Posts Tagged ‘BBC 1’

EastEnders

February 18, 2009

Garry Eastenders BBC

Are the scriptwriters that write Phil and Peggy and Pat and Jack and Max on holiday at the moment? I only ask because EastEnders has given itself over to storylines featuring what you could describe as its ‘light-relief B-team’ recently.

We’ve had a strange evening of farcical misunderstandings in the curry house involving Minty, Garry, the utterly pointless yet lovely-looking Dawn, Heather, Ricky and Bianca; we’ve had a peculiar non-suicide storyline involving Garry going on holiday to Spain and not telling anyone; we’ve had Heather and the cadaverous Shirley stalking George Michael (with Heather falling off a wall in a comically fat fashion); and we’ve got a strange Carry On film going on at the moment in the shape of the Masouds and the Beales going into the catering business with each other. There’s even been food fights! Food fights with Christian – EastEnders’ very own Kenneth Williams – sneering and giggling in the background.

Any minute now I’m expecting Peggy’s tits to pop out. Well … tit. Let’s not forget she’s one tit down after catching the cancer a few years back.

What’s going on? Wasn’t there some bad blood between Max and his brother? Have there been no further developments in the five yearly Dot-murdering plot? Wasn’t Tania’s daughter accused of something?

Apparently not. Instead we’ve had two weeks of pratfalls, fuck ups, food fights, mishaps and comedy Humpty Dumpty recreations. You mark my words, if this continues it’ll be custard pies and collapsible motor cars next.

What happened to the spirit-crushing drudgery? Where’s the woe? Why has EastEnders turned into a 1970s West End farce? What’s going on?

I WANT MY MISERY BACK.

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One Minute Review: Watchdog

February 17, 2009

Julia Bradbury Watchdog

Watchdog‘s great these days.

For starters, it’s got Julia Bradbury up front. Anyone who saw the sight of  her off her face on Celebrity Come Dine With Me on Sunday will agree that Bradbury is good value. She’s like a drunk Fiona Bruce. As she presents Watchdog with a serious tone in her voice, pointing out faulty power-steering on the new Mini or criticising allergy-testing kits that don’t work, you can see behind her smirk that she’s a little raver. The minute they’ve wrapped she’ll be down her local, playing darts and forcing ale into her face. She’s probably soused as she presents it, but the years of hard-boozing have enabled her to cover it like a proper pro. She should be saluted.

Watchdog’s other selling-point is everyone’s favourite Scotch curmudgeon, Nicky Campbell. Gone are the days of the mullets and kids TV – these days Campbell deals in issues. And by golly, he’s got attitude.

Watch as Campbell cruises smugly around the studio. When he addresses the audience he’s fair and even-handed. He’s on your side. But when berating the PR Officer of a property company or giving grief to the MD of a double glazing factory, by jingo, he’s an animal.

I can’t see how ladies would fail to swoon when he’s on the box. He’s simultaneously sympathetic to his audience’s needs and prepared, at the drop of a badly-moulded gearstick, to savage the so-called bigwigs and fat cats he and we so despise. He and Bradbury are a match made in heaven, and Watchdog is a hotbed of real, outraged, disgusted and miffed sex action.

Phwoar!

Snow Reportage – LBC & BBC Breakfast

February 2, 2009

bill turnbull

Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams were trying to survive the sudden blast of snowfall without any guests – apart from Rory Bremner, and he doesn’t really count. They kept having to cut to the weather, which was on every 20 minutes in extended 15 minute blocks, meaning that most of the morning’s scheduling was dedicated to the white stuff. (It’s snowing, apparently).

Bill and Sian were also having to put up with the constant appearance of a bespectacled, unshaven drunk who claimed he was the expert on travel. Except he seemed to know as much as I know about the roads and rail, and was bluffing his way through an extended section because there weren’t any guests to speak to afterwards.

Over on LBC, Ferrari, that portly prick who’s employed solely to stoke the fire in the bellies of the small-minded, seems forlorn. He’s without any health and safety practitioners to berate and hasn’t been able to have a pop at the politically correct gestapo all morning, with his show also focusing on this infernal blank rot falling from the sky. He’s having to talk to the kids who can’t get to school and the commuters freezing outside train stations, when it’s obvious he’d rather be ripping a part traffic wardens and congestion chargers.

