OUR Sunday web columnist on the week’s TV:
We’re a week down in Sochi. And that famous bastion of alpine sport Alan Davies has a question.
“It’s the Winter Olympics. What could possibly go wrong?”
Well, a terror attack, for one.
Serious injuries are a constant risk in every sport, of course. (Those curling brooms can give a nasty splinter if you’re not careful.)
And, off the top of my head, BBC2 could launch a Friday night comedy chat show giving a sideways take on the action that makes James
Corden’s World Cup Live look like Bafta Fellowship material.
As if by magic... it’s Alan Davies Après Ski, an unofficial audition for Graham Norton’s long-term replacement that’s gone horribly wrong, by the looks.
It landed like a Darren Gough ski-jump face-plant with guests Konrad Bartelski, “Denmark’s hottest comedian Sofie Hagen” (Copenhagen’s answer to Coleen Nolan) and “this country’s number-one ice-skating judge Sally-Anne Stapleford”.
Though you’ll no doubt have dozens of other personal contenders in mind for that particular accolade.
What this show does beyond dispute is prove the brilliance of QI’s scriptwriters.
Because while I can overlook the Beeb choosing a host with zero interest in winter sports, alarmingly for a comedian Davies is witless, if this evidence is anything to go by.
“Sally-Anne, you were twice an Olympian?”
“Yes. Then I was officiating, so eight Olympics in total.”
Davies: “Eight Olympics in total? Wow.
“Did you share a room (in the athletes’ village) or did you have your own room?”
Stapleford :”I had my own room.”
Davies: “Ah. Nice.”
His live stand-up gigs must just fly by.
There’s a pretend ski-lift chair in the studio that wobbles when he sits on it, green-screen prattery with a fake ski jump and the man cannot conduct a live satellite interview without relying heavily on cue cards.
In fact so much grates that I’ve started picking up the guests’ errors.
Bartelski: “This is the strongest team we’ve ever sent to Sochi.”
And indeed the only team we’ve ever sent to Sochi.
“Alain Baxter won a bronze at Salt Lake in 2002.”
Alain Baxter was stripped of a bronze at Salt Lake in 2002, Konrad.
Davies, with scant knowledge of what anyone’s talking about, can do nothing but let these matters slide.
But he is not helped by the writers.
There are seven of them. Seven.
Plus a “script associate”. Or “writer” as they’re also known.
The best they can do is a Sochi/Saatchi Nigella gag, a joke about the “Olympic Village People” (“THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE PEOPLE! IT’S THE OLYMPIC VILLAGE PEOPLE!” yelled Davies, realising the level he’s operating at), plus this: “Figure skater Matthew Parr missed out on qualifying by one place.
“He told reporters, ‘It couldn’t have gone better for me’. I don’t want to quibble, Matthew, but it could.”
Finally, he had this for 2002 short-track Olympic champion Steven Bradbury: “After your win, you had your face on a stamp. Which is better than a stamp on a face.”
Oh, I don’t know.
An almost sob-story free The Voice last night, until open heart surgery girl showed up.
Next urgent matter is to ban the judges infuriatingly indulging hopefuls’ whims, from letting relatives meet them to not telling returning failure Nick Dixon to sling his hook when he asked: “I’ve had some business cards made and I’d like to hand them to you.”
Most unusual contestant so far is feminine James Byron who said: “A lot of people confuse me for a woman.”
Yes. Jessie J has that problem too.
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...
Newsnight demonstrating BBC’s sexism double standards by inviting a women-only panel to discuss head honcho Danny Cohen’s ban on all-male panel shows.
Danny Boyle’s Babylon letdown. (Stick to Olympic Opening Ceremonies.)
Dancing On Ice’s 1984 week failing to involve the celebs shipped permanently to Room 101.
The One Show’s Alex Jones showing a viewer’s photo: “Here’s Sarah’s 13-month-year-old daughter Penny.”
And This Week choosing Paul Daniels and The Lovely Debbie McGee to discuss flooding, with Andrew Neil asking Debbie: “What’s it like living with this problem?”
Awful, Andrew. But he’ll pop his clogs one day.
This week’s TV Link of the Week award goes to...
The One Show’s Matt Baker after tackling Eric Pickles over flood aid: “Let’s take a breather from the floods, shall we? It’s time to test our reflexes with Shane Richie.”
Let’s not, eh?
ITV put dating show contestants behind a screen. E4 stuck them in a lift, C5 in a pink double-decker bus, with Zoe Salmon.
Meh. BBC3 has disguised them as prosthetic monsters for weirdly compelling Sexy Beasts.
One suitor’s chat-up was a job offer, only: “I would have to interview you - it’s company policy.”
Smooth talker, you. A bunny boiler gave a fussy-eating wrestling demon a box of chocolates with: “The morning-after pill. Just to show you I’m organised.”
And a disastrous match had this narration: “It’s like Romeo and Juliet, but the bit where they’re both dead at the end.”
C5 improvised cop drama Suspects?
Whose Thin Blue Line Is It Anyway?
This Morning astrologer Russell Grant predicting Kelly Brook’s love life: “With all of her Sagittarian stuff going on, Libra rising, the goddess of love Venus as her rising sign, she will never be short of love.”
And those 32E breasts won’t harm her chances either. But mostly the whole Sagittarian, Libra rising and Venus stuff, obviously.
BBC2’s Tim Warwood at the Olympic slopestyle skiing: “Bobby Brown can’t seem to hold it together on the big stage.”
Poor sod. Probably can’t even get in a bath yet either.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...
Emily Bishop’s Breaking Bad boxset addiction, on Corrie.
The Chase joining Pointless’s 500 club.
Matt Lucas and Paul Whitehouse on BBC4’s The Life of Rock with Brian Pern - three parts genius, one part This Is Spinal Crap.
Dragons’ Den’s greatest ever moment, Captain Ego Peter Jones to graffiti entrepreneur David Brown: “Do you know who I am?”
“Yeah. Peter... someone.”
And The Jeremy Kyle Show’s Valentine’s Day theme: “You’ll only see your children when you tell your fiancee to stay away.” And they say romance is dead.