A diva, you know.I feel a duty to say something about Channel 5’s Battle Of The Popstars programme, a real-time tournament to find “the nation’s favourite pop star” AKA an attempt by Five to find the most lucrative possible format to separate lonely phone voters from their money. The format was quite simple – a short videoclip of bottom-drawer talking heads (and Cynthia Lennon!) bigging up each star while their music played and phone numbers for each duel flashed up on the screen. Jamie Theakston announced the winner – LIVE!, well, on voiceover anyway – at the end of each bout. It was the cheapest TV ever, unless Paul Gambaccini and Dan Hipgrave are more expensive than I imagine.

As the show progressed I flapped between thinking it was all fixed and thinking it was all real. The “big shocks” at the end of the first round – Cher beating Madonna – could have been evidence for either really. Cher’s progress to the ‘quarter-finals’, though, gave us ample evidence that the programme-makers either hadn’t planned for it or had been particularly idle when it came to finding different things to say each round viz.

Round 1: A “diva expert”: Well Cher, she’s a diva really.

Round 2: Ex-editor of Smash Hits who isn’t Kate Thornton: That Cher, straddling a cannon, such a diva.

Round 3: A fashion designer: She has no sense of style, but that’s OK, she’s a diva.

Presumably if she’d managed to hold her own against the Beatles we’d have had Dan Hipgrave saying, “Yeah not my kind of thing but you can’t deny it, she’s a diva”.

The show flagged horribly in the last half hour as we ended up with Elvis, the Beatles and Queen fighting it out and only Gambo was happy. As I know from long experience administering these kinds of ridiculous polls, it’s hard to keep the momentum going in the final rounds without switching the format around a bit. That said having an audibly bored and desperate Theakston as your anchorman wasn’t helping – the way to do it surely is to have someone who is genuinely excited and exercised by the outcome of these fights. Someone like….Paul Gambaccini! OK maybe not.