Whoever thought Petes swearing would turn us off the show could not have been more wrong.
Swearing IS the show. So keen are the housemates to make Pete appear just one of the gang that they are swearing as much as he is.
Pete began brightly, marking the word w****rs out as his own early on. He held up a drawing with the w-word on in his introduction to camera.
The rest seem aware of Petes territory and keen not to step on any toes have shied away from the w-word, Petes word.
Lisa has not once mentioned Petes word as she nimbly jinks her away through the full gamut of her swearing lexicon.
Lisa lives by the motto Your Tourettes Is My Tourettes.
But while we commend her camaraderie in empathising with Pete, she runs the risk of swearing more than Pete.
To emphasise just how little actual non-swearing Lisa has done, we have removed all the swear words and transcribed her performance thus far.
Her speaking part in the house to date runs: All right. You happy not face hat what now is fact no is [again] fat no yes maybe house bun and canary who rubber cereal mingin go.
If this is hard for us to take, Lisa should pause for a moment and wonder what anyone watching the show with subtitles on makes of it all…
Nikki is alone. No-one fancies Nikkki.
Why? Maybe its because she talks as if the words are too big to get out. Nikkkis words are like clenched fists fighting to get past her teeth and tonsils.
And yes, Nikkkki is blessed with all the charm of a chugger, one of those grinning charity pavement hogs. But she is blonde, and in this world that is almost a guarantee of celebrity, if not a chatshow on Living TV.
But she seems to recognise the feelings she excites in the people around her and invited someone to grab her by the ankles and swing her around their head.
Swing me round like an aeroplane,” she begged. George obliged. Nikkkki stretched her arms out wide and squealed like a girl playing with her dad.
George resisted the urge to let go and so prevent tiny Nikkkki from becoming the first Big Brother contestant to leave the compound by air.
This was, of course, Nikkkkis follow up to her flirtation with Sezer, a man who fancies anything that moves, and very possibly some inanimate objects, too. But not Nikkkkki.
Nikki sat on Sezers lap while he made eyes at Imogen (theres lovely). He then told a story about a beautiful princess, which Nikkkkki took to be about her. Wrong. It was about Imogen.
Poor Nikkkki, she does try so very hard to be noticed.
“SEZER the geezer is a bit of a sleaze…r.”
So sang Boon-eh, who should be commended for finally saying something we can understand, let alone concocting a rhyme.
And what of Sezer the geezer? Is he going to get it on with Imogen, the teezer? Or will she keep him in the freezer?
While Bonn-eh turns us into nation of poets, we see that all pretty Welsh things come to he who pesters, frots and never gives in.
Like the hair on his shaven body, Sezer grows on you. And at 3.26am this morning, Imogen cracked. The girl George called a top spec b****!” could take no more. The pair cuddled in bed and kissed.
Which puts us in the mood for more poetry:
Oh, Imogen, when I see you a-gain,
I dreamz of when we will have a li un;
Well call it Sezer Junior or Gwen
Or Imo-gen, my Imo-gen, oh when
THERE now follows a review of what sources have been saying about Big Brothers latest bunch of wannabes and never wills.
Imogen has form. The Sun says the Miss Wales winner has intimate knowledge of Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. A friend tells the paper how the footballer was amazing in bed.
Lea has shocked housemates (Sun) by telling them how she has appeared in porn films. Lea has 40Msized breasts. Other than being an inflatable ride at an adult-theme park, or a dry ski slope, what else did she imagine her housemates thought she got up to?
Bonn-eh, a woman who has trouble saying her own name, has been cautioned by the police for carrying a knife in the street. She a real low-life, says a pal in the Sun. She has a filthy mouth and is about as stupid as you can get. And thats what a friend of hers has to say. We can only imagine what her enemies think of her?
Pete has, apparently, fried his mind with the horse tranquiliser Ketamine. Pete was off his face on this stuff whenever I saw him, says a friend of the budding pop star. Its ruined his brains and made his condition much worse.
Nikki (or Nikkki/Nikkki etc.) is an unstable anorexic who could kill herself. Thats what the Star says about the wannabe glamour mo-del. Says Nikkis friend Kyla Padwick: Im watching my friend crack up on screen and Im so angry with the people who are letting that happen. She goes on: Nikki could come out of that house and regress into being really sick again and even kill herself.
Ooer. That sounds bad. But at least Nikki can always rely on her caring friends to tell the papers all about it if she does…
DONT panic if you found a golden ticket in your mid-morning snack it doesnt mean you have to appear on Big Brother.
If the life of a Z-list celebrity is not your thing, then you can throw away the ticket. Go on, chuck it. Theres the bin. Although before you do, know that one ticket has, apparently, attracted bids in excess of £5m.
The ticket was up on the eBay Internet auction site. But before you smash open the piggybank, or raid a bank, know that it has now gone. The auctioneers claim the sale breached their terms and have ordered it to be withdrawn.
But all is not lost. A spokeswoman for eBay says the seller may be able to flog their ticket on a pre-approved auction, which makes bidders legally bound to pay their offers.
And the organisers dont mind if you sell it – so long as you havent registered your win on the telephone hotline (number on winning tickets), you can sell the thing.
And there are plenty of winning tickets still out there. The first Big Brother Golden Ticket was claimed at 4pm yesterday in London. This means there are 99 tickets still at large.
So if you find one, why not put it up for sale? Or give it to the needy. Wonder what Dannii Minogues agent would pay for one?
TOURETTE Syndrome is a medical condition with a genetic component but is as yet of unknown cause. It is characterised by a combination of chronic muscular tics (twitch-like movements) and vocal tics (involuntary noises) and is often socially stigmatising.
No, not an explanation for John Prescotts moments of madness in the office, nor an extract from George Bushs post-apocalyptic autobiography Whats This Button Do?, but words taken from the UK Tourette Syndrome Associations website.
It cant be easy living with Tourettes – especially not for the thirteen residents of Big Brother House, Elstree, who have set up home with sufferer Pete Bennet.
