Posts Tagged ‘BBC3’

Drinking With The Girls

April 22, 2009

Drinking With The Girls Cherry Healy BBC Three

Cherry Healy fronts a moderately entertaining documentary, if you can call it that, in which she seeks to discover ‘the real truth about women and booze’. She succeeded in finding out that women drink booze and little else, but still, this was a half-decent hours worth of entertainment from BBC Three. Better than My Life As An Animal or Snog, Marry, Avoid anyway. Mainly because it was this new Cherry Healy character fronting it and not that vain hair-do woman Dawn Porter the channel usually relies upon for insight-free docu-pieces.

Opening with a montage of Daily Mail headlines about bingeing and a few helpful shots of girls falling over onto tarmac, we also witnessed Cherry puking violently into a latrine, a roman-shower shot we’d ultimately see repeated a few times throughout the show’s runtime – sometimes from different angles so we could consume the deeper meaning inherent in the act.

Cherry outlined her quest: to go out boozing with female drinkers from different demographics.

20-Somethings
Hitting the road and arriving at Blackpool, Cherry meets Leanne and her pals, all slightly put-upon young women, Leanne a single mother with quite obvious signs of depression – that aspect of her dipsomania only covered in one three sentence interview. There was no time for it, as the Editor needed to kicked in with his procession of images framing what were once called ladettes throwing booze down their gullets, rubbing their groins against retarded males with manga haircuts and ultimately falling over car bonnets with their tutus round their ankles. The experience makes Cherry cry for a couple of seconds, then move on to her next night out.

Underage
14 year old Rio and her pal explain that they like to get pissed in the park after drinking heavily at home. Cherry joins them in Rio’s bedroom where they down what they’ve nicked from Mum’s cabinet through a straw. Impressively, they manage to quaff Lambrini, neat vodka, neat Bacardi and a glug of Baileys before asking Mum if they can make it home for half ten rather than the Draconian ten pm curfew that’s currently in place. Cherry explains that this is different to how she was at their age. The Lambrini would be Pinot Grigio and she’d buy it with money from her ample allowance, back in her day. I’m making presumptions there, as I have every right to do.

Students
Where’s that? Only Sheffield Hallam University! Your host Swine’s place of higher education and the scene of his worst period of alcohol abuse is where Cherry ends up next and horrible, cloudy memories surface in this viewer. To make it worse, Cherry was taken to Shag – an evening at the Sheffield Leadmill that seems to actively attempt to murder attendees with pints at 80p, double vodka and red bull at a quid and two-for-one alchopops. I was too busy trying to repress images of myself rolling around in my own vomit to actually absorb any of this part of the show.

30 Somethings

A civil partnership was the next destination of choice as Cherry went to a lesbian marriage between two tattooed ladies. A good time was had by all, because 30 somethings tend to know their limits a little better than those a decade younger.

Mums and Mid-lifers
Even more responsibly, the Mums in the next sequence managed to run functioning households before going out dancing and returning home slightly tipsy. The Editor must have been furious by now at the lack of upskirt shots he could throw in, accompanied by that song that goes ‘here come the girls!’
Single widow Ann was also well-behaved, despite drinking a hell of a lot of liquor and starting every day at 11.30 in the morning, but that’s because she’s old enough to pace herself.

Grannies
And finally, Cherry took a tipple with the Red Hat Ladies of Torquay. These old birds went on coach trips to taste wine and were less able to binge because of their need to spend a penny every five minutes. Jean, the ringleader, was an admirably batty old bird and more than likely the apple of many a Torquay-based older gent’s eye. And who can blame the silver foxes when there’s mature totty like Jean wandering around the UK’s South coast?

The documentary eventually wore itself out as it went along, parallel to how the advancing years of the participants caused their hunger for the grog to dissipate in time. From the outright chaos of kiddie-drinking to the measured, cheeky imbibing of the older generation, the process off slowing down was bound to happen before the show ground itself to a halt.

So, to keep the tempo up right to the bitter end, that shot of Cherry hawking her colon out of her mouth thanks to too many double vodka and cokes was distributed equally throughout the show to prick the interest when the ageing lushs got tiresome.

