Our Sunday web columnist takes a wry look at the week’s TV.
Rise and shine, folks, because something’s afoot in the land of breakfast television.
It’s National Bring Your Kid to the Office Week, by the looks, and Lorraine Kelly has entered into the spirit of the occasion by accompanying her suited-and-booted whippersnapper to the ITV1 sofa on work experience.
A lovely gesture by the veteran presente... huh? What’s that you say? “That’s Aled Jones”?
Well shove my hand up Roland Rat’s bottom and call me Frank Bough if it isn’t so.
Yes, it’s the eagerly-anticipated-by-nobody re-launch of Daybreak, where everything has turned ORANGE OHMYGOD IT’S TOO BRIGHT MAKE IT STOP.
You get the gist.
The brand spanking new set (with the same old sofa), however, is the least of ITV’s concerns.
The biggest, arguably, is instantly alienating their own viewers, judging by the reaction on Twitter, and the fact that this newish format has no chance of making a dent in BBC Breakfast’s ratings dominance.
Lorraine Kelly, an excellent TV pro, is clearly able only to work alone.
And much as I don’t want to single him out, because the choice of her co-presenter is the network’s fault, but Aled Jones is out of his depth.
I don’t know what’s been worse – his personal weight-loss obsession, his too-eager-to-impress tie, his completely inappropriate beaming smile (Lorraine’s not blameless here) after his first words on day two: “Police investigating the deaths of a mum and her partner on a boating holiday reveal she may have been strangled. It’s 7am! Welcome to Daybreak!” or his sigh that said “Ah well, never mind, eh?” after the story about the British family shot in France.
There was his savage line of questioning politicians, entrusted as he’s been with the final uppercut after a volley of jabs from Lorraine.
To new Tory Party chairman and Austro-Scottish alcoholic beverage Grant Shapps on Wednesday: “By the way, congratulations on the new job. Are you going to make a difference?”
To David Cameron on Thursday: “Prime Minister, it’s back to school for most children in England and Wales. How was it in your house?”
It was like watching Frost/Nixon. They’ll be reeling for days.
Aled’s cheeky-chappie routine is just painful and he’s hardly making friends and influencing people: “I can remember my first day at school but is your memory that good, Lorraine?”
“I’m guessing you didn’t go to school, Laura.”
“Thankfully, Richard Arnold isn’t in the studio.” Actually, I’m with him on that one.
But his links are diabolical: “From the first lady of the US to the first lady of weather, I suppose,” and seem to have infected “the first lady of weather”, cute newbie Laura Tobin, after Alison Steadman was interviewed on the couch: “I was a big fan of Gavin and Stacey. I’m also a big fan of the sunshine. Good news because there’s a lot of it in today’s forecast.”
It’s not just Aled’s fault, of course. He’d be fine if this was aired Sundays only. And Daybreak’s Olympics legacy (every ruddy show needs one, apparently) is a “Team DB” string-pull goodie bag with a Frisbee. That’ll inspire a generation.
But there was just one possible response when Lorraine announced on Thursday: “After the break, 50 Shades of Grey author EL James’s husband joins us, and we’ll show you how to find your very own Mr Grey.”
None greyer than the bloke sat to your right, Lorraine, weekdays from 7am.
Daybreak’s still broken. Wake up, ITV, and smell the coffee.
Bringing new meaning to the phrase “suspect package”, Thursday’s star guest on This Morning was Jonah Falcon who has, Phillip Schofield reliably informed us, “the world’s largest penis”.
But, as the man explained, he’s not always cock-a-hoop about being so well-endowed: “It could cost me work. As an actor, do you think I would ever work for Disney?”
Depends if they’re doing a live-action remake of Pinocchio.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulike awards go to:
ITV1’s love letter to a 1970s classic, Unforgettable: The Sweeney.
BBC1’s Good Cop.
The first glance of Doctor Who’s new assistant as a zombie Dalek.
The glee with which the disembodied voice of C5’s Big Brother, in the guise of a cheesy television quiz show host during the excellent BB TV shopping task, announced: “Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino claims to be the fourth most Googled celebrity of 2011. But Big Brother can find no evidence of this, whatsoever!”