It was clear from the off – when Pet entered the house and gibbered at first arrival Bonnie (claim to fame: brother is called Clyde) – that Pete would be hard work.
But Pete is our prediction to do pretty well on the show for the simple reason that he will annoy everyone. And Big Brother thrives on conflict.
We will enjoy watching Pete. We will enjoy the housemates reactions to him and their agonising over how right it is to belittle and bitch about a man who suffers from what could be a socially debilitating illness.
Will the housemates make allowances for Pete, patting him on the head like they would some manic pet? Will he stay still long enough to let them get close?
And if that is not enough, Pete can fall back on his other talents: copious swearing and, as the Sun reports, owning a massive manhood.
Far from being one dimensional, Pete has much to offer. But will there be any takers?
WHAT do the following have in common?
A gay barman who enjoys six in the bed; a knitter, a mum and a bagpipe player; two experts at doing the splits; an ex-head boy; a Sloane Ranger; a nude model for 3,000 bikers.
A former Miss Wales; a friend of Prince Harry; a hamster lover whos made a home for his pet in the walls of his own house; a believer in Indian spirituality; an underwear freak who claims to have spent £1,000 on lingerie in a single shopping trip.
And Davina McCall.
The answer is of course that by about 9.05 tonight they will required viewing as Big Brother 7 kicks off.
‘AL-Jazeeras line up features Osama bin Laden, beheadings, David Frost and now The Baas, a Welsh language childrens series.
He keeps looking at my eyes
Of course, what with this being al-Jazeera – the broadcaster with the aim of allowing everyone to express their opinion freely, encouraging debates, viewpoints and counter viewpoints (source: Al Jazeera website) – before broadcast the Baaas scripts need to be checked for anti-Islamic subtexts.
Is Costas, the head of the Baaas household, a Greek who collects items discarded by other people and turns them into gadgets, out to destabilise the Arab world?
Is Baalwen, Costass wife, a black Welsh mountain sheep, really an Ethiopian Falasha in the pay of the Israelis?
The couple live with their daughter, Meegan, and her twins, Jaason and Meedea, together with Meegans partner, Meelvyn. Can any of them be trusted?
Sheep are by nature easily led, and one rogue element could lead the others to disaster.
And let us not overlook the inherent perils of translating the Welsh-language into Arabic.
As Nia Ceidiog, the shows creator, says, there is often a hidden message. Im hoping there will be some adults sitting on the sofa at 6 oclock in the morning with their two-year old child watching an episode for the 10th time who will suddenly see the joke! says she.
Depends on whom the joke is on. Costas singing in the manner of a woolly Demis Roussos is funny; Meelvyn stacking hay bails into two towers is not.
The censors may well find nothing amiss, and The Baaas will go on to be famous throughout the Middle East, vying for childrens affections with Fireman Sam, which is also to be translated into Arabic – but not that bit where Sam turns to Station Officer Steele and mentions the fires of hell and how Bella Lasagne at Ridolis Cafe deserves everything she gets.’
‘NINE out of ten times we pay no attention to surveys and the results of scientific research carried out to justify grants.
But the work of Joshua Fogel, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Brooklyn College, at the City University of New York, is worthy of comment.
Fogel has looked at 289 women aged between 70-79 without dementia and noted that the ones who liked talk shows and soap operas best were the ones with the least agile minds.
Fans of soaps and TV confessionals were outperformed by their peers when it came to testing their memory, attention and mental sharpness.
Does this means that daytime TV makes you dumb? Or is it that people less willing to be challenged by, say, news shows are drawn to Neighbours?
Dr. Fogel has stated out this doesn’t mean there’s a direct link between brainless daytime shows and actually being stupid.
Indeed, might it be argued that part of the pull in watching Trisha, Jeremy Kyle and Oprah is knowing that there is someone dumber and less well off than you a comforting thought for the long-term injured, the institutionalised, journalists and other daytime TV gawpers.
There could be a connection between the shows we choose to watch and our own cognitive ability.
It is fascinating stuff that demands more work. What, for instance, happens to people who watch Noel Edmonds on the utterly brainless Deal Or No Deal?
Are they more mentally negligible than fans of Countdown, who like watching sums? Or are all daytime viewers of a type, sat at home watching daytime telly and wondering why they dont make shows like Pebble Mill and Quincy any more?
For his part, Dr Fogel thinks that when consulting older patients about their state of wellness, doctors should ask them about their favourite TV shows.
Answering The Daily Politics or Working Lunch will earn you a knowing nod from your GP. Listing Escape To The Country or Tweenies gets you lots of prescription drugs and an audience pass to This Morning LIVE!.
Mention Loose Women and find yourself pitied and locked up for your own good and the safety of others.’
‘CAN looking at the internet, and engaging in its associated activities, make you go blind? Or what about making your eyes go square?
Taylor – a warning from history
Those of you who can remember when mum told you that if you sat too near to the telly youd get square eyes should note that you now stare at a monitor from a distance of mere inches.
If mum was right, Britons will all soon uniformly look like Dennis Taylor, the former world champion snooker player, and latterly celebrity ballroom dancer, who sees the world in cubes.
As the Office of National statistics is telling us, we now spend more time looking at the Internet than we do watching TV.
Why this is, we can debate. But here are a few points to ponder. Is it because censorship is virtually non-existent on the web? Is it a matter of immediacy and intimacy? Is it because there is only so much soap opera and Celebrity Tree Felling you can take?
Until the ONS investigates further, we will not know. All we know is that we typically spend 41.5 says a year with our faces stuck in a PC monitor, against 37.5 days watching Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen painting the Home Counties a revolting shade of mauve.
And the popularity of the Internet is rising. The ONS say that two in three of us are increasing the amount of time we spend browsing the web.
The Internet is taking over our life. According to those official stats, the typical office workers lunch hour lasts just 19 minutes and 45 seconds. And most of that is taken up not with crafty smokes and swift halves in the pub, but a take-away sandwich and a spot of web browsing.