And just when you thought it was all over, right at the end and before the closing credits…

vomit Cherry Healy BBC Three Drinking With The Girls

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My Life As An Animal: Pigs

April 20, 2009

My Life As An Animal BBC Three

My Life As An Animal is a show in which two seemingly intelligent people, untainted by mental illness, agree with BBC Three Producers that they will live with pigs for a week. They do this either because they’re so desperate to be on television that they’ll happily smear themselves in wet, gluggy manure to get there or (less likely) they’ve been badly advised on what the content of the show will be.

The format can be broken down like this:

  • Two Members of the Public meet Terry Nutkins
  • He tells them what pigs do.
  • They watch pigs snuffling about all day and doing very little.
  • MotPs are thrown into the pig pen where they live for a week.
  • They make friends or enemies with pigs, snuffle a lot and eat pig-feed.
  • They watch pigs get killed in the now-compulsory abattoir shot.
  • The end.

So – a sublime journey. How deeply will the human psyche be probed? What valuable information will we gleaned as we make adults scamper about on all fours, sleeping in straw and making grunting noises?

The contestants, Richard and Lyndsey, began by being ordered into clothes from a wheelbarrow that had been smeared with pig urine and poo. ‘It smells!’ they cry, stating the profoundly obvious. And they continue to state the obvious throughout the show.

– ‘This is literally a pigsty’
– ‘They smell’
– ‘They keep banging into me’
– ‘Urgh, it smells round here’
– ‘Oooh, it really stinks’

Richard – the first contestant – appeared to enjoy the process. He learned that ear-sucking on a waxy lughole is the very tenderest of intimate expressions among piggies, and he set to work nibbling ears like a pro. Soon enough he was kipping among them like he was one of their own, having grown worryingly close within a matter of hours.

Lyndsey, a Radio Five Live DJ, had a harder time living as a pig for a week. There were tears and tantrums during the early part of her stay when she realisd she’d be sleeping among them. She wanted her own sty, she complained – not realising that would obliterate the whole point of this stupid outing. Later, when a piggy nipped her on the lower leg she roared like a baby and demanded she get to go home. But then, persuaded by the crew, she got back into it and spent the rest of the day running around haystacks. The soppy cow.

Aside from that, ‘having totally immersed themselves in their pig-lives’, they watched pigs do sex and then snuff it in a slaughterhouse. They swapped places so that Lyndsey could see she’d actually got the better end of the deal as she sampled the non-organic pen. But still it was impossible to work out what we’re meant to have learned. Something about farming techniques? Something about human nature?

Whatever it was, it completely escaped me. The suspicion is this is another outing in which the title and concept are all, and that the actual content of the show doesn’t actually matter.

Did it not occur to anyone that the idea is completely and morbidly pointless? ‘It’s a new low!’ they seem to be shouting over in BBC Three-land. ‘Let’s celebrate it! Here – smear yourself in some shit!’

Watching the show, when the contestants complained – particularly Lyndsey who took to punching her stymates on the snout – you wanted to grab them by their lapels and dash their heads against the nearest trough, screaming at them that, as they’ve decided to live like pigs, they should stop complaining (in human) about how much they hate it. And what’s more, if they were going to do this bullshit experiment properly, they should be stark bollock naked. And the only human contact should come from the farmer. And if it was unwelcome contact they wouldn’t be able to complain beyond a terrifying, shrill squeal.

But then you realise that hidden camera footage of an obese farmer boning a mute, naked media type in a cold field wouldn’t make great television – but then, neither does this shit.

One Minute Review: Horne & Corden

March 11, 2009

For those of you who didn’t catch it, a quick round up of all the gags featured in last night’s opening episode of Horne & Corden’s new sketch show. All thirteen jokes are present, including the successful one.

Joke 1
Introduction, with the actually quite amusing sight of a fat man being overexcited. Ruined by a damp punchline squib.

Joke 2
A fat man suddenly notices he is fat and throws away his burger.

Joke 3
A camp news reporter in Iraq, ripped directly from Steve Coogan’s portrayal of Pauline Calf.

Joke 4
A vaguely accurate David Brent impersonation.

