ITV in the dock
At 6.30pm on Thursday, Mark Austin, almost smugly, announced that it was an ITV News investigation that had forced the Lib Dem leader into the open. A pity then that their march had been stolen by live coverage of Mr. Kennedy's emotional press conference on the remaining news channels. With no live channel on which to break its important story, ITV was left whistling in the wind while the drama it claims to have created played out on rival stations.
Indeed any pretence ITV has had over being a quality public service broadcaster is quickly slipping away. The decision to broadcast Quizmania overnight may make sound economic sense but really tarnishes the channel's image and drags the whole brand downmarket. The news channel has been sacrificed to show kids programming, a genre more than adequately catered for elsewhere, along with cheap American imports and repeats of sixties shows which may have some nostalgia value but by and large look very dated.
While the likes of the Sky Channels, Living TV and the plethora of UKTV offerings get slicker, ITV is at times taking on the feel of the tackier satellite channels. If Quizmania is acceptable on ITV1, how long till the likes of Babestation pop up on ITV2?
ITV has a fine heritage. Since ITV plc came into being, the future, from a quality perspective, looks anything but rosy.
In tune with the soaps
That said, Soapstar Superstar turned out far better than I was expecting, in the main because most of the contestants can actually sing rather well, a big bonus in a music show.
The biggest surprise for me was Andy Whyment, who is blessed with a very interesting voice. I'm absolutely loving Shobna too.
There are a few gripes of course. Firstly, the scheduling, this would have made a great Saturday night show, spread out over several weeks but it's a bit much to be expected to sit through ninety minutes every night for over a week.
Secondly, the choice of presenters. I'm not the biggest fan of breakfast blandy Ben Shephard but teaming him with Fern Britton doesn't seem to work at all. I'm not sure why we need two of them, either would have done a better job solo. As it is, they look a bit like mother and son standing up there.
Thirdly Billy Sammeth has neither the rapier wit nor the pantomime villainy required to be the show's Mr. Nasty. On the plus side, Cilla Black has managed to retain her girl next door personality and general niceness while still managing to provide constructive criticism where required and Chris Cowey has been the voice of the reason.
Indeed if the rumours are true about adding a fourth judge to The X Factor, they could do far worse than sign Chris up.
Getting on my Wicks
It looks as if Pat's about to get a family again in EastEnders, so we expect a large influx of Wicks tribe members in the next few weeks. Leading the charge this week was Deano, whose annoying chirpiness jarred against the gloom surrounding Dennis's death. Sharon's grief managed to keep her quiet, for which we should be thankful while June Brown put in a marvellous little performance as Dot struggled to come to terms with events, ably assisted by Wendy Richard and Ray Brooks (he really is too good for this show, bring back Big Deal).
Before long Dreadful Deano was trying to work his charm on the loathsome Dawn (anyone else think they deserve each other?) while getting up the nose of Ian Beale, which isn't exactly difficult. What is a nice level-headed woman like Jane doing with a pillock like Ian in the first place?
Best bit of the week came when little Lucy turned up wearing a Wellard T-shirt. She does stroppy really well.
Goodie Goodie Yum Yum
It was great to see The Goodies back on our screens after all these years and the ninety-minute celebration of their very visual brand comedy was very welcome, though they could have backed it up with a couple of actual episodes surely.
As with any compilation, only the really good bits came to the fore but there are several classic episodes worth catching. Perhaps it's time UKTV Gold dusted them off again? They must have nearly worn out their Only Fools and Horses tapes by now.
Shameless showed no signs of flagging, despite the loss of Anne Marie Duff, as it began its third series. Gloriously un-PC, the Gallagher's behaviour may not be a shining example to one and all but there is great heart at the centre of the show and it remains a great showcase for our young and very talented actors.
Liam Day proved to be a hoot while Gillian Kearney is proving to be a great addition to the cast as Marty's love interest.
Friday Night's gonna be alright
I wasn't a massive fan of the first series of The Friday Night Project but Alan Carr's presence made its return quite watchable. Ably assisted by guest host Billie Piper there were several laugh out loud moments, though I could have lived without the continually annoying Justin Lee Collins and those vox pop inserts from Debra Stephenson.
It's the sort of entertainment you can enjoy without necessarily needing your brain though it would be nice if we could have a bit of intelligent satire on a Friday. Surely That Was The Week That Was could be revived after a forty odd year absence.
Down the hatch
Lost is nearing the end of season one and making it's way towards a couple of major cliffhangers. It's been a great ride, a marvellous character led piece that has managed to keep the intrigue and mystery going throughout.
There was less mystery to be had in the finale of Rome as we spent most of the final episode waiting for the senate to make a kebab out of Caesar. It hasn't proved to be much of a history lesson but as Dynasty in togas it has proved to be very entertaining and it's great to see a largely British cast in a show with such high production values.