The only downside is that, according to the Mail, medical experts argue that the Internet is to blame for sleep depravation.
The paper doesnt bother to say how the Internet disrupts sleep, and it may have less to do with the content on offer than working at home on computers.
But whatever the reason, Internet watchers can nod off by glancing up from the PCs and over towards the telly, where Davina McCall is shouting at another celebrity mate on her dire chatshow. And EastEnders functions as the BBCs on air screensaver…’
‘KEN Dodd should get the nod to present next years Brit Awards.
One thing you can always say about the septuagenarian comic is that if hours spent on stage equates to entertainment, Dodds shows offer real and lasting value.
This years Brits were on TV for 2½ hours. Long? Not long enough. As any one who has been privileged to attend one of Dodds shows knows, this is a mere preamble. It takes Dodd a couple of hours to warm up – and theres no guarantee that he ever will glow hot.
Dodds audiences may be aged, but when youre faced with an endurance test, wise is the pensioner who takes long their own colostomy bag and urine bottle.
The only danger is that the aged rock stars waiting in the wings to shamble on stage and collect those lifetime achievement awards may become permanently unplugged and die during Dodds tales of tax avoidance and tickling sticks.
If not the Brits, then what about Dodd presenting the Grammys? This awards do surely represents the old stagers chance to crack America.
This years Grammy awards show featured a roll on the drums please (with award for Best Drum Roll In An Anorak Article to follow) 108 awards! Thats a number that demands stamina. American TV only broadcast 11 of the prize givings, but thats because America doesnt have a Dodd, not since George Burns died.
Oddly, Dodd has been overlooked for this years Academy Awards. The Oscars are to be introduced by Jon Stewart, a comic whose satirical news show has been a bit hit over there.
Stewart is following in the choppy wake of Chris Rock, another teller of jokes, who presented last years show. Rock oversaw a programme that lost 5per cent of it viewers on the year. The Times says advertisers fear Stewart will help take the audience down from 2005s 41 million to 30 million.
And the Oscars are not the only luvvie-in losing audiences. The Times says the Brits attracted 4.5 million viewers, down from 7 million in 2005. And just 3 million of us tuned in to see Stephen Fry and the best of British thespian talent smug it up in the Baftas that figure down from 4.4 million last year and 5.7 million in 2004.
Might it be that viewers are growing tired of seeing these glorified entertainment industry AGMs?
Lets take a look at the numbers. Ceremonies broadcast on TV in 2005-2006 attracted the following audiences (listed here in order of highest viewing figures to lowest): British Soap Awards, National TV Awards, Pride of Britain, Comedy Awards, Sports Personality of the Year Awards, The Brits Awards, Bafta Awards, Bafta Film Awards, Political Awards and Teaching Awards.
Too much? For most of us, yes. But not for Ken Dodd. Dont give him an endurance award just give him the job…’
‘ANTHEA Turner wanted to know how the two women in her house managed to achieve anything in life with such messy laundry cupboards.
Biting off more then she can chew
Mess, or, rather, how not to have it, is Antheas new mojo, the thing that has earned her a contract presenting BBC3s Anthea Turner – Perfect Housewife.
Anthea, who believes linen should be white – in much the same way the medical profession believe Valium to be a wonder drug – is an achiever.
To date, Anthea has achieved the role of being just about the most vilified and loathed celebrity who ever rose and then fell from fames rostrum.
Now shes back, hoping to achieve once more. And pay attention – in Antheas world, as the voiceover told us, nothing ever falls apart. Not marriages. Not women called Della (see Anorak passim). And most definitely not Anthea.
Some may call it anal to fold your towels in such way as to not show those horrendous edges, but then not everyone has presented the national lottery and dealt with the Grant Bovey Effect.
(The very tanned Bovey married Anthea in August 2000. He duly entered the Anorak Dictionary. That entry reads: Bovey (adj) – An orangey-brown colour. As in, That meat looks off. Its gone a horrible bovey colour.)
You dont get to be TVs golden girl by not showing your linen to best effect. Nor hanging your clothes on a hanger without first putting little cotton wool pads between fabric and metal.
Anthea asked her charges why they thought she did this. But before we or they could mutter Because youre having a mental breakdown, Anthea had moved on.
And as she moved we got to see the rest of her bleached Surrey mansionette. We saw her make a mango blini in her wooden kitchen, change a duvet cover (white, natch.) in her bedroom and pause on her landing long enough for our hostess to snip the end off a pair of tights and poor in some lavender.
And all the while we hoped Anthea was joking. That she was in on the gag. That she place a chocolate bar on those white linen pillows. But she didnt. And we realised that she wasnt.
And we wished Anthea had just folded herself up in her laundry cupboard, and kept the frayed edges to herself…’
‘YOU want to spend time with them. You dont despise them. Youre laughing with, not at them. So says David Walliams, the straight man in the Little Britain double act.
Joey and a friend
As Mick Hume, writing in the Times rightly puts it, Walliamss self-justification for the shows grotesque and badly drawn characters is the only really funny thing about it.
This is comedy made expressly for people who have an infantile sense of humour.
Which is fine if you are an infant – or, as PG Wodehouse wrote of that great comic creation Bertie Wooster, mentally negligible, an adult with an infant brain.
When youre young everyone is bigger than you. Laughing at them is funny. The big people fall down. You laugh. They step on a sandcastle in which youve secreted a fresh dog turd (Bournemouth beach promenade 1976 and onwards) and you cant breathe youre laughing so hard.
But one day the joke suddenly stops working. Its only funny if, say, Prince Edward or Tony Blair nonchalantly boots that sandy poo. The target has to be bigger than the joke teller.
Little Britain just picks on little people. It pokes fun at the stupid, the desperate and even the crippled. All very hilarious if you are aged about eight; the characters, even the one seated in a wheelchair, are bigger and more powerful than you. Laugh at them while you can, before you realise that the poor sod could be you one day.
