Author Archive

News Gush: Who’s the New Doctor Who?

November 6, 2008

It’s official. During the total fiasco that was last week’s National Television Awards (is there anyone on earth more wooden than Trevor McDonald?) David Tennant confirmed that he’d be leaving the show in 2009 after another four specials next year.

Speculation has inevitably started about who will be replacing him. Names in the frame so far include: John Simm, David Morrissey, James Nesbitt, Rhys Ifans and little-known Paterson Joseph, who could become the first black Doctor Who:

More off-the-wall suggestions include both Stephen Fry and Stephen Merchant. Personally, I don’t think they need to look any further. I think Stephen Merchant would be a superb Doctor Who. But what about a woman this time?

Would that work?

I hear Russell Brand is now free…

One Minute Review: Argumental

November 4, 2008

This new comedy panel game is the first of Dave’s home-grown output, I think. I suppose they’re going to run out of QI and Top Gear repeats eventually, so it seems prudent to start making some of their own stuff.

This is rubbish though. Lovely old buffer John Sergeant as the host just looks pleased to be back on telly again and is either a better actor than I thought or genuinely finds these twats amusing.

The idea is this: two teams of two comedians. John gives them a subject to argue for or against. The audience vote for who is the winner.

It’s taken one of the rounds from Mock The Week and made a whole series out of it. I guess these things really stand or fall on the quality of the comedians and the two team captains, Marcus Brigstocke and Rufus Hound, just aren’t funny enough to carry it in my view.

The arrogant notion that you can be hilarious just by standing up and improvising can be quashed by going to any comedy night and seeing some dick trying it on stage. You can tell who’s laughing in the audience – it’ll be either drama students or pished under 21’s.

Some people can do it excellently, of course. I’m not really a fan of Mock The Week, but I think some of the guys on that do it fairly well. The master, for me, is the peerless Paul Merton. But it’s not nearly as easy as it looks, as anyone tuning into this forgetable rubbish will find out.


October 29, 2008

You might not know this, but Spooks is actually based on my life.

When I was at university, I was approached by a mysterious man who identified himself as being from MI5. Of course, we’d all seen him wanking in the bushes outside the girls changing rooms. But he explained that this was merely his cover story.

Anyway, he informed me that for just £10 a week I could join the British Secret Service and serve my country. From then on, I was always aware of a shadowy figure keenly monitoring my every move – especially when I was waiting for my girlfriend outside her keep-fit class on Tuesdays. But enough fascinating espionage stories … to Spooks.

This first episode of series seven saw them killing-off yet another of their main characters, in what is by now standard operating procedure for this show. In addition, an old team member previously thought ‘dead’ is back in the game. There’s hardly any regular characters left now, but we still have:

Adam Carter – that ugly bastard all the girlies drool over. I guess he gets the sympathy shag, poor devil.

Harry Pierce – the stiff-upper-lip head of the team. Underneath we all know he’s just a big loveable jessie.

Malcolm – the techno-geek. A cross between a slightly younger Q and a middle-aged, virgin librarian.

Roz – that scrawny bird who looks and acts like the Predator. Scary and bony and ruthless, she’s pretty convincing as the sort of psychopath who might do this kind of thing in real-life.

Lucas North – The new boy, played by Harry Potter lookalike Richard Armitage. His character has seemingly just spent eight years in a Russian prison. He appears to have spent his time inside getting loads of weird sexuality-bending tatoos all over his body. Like that’s going to help when he goes undercover as a stockbroker. ‘Our cleaner Natasha knows this Chechen warlord, marvelous chap, did them in a weekend. That one above my nipples says “Gullible wealthy twat” apparently. He’s such a character.’ 

Connie Jones – the old rheumy-eyed bird based back at HQ. Very much a nod to John Le Carre and probably the only one who looks and acts like an actual spook does.

Miss/Mister X – back from the dead.

I miss Jenny Agutter. And wee Zoe. And that posh bint that was married to Adam. And Tim McInnery as the evil head of MI6. I don’t miss Tom Quinn though. He was just an annoying bastard and I’m glad he’s dead.

That’s my MI5 training you see. We’re taught not to care. Thankfully, such brutal cold-heartedness comes in handy when reviewing tv shows.

Hokum. But enjoyable enough to see us through the cold November nights.


October 24, 2008

What is this massive guilt-trip with working-class people who get famous?

Craig Cash, Steve Coogan, Bernard Hill and the rest of the cast of this maudling, sentimental tripe about the loveable working-classes in the North appear to lose their critical faculties when it comes to this sort of stuff.

