Monday, January 22, 2007

The Pope Dunnit

I fancied a bit of detective tosh last night, to chase off the hangover wrought by champagne cocktails and several glasses of wine at lunch, so settled down to watch Waking The Dead because it's got She Queen, the best thing about Brookie, and Shoestring Trevor Eve in it as a police psychologist and a super Met Chief Inspector type who open up unsolved murder cases, wear white coats, frown at dusty corpses and write on plate glass windows with magic markers. They have a team of youthful underlings who provide something pretty to look at and do all the running around. They also have Tara Fitzgerald as the slightly weird but sexy pathologist. Tara wears a white coat all the time and isn't mean to a winsome Victorian child once; neither does she get her cornet out and treat everybody to a soulful rendition of the Concerto de Aranjuez while shutting down a pit and giving Pete Postlethwaite a heart attack. Which is nice.

So, the plot goes something like this. We get a flashback - last night's was to the 1990s, when hair was big and bankers had secret lovenests behind the filing cabinets. Somebody shoots a shagging couple. Fully clothed. You didn't get naked sex on TV until at least 1997. Fifteen years later, builders in the process of turning the bank into a trendy wine bar hit a ceiling and out drop two skeletons, still at it by the look of things. Cut to Shoestring and She Queen swapping witticisms over coffee while the underlings smirk at each other. Tara pokes the shagging skeletons with a biro and deduces that they were up to No Good. Shoestring links it all to Black Wednesday, and the underlings laugh as She Queen cries: "Norman Lamont! Young 'uns these days ..." Peter Capaldi appears from nowhere as a reformed fraudster who now lectures bankers on what to do with their shit, which is a Freudian analogy for money. Anyway, Peter twinkles at She Queen and uses lots of psychobabble to bamboozle her, but she's a proper psychologist so she only pretends to be bamboozled. At least, I hope so.

A blonde pops up from nowhere, says she's a journalist writing about a missing lady banker who was married to a cocaine dealer from Dublin. DNA shows that yes, it is the lady banker and her lover, and Tara proves, using the young ones as giggling props, that they were killed in flagrante with one bullet. Wow. The youngsters stop giggling and look meaningfully at each other until She Queen turns the hose on them. Not really.

There are a couple of men in suits who look worried, and then after one goes off, the other, slightly more important one picks up his mobile phone and starts speaking in Latin. Something like: "Gettus riddus of that blokeus wot sold us the gearus". Shoestring waves pictures of Roberto Calvi and starts muttering about Opus Dei-led conspiracy theories. I begin to suspect the hand of Ian Paisley in the writing of this script, and the young 'uns smirk. The Gards say they've got better things to do than go around arresting shifty chaps just because some English bastard says they should, so Shoestring has to shifty coke dealer chappie around the disused warehouse himself. Coke dealer falls off a high place despite Shoestring's frantic attempts to save him. Is there any point in watching the conclusion? Or should I just tune in to see Shoestring and She Queen try to arrest the Pope, and fail. So they go for Ruth Kelly instead...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Just The Two Of Us

As the New Year comes upon us many people look at changing things in their lives as they look forward. TV producers are not among those people, they are part of the few who decide that the best way to kick off the New Year is to move an ornament to a new place on the sideboard and try to convince themselves it is new and a change. Hence the 2007 viewing kicks off with some frighteningly weird Celebrities trying to out-stupid each other in a house in Peckham, and alongside? The wonder that is "Just The Two Of Us". Now it has to be said that the only thing worse than a talent competition is a celebrity talent competition however, like Vanessa Feltz to a chocolate eclair, my eyes are inevitably drawn...