Steve Devrell, a primary school teacher, says that young viewers dont see the shows, er, biting satire. For them, being the only gay in the village means laughing at the fat poof.
Writing in the Independent, Mr Devrell, of Chapel Fields Junior School, Solihull, says, The characters become heroes to many children and large parts of the scripts are learned and reeled off without really understanding the self-mocking style of the humour.
In short, children have no truck with the adults attempts to rationalise and dissect the one Little Britain gag. They laugh at what they are supposed to. They laugh at the little people.
And, according to the Mail, this has, apparently, led to bullying, the creation of little bigots in the playground. The sketch that shows members of the womens association vomiting at the mention of anyone who is not white or heterosexual has, as the story goes, led to pupils pretending to vomit at ethnic minorities.
Children as young as seven can mimic word perfectly the characters of Matt Lucas and David Williams. What they are less able to grasp are the implications of their mimicry, says Devrell in the Indy.
And this is where hes wrong. Children know exactly what they are doing. No programme, however puerile, made them go up to someone and pretend to vomit. Just as no child at school in the 1980s was made to call their peers a Joey.
Remember Joey Deacon? He was the cerebral palsy victim with the misshapen arms and legs. Hed been institutionalised when young. He looked like he was always trying to bite his shoulder.
In 1981, the BBC childrens show Blue Peter made him the face of International Year of The Disabled. Joey would get us giving until it hurt.
But the Beeb got it wrong. Children saw the man, saw their classmates, contorted their faces and took to calling each other Joey.
You might well be appalled you should be. If you want to be appalled some more theres a website that will explain the thing, capturing the mood of those dark days. Take a look at: http://www.spleen.dsl.pipex.com/jd-poet.html. And shake your head in shame.
Children are cruel. Childish humour can be vicious. But Little Britain is no more responsible for bullying than Joey Deacon asked to be mocked.
All Little Britain has done is take the humour that saw children call each other spasmo and Joey and bring it into the mainstream.’
‘BEHIND you! No, not you. Pete Burns. That monkey jacket had us in mind of a pantomime character, a gorilla-Widow Twanky chimera.
Thankfully, Burnss coat is now free of Burns; and Burns, free of his troublesome coat, is free to go the way of all reality TV stars and appear on day-time TV sofas and ultimately the end of a very long pier.
Of course, come Christmas, will any of us remember who Burns was? These pages have as you will have noticed not mentioned this years Celebrity Big Brother in any detail.
In years past, we gave the show our full throat, the words flowing like Vanessa Feltzs tears (series one). That was the show won by comedian Jack Dee and lost by Anthea Turner and La Feltz; the show that transformed Scouse soap actress Claire Sweeney into our Cler.
For the record, series two was won by reformed Take Thatter Mark Owen, who defeated Anne Diamond, Melinda Messenger and a chastened and broken Les Dennis.
Series 3 was own by Bez, a dancer who couldnt dance, who saw off the combined might of John McCririck, Caprice and Kenzie.
Where are they now? Dunno. Have you checked the end of the pier, or under it? And then if you do find a celeb, you run the risk of not knowing which of the mob youre addressing.
As this extract of this seasons Big Brother shows, the celebs are interchangeable:
CHANTELLE: Oh my god! We’re, like, getting evicted!
TRACI: Oh my god!
CHANTELLE: Oh my god!
TRACI: Oh my god!
CHANTELLE: That is awesome!
TRACI: Oh my God! Were getting evicted!
CHANTELLE: Oh my god!
TRACI: Oh my god! I have to leave!
CHANTELLE: Oh my god!
Could be anyone talking, couldnt it? And its contagious. Get a load of this exchange:
PRESTON: I’d do this again if I hadn’t done it but I’d never do anything like this again.
CHANTELLE: Yeah, I know what you mean.
If Burnss hideous coat is speaking to the cops, theres no prizes for guessing what its saying.
Coppa: Did you enter this country illegally?
Coat: Oh my God! Im getting evicted!
Last one to the pier’s a dead monkey…’
‘AND so to the waking dream that is teatime telly. And news of what TV types in square-rimmed glasses call the vital battle for the coveted 5pm slot.
There are Richard and Judy, the Fanny and Johnny of the broadcasting suite, the doyens of daytime, chatting about this and that.
This show is interactive telly for people usually sat at home interacting with prescription medicine, unemployment and Meals on Wheels.
Theres Richard & Judys Book Club book club, whereby viewers can read what the presenters are reading. And theres Richard & Judys Wine Club, a neat way to keep viewer and presenter pepped up and gently shaking with enthusiasm.
Right now on ITV, you can catch Richard Hammonds Five Oclock Show. Hammond, one of the two wheels brought on to stabilise the effects of Jeremy Clarksons broadcasting unicycle on Top Gear, has teamed up with Mel Giedroyc, the woman for whom student comedy has become a lifelong passion.
As the blurb on the ITV website promises: If its being talked about around the watercooler or when you get home, The Five Oclock Show will have their slant on the issue.
So expect lots of chat about what a watercooler is, why only Americans have them, and why your boss refuses to get one, forcing you to make do with ice cold alcopops and fizzy lager.
And then there is Paul OGrady. He was on ITV at 5pm, but now hes to be on Channel 4, sharing the slot with the aforesaid Richard & Judy.
For one part of the year, viewers can drink, read and talk about Coronation Street character Frankie Baldwins fitness DVD for busy mums, playing poker online and people in their 40s & 50s who are keen to get a second chance in love. Look out for Richard & Judys swingers club soon.
For the other 26 weeks, viewers can spin round lifes plughole in the company of OGrady and his salmon and cod-fish cakes, while listening to reality TV group G4 performing When A Child Is Born and trying to guess correctly how many sweets there are in Pauls jar?
There appears to be some choice. Only, its all pretty much the same fare over and over and over. Until you either make it out of the house, or die trying…’
‘SHOULD we feel a bit sorry for the BBC? Unlike the other broadcasters, its forbidden from taking the advertisers schilling.
