Our Sunday web columnist takes a wry look at the week’s TV:
You can imagine the panic, at ITV, ahead of Wednesday night’s big pop bash.
The network’s unofficial patron Simon Cowell would be there, along with his biggest X Factor success story, One Direction.
But looking down the list of winners, it seems the five bright young lovable pains in the neck have been overlooked for a gong.
“No matter,” thought ITV, “let’s get the organisers to make one up and give it to them anyway to keep Simon sweet. Call it, I don’t know, Global Success award.”
And thus it unfolded, at The Brits, a lifeless occasion which started with ITV2’s Laura Whitmore tempting fate: “There’s always something controversial that happens every year.”
The big controversy this time around, of course, was that precisely nothing controversial happened throughout the two-and-a-quarter-hour duration.
George Michael didn’t show up slurring his words, nobody stormed the stage, and host James Corden, dressed like a 15-year-old at his first end-of-year prom and armed with a terrible script, spent the evening making jokes about Harry Styles fancying older women and sucking up to the stars:
“It’s the beautiful Miss Taylor Swift.” “The mighty Robbie Williams.” “The super, super talented Ed Sheeran.” “The dynamic and effortless Emeli Sandé.”
The grovelling James Corden, if you ask me, who caught a dose of “incredible” Tourette’s mid-show, of which I’ll spare you the details.
Likewise his constant references to the elephant in the room, Adele’s speech he cut short last year, firing away at it like a big-game hunter with a
And the way he was squeezing information out of the acts about their forthcoming concert tours, they might as well have just gone the whole hog and hired Dermot O’Leary instead.
The sparse moments that tickled amounted to guest presenter Rafe Spall’s room-clearing request for the crowd to applaud the host, tongue-tied Corden announcing Robbie Williams as “Whoopee Williams”, and his introduction of Jack Whitehall: “To present the award, the unfunny one from A League Of Their Own.”
Hardly fair, James. He’s also the unfunny one from Fresh Meat and Hit The Road Jack.
I’d had more than enough long before the five Best Album nominees disappeared up their own backsides.
Mumford & Sons: “This album is us harnessing each of our different creative outputs.”
Plan B: “Ill Manners is more important for what it’s saying as a social comment on the society we live in. It’s the music of the environment.”
Paloma Faith: “This album is about love and observing the human condition.”
Emeli Sandé: “Our Version of Events is our truth and at the end of the day that’s all we really have.”
Alt-J: “We focus on the power of the track, not the ego of the band.”
So it was over to ITV2’s backstage after-show which turned out to be an unpredictable shambles, and therefore far more entertaining than the ceremony.
Hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks were on interview duty and quickly established they’re no Ant and Dec, talking over each other, sounding like an impregnable wall of verbal diarrhoea, and jumping an increasingly flappable Laura Whitmore’s autocue lines to the point where she ended up out of her seat screeching: “Don’t read my line! Don’t read my line!”
But it wasn’t until a segment called “Brits rules” that the lunacy spiralled out of control, with a Mumford & Son saying: “Rule number one about awards shows is take a hipflask.”
Rule number two? Spell the ceremony presenter’s name correctly on screen (it’s Corden, not Cordon, ITV2).
I’m left, though, with the memory of the host telling Rizzle Kicks the secret to his job: “Try to be fun, not funny. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Mission accomplished, James. Not funny at all.
Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies narrator: “Tonight in the clinic, we’ll see a wayward willy.”
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes go to:
C4’s The Fried Chicken Shop: Life In A Day.
ITV’s HMP: Aylesbury.
ITV2’s The Big Reunion.
Saturday night TV saviours Ant and Dec’s interview on The Jonathan Ross Show.
Ed Leigh’s nod to a classic R&B track while discussing the giant slalom world champion on Ski Sunday: “I like the way he works it. Ted Ligerty.”
Eric Clapton’s 20-second gig and Lewis Hamilton obliterating the F1 Star in a Reasonably Priced Car lap record on Top Gear.
