Monday, January 30, 2006

Sunday Night's TV (29/1/06)

Why we return to certain stories and how we tell them reveals a lot about our own preoccupations. Another dramatisation of the life of Elizabeth I, BBC1's The Virgin Queen, appeared a couple of weeks ago, adding to Helen Mirren and Cate Blanchett's portrayals of the queen, not counting David Starkey's documentary a few years back. The fascination could be down to the fact that we've had two female leaders in recent times - the monarch and Thatchface. Telling our version of the story of Elizabeth I might help us to think about what happens when females rule. But it's the aspect of the Elizabeth story which keeps getting picked out which is interesting - whether or not she 'done it' - as the title of the BBC version pruriently gestures towards. Personally, I'm getting a little sick of seeing 'Elizabeth's' skirts being pushed up by some impossibly cute Dudley or Devereux. All we can ever ascertain from history is that Elizabeth was never pregnant, and if women have sex they do tend to get pregnant. So she either merrily had sex and was infertile (but do you think she'd have taken the chance?), or she did have sex and was incredibly lucky (again, do you reckon she would have risked a power which rested on her chastity?), or she didn't have sex because she knew that, at that time, sex meant marriage and the subjugation by the man of the woman. Perhaps she saw what a mess her sister got into by marrying Philip of Spain and wanted to avoid that conflict altogether? It's not really so unbelievable that a person of that era would forsake sex to do what they believed was God's duty. It even still happens today. It's us who are completely obsessed with whether she was banging away or not, confused by the fact that she constantly had suitors. Our continual return to the question seems to reveal that we can't get our heads round a woman denying her biology in favour of political power - it's a bit like career-focussed women who decide not to have kids, innit? Maybe that's the post-feminist issue we're really trying to work out by telling and retelling our story of this sixteenth-century queen. It's not even the best bit. At the end of her life she goes mental and sits on the throne with her wrinkled dugs out.
Quick word in the ear of the Top of the Pops producer. If you're going to get either of Jeremy Clarkson's fluffers to present the show, don't choose the older, posher, totally-alien-to-the-kids one. TOTP is becoming embarrassing. The set looks like a vision of the future from the 1980s. In fact I got befuddled at one point with all the neon tubes and jazzy monochrome elements, when A-Ha suddenly came on, and I thought I must have slipped through a wormhole. Now I know Andi Peters' heyday was in the 80s but it must be time for him to hand over the reins of power on this twenty-first century music programme; he hasn't a clue and he's going to ruin an institution if someone doesn't stop him. New blood, fresh ideas, Thursday timeslot, sort it out Beeb.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Saturday Night's TV (28/1/06)

What is it about Dancing on Ice that makes me so damn happy? The moment the celeb and expert twirl onto the ice, the smile starts to spread. When the music starts and they begin to chasse and twizzle without falling, I am gripped by their bravery. If a complicated lift is attempted, and the woman's face veers dangerously close to the ice in the dismount, my heart leaps. Then I am dumbstruck for about ten seconds at the sheer absurdity of what I'm viewing. And finally I shudder, laugh and emote all at the same time. It's like Strictly Come Dancing x 100. It's greatness is heightened by the ever-present possibility that someone is going to do themselves serious harm and produce a serious amount of prime-time blood; or that we might get a Nancy Kerrigan-type scenario where Gaynor Faye gets her husband to do Bonnie Langford's knees in with a hammer. Not that I want that to happen. I am brimming with admiration for the lot of them, and find the whole thing utterly life-affirming.
Going from Dancing on Ice to Rabbit-Proof Fence made it a somewhat tearful evening in the Telly Ellie household last night. Kenneth Branagh's film and TV work has been amazing in the last couple of years. Both Shackleton and Rabbit-Proof Fence are examples of completely compelling stories told completely compellingly. In fact, much of Branagh's success as a storyteller is down to the fact he knows which narratives to pick. But it wasn't just the embellished truth of three girls' cheating a horrifying regime that made this such a good film. It was cinematography which showed what a harsh, pretty, wild and unique continent Australia is; sublimely understated performances from the children; intelligent, succinct, provocative dialogue.... Just fantastic, and full of suspense, and moving. In the end, the film wasn't about the systematic kidnapping of regional Australian children by the government, it was about the hard-headed logic of a child's love for their parent, and one girl's resilience in knowing she should return her and her sister to where they should be - with their mum. I think it's a film about kids - not what "miracles" they are, far from it - but about how kids know what's right, and can always see through adults, even when they are being oppressed by them. Doris Lessing writes, "It is my belief that children are full of understanding and know as much as and more than adults, until they are about seven, when they suddenly become stupid, like adults." I bet a lot of displaced regional Australians would agree.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Friday Night's TV (27/1/06)