I’m going to keep listening, in the hope he blames all this rotten weather on the Poles.

Just a Thought – Eastenders Quarantine

January 21, 2009

ben mitchell

We’ve mentioned this before, but where the hell do soap characters go when they’re not required?

Any one episode will feature three or four theads, right? These usually involve around six families. So what happens if a character’s not required? Are we supposed to imagine that they’re still about, just doing their usual thing whilst all the drama in their life is put on hold until the cameras can be arsed to start rolling in front of them?

For example – where the hell has Gary been in Eastenders for the past month? Minty too has been missing for a while – only appearing in what might be considered a cameo role, having a chuckle about the new massage parlour for all of a minute before wafting off back into the ether.

Ben’s gone AWOL too, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some reports have inferred that he’s shaved his head, stuck on a white smock and is currently trying to rebrand Little Chef, but these are unconfirmed.

ALL of the Bianca clan have vanished. My better half tells me they’re on holiday – but I suspect that, like the others mentioned, they’ve been packed off to Quarantine.

Shirl’s in quarantine too – with a suspected dose of madness, what with all the lusting after Phil she’s been up to recently. Another character who’s currently surplus to requirements, she sits in plot limbo, idly twiddling her thumbs until the voyeurs demand she come back.

Eastenders Quarantine is, I presume, a lonely place. Surely there must be a more humane way of freezing time for the Walford residents as we viewers, standing like Greek Gods over their fates, get on with the most important plot points, or take a break from the more intense storylines? The thought of them shivering in Quarantine until such time as they’re recalled – or sent off packing to The Bill for eternity – leaves me cold.

Eastenders, 2009

January 6, 2009

janinebbc_468x3902

Regular readers may well roll their eyes at the sight of Eastenders in the headline again, but as anyone who tuned in over Christmas will tell you, the sitcom has drifted from regular melancholy into the absolute zero of acute depression.

A few of the current threads seem designed to make viewers slit their wrists. They may as well slot split-second banners in the film reels saying ‘END IT NOW’ in a bold black font, just to kick the public that little bit further into the pit of despair.

So, put on your party hat, pull out your party poppers and get down with us as we celebrate the most miserable Eastenders threads of 2009! (so far).

Dotty, Dot and the Non-reformed Nasty Nick

Even casual viewers will know a bit about Dot’s blighted past where her son is concerned. He’s tried to poison her, always stolen from her and is generally a complete, drug-addled bastard. So, at Christmas time – a time for giving – writers decided to bring back the malevolent offspring. For one episode he was convincingly reformed and I expected a slow-building but subtly well-written build up to his dastardly intentions. Instead, by New Year, a hundred heavy-handed hints made the blatantly obvious oncoming conclusion plain, meaning we’ve months of watching Dot tragically kid herself ahead as dramatic irony looks wearily on from the side of the stage. Happy new year.

Max, Tanya, Lauren and Lies

At the centre of last year’s Christmas-time borderline-incest infidelity scandal, this story is running and running. And running. Then meandering a bit and now faltering to some sort of conclusion. After alcoholism, a confusing bit with a gun and an intentional road crash, Tanya’s banged up in the least secure prison in Britain, where it seems to be perfectly legal for a woman on trial for attempted murder to socialise, unobserved, with the bloke she’s accused of trying to kill in her cell (not even through the bars, as might be a bit more realistic). Everyone knew young Lauren had done the driving when she admitted as much, and I don’t think I’m far wrong when I say that every viewer is probably hoping young Abby (the little shit) gets put away for life in some weird twist of fate in the next couple of weeks.

Sean, Roxy and Jack’s Three-Way Disaster

Poor Sean had mended his wicked ways when he discovered he had a daughter – and the fact she was premature even seemed to strengthen him. He was almost completely sane by the time he found out (on Christmas Day, round the table, naturally) that the kid wasn’t his. It was it’s mother’s sister’s ex-boyfriend’s. This resulted in lots of laying about depressed in the launderette, baby-kidnapping, falling into an icy lake and tons of screaming and wailing. I think we were meant to feel sympathy for Sean – which was misjudged really, considering most viewers are still reeling from the period of time in which Sean was dealing coke, being a complete sod to everyone and physically torturing much-loved character Gus. Good riddance Sean then – even if he was a well-acted figure of fun.

