I'm really narked off with these two, and last night we saw the fruits of their self-constructions when the boys had a chat about what the girls would be like in bed. Ok, so this conversation would have happened anyway, but would it have taken such a dark turn when it came to Grace (Sezer: "you could pull some wrong positions on that girl") if she hadn't been playing Mikey and George off against each other, flouncing her fanny around while exercising and dancing, and just generally letting people speak to her in whichever way they want as long as they're the opposite gender (i.e. when Mikey called her a "little bitch arse" because she asked him to sleep in another bed, merely invoking her girly giggle. He didn't sound like he was making a joke to me)? Those are the rewards for trying to make people fancy you rather than hoping that they might just like you as a person. And then there's Se-"rapey rapey rapey"-zer. He doesn't like to wait for girls to consent, he likes to have things "his way" apparently. Imogen having not slept with him has elicited his "respect". Because all women are either madonnas or whores to this complete charmer - they will have sex with him, or withold it temporarily. Either way he'll get it in the end. Imogen's the madonna and Grace is the whore and, although neither of them have in fact had sexual intercourse, their behaviour around men they hardly know has enabled their labelling by them. Oh girls. Dearie dearie me. Time to go back and see what happened in the last century. See what giant leaps forward were made by women, adjudge whether second-wave feminists aims were achieved and, if not, do our bit to ensure that freedom of choice is available to all women regardless of class, creed or colour. Or maybe we should just let things stay as they are. After all we've nearly got equality and what's so wrong with motherhood/the bias in Law/sexual intimidation/page 3 girls/the low rate of successful prosecutions for rape/arranged marriage/the repeal of the abortion laws in many American states in the twenty-first century/Nuts and Loaded/sex trafficking/the fact that most women are in part-time and poorly paid work/enforced female circumcision/domestic abuse and torture/Dannii Minogue anyway?? Nah, you're right, we've gone far enough. Let's all go out on the pull.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Thursday Night's TV (25/5/06)

It's about time I had a go at those young women in the Big Brother house. What the devil is up with them? Why, rather than banding together, have the females instead paired off with the most charmless men on the face of the earth? It's a really sad indigtment of our post-feminist generation that this lot - namely Grace and Imogen, and to a lesser degree, Nikki - find it difficult to conceive of any form of social interaction which doesn't involve a sexual dimension. They're being really foolish too. Eight days of Sezar sexually pestering you is, I imagine, irritating enough, but THREE MONTHS?? She is going to despise him by the end of the show, as you probably would any stranger you sleep with but don't know from Adam. You might meet someone in a bar, see them a few times, and after a month think 'actually you're a dick' and get out of it quicksmart. Imogen, when she inevitably realises this truism about Sezar, won't have the luxury of not returning his calls. And she's got no-one to blame but herself. And GRACE! GRACE? - ironic name considering she has explicitly laid herself out like a fruitcake for Mikey(who is, incidentally, the stupidest man in the British Isles). For god's sake, girls, hold something back why don't you? Not because I believe it's more 'decorous' and 'ladylike' but because you're 20 years old and EVERYONE'S WATCHING YOU. You're going to regret it when you look back, now just STOP IT!
The fact that these two rely on their sexuality to form superficial relationships with the opposite sex speaks volumes about their priorities, their outlooks, their moral frameworks, their ambitions. What they don't understand is that the GBP don't like it when sexual relationships don't ring true. Look at Maxwell and Saskia and their increased sexual activity when they were both put up for eviction last year. And, on the other hand, look at Preston/Chantelle, Helen/Paul, even Michelle/Stu - it can do wonders for your standing in the game if people genuinely believe there's some 'magic' between you. The audience likes nothing more than to watch people fall in love in front of their very eyes. But they also get real angry if they feel like they're being duped or if one or other person appears to be faking it. That's what adult entertainment is for - it shouldn't be part of this sort of programme. Until Imogen cracks that beauty-queen smile she has plastered all over her mug (a smile which becomes particularly rigid when she has to tolerate Sezar's wandering hands every night), and Grace stops bedding Imogen's sloppy second rejects, the future in the house of this pair looks very shaky indeed.

p.s. Lea stuck an electric whisk inside her. Nice.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wednesday Night's TV (24/5/06)

I must stop these knee-jerk reactions to the housemates. Last night Nikki showed herself for the bitchy schoolgirl she really is as things got anthropological in the BB house. It was a real shocker watching the housemates turning on Shahbaz. As Pete said, the Glaswegian may have shot himself in the foot by refusing to admit that he was at fault in any way for the situation, but the playground style bullying was very uncomfortable to watch indeed, especially Nikki's, "Hide his clothes, Sezer, that will hurt him more". But I know the Big Brother audience and they don't like bullies. One by one, the contestants who mistreated Shahbaz are going to get picked off, leaving only one possible winner. But Pete's dominance in the game is going to get a little boring too if he becomes the sole person nice enough to win the show. The producers should make sure that whoever goes into the house isn't one of the circus of freaks already in there, but is someone who can compete with Pete in the normalcy stakes. It's better to have someone win outright, rather than by default.
News just in that Dawn has walked too, and I can't say I'm shedding tears over her departure. Apparently she only went in there to raise awareness for her campaign (what campaign?), and thinks that the show has become a "pantomime" (hasn't she seen Big Brother before?). This is certainly one of the strangest beginnings to the show I've ever seen. Maybe contestants nowadays are just too aware, like Vanessa last year presumably managing to get in by being wacky and zany in her screening, and then being as entertaining as a lump of silt when she actually entered the house. Gone is the myth of the 'social experiment'; these days contestants go in there with a set idea of how they want to be seen, and when it doesn't fall out that way, they walk, or get evicted in the first few weeks. This year's Vanessa, Bonnie, must surely be out on Friday for being devoid of a personality (although she made a good point in the Diary Room yesterday - how do you expect me to be myself when you won't give me the clothes that I feel 'myself' in?). I'm pleased she's going to get evicted, but for her own sake, and not least to halt her developing friendship with Lea. The poor thing'll be in hardcore by Christmas if she doesn't leave soon.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

****Shahbang!***** (Now you see him, now you don't)

Well I never. Having polarised opinion since his entry into the house, either Shahbaz or the producers have finally decided it's in his best interests to leave . I suppose we'll find out who made the decision tonight. It was becoming increasingly difficult to watch Shahbaz being ostracised from the group, and, despite his proclamations otherwise, it was clear that this was getting to him. While Nikki was able to behave in whichever way she pleased, Shahbaz had become the pinata and the other housemates were determined to knock the stuffing out of him. They should all be ashamed (apart from Pete). And I suppose I should be ashamed too because I found this distressed man great entertainment. But still - after Craig was allowed to molest Anthony last year, and Jonny's virtual assault on Kate Lawler in the last week of BB3 - worse insights into the diseased minds of BB contestants have occurred, and it hasn't been deemed necessary to intervene before. I thought that Shabby had simply spent too much time on his own, but then I found an article written before he went into the house stating that he WORKS as an architect's assistant. The whole thing sounds a little dodgy to me..... http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=17055151&method=full&siteid

So the "dynamics of the house"- as they say - are going to change. Good. I'm sick of the pallypally crap going on. Sezer and Imogen make me want to vomit. They obviously didn't clock what happened between Saskia and Maxwell last year, and - unless Imogen starts snogging both the himbos, or Sezer grows a brain - thay are both goners. George, meanwhile, will never recover from the 'top spec bitch' comment, and nor should we let him. Now we know the sorts of things Prince Harry and his chums say about women. My eye's on Lisa because I think she's going to become the new Shahbaz. Her bipolar veerings between E'd-up effusiveness ("Y'alright mate? Yeah! Sound! Mint!!") and violent anger ("I'm gonna fucking have you!") will unsettle the others soon enough. And, of course, the other one's on Nikki, England's most repellent little princess. There's no way she's 24 - she's just come out of Italia Conti surely. She's horrid. She's fun. She's so vulgar. I think I might grow to love her.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Monday Night's TV (22/5/06)

Does anyone else find Pete in a wig strangely attractive? He makes a better woman than Lea.

