The current climate is not the best in which to launch a topical comedy show, especially with a host who sails as close to the boundaries of taste and decency as Norton does. I thought Graham was fine and it was good to see him back in a post watershed slot where his wicked brand of humour can be given room to breathe.
The problem is that the format of the new show seems to restrict him, rather like a straitjacket and his guests in the opener, Jane Moore, Richard Wilson and Jo Brand also seemed too hemmed in by the structure of the show.
The skit with Richard as a space shuttle commander failed to work at all.
I’m sure once the format has been tinkered with and loosened up a bit, we’ll have a good show on our hands.
How much simpler would it be though to just give Mr. Norton a Friday night chat show? We all know that’s where his real strength lies.
There’s nothing like mocking prejudice as a way of reducing its power. I watched this week’s Extras through my fingers as there were so many cringeworthy moments that it was at times difficult to watch.
Kate Winslet was excellent as her portrayal of herself as being in ruthless pursuit of an Oscar while Ashley Jensen again impressed.
One over the eight
Channel 4’s Favouritism strand is just another excuse for a load of cheap clip shows but Rowland Rivron’s TV Drinking Club unearthed a few classics, featuring, in the main, Oliver Reed.
While clips of Ollie’s drunken antics on chat shows are rather amusing, it would have been nice if a few clips showing what a great screen actor he was had balanced them.
Usual suspects such as George Best and Lynne Perrie also popped up but for me the ultimate display of TV inebriation came from Tracey Emin.
I don’t know much about art but I know what I like.
Hats off to David Spinx and Gerry Cowper who have been brilliant this week as the missing Demi storyline unfolds in EastEnders.
The tensions and divisions in the Miller family, brought on by Demi’s decision to flee, have been superbly realised and let’s just hope that this true to life storyline is remembered when the awards are dished out.
Meanwhile, Family Affairs is to finally bite the dust. Despite its impressive cast of TV legends it’s never really managed to hook me though at nearly a million viewers, you’d think someone could find a space for it in their schedules.
Certainly ITV Day, awash with cheap fillers, could do with a decent soap at the heart of its schedule.
Star Trek Enterprise bowed out on Sky One this week though variants of the Trek franchise still litter Sky’s schedules.
Riker and Troi turned up for the finale, which, somewhat anticlimactically, took place on a holodeck (if you don’t know what it that is, it’s too late to explain now) in the “future???.
While Star Trek has always been inventive, sometimes the plots, especially those involving time travel have proved so labyrinthine as to alienate the more casual viewer.
Nevertheless, it will seem strange not to have new episodes in one form or another. I’d love to see a less goody-goody version. Star Trek: Pirates anyone?
Old v New
I find it odd that it’s much easier to watch old episodes of Casualty on UKTV Gold than new ones on BBC One.
This week I was gripped by a tale from an early series in which the team was stunned when popular ambulance driver Sandra was stabbed by a patient. The thing about the early eps is that they are largely self contained and dead easy to dip in and out of.
Not being a regular viewer of the new shows, it’s nearly impossible just to watch a stand-alone episode because it’s now a soap opera where the plots revolve around the staff rather than the patients.
It’s not as good.
Good Old Boys
Bravo are making hay over the arrival of the new Dukes of Hazzard movie with a re-run of the daft TV show.
It may be drivel, but it’s good-natured, fun loving drivel and a guilty pleasure to wallow in while the August schedules are so threadbare.
It’s a shame the movie hasn’t managed to capture the original show’s feel good nature and naivety.
No more Sherry
I have to worry about the next season of ER now that we know that Sherry Stringfield is the latest star to jump ship.
I find it worrying that older characters may be being replaced by younger more airbrushed ones. We don’t all want to watch The OC y’know.
I’m still smarting that we lost Alex Kingston, who was probably the best thing in it when she left.
As tributes fly in for the late Robin Cook, it shouldn’t be forgotten that as well as being a great parliamentarian, he was also a very adept performer on television.
Few other newspaper reviewers on the box showed his level of insight and intellect.
He’ll be sadly missed.