Bianca, Whitney and the Sex Offender

And now to possibly the most depressing story of the bunch. We all know Whitney was abused by her adopted mother’s boyfriend. Well, Bianca found out, Tony got arrested and now we’re having to suffer the consequences – a damaged teenager, Bianca at a loss, Ricky looking confused (plus ca change…) and lots and lots of crying. The only light at the end of this particular tunnel came with the recent arrival of Janine Butcher (Godbless her), the best ever Eastenders pantomime villain we’ve had for a while. A good move by bosses, bringing her back. Last night she delivered a nasty line to Bianca when told she’d upset  Whitney: ‘Oh – is that my fault? But I’m not the one who bought a paedo into the house?’.

What an awful woman.

So, if these four tales of warm, hard-grafting East End types from the working classes don’t fire up the cockles of your heart, I’m not sure what will.

Oh!
Knees up Muvva Brown! etc…

Eastenders – 10.12.08

December 10, 2008

Eastenders bosses saw sense, eventually. Rather than drag out the paedophile story until Christmas day for a freaky, festive finale, they opted to have Tony leg it a couple of weeks early. They also spared child-of-the-damned Lauren from his sneaky clutches, mercifully. Not sure how, but Lauren manages to be a realistic character, despite the fact the girl who plays her is somewhat dead around the eyes. Saying that, having your Dad cheating on your Mum with a girl less than half his age and then having your Uncle shack up with Mum as soon as she’s separated, dated an ex-squaddie half her age and tried to bury Dad alive in an urban forest, I suppose your senses might be a little numb.

Tony went out with a bang in an episode focused on Pat’s house. For one of the poorest threads in Eastenders history, it was surprising that the game was upped and the revelation episode was, in fact, genuinely affecting. If you didn’t see it, you won’t believe it, but Patsy Palmer – that shouting, rust-headed, walking mardy put in a bravura performance for once in her life. Bianca and Whitney’s interactions were horrifically believable, and Tony’s blank-faced nastiness went down well too.

I say ‘went down well’, but that’s hardly the right phrase. The thirty minutes left the audience nauseous as Bianca had what was occurring spelled out to her multiple times. When Tony’s amusing attempts to wriggle free failed (causing a cheer in my house), Bianca ran to the toilet to vomit copiously, just as I popped a roast potato into my mouth. Don’t they realise this is tea-time telly?

When Bianca pleaded with Tony, asking her to reveal if he’d touched little Tiff, he stalled when asked ‘why not?’. I can’t have been alone in wondering if he was going to specify the girl’s hair colour as the reason for his not advancing on her. It was even possible that he might have used the ‘Paedogedden’ reason given by Simon Pegg on Chris Morris’s Brass Eye special that he simply ‘didn’t fancy her’, but he left it, vaguely, at ‘that wouldn’t be my style’.

Making light of it is easy, so I’ll stop as this was actually a moving episode. Bianca’s character reacted exactly as the audience has come to expect – at first entirely selfishly and then, ultimately, believably sympathetic. It reminded us why she’s got such a strong role in a leading soap.

Tony was chased off at the end after making a crucial but mistimed return to the scene of the crime to pick up his passport and it’s genuinely good to see the back of him. At first the whole plotline was little short of comical, before turning more credible as Tony began to ‘go off’ his young prey as he watched her mature.

Despite Chris Coghill’s good showing, I’m glad we can move on from the era in which Eastenders became Beastenders.

All that revolting conversation at a time when me and the missus are settling down to dinner. What kind of time’s that to be airing such nastiness?

It’s a bloody disgrace.

Criminal Justice

July 7, 2008

Criminal Justice

I’ve been half-watching Criminal Justice on BBC1.

I didn’t mean to watch it, I hate ‘drama’. Utter waste of time, but on Monday I’d stepped in from the pub and flipped on the tube with my tea and I couldn’t help myself.

I’ve not been inside, but I’ve a fundamental fascination with the horrific concept of being banged up. There are few things I can think of that are worse, especially if you’re innocent like what this kid might be, yeah?