Monday, May 22, 2006

This weekend's TV (20-21/5/06)

It's a fair cop guv. I was obviously horribly wrong about Sezer last time round. The man is clearly a short, greasy sexpest who looks like Limahl. I would have proudly announced the new name I christened him with on Saturday, if Grace hadn't beaten me to it on the live streaming last night and gone, "Ugh Sezer, you're so sleazy. You're Sleazer". He's a spiv, a chancer. He's Mickey Pearce from Only Fools and Horses. But that's as much as needs to be said for now, there'll be plenty more opportunities to slate him in in the future, I'm sure. What interests me for the moment is SHAHBAZ. OMFG! I have been waiting for a housemate like this all my life. He's like Craig but self-aware. He's Craig, and Science, and Kinga all rolled into one! I say Kinga because I was treated to a full-frontal from Shazbah last night and am now familiar with his genitals too. Apparently he whacked it out twice yesterday, and even threatened to get himself hard, go into the diary room and show Big Brother his "potential". The man is clearly a psychopath with frontal lobe impairment. I can't wait for him to come on the screen. He's going to make this show this year - I know he's not popular but DO NOT VOTE HIM OUT. All weekend the other housemates have been trying to work out what his problem is - when asked he simply says, "I came onto Big Brother to DIE". He causes conflict, he's completely self-centred, he's going to be behind this year's 'Fight Night' - he's BB gold! He hates Lisa too, and it's going to be fantastic to see what mud he flings at the bellicose little runt. Quite simply, hooray for Shabang!
In terms of a winner, I reckon Pete's the best bet at this early stage. Not only are his profane interjections uncannily accurate ( "Wankers!"..."Bunch of cunts!"), but he seems genuinely likeable. Not sure about his burgeoning alliance with Lisa though - she's the Narinder to his Brian Dowling. He needs to stay away from the desperate, talentless, attention-seeker and he'll get on just fine.
The only other housemate I want to mention at this stage is Mikey, who gave it all the "I'm the big I am" in his opening VT but has literally not opened his mouth since he went into the house. He'll be Imogen and Grace's bitch by the end of the week, mark my words, leaving Sleazer with Bonnie and Nikki - both of whom are so much more in his league. And someone one tell Sleazer to put his top on. The man's making me feel nauseous.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Thursday Night's TV (18/5/06) - BIG BROTHER 7

Half-baked opinions on people I don't even know anyone? Yes? Good. Here we go then. In alphabetical order.....
Bonnie - Or Bonna. Or Bono. Potential bully in the same vein as Lesla "Biggest tits in Huddersfield, bar me mam and me nan" BB6. Very harsh aurally.
Dawn - "Gandhi. He's a nice person. Mother Theresa. Bob Geldof, I suppose. Everyone else. Bastards" - RIGHT ON! - "Everyone I have ever loved, has fallen in love with someone else, and left me" - WOO-HOO! DAWN TO WIN!!!
George - is very posh. I have a feeling that he's got a long life in the house. He better watch out for Richard though, I fear for his bottom.
Glyn - Wales' answer to David Hasselhoff. 50 years ago Glyn would have been taken care of within his community, and perhaps have had special reponsibility for the tickets during the Saturday night meat raffle.
Grace - "Daddy bought me a £340 grand pied a terre in Notting Hill". Oh fuck off.
Imogen - So pretty. So stylish. So perfect. And she's got a cool name. I might have to kill her.
Lisa - Loud, crude, rough Manc who probably gets camel toes.
Leah - As a friend said, if Big Brother's panto, then Leah's the horse.
Nikki - Why dress yourself up as as sex toy, and then sit around saying the same sort of inane things as you would in your jim-jams? She'll look back in ten years time and say, "I really didn't love myself very much".
Mikey - Mikey hates ugly people. Mikey hates feminists. I hate Mikey.
Pete - Right. Pete. Think the jury's going to have to remain out on him for the moment. I'm completely in two minds about including someone who's going to make people laugh both inside and outside the house simply because he has a medical condition. On the other hand, maybe his being in BB will encourage tolerance for Tourette's in the wider world, in the same way as Nadia made transsexualism more acceptable. I reckon the public are going to really warm to Pete and keep him in for ages, but that he'll drive everyone in the house insane and be nominated frequently.
Richard - the self-proclaimed sex terrorist appears to combine the best bits of Craig BB6 and Alex BB3 being neither psychotic nor so far back in the closet that he may as well be called Aslan. I hold out some hope. But mainly because Dawn seemed to be bonding with him.
Sezer - I should dislike Sezer, but I know that if he came up to me and noticed how pretty my skirt was and that my toenails were painted - as he did Imogen last night - I'd be quite impressed. He's obviously a womaniser, fancies the pants off Imogen, and, if he doesn't pull her, certainly will some other girl in the house.
Shahbaz - Initially promising, but has a whiff of the Kemal about him. Hopefully he won't be that self-consciously queeny, but the omens don't look good. He's already getting on my nerves.

Too soon to make predictions for who will be the first out, but going on past form it will probably be a woman, and probably someone from the older age group - my initial stab in the dark will be Leah, but that's tbc. It's great that there are four people over thirty in the house this time round. Maybe Endemol have finally realised after Maskia/Saxwell and Makosi's antics last year that we don't actually care to see desperate wannabes heavy petting for the furtherance of their own 'careers'. It's going to be a good'un this year. There's going to be grown-up one-liners. I can feel it in my jacuzzi water.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wednesday night's TV (17/5/2006)

Better attempt a proper crit before spending the next three months devoting the workings of my intellect to Big Brother 7. Last night saw the BBC produce something good for a change. The Line of Beauty, based on Alan Hollinghurst's Booker Prize-winning novel, was well adapted, well cast, well produced and well realised. The first part caught the hope, expectation and self-doubt of Nick Guest, a young researcher straight out of Cambridge and out of his social depth in the Notting Hill household of his university friend, Toby Fedder. Entering the upper-class, Thatcherite, insidiously racist world of Gerald Fedder jars with Nick's simultaneous sexual awakening and discovery of his predilection for working-class, black men, stimulated by the figure of Leo Charles. This is my only criticism of the drama, and one which can be laid at the feet of Hollinghurst himself, who, for whatever reason, isn't good at nailing the vernacular of the women, lower-class men and ethnic minorities he usually sexualises in his novels. Something about Leo's phraseology doesn't ring true, despite Don Gilet's excellent portrayal of the character. But this production has admirably picked up on something from the book, Nick's tenuous position within the outwardly hospitable Fedder family. "There's worm in the frame", Nick says of an antique he finds in Leo's friend's shop, unaware that he is the worm, and about to open a can of them over the concluding two parts. The novel's good, and the adaptation is exceptional. Andrew Davies has pulled out all the unsettling gems of dialogue, structured the narrative so it's evenly measured and not laden with exposition, and brilliantly captured the sense of foreboding underlying the ostensibly cordial relationship between Guest and the Fedders. The Line of Beauty works well as a drama; the agency of the performers freeing them from the limitations of the text, and the ability to mark the meaningful looks exchanged between characters saving a whole lot of unnecessary conversation - the direction, too, was superb. Critics have said that the adaptation fails to convey the richness and detail of the novel, but this is complete rubbish. Not only is it impossible to transfer everything from a literary text during its dramatisation, but it would also be incredibly boring if you did. I thought it was rich enough, and, based on the opener last night, have faith that the distinctiveness of the 80s cultural milieu in which this story takes place will become clearer over the next couple of weeks. Plus The Line of Beauty is rammed full of graphic gay sex. Quality!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Last week's 'Great British Menu'

Just to follow up on my scathing attack on The Great British Menu recently, last week the female Michelin-starred superchef Angela Hartnett was beaten by the relative unknown Bryn Williams, crushing the theory I put forward. However the exception does rather prove the rule.....