So Chanters won BB in the end. Well, there was no contest really. It was all very advantageous to C4 and Endemol: 'Oooh, the first time a non-celebrity has ever gained so much publicity for a celeb reality programme, etc etc.' Chantelle won because she kept her head while all around lost theirs, like almost every other BB winner ever. She was also hugely aided by the fact that she didn't suppose for a second that she would win, so never got her knickers in a twist. She simply pouted and giggled, as behoves her nature - all the way to Max Clifford and a 10-page spread in 'Nuts'. I hope she licks the plate well and truly clean. In the year of the middle-aged male bully, I'm just glad a woman won out of principle.
Denise Van Outen guest hosted The Friday Night Project but one whiff of her and I'm straight back at stage school. Dubious smells suddenly seem to be emanating from unitards, and I'm in a great state of anxiety about the relative strengths of lycra and tampax and whether I'm going to spray my peers with menstrual blood as I pirouette. So I watched as much BB as I could lay my eyes on instead, hoarding memories for the vast swathe of time before it restarts again. Roll on May.
Also watched Freeway, a pretty violent and tenuous retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood story. The fairytale basis of the narrative could explain the 'stylism' of the performances, but it could equally have been the crap acting. The dialogue was grittily unrealistic in its depiction of po' white trash in the deep South, and Witherspoon's fellow inmate was even more annoying than Juliette Lewis, largely because she was an impression of her. Spoony was lucky to get the old 'Legally Blonde' script, I can tell you; 'serious acting' consists for her of screeching at such an excruciating pitch that I couldn't keep the mute button near enough to my finger for the two hours of its duration.
Dancing on Ice continues tonight - the programme that puts a rainbow over my heart. Who will fall? How garish will the costumes be? And how offensive the commentator towards Bonnie Langford? In the first week he marvelled at her mobility given that she's "nearly forty." This is genius telly though and the complete antithesis of BB. The ludicrousness of what the celebs have undertaken guarantees audience empathy and galvanises the contestants together. Seeing the embittered BB celebs lined up on their seats last night, studiously ignoring or actively mocking each other, was a joyous, almost karmic sight. The only cohesion between that unit will be the lifelong hatreds they harbour for each other. So looking forward to the reunion barbecue tomorrow.......

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Wednesday Night's TV (25/1/06)

Lordy lord, so much to catch up on. Galloway was finally given his marching orders last night, having done more damage to his reputation in two weeks than a Repubican smear-campaigner could have done in two years. What an arrogant, vain, self-preserving, atavistic, double-dealing, word-twisting wally-tician he has shown himself to be. And what happened to his face during his incarceration? All the humanity drained from it and he was left with the dead, lifeless features of a salamander. George Galloway - defender of the weak. Unless they're women. The flip side of the coin to his cohort, Pete Burns - attacker of the weak. As long as they're women. Pete, who looks like Grandpa from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre after a vat of blood, doesn't deserve any more analysis than he's already had. He's an ugly man, in all senses of the word. I'm just thankful that, after Friday, I won't have to see the skein he calls a face any longer, and the chances of him having damaged my subconscious permanently are finally reduced. I do not want a lifetime of Burns dreams. At least I don't have to watch a Galloway habit that was genuinely starting to disgust anymore. When his back was against the wall, he would draw the tendrils of his moustache into his mouth and start to suck and bite on the hairs. Ugh. George's 'Tache. He clearly hasn't reflected on the direct link between dictators and upper lip hair, has he? Or maybe he has. Hitler, Stalin, Hussein, Mugabe...... Galloway. He's in as good political company out of the BB house, as he was in it. I can see Burns in an SS uniform. With accessories of course.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sunday Night's TV (22/1/06)