The Top 100 Roly Moments tonight on BBC1
Not for the BBC the chance to enliven its turgid output with car ads, to my mind the best produced bits of film on the magic box. (Would you rather watch that dancing Citroen or EastEnders? No contest.)
In between repeats of Only Fools And Horses, the Beeb isnt allowed to take us on nostalgic trips through TV history with repeats of adverts from some perceived golden age of advertising. This is why Angus Deayton now appears on ITV.
At the outset, this lack of advertising would have been a noble thing. No ad breaks meant more time to broadcast quality programming.
But then the BBC ran out of ideas (see, or rather dont see, Holby City). Something was needed to pad things out. With four BBC channels, and the plodding News 24, the BBC needed cheap content.
It could do one of three things. 1) Broadcast repeats. And when the plebs and Incandescent of Cheltenham complain to Points of View, tell them its Classic TV. If Shakespeare can be rerun for a few hundred years, then we can have an EastEnders omnibus.
2) Commission lots of new talent to write, produce, act and edit films to a small, fixed budget. Like those cinema B movies, these programmes would be hit and miss; but always short and sweet.
c) Start advertising. But it cant do that. Well it can. The BBC can advertise the BBC.
But adverts are not easy. Ads for BBC2s Top Gear can be well done. They involve cars. And cars make for good ads.
Other shows need the subtle touch, what a marketing-type would term the viral approach. For Dont Tell Sid, read EastEnders Everyones talking about it. (And we were talking about it. We were saying things like Is Shane Richie acting or playing himself, Things arent the same since Roly died and What this show needs is a dancing car.
There are the feel-good ads, the ones where people are dancing.
And there are the clever ads, the ones that are supposed to make you sit up and think. Like that ad for BBC digital television, the one where the giant computer-animated head made up of a composite blend of hundreds of smaller faces bounces across the countryside before morphing into the faces of some BBC talent, like John Simpson, and Roly.
In time, of course, these links and trails will form part of a show The 100 Best BBC Ads, presented by Noel Edmonds dressed as one of the corporations No. 2s.
Available, as ever, free of charge to BBC viewers overseas, who dont have to pay the licence fee…’
‘FOR over nine months of the year, the Big Brother house lies idle.
Clearly this is a missed opportunity and for those poor souls stuck in lifes U-bend, the chance to watch Big Brother paint peel is not to be sniffed at.
If only the cameras had been left to roll, we could have watched a bottle of milk in the fridge turn sour, the grass in the garden grow and John Prescott wandering around with his official tape measure.
Not that Prezza will do the job himself. The Jade Goody of Westminster has better things to do with his time, like seeing how many cars it takes to fill the M4 and catching eggs in his hair.
No, hell send one of his minions in to do the job. There he is now, clipboard in hand, wandering round the place, inspecting the Big Brother house at the Elstree Film & Television Studios, Hertfordshire, to conduct a rates revaluation.
Caroline Spelman, Shadow Secretary of State for Local Government, says: ‘The sight of Labour’s tax inspectors snooping around the Big Brother house is a sign of things to come in everyday houses across England.
Derek Laud, Big Brother contestant and former speech writer to Margaret Thatcher, adds: ‘Contestants on BB give up their privacy to go on the show. But I fear there is no escape from the cameras of John Prescott. This is yet another example of a meddling interfering busy body government initiative.’
But fair is fair, rules are rules. The Valuation Office Agency inspector wants to know whether the premises are business or residential.
As a spokesman explains: We believe the site could be liable for rates because its a permanent structure.
Much like your car, which, despite Prezzas integrated transport scheme, hasnt moved in traffic for an age.
Here comes Prezzas man with his clipboard now. Residential or business, he wants to know.
Celebrity Big Brothers just weeks away. And he needs an answer. Hmmm Residential. No, business. What about a rest home house for the tired and emotional celeb?’
‘THE Language and Sexual Imagery in Broadcasting: A Contextual Investigation report by media regulator Ofcom has found a sharp increase in the instances of swearing on TV before the 9pm watershed.
Now then, now then, Carol
Shows like Trisha, The Osbournes and Hells Kitchen are full of the stuff. Swearing has become the earthy language of the soul bared, the industrial language of the TV industry. Swearing shows you care. Really, fucking care.
And its not just the effing and blinding, but that casual name calling. Whereas in more innocent times EastEnders cast members told each other to Sort it, now they brand each other slag, bitch and cow. Tart is a term of affection. So too bastard.
And then there is sex. Thats the bit in the show when the family watching TV together goes quiet. No-one speaks as a breast is flashed. Teenage boys fidget. Teenage girls wonder if a flash of knicker will get them on the telly.
As the report says: Nearly everyone in the research thought that there was more sexual imagery on television than before, that it was more explicit and started earlier in the evening.
But surely TV gives us what we want. If we dont like it we wouldnt watch. And isnt it a wonder the watershed exits at all at a time when the Internet and cable TV offer so much more?
In any case, TV loves to think of itself as shocking. TV tells you something is taboo and then sets about breaking the taboo on air.
TV executives are like a classroom full of children asked to say words that begin with a silent k. Things begin sensibly with words like knowledge, knee and knock.
Then young Reith pipes up, and words are pitched just above the head of the average, words like Wknout, knap and knickerboker.
Then young Tynan puts his hand in the air and says knickers. Encouraged by the change, someone screams out knob, another shouts knockers and before long weve heard everything and the brave hecklers are thinking about how they can next shock.
The taboo has been broken. And we get shows like KTF (Knickers To Friday) OKIS (Oh Knob Its Sunday) and The K Word. Thanks to Tynan and the gang we all get to be in on the joke.
And were invited to wonder where the next shocker will come from. Will it be sex? No-holds barred sex has yet to happen on live TV, but Big Brother has given us frotting under a table and some alleged coitus below the Jacuzzi bubbles.
What next? Oh, look. Over in the Im A Celebrity… jungle Carol Thatcher is pulling down her regulation red trousers and squatting over the ants.