Anyhoo, this kid, right, was being all threatened by this giant skinned of the head man and instead of the usual BBC/ITV ‘drama’ fodder the acting tellingly notified me that this was good stuff. In addition to a well skill cast the script was good, the direction unobtrusive and by George, they’d got the lighting right too. So I watched it…

Plot thus, kid gets nicked for knacking this bird what he porked. He did the nasty when pissed, woke up in the kitchen and discovered her stabbed-in-the-tit-dead. He gets nicked and can’t remember nothing, though he’s clearly* innocent. Chuck in a juicy subplot in pokey and you’ve a cracking little number that’s as watchable as Nigella Lawson spreading Damson Preserve on her udders. Even the court scenes are riveting, but this is a bone of contention, apparently.

In Wednesdays Guardian some barrister wrote a letter about it…

Right, before we pick the bones out of this, I’d firstly like to say that this TV show is a drama. That’s right – it’s not real. It’s like me moaning I can’t fucking fly like Superman on account of the fact we both have limbs, or something.

The author of the show is a trained Criminal Barrister and may know a thing or two about the system he’s portraying. It would seem that the moaning barrister has done his case no good whatsoever simply by protesting in the first place.

Moreover, it was unquestionably foolish to moan about it after watching two episodes seeing as one of the barristers by episode four is actually quite nice and, under that wig of hers, I suspect she’s fucking well tidy lads…

Since when have barristers ever been the good guys? I understand their part in the legal system to ensure ethically ‘fair’ trials but by default, they have to be by some degree unethical. They are required to defend criminals and prosecute the innocent and vice versa, depending on who is paying. They are the whores of the legal world and similarly the axis on which the whole cunting system pivots. Of course barristers are awful, it’s their job.

When I was actually watching the courtroom scenes before I read this twat’s letter I was happily thinking about how good the script was – how bloody marvelous Lindsay Duncan is. I wasn’t sitting there thinking ‘Oooh, I thought all barristers were good now I h8 them. Boo-hoo’.

I hate them now though, every last wigged man jack of them, do you hear me, Timothy Hutten QC? And it’s all your fault you slimy shitbag.

Jesus Christ, I’ve just heard that this zombie guy with gloves made from knives has been appearing in these kids’ dreams, he’s slaughtering teens, in America!! Ooh, what if he comes over here…

IYAM SKARED

*he did it, maybe

The Apprentice 2008 – Ep. 8

May 15, 2008

When that Alan Sugar character lets rip in his opening spiel, he tells the assembled morons ‘this is the job interview from HELL’. Clearly this is untrue. He’s indulging in hyperbole in order to talk up the gruelling series of tasks and the humiliation that approaches. Interestingly, he follows up with ‘your prize will be working with me’. Logically then, Alan Sugar is Satan.

Raef, answers the phone with his clockwork orange eyelashes and immaculate in his bedroom attire, only a few stray cockerel hairs on the back of his sweep betraying his shut-eye. St Barts church is the destination for the debrief, and they’re to pack an overnight bag.

In a between-scene vox-pop, Claire states that she’s building momentum, whilst Helene spits that, not only would she never mix with the housemates in real life, if she was working with them, she’d fire them. Therein she makes the assumption that she would be their boss rather than the other way round. It’s what makes Helene the most annoying of the flotsam that’s left. A superiority complex the size of Cornwall, all mixed up with a pathological lack of patience and a withering gaze that comes at you from three angles.

‘This church was used in Four Weddings and a Funeral’ says Beelzebub, as the remaining soldiers look about them, cooing and wondering why His Evil Highness hasn’t burnt up on contact with holy ground. The audience shrugs at the Four Weddings revelation. That film’s about 20 years old. Alex looks nervously at Claire, the memory of their boyfriend / girlfriend role play still firmly wedged in his brain and any thought of churches, weddings and marriage causing visible discomfort.

The teams were split again, with Helene as team leader taking Sara, Alex and Michael under her vulture-wing whilst Lucinda took the reins again, despite winning the ice cream task recently. She got LEE, Claire and Raef. A winning set up if ever there was one. It was clear from the off which team was headed for an almighty fall.

Michael’s vox pop followed and he noted his own effortless charm. If you’re aware you’re doing it, Sophocles, then it’s not fucking effortless, is it? Let’s dive in and look at Michael’s efforts this week. This week’s was the Sophocles show, so it’s only fair we focus on the hairy little twat.

When looking at prize-winning dresses by Ian Stewart, he brown-nosed the designer until he barely had a tongue left, then decried his work as ‘ghastly’. When describing it on the phone to Helene he had an ‘I can take it or leave it’ attitude to it, even though, when it was revealed that these high end dresses would win the task, Michael lied that he’d pushed for them. The squirming squirt. All he’d actually done was described them as ‘dresses like the ones in Beauty and the Beast’ and used the grammatical clanger ‘very unique’. Either it is, or it isn’t unique. Piss off with your very unique and effortless charm.

