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Dubious taste

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In 1972 a plane crash over the Andes left the survivors missing for weeks and in a desperate attempt to survive they were forced to eat the flesh of those that perished. This was a tragic tale and a controversial but ultimately uplifting movie was made on the subject.

Now TV bosses have really dredged the bottom of the barrel by using these tragic events as the basis for - and this is no joke- a celebrity reality show.

Fortunately, the D-listers don't have to eat each other, though they are lugging around large sides of raw meat so that they can approximate the diet of the crash survivors. It's just as well really because there doesn't seem to be much meat on The Games fall guy Adam Rickett, although I'm sure Hell Kitchen's star Jean Christophe Novelli could have made a decent starter out of him given the right herbs and spices.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for sticking pampered showbiz types halfway up a mountain with a camera and letting them find their own way back - but to attach such a show to a genuine disaster in which a lot of people died and others were forced to make choices which would haunt them is just wrong in my view.

It's a pity because there is a good show struggling to get out here - though the opener was fairly woe-free - but things should get more precarious as the weeks roll by.

Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Quite often, those that give the best advice on Deal or No Deal end up having a poor game themselves so I was somewhat worried when Aaron – the odds wizard on the show - stepped up to the plate this week. His second offer was a massive thirty grand and you could see in his face he thought that would be the time to go. However even the most calculating can be sucked into the game, though he eventually regained his sense of proportion and walked off with 25K and a lot of respect.

That's the strange thing about this show. The bloke the day before walked away with two grand more than Aaron but left nowhere near as contented, for it transpired he'd had the big money in his box all along.

Nowhere near the big money was the lovely Lucy – never shy at advising others - who after fifty shows somehow managed to mess up her own game, dismissing the banker's offers as “rubbish” and walked away with just a fiver, averaging out at just 10p per show.

You can wash your hands and face, you can wash your…

Arsenal took on Juventus this week in a vital match in the Champions League.

When Louise Jameson became a sex symbol on becoming a Doctor Who companion she was apparently surprised and a quote from her stuck in my mind - “you put somebody in a leather leotard on after the football results, inevitably that will happen”.

I was reminded of that this week because as good as the football was on Tuesday, it was difficult to concentrate on the half and full time analysis because Gabby Logan looked so vampish I thought she might smoulder through the screen. Andy Townsend and Ally McCoist must have been gutted that they were stuck out on the pitch after the match instead of in the cosy booth with the overly glamorous presenter.

It was never like this in Bob Wilson’s day.

In contrast Sky offer the hirsute Richard Keys in the studio. He may be a good presenter but he's nowhere near as easy on the eye.

It’s about time ITV stopped sticking Ally and Andy out on the pitch at the end of game. It serves no purpose really, though I believe it’s fairly common practice for football shows in Germany.

No doubt when the World Cup starts the BBC will be lavishing our licence money on taking all their pundits out to Germany where they will no doubt stop in better than average hotels, just to watch the games in a German TV studio rather than a British one.

If it ain’t broke…

Paul O'Grady took his Channel 4 bow but is the title The New Paul O'Grady Show misleading under The Trades Description Act? What exactly is new about it?

What we got was a complete transplant of the ITV version. Indeed viewers flicking between this and the repeat offering on ITV1 may have been confused as to which was which, with Bert and Buster still very much in place and even the same theme music being employed.

His debut featured Mel Sykes - I bet her Des and Mel ITV supremos won't be overly pleased about that - and Ross Kemp, though O’Grady’s introduction lasted almost as long as the actual interview.

O'Grady doesn't do slick and the show is all the better for his stumbles and tendency to ramble at times. It feels real. The pity is that there's now no Richard and Judy to flick over to while he’s on. I often found that the best entertainment was to be gleaned by dipping in and out of each show and it's a pity that's no longer possible.

Strangely, Chris Evans was far more entertaining on O’Grady’s show than he’d managed on his own recent ITV offering, as Light Your Lemon was resurrected for the night.