Tess and Vern are hosting. The same judges are back, but with the frankly bizarre inclusion of Tito Jackson who is sporting a bowler hat, which along with his lack of neck and large head makes him not unlike an Afro-Carribean Odd Job. Ce Ce Sami is still there being painfully thin and prefacing everything she says with "What singing is all about is...", which makes me imagine that her book on the subject would not be exactly succinct. Trevor Nelson is the resident Nice Bloke again, and to be fair this seems to be genuinely what he is like, and he still looks about twenty-one even though he must be nearer twice that now. And finally we have Stewart Copeland, who obviously dislikes being a respected drummer and composer and would rather have exposure on TV as a shouty septic fool with an array of vacuous soundbites.

The couples:

Fishwife & Hobo (Hannah Waterman & Marti Pellow) . Hobo can sing, Fishwife can sort of. However she makes up for it by showing Tess exactly how to present your bosoms to full and proper effect.

Tiger Woods & Pram Face (Luke Bailey & Natasha Hamilton). I don't know who this lad is, but he has a fair voice and Pramface is always good value, doesn't quite have the spark she had with Scouseman last year though

Chef & T'Pau (Gregg Wallace & Carol Decker). The annoying one from Masterchef has a voice like a goose farting in the fog and Carol Decker still sounds the same, although she looks miles better than she did 20 years ago. They went out first night.

Watchdog & Dyejob (Julia Bradbury & Tony Christie). She really can't sing, but did better on the swing night, and Dyejob has terrible hair and dead, black shark eyes.

Love-Rat & Goddess (Brendan Cole & Beverley Knight). Love-rat is not a half bad singer actually, and his stage presence is pretty good. Beverley is flawless as always and can sing anything, as well as being a Goddess.

Joc & Jim (Jocelyn Brown and John Bardon) Ah the token comedy celeb wo can't sing but will probably get to the final. Joc is as always far too earnest in her praise but fabulous

Squeaky & Sweaty (Janet Ellis and Alaxander O'Neal). Sweaty must be well brassed off, he got Fiona Bruce last year and now he's got this one. They went out second night and unless I am very much mistaken Sweaty was absolutely flying on some chemical based substance, as he was twitching and muttering like a good 'un

Butch & Bitch (Mark Butcher & Sarah Brightman) Butch really can sing, and is easily the best celeb from that point of view - not that it makes a difference when the public are involved. Bitch looks better now than she did in the 80s ( bit of a theme here?) and is keeping the screeching to a minumum so that is a bonus.

So there you have it. It is largely awful, but no doubt I will be glued to it right til the bitter end as usual..

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Well, it's here at last. Our six-monthly fix of classic reality TV is on RIGHT NOW. Coming to you live and direct from a sofa in glamorous Peckham, the TV Dinners BB team (well, Sarah and Mr P anyway) is on hand with reactions, arguments about whose turn it is to make the tea, and carefully honed insults.

Davina appears to have gone for the Croydon Vampire look this evening. I haven't seen earrings that big since Sade was going out with Robert Elms. This year's house hasn't changed much. The hot tub is bigger and the outside seats are heated. The Slebs apparently demand privacy in the toilet and shower, which I'm quite glad about actually. If I want to see some washed out old has-been chopping out lines in the middle of the night I'll go to China Whites

Mark Oh shut up Davina, you're not funny and just because you've had a few babies it doesn't mean you're an expert on wombs. I also made comments on her witch like attire, though there is the possibility that she was going to pull off a daring jewel theft straight after the show.

OK, what's going on here? Has somebody on high decided that the Jacksons MUST PAY for the destruction of young Michael's soul by appearing on crappy reality shows. Last night we had Tito in a bowler hat, delivering soul man Yoda-isms on Just the Two of Us ("Mmm...listen to the record you must"). And on Channel 4 we have Jermaine Jackson going into the Big Brother house. Jermaine is a clean freak who does white glove tests on the furniture. He is also a very picky eater, and doesn't know if he'll have to cook his own meals. His face appears to have melted.

Apparently he loves the Central Line.

Mark ...and has stolen Grace Jone's hair. I wonder if the Jackson family get a bulk discount for those hideous braided pseudo military jackets?