I would like to take the opportunity to publicly retract my choices for the top 3 on BB, and for Chantelle as winner.....not going to happen. Maggot, however, is becoming a real contender. I'm too dumbfounded to comment on last night's programme. This is the most unpleasant bunch of celebs I have ever seen in one space, and I've been at the same party as Davinia Taylor, Jeremy Edwards, Will Mellor and Martine McCutcheon. So I know what I'm on about.
Watched Top of the Pops last night - I like to keep up with the kids - and was astonished to see that mid-90s cheesey housey trance (i.e. the Nightcrawlers) is making a comeback. It struck me that our constant need to relive the past in this postmodern era is making us chase our tails like dogs. In the early 90s, the 60s was revived; in the late 90s, the 70s was revived, in the early 00s, the 80s was revived; and now we're reviving the 90s. What's going to happen in five years time? Are we going to intuit what the fashion future is and revive that? A sort of cultural premonition, appropriation and revision all at the same time? We could call it a previval. At least the trendsetters will have to actually do some WORK for the first time in 20 years.
Another question plays on the mind as we hurtle towards the next decade. What snappy moniker are we going to give to the years between 2010 and 2020? They didn't have this problem in times past, because they weren't obsessed with sticking everything in a little box and giving it a label. I'm sure in 1864, people weren't saying, "I am SO glad the 1850s are over. My bum looked really big in a bustle. It's all empire line this season, very slimming." Which takes me back to the revival thing, you've got to see time as constantly ending in order to bring it back again. Our culture is littered with simulacra. Look out for the day when S Club Juniors reform. That might just be the end of history.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Last night's TV (20/1/06)

Um, Davina McCall. What Linda Barker is to DIY, and Sue Barker to sports, our Davina is to reality. Where's her pizazzzzz gone? Where her va-va-voom? She's just a gurning semblance of the Davina we once knew. Dermot O' Leary's been hanging around for ages, send her out to pasture. We know what she's like. She went on presenting StreetMate for way longer than necessary.
Right, I'm willing to put my neck on the line now. Last four Dennis, Preston, Chantelle and Barrymore. Last three Dennis, Chants and Bazza (ooooh, controversial!). Last two Chanters and Densy (ouch!) . Winner - Chantelle!!! I'm so aware I could be wrong, but am I wrong about this? Barrymore's mad, Preston's a lying rat - Chantelle's obviously the winner and Dennis, though a sexpest, doesn't make ugly viewing?
I'm off to Torquay. Bye!!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Last night's TV (19/0106)

Pete launched a scathing vitriolic attack on Traci last night. He does pick formidable foes, our Pete. Why is it he only seems to have a go at women? Especially considering he's spent so much money trying to look like one. He would never go for Galloway like that, or Barrymore. Pete's got the mindset of a wifebeater. He treats Chantelle like a child, Rula like a servant, and Traci - in his own words - is as a "whore" and a "bitch". And if Traci didn't do herself any favours in the racist argument yesterday, she's definitely got a case now. What on earth was he talking about, "black terminology, "your language"? Has Traci ever used the term bitch for herself or any other woman in the house? As I've always said, he's a nasty little misognyst and the sooner he gets kicked out, the better. I'm so glad his gorilla coat got seized by the police. I hope he gets locked up.
Who saw Hotel Babylon? No? Well done. If you DO get a chance to catch it, just look at Outhwaite's mouth. That's all I'm saying.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wednesday Night's TV (18/1/06)

