THERE’S a sombre mood in the O2 Arena, just 48 hours after Corrie legend Anne Kirkbride’s death.
We’re promised a fitting tribute on “television’s biggest night of the year”.
Aaaand cue former fellow cast member Natalie Gumede to present Best Soap Performance…
Oh, but wait. She appears to be completely misreading the tone, on a night anyone ever associated with Weatherfield is wearing an invisible black armband, and boogying her way to the mic, to Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk.
“As someone who has worked in serial drama,” she blurted, “I’m particularly thrilled to be presenting this award.”
How lovely for you. Not a sausage about Deirdre Barlow.
So it was just as well on-screen hubby Bill Roache and Adam “Ian Beale” Woodyatt found exactly the right words for Kirkbride’s send-off at the 20th National TV Awards.
An evening of baffling outcomes where the closest anyone came to risky was sending Sandra from Gogglebox to collect the Factual trophy.
There she stood at the foot of the stage steps and peered up at the North Face of the Eiger: “Where do I go? Where do I go?”
Dermot O’Leary, running down from the podium, to the rescue. No one, however, was there to save him as the night became drearier by the hour.
The very real danger of grabbing some random from the audience to present an award had been dismissed.
Instead, Dermot had a “world exclusive” Lucy Beale murder clue, big news in Turkmenistan and Djibouti.
And, presenting stuck-in-traffic Sheridan Smith’s gong 20 minutes late, he admitted: “We get there in the end, just not in order.”
So many results, in fact, were in the wrong order. That’s what happens when you let the public decide.
They reward out-to-pasture, former glories, like Downton Abbey, and rob The Apprentice, up against Bake Off, MasterChef and Come Dine in a new category called Cookery And/Or Berks In A Boardroom, possibly.
One of the worst I’m A Celebrity series beat two of the greatest Celebrity Big Brothers (Lee Ryan and Gary Busey).
Celebrity Juice was deemed better than Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and “Georgie Shaw”. Whoever she is.
Special Recognition winner David Tennant received a far grander tribute than Anne Kirkbride, of gushing proportions mostly from his dad.
Lenny Henry raised the terrifying prospect of a “24-hour Dermot dance marathon”.
Dame Cheryl was actually shortlisted for TV Judge.
And a vaguely familiar bloke (Ben Haenow) sang during ITV’s mandatory Simon Cowell machine promotion, rounding off the night with the craziest result, X Factor nobbling Strictly.
Remember, though, 2014’s ceremony plugged the I Can’t Sing musical disaster which disappeared without trace weeks later.
My hopes this year? Come in, Dame Cheryl.
Your time’s up.
THIS week’s Subtitles of the Week award goes to…
Winterwatch, Chris Packham: “Lichen is a curious mix of algae and funky.”
In that it only grows on trees in earshot of a James Brown song.
THIS week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates…
* Tracy Barlow, edging to the end of Corrie’s minibus teetering over a cliff, failing to do Michael Caine’s: “Hang on a minute, lads. I’ve got a great idea.”
* Broadchurch becoming a laughable, 16-hour episode of Law & Order.
* Kids invading The Voice studio for unnecessary spinny-chair shenanigans. Plus the spectacle of Black Lace singer Dene Michael, Bruce “Les Battersby” Jones, Marvin Humes, a man with his hand up a puppet and extras all in Hawaiian shirts do-do-doing the conga. (Agadon’t-don’t-don’t.)
* And Katie Price repaying Celeb Big Bro’s £500,000 to cause a stir by telling alleged nemesis Katie Hopkins: “I love your humour, you’re right up my street. I’d definitely be your friend out of the house.” Savage.
DAY two in the Cairngorms where Chris Packham asked: “Michaela, have you ever wondered why a shag is called a shag?”
And with that, the filth floodgates opened on Winterwatch, alongside “viewers’ photos of blackcock” and Strachan declaring: “Snow just makes you want to take all your clothes off and run around!”
Not the wisest statement, given Martin Hughes-Games’ squirrels report: “They’re in the middle of their courtship. A female comes into season and she’ll be chased by the males in this magnificent dance. Sometimes you can get up to six males chasing the female around a tree.”
At which point Michaela should really put some clothes back on.
NAME change required to accurately reflect the enjoyment I got from BBC2’s self-defeatingly overhyped Wolf Hall.
THIS week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes…
* The One Show’s Alex Jones to Robson Green about his new fishing show: “Is it more extreme, more dangerous? Is it why it’s called The Ultimate Quest?” Green: “No.” And why not, Robson? “It’s called The Ultimate Catch, on Quest.”
* Ricky Wilson, taking The Voice’s Blind Date-esque pitches to inappropriate levels (“I felt like after you sang that song I’ve known you all my life”), receiving Esmée Denters’ response: “My boyfriend is backstage. He’ll whoop your ****.”
* And ITV preceding This Morning’s “vagina facials” (moisturising older women’s doubreys with honey, egg white and coconut oil) with a Vanish advert: “Does your carpet ever feel rough? Our new formula cleans, freshens and softens so your carpet is always inviting.” But not that inviting.
STEPHEN Mulhern, host of pre-recorded, jeopardy-free, pro-celebrity variety cobblers Get Your Act Together: “If I was to say you’re going to see a Loose Woman perform a plate-spinning act with a Vegas showman, a rugby legend strapped from the rafters with acrobats and Brian McFadden trying to escape sudden death with Penn & Teller, you would probably say…”
… ITV has run out of ideas again.
COMPARE and contrast… BBC2’s 93-year-old subject of Surviving The Holocaust: Freddie Knoller’s War, on Belsen-Bergen Nazi concentration camp…
“No food was given to us. I remember digging into the ground to get hold of some roots, something to eat. My stomach and body hurt from the hunger. Some young people with sharp stones cut up the flesh of these dead bodies and found a fire to roast the flesh…” with CBB housemate Alicia Douvall, upset Calum Best nominated her…
“You’re so two-faced. You haven’t made the effort with me. I nominated you because I felt you didn’t want to talk to me…”
Heart bleeds, doesn’t it.
MY similarly-shaped thoughts on the C4 and E4 interlinked Russell T Davies dramas Cucumber and Banana.
WINTERWATCH’S Chris Packham on the origins of their Mar Lodge Estate base: “The foundation stone was laid in 1895 by Queen Victoria.
“It was built as a hunting lodge for one of her granddaughters, the Duke of Fife.”
Who was clearly keeping one heck of a secret under that kilt.