Professional Couch Potato Adam Postans gives his view on the past week’s TV in his first weekly Sunday web column for the Echo:
Ah, the glitz and glamour of the Oscars. A celebration of Tinseltown’s finest, a showcase of the movie world...
And the one night of the year you can place your mortgage on a posse of microphone-jabbing television reporters, foaming at the mouth, producing a horror show.
So it was last Sunday, Live On The Red Carpet at the 84th Academy Awards outside the Hollywood & Highlands Centre in Los Angeles, where Sky Living had bothered to send an entertainment correspondent, only to air the grand total of zero interviews from her.
Instead, and with no explanation as to whom these strangers were on screen, the channel relied on pooled coverage from the American ABC network.
And gee, folks, didn’t they repay your mortgage with interest, starting with a suck-up named Robin Roberts who forgot the first lesson in interviewing a foreign language speaker, namely if you don’t speak the lingo, don’t under any circumstances speak the lingo, bidding farewell to Best Actor winner Jean Dujardin with: “Merci beaucoup.”
Dujardin: “Merci à vous. Très honoré.”
“Erm... I only know ‘merci beaucoup’.”
Personally, I’d like to say merci beaucoup to Robin, because it set the tone for one of the funniest few hours I’ve seen on telly, which wasn’t consigned solely to LA.
Keeping a discrete 5,000-mile distance in Sky’s London studio, Heat magazine’s Boyd Hilton was practically wetting himself: “This is by far the most exciting night of the year.”
Just as well, then, there was a Tena Lady nearby. Actress Natalia Tena, no doubt booked for her in-depth knowledge of the nominated films: “I haven’t seen The Descendants. But I saw the trailer.”
Oh, well that’s okay then.
She had, however, watched “Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud”, which presumably is a bit like the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
So they handed swiftly back over to California where Roberts was asking Albert Nobbs actress Glenn Close: “I know how passionate you were about bringing Nobbs to the big screen.”
Which is no way to talk about Michael Douglas, in Fatal Atrraction.
But the truly weak cog in the wheel was an English reporter for ABC named Louise Roe (me neither) who, rather than asking pertinent questions, gave Gwyneth Paltrow a Cockney rhyming test and had this showstopper for Nick Nolte: “I have a little quiz for you. True or false, you own a pet crow?”
Nick Nolte: “What I do?”
Turns out, once he regained his bearings, he does own a crow, named John David Crow, plus a pinball machine that had Roe suggesting: “I hope it predicts Oscars.”
Nolte: “Oh, no. It doesn’t predict those at all.”
In all seriousness, though, I was delighted to see “Man Or Muppet” receive so much attention, not least because he’s been on the Academy Awards red carpet for Daybreak a decade now.
Some know him better as Ross King, the tanned wonder, for whom the event was all about him: “I’m so lucky. It’s my 10th Oscars. It’s been lots of fun here catching up with old pals Kenneth Branagh and Gerry Butler. Salma Hayek blew me a kiss. My old pal Michael Douglas gave me a wave. I had a chat with my old pal Gerry Butler. He’s an old pal.”
Still, he fared better than BBC Breakfast’s hapless Tim Muffett who announced The Artist won “Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Straw”, before spotting a familiar face approaching him:
“Oh! Patrick Stewart! Patrick Stewart’s here.”
“No, Ed Lauter,” replied The Artist actor who’s starred in 76 films.
The beauty of live television. And it’s a live television show that I hope will benefit most from Oscars red carpet night.
Nick Nolte for I’m a Celebrity. Crow or no crow.
The campaign starts here.
Back now to BBC1’s Alexander Armstrong last Saturday: “Here are our Pointless Celebrities – Christopher Biggins, Lesley Joseph, Penny Smith, Jon Culshaw and Joe Swash.”
Yes, I’m inclined to agree.
Matt Baker, introducing a piece about fraudulent car accident insurance claims on Tuesday’s The One Show: “When you hear the term ‘whiplash’, what do you think of?”
If I’m honest? Max Mosley.
After his controversial views on BBC1’s Question Time, a lot of people on Twitter were giving David Starkey a hard time.
But it’s not his fault the real hero was always Hutch.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulike awards go to:
Paddy McGuinness continuing to save Take Me Out.
Channel 4’s Homeland maintaining its opening episode pace.
The Yesterday channel devoting the whole of Saturday afternoon to all six episodes of Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution, one of the greatest and most harrowing TV documentaries ever made.
And what I’d like to believe was a moment of genius, rather than sheer chance, by the public-address system operator at Murrayfield who, when a male streaker ran onto the pitch during the Six Nations match between Scotland and France, pressed the emergency-music panic button and out blared the lyrics: “What’s that coming over the hill, is it a monster? Is it a monster?”