The total lack of judgement which put Faria "Bye-Bye" Alam into the Big Brother House in the first place was on display again last night, when she accused the Great British Public of racism and claimed an ethnic minority person would never win BB. What a load of cock. If anything, Big Brother, above all other forms of reality TV, has restored my faith in the British nation. Out of whoever's left at the end of a series, the right person ALWAYS wins. They might get it wrong initially -as the popularity of Victor or Bubble in the first few weeks of summer BB testifies - but having seen Bubble refusing to let himself be touched by Brian unless he caught gayness, or Victor almost hitting Emma, the voters always turf out the idiots and it never has anything to do with race or class or gender or sexuality. During the first couple of BBs the GBP were a bit uncertain and made a few mistakes, but since then I don't even bother voting. I'm absolutely assured that whoever I strongly feel should go, definitely will. I'm proud to be part of the BB watching community. Prouder of that than of being British anyway. By the way, what do people think of Russell Brand's HAIR? He's such a DANDY. Someone send him a hat with a feather, quick!
Neighbours has been absolutely amazing telly over the last year or two, occasionally veering into almost Dadaist visions of Australia, and never afraid to chuck the word 'bogun' (Oz form of chav) into the dialogue. A friend of mine said that a recent fantasy sequence looked like it had been "pixellated by an epileptic retard". Not PC, but very accurate. I think it might have reached its peak yesterday with, if not the funniest, then certainly the most inexpensive plane crash ever seen on TV. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be in a nosediving plane, apparently the lights keep going on and off, and it's very juddery, and suddenly you're in a massive water tank saying, "So c-cold, s-s-s-so c-cold". Yes, why show the actual crash, when you can jumpcut to another scene, and then jumpcut back again? Neighbours is class. I might stick it back at the top of my list of TV priorities. After all, BB finishes soon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (17/1/06)

Can ANYONE understand what Dennis Rodman mumbles about? And is Faria single-handedly reviving the fashion label, Dash? The pair attempted courtship last night in CBB. For Faria this entailed sticking her tongue out of the side of her mouth like someone who'd had a stroke. Dennis, meanwhile, told her he'd like to cover her naked form in sushi and eat it off. Is the smell of salty, raw fish emanating from someone very erotic? Horses for courses I suppose. He must have got the idea from this bloke I saw on the telly a few weeks ago who sells nights with a sushi-laden Japanese girl for extortionate prices to Hollywood types. I wonder if it works with the cuisines of other cultures? Perhaps a Russian doused in goulash, or a Chinese woman dripping with sweet and sour prawn balls. Excuse me, I'm getting the horn.
The new series of Shameless shamefully didn't get reviewed last week. Paul Abbot's world is so textured you can almost reach out and touch it - you just wouldn't want to for fear of scabies. Personally, I shan't forget David Threlfall singing his version of 'What's Up Pussycat?' with the lyrics "Pussycat, Pussycat, you're a tosser" for a very long time. The programme's just so nasty, and sharp, and British. I love it.
I also caught a bit of the dramatisation of Elizabeth David's life on BBC2 which seemed to owe a lot to Marks and Spencer ads. You know the ones: "This isn't just a cake, it's a very sexy cake". I think I might know how to make mayonnaise now though. Certainly more helpful than when I asked Rodman who just muttered, "I'll show you something something making creamy something goddam sauce, bitch!". I think the boy needs finishing school. Or perhaps simply to finish school. Eviction night tonight - who's going? You decide. Oh, ok then, Faria please.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sunday Night's TV (15/1/06)

Before reviewing the evermore captivating CBB, did anyone else see Dancing on Ice on Saturday night? The most absurd, most insane bit of reality TV I have ever clapped eyes on, celebrities risked breaking their necks for a piece of glorious primetime programming. This is the sort of commitment I expect from my celebs. What possible use is Tamara Beckwith if she's not attempting to perform triple axle toeloops for my entertainment? I can forgive her for being a useless, toffee-nosed inconsequence in the past, she is redeemed. 'It Girls' take note - if you actually attempted to master a skill, you might be able to forego filling your empty lives with designer drugs and save an awful lot of money on rehab.
CBB goes from strength to strength as the most unlikely political coalition ever - George Galloway and Pete Burns - gossiped together in the toilet about imaginary problems in the house. Galloway is giving new meaning, or rather, the old meaning back, to the term 'politician' -dissimulating, conspiring, manipulating - he's a Machiavelli for the Millennium. And Pete's becoming his puppet. BB is aware of this and tried to drive a wedge between the cunning foxes by telling Pete that he could trade George's cigars to obtain cigarettes, but only succeeded in causing a rift between Galloway and Barrymore. Maybe this particular indenture tripartite is finally coming to an end. I hope so. Meanwhile, for those of you with sentimental leanings, a couple are falling in love in front of our very eyes. Chantelle and Preston are utterly gorgeous; constantly brushing hands, looking at each other when they think the other one's looking away, giggling.....Preston came out with the classic giveaway last night, "I LOVE the way you say that", following a suitably inane comment from Chantelle. Despite feeling a bit sorry for his girlfriend, it's totally heartwarming, and the best thing is, they haven't even fully comprehended what's going on between them. 1,2,3, Aaaaaah. I'm not being sarky. Former England goalies attempting to ice dance, and the merging of Prestelle and Chanton are the most moving TV moments since Amber the cheetah found her lost cub on Big Cat Diary. Go on everyone, fill your hearts with love!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Friday Night's TV (13/1/06)