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (9/5/06)

Right. I suppose it's about time I addressed the plague which is sweeping our night-time viewing at the moment. The epidemic of Quizmania, The Mint, Cash Call, etc - a whole raft of programmes which constitute a single phenomenon; a cycnical attempt by the makers of TV to get money by targeting viewers at their most vulnerable/drunken/stoned hour. The idea is to phone in and provide an answer for some facile top 10 list such as 'Bands beginning with "the"'. While I'm sure that a whole host of people are calling in (with partners in the background shouting, "What about 'The Doors', Eileen ? I bet noone's said that!" - in fact people HAVE said 'The Doors' - about 53 times), the telly studio remains eerily devoid of interacting viewers. The primary sounds are the yelps of false bonhomie being emitted by the hospital radio DJ- presenters, and the cackles of Nadia from Big Brother as she falls off the wagon for the fourteenth time. Because whilst the poor, unsuspecting phoner-inners wait in a neverending queue for their six seconds on air and a potential £250, the producers gleefully rub their hands together knowing that each gullible, unsuccessful fool has contributed at least a fiver towards their all-inclusive this year. And when you combine the average intelligence of the viewer (one woman phoned in yesterday and said, "I'm going to go for......The Queen") with the obscurity of the actual answers (number two in this "Bands beginning with 'The'" list was THE SIMPSONS), you end up with a 'so bad it's very easy to watch for three hours at a time' form of telly. One host, Craig Stevens, is a metonym of the shambles which is The Mint. A man who resembles one of Buffy's vampire enemies, Stevens spent the majority of last night's programme sexually pestering his female co-host, making "ooh, look at her bristols" faces at his remote audience, and generally veering dangerously close to a harassment charge. Light entertainment indeed. This programme is like a digest of all society's worst vices compressed into one tawdry, depressing bitesize chunk. Still at least it keeps ex-Big Brother contestants out of prostitution, seemingly providing the sole source of PA's for the poor buggers outside of provinicial British nightclubs called 'Hollywoods' or 'Sha-Zam!'. We can only hope that such telly vanishes as quickly as it appears but the fabric of desperation which holds the whole thing together is too strong and I fear that there will never be a shortage of substandard presenters, compromised viewers, despairing ex-reality show contestants and greedy producers to ensure that this abomination stays on our screens for a long, long time.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Oh, and did I mention Big Brother starts again on May 18th?
THANK THE LORD OF TELLY! (And I don't mean Bazalgette. He's a nonce.)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sunday Night's TV (30/4/06)

Apologies for the recent haitus but I do have a life outside watching crap on TV. And I was also nearly driven into a coma yesterday by the snooker final meaning that I couldn't blog (they played until 1 in the goddam morning - even Graham Dott had to stifle his yawns towards the end). Moreover, there seems to have been a notable lull in good bad telly of late, despite my best efforts to locate it. Strictly Dance Fever is just excess flab around the tummy of reality TV. Mobster week on Channel 4 only went to prove that films about gangsters are preferable to the ill-educated, morally bankrupt, self-contradictory actuality. I missed The Apprentice precluding any analysis of Syed's departure. I had high hopes for The Great British Menu (BBC, weekdays 6.30 pm) - which I foolishly imagined might take over where Masterchef Goes Large left off - but it doesn't, and let me tell you why. On MGL, contestants would either get chucked off every programme, or at least have their food tasted by the expert judges every day, so it felt like there was some step towards elimination or redemption each time you watched it. On The Great British Menu -which pits two chefs against each other for an entire week in the hope of cooking the meal for the Queen's birthday thingy in June - the whole week is devoted to the chef's perfecting of their individual courses with the judgement taking place on the Friday. So the only people who judge ANYTHING during the course of the week are the chefs themselves - who taste one course that their competitor has produced, and invariably slag it off because that person is their temporary nemesis. POINTLESS and BORING. By Friday - if you have managed to retain the will to find out who the hell won in the end (well done you) - you'll surprisingly discover that it's always the one that runs the Michelin-starred restaurant, such as Marco Pierre White, as opposed to the smarmy TV chef, such as Ainsley Harriot. As in The Eggheads (whom no consortium of fitness instructors from Portsmouth are ever going to vanquish), the boys are pretty much sorted from the men before The Great British Menu's even started (quite literally. I haven't seen one woman so far in this series. Do female chefs even EXIST?). In addition, it's not even as if you can learn how to cook the meals in the show, because they're all incredibly complicated and made with very expensive ingredients like anus of guinea fowl. Oh, and if all that didn't put you off, it's hosted by the repugnant Jennie Bond, who has no connection to the subject matter beyond the fact that in her tiny mind she IS a royal. It's funny how BBC2 can go from getting it so right to so wrong, and so quickly.
Things are looking up this week though, with the return of Lost tomorrow. I know I was angry at the end of the last series, but Yank friends have assured me that the next series is worth it. And of course, there's always Davina if you get desperate. Oh no, they axed that, didn't they? What a shame.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter Bank Holiday Weekend TV (14-17/4/06)

Was it just me or was it a bit of a poor show this weekend? Lucky it was sunny or I'd have got well eggy. Apart from the funniest My Name Is Earl yet - I've been wondering when he might get a girl - which was just so wonderfully funny it almost made me emote, and a fascinating programme on BBC2 about famous Easter paintings called The Private Life of a Masterpiece, I struggled to be entertained, and that simply isn't fair on a bank holiday. In the spirit of familial conviviality we watched My Family and Other Animals on ITV2 on Sunday, a comedy-drama which pretty much defines gentle humour. But look, LOOK! Look at my pick of Easter TV. It's so boring I think I might just expire on the spot. And HOW many times has Match of the Day been on over the last four days? And where was the C4 countdown show which could have eaten up four hours of my time - 100 Greatest Easter Cock-Ups, number one being the crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ himself? Mind you, I suppose if He hadn't died for our sins, we wouldn't be able to shove chocolate in our mouths. I may as well just do a review of my Easter eggs:-
Lindt - bloomin' yummy, particularly the nest of Lindt mini-eggs on which the major egg rested. Not strictly my egg, brought it for fella, but delicious nevertheless.
Cadbury's Buttons - Ah! Buttons. A staple foodstuff since childhood. Found myself emptying the entire transparent packet of buttons directly into my gob at about 12.43 this morning.
Flake Moments - an upgrade of the humble Flake, this confectionary product mimics the form of a box of chocolates, adding dark chocolate coatings and white chocolate sprinkles to the basic crumbly, milky chocolate foundation. My favourite was the nutty milk chocolate covered Flake. While Flake Moments do not fall under the standard remit of Easter eggs, they proved crucial to the relentless chocolate-eating marathon which has been taking place over the last three days.
Verdict - Salad.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Monday Night's TV (10/05/06)