Over to Sky News’ Lucy Cotter interviewing The Artist star James Cromwell on Sunday night: “Can you describe what it’s like here on the Oscars red carpet?”
Katie Price judging her own talent show. All Star Family Fortunes, with Rav Wilding and Blythe Duff. Celebrity Big Brother, featuring Bobby Sabel and Darryn Lyons.
TV has given us some great contradictions in terms recently.
None more so, however, than this announcement from ITV1’s John Sachs last weekend: “It’s Rock Night on Dancing on Ice.”
Sorry, run that by me again? Rock Night? On Dancing on Ice?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Britain’s fluffiest and least rock ‘n’ roll show is cranking up the decibels and stage-diving its way into your living rooms with, you’d imagine, Jennifer Ellison skating to Guns N Roses, Chemmy Alcott to Metallica, and Chico gracing the ice to the thrash metal sounds of Megadeth.
And indeed, anthems by the monsters of rock were blasting out – Kelly Clarkson, Tommy James and the Shondells, and, erm, Bonnie Tyler.
But that’s typical of this poor man’s Strictly. It’s a featherweight show in a heavyweight’s ring that leaves me with so many gripes.
Not least everyone needing to “up their game”, the pointless existence on it of Louie Spence and Karen Barber, Sachs’ introductory puns which were even more terrible than usual last Sunday (“He’s an athlete now, so no more ‘Meatloaf’ for presenter Sam Nixon”) and former football commentator Tony Gubba’s out-of-control costumes obsession: “That floaty white dress is lovely and romantic and ethereal.”
As for his commentary, I’ll have whatever he’s drinking: “That was a racing gazelle followed by the forward assisted teapot, then a roll-up into a camel ride and there were some cool butterflies into a fish lift.”
Actually, I won’t.
Most of it makes no sense at all, and the gobbledygook is becoming an epidemic:
Katarina Witt: “You really rock the ice.” (Eh?).
Christopher Dean: “Chico is no Ringo Starr.” (What?).
And the talented Phillip Schofield, who let his high standards slip by allowing himself to say: “If you don’t want a total eclipse of the Jennifer, vote for her when the lines open.” (Give me strength).
I’ll be honest, though, I have missed a couple of episodes, a fact that Louie Spence made me regret: “Jennifer, for me it wasn’t quite as good as Decapitation Week but that’s going to take a lot of beating.”
Whoa! ITV Player, here I come.
Next Thursday there’s a new comedy series on BBC2, The Sarah Millican Television Show.
Perhaps, just perhaps, this is the one programme on terrestrial TV she won’t actually appear on.
Throw a bunch of strangers into a house, force them to live together for a while, give them a weekly shopping budget and tasks to perform, such as dressing up in period costume, provoke arguments at every turn and film the results.
Groundbreaking television, according to diversity and community expert Taiba Yasseen on Make Bradford British: “This project has not been attempted before.”
Apart from, of course, on 12 Big Brother and nine Celebrity Big Brother series.
The difference, Channel 4 would have us believe, is that this is a social experiment to try to break down the cultural barriers between divided ethnic groups and communities in the city.
It’s got as much chance as Engelbert Humperdinck winning Eurovision, obviously, even without some of the appalling casual racism on display from one of the housemates, 71-year-old retired police officer Jens.
However, it did have one great moment at the start when residents were sitting the Government’s citizenship test, including this question: “Hogmanay is a traditional celebration in which country?”
Baffled woman: “I don’t understand the question. I don’t know about monogamy... erm, mahogany... mahna... mahna...”
Do doo be-do-do. Mahna Mahna. Do do-be-do. Mahna Mahna. Do doo be-do-do, be-do-do, be-do-do, be-do-do-doodle do do do-doo do.
Fresh from spending an hour telling us the Braveheart movie wasn’t strictly 100 per cent historically accurate, Channel 5 repeated the trick with Apollo 13: The True Story.
If they carry on at this rate, the only film I’ll believe is correct is where the Americans killed all the aliens and saved planet Earth on Independence Day.
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhate awards go to:
BBC1 shunting the brilliant Winter Wipeout from Saturday primetime to an obscure mid-afternoon slot when everyone’s out.
Holly Willoughby’s professional mask disappearing forever when she burst into tears during an interview on Thursday’s This Morning with a dad and two sons who’d lost their mum.
Loose Women’s Carol McGiffin and Jenny Eclair arguing about the correct title of The Monkees’ songs during a supposed tribute to Davy Jones (it’s what he would have wanted).
And the Sky Atlantic executive who decided Ann Widdecombe hosting a daily quiz show called Cleverdicks would make great television.
Let’s just say they’re not clever.