It was Quorn Wars on CBB last night as the vegetarians took on the carnivores, leading Barrymore to suggest that they "all just get along" i.e. "let us eat your quorn". This is a symptom of the messed-up political organisation of the celebrities. Probably at the behest of Galloway, the house is being run along the lines of the collective or perhaps the gulag. Fine, if you're among people who shun dictates of class and hierarchy, but I don't think the majority of the housemates are card-carrying communists, and no amount of calling them "comrades" is going to change this. Watching the box task on live streaming today, the political differences between the housemates came into relief. At George's suggestion that they let Rula win as a reward for her hard work on the farm, Team America suddenly fell suspiciously silent - imagine Traci and Dennis trying to get their heads round that concept! Chantelle, spurred on by the fact that ,as a non-celeb, the only thing she's probably been given for free is herpes, condemned the idea outright. I wonder how this particular flashpoint will be resolved; it's the crux of social difference in the household and - if it's not sorted - will keep on rearing its ugly head in moments like Barrymore doing car alarm impressions in housemates' faces. I should mention Jodie Marsh's eviction too. Don't get me wrong, I'm disgusted by her behaviour, but I thought it was a bit off that Davina didn't mention the witch hunt which went on in the house over the last couple of days. She might be a dick, but she's not satanic, and the way she was treated at points in the house made me feel pretty uncomfortable as a viewer.
My Name is Earl had its second outing last night and is turning into quite a nice little programme with a surreal, Coen brothers-edge to the comedy (I particlarly liked the psycho-turned-born-again-christian consulting the tattoo of Jesus on his chest when deciding whether to give Earl a karma-break). There's a heavy dose of litotes in the writing, farcical physical moments, good comic performances. Hurrah! Something worth staying in for on a Friday once CBB finishes. Speaking of which, I'm out tonight - have a good one and see y'all on Monday.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wednesday Night's TV (11/1/06)