So much to celebrate at the Paralympics: Channel 4 handling the tone perfectly in a way that the BBC would have been counterproductively overly worthy; the wince-inducing carnage of Murderball; the uninhibited Last Legs With Adam Hills; Alex Zanardi’s gold medal at Brands Hatch of all places; David Weir and Jonnie Peacock’s heroics on Thriller Thursday; and, the day before, both Jeff Adams and John Rawling separately falling into the commentator’s trap during the 800m wheelchair heats of saying: “David Weir/Tatyana McFadden are head and shoulders better than the rest,” in every sense of the words.
And Dallas reincarnated on Channel 5, which was almost entirely devoid of artistic merit, overacted, melodramatic and had ridiculous lines like: “Oil’s in your blood! When did you turn your back on it?!” and “Bobby’s not your dad!”
I loved it.
So, we must bid adieu to one of the greatest reality TV series of modern times. Greater, in fact, than those of ancient times.
And the question which needs answering first is: Who was the alpha male of the Celebrity Big Brother house?
No point even suggesting Martin Kemp, MC Harvey, the dreadfully stuck-up Julian Clary or Kevin The Teenager’s double Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino.
Anyone who’s been watching knows it was Julie Goodyear, the woman with more nicknames than a WWE wrestler.
Nana. Gee-Ma. The Smiling Assassin. The Survivor. The 70-Year-Old Disabled Pensioner. The Sheep in Leopard’s Clothing.
A Tony Soprano-esque Don figure with an invisible vice-like hold on the house, Julie doesn’t climb stairs and needs someone to wash her hair “for medical reasons”. Those reasons being “lack of being arsed”, presumably.
I’ve sung her praises enough in this column over the last three weeks but the truth is that she alone from this series would make it onto an all-time great CBB line-up.
Yet, thanks to Channel 5’s perfect casting and some brilliant tasks, this 10th celebrity run of the show has been an outstanding ensemble performance by all concerned, much like The Wire, only with more back-stabbing and dodgy dealing.
I’ll remember with great fondness the Gods and Mortals task, Julie’s parting “And yours!” to the booing crowd as she made her exit, and the contestants slowly realising her duplicity and even then being unable to resist her charming/fearful dominance.
But as she can’t take the rest of them with her, let’s sit her on a stairlift and send the Corrie legend to that fabled best-of-the-best Celebrity Big Brother house in the sky, where she joins:
Vanessa Feltz, Les Dennis, Bez from Happy Mondays, Jackie Stallone, John McCririck, George Galloway, Pete Burns, Verne Troyer, Alex Reid, Stephen Baldwin, Denise Welch, Michael Madsen, and Nicola McLean.
And you know what? If that ever did become a reality, I’m not convinced it would be as entertaining as CBB10.
But I’d like to see them try.
Now to matters of the exceedingly tiny on Horizon: How Small Is The Universe? where theoretical physicist Dr Giovanni Amelino-Camelia was explaining the fundamental nature of the cosmos – the three dimensions of space and one of time, known as “space-time”:
“Space-time to an ordinary person is space-time. Okay, what is space-time? There’s no answer. To us, space-time is, erm... do you understand what I’m trying to say? The challenge is that I don’t have anything to work with because a person that will listen to me thinks they know space-time very well. But if I asked, ‘What is space-time?’ he would have no answer. Space-time, they think they know very well what it is. For God’s sake. ‘Space-time, you know.’ ‘You know,’ is all they can say. So your (BBC2’s) audience is the worst because they think they know a lot about this subject but then they know nothing. Completely nothing.”
So that clears that up then.
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhate awards go to:
Fool Britannia turning out not to be an elaborate practical joke but an actual programme given actual airtime.
ITV’s obsession with dogs and horses.
The X Factor digging its own grave with another mess of an episode.
And these words from a green-fingered chat-show host on Monday afternoon: “Hello and welcome to, would you believe, the 11th series of The Alan Titchmarsh Show.”
No, Alan. I wouldn’t.