I have to confess I only made it through the first episode. But it was clear from the first five minutes what rubbish it was going to be. Steve Coogan plays a loveable family man and gambler called Bob Crosby. ‘Bing’, they call him here in the first of many examples of Royle Family and Early Doors writer Craig Cash running out of ideas.

He sells the television to pay for gambling and spends most of his wages on gambling the week after his wife has given birth to their first baby. Back in real life, this would make him a cunt. But in loveable ‘TV Northland’ its fine because he sings her a song in the lovably working-class club they go to and everyone sings along. ‘What a character he is’, we’re supposed to think. What a load of absolute shite.

I love Steve Coogan as a comedy actor, but he shows his limitations in this and you can see him constantly struggling to reign in his Partridgeisms. Maybe he’d have been better with a decent script. Or a good Director. Or a less misty-eyed ‘how great it is to come from a housing estate in the North’ cast. But that’s all academic. This is just by-the-numbers, condescending rubbish. I can only guess that the people involved in it are now so far removed from their backgrounds that they really believe this is a fair representation of the North. 

TV people love all this sort of shit though. It saves them from ever venturing up there out of curiosity. Of course, there are many very good examples – The Royle Family, Early Doors, some Alan Bennett, some of Alan Bleasdale’s stuff ( though I’ve been watching his stuff again recently and it dates quite badly).

In case you’re wondering, TV Northland includes:

  • A working-man’s pub/social club where people from all ages mingle – like that bar in Star Wars except the females are less attractive.
  • A Coronation Street type street where everyone lives and grew up together.
  • A central character who is going through a tough time but deals with it by displaying his plucky northern sense of humour.
  • A father who is timid but loveable and has a secret. A quite loveable secret. And a shed.
  • A mother who is initially stern but loveable. She secretly knows about both the secret and the shed.
  • Our main character’s loveable best-mate from school. And his wife who is best-mates-from-school with our main character’s loveable wife. Our main character’s loveable wife may well be also be best-mates with our main character’s loveable best-mate from school. ( I hope you’re following all this, it’s important).
  • Someone official who is a cunt. We know he is a cunt because he has a different accent (usually Southern) and wears a shirt and tie. His job is to take away the shed/reveal the secret/break up the loveable working-class friendships.

With the pedigree of the acting and writing involved in this, we really should expect something much much better. I felt patronised enough watching it, and I’m Scottish. I hate to think how I’d feel if I actually came from the North of England.

Stay in your sheds until it clouds over again.

The Virgin Daughters

September 30, 2008

Brought to you by Tales from an Empty Room

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To the outsider, teenage American girls appear to be split into two camps. Half of them are starring in Spring Break and videos getting gang-banged by drunk teenage boys. The other half are members of various Christian purity movements. Luckily, we have girls like Sarah Palin’s teenage daughters to bridge the gap. She’s a fundamentalist Christian, but her daughters are apparently forever getting knocked up by gas station attendants and bag-boys. And they say Palin isn’t a unifying candidiate.

This documentary followed various fathers and daughters in Colorado Springs as the daughters prepared to make their pledges to stay virginal and pure, promising not to even kiss or hold hands with a boy until their wedding day. They do this as part of the annual Purity Ball and they start as young as five.

Now, most guys I know who have daughters know what horny little bastards teenage boys are. And most of them can see the merit in trying to make sure your daughter feels loved enough at home not to go off and date the town ’bad boy’ just to piss off daddy.  As US comedian Chris Rock says – your only job as a father is to keep your daughter off the pole. But there is surely a better way of doing this that doesn’t involve emotionally blackmailing a five-year old. 

The main character we met was the ball’s organiser, alpha-male fuckwit Randy Wilson.  As Randy and the other fathers in this movement sat hovering over their daughters as they spouted their rehearsed purity speeches to please daddy, my skin began to crawl. Randy has seven children and he and his wife have had five miscarriages. His wife, by the way, was a weeping basket-case. Bearing in mind the poor woman’s been pregnant 11 times, she was obviously physically and emotionally worn-out and she probably doesn’t have five minutes peace where the aptly-named Randy isn’t showing her some of his good ol’, Christian lovin’. 

As part of a weekly household ceremony, the children line up and Randy tells them one-by-one what they mean to him. To me, this just looked like an overly-dominant man asserting his patriarchal role in an ugly display of power. But I guess Mrs Randy must have been glad of the rutting break.