Its a TV first. A taboo has been broken. Now, if Carol can just digest some bugs, we can all move onto level No. 2…’
‘ANYONE who has watched the BBCs weekend morning news show has asked: how did Kate Silverton get the job?
Saddam Hussein’s cell has been painted in duck-egg blue
Silverton, all lip gloss and eye-catching bad fashion, is too routinely awful to escape the suspicion that it was not her journalistic expertise alone that got her to where she is today.
As one UK critic said, she looks ‘not only as if she had come fresh from a beauty salon but as if she usually worked in one’.
Since being able to read English out loud and sit still is pretty much the only prerequisite for the job of news presenter, Silverton should be able to cope as well as any five-year-old reading her story out in class.
But she too often struggles. There are too many errors. And when Silverton does get it right, she has that annoying habit of turning to her co-presenter as if to say, Come on, its not that hard. Have a go. Try.
And the sidekick doesnt always appreciate Silverton. Philip Hayton could take no more. ‘It boils down to incompatibility,’ said Hayton in September this year. He was unable to work with Silverton on the BBCs News 24 service any longer. ‘We did four hours of live TV every day, and you have to like each other,’ he said.
At the time, Silverton’s agent said Haytons departure had come as a complete surprise. ‘I think this says more about Philip than it does about Kate,’ said Alex Armitage.
That it did. It said that as a journalist of many years standing Hayton could no longer stand to share the desk with someone of Silvertons calibre – the kind of person for whom journalisms front line runs directly through her seat at Television Centre.
And Jon Snow, the Channel 4 news presenter, has noticed the problem. In days of yore, the presenting desk was a kind of refuge for hacks who could not longer get about in the field. A wooden Zimmer frame with draws.
Now, there is Silverton. And not only her, but Natasha Kaplinksy, the star of Strictly Come Dancing, too. Thunderbirds puppet look-alike Darren Jordan, who went from Sandhurst to sports presenting to the news anchor. And Mary Nightingale, who made her name fronting the holiday show Wish You Were Here, where the worlds hot spots come as part of a package tour.
Michel Buerk, Jeremy Bowen and Sandy Gall had all donned flak jackets long before theyd pulled on a blazer to anchor the show.
Speaking at the Royal Television Society, Snow said: We are seeing the rise of a generation of anchors who have never been in the field. Theyve never been told to drop everything and get on a story, get out of the office and to the airport.
Snow feels its important that the person who brings you the news understands what theyre talking about.
A look at Silvertons CV shows a career light on big news. Shes presented the BBC daytime shows Big Strong Boys and Housecall, and ITVs We Can Work It Out.
So long as the news features items on home decoration, with features on how Iraqis have taken to stencilling in a big way and plan to rebuild the country in the image of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowens lounge, Silverton should be fine.
Which gives us an idea – why not get the news to suit the presenters. Its all very well for Snow to talk about politics, he likes that kind of thing. So why not give Silverton news she can really get her white teeth into.
Like whats going on in Strictly Come Dancing. Look out for that this Sunday…’
‘HAVING mummified his granny and Windsor Castle in celluloid, the surprise is that Prince Eddie wasnt asked to make the film of his brother Charless affair with Camilla.
In 30 years let’s be in a made-for-TV film together
With Charless pet begonias unwilling to talk, surely Eddie was well placed to tell us amore about the real lives of Charles and his famous mistress.
But no. Eddie never got the call to work on the film Whatever Love Means, to be screened on ITV next month.
The honour of laying Camilla and Charles down on tape went to David Blair, whose credits include the TV series Anna Karenina and the superb The Lakes.
But the shows producers should have got Eddie. Blair hasnt by any account done a bad job; hes just not done the job he thought he was being hired to do. I was subjected to a level of interference that I found unacceptable, says Blair. The film was being re-edited without me.
Eddie should have got the job. Eddies name on the credits would have gone down well with the American audience for whom this film was surely made it has been co-produced by the American cable channel Womens Entertainment.
The Americans cant get enough of all that Royal stuff. And while Britishers can see just 70 minutes of Charles and Camilla at it, the Americans have an extra 20 minutes.
But what are we and they getting? If the script is any guide, its exactly what the Americans expect – Dynasty with real titles and a real dynasty.
Take what is supposed to be the very first line Charles uttered to Camilla: Did you know the first ever game of polo was played in Hounslow in 1869?
Yes, Hounslow, the first stop on most Americans trip to London as the jumbo jet theyre arriving on hurtles into land at the London borough of Hounslows most famous landmark, Heathrow Airport. Watch out for the polo horses?
Its the stuff of fantasy. Americans raised of Styrofoam expect the British to speak with cut-glass accents. The British men are cold and the women randy and unfulfilled.
Just listen to Camilla as she gets Charles back to her flat. Youre going to find out Im a slut soon enough, she tells him.
Ever the traditionalist, Charles dutifully proposes marriage: Im fearfully fond of you but Ive no desire whatsoever to be Queen, says Camilla in a language thats a pastiche of just about every Bronte book thats ever been turned into film. Cant we just have fun?
Charles: Im not very good at fun.
Camilla: Dont worry, Im good enough for both of us.
And looking at the drippy look on Dianas face, Camilla needs to have enough fun for three.
Rather than being some princess of hearts, Diana is turned into a kind of Krystal Carrington character. Shes blonde. Shes simpering. Shes boring. And shell never be loved in the way Charles (Blake) loved Camilla (Alexis).
And shes been made that way. Says Charles: Divorce Andrew [Andrew Parker Bowles] and marry me? Camilla: Ill be branded a calculating witch. Im going to find you a wife. Someone you can mould a little.
And blessed with all the allure and worldliness of a lump of dough, is Di ever mouldable.
The gel never stood a chance. As Charles tells Camilla: ‘Youre the only woman Ive ever loved in my life, no-one could ever take your place – which is appalling luck for Diana.