I know I'm probably one of only 132 people who watch the show, but it was the final of America's Next Top Model on Living TV last night. I know it was on Living TV because its difficult to forget when there's a massive logo screaming the channel brand and hampering your enjoyment of whichever programmes you happen to be watching on it. I'm the sort of person who skips to the end of a riveting book just to see what happens and then rues that I've spoilt the ending, so it has taken all my self-control not to type "winner + america's next top model + season 5" into Google over the previous weeks. Nicole winning was therefore a double surprise, not only because I didn't know beforehand, but also because I thought the nice girls won that show, not the objectionable, moody, immature, bitchy-faced ones. Nicole's competition was Nic, her sort of inverse twin. Where Nicole's face was English rose, Nic's was palpable with an exotic, sensual beauty. While Nicole's body was a teenage beanpole, Nic's had womanly curves. Nic was, in fact, so striking, and so beautiful, that she's been my dead cert from week one. The only thing she lacked was a discernible personality, and a modicum of self-confidence. To Tyra et al's credit they did give her plenty of opportunity to develop some charisma, but it turned out that she was, after all, just a pretty face. Nicole, on the other hand, had the sort of chasm between her external appearance and internal character which is actually quite unsettling. You couldn't get a more innocent, coochy-mouthed, creamy-skinned, fawn-eyed beauty if you tried, yet you knew, you just KNEW, that the girl's going to be a SUPERcow by the time she hits her twenties. Even before the final runway challenge you could see something change in her attitude towards her competitor, suddenly becoming all, "Yeah, right whatever, Nic." Perhaps a character like Nicole is more suitable for the world of fashion than a Nic though. Previous winners of ANTM haven't exactly lit the industry on fire, but the favourite for most successful has to be the appropriately-named Eva the Diva. Maybe the tough, self-assured cookies are the best ones to plump for - its not a Fulbright scholarship, after all, it's a dog-eat-dog world. I'm really going to miss it. In the same way that The X-factor looks like bad karaoke compared to American Idol, ANTM makes our British version look like a wet T-shirt competition in Butlins. Only on the BNTM can someone slag off a fellow competitor to their face for having "saggy tits", to the retort, "I work damn hard on my tits! These aren't saggy, these are NOT saggy!" Oh, lets face it, the NTM shows are objectifying and morally reprehensible forms of television. But I love them. Bring on season 6!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (4/3/06)

I always thought that the programmes issuing from the stable of Baby Cow Productions didn't quite live up to the comic standard set by their founder, Steve Coogan, in The Day Today and I'm Alan Partridge. Ok, so a smile played over my lips during Marian and Geoff, The Mighty Boosh still doesn't really tickle my funny bone although I know plenty of people for whom it does, and the outtakes of Nighty Night are probably more amusing than the programme itself in my opinion. Lots of Baby Cow programmes specialise in comedically uncomfortable territory, the divorced cab driver ostracised from his kids (Marion and Geoff); the murderous, morally bankrupt, self-centred slutbag (Nighty Night); a whole host of educationally subnormal or sexually deviant misfits (Human Remains). Attempting to get laughs out of these excruciating social types didn't wash with me. It's not that it's beyond me, it just isn't funny to me. And I am a fully-fledged graduate of the school of Brasseye, the progenitor of this kind of show and one which I watched originally in the mid-nineties as a mid-teen teenager.

But Baby Cow's Ideal (BBC3 - I know) has been slowly going up in my estimation until yesterday, when it struck me that it really is a challenging, and dark, and unique, as well as very, very funny programme. During last night's episode, my uncomfortable laugh was also a genuine one during the most hilarious conversation about necrophilia that has ever been scripted (The necrophiliac's rationale? "Normal sex disgusts me"). Anyone who read my blog about the drug dealer I knew who appeared on Trisha and recognised their own experiences in it, will know that I was talking about those people who have no intention of ever contributing more to society beyond making sure that everyone who wants it is sorted for skunk. There are loads of them, and they do not fit the media portrayal of dangerous individuals hanging outside schoolgates; they are mums, and people on the dole, and utterly harmless. Ideal depicts just such a character - a stoner who deals to chavs and trustafarians alike - the sort of person whom society renders invisible, but who holds a crucial place in many of its members' lives. That's one reason why this programme should have been made. Laughter is derived partly from recognition, and I recognise the Vegas character. But it's the writing on top of this which makes Ideal pretty special. I repeat, they made necrophilia comic. And not in a Jam way, not in an involuntarily-emitting-startled-barks-as-you-squirm-on-the-sofa way (I'm thinking of the plumber who fixes the dead baby). Actually, truly, really funny. To me anyway. In fact, its the only comedy I rate on TV at the moment. Honestly, whatever your feelings about Vegas, I suggest giving it a go.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Last weekend's TV (31 Mar-2 Apr)

I wasn't the biggest fan of the first series of Green Wing, but people I highly respected insisted that it was good so I watched the opening episode of the second series on Friday night with bright, untarnished eyes. It was still rubbish. Not thoroughly rubbish, but, at best, hit-and-miss. With differences in performance styles, down to the fact that the actors have been cast due to their popularity in other well known series (loved by me too- Brasseye, Black Books, The Book Club, etc), it doesn't hang together. Plus it combines the deathly and darkly sexual themes of Jam, with the extreme silliness of a bad sketch show like Smack the Pony, under the aegis of character-driven comedy, ending up only very occasionally funny. Sorry, honoured friends, but I disagree with you on this one. Watch My Name is Earl instead.
Noel Edmonds got my goat so much on Parkinson on Saturday that I thought I might have to give up Deal or No Deal in protest. He was such an arrogant, pompous twat, I almost punched the telly in frustration. How that man reveres himself, blaming others for his absence from our screens. Like Alan Partridge incarnate. I decided not to take it out on DOND though, resolving instead, should I ever bump into him, to set fire to his beard.

So, a bit disappointing this weekend, particularly without American Dad and Family Guy last night. Some embarrassed amusement was had at Strictly Dance Fever, but even that started to pall after a while. If I'd wanted to watch bad dancing, I'd have actually gone out to some sort of bar and waited till closing time. Or had someone film me on my phone in said bar at closing time. Maybe the whole audition phase of dance and singing competitions, usually my favourite part, is getting to me. To the suprise of my invisible double, I turned over the cavortings of the deluded, wondering whether this was all becoming a bit boring and like laughing at the handicapped. Perhaps it's just the BBC's appropriation of Endemol-style formats which feels bady judged. What a great move by the government to renew the licence fee as long as the Beeb keeps on producing "more entertaining" programming - or, to put it another way, "less critical of New Labour" programming. I can just imagine Tony and Tessa snuggling up in front of Just the Two of Us and Davina.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Where, oh where, is Dani Behr?

She's presenting a reality marriage TV series in America called The Littlest Groom. Think Joe Millionaire but instead of a rich bachelor, the winner's prize is a nuptially-inclined eligible dwarf. She's matching up little people. It's on Bravo.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (28/3/06)

Well, not Tuesday Night's TV, in fact, because what I actually watched last night was Arsenal vs. Juventas - through no fault of my own I hasten to add - and a football match doesn't exactly warrant a critique. "Arsenal got the ball, they kicked it into a goal thereby scoring a goal, and then they did it again in the second half." Ta-da! Job done. Why, by the way, do they have to endlessly rerun the football that you've already watched in-between and after the match? You've just seen it so what is the bloody point? Anyway, whatever. The purpose of this post is first of all to redress the anti-establishment balance of my last one in which I slagged off the police force for being thick and violent. I had my own My Name is Earl-like moment the next day when I believed my car had been stolen (in fact towed away) and who did I call? Well, the rozzers, obviously. I couldn't help but feel karma making bunny ears behind my head as I thanked them profusely over the phone for being "so nice". I hope that admitting my fault will restore my karmic equilibrium and I can go back to "just trying to be a better person. My name is Ellie".