Once upon a time in a land called Tellyland, a series would appear on our screens and if it was good enough, if the ratings were high, it might return for another series. If it didn't catch an audience, it could exist in its own right - it would have told a story, albeit one we didn't necessarily want to hear. Six Feet Under was a bit like this; when the first series ended it was perfect, complete, discrete. It was also popular and HBO, thank the Lord, brought it back for another season. OZ, another excellent bit of HBO progamming which C4 unfortunately used to stick on at about three in the morning, had an excellent first series and, on the merit of this, was brought back for another. Can we infer from these two dramas that challenging programmes, the ones that push the boundaries about what we expect to see on our TVs, are often treated by networks as one-offs that need to prove themselves in order to be recommissioned? How then, should we think about the finale of Lost last night? I have loyally stuck with this series through the vagaries of its quality over the last three months, hopeful that there would finally be some concrete answers to all the enigmatic questions which the drama posed. Some resolution perhaps. And what I got was any other programme in the series. We still don't know what's down the hatch, we still don't know what the monster is or where it comes from, all we know is that the 'Others' appear to have some kind of oil rig and refinery on a part of the island which enables them to pilot boats around the ocean. So, Walt was taken by the 'Others'. So what? He'll probably be back by the third programme of the next series. I mean, how frustrating. How much material have the writers got before they actually let us in on what the big mystery is? I'm afraid I can't devote an unspecified amount of time to watching something where I've got a sneaking supicion that they're all dead or something - or maybe Jack will wake up one morning and it will have 'all been a dream' - some crappy outcome that makes me want to self-mutilate for the amount of my life I've wasted. I also cannot stand any more shots of Kate staring pensively out to the sea. I officially give up.
CBB was excellent last night, as ever. This is turning out to be like a summer Big Brother - and what makes it so is the desperation of all the contestants. They're not just in it for the money or for the exposure - like the normal Big Brother contestants, they're in it to launch non-existent or relaunch dead-in-the-water careers and they will stamp all over any housemate who stands in their way. George came across as badly as JM last night, "You are a wicked person, and you have inveigled Chantelle under your magic spell" - alright, James I, no need to get the ducking-stool out. It was a bit extreme, wasn't it? And as a politician, you'd think he'd know that the legal voting age is 18, so if someone's still a child at 22, surely that invalidates at least part of his parliamentary seat. I love this series, I love Barrymore despite his paranoid tendencies. Can we leave them all in there forever, please, PLEASE??
And a quick word for Richard Fleeshman (is it?) on Soapstar Superstar. I only flick onto this programme but when I see him, I am blown away by his beautiful, mature, powerful singing voice. He's absolutely amazing. If you're a fan of the sing-off form of telly, try and catch him before he goes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tuesday Night's TV (10/1/06)

PEOPLE came round last night and ruined my CBB viewing, although I was able to catch moments of the Barrymore/ Burns/Marsh row. Everyone is concerned about Marsh's allegiance with Chantelle but Barrymore should be about his with Burns too, the 'Dead or Alive' singer is a posionous little dysmorphic toad. However, JM once again demonstrated her wilful, woeful ignorance with the argument, "I can't help being who I am" and "I can only say what I think". Well, that's ok then. Don't ever bother applying a filter to the claptrap which emerges from your ridiculous-looking mouth, or try to learn anything or educate yourself further, because that little brain you were blessed with is just fine and will get you through life. Your period of self-improvement is over. You're perfect as you are. It's the same as people who say, "Well, that's my opinion, everyone's entitled to express their opinion." Great, let's all 'express' ourselves to each other and never debate and never move forward, and sit around like fish with our mouths opening and closing in some sort of dumb reverie.
The PEOPLE stopped me from seeing who voted for who and how and why, so I can only comment on what. Much as I have issues with all three nominees, I don't want to see any of them go, because they all bring a welcome antagonistic edge to the house. Get rid of this lot and we're going to end up with a CBB like BB4 - absolutely DIRE. Out of the three, I want George to go the least because he's one of the only housemates with some level of intelligence, and Pete to go the most, because he is one of the most superficial, malign people that has ever disgraced my telly. Only this moment in time, in history, can produce such a creature as this. We should all look at him, be ashamed, and start making the world a better place in our own individual way.
The obverse of CBB is the telly which parades famous fatties, who we don't laugh at because of their redundant personalities but because of their rolls of flab and wide arses. Celebrity Fit Camp started a new series last night on ITV. It's not my cup of tea, but, at least after the initial exposure of their rotund forms in bras and pants, the programme enables the celebs to achieve something and probably gives some overweight people at home a spur to go to the gym. My favourite bit is at the end when they sit the two groups on a giant weighing machine on these little swings with their chubby legs absurdly hanging into free space. They look like giant babies. Producer, please put them in pants at this point!
And can I just mention It's Me Or The Dog on C4, a programme which brings in an expert to deal with problem canines? The schoolmistressy Victoria Stilwell, said expert, has to be one of my favourite presenters on TV. She deals with these dog-owners like the naughty pups themselves, and so she should. Last night, Nick didn't want outrageously oversexed Pugsley castrated because he saw it as a reflection upon his own masculinity. Dear God. Has anyone got any pliers?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Monday Night's TV (9/1/06)