And very hard cheese on Prince Eddie…’
‘SAT on the sofa between John Motty Motson and Mark Lawro Lawrenson, Tony Tony Blair was talking football on Football Focus, the BBCs pre-match Saturday afternoon sports show.
Tony relives the moment when Jackie passed for that touchdown
Lets get the serious stuff out of the way first, said Manish, the shows anchor. Michael Owen. Good signing, bad signing? Great signing, said Tony, whose Newcastle United have only recently signed the England striker.
Manish sensed nerves. You looked worried just there, didnt you, he said. Yeah, said Tony. I was worried what you were going to ask me.
Why worry? This is the BBC, and after Andrew Gilligans jinking run had fallen flat, the Corporation isnt going to take on Tony again in a hurry. They are on his side, keen to support the front man and never leave him isolated in attack.
MUTV, Manchester Uniteds in-house propaganda channel, is not the only football broadcaster playing it safe. (MUTV had pulled club captain Roy Keanes views on its Play the Pundit show for being too contentious and, in turn, too interesting for public viewing.)
Make the questions too tricky and viewers at home could find themselves suddenly watching a short film about football in the community.
The technical staff did stop short of splicing in footage of Tony playing headers with Kevin Keegan to make it look like the PM was scoring with his every touch before a packed house at a new Wembley Stadium. But things were, nonetheless, going Tonys way.
And nicely warmed up, Manish was keen to set Tony up for another shot at an open goal. Legend had it that Tony once claimed hed spent his early years watching Jackie Milburn from a seat behind the goal at Newcastle. If true, Tony would have been about four years old at the time and the only one sitting down on the all-standing terraces.
The BBC saw its chance. A BBC radio interview with Tony was duly unearthed, and we all listened in. Tony had said something about Milburn. He had mentioned being young when first seeing Newcastle. And..? And nothing. Tony had been misquoted. The captains footballing credibility was restored. Lord Hutton could put his tracksuit back on and resume his place on the bench.
But Motty didnt climb the greasy pole to footballs top gantry without being forthright. He pulled up his white socks, and fearlessly wanted to know how Tony wound down after a kick about in the Commons. Its like everything else, said Tony. If you cant stand the heat dont come into the kitchen.
Tony was talking sense. If the week had left him feeling sick as a parrot with bird flu, hed pulled himself up by his bootstraps and come out fighting. He was on top of his game.
But football is as much about talking with your feet as your mouth. And with no ball to kick, Tony was forced to do his shooting from the lip. He wanted to speak up for some of those players who dont get the plaudits they deserve. In their own way, they are incredibly good, said Tony, playing to the crowd.
Steed Malbranque was good. Tony said Fulhams French attacker was just so strong. And Arjan De Zeeuw was good. Tony liked him because he was really strong – he never gives up at all. And Teddy Sheringham, the 39-year-old West Ham striker, was also good. He was a natural. Tony liked how Teddy ran off the ball and never took his eye off it.
Talk about picking a team in your own dreamy image. Overweight middleaged men who live with their mums talk about the beautiful game Tony talks about being good, strong and never quitting.
The life of football fan is indeed a vicarious one. You live your dreams through your heroes.
And, unlike the BBCs spine of Motty, Lawro and Manish, Tony was tough and slippery in the tackle. Tony was also a great admirer of Alan Shearer a talisman for his side.
And if Tony could chose one current Premiership manager for his Cabinet? Alex Ferguson, said Tony. Because hes so tough. Even if, like Tony, it looks as if hes about to be substituted…’
‘PETER Ustinov used to speak about the time he was approached to be a spy. He met the spymaster at a Tube station. The spook took one look at Ustinov and declared that he had too memorable a face. The ideal spy is as forgettable as blancmange.
‘It was the Syrian with the suicide bomber in the library’
Being a spy is not for the vain. Do your work well and no-one other than your boss will ever notice. Do it too well and chances are youll never leave that job as a filing clerk in some unglamorous munitions factory or embassy.
The gap between what a spy does and how hes portrayed in film is huge. Especially so if you get your dose of espionage from the Spooks TV series.
But people will believe what they see. And if the actors are good looking, the work exciting and the set shiny, viewers will believe it all the more.
There is a blurring between fact and fiction. So when two female characters on the show are violently offed, women are deterred from joining MI5.
To combat this, the Security Service is advertising in She and Cosmopolitan magazines. In between articles such as Has a man ever gone ahead with sex, even though you said no? (Cosmo) and It is about that time of the year to wear white again (She), women are being seduced into the world of espionage.
We want to attract more females but the spooks programme may be having a bad effect because of the way some of the female characters have been killed off, says a spokesman for the Security Service.
And it has been grim. In series one, a female trainee had her head plunged into a vat of boiling oil and was then shot dead. In the current series, female spy Fiona Carter has been shot dead by her ex-husband.
While this is clearly material for all manner of womens magazine features (My husband is a spy; How to treat oily skin; I can only orgasm when Im shot), woman are turned off by the thought of being murdered at work.
Perhaps its a shock for them. While men have the fantasy figure of James Bond achieving the dream of every priapic teenage boy in being good at cards, driving fast cars and pulling loadsa bird – even if he is a touch prissy about his drinking – women have Miss Marple.
Agatha Christies heroine is about as undercover as they come without being in a coffin; no-one spots the invisible old duffer with the razor sharp mind. And theres Melita Norwood, exposed as the longest-serving Soviet spy in Britain in 1999 when she was 87 years old.
Far be it from us to accuse MI5 of failing to do its research, but wouldnt it be better if it advertised for recruits in some other magazines, like the Saga holiday brochure, Cross Stitch Crazy and The Pastoral Review?
Small wonder only 27 per cent of current applicants are women, as the Times says. They just arent getting the message.
Unless MI5 isnt telling us how a female spy operates. Advertising in Cosmo might just get MI5 what it wants – a Mata Hari of its own…’
‘WATCHING Channel 4s Helen of Troy on Saturday night was like reliving the moment when the moderately good looking German exchange teacher arrives at school.