By the way, an event on America's Next Top Model three weeks ago has been playing on my mind even though I didn't mention it at the time. The models were spending the day with the Wildboyz and, at some point, one of the contestants, Lisa, donned a nappy and proceeded to urinate herself in front of everybody in the room. No-one really mentioned it at the time and I was incredibly surprised that they didn't bring it up in that week's eviction. However, the next week Lisa was eliminated for being "too much". The quiet passing over of the incident struck me. Did Tyra Banks and her crew realise that they had someone with mental problems potentially winning the show? Did they pass her into the care of a psychiatrist when she left the competition? Does anyone else agree that these were the actions of a seriously disturbed young woman or do I take things a bit too seriously? I wish I could come to terms with what I saw, but peace of mind following this particular bit of ANTM has proved elusive.

Great piece of telly started on Sunday night, TV Heaven, Telly Hell (C4), which I won't review yet because the guest was only Alan Davies and I'm sure there's going to be better people in the weeks to come. Hosted by Sean Lock (writer and actor of the incomprehensibly overlooked Fifteen Storeys, as Charlie Brooker pointed out in Screenwipe), each week somebody will outline their favourite and least favourite programmes. I hope it will be filled with famous people who'll make me feel a little better about watching telly because they too get over-involved in empty, vacuous crap and, as a consequence, reveal more about themselves than the programme in question (see above). Indeed, I felt quite uncomfortable at Davies' revelation that he likes to watch the pneumatic women on Aerobics Oz Style of a morning while in bed. That also was a bit "too much". I'm working on my own list but I'm already pretty damn sure that Children's Hospital is going to be high on the hellish column. Who ARE the people that find kids with cancer entertaining?? And don't even get me started on the coma-inducing Davina. Anyone got an axe?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (21/3/06)

Had two rather shocking realisations about aspects of British culture last night while watching the tellybox. One came at the end of Jimmy's Farm, Jimmy being a pseudo-Jamie Oliver who has set himself up as a pig farmer in Cambridgeshire. At the end of this programme, briefly, as Jimmy and some of the other locals gathered for their Wicker Man-like weekend activities, they showed a bunch of them BLACKED UP, with WIGS ON, strumming away on musical instruments and singing songs while dressed up like Deep South slaves. Now I'm not one to rag on regional tradition. You can morris dance the night away if the fancy takes you as far as I'm concerned. But isn't that a little....racist? Doing a version of the black and white minstrel show for the local fair? I have to say I was completely speechless, and remained so for the duration of Rail Cops; the show which shows the Transport police to be the same sort of officious little bullies as their Metropolitan comrades, with just about the same levels of ignorance......and aggression. Now I'm sure they have to deal with idiots in the course of their work. But even if you don't like the cut of someone's gib (and the bloke was French), I'm not sure it's absolutely necessary for two men to stick their knees in his back whilst ramming their hands down his underpants to check whether he has a weapon. I'm also not sure that calling him Borat was entirely affectionate. Also - while the boys in public transport blue have to be on their guard these days - closing down Westminster tube for two hours because some white powder on the floor might be anthrax (but not supervising it, so in fact a cleaner nearly swept it up), simply demonstrates why everyone thinks the police force are bit of a joke. Idea for Met - if you stay off the telly, we won't see quite how incompetent you are, and the Law can stagger on for a few more years under the illusion that we have respect for it.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


We have such a rubbish TV in our living room. Fella and I are constantly risking our lives by hanging out of the first floor window in order to adjust the aerial on the windowsill. All this just to get a sharper view of Noel Edmonds and his tidy beard.
Anyway when the reception's a bit off, Teletext takes on a life of it's own, randomly swapping characters for numerals, and reinterpreting the news headlines for me. I liked this one on the entertainment page yesterday; "JACKSON SHAT DOWN NE'ERLAND".
And in a way, he did.....

Friday, March 17, 2006

Thursday Night's TV (16/3/06)

Anyone who has caught Chantelle: Living the Dream on E4 probably agrees that its more my idea of a nightmare. The newly inaugurated celeb is going to have to hope that her existence will perk up a bit in the luxury department; over the course of the series we have seen her spend one night on German BB which looked horrific, an awful lot of time on Loose Women, The Wright Stuff and Richard & Judy, and even more with the Ordinary Boy. Now God forbid I should ever share an opinion with George Galloway, but every time I see Preston I'm inclined to agree that he IS a "sneak" and that, yes, you CAN tell it from his eyes. What a charmless man he really is. He met Chantelle's whole family for tea last week and just skulked moodily on the periphery of the room. I'd have been livid if I was her, all the way back in the car, "And that was my GRANDAD! He was in the goddamn WAR for Christ's SAKE, show some RESPECT and LOOK at him when he's talking to you next time!!" Poor old Chants. No freebies, no knight in shining armour, no discernible talent. Just the endless roundabout of daytime TV appearances and freezing cold shoots in bikinis for 'Now'. Living the dream indeed.
I watched the final of Project Catwalk because the show has garnered so much bad press, I thought it was my place as a connoisseur of shit-truffles to sample it. Most of the adverse publicity centred on the choice of Liz Hurley as presenter, which I think the editors must have retropectively tried to remedy because she only took up about 180 seconds of airtime in total. You could still tell her detractors were speaking the truth though, even in that relatively short space of time she made Chantelle look like David Attenborough.
Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe had its last programme of a three episode pilot last night, and I shall certainly be writing to BBC4 to demand they commission the series, and so should you. We are living in an age where a new breed of telly is emerging from the placental sac of very fat and probably crack-addicted mother. I don't mean reality TV (although I include some examples), because the notion of reality TV covers far too broad a church of programming these days and requires further, more analytical subcategorisation. I'm thinking of the "panel of experts" reality gameshow (Strictly Come Dancing, It Takes Two, The X Factor), late night interactive "audience call-up" gameshows (Quizmania, Dare), the "domestic harridan" self-help show (You Are What You Eat, Perfect Housewife), and others. It's an expanding list. What these programmes have done, to use Brooker's terminology, is turn the TV from being at the "heart of the family" into "a tawdry little slot machine in the corner", either through encouraging us to develop emotional attachments to contestants, manipulating us temporally and at a very vulnerable hour to part with cash, or ensuring that we all buy the associated McKeith or Turner book from the series. The purpose of all these programmes is the same though - to FLEECE us. Telly isn't a friend. It's our enemy. And I elect Brooker to be our commander of operations in the dark months of war which loom ahead, especially with 'ITV Play' just about to avariciously launch. Our country needs him, and your country needs you!
Oh, amazing DOND yesterday - possiby the best ever? - Saj stuck to her guns after losing the £250,000 and revealed £50,000 in the box she had refused to deal to the banker or swap. I nearly cried. Oh, alright then. I did cry. Of note also was Edmonds sexual attachment to poor Sajila, who had to put up with having her bottom groped by him. There aren't many sides to Edmonds I like, but this one I certainly don't and I implore him to keep his filthy mitts to himself in future. Don't blow it before you've even got it back, Noel.