I’d be interested to know how much Randy makes from these purity balls and how much of it he gives back to the church. Having said that, the New Life Church which hosts these things, was conveniently founded  by Randy himself. So who knows if he can tell the difference between the two.

‘Why! The church needs a brand-new red Camaro. Hallelujah!’

We also met Khrystian Wilson (these Americans with their whacky misspellings!) who had once been Miss Teenage Colorado and had taken one of these purity covenants herself. Being a very nice-looking girl and Miss Colorado an all, she’d obviously attracted the attention of the boys. And having had virtually no sex education, she soon found herself pregnant. She was all set to marry the boy in question until she lost the baby and they separated. Thankfully, she’s now living with a nice guy. But her mother still treats her like a fallen woman and refuses to have anything to do with her partner. Christian love and forgiveness in action.

I understand parents wanting to protect their children – particularly young daughters – from the worst excesses of our morally bankrupt and demoralised culture. But anyone knows that if you want to make something seem more appealing to teenagers – just ban it. Just ask every stripper who went to convent school. Everyone knows little girls will do anything to please their daddy. But fathers taking advantage of this fact, simply because they can’t handle the idea of their daughters growing up into sexually mature women, is pretty depressing.

Disclaimer: Having said all of that, I should confess I have previous in this area myself. With a long trail of broken relationships behind me, I’ve disillusioned so many women that a group of my ex-girlfriends have now got together and started their own nunnery. I’m thinking about opening up my own monastery nearby. This might just be the perfect relationship – I just need to convince them all to take the Mingles Pledge at my annual Monastery Ball. I’ll keep you informed of my progress.

Ghosthunting with … Paul O’Grady and Friends

September 11, 2008

Well, I’ve already watched Ghosthunting with …the Dingles, McFly, Girls Aloud and the cast of I’m A Celebrity. So what the hell, I thought. I may as well complete the set.

All the famous people in Liverpool know each other apparantly. So Paul O’Grady’s ‘friends’ consisted of Natasha Hamilton from Atomic Mutton and on-screen Brookside couple Philip Olivier (Tinhead from Brookside) and Jennifer Ellison (Tinhead’s girlfriend Emily from Brookside, small, blonde, gets her tits out for lads’ mags).

This time they set off for Palermo on the Italian island of Sicily to find the ghosts. And – as usual – the amateur ghosthunters were accompanied by presenter/exec producer Yvette Fielding in her Scooby-Doo taxi.

Yvette Fielding is one of those hard-faced northern women who, in past decades, would have been photographed in black and white, her beefy forearms wrapped around a mangle and surrounded by jam-faced children in wellingtons. These days she has her own production company, faking hauntings for gullible idiots like me. I guess that’s progress of sorts.

Sitting in the back of the taxi watching everything on the TV monitors and commenting on proceedings was body-language expert and Mr Potato-head look-alike Dr Geoffrey Beattie. Like Cybil Fawlty, Geoffrey’s specialised subject is stating the bleedin’ obvious.

So Geoff helpfully informed us, ‘We can expect a lot of fear responses, people vocalising their fears and indicating as much with their body language and so on.’ How else might they indicate their fear Geoffrey? Through the medium of contemporary dance, perhaps? I obviously missed that scene in The Exorcist where Father Karras leaps around Regan’s bedroom in some hotpants with the arse cut out, to the accompaniment of white-noise and bongo drums.

As usual, they visited various ‘haunted’ sites around Palermo and Yvette primed them by whispering a spooky ghost story and then tossing them into the pitch black corridors with just their little handicams and their own screams for company.

Pram-face Natasha turned out to be fairly level-headed. It was Ellison who was the pain in the arse. Left alone in the dark of a 14th century oubliette (a hole they chucked people into) she was fine. But as soon as she had an audience she was shrieking like a scouse banshee. Never have we been more in need of Harry Enfield’s scouse gits to turn up and tell her to ‘caaalm down’.

I guess that’s why I enjoy these shows though. Some damsels in distress. Some young alpha-males trying to walk with a modicum of dignity across a haunted ballroom, without shrieking like a girl and shitting themselves – my own favoured option in similar circumstances, and Yvette bullying everyone in the name of psychic research and bigger ratings.

‘I’m just going to leave you here in this dark room with that ghost I told you about. On your own. For a week. With three mental patients, some victorian dollies and this bucket of LSD. See how you go. Alright?’

The climax of the show was in the Capuchin catacombs in Palermo where, as is tradition, people were mummified and left standing in the open. So we were treated to the gruesome spectacle of hundreds of bodies lining the walls in various states of decay.