Joke 5
Teachers show a class how to draw cocks. Potentially a good gag, ruined by the fact that no cock I ever saw on any exercise book looked like that, because they looked like this.

Joke 6
The perfume ad you’ve already seen that features a naked fat man.

Joke 7
A relay race in which a fat man can be seen trying to compete.

Joke 8
A man pushes another man over on his arse in a supermarket.

Joke 9
Superman chats to Spiderman. Spiderman is fat and we see his big, fat bottom.

Joke 10
A fat man is having sex and can’t finish up.

Joke 11
Whilst discussing strategy, an army officer asks if anyone has a Nokia charger. Eerily reminiscent of a Fast Show classic.

Joke 12
An alcoholic fat man humiliates his ex-schoolmate in front of his family.

Joke 13
Westcountry magicians do a dance routine, in the hope that it will be made funny by the fact that one of them is fat.

End Credits

It’s good to see BBC3 continuing with its schedule of rushed-out, underwritten and flimsy sketch shows. It’s looking like Horne & Corden is a worthy addition to that tradition. Roll on next week.

Most Annoying People: 2008

December 29, 2008

You could be forgiven for thinking we’re cynical bastards on this site. You’d be right, to an extent. But, unlike Most Annoying People: 2008, we like to think we target the most distasteful stuff we can find on TV and have something of a cause. We’ve lost the way in the past from time to time, but essentially we’ve stuck to our guns on the stuff we despise.

The aforementioned show, on the other hand, lists 100 of the most well known people in the country and systematically strips the vinegar-piss out of them indiscriminately. It’s the neverending story of the year and in it Richard Bacon connects the featured prey with withering introductions and strange audio skits whilst talking heads give their verdict on the celebrities who’ve received the words press over the course of the year.

The Talking Heads themselves are an odd bunch. You have your usual, well-recognised cultural commentators – like Mark Frith (or whatever he’s called) – the ex editor of Heat. You have a bevy of known stand ups, less well known stand ups and other ex-Blue Peter presenters. And you also have the stars of the show. A handful of the alleged most annoying who are included in the list pop up to give their side of the story and later, confusingly, appear to comment on fellow celebrity annoyances.

The show eats itself, pukes itself up, then gathers its puke and shoves it under your nose twenty minutes later due to a lack of material. It renders you completely frazzled.

What compounds the confusion is the fact that some of them may not have annoyed you in the slightest. Speaking subjectively, Fern Britton hasn’t got my goat in the slightest this year. I couldn’t care less if she’s been passively hypocritical regarding some Ryvita. I’m not sure I’ve seen any trace of Pete Doherty in the press. Last I heard, he’d moved to the countryside and got fat. That’s not annoying. It’s advisable.

So you’ll be sitting there saying to yourself ‘Huh! Piers Morgan, eh? What a moron’ and then it’ll flick to Alistair Darling who, for my money, isn’t annoying at all. I can’t see why he’s been included. The only reason the show really gave was a painfully extended pisstake regarding his eyebrows.

This is BBC3 fare and, by their standards, is surprisingly watchable. All the same, 100 is a very high figure to try and reach, so it’s no wonder some examples fall flat. The overriding problem is that the figures who are mocked are only so high profile because the media plasters them over front pages and screens instead of real news. We wouldn’t hear about Winehouse’s terrible choice of beau if it wasn’t for the press making it the top story. Naomi playing the race card after bluffing on a jet is so far off my radar that it’s incapable of annoying me.

Who exactly is this stuff annoying, apart from around 50 talking heads in a handful of studios in London, Sun readers, Grazia readers and morons?

I’m afraid I don’t have the answer.

The Last Millionaire

November 27, 2008

The Apprentice isn’t back till March.

If your thirst for asinine entrepreneurs wasn’t quenched by the borderline unwatchable Natural Born Sellers on ITV, then you could do worse than flick over to BBC3 on a Wednesday night for The Last Millionaire. It’s like The Apprentice in reverse and without the flawed concept of Sugar as some figurehead of business ethics and success.

What you get is a bunch of youngsters who’ve  crucially already made their first million and are on the show simply to strut and show off their imagined business acumen. If they win the weekly task they can go home – but if they lose they stay on and run the risk of ultimately being the outright loser in the final week. And it seems that losing is the thing they most fear – whereas in The Apprentice, all but one will lose, so only being the first to go really carries any shame.