As Rodman the sexpest desperately paws every female to come within a 12 inch radius of him, I am still bemused as to how this apparently great lover of women squares his obsession with the opposite sex with the fact he views them all as 'bitches'. He can't get enough of them and yet he uses such hateful language towards them. Attachment/ disavowal - it's all a bit Freudian, isn't it? I'm normally a fan of men who love women. I regard it as a sign of intellect. But this guy doesn't even think he has to work for it. Mind you, with Jodie in the house.....
I'm not even going to grace Jobo the Clown with any of my opinions about her. She can bang on about her orgies and orifices and then complain the British press always portray her as a 'slag' as much as she likes. That is my last word on the subject until she does or says anything remotely of interest. And that doesn't seem very likely.
I can't believe Pete Burns hasn't made it into the blog yet. I'm a bit speechless really, what with the balloons on his face, and his gorgeous eyes and strange chest packets. I've long thought that we are all going down as the twats of history. Images of Lola Ferrari and Jordan and Burns are going to be unearthed by our descendants, volumes will be written about when the Western human race went mad and surgically mutilated itself in order to prolong their youth, and everyone will laugh in the same way as we do over the fact that Elizabethans made up their faces with poisonous mercury. Maybe writing like this will go some way to explaining that we weren't all slicing, and hacking and sucking away at our own skin and bone in order to achieve what can only ever be a temporary ideology of what constitutes beauty in either gender. The man's a loon. No. He's the King of Loons.
The rest of the night's TV was fairly dull. Sharon clawed her face at Dennis' graveside like some kind of Euripidean heroine in Eastenders. Yawn. A new series of ER kicked off with the now-tiresome formula of introducing a bunch of hopeless interns who will grow in knowledge and expertise over the year to become modern-day medical heroes. Boring. Thank god for CBB, is all I can say; without that I'd seriously be considering giving my goggle box a little rebuke for being so rubbish. And that's not loony behaviour at all.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sunday Night's TV (8/1/06)

New series' abound at this time of year and last night's novelty was the US import, Invasion; a tale of storms, the military, and some very scary jellyfish. The first three episodes were everything English audiences have come to expect from American drama - slick, well-written and good-looking - and, in addition, there were some gory and spooky elements making it more like The X-Files than The OC. The tale thus far is compelling, so why won't this emptiness leave me alone? Is it because I am sure that, in the end, the glacial alien host Lisa Sheridan will either expunge herself of foreign bodies and become the mommy she was always destined to be? Or will she make the ultimate sacrifice and somehow destroy the mother alien who is infesting her form, thus making a pseudoChrist-like sacrifice in order to save mankind a la Sigourney (but isn't it normally a man who does that? What a thrilling intervention!)? Whatever the case, I feel this is another US series that will pull me along and then collapse like a souffle of cliches, and perhaps, this time, I just can't be bothered.
But you all know what I can be bothered with -CBB!! Is anyone else falling for the simple charms of Chantelle? The true dynamics of the house are starting to emerge now, after the celebrity love-in of the first few days. It's FA-ree-a who interests me. She has taken the role of Elizabeth in BB2 and made herself indispensable to the house via her cooking and cleaning. This is a useful tactic to fall under the Nominations radar, stay in the compound and maximise your earning potential. Yet, she also seems to have an overinflated sense of how famous she actually is. During last night's task, when the celebrities had to arrange themselves in order of fame, Faria headed straight for the number 7 spot, slap bang in the middle. Is she having a laugh? Even Chantelle, who is already more famous than her and hasn't had to shag any bald Scandinavians, suggested that she might like to place herself a little further down the line, mispronouncing her name in the process! Her 'earth mother' strategem has not gone unnoticed by 'Team America' either (Dennis and Traci) who seem to have put a plaster over the wounds of the past to unite against the English nutters they've been banged up with. Dennis......hmmmmmm. He surely is a splendid creature, but is there a malevolence lurking beneath his wonderful facade? He's always mumbling something about somebody to someone-or-other and I don't trust him. That's not to say that I wouldn't like to see if it's possible to climb him, though........