Monday, March 13, 2006

This Weekend's TV (11-12/3/06)

One of the best Deal or No Deal's yet on Saturday night (to vie with Sam's game last week). Marcus, it turns out, is neither a drag-queen nor a low-end rentboy as suspected, but a make-up artist who works on a cosmetics counter. A related field, I suppose. Anyway, he was a very funny and engaging player who took the mic away from Edmonds during the game and went into the audience like some sort of third-rate Trisha, actually asking Noel on the studio floor if he "had depression, or needed a paternity test?". While he dealt one deal too soon (at £31,000 when the next offer was £55,000) it was for a £100 box so he still beat the banker (whom he advised over the phone to stick to cream-based products given his advancing years. What the banker wants make-up for is another matter. Maybe he's the drag queen.) However Saturday night was a paltry affair without Dancing on Ice, and DOND clashed with ITV's best offering of classic muppet moments at 7 pm. Watched Parkinson in desperation but it just confirmed that the man needs to put im a home, not on our screens, being about as incisive as a retarded lamb.
Anyone following Shipwrecked: Battle of the Islands? I increasingly find myself tuning in of a Sunday morning; not because of the amount of teenage flesh on display, but because I really want one of the islands to smash the other one and win the £70,000 by attracting the most new islanders. I can't stand the Tigers, the island composed almost entirely of heiresses, bitchy city types, arrogant men and total dweebs - and feel a complete affinity for the Sharks made up of layabouts, northeners, cockneys, eccentrics and party animals. The Sharks don't build a shelter for the nighttime - oh no! They build a bar, and a bloody good one at that. The boring, smug Tigers - instead of lazing around on a paradisical beach - spend their time making little signposts to direct people around their compound. The site's only about a quarter of an acre in size. Hardly a sprawling metropolis. Anyway, I'm much more aligned with the laissez-faire attitude of the Sharks, and hope they win. Yet I have a feeling the programme may pall before my interest in the contestants, as apparently the poor bastards were out there for five months and the series has only just reached month three. Also am very jealous of the sunny climes as I lie on the sofa with sixteen jumpers on. Why oh why is it so cold???

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wednesday Night's TV (8/3/06)

I had that sinking feeling of deja-vu watching The Apprentice last night, when I realised I was ashamed of my sex for the second series running. What is it about the girl's group in the first few weeks of this programme? Why can't they just get along? Why do they have to snipe and whinge and compete against each other? Compared to the "'A'-Team", who managed somehow to band together behind the obnoxious Syed as leader in last night's task, the girls' behaved absolutely disgracefully. This was mainly due to the fact that they never accepted Jo as their project manager. Not that the deranged ginger made it easy for them to do so, nominating herself and then wasting ten minutes bombarding them with reasons why they shoudn't mess her about. Of course the other way of leading a team is to assume that your underlings accept your authority, and pull rank only when you've found evidence to the contrary. Anyway, it got me thinking about why, in The Apprentice, it seems difficult for a larger group of women to work as a team. Is it to do with women's continued comparative disadvantage in business? Are women in this sphere of work a bit like asylum seekers in the police force? - you presume that they would do everything to help their fellow asylum seekers, but they'd probably just emulate their superiors and toe the institutionally racist line in order to keep their job. While women continue to be subordinate to men in business - evident in the vast discrepancies between their vast salaries and the cultural fact of the 'glass ceiling' - the notion of team-work among and even the sisterhood (gasp! That obsolete 70s concept) of a larger group of females is a distant hope, or maybe a pre-capitalist memory. Anyway, enough feminist diatribe for the moment. Karen, the corporate lawyer, got fired from the show, much to everyone's surprise. I'd just like to remind people that this is the woman who suggested to her teammates, "We're all sexy women, why not use it?" in the first task. And I detected more than a little use of decolletage to close deals in last night's task too. Fuck her, is what I say. This isn't an episode of Ally McBeal you know. Once Jo gets locked up in a padded cell, my hope is that the Brummy bull mastiff woman will rise to the top. At least she'll get there through hard-headedness rather than cute looks. Good riddance, Karen.

OMG, DEAL OR NO DEAL FANS!! Can you belive how many times the £250,000 has been in the contestant's box recently? First there was that girl with the nice teeth last week, then the adopted woman on Saturday (possibly my favourite contestant so far, barring Oak), and yesterday Germaine dealt at £75,000 and had the quarter of a million ALL THE TIME! When is someone going to have enough guts to see it through? It has got to happen one day. The favourite future contestant for me at the moment is Marcus, whose long blonde hair and carefully plucked eyebrows lead me to speculate that he may be a drag queen by profession. Can't wait to find out what his deal is. In a sexual sense I mean, rather than financial.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Friday Night's TV (3/2/06)

I know I've been fairly quiet recently, but the truth is that I watched such a barrage of rubbish on Wednesday night that I felt seriously disturbed and had to take to my bed for a few days. I should have taken the fact that Davina was the first programme I attempted to watch as an omen that something was terribly wrong, turned the gogglebox off and pursued more erudite activities. Instead I watched that grimacing woman like a fool, mesmerised by her ability as an interviewer to be both sycophantic and completely self-obsessed at the same time. The Apprentice obviously lifted my spirits, but then the evening went rapidly downhill in a flurry of Club Reps: The Workers, Footballer's Wives (not a patch on the previous series) and Young, Posh and Loaded. Such was the lobe-ache caused that I ended up monging in front of Quizmania and Dare, both late-night offerings which aim to fleece your wallet through stupifying your brain. Young, Posh and Loaded was quite funny though. We met Olly Milton, a nouveau riche and morbidly obese teen who is proud to announce that he "goes to university at Oxford" - although fails to mention he means Oxford Brookes. Olly is living proof that money doesn't buy you happiness, let alone influence or intellect. He threw two parties during the course of the show, one in Barbados, and yet was still unable to find enough friends to come to them. Perhaps this has something to do with what a first-class twat he is. His second party ended at 10.30 pm - about half an hour after it started - at which point he threw his guests out because he was tired. Only a character such as Olly Milton can actually make you feel nostalgic for Bruno de Cadanet.

Last night though The IT Crowd finally became funny to me, and My Name is Earl continued to prove that it's one of the best comedies on TV. What I love about the latter is how perfect a single episode is. Each week the show stands alone; the plot is involved but resolves, and the jokes are good (ie. Earl's ex-wife tells him that his best friend will not be attending his birthday drink, on which day she has competitively planned her wedding, because, "I've given him a twenty dollar gift voucher for Patti the daytime hooker"). The IT Crowd isn't exactly Father Ted but nor is it Shoot the Writers, and for that we must be thankful.

Charlie Brooker, my anti-hero, started a new show about TV on BBC4 this week (not BBC3, you note, the channel of the devil). Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe is my new favourite thing, the King of shows about telly, to which Harry Hill's TV Burp must now play the queen. I was pleased to see that he picked out the "LIKE ME! LOVE ME! PLEASE, PLEASE PISS ON ME!" presenting style of Justin Lee Collins, whom he contrasted unfavourably with Jakob Brunowski. JLC is the embodiment of annoying - when is someone going to put that bovine, bumpkin Jamie B out of his misery so that he can hang up his fool's motley and go and work in the Sunny Delight factory where he belongs? Anyway, watch out for Charlie Brooker on Thursdays, he's pure, bilious fun.

