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TV Dek's TV Diary

A Stitch in time

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It’s not often that I bother with Casualty these days but whenever I do dip in, it still seems as barmy as ever.

It now seems that original Neighbours stalwart Shane Ramsay is masquerading as a medic – though his spell as the pilot in The Flying Doctors probably stands him in good stead – with the unlikely moniker of Stitch. It’s a shame the name isn’t the only incredible thing about the character because he’s portrayed as a sort of cross between Holby City’s legendary Anton Meyer and Pete Doherty.

Stitch was thankfully on hand to save colleague Guppy – presumably so called because he has the emotional range of fish – from a drugs overdose. Here, in a massive leap of faith, we are supposed to believe that a doctor who has worked in an inner city Accident and Emergency department for several years doesn’t know the difference between heroine and cocaine and is daft enough to start snorting the former in the toilets in the middle of his shift.

The great thing about this show has always been the game of spot the victim, and thankfully the baby that was being precariously held on the balcony of a high rise flat was still very much in one piece by the end, though sadly motherless due to mummy deciding to exit a van while it was travelling at high speed. The van travelled much further down the road before crashing, but by the time the ambulance arrived the stricken mother seemed a lot closer to the vehicle then she should have been.

I suppose she was lucky to get any treatment at all, with the paramedics too busy arguing over their tangled love lives and kicking each other in the genitals to provide any decent patient care.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any dafter, a woman had her foot badly mangled in a bizarre Ghost Train incident that would have been out of place in a Final Destination movie.

I suppose it’s difficult to churn out as many episodes as they do without occasionally slipping into self parody but if this episode was typical of what this once great show has become then some major surgery may well be required.

Wherever I Rome

I’m gutted that there will be no more Rome because despite historians getting their knickers in a twist over a few dramatic liberties that have been taken and the odd wooden performance, this has been vastly entertaining.

Key to the success of this second series has been the remarkable portrayal of Mark Anthony by James Purefoy, who has managed to get away with chewing the scenery because the tone of his performance suits the piece perfectly. Another major plus has been Polly Walker’s positively venomous Atia. It’s been quite brilliant the way you’d love to see her get her throat cut in one episode and then really feeling for her in the next.

The show hasn’t held back on the sex and violence and some of the language has been far cruder than perhaps it needed to be, but by and large this has been a great romp.
For those like me that are disappointed that it all ends here, I’d recommend you get hold the classic BBC show I, Claudius, which picks up the story of Octavian as he becomes Emperor Augustus and the machinations of the devious Livia really begin in earnest.

It’s only words

I suppose disappointing viewing figures may well spell doom for Sing It Back but that would be a shame, because it really is car crash telly at its best.

JK and Joel prove they are no Ant and Dec, while Paul Gambaccini is unlikely to be most people’s first choice for a bit of Saturday night fluff, but it was the bizarre, over excited contestants that really made the show. There’s a fine line between British eccentricity and just being completely barking mad and it was difficult to distinguish just which side of that line many of those involved here actually fell.

Part of the problem is that the party atmosphere obviously being enjoyed by the contenders is totally at odds with the harshness of Gambo’s judging, with contestants being failed on their recital of the lyrics, even if they are just one letter out. Harsh indeed.

There are a million reasons to hate this show, but for some reason it just sort of works for me.

At least it’s a bit different, unlike the hugely derivative Dance X, which I really could do without. Some of the people badly reciting lyrics over on ITV1 are better singers than some of this bunch of desperate hoofers and I really am getting tired of Face of Boe lookalike Arlene now.

Mine’s a Stella

"Can somebody help me," asked little Ben in the middle of his dad’s nuptials. An exorcist perhaps? I’m getting more and more freaked out by him by the episode. Bear in mind that when we met Stella, she was a scatterbrained lovable ditsy lawyer. It was only when she came into contact with the demon child that she turned into a monster.

There’s other evidence too. Do we really know what caused Kathy’s car crash? Where was Ben at the time? Also think about that crash that Ben involved not long ago. How could a car that had rolled over several times and was completely battered suddenly have the ability to roll at speed into a lake? Notice it was Peter and not Ben that needed mouth to mouth.

The creepy kid just isn’t right. Abi Branning should stay right away from him or before too long she’ll be strapped to a bed while her head revolves.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

He’s the scariest thing on the telly since Sam Janus entered the Eurovision.

V Festival

Sad news that Coronation Street national treasure Vera Duckworth will no longer grace our screens.

Jack and Vera formed one of the key partnerships that have been a cornerstone of the show’s continued success and they will be greatly missed.

Let’s hope that screenwriters give this much loved character a happy ending rather than the drawn out Shakespearian demise that befell Mike Baldwin.

Dishing the dirt

I’m still loving Dirt, which is way too good to be hidden away on Five US.

While Courteney Cox continues to impress as the hard-nosed, vibrator-loving editor, it’s the bizarre world of schizophrenic photographer Don Konkey that makes the show so watchable.

This week Konkey was dispatched to take pictures of a corpse which had some very strange consequences indeed. It’s just great to see Ian Hart on the telly.

Bits n Bobs

The Bill was quite exciting this week as PC Hardy’s undercover op went a bit pear-shaped and it took a plant pot to save his bacon from the nasty Sken gang. How come Jack Meadows is still tottering about though? Surely he should be in Last of the Summer Wine by now.

Heroes is coming to the BBC at last, though I am a bit worried by its running time that the corporation may well have taken the scissors to it. Please don’t be put off by the slowness of some the early episodes, if you can stick with it, it really is worth it and there’s even a resolution at the end rather than an annoying cliffhanger.

I’m slightly annoyed that the BBC has stopped all phone-in competitions. Surely I’ve got a right to be ripped off if I choose to be?

Victoria Beckham – Coming To America was presumably a spoof allowing the “star” to send up her own image. Except that it wasn’t remotely funny. Perhaps she should have got Ronni Ancona in to help. The only bit I believed was that she could be mistaken for a blow up doll.

Good on Frankie Boyle for recycling during Mock The Week, reusing gags he’s used on News Knight and 8 out of 10 cats.

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