Soccer Saturday hero Jeff Stelling outwitting the host and her army of seven writers on The Sarah Millican Television Programme.
The unintentionally hilarious and properly barking mad séance, on ITV’s dreadful Mr Selfridge, by a spiritual medium friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (ele-mental, my dear Watson).
And the leg-crossing moment buck-toothed, thumb-sucking Embarrassing Bodies patient Nicole recalled a, ahem, nasty accident during an intimate moment with her boyfriend.
I’ve no desire to go into it, but let’s just say he can now sing Stayin’ Alive pitch perfect.
Holly Willoughby with This Morning’s “hot topic” on Tuesday: “Jeremy Irons has caused a commotion with his recent comments about his love of touching people, which has got us thinking.
“Is it acceptable for a man to touch a woman’s bottom? Is it old fashioned to frown upon a flirty bum-pinch? Or is it downright rude and offensive?”
No doubt about it. It’s rude, offensive, and most of all, sexist. Totally sexist.
They’d go mad at you for interrupting all their ironing and washing up.
Dom Joly on Daybreak: “I’ve written a guide to how to be funny.”
Try reading it, then.
The One Show research of the week, courtesy of Matt Baker who asked Danny DeVito about working in his sister’s beauty salon years ago: “I read somewhere that you can’t help but look at people and tell them their hair works or doesn’t work. Is that right?”
DeVito: “I don’t do that.”
Bring back Bruce Willis, eh Matt?
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates go to:
BBC2’s Sarah Millican and her army of seven writers regurgitating the old “Kate Adie in a warzone means the soldiers are in trouble” gag, 23 years after it first appeared in a newspaper cartoon during the First Gulf War.
The BBC choosing the wrong show to introduce free voting on the internet, Let’s Dance For Comic Relief, and on the same show, One Direction’s Zayn keeping his stupid baseball cap on while visiting desperately ill children in Accra.
Show some damn respect, son.
And The Fried Chicken Shop: Life In A Day’s final edit not cutting out a pair of actors with a wicked sense of humour who pretended to have learning difficulties for comic effect, only to fail spectacularly.
I mean, imagine Channel 4 showing an actor with a wicked sense of humour pretending to have learning difficulties for comic effect, only to fail spectacularly.
C4’s continuity man, Monday afternoon: “Now on 4, Phil Spencer hosts a brand new quiz where you find the link between two words.”
For example, if the two words are “Phil” and “Spencer”, there’s an obvious link.
Both are utterly unsuitable to host a TV quiz show.
There are two certainties when a much-loved celebrity dies.
Twitter users will wait at least 0.7 of a second before doing a joke about it.
And ITV’s Loose Women will turn the topic of conversation inexorably towards their second favourite subject after their loathing of men – to themselves.
So it was, the day after national treasure Richard Briers passed away.
Denise Welch: “We know he smoked too many fags. I’m guilty of that myself.”
Jane McDonald: “I did take my foot off the accelerator for a while about two years ago. I decided to pack it all in. I loved the rest, I got to know my garden, I started to bake and cook, and then I realised there was no money coming in.”
Carol Vorderman: “In 2007 I moved into a tiny flat and it was the kids, me, and my mum and I was so happy. I had one wardrobe for the first time in my life.”
Welch again: “Lincoln and I were on a cruise and I had my little rail of clothes, one for each day, and Lincoln and I are so happy in each other’s company.”
Carol McGiffin: “I have a really good life but it’s actually quite a simple life. I don’t have a big house, I have a small two-bedroom flat for me and Mark.
“Yesterday it was my birthday and I went out shopping.”
It’s what Richard Briers would have wanted.
Diagnosis expertise now from those fonts of all medical knowledge at Embarrassing Bodies.
Dr Christian Jessen: “If it’s going red and a bit oozy then you need to see a doctor.”
Dr Pixie McKennya: “Let’s get you to see a dermatologist who can take a look.”
Dr Dawn Harper: “If it’s worse tomorrow morning then you need to get into hospital.”
I don’t know where we’d be without them.