At this point it struck me for the first time that these were real people and the fun of the whole thing started to wear off. To their credit, O’Grady and friends obviously felt the same way and they showed a lot of genuine compassion for the corpses – particularly a little three-year-old girl who had been entombed in a glass coffin and was almost perfectly preserved. It was truly grotesque and the only real horror was how anyone could film this as cheap entertainment and expect us to go along with it.

Yvette’s evil plan to freak the shit out of them had obviously backfired. She tried to get a seance going and talk the whole thing up. But O’Grady wasn’t playing. Even wee Jennifer wasn’t playing. None of them were playing. Quite fucking right. Good on the Scousers.

I’m a sucker for all this ghost stuff. And so long as you take it as pure entertainment rather than anything remotely scientific, and so long as they have engaging guests, it’s an enjoyable show. Just don’t show us the bodies Yvette. That’s not scary. It’s just sick. Come back when you’ve learned to tell the difference.

This show is a spin-off from the popular Most Haunted franchise which is worth it alone, just for bringing us this priceless clip of famously exposed fraud psychic Derek Acorah.

Whisper it softly to yourself three times before you go to bed tonight, ‘Mary loves Dick …’

Cradle Snatcher & Proud

August 28, 2008

Seeing this show in the listings, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stomach it. I mean … Sue Perkins was doing the voice-over. Still, I’m nothing if not dedicated to my craft.

This is the latest offering in Virgin 1’s ‘… And Proud’ season and is obviously an attempt to cash in on the success of Channel Four’s recent run of highly-succesfull freakshow documentaries. My Husband is a 1987 Transit Van, and so on.

The title is self-explanatory. We met various couples, all with a wide age-difference between them, and found out what they thought and what society thought of their relationship. It’s encouraging to see that women these days have now achieved full equality-of-embarassment – there were just as many randy old women with their glasses steamed-up over young boys’ pecs as there were middle-aged men drooling over schoolgirls.

Ken is 44 and a children’s entertainer. His girlfriend, shy, timid Hannah is 17. They first met when she was best-friends with his daughter Nina and came to stay with them while she was moving schools. According to Ken, Hannah made the first move. Whether that move was made when she rolled a six and landed on Ken’s Park Lane hotel during a particularly important game of Monopoly was never mentioned. But once word got round that they were dating, his career as a children’s entertainer started to suffer and Ken and Hannah eventually had to move out of the area. I suppose it’s inevitable. Noone likes to think that their children’s entertainer is offering ‘extras’ and I dread to think what sort of material he was making his balloon animals out of.

In the past 40 years there has apparently been around a 20% increase in older women dating younger men. So, it was interesting to meet 62-year-old blonde MILF Wendy. Before bringing up your breakfast, you really should see her. Wendy is still a very attractive and sophisticated women who could easily pass for a highly-eligible 45-year-old. In fact, she was getting so much attention from young men that she wrote a book about it called, ‘The Toyboy Diaries’. From what we saw of Wendy’s lifestyle, the combination of notoriety and good looks means that she’s knee-deep in glistening pecs and baby oil every night of the week.

A gaggle of drunk, cackling 40-something women who set up the dating website told us ad nauseum how great it was to shag young men. Inevitably, the idea of 40 and 50-something men getting together and setting up a website of the same sort for young girls, without having molotov cocktails hurled through their windows, was never mentioned.

Chris was on holiday at Butlins with his parents aged just 18 when he fell for 50-year-old karaoke queen, Norma. Despite the enormous age difference, the two of them began a passionate affair immediately. Chris proposed to Norma three weeks later and they’ve been together for 12 years. Regardless of the age difference, they seemed like a fairly well-matched and happy couple. And Chris doesn’t really think of his wife as old. As he told us, ‘Norma doesn’t need oiling.’ All the best Chris. But no more details please, if you don’t mind.

This is all fair enough, I suppose. It’s hard enough to find someone to spend your life with without ruling someone out on the basis that they’re the wrong age. And so long as it’s all legal, I don’t see anything to worry about with any of this. But some of the stories were …well, best viewed on an empty stomach.

From MILFs we move to GILFs. Awkward chubby spectoid Simon (34) met game old bird Edna (73) a few years ago and they are now happily shacked up together. They first met when Simon was playing his organ in the local cinema [readers are invited to fill-in their own jokes here] and immediately fell in love.

