Couch Potato: X Factor sob stories and QVC’s plastic cactus

X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger
X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger
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OUR Sunday web columnist takes a wry look at the week’s TV:

Day 16, the final week dawns in the house, and resident pain-in-the-backside Lauren Harries has at last sussed out Louie Spence.

“There’s no point giving him a slap across the face because he’s not going to change.”

Maybe so, Lauren. But surely it’s worth a go regardless?

That’s Celebrity Big Brother XII for you – a waste ground of regrets and missed opportunities that could have been so much more, whose problems started with the casting.

Ron Atkinson, forever tainted by calling Marcel Desailly a “lazy, thick n******” on live TV, must have seemed to the producers like a masterstroke.

But they’d clearly not watched the 2009 Celebrity Wife Swap with Big Ron and Tessa Sanderson where he realised the offence he’d caused.

Ever since repentant, he entered the CBB house with this mission statement: “I came in here determined not to upset anybody,” and duly contributed nothing until his eviction when he tripped up the stairs and couldn’t find the exit door.

If Atkinson was alone in not wanting to upset the apple-cart, the series could have carried him.

But he wasn’t, was he?

Abz from 5ive, Dustin Diamond and Mario Falcone, the big-haired berk from TOWIE who astonishingly was the most decent human being in there, conducted themselves with dignity.

Television, though, despises these types.

It prefers mouthy, spiteful women who can’t handle their drink like Vicky “Janice Battersby” Entwistle and OTT exhibitionists like Louie Spence and Courtney Stodden and assumes viewers do too.

So this final week was an unedifying spectacle of late-night hissy-fits and deeply unpleasant slanging matches.

All of it fuelled by alcohol.

That’s the greatest shame of CBB XII.

Its format is so much cleverer than that. But the producers replaced creative genius with the ultimate fallback, plying everyone with booze nightly.

It did have its moments. Marcus Bentley’s line: “5.21pm. It’s been over an hour since Bruce slapped himself with a fish,” might be his finest.

Potty-mouthed, bed-wetting, Geordie Shore serial farter Charlotte Crosby has entertained.

And this humdinger promised so much: “This is Big Brother. Housemates, welcome to Dancing on Glass. For your viewing pleasure, Louie Spence will now dance barefoot on broken glass.”

Not only a task but an ideal replacement for ITV’s Dancing on Ice.

Tellingly, however, no one this series comes close to making my all-time CBB house.

Especially not horrendous, needy, transsexual poltergeist Lauren Harries who received undue, oh-so-PC favouritism from Channel 5.

Abz had the right idea, avoiding the drunken bitching by watching a spider in the garden, building cushion towers and likening the housemates to animals.

“I would see Carol as a vulture, Courtney as a jackal, Lauren as a three-toed sloth and Vicky probably an orang-utan.”

Personally I’d be happy if they were all dodos.

An extinct species.

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Last night’s X Factor provided Lydia and Ryan (an even more punchable version of Same Difference) and Next of Kin who should walk it to the live final.

And a pattern’s emerged. “I was rejected at Judges’ Houses” is the new sob story of choice.

So, dreamers, if you’re granny’s still alive, fear not. You can still win X Factor.

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Strap yourselves in, folks, for the thrill ride of BBC2’s Harvest 2013, with Gregg Wallace and Philippa Forester who was witnessing the high-octane drama of crops being dug up.

“It’s so surprising,” she said. “The rough, tough spud but actually you’ve got to be so gentle with them.”

Yeah, otherwise they’ll thump the first person who looks at their girlfriend over dinner.

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This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

Strictly Come Dancing trotting off for three weeks.

BBC2 bothering to air a Dragon’s Den with zero investments.

Corrie entrusting its two least convincing characters, Dev and Stella, with the Killer Karl storyline climax.

This Morning again booking rent-a-gob Katie Hopkins to gush make-believe garbage about it being okay for parents to miss their child’s birthday: “They’re like trains – there’ll be another one.”

And ITV making a 13th series of The Alan Titchmarsh Show.

Because they could just as easily plough that money into a proper OAP day centre.

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Inside ITV2’s The Big Reunion: On Tour bubble, Kerry Katona’s crippled with stage fright, anxiety and “Jenny Frost’s disembodied warbling”.

B*Witched lead singer Edele is mute with laryngitis. Atomic Kitten’s Liz McClarnon has a vomiting bug. 5ive’s Sean Conlon’s developed facial paralysis.

And, according to Andi Peters: “Back in Aberdeen, 911 are in their own spot of bother.”

They’re in Aberdeen.

Better fortunes for Blue, though, mobbed by fans at Newcastle train station, to Duncan James’s amazement: “There were tons and tons of people and some really big inflatable penises floating around as well.”

But don’t worry, Duncan. I’m sure Lee Ryan and Antony Costa will find their way to the hotel eventually.

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Loose Women’s Lisa Maxwell describing Denise Welch’s wedding: “It was like a big Hollywood thing.”

One glance at the guest list and you can see why.

Kate Thornton, Tricia Penrose, Nick Berry, Christopher Biggins, the Krankies...

It’s like stepping down Hollywood Boulevard, isn’t it?

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Yvette Fielding surveyed C5’s new beauty salon on Friday night, considered having to give massages, spray tans and back, sack and cracks, and made an understandable plea: “I don’t want to see a vagina.”

Well tough, Yvette, because there’s six of them here on reality show Celebrity Super-Spa – you, Rustie Lee, Jody Latham, TOWIE’s Arg, John Burton-Race who we “probably know because I’m a chef” (nope) and professional victim Helen Flanagan, an even wetter drip than on I’m A Celebrity.

The biggest star, however, looks like being salon boss Herbert Howe, the product of a one-night threesome in the 80s between Donald Trump, Joe Longthorne and Barry Gibb.

“My name means quality, service and the ultimate experience.”

Your name’s Herbert, pal. Leave it there.

(Celebrity Super-Spa, C5, all this week).

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Big Star’s Little Star host Stephen Mulhern: “Tianie, who has your Daddy (Duncan James) been mistaken for?”

A singer?

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This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

Top Boy’s thrilling, unravelling finale.

Talented band of brothers Next of Kin on X Factor.

Great British Bake Off’s custard tart massacre almost beating ITV’s England World Cup qualifier in the ratings.

And everything, especially the menace of Sam Neill, about BBC2’s awesome Birmingham post-World War I gangster drama Peaky Blinders (Boardwalk Brumpire).

If you’re wondering, yes. I had “Boredwalk Empire” ready to go if it wasn’t any good.

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This week’s Most Desperate Dragon award goes to...

Dragons’ Den’s Kelly Hoppen who, on Thursday night, was begging QVC viewers for a £30.12 investment for a 100 per cent stake in a plastic cactus in a bowl.

I’m out.