Housemate 2: Danielle Lloyd?
Apparently a former ex Miss Great Britain who was had her title taken away for dating one of the judges, who happens to be God of Football (shut up Mark) Teddy Sheringham. Shopaholic Scouser and "full time model" - pretty enough, but a bit bland. Why are people booing her? Does she skin kittens and wear them on her feet?

She thinks Winston Churchill was Britain's first black prime minister.

Don't think she knows who Jermaine is. Awkward silence. Nope, she definitely doesn't know who Jermaine is...

Mark I'm sorry but Teddy Sheringham has a face like a bag of spanners and she could surely do better. What people will do to get their hands on a Top Shop store card, eh?

Housemate 3: Ken Russell

Yes, THAT Ken Russell. Alan Bates doing naked wrestling in front of the fire... future London Mayor candidate Glenda Jackson getting her threps out...Oliver Reed tossing crocodiles out of the window.... He comes out of the car yodelling Singing in the Rain and looking a bit scared. Apparently he identifies with Mad Pete and starts doing Tourettes style jerking and swearing. Oh dear.

Neither Danielle or Jermaine know who he is. He introduces himself as "an old film maker" and says they've never heard of his films.

Mark WTF??? Did Michael Winner ask for too much money or something? Gets out of his car dressed as a gypsy troubador for some reason and seems to be very very drunk. Davina has to help him down the stairs - perhaps they can get a Stannah stairlift installed in time for his eviction.

Housemate 4: Jo off SClub
Didn't she do Just the Two of Us last year? Anyway, I remember she was the one who could actually sing (though the Atomic Kitten was still way better). Has retired from the music industry to breed very ugly small dogs. The Heat photographer goes crazy and she's blinded by the paparazzi flashes. Lot of SClub fans in tonight. She looks scared and denies any plans to bring out a single when it's all over. Yeah, right...

I think she'll get on well with Ken. He'll probably cast her as Clara Schumann in his next composer biopic.

Mark Seems like a very nice girl. All the gays in the audience go crazy

Housemate 5: Leo Sayer
I would have thought he'd have made enough money from that summer 06 number 1. Oh well. He's "very positive" and doesn't have many negative qualities. Apart from making you want to punch him repeatedly in the face. The mid-Ulster farmer's daughter who lived next door to me in Halls was Leo Sayer's Number 1 fan and had posters of him all over her room. She also collected Leo memorabilia...

Jermaine greets him like an old friend, and Ken says: "Oooh...I know who you are..."

Mark Oh good, a wacky fun housemate. We don't get enough of them.

Housemate 6: Shulpa Sheti
Ah... a Bollywood queen. Is scared by the idea that people might not recognise her. Constantly travels with an entourage. Polite cheers from the crowd. Well, she is very glam and queenly, if slightly dim. Thinks her reception is a bit low-key and hasn't seen much of Big Brother. Davina is beside herself with glee and has to help her up the stairs.

Ken's going to love her. Danielle greets her politely with a "Who the hell are you?" look.

Mark Very beautiful and glamorous. I somehow can't see her mud wrestling in a paddling pool full of offal though. I wonder if loads of British Asians will vote for her and keep her in, like when you see all those Bollywood films in the top 10 UK box office.

Housemate 7: Carole Malone
A tabloid columnist. Doesn't like WAGS (oops...that's Danielle buggered then) or people who are famous for appearing in reality shows. Apparently doing the show because she's a journalist and it's the best story ever. Think Vanessa Feltz scooped you in CBB1, Carole.

Swears a lot. Somebody shouts: "Who are yer?"

Walks in and tells everybody that she knew they'd be there.

Mark I can only assume she has a book deal or something. I instinctively want to hate her but she doesn't seem too bad really.

Housemate 8: Donny Tourette
Lead singer of the Towers of London - a young persons band, I presume. Kind of Rainbow meets Bad News meets Splodgenessabounds meets an Amish TV producer's idea of a rock band. Spits, swears and looks like Paul Kaye playing Rod Stewart. Bet his real name is Oliver.

