Couch Potato on Dancing On Ice, JR and The Cat People of the Canis Major

Holly Willoughby
Holly Willoughby
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Our Sunday web columnist takes a wry look at the week’s TV:

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby have had some real A-grade fruit-loops on their ITV sofa in recent times.

The belly-button-reading fortune teller was pretty special, ditto the woman who sees guardian angels.

And I’ll never forget psychic Jayne Wallace who demonstrated her remarkable ability to tell a mystery celebrity’s key personality traits just by holding their watch, on live TV, and declaring: “She’s a writer, she’s a deep thinker, she’s passionate, she’s sophisticated...”

She was Lionel Blair.

But if you thought that was as off-the-scale bonkers as This Morning has ever got, you’ve clearly not been watching “supernatural week”, simply unmissable telly that’s had me, in equal measure, stunned, perplexed, and in hysterics since Monday.

We’ve had two people convinced they’ve been abducted and probed by extra-terrestrials to create a new hybrid race, David Icke “on why he believes the Queen is a reptile”, and, on day two, what appeared to be the standout act, Coronation Street’s Bill Roache using a psychic medium to talk telepathically to his Jack Russell terriers Poppy and Harry.

He’s a healer these days, you see, who believes humans and animals can communicate via thoughts alone and is spreading the message of: “The most powerful force in the universe, pure love, the foundation of all things.”

Which probably explains why the smooth-talker has so many notches on his bedpost.

Psychic Jackie Weaver was there with Roache’s dogs to channel this mumbo-jumbo, merrily chatting away to them inside her own head and relaying their message to Schofe that they wanted him to believe it.

Don’t know about you but I’m convinced.

It seemed like they’d hit the jackpot with the bloke who plays Ken Barlow mind-talking to his pets.

But I wasn’t reckoning on Wednesday’s guest whack-job slot turning out to be one of television’s great, and weirdest, interviews, as teased by Willoughby.

“Today we meet the woman who claims she has secret sex with aliens.”

Yes, you heard correctly. She was called Stephany Cohen and opened proceedings with the entirely plausible line: “We have a flying saucer and we go off to places within our solar system and out into the universe.

“It happens when my physical body is asleep but my spirit will then leave.”

Willoughby: “Wouldn’t that be what most people call ‘dreaming’?”

By that point, part of me riled against ITV’s undeniable exploitation and ritual humiliation of a deluded woman.

Willoughby was suppressing a fit of the giggles, Schofield was making it clear we were all in on the joke with the pair of them, and the presence of sceptic Professor Chris French to poo-poo everything she said was the least necessary TV booking this show’s ever made.

But the other 98 per cent of me said: “Nah. Pass the popcorn.”

I’m glad it did too, otherwise I’d have missed Stephany explaining that she sleeps with: “The Cat People of the Canis Major star system who are highly charged sexually,” the revelation that her invisible cat grandmother was knitting in the studio, and 24 seconds of pure, brilliant silence as she went into a trance to try to visualise Schofield’s briefcase back in his dressing room and prove, once and for all, the existence of beings from another world. Unsuccessfully.

And there was this question from Schofe which, I suspect, he may never ask during a This Morning interview again: “Who is Ian the Octopus Man?”

Stephany: “He’s an Octopus Man. He stays quite close to me, like a boyfriend, but not really ‘boyfriend’, just a good spirit friend.”

Yes, because calling Ian the Octopus Man your boyfriend would have been frankly ridiculous.


Ant and Dec on Saturday Night Takeaway: “One member of this studio audience could be winning the contents from the ad breaks of one of ITV’s biggest shows.

“This week’s adverts are from Food Glorious Food.”

And not, apparently, one of ITV’s biggest shows.


JR Ewing was gunned down for the second time on Dallas, but with plummeting viewing figures forcing Channel 5 to ditch the show in a late-night graveyard slot, here’s a potted history of the soap.

1980: Who shot JR?

2013: Who cares who shot JR?


Direct from ITV’s sub-zero skating rink came the final of Dancing On Ice.

A turgid affair riddled with talent-show clichés, contestants upping their game, smashing it, delivering, out of their comfort zones, and on flamin’ journeys.

Not least Luke Campbell whose partner Jenna Smith claimed: “It’s been absolutely the most incredible journey.”

All the way, in fact, from Olympic boxing gold medal to bronze on a complete irrelevance of a series that must surely be axed, despite ITV’s threats of DOI 2014.

The final did, however, throw up an unexpected instruction to the celebrities from Christopher Dean ahead of their Bolero: “All we tell them is you start on your knees and you finish lying down.”

Just ask Samia Ghadie.


BBC4’s natural history programme Planet Ant: Life Inside The Colony was so good that I can’t wait for the sequel.

Planet Dec.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes go to:

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.

Barcelona’s exquisite thumping of AC Milan in the Champions League.

Everything about Broadchurch except the attempted Dorset accents, the most convincing of which is David Tennant’s, a Scotsman playing a Scotsman.

EastEnders’ first ever moment of realism, the weather resembling actual events with snow showers on Monday.

Suzi Perry replacing Jake Humphrey as the BBC’s F1 presenter, which comes with a personal request – wear the leathers, please.

You too, Suzi.

And South African sports journalist Graeme Joffe, on BBC3’s Oscar Pistorius: What Really Happened, recalling: “I met him for the first time 10 years ago. He had the world at his feet.”

I think that’s what’s called putting your foot in your mouth.


C4’s Gogglebox features opinionated TV addicts speaking brutally frankly about programmes on the telly.

Nah, it’ll never catch on.


Time once more for some diagnosis expertise from those medical fonts of all knowledge at Embarrassing Bodies.

Dr Dawn Harper: “What I would like to do is to ask a surgeon to have a look at you.”

Dr Pixie McKenna: “We need to get you to meet with an expert.”

Dr Christian Jessen: “You’re going to have to get to your GP.”

And Dr Pixie again: “I think it’s something worth exploring with your doctor.”

What WOULD the patients do without them?


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates go to:

The BBC’s Comic Relief overkill

Antony Cotton wanting to win Let’s Dance For Comic Relief way, way too much.

Sob stories creeping into More4’s Crufts coverage.

Daybreak’s caption writer misspelling the X Factor judge as “Nicole Sherzinger” (what a schtupid mistake), and Tuesday’s show opening at 6.01am with Monday’s headlines on the news ticker.

The “Muppets” team on BBC4’s Only Connect comprising Bill Turnbull, David Mitchell, and Rosie Boycott, and not the far more entertaining Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo the Great.

The Matt Lucas Show guest Eamonn Holmes failing to answer the host’s prompt: “Nominations, please, for the ‘Lucas’ for Most Annoying Queue,” with: “At the eat-all-you-can buffet.”

Rick Edwards flown 6,000 miles to South Africa for BBC3’s Oscar Pistorius: What Really Happened? but failing to discover anything about what really happened.

And ITV’s continuity announcer on Sunday night: “It’s now or never, the live final of Dancing On Ice.”

In that case, I’ll take never.