Simon was still living with his parents at this point and they initially kept their relationship secret – but would speak for five to six hours on the phone every night, each conversation ending with Simon playing Edna ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ on his organ. They both live in Weston-Super-Mare and the first time Simon kissed Edna was under the pier. Thankfully for all concerned this is merely a statement of fact and not a euphemism.

As a further tribute to his undying love, Simon is now installing an antique pipe organ the size of a swimming pool into an enormous pit in their back garden. On the bright side, what with Simon’s obsession with old organs and Edna’s irrepressible joi de vivre, if they do ever breed, the child will be assured of a long career playing the lead in touring productions of The Phantom of the Opera – probably from a very young age and without the need for make-up.

The Perfect Vagina

August 19, 2008

Okay, I’m a man. So when reviewing a programme called ‘The Perfect Vagina’ it’s hard not to think of a gag every 15 seconds. And ex-Scrapheap Challenge presenter Lisa Rogers certainly gave me enough material.

‘I don’t think my husband Paul realised by making this film, I’d start talking fannies day and night’

He probaby didn’t Lisa, otherwise I’m sure he’d have set up a premium-rate chatline. You can make a fortune with that sort of thing.

Lisa’s mission was to find out why so many young women in Britain these days are opting for vaginal cosmetic surgery or ‘labiaplasties’. There’s been a 300% increase in the demand for this procedure privately in the past few years and even NHS demand has doubled since 2003.

Speaking to a girl who waxes women’s lady-bits, Lisa found out that the problem seemed to start in the late 90’s, around the time Sex and the City first hit our screens and Brazilians started becoming much more popular. With the consequent bareness of this new fanny-fashion, many women started to feel self-conscious about the look of their vaginas.

The main story centered around 21-year-old Rose who was so self-conscious about the shape of her vaginal lips that she was getting them trimmed. She was actually a very nice-looking girl and fully-clothed she looked perfectly normal. But she was so distressed about the appearance of her vagina that I was half-expecting she must have had a fanny that trailed along the ground behind her and had to be disguised as a wedding train and supported by two fanny bridesmaids wherever she went.

Not at all, as it turns out. It looked perfectly normal. The plastic surgeon chopped a few bits off anyway. Seeing as she’d gone to the trouble of bringing along the tv crew and shelling out a small fortune, it would have been rude not to.

We then saw Rose in recovery and were told it would take up to three months for the procedure to heal. Even I crossed my legs at that point and I don’t even own a fanny (although I do occasionally rent one in the Dordogne.)

Lisa also spoke to Brighton artist Jamie, who was casting 160 vulvas in plaster of paris to display as part of a large ‘Vaginal Wall’ art exhibit. Dirty bastard. I wish I’d thought of that one.

There is regulatory requirement on these sort of shows where they have to ask a New Age gimp what their solution to the problem is, and this one was no different. So Lisa consulted fanny-guru Rachael Foops (no tittering at the back) who advised that women’s vaginas have stories and memories locked inside them and that by talking to them, women can heal these emotional scars.

To her credit, Lisa burst out laughing at this point. But, by the end of the show, she was sitting cross-legged in a kaftan eating pomegranites and showing her twinkle to the group like the rest of them – obviously on the basis that it makes good TV.

A more serious problem was highlighted by the rise in ‘Laser Hymenoplasties’ -particularly amongst young, Muslim women. These poor ladies are apparently under an increasing pressure to ‘bleed’ on their wedding night to prove they are still virgins, so they are having their hymens artificially reinstored. Here’s a tip for you girls: if your husband-to-be is such an evil religious bigot that he wants blood on the wedding night, why not just bite off his testicles? Better still, don’t marry the twat in the first place. No bloodshed required on either side. Just a thought.

Of course, we poor unfortunate men have had to contend with this sort of thing for decades. The size of the penises you see in porn movies are not at all representative of the rest of us, and a friend of mine (not me, a friend of mine) can only make it through one of these ghastly films by repeating over and over to himself the mantra ‘he’s just got very small hands, he’s just got very small hands’… As I say – not me, a friend of mine.

It also can’t help that every second email I receive asks me if I would like a bigger cock – and that’s just the ones I get from my mother. So we men feel your pain, ladies, and not just because it increases our chances of a shag, but y’know, for like, proper caring reasons ‘n’ stuff.

We’re all victims of this brainwashing shite. So here’s an idea. Stop buying the glossy magazines, girls, and stick around with us here at Watch With Mothers. I can assure you there are far bigger and uglier twats than yours on this very site, every day of the week.

Cue the comments…