26
Apr 05

Ahoy There!

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Half way through this afternoon’s Coronation Street repeat on ITV2 came this, the most frightening advert I have ever seen (you have to click on the banner at the top).

4
Feb 05

The poetry of Dan Corbett.

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The poetry of Dan Corbett.

The best weather forecaster on telly seems to be getting more of the BBC1 slots he deserves. These are just a few of the lines delivered in his compelling, reanimated-Bob-Monkhouse style at the end of yesterday’s lunchtime news:

“Yes, maybe the nice weather heading out in the midday hour. That big warm coat you’ve got: you won’t be needing it today… Here is the view in that Manchester. Look at that! The rain: wet all day for shopping. Not the night for the washing there.”

There was loads more but he was saying it faster than I could write it down.

19
Feb 04

Television highlight of the week

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Television highlight of the week: Richard Madeley stings a woman with a bee live on Channel Four.

This is a demonstration to show how bee stings can relieve arthritis. After pointing out that there is no evidence to support such a claim, that the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society does not condone it, and that ‘the pain of the bee sting is actually worse than the pain of the arthritis’ they got the bee out of a jam jar and stung the woman on the knuckle.

‘How does that feel?’ asked Richard. ‘Well, Richard,’ came the reply, ‘it stings a bit.’

9
Jan 04

Your talk show?

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Your talk show? Has been taken off the air? For gratuitous racism in the Sunday Express?

So no Kilroy next week, and we all get an extra half hour in bed before Trisha. His crime was to claim that Arab countries have given the world nothing. Yet, according to my vague memories of an old Horizon programme, Arab mathematicians did introduce to the West the numerical concept of zero.

Perhaps that’s what he meant.

19
Dec 03

A sad day for Channel 4

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A sad day for Channel 4 then, as five and a half hours after the fall of RI:SE it broadcast the last ever Fifteen to One. After sixteen years, with fifteen contestants per day, Fifteen to One has now featured approximately three-fifths of the population of Great Britain, yet still nobody knows anyone who has ever been on.

William G(ladstone) Stewart did not let sentiment intrude on the final programme. There would have been little point in showing highlights of the last sixteen years since every single episode has been exactly the same. Instead WGS kept his scary-Bob-Holness routine going right until the end, at which point he yelled, ‘all pile on!’ and the contestants made a big scrum on the studio floor.

3
Dec 03

I need to know’ Is she my grandchild?

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I need to know’ Is she my grandchild? Don’t get rid of our baby’ I’m no cheat. And my personal favourite, Wife ‘ Stop Disappearing. All recent subtitles on Trisha, which is followed on ITV2 by the far superior Trisha Extra.

In spite of its title, Trisha Extra contains less Trisha than normal Trisha, if you follow. So instead of Trisha Goddard offering advice and forcing her guests to get counselling (yes forcing; today she refused to hand over the DNA results until the young couple signed up) you get Karl Newton.

Karl, with his EasyJet orange shirt and gelled up hair, looks like a sort of Guantanamo Bay Tintin. His main job is to interview guests before and after the show and the lack of guile with which he does this is charming. A typical Newton interview will begin with him asking, ‘So, your children have disowned you, you’re not allowed to see your grandkids and you’ve only got six weeks to live. Do you see a way forward from here?’ The interviewee then collapses in tears and Karl stands there looking vaguely bewildered, like a kid who’s just knocked down a stack of cans in Tesco. His follow up question is usually, ‘Er’ you all right?’

Great stuff. Anyway, if you find Trisha (or the fact that you’re watching it) depressing, Trisha Extra is a tonic.

29
Oct 03

God forgive me for discovering this

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God forgive me for discovering this, but the CBBC channel is currently repeating one series per week of early Eighties schools’ programme Look and Read. Sadly you’ve missed Dark Towers and The Boy From Space but ‘ even more sadly ‘ there’s still time to start faking symptoms ready for a week off sick for Badger Girl.

This tale of conservation and pony rustling on Dartmoor ends with a scene of quite graphic savagery in which Stripey the Badger knocks the two villains to the ground and tears at their throats (download the clip if you don’t believe me). The series holds a special place in my heart because on a 1984 family holiday to Devon I actually got to meet Mary, the badger who plays Stripey in the show, and have her lick my face. Like most celebrities she was friendly and approachable, though very much part of her own sett.

22
Oct 03

The only justification for the existence of ITV2

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The only justification for the existence of ITV2 (apart from the magnificent Trisha Extra) is the way it schedules repeats of Coronation Street. Rather than show the most recent episode they’ll broadcast one three or four days old, so it’s possible to wind up watching a week’s worth of Weatherfield in almost any order. This Pulp Fiction effect adds a whole new dimension to the viewing experience. No, it does.