In the event, they let those dresses get away from them and Lucinda’s team secured the winning items. At a few thousand per dress, it always looked like Raef’s ‘high-risk’ strategy would work.

Helene’s team settled on some unbelievably tacky frocks, in every garish colour of the Essex wedding rainbow – as worn, according to the salesgirl, by your Katie Prices and your Jodie Marshes… a great sell, if half your brain has degenerated.

As every bad decision was made, including choosing to sell cakes that looked like shrubs, Alex silently sat and twiddled his pen with increasing frenzy. When he sold, he did very well, but it’s becoming clear that selling is all he can do. He’ll have to lead a team in the next couple of weeks, so if he gets beyond the lip-pursing whining, he may show some initiative beyond winking at girls in order to hoodwink them out of their pocket money.

Raef’s attitude to selling cake to girls was the only real stand-out laugh in the show. Discussing dresses for the larger, BBW side of the market, he declared that if they were going to sell big dresses, they’d be able to flog the cake too – as the larger-dress consumers are just that – big consumers.

Beyond that, this wasn’t the greatest Apprentice ever but there were a few cringe-moments that rescued it. All of these were supplied by Sophocles and Sara. Poor old Sara… the one-trick-pony beneath her lovely frock was exposed and the poor little mite got booted out. I’ll miss her. For a day or two. And then she’ll be gone from my brain.

Michael’s selling technique, branded ‘telesales’ by Alex, was actually quite terrifying and involved recrimination, accusation, holding his head in his hands with outright impatience and even, at one point, a cry of ‘FOR GOD’S SAKE’ when a lady quite rightly stalled on a purchase of his crap confections. He was absolutely terrible. With the expression of his doppelganger all over his face, this Costanzaesque idiot even resorted to calling the general public ‘dumb-dumbs’. Dumb-dumbs who just ‘don’t want to make decisions’. A laughable attitude, really, and just the sort of thing Jerry Seinfeld’s little mate might say to a laughter track.

Sara was similarly bad, but where Michael was passionately engaged to the point of almost openly weeping at his punters, Sara had her cold thousand-yard-stare focused on the great, empty, nothingness of existence behind the heads of her potential clients. She literally didn’t listen to what her punters said and that caused her ejection. But Michael should’ve gone. Because he’s 810% uglier than her.

Over on the winning team, Lee and Lucinda apparently fell in love as they cruised about looking at sale items. The princess and the pauper, as Raef might put it, the bit of rough has definitely wooed the beret girl and a posh nosh-off is on the cards. Especially considering that Lee is now an expert on selling thongs, as he proudly boasted to Satan himself in the boardroom. The fact he was selling £6.99 trinkets to Brummie slags compared to Claire’s thousand quid dresses was lost on the poor brute. But at least he sold something.

So Lucinda won and Claire did her PR machine a power of good with a recommendation from Maggie Mountford, who herself, it was insinuated, had a lovely honeymoon thong encased within her buttcrack, purchased from Lee McAnn McSummers McQueen.

For no reason whatsoever, Raef put on a teddy bear outfit at some point, apparently to drum up interest but mainly because this was a drab episode and it needed someone to be a berk for three minutes to lighten the tedium.

Before they faced Belial’s wrath in Brentwood, Michael stated that he’d be interested to find out how Helene was going to spin her way out of trouble. Which was interesting, as he’d already started the process of spinning her into trouble… 

In the boardroom Sara went with little ceremony, and Alex got the piss taken out of him. Like Syed before him, the favoured Michael will probably get to the final as Lucifer likes him and he makes good TV. But no way will he win.

Incidentally – why do the winners get so excited about the substandard treats they receive? It’s like Big Brother… OOH! We’ve got a task!

They should scrap that. It stops it being the interview from hell and turns it into the interview from a not particularly exciting corporate promotions company. But we did get to see Lee indulging in primal scream mantra therapy, like a bellowing Chelsea headhunter in a yoga retreat.

It’s the make-a-TV-ad episode next week. Be afraid.

Episode 1
Episode 2

Episode 3
Episode 4

Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7