Britons not so great
Sadly, things weren’t helped by a lacklustre performance from the normally reliable Kate Thornton, who’d been given some quite funny lines to say but threw them away in such a casual style that even the strangely enthusiastic audience were struggling to titter.
Gordon Brown got more laughs.
The high point of the show was a phone poll – because you can’t have an ITV entertainment show without trying to wring more cash out of the vulnerable – this time to vote for the greatest living Briton. Predictably our own dear Queen won but she only squeaked in ahead of Robbie Williams. That’s right, Robbie Williams! I suppose we should be thankful that Gordon the Gopher wasn’t an option because he’d probably have won.
The award for art went to a graffiti artist. Shouldn’t they just have given him an ASBO? Meanwhile it seems our greatest sporting hero is Sir Ranulph Fiennes. It must have been a bad year for sport
There was an hour and a half of this to wade through as meaningless bits of Perspex were handed out to the great and the good or rather The Good The Bad and The Ugly. This may have been easier to bear had it not come hot on the heels of The BAFTAs.
They seemed to be having a worthy rather than a populist shindig this year, hence Doctor Who wasn’t up for anything while Life on Mars, one of the most original dramas in donkey’s years only managed an award voted for by the audience and not one from the Academy.
Only Joan Rivers irreverence made this at all watchable while Richard Curtis’s acceptance speech dragged on for so long that I managed not only to make a cup of tea but actually drink it too while he droned on. He used to be funny once didn’t he?
Mitchell and Webb won one but then they are becoming increasingly hard to avoid these days. Turn on telly or the radio and there they are looming large. Even if you go and wait for a bus they’ll be staring down at you from an advertising hording. The last time any comedy star popped up as often as this was in the eighties when Tony Slattery was absolutely everywhere. These days he’s playing a tramp in cosy Sunday night snoozeathon Kingdom.
Perhaps there’s a lesson in there somewhere.
My Sky+ broke last weekend and over the last week I’ve come to realise just how great it is because I’ve had to manage without it. Incidentally, this is no reflection on the Sky people because I didn’t actually report it as broken until Thursday night and it was fixed by Saturday morning. Good service that.
What it did bring home to me is how lousy the actual schedules are if you’re not able to time shift your telly and you’ve no intention of watching Holby or The Bill.
Down at Sun Hill, Louisa Lytton is now playing a copper and I did wonder if they'd deliberately given her a uniform a couple of sizes too big to make her look even smaller. She really does look like a kiddie who’s been playing in the dressing up box.
Paul Cornell was responsible for the excellent episode of Doctor Who where Rose goes back in time and tries to save her father’s life with terrifying results. I had high expectations as his two-parter got underway this week and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
It was superb to see David Tennant given a chance to flex his acting muscles playing a very different character as The Doctor is forced to hide in human form but better than that it allows Martha to be at the centre of the narrative and finally gives her a chance to win over grouchy old TV critics.
It has to be said that Freema Agyeman grabs the opportunity with both hands and easily carries the episode, so that it doesn’t just feel like a set up for the second part but is enjoyable in itself.
Cheryl out of The Royle Family makes for a great love interest for “John Smith” but easily the best thing in the entire piece has to be the army of silent scarecrows which make for truly chilling monsters, while Harry Lloyd does a marvellous job as the sinister Baines.
All in all, a belting bit of Saturday night telly and a very welcome return to form for the long running show.
Children should be seen and not heard
I’ve been worried about the decline of Children’s Television for some time now as it all but disappears from the mainstream channels and becomes ghettoised into digital. It’s been bad enough that ITV1 has abandoned its weekday afternoon slots completely but that the BBC has decided no longer to cater for children of secondary school age seems to be an absolute scandal.
timeShift launched BBC Four’s season on the subject with a timely reminder of what had gone before and a stark warning that a great tradition of broadcasting is rapidly going down the plughole.
The show featured clips of Tony Robinson’s retelling of Odysseus: The Greatest Hero of Them All. I’d forgotten just how good, just how compelling that was and it got me to thinking that if they can’t be bothered to create new stimulating shows for older kids, they could at least be raiding the archives more to bring classic shows to a new audience.
Evidence that this approach might just work was to be seen in Children’s TV on Trial : The Kid’s Verdict in which four of today’s youngsters were given the chance the sample the delights of telly from the previous four decades.
While some of the shows on offer had dated quite badly, others were of great interest to the current generation and I’ve no doubt would gain an appreciative audience if dusted down and repackaged. Hats off to the kids involved in this experiment who were both forthright and articulate as they made their views known on each decade.
Bits n Bobs
Did we really need a intense Clive Owen spouting poetry at us before the final of Champions League? I would have switched to Sky but mine was broken. Come back Des Lynam, all is forgiven.
We were scratching our heads here at Hogan Towers over Ronni Ancona & Co. which didn’t seem to be able to decide whether it was a character driven sketch show or an impressionist show. In the end we decided that the whole thing was Ronni doing an impression of Catherine Tate. Shame it wasn’t funny.
Don’t let the title put you off. Andrew Marr's A History of Modern Britain. isn’t anywhere near as boring as it sounds. You’ve got to love the enthusiasm here, but I’m always sceptical that these sorts of shows aren’t just telling us about history but possibly rewriting it.
I love to tell you what I think about Ugly Betty but for some reason I just can’t bring myself to sit through an entire episode. I had the same problem with Ally McBeal
Grey’s Anatomy is back for a third season and despite their being a million reasons why I should hate such a sentimental and emotionally manipulative bunch of old tosh, I’m lapping up every minute.
Call me callous if you like but as the residents of Coronation Street waited anxiously for a soot-stained Claire to regain consciousness, I was more worried that Roy’s flask wasn’t working. Unless the laws of physics have changed I can only assume that he didn’t put the lid on properly.