Our Sunday web columnist takes a wry look at the week’s TV:
For 85 years, the world-famous Elstree Studios have been graced by the giants of entertainment, from Alfred Hitchcock to George Lucas, Steven Spielberg to Stanley Kubrick.
To that illustrious roster they can now proudly add the fourth most talented member of Girls Aloud, who rocked up with a camera crew in tow for rehearsals ahead of her first solo tour.
And it was all captured on the small screen for ITV2+1 documentary Cheryl: Access All Areas, also available an hour earlier on ITV2 if you were really keen, where my hopes that the areas we had access to would include Surrey nightclubs with female toilet attendants faded the moment the singer appeared in soft focus, L’Oreal style (because she’s worth it).
Instead, we had an hour-long Cheryl Cole promo which, in case there was any doubt that this was just one big advert, included the following commercials, in order, during the second break:
L’Oreal Paris hair colour, featuring Cheryl Cole, Girls Aloud’s greatest hits CD, featuring Cheryl Cole, Now 83 album, featuring a Cheryl Cole song, Clubland 22 triple CD, featuring an entirely different Cheryl Cole song, and Now That’s What I Call Musicals, featuring All That Jazz, by Connie Fisher.
Okay, so that last one was a firebreak. But the advertorial soon reignited, with a mention of her autobiography, and didn’t finish until the end credits rolled, during which the ITV2 continuity woman plugged the forthcoming DVD Cheryl Cole: A Million Lights Live Concert, with exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, don’t you know, available from all good stockists from November 26.
As for the programme itself, it was unmissable if you’re a fan, unwatchable if you’re not.
I’m sure she’s come away from the experience thinking she’s given her adoring “soldiers” just enough of a glimpse of her personal life by speaking briefly of her feelings for American dancer boyfriend Tre, who actually seems a thoroughly decent bloke, which is quite a departure for her.
She was genuinely worried for his future when he injured his knee just hours before opening night and required an emergency MRI scan:
“This is serious. It’s his livelihood,” a concern that wasn’t lifted until all of four days later when he was declared fit again.
Cheryl added: “It would be like me losing my voice. What the hell would I do?”
I don’t know, Cheryl. Find a career better suited to your talents, perhaps?
But I’m equally certain she has no idea just how much she did reveal of herself, namely her overwhelming, woe-is-me, life’s-so-tough self- pity, which stems from her hatred of the press for all the “rubbish and lies” written about her, while conveniently forgetting there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
I will admit, however, that it wasn’t a completely wasted hour. We discovered that her choreographer is called Charm, a woman clearly still going by her ITV Gladiators name from the 1990s.
Cheryl spoke fondly of her creative director Fatima who was... how would you describe her, Cheryl?
Ah yes, that was it.
After landing in London, Tre told her the clock was ticking before the tour: “48 hours.”
Cheryl: “48 hours?”
“48 hours to get it together.”
“What did you have to say that for? That makes it sound like two days.”
There’s no fooling the girl.
But what really got my goat wasn’t even anything in the fluff-ridden crock of a documentary.
It was the trending topic Twitter hashtag being used by viewers while it was on: “#nationssweetheart,” which rankled for one very obvious reason.
Because she’s not worth it.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulike awards go to:
Sky Atlantic’s Bafta-worthy Bradley Wiggins: A Year In Yellow.
Bring Me Morecambe and Wise, on Gold.
Christmas coming early with Channel 5’s World’s Strongest Man Qualifiers.
The X Factor performing hara-kiri as the best singers, Ella and James, were voted into the bottom two. In fact, it couldn’t have been worse for the show had Christopher Maloney, the human greased cheeseboard, descended on wires from the rafters with the severed heads of Bonnie Tyler in one hand and John Farnham in the other. (Maloney to win).
I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, especially Ant’s fluent “Bristow” and Rosemary Shrager screaming as crabs scuttled towards her in the Bed Bugs trial. I say “screaming”, it was more like a barking, yelping dog who’s got its nadgers caught in a cat flap.
Al Murray’s clinical assessment on Golden Rules of TV of an infamous television moment: “Richard Madeley’s Ali G impersonation was the point at which western civilisation broke.”
The same ITV1 show’s voiceover Robert Webb’s glorious weight-related dig at Eamonn Holmes, a dig that is still off-limits on the spineless BBC, after Mr Ruth Langsford said: “I’ve had a lot of on-screen wives – Lorraine Kelly, Anthea Turner, Fiona Phillips, Kate Garroway, Penny Smith... that’s better than Henry VIII.”
Webb: “And that’s not the only similarity...”
And BBC1’s wonderful Last Tango in Halifax, a love story which doesn’t lose anything if you think of leading protagonists Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid as the narrator of the adventures of Iggle Piggle, Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy, and the Tombliboos, and the voice of Wendolene Ramsbottom, from Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave.
In fact, if anything, it adds something, don’t you think?
The One Show’s question of the week. Matt Baker to Neil Diamond, the day after he played at the Royal Variety Performance: “Prince William is a big fan of yours. Is it right that you were going to change the words of Sweet Caroline to Sweet Catherine?”
“Erm, I hadn’t heard that.”
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhate awards go to:
Strictly Come Dancing getting lost in its own echoes inside that giant aircraft hangar Wembley Arena.
Chris Moyles’ ego getting lost up his own backside by tap-dancing with Eric and Ernie holograms on Children In Need.
Another ITV1 football match pulling the rug under I’m A Celebrity’s momentum for the second week running, and the all-too-soon elimination of unifying camp-hate figure Limahl, who was becoming indispensible to the series.
X Factor’s Gary Barlow holding a Parker pen like Derek Batey jotting down the couples’ answers on Mr & Mrs.
High-horse jockey Tulisa berating X Factor’s viewers for “voting for the wrong people”, two weeks after she saved Rylan Clark, a joke that’s now backfiring in their faces spectacularly.
This introduction on a milestone Never Mind The Buzzcocks that was obviously tongue in cheek but grates enormously in the knowledge that
BBC2 kept this tired dinosaur of a show that has never recovered from Simon Amstell’s departure in 2009 but axed the far superior Shooting
Stars: “It is incredible that after 250 episodes, Never Mind The Buzzcocks has lost none of its edge and relevance to modern culture. I’m Richard Madeley.”
And Piers Morgan, after Golden Rules of TV showed the famous clip of Grace Jones giving Russell Harty a slapping, claiming: “I would love to have been beaten up by Grace Jones on live television. Fantastic. Can you imagine people at home going, ‘You watching this? Morgan’s getting beaten up by Grace Jones’. People would be flooding on to watch.”
Nah. Piers Morgan getting beaten up by Grace Jones? Not fussed.
Piers Morgan getting beaten up by David Haye? Seconds out, round one.
Recent events mean ITV1’s This Morning is the last place you should try a bit of mischief, but Monday’s guest Jack Whitehall gave it a whirl anyway while admiring the studio’s view over the Thames:
“I feel a bit stupid because I thought that was a projection but it’s a real window. All you would need is a ladder and a friend to hold your clothes and you could make yourself very famous.
“I’m not suggesting you do that. But if I wanted to sell a few more copies of my DVD, me naked at that window holding the DVD there (in front of my crotch).”
Phillip Schofield: “I have to tell you there’s a security guard, a very dangerous fence and the whole thing is electrified.”
The fence is electrified? In that case, I’m happy to provide Jack Whitehall with a metal ladder.
Do yourself a mischief.