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Friday Night's TV (6/1/06)

After the hugely welcome return of Big Brother, fans of the build-them-up-and-chuck-them-out mode of celeb telly were offered another stonker last night, Soapstar Superstar - a programme dominated by Emmerdale starlets dressed in Lipsy and doing Aguilera impressions. When the first contestant, Lucy Pargeter, wasn't tracing the outline of her breast with her free hand as if to remind herself of her exact dimensions (why have pop stars taken to doing this?? Girls Aloud are the worst offenders), she was jabbing it accusatively at her audience. The surprise of the night for me was Andy from Corrie (the gonky looking one) - his beautiful voice rendering him much less gonky than he actually is, in much the same way as someone with Tourettes gets a brief reprieve from shouting 'DOGFLAPS!' when they sing.
However, my viewing was cut short when CBB started on the other side. This year's line-up is just too good to miss a second. I managed to watch a bit of the live streaming earlier on in the day, and caught Barrymore telling his fellow housemates that while Les Dennis was "down there" (about six inches off the ground), he was "up here" (about eight inches). Does anyone else find it strange that Barrymore is uncannily repeating Dennis' stay in the house? Perhaps this is a reality TV type all of its own - the ageing, mentally wrecked 80s gameshow host - they'll have Roy Walker on next year. I'm not given to empathising with celebrities as a rule, but I actually think it's pretty sad that the producers have let on someone who clearly needs a doctor to revise his tricyclic anti-depressants, not a huge audience to watch his demise. I simply can't watch a grown man crying and insisting, "I'm really happy. They're tears of happiness." I found the Les Dennis thing too much last time, and fear this year could be the same. Leaves a nasty taste.....
Finally, My Name Is Earl, new US comedy on channel 4 at 10 pm and quite funny too, apart from some rather homophobic jokes. A redneck cracker attempts to put right all that he has done wrong in his life in order to appease the karma police. I know about those lot, a powerful force based in Scotland who constantly phone me up to warn me that something's going to "bite me on the bum". It's a good concept, and it could be good, bearing in mind the ever-present danger that an American programme can descend into shmaltz at any given moment. Mind you, with the Friday Night Project representing British comedy last night, well. I think I'd rather watch Joey.

Friday, January 06, 2006


How fabulous. Celebrity Big Brother burst back onto our screens last night in all its technicolour glory (even Davina wasn't wearing black), and back into my life to dominate it for the next 23 days (count them, 23!!).
Celebrity BB has the quality of a late Christmas present. Just when you thought TV was settling back into it's usual humdrum routine of soaps, serials, pilots and two-part dramas, another huge reality TV event is handed to you. I was reminded of its existence a week before it began, and immediately began to get excited about the opening - teasing the edges of the wrapping and shaking the box by trawling the internet for rumours about who might take part this year. Could it be Boy George? Ana Nicole Smith? Dennis Rodman? Rodman I definitely thought was a red herring, he always seems to be touted as a possibility for celeb reality TV. I have to say I was most pleasantly surprised to see him emerge from the limo in the last quarter of the programme - he' s just so BIG!!
But this isn't a blog to discuss who's fanciable on the box (well it's not just for that), this is a serious forum for the discussion of serious TV, and if anyone wants to suggest that programmes such as BB are frivolous and indicative of the decline of civilised society I shall be pleased to engage in a debate with them about why this is completely erroneous and wrong. Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.
In terms of the choice of celebrity contestants for this year's CBB, I have to say I felt the excitement of the unwrapping subside last night, when I saw Traci Bingham and Preston Whoever enter the compound. But they definitely saved the best till last and my jaw hit the floor when George Galloway stepped out of the car. AN MP IN BB??!! What is the man thinking? Only time will tell.
What do I think of the celebrities this year? I reserve judgment for the timebeing, I've had egg on my face too many times in the past (I thought Greer was going to be FANTASTIC). Suffice to say, I think Chantelle's going to be an amusing - can the woman work both sides of her brain at the same time? She even had to remind herself of her name several times when she found out her secret task - and the unfolding of the history of Dennis and Traci riveting - he didn't just blank her, he told her to "get away from me"! Is this related to the Carmen Electra marriage? I can hardly wait for tonight. Will Dennis have donned a dress? Will Barrymore have fallen off the wagon? Join me tomorrow and find out.......