There could be a lesson here. Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush was just hitting its stride when it disappeared and there are still legs in the format. Evans could do far worse than to resurrect that. Just don’t get Vernon Kay to host.

Des no longer dish of the day?

Countdown has come for in for a fair bit of stick lately. I normally get to catch the pre-dawn screening and it still seems fine to me as long as I can manage to hit the remote before the intensely irritating Paul Burrell comes on in dictionary corner.

The rock? I know what I'd like to do with a rock.

Flare up

I’ve been wallowing in the current wave of seventies nostalgia with five’s The 1970s: That Was the Decade That Was particularly impressive, enhanced by Christopher Eccleston’s dramatic, occasionally doom-laden narration.

A great companion piece came from BBC Four’s ever-reliable Timeshift strand Switch Off Something, which brought back memories of the days of the three day week, power cuts and the telly shutting down at half past ten.

Meanwhile A for Andromeda was the stuff of TV legend, partially because only a few snippets of the original 1961 series still exist. However, the decision to truncate the story into a one-off drama for the remake lead to a piece in which interesting ideas were left underdeveloped and the whole thing failed to live up to the reputation of the source material.

Here’s one I bought off ebay earlier…

It’s been years since I’ve bothered with Blue Peter but I was intrigued to read about the internet badge scandal in the papers, so I thought I’d take a peek, expecting a radically different show from the one I’d watched in the seventies.

It doesn’t seem to have changed much at all from my day. For a start Peter Duncan and Tina Heath were in it giving Zoë advice on running the marathon. The real treat came though when they went behind the scenes of Will Young’s BP-based new video, which looked great fun and meant that there was footage of - what was for me the classic - line-up of Val, Peter and the legend that was John Noakes.

There was also footage of Lesley Judd too but she was always a bit too schoolmarmish for my taste.

I subsequently caught the finished Will Young promo on The Hits. In the words of the Not The Nine O’Clock News team, nice video, shame about the song.

As for the badge scandal, all I can say is that when I was a nipper they never sent me one – I blame Biddy Baxter - so I’m understandably ticked off that those fortunate few who managed to get their mitts on them could be so callous as to flog them now.

Bitter? Just a tad.

I preferred Magpie anyway.

Cobbles

"I'm stupid!" wailed Gail as she ditched the latest psycho to share her bed in Corrie this week. At least this one didn't drive the whole family into the canal so her judgment is definitely improving.

Meanwhile, nasty Charlie and nasty Ronnie were circling each other like a pair of sharks, to the chagrin of nasty Tracy. Adding all these negatives together certainly doesn’t make a positive.

I still haven’t got used to the presence of Craig Charles either. I keep expecting Kryten to turn up.

Get Johnny? Get Billy Murray a decent script

Grant Mitchell in therapy? What will they dream up next? The gruesome twosome’s rebonding episode out in Essex was sadly lacking the humour that punctuated there their triumphant albeit rather brief return as a pair last year.

Indeed this week’s EastEnders episodes were somewhat hampered by the wooden performances of Danny (R.I.P.) and Ruby and yet another seeming character transformation by Johnny Allen, now happily back on the vodka.

I’m a fan of Billy Murray and it's not fair that they kept asking him to switch like that. Bring back Don Beech, I liked him, you knew where you where with him and his descent into villainy was well managed.

The good news about Tweedledee and Tweedledum’s visit to Essex was that we got a whole week without Sonia and Naomi, which was something of a relief. Perhaps with increasing technology, there could be a red button option to remove Sonia (or any other tedious character come to that) out of an episode. Surely that's what this super duper technology should be being used for?

Down in Emmerdale, there was real scandal in the village. Not an extra martial affair you understand. They are so common in this bucolic community that no one so much as bats an eyelid.

No, what is deemed apparently unacceptable is when someone has the temerity to sleep with his own wife. Shocking isn’t it but Andy Sugden was treated as a virtual pariah for merely taking his own missus, the vacuous Katie, to his bed. It’s a twisted type of morality in the soaps.

Watch out though Andy. We all know Katie likes to keep things in the family and young Daz is a growing lad…

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