Monday, February 27, 2006

This Weekend's TV (25-26/2/06)

The centre cannot hold now David Seaman has been knocked out of Dancing on Ice. Who cares about Langford, and Faye, and Booth (Booth? Why's he still there?), now that Seaman, that majestic oak tree of a man, has gone? Well I don't, so at least I'll get out on a Saturday night at last. Watched a bit of American Idol last night, and that was quite nauseating. Lots of American teens who looked about 35 making my head hurt with interminable "ooooh-ooh-ooooo-oooooh-ohhhh-ooo-hhh-oh"-ing like Mariah Carey stuck on a spin cycle. Thank goodness for the now-obligatory Sunday night American Dad and Family Guy, programmes which remind me that telly is good and worthwhile again before I launch into another week of watching potentially depressing bilge like Davina. What I did miss over the weekend, somewhat ruefully, was Trisha Goddard presenting The Friday Night Project; although I also know that the stench of desperation that emanates from Justin Lee Collins and Alan Carr - who realise incrementally, and every week that the show stays on the air, that they are destined for cable and radio obscurity - wraps its deadening shroud around any interesting guest host and makes the entire show unwatchable. So probably fortuitous I was in the pub. Luckily, looks like Trish has gone mental over Phil Daniels' entry into Eastenders (see comments for Wednesday Night's TV 22/2/06) so I don't know if she'd have been really that perky anyway.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wednesday Night's TV (22/2/06)

The new series of The Apprentice was as wonderful and expertly edited as expected, crammed full of vacuous business types overusing the word "dynamic", and a particularly demented ginger woman who is going to be great value over the next few weeks. As is Syed. An arrogant, ambitious, self-satisfied James Blunt who utterly failed to recognise that "The 'A' Team" was an unsuitable and puerile name for the male team. Almost reassuringly it seems that it's the men who are going to internally destruct in the same way as the women's team descended into catfighting and backstabbing last year. I think we may see evidence for something I've long felt, that men are just as bitchy as women and just as capable of slagging one another off behind each other's backs. In terms of the women's team - "Velocity" - they wasted no time at all in employing their feminine 'assets' to make more money. They shamelessly fluttered their eyelashes and bore their cleavages around Spitalfields to procure as much free fruit as possible for the task. It took the last female team until halfway through the series to decide that this was a usable strategy. At that time, Sir Alan claimed that the debate over whether women should use their bodies in business caused division even amongst his closest allies (I'm guessing Margaret - she did not look impressed at Syra's flirty fishing), but he had no problem with any tactic which increased profit. This year, he looked sightly disgusted that they had flashed their bits so easily. Now I know Sir Alan isn't exactly at the vanguard of feminism but I didn't know he was a hypocrite - surely you either think it's okay or you don't? Personally, I'm with Margaret. But nothing can put me off Sir Alan, who actually said last night that he'd quite like to lose everything he has, just for the challenge of building it up all over again. What a guy, what a will, what fantastic one-liners. The Apprentice is the best thing to hit our screens in this millennium.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Monday Night's TV (20/2/06)

Winding down from a heavy weekend involved indulging in some hearty, comforting tv fare last night. My starter was Masterchef Goes Large. MGL is about ten trillion times better than Masterchef used to be. Gone is the slightly sinister all-black backdrop as three unknown, verbose people dip their foie gras tarts in raspberry coulis, and then go off with Lloyd Grossman to talk about whether the pecan, chocolate, walnut, truffle and mango mousse somewhat over-egged the pudding. These days Masterchef has taken a leaf out of the Pop Idol book, employing two brutal judges who take the pretention out of the series, being blunt with the contestants but also speaking straightforwardly about the food; "That's greasy" "That's both raw and overdone at the same time" "I don't want to eat another mouthful I'm afraid". Stuff you can understand, not, "The chorizo and lambneck hot buttered salad was a metaphysical triumph, although the aftertaste was like the excretia towards the end of a bronchial infection". My main course was America's Next Top Model, the diva of the NTM brand, and the one most reminiscent of Carrie. One contestant, Jayla, is a renegade Jehovah's Witness who wants to get her baps out as much as possible before returning to the faith, but also presents as the girl most likely to have put itching powder in a rival cheerleader's pants during high school. Another girl, Bre (honestly), is so God-fearing that nothing can happen to her or anyone else without it being attributed to His Divine Will. Not an evolutionist then. It's the combination of the initial smugness of the Americans with the contradiction of their gradual objectification which makes the show so watchable. Take Kim, for instance, a highly-educated and irritatingly-voiced butch lesbian. Watch as Tyra Banks' coterie teach her how to make her waist appear smaller in pictures. Observe as they take uncomfortable photos of her in a corset and supenders. Marvel that she doesn't invoke gender theory as a means of resisting her assimilation into a highly sexist industry. Wonder if the old adage is actually true - are all Americans stupid? The evidence of ANTM is pretty damning. My dessert, although it was more of a cheese board really, was ER. Thankfully the hapless new students I criticised the other week have been replaced with the series regulars, and I found myself moved as a sexually abused girl died after her mismanagement by the doctors. Not because of the tear-jerker storyline, which normally I would avoid like the plague, but because Maura Tierney was involved in it, and she is just the most wonderful actor. I felt satisfied if slightly dulled after my TV meal, and think I may have to replace telly with books tonight in an attempt to mentally diet. Anyway, The Apprentice starts tomorrow, my favourite programme of last year. A telly fast may make the first episode that little bit sweeter.....

Friday, February 17, 2006

Thursday Night's TV (16/2/06)

My dumb was thoroughly founded in the early hours of this morning when I caught a repeat of Anthea Turner: Perfect Housewife on BBC3. This programme pits two female slobs (they'll probably do an episode with token househusbands if it's not cancelled within a fortnight) who do not know the value of a hoover against each other, to see who has responded best to Anthea's housekeeping tips following a few days chez Turner. During their riveting stay they completed exercises in stain removal (Anthea: "There's nothing worse than a ballpoint pen"), recycling (Anthea: "If you can compartmentalise your rubbish, you can compartmentalise your life"), and throwing an imaginary tea party for Elizabeth II (Anthea: "The Queen would NOT eat sausage rolls"). While I appreciated the notion of a rolled-up newspaper inserted into boots for purposes of storage, the rest of Anthea's tips revealed that she is utterly demented. She cleans her metal-fronted kitchen units with baby oil. She does not have one drawer of odds and ends in her entire house. She clearly needs meds. The women didn't have a clue how to react to her fascistic approach to domesticity. When her back was turned they were giggling as if they were waiting outside a classroom to be rebuked by the teacher. The programme also didn't know how to take itself; whether to present Anthea as camply authoritarian, in the same vein as Trinny and Susannah or the How Clean Is Your House duo, or as mortally offended by her tutees' sluttery, a Gillian McKeith-type figure. It straddled the self-improvement genres of fashion, food and housekeeping in a confused and confusing way. My initial hilarity was replaced by open-mouthed senselessness at about the 40 minute mark, but, by then, I was resigned to sticking with it to the end, like a bad book. If BBC1 is the disease-addled auntie you once loved, then BBC3 is her Italian-funded mutant IVF baby, leeching the last dregs of her life before she slips from you forever. I don't even know if it is that, but it is certainly the cable channel producing the most regressive, conservative, condescending, idiotic and pointless crap on telly. If your finger stops on BBC3 as you scroll through the channels, be sure to summon up whatever strength lies within you to keep on pressing ahead. There's nothing for you here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Monday Night's TV (13/2/06)

The worlds of popular music and sport collided like tectonic plates yesterday, as Top of the Pops was mounted against the backdrop of Piedmont mountains near Turin, home of the Winter Olympics 2006. The momentous occasion was marked with such pithy dialogue as this:-

Fearne Cotton: So that was the Sugababes, the all-NEW Sugababes (cheeky grin), with 'Push the Button'
Sue Barker: (laughing) Yes, I used to sing along to that one as I drove into work in the morning
Feare Cotton: Fancy giving us a rendition now?
Sue Barker: (laughing hysterically) Oh no, no, no no. Oh gosh no, not now, no, I couldn't possibly....
Sue continues to laugh like a heron having an asthma attack, while Fearne introduces Nizlopi

And this :-

Fearne and Sue do not realise Nizlopi have finished their song, and the camera catches them chatting unawares
Fearne Cotton: Really? All of them?
Sue Barker: Yes. All of them. From the Director General down to the teaboy. Took me the whole of the 1980s. How the hell else do you think I'm still on the telly even though I can't find one incisive thing to say?