Greets Leo Sayer like a long-lost brother. Apparently he used to hang out chez Leo in Buckinghamshire...

Mark Is apparently most famous for (a) going out with Peaches Geldof and (b) starting fights with people and losing, ha ha. So an irritating dull scenester c**t, then?

Housemate 9: H from Steps
Or Ian, as he is called now he's a Serious Actor. Oh hang on, I read in somebody's else's Metro that H has come out as gay. Isn't that like cheese admitting that it's made from fermented milk?

His biggest fear is crotch shots. He wants to be himself and make lots of wicked friends. I give him a week.

Big hugs from Jo SClub. Awww...bless.

Mark Looks about 1 million times better with dark brown hair but is still an irritating clown. Ohs noes - he will split the "gays with bad taste in music " vote for Jo.

Housemate 10: Cleo Roccas
I remember her cleavage from the Kenny Everett show in the 70s, and she appears to have aged quite well. Sees herself as a "happy doodle on God's telephone pad". Maybe the housemates will band together and rub her out.

Classic quote: "I'm into Oil. Old, Ill, and Loaded..." Gets a house point for that.

Mark (shrugs vaguely) Could be fun or could be like Suzy from the last normal BB.

Housemate 11: Dirk Benedict
Face from the A-Team. Admits to specialising in the "shallow" and "vapid". Hates groups, being observed and working. Mr P mildly excited, but I never watched the A-Team so I've no idea who he is.

Enters in an A-team style van puffing a cigar. We like that. Does lots of tiresome goofing about for the screaming mob. Davina says that famous Hannibal Smith line and in he goes.

Looks terrified. Immediately hits on Danielle..

Mark I used to watch the A-Team and Face was the least hateful one! I hope there is a task where he has to build a tank out of fruit crates and washing up liquid bottles.

Housemate 12:
Well, they don't move in until Friday. And it's going to be a family. Who will adopt the cutest celebrity or something like that, and Davina says that the slebs should fight adoption with all their sleb might. So, what, the Gallaghers are moving in? Or maybe it's the next door neighbours from HELL who used to throw eggs and assorted foodstuff at us?


There is more gleeful plundering of Joss Whedon’s TV oeuvre as the team get involved with some rubbish demon/aliens (basically people with big fangy masks on) which are being kidnapped and made to fight in cage matches with disgruntled blokes a la Fight Club. That man who was Guppy in Bleak House tracks down an evil estate agent (redundancy ahoy) who is organising the whole thing because he is having a crisis of masculinity or some such. Why can’t he just buy an X Box 360 and pretend to shoot stuff like normal people, eh? Estate Agent ponces around with his shirt off for a while and I am surprised that him and Guppy don’t start feeling each other up given that the show is supposed to be shockingly sexy etc etc. Anyway, Guppy bonds with the fangy aliens and has a bit of a death wish, though not nearly enough of one for my liking.

Onto the double bill finale and Capt Jack and the boring Japanese girl get transported to the 1940s so Jack can snog a handsome RAF officer. Hubba hubba. The others get them back by opening a magic time portal, even though it is hella dangerous or something. At one point the snivelly Welsh bloke shoots Guppy. Hurrah! He doesn’t die though. Boo! Meanwhile a sinister looking bloke creeps around being sinister. I am sure that will be important for later.

