Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy

TV Dek's TV Diary

Comedy Rush

By
The British Comedy Awards was so rushed this year that it ceased to be enjoyable. While the likes of Graham Norton and scandalously outstanding achievement winners Wood & Walters and Billy Crystal were given no chance to shine, John Lydon was given several minutes to spout his incoherent and unfunny drivel.

If Lydon had a point to make, he never got there while countless references to not delaying the news completely marred the first half of the show. I suppose that would be almost acceptable but why rush things after the news. I can imagine people getting hot under the collar if Sir Trevor came on late but surely there wouldn’t have been a flood of complaints if Orange Playlist had been postponed. Some may even have even considered it a bonus.

As for the awards themselves I’m glad Ashley Jensen was recognised, I wasn’t completely surprised that Catherine Tate ended up gongless (or should that be paperweightless) but for me the biggest travesty is that Les Dennis didn’t win Best Comedy Actor having completely stolen the episode of Extras in which he appears.

Damaged

I watched two documentaries this week featuring people who found fame young before it all fell apart.

The first, a repeat of five’s EastEnders, Drugs and My New Nose featured Danniella Westbrook and was a tale of drugs, more drugs, cosmetic surgery and yet more drugs. If the purpose of the piece was to illicit sympathy than it really didn’t work on me. It came across as a tale of someone given chance after chance and failing to grasp any of them. Interestingly there was no mention of former beau Brian Harvey.

No problem there though because there was no real mention of the former soap actress in BBC One’s superior One Life – Being Brian Harvey.

Clio David’s sensitive film follows Harvey, former teen idol from East 17 as he fights to walk again following a very bizarre car accident, which had come hot on the heels of two failed suicide attempts.

The first thing that struck me about both of these fallen stars is that there are still traces of naivety in both of them. Does becoming a star in those vital formative years prevent you from reaching emotional maturity? We saw Harvey being nursed back to health by Emma B, which seems to have meant months in front of the telly watching Trisha. His remote control remained in his hand in the majority of the piece.

The moment when he returned to the scene of the crash was poignant but more so was his attempt to resurrect his music career.

By the end of the piece he was able to walk again but I was left with the feeling that his head may take much longer to fix. Interestingly though I think much more of the man now than I did before watching the film.

When you’re smiling

My major problem with Secret Smile was that the twist ending was so flipping obvious that the last part of the show was a bit like waiting for a bus. The other thing is that Kate Ashfield’s Miranda was such a drip that I felt like climbing inside the screen to give her a good shake.

So much of this didn’t make sense that any attempt at plot scrutiny could fill this column for three weeks. Having said that, if you parked your brain at the side of the sofa and cracked open a bottle of wine, it was quite enjoyable, mainly for the cold-eyed villainy of David Tennant as the manipulative charmer Brendan.

Brendan may have been sent down in the end but the real crime here was the under use of the likes of Jill Baker, John Bowe and Claire Goose who could have been given far more to do, especially when Miranda went missing.

News on the news

It’s been a significant week at ITN. We’ve seen Sir Trev read his final bulletin and hey the world hasn’t stopped turning. I tuned in hoping to see some sort of montage of his best bits but it was business as usual unfortunately.

Of more significance is the decision to axe the ITV News Channel. While it has always looked cheaper than it’s rivals, I like the fact that we have a choice of news outlets; it gives some sort of assurance that we are getting the truth. If we only had Sky or only had the BBC many of us would be far less trusting over what we are told.

The decision to place news bulletins into ITV2 and 3 seems a retrograde step to me, out of synch with the way we now watch television. Only recently BBC Three abandoned its news show while BBC Four have long since jettisoned the word “news??? from their show.

The axing is really bad news for former Sky News heartthrob Scott Chisholm who had just started his new breakfast show.

The big oil blaze led to the popular Sunday repeat of Match of the Day being shelved for ongoing coverage of the smoke. I really didn’t see the point of an hour and a half of live coverage of some smoke and I note that the BBC didn’t think it was important to enough to drop the incredibly dry Sunday AM with Andrew Marr. It’s not a patch on Breakfast with Frost.

Out of orbit

For those who are waiting for my piece on Space Cadets I apologise. I only got through another five minutes of it before deciding that life really was too short and switching off.

For all I know it may well be a marvellous show but a combination of scheduling, the dullness of the bits I’ve seen and I’m sorry to say Johnny Vaughan have driven me away from it.

Carry on Cleo

I’m slightly shocked that Rome isn’t proving to be a hit. I’m loving it.

Things livened up marvellously this week as the action moved to Egypt and Cleopatra made her first appearance. By the end Cleo had leaped into the sack with both Caesar and the wonderfully laddish Pullo while young King Ptolemy (ironically played by a lad called Scott Chisholm) ended up sleeping with the fishes.

Best performance this week was Tony Guilfoyle’s great turn as eunuch Pothinius.

Ghost of Christmas Past

You know it’s Christmas when UKTV Gold have an EastEnders at Christmas Weekend.

A trip down memory lane like this reminds us just how good this show used to be, shot with seemingly more care and with characters we really cared about. I loved the scenes between Nick and Dirty Den in prison. There was potential for a spin off there. Best of all was seeing Arthur Fowler again, a marvellously well rounded and popular character the like of which we could do with in the current episodes.

It was sad to see Nana Moon finally bow out this week and the exit was tastefully handled, thanks to a wonderfully dignified performance from Hilda Braid. There were even signs of genuine emotion from Jake this week. Wonders will never cease.

Unfortunately much of the week was taken with thug Phil’s efforts to destroy thug Johnny using pillock Juley to deflower boring Ruby while dull Martin argued yet again with haughty Sonia. I couldn’t care less about any of these people.

The real shock was that EastEnders scriptwriters suddenly remembered that when we first met Jim Branning he was a vile racist. Their attempts to explain his remarkable transformation were so lame that they may have done better to do what they’ve done for years and ignore it.

and finally…

Dance purists may be up in arms but I for one am completely thrilled that Darren Gough triumphed in Strictly Come Dancing.

His enthusiasm has been the high point of the series and he has proved himself a true entertainer.

You May Like

More: TV