‘Henry VIII had a great pair of breasts’
With the Swiss miss in charge lessons are no longer just about finding imaginative new ways to work the phrase So what did you do in the war? into your oral and written work. German is deep and interesting. The Germans have words for love and sex and romantic walks down country lanes and breasts.
Misss breasts were at it again on Saturday night. Not Herr Julias, but Bettany Hughess. Shes the history totty that will get us all fascinated in her subject.
And when talking of Helen of Troy, the legendary beauty, Bettany told us that the woman whose face had launched a thousand ships also had a terrific pair of jugs, or amphoras.
Helens cuckolded husband Menelaus would have taken back his wife only to slit her throat had she not possessed such wonderful breasts. Forget the ships – just how many mens magazines do you think a modern day Helen would have launched?
Problem was Ms Hughes. She might be a nice looking long-haired brunette, the history sections very own Nigella Lawson, but when she said breasts that was the start and end of it.
Nigella would have raised an eyebrow at the words utterance and added that the breasts were plump or even juicy. All Bettany did was say it: breasts.
That might be enough for people who spend their weekends walking along the towpath of the Grand Union canal and rubbing brass, but we TV viewers in on Saturday night wanted more.
Wed heard the word breasts before. And if you watch Rome, the BBC drama set in the dying days of the Roman Empire, you can get some full frontal male and female nudity and depictions of violent sex.
Bettany wasnt making enough effort to seduce us. Why not show us a pair of breast-shaped goblets modelled on an impression of Helens fabulous orbs, of the type Madame de Pompadour apparently drank champagne from? Why not show us some cleavage?
She looked exactly as youd imagine an expert in history to look tired trousers and jumper in sensible shades of blue.
Helen is the woman blamed for the Trojan War – a conflict that caused countless deaths – but who was the real Helen of Troy?, said the blurb on Channel 4s website.
All we found out was that this real Helen of Troy was pretty much like the fictional one notwithstanding her real or false breasts…’
‘LIKE when John F. Kennedy died and we first heard Dayvid Beckham speak, we can remember the very moment it happened. It came like a bolt from the blue: TV comeback for Edmonds.
Worse than bird flu
For reasons best known to the Mail, the story of Noel Edmondss return to our screens appeared below a story headlined: Prisoners free to practise witchcraft in their cell.
Five years after walking off, disappearing like a little hairy white dot from our screens, Edmonds is back to front a gameshow on Channel 4.
Edmonds is presenting Deal or No Deal, which features 22 contestants seated in a tank of gunge and arguing whether or not Edmonds should be given a new contract to appear on TV (Deal) or shot (No Deal).
Gotcha! As Noel was once wont to say. That was just our little joke. Noel will not be shot, but kept inside a small cage in a field just outside Lewes.
Gotcha! Wow, this really is contagious stuff. Its another joke. We just dont know when to stop which makes us a bit like Noel, who only stopped when the BBC axed his awful Noels House Party.
The actual show does not feature Mr Blobby, actual bodily harm or Bob Carolgees, but 22 contestants (that bit was true) competing for a top prize of £250,000. (Just imagine how much gunge that could buy!)
The show has already been a hit in 40 countries and should give Edmonds the return to the big time hes been waiting for.
And it is just the start. Noel could tell Channel 4s executive-types that hes could do for the broadcasters Saturday nights what he once did for the BBC.
The boys and girls with thick-rimmed spectacles and Home Counties accents will nod, and consider the merits of The 100 Best Mr Blobby Moments and The 100 Best Beards on TV ever!
They will then look kindly on Edmonds, look at the Mr Blobby suit and think the entire thing a hoot, in a post-modern and edgy sort of way.
Wouldnt it be ironic to have Edmonds doing a house party on Channel 4, theyll say. And even better if he could play house music on it.
And so long as the custard is organic and not loaded with deadly sugar and sunset orange colouring, we can have loads of that, too. Hmm, perhaps Jamie Oliver can make fresh custard on air in the kitchen of Noels house?
For now, of course, it is just a dream. One of The Top 100 TV Dreams, wed wager…’
‘WELCOME to Celebrity Ouija Board, with your host Anthea Turner.
Sweating on her comeback
Tonight we will be attempting to contact a dead celebrity. Gathered around the table are Kerry Katona, Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, Leslie Grantham, Melinda Messenger and the man who sold Jade Goody her first kebab.
Let us join together our hands. Calling Bruno Books. Can you hear us the spirit of Nick Owen. Come in Michael Barrymore. Is anybody there?
The glass begins to move. The letters are spelt out: C.A.L.L.M.Y.A.G.E.N.T.
Celebs will do anything for fame; and it cant be too long before one of their number dies and has written on their headstone for all eternity, or until the BBC stops broadcasting repeats of Only Fools And Horses: Resting. Available for pantos, supermarket openings and reality TV shows. Will eat bugs – especially worms.
How low can you go? is the question. And, by coincidence, thats what Jordan asked when she was sat inside her hideous pink pumpkin on her merry way to marry a sweaty and terrified looking Peter Andre.
This was Jordan and Peters Marriage & Mayhem, the ITV2 show that promised to go behind the scenes at the biggest wedding of the century; the wedding of Britains most phogrpahed people.
Jordan and Pete are also Britains most quotable people, particularly Jordan, who treated us to the following exchange with the aforesaid Kerry Katona.
We saw Jordan sitting in her brides boudoir being the quintessential fairy-tale Princess. She turned to camera and told us she was shitting meself.
Katona, empathising: I know. Im shitting meself for yer.
Katona then told us she was no (number) one trick pony and was so excited at being a bridesmaid, she thought Im gonna pee.
Add to this Peters copious amounts of sweat, as he stood before his friends, family and the TV cameras dressed up like a small piece of icing that had chipped off the constipated wedding cake and you had all the celebrity excreta you could toss a toilet roll at.
Now if they can keep doing it while theyre dead, weve got ourselves a new show…’