Ok, so the second one wasn't true, but Sue Barker's telly reign is a mystery. Who on earth likes her anyway? Who are her fans? Or is she supported by some breakaway sect of Cliff Richard devotees who think they shouldn't have split because his music was never the same after? I'm pleased that the BBC thought outside the box and offered her the TOTP gig, though. She's so down with the kids. They think Sue Barker's well sick.
I must be the only person actually tuning back into TOTP and its largely because of the surprise of who the producers will ask to guest host next. Will it be..... Professor Robert Winston? Dan Cruikshank, perhaps? I'm starting to wonder whether they're filling the presenting slot by seeing who's free on the BBC rota, Peters saying to Cowey - "oh, Adam Woodyatt's not filming for a couple of hours. Shall we get him to do it?" And beneath Fearne's pretty superficies beats a black heart which no doubt we'll catch more glimpses of as the ratings continue to nosedive. TOTP is so bad, it's becoming quite good again. Check it out.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Weekend TV (11-12/2/06)

TV highlight of the week, nay the month, was Philip Schofield getting called 'Vicky' live on air by the bloke who presents Dancing on Ice: Defrosted. As in, "We'll see Vicky later" - with the camera trailing away from a very confused-looking Schofield. Funny. David Seaman is now my favourite to win because he's metamorphosed from a lumpy northerner to a graceful, gentle giant. I'm sure he'd be a very generous lover. He gets my vote.
Did one of those E4 'catch-up' things on Beauty and the Geek which was avoided initially because I thought it was contrived to poke fun at ill-educated women, but actually it's the men who seem like idiots for their complete ignorance of what's going on in popular culture. Ok, it's not actually necessary to know Jordan's real name, but it's not like she doesn't make the broadsheets from time to time. Also, you can't tell me that these lonely men are always looking up equations on the internet. I think the word 'geek' for some of the male contestants is a bit unfair though - they've just got degrees in maths or science or know who William Blake is. 'Intelligent' seems a bit more appropriate. But I guess you can't compose a tenuously assonant title with the word 'intelligent'.
Been watching Invasion on and off over the last few weeks, but it was so boring last night that it has had to be struck from the TV register. Whatever I've said about Lost - far-fetched, filled with plotholes, improbably clean survivors - at least it can't be accused of being boring. Apart from the 'Evangeline-Lilly-gazes-intensely-at-the-ocean' moments, overall it's pretty watchable. I might give that second series a chance after all.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thursday Daytime TV (9/1/06)

I'm sure we all have moments from our adolescence we'd rather file away, and being unexpectedly confronted with them can be difficult. In my youth, I had what is probably known as a 'badboy' boyfriend and we would occasionally purchase recreational drugs from a local council estate. Ultimately I became quite good friends with the seller and the people who frequented her house, but - bearing in mind I'm a decidedly middle-class doctor's daughter - I tended to stick out a bit on these visits. In fact, if someone got grassed up as benefit cheat or their home was raided by the Drugs Squad I would immediately become paranoid that they would think it was me; the outsider. From my objective viewpoint, it could feel rather like being in the audience of an early-morning chatshow sometimes - dramas would unfurl where someone would get pregnant by a neighbour's boyfriend, or have a lesbian affair while their husband was inside, or have to break the news that they were homosexual to their ignorant, exceptionally violent brothers. A real-life episode of Trisha. Maybe not so surprising, therefore, that the recreational drug seller was ON TRISHA yesterday. It's nice to catch up with people I suppose but I wasn't quite prepared for it to happen via the medium of telly. Trisha's guest was still 25 stone, still unemployed, only difference was that she'd had a baby with a sixteen-year old. Trisha told her to lose some weight and get a job. The only job I ever heard this woman consider was being a madam in a brothel, so I think Goddard's onto a lost cause. The experience has somehow taken the shine off such morning TV for me, and I normally love a bit of Trish in the a.m. Maybe it was all about some kind of kinship I felt with the guests given my own diversion into that world years ago. But to have the connection REALISED like that. My God. It's a bit thought-provoking. Has anyone else actually recognised someone on Trisha or The Jeremy Kyle Show? Please tell me I'm not alone......
Brenda did amazingly well on Deal or No Deal yesterday - although she did deal a round too early. With the 'Power Five' still in play in the 5th round she was offered £84,000 but had already dealt at £57,000. Damn! I'd have done the same though; everything can change in Deal or No Deal so quickly you see. And she had £50,000 in her box so she still did a good'un. Nailbiting it was.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Deal or No Deal......

It's about time I stated my allegiance for Deal or No Deal (C4), an almost-live quiz show which has been steadily capturing my heart since Christmas. On six days a week, it looks set to continue until Noel Edmonds has a stroke or dies. He can't believe he's back on the telly. I can't either, and after the vomiting eventually subsided, I was able to view the show dispassionately. A format which I saw in Australia over the summer, the rules are almost inpenetrable, but boil down to a game in which a banker bids for a box with an amount of money hidden inside it, from a player who has to decide when he or she is being offered the best deal. There are also twenty- one other people with boxes with amounts of money in them from 1p to £250,000. The player picks three of these boxes at random in each round, and then the banker phones up with another offer - better if they've managed to avoid the high numbers because of the greater possibility of the player him/herself having one of them. The object, therefore, is not to pick a box with £250,000, £100,000, £75,000, £50,000 or £35,000 inside it, as the deal offered to you will be lower - but because it's a game of chance and not skill, the possibilities for moments of incredible, unbearable tension and sudden, crushing deflation are endless. And to top it all off, once the player has dealt with the banker, they continue to see what would have happened if the game had continued to the end - so you get to see if they made the right deal at the right time. Cue intense pathos when it turns out the player had the £250,000 all along and, if they'd just held their nerve, etc........or vicarious joy, as when a 23 year old student dealt at £41,000 and it turned out she'd had £10 in her box after all!
I'm a big fan of the daytime quiz show, but they usually involve general knowledge or spelling, so the spell cast by Deal or No Deal is surprising. One great feature of the show is that the people who open the boxes for the player end up being contestants themselves at some later date, so it's like you already know a bit about them. I wanted Mumtaz to do really well the other day, for example, because she seemed so nice. It does make you wonder, though, how these people have that much time on their hands that they can stand around opening boxes from 4-4.45 pm every day. Do they not work? Am I a pot, and is the kettle black? I don't know if this programme's going to wane in my affections or not but I'm totally addicted at the moment. If I was forced to, I would even trade off Countdown to watch it. I can overlook the fact it's hosted by Edmonds for Chrissakes! Next time you throw a sickie - or if, like me, you're a bum - Deal or No Deal is must-watch TV.