Couch Potato on the Baftas, Eamonn Holmes and Ski Sunday

BAFTA Awards host Stephen Fry polishes the awards.
BAFTA Awards host Stephen Fry polishes the awards.
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Our Sunday web columnist takes a wry look at the week’s TV:

Out in the nether reaches of digital TV land, Crime & Investigation Network devoted Sunday evening to wall-to-wall episodes of Curious & Unusual Deaths.

But you didn’t have to trawl very far to witness one of those.

There were several curious and unusual on-screen deaths at London’s Royal Opera House for the Bafta Film Awards, beginning outside in the sleet and snow.

And the nominees for outstanding contribution to stupidity on a red carpet are...

Sky News’s Lucy Cotter, freezing her chops off wearing next to nothing, who managed to remind Ben Affleck he’d been snubbed for a best director Oscar, got Helen Mirren’s character in Hitchcock wrong while speaking to Helen Mirren, and declared her backing for Anne Hathaway: “I think best supporting actress will go, erm, err, the, err, the actress who plays, erm, in Les Miserables.”

By the time she remembered her name, there was this breaking news bombshell: “I’m being told Anne Hathaway is still doing her hair.”

More on that story as we get it.

On BBC3, meanwhile, Edith Bowman was “looking for a birthing partner” and making very little sense: “The men want to be him, the women want to be with him. I am of course talking about Stephen Fry.”

I think you’ll find the women might be left a tad disappointed.

But the winners are Dermot “Mate” O’Leary and Caroline Flack, on red-carpet duty for E! channel, who attempted to replace the question: “Who are you wearing?” with: “What are you rockin’ tonight?” and failed spectacularly.

Dermot, to be fair, had at least done some research into the nominees and found out from Gemma Arterton she’d be presenting: “Best film not in a foreign language.”

Caroline Flack, however, was going where no TV presenter has boldy gone before, with the exception of Dr Chris’s rectal examination of Paul Ross live on This Morning, armed as she was with a tiny camera called “Manicam” to zoom in on the Hollywood stars’ jewellery: “It will be used to get up close and personal with their rings. So definitely access all areas for us.”

More so than they could ever have feared, by the sound.

I’m somewhat relieved to report, then, that we didn’t see Manicam in anger, and the spotlight turned to the impending ceremony itself, with host Stephen Fry receiving high praise beforehand from Hugh Jackman: “He’s about as good you get,” and Affleck who said: “I hear the host is really funny. They say he’s one of the greats.”

It was soon apparent he’d heard incorrectly, as one-man thesaurus Fry topped the night’s curious and unusual deaths, opening with an awkward monologue, stumbling over the autocue, and sending his gushing superlatives out of control: “A flowering, towering, multi-multi-award-winning, accolade-receiving, great-acclaim-garnering, British acting legend, the peerless divinity, Ian McKellen.”

He actually said the words: “To take us through this great year of film, who better than the radiant Paloma Faith?”

Anyone, surely?

Only Samuel L Jackson, Billy Connolly, Danny Boyle, and Sally Field, who revealed food poisoning victim Eddie Redmayne was: “Puking his guts out back there,” provided any momentary relief.

The host, though, was running into the pitfalls of venturing off-script: “Five great films including Django Unchained are in contention for best film.”

Five great films not including Django Unchained, to be ever so marginally more accurate.

If we can take anything away from the Baftas, it’s this lightbulb moment from Stephen Fry as proceedings were just beginning: “I could tell you who’s won now and save you a lot of time but it would very much go against the fabric of award shows and possibly destroy them forever. And then where would we be?”

In a much, much happier place, Stephen.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates go to:

Every newsreader over-pronouncing “Les Miserables” like the English policeman from ’Allo ’Allo.

C4’s My Big Fat Gypsy Valentine having nothing whatsoever to do with Valentine’s Day.

Bafta host Stephen Fry failing to conclude Spielberg’s Lincoln movie show-reel, featuring Tommy Lee Jones, by announcing they’ll be searching every “warehouse, armhouse, henhouse, outhouse, and doghouse,” in Lincoln to find him.

Fluff-filled Daybreak demonstrating its complete inability to deal with breaking news, going from a Valentine’s Day feature at “Britain’s most romantic workplace” straight into Ranvir Singh’s news bulletin: “Reports in South Africa claim Oscar Pistorius has shot dead his girlfriend after mistaking her for a burglar.”

And ITV failing to realise comedy and organ donation aren’t necessarily natural bedfellows on From The Heart, which included this question from BBC4 sitcom Getting On’s Ricky Grover to Jo Brand: “Have you got anything for a pain in the neck?”

Yes, shove her off the 10m platform in the next series of Splash!


Bafta best actor Daniel Day-Lewis paying special tribute to the director of Lincoln: “We weren’t in a rudderless boat. Steven Spielberg was the rudder, the helm, the helmsman, the boat builder, the boat, and the sea we float on.”

Hmm. Sounds like Eddie Redmayne isn’t the only one hallucinating from food poisoning.


Eamonn Holmes, on Monday’s This Morning, discussing a report that claimed smart-phone and tablet users check their devices as frequently as once every six minutes: “I walked into my kitchen last night and there was my son and my wife, they were both doing this. I was invisible.”

Invisible, right up until the point he turned sideways.

They couldn’t miss him then.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes go to:

ITV2 in decent show shocker, The Big Reunion.

BBC2’s Ski Sunday’s breathtaking coverage of the biannual men’s downhill world championship.

Guest presenter Billy Connolly’s address at the Baftas: “I’m overcome with joy, I’m awash with bliss at the very thought of presenting an unsuspecting stranger with a death mask on a stick.”

EastEnder Perry Fenwick’s humble and loving trip back to his childhood home, on The One Show, where his nickname “Pel” which he carved on the outside porch wall when he was knee-high to a grasshopper remains today.

And, continuing The One Show theme, Anita Rani asking Michel Roux Jr: “Why bring back Food & Drink after 10 years?”

Good blummin’ question. Yes, BBC2. Why? WHY?!


Loose Women’s Andrea McLean, in a fit of giggles after the first ad break on Tuesday: “I’ve just been explaining to Lisa (Maxwell) that my daughter Amy, who’s six, thinks that I go ‘Loo Swimming’ every day. Swimming in a loo. No, it’s ‘Loose Women’.”

Having watched the show for longer than I care to mention, I’d tend to side with your nipper, Andrea.


Biggest personal disappointment on Bafta night? Without question The Muppets director James Bobin losing out on outstanding debut by a British writer, director, or producer, whose shortlist of nominees as read out by voiceover woman were:

“Bart Layton, Dimitri Doganis, for The Imposter. Experienced television documentary producers Bart and Dimitri’s first feature is a dark and stylish mix of interviews and reconstructions telling the story of a young Frenchman who successfully posed as a missing American child.

“Tina Gharavi, for I am Nasrine. I am Nasrine explores a modern Iranian refugee’s journey and the challenge of trying to fit in to an ever-changing world.

“David Morris, Jacqui Morris, for McCullin. Brother and sister David and Jacqui created this intimate portrait of revered photographer Dan McCullin, gaining unique access to his incredible archive.”

Yeah. Whatever. Give it to The Muppets.