It turns out that the magic time portal has destabilised the space time continuum. That old chestnut. What this basically means is that some people with the Black Death pop up on the streets of Cardiff (and people actually notice the difference? Hmm). Sinister bloke continues with his sinisterness and tricks WPC Fringeface (tm freakytrigger) into getting her dull, cheated on boyfriend just to the right place so that Mr Sinisterpaws can gorily stab him to death. Fringeface has a hilarious overacting sobby fit and they decide that the only option is for them turn back time like Cher but then – ohs noes - it turns out that this was Sinisterpaws’ plan all along and when they do they release a big CGI monster that rampages around Cardiff causing literally a dozen extras to run around screaming and die cheaply. Jack saves the day, and then dies and then comes back to life again. I missed the whole “he’s immortal, woo!” bit so it seems like they are making it up as they go along by this point. Then the TARDIS appears and Capt Jack runs off for his contractually obliged crossover. Hmmm, I would probably watch it again if there was nothing else on (or if I heard that they go all out and just turn it into gay prorn) but generally I am finding this show to be distinctly mediocre.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


SCD FINAL!! Our sporting heroes had to do five dances each thanks to Tarbuck’s dodgy ticker. Wowsa. Mark came up trumps with a couple of excellent booty shaking latin numbers, a couple of OK ballrooms and a barnstorming freestyle with some great lifts. Whatever the haytas on the Guardian message board say, he was a much better dancer than Matt, always gave a better performance and had much better chemistry with Karen, so I’m glad he won. Karen had a breakdown as expected and Mrs Ramps made some barbed comments about how she supports her husband and loves him WHATEVER HE DOES, so there, tabloid scum!!

THE RUBY IN THE SMOKE!! (AKA: BILLY VS MRS OVERALL) This is based on a Phillip Pullman novel that I haven’t read and is a spiffed up costume drama that manages to include every clichĂ© and narrative device known to Victorian fiction. Billy is a spirited young lady who is orphaned when her dad dies in a dodgy shipping disaster, so she hooks up with a Scooby gang of assorted nice people (including a dishy photographer that I am sure I have seen in something else, but I couldn’t quite place him). Julie Walters is excellent as her nemesis, a murderous granny who wants to get hold of a legendary ruby because some posh lady called her a slag ages ago. There are triads, opium dens, coded messages, confused parentage, reference to the Indian Mutiny and dastardly maharajas and lots of scenes where people run around Limehouse and hit each with bits of wood. It was all very sketchy and rather incoherent, but I still enjoyed it. The next instalment is due to screen this year and is called “The Shadow in the North” – possibly about the rise of Manchester United?

DR WHO XMAS SPECIAL: Catherine Tate mysteriously appears on board the tardis and makes fun of the doctor a lot. Good. It all turns out to be part of some dastardly stroke overcomplicated stroke implausible plan by a giant spider lady to hatch loads of baby spiders so they can take over the earth or something. One of Julie Walter’s villainous minions from Ruby in the Smoke also appears in this as Catherine’s dastardly fiancĂ©, who was feeding her magic space juice as part of the plot. He croaks it in this one as well. The giant spider thing looks impressive at first glance until you realise that it can’t actually move and the actress is forced to wave her arms around and overact in order to convey her galactic eviltude. I thought Catherine Tate was quite good and the plot is OK but not great. Entertaining enough for xmas day and not bad compared to some of the rubbish plots they had in the last series. At the end there is some preview stuff for next series which will give all the dr who nerds plenty to wank about on the internets until it finally airs.

DRACULA: This is like a reimagining or something, which means that they totally mess the plot up. Jonathan Harker snuffs it pretty quickly, without even getting to partay with the three hot vampire chicks. What a swizz. Instead, the main character is Lucy’s husband who has got the clap and wants Dracula to cure him so he can get some loving off Lucy. This works about as well as can be expected. He is played by the blue eyed bloke off “Line of Beauty” and ends up getting his head ripped off. That’s what you get for standing around smirking for four hours in a ponderous drama about the 80s. The actress who plays Mina is intensely irritating and I am annoyed that the plot is not reimagined so that she dies horribly as well. Dracula is played by Shifty Marc Warren. He spends half the time going “grrrr” and waving his head around in slow motion and the other half poncing around in a Robert Smith wig and licking ladies necks lasciviously. I am asleep by the time Lucy turns into a satanic blood sucking hussy, which was probably the best bit. Oh well.

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