All these bright young things are dropped in a foreign clime, week upon week, and paired up. They’re given about 60 quid each, tossed in a hostel and told to make as much money as they can within seven days. A borderline impossible task, you might think. 

There’s clearly a little help from the production team in terms of providing contacts and offering inspiration, but for the most part it seems they’re left on their own and many minutes of quality chuckles are reaped from their absent-minded bull-headedness, pig-ignorant self-belief and vain lack of self-awareness. As seven days is too short a time to set up a legitimate business beyond selling bottles of water to tourists (which is what one pairing did one week, while others were selling high end night out to models), most of the participants resort to scamming bar owners, museums, tourist agencies and holiday-makers. And sometimes their arrogance is breathtaking.

Last week’s winners, for example, sold a Spencer Tunick style installation at a German bar. The owner was impressed by the non-tacky pitch and would provide cash for the publicity as well as use of the bar. A photographer who was asked to generate that publicity was also asked for some money – he could use the prints as he liked afterwards. So, with money made, all the lads had to do was find some dudes who were happy to be nudes.

Having promised a jam-packed barful of naked folk, all of them rendered anonymous by their sheer numbers, they managed to get about seven very uncomfortable people to take part through sheer, sneaky manipulation. The bar looked half empty so the photos that were eventually produced must’ve resembled the opening shots from a C-grade group porn pamphlet. But – amazingly – they got the money from the photographer.

On the other hand, the bar-owner turned from an easy going cool-cat into a rage-filled German stereotype, ordering them to get out of his bar without payment in a thick, furious accent in one of the most satisfying sequences I’ve seen on TV this year.

They won the task. And they won it through sheer audacity, front, bullying, smarm, charm and bullshit. Where The Apprentice makes out that there is still a huge amount of honour in the business world and uses the stooges as bad-example scapegoats, The Last Millionaire proves that the real way to make money in this ‘orrible old world is to con people into handing it over. Just ask anyone who bought the Amstrad Emailer.

Celebrity Scissorhands

November 4, 2008

celebrity scissorhands

Good God.

I know it’s for charity, this Celebrity Scissorhands. I know it’s only BBC3. But when Children in Need are taking a format as unsuccessful, squalid and dull as Channel 4’s long abandoned ‘The Salon’ and resurrecting it, peopling it with micro-celebs – people you’re guaranteed to have to scrape the darkest recess of your brain to recognise – they really must be desperate for money. Or ideas.

The credits roll and, quite unlike most celebrity-competition TV stuff, they don’t have idents for each contestant. ‘That’s weird’, you think to yourself. Then later, as you’re stuck in the salon with a bunch of completely unrecognisable faces, you see why they’ve dropped the roll call at the beginning. It’s because none of these people are well-known. Even in the broadest sense of what ‘celebrity’ might mean, we’ve stretched and ultimately snapped the definition here.

In the half hour I could bear, I noticed a bloke who used to be in that lowly boyband 5ive, Lucinda off the Apprentice, a girl who might have been in an R&B band at some point, Steve Strange (though I’m not sure if he’s even taking part) and Zammo.

That’s it. The rest of them may have brushed with fame at one point, but it can only have been the lightest of touches.

Still, it only takes a gentle nudge to catch scabies, so clearly these poor sods are so infested with celebrity that they’re doomed to take part in endless, faded reality formats, taking part in crudely formed popularity contests, surrendering their dignity for a fee or for the misguided kudos that comes with doing your bit for charity.

To top things off, that ubiquitous ignoramous George Lamb fronts the show, meaning we’re not even out of neutral before our teeth are grinding.

Who likes this man? Am I missing something?

With every male presenter on youth television I can see at least one thing within them that might appeal to a niche demographic but with Lamb I can’t see a single redeeming characteristic. Not one. And to make things worse, he takes any work that comes his way, meaning he’s riding every air and radiowave in the country, wasting endless spools of film and rolls of tape on that jarring, affected accent and the dyed white ‘do he’s got atop his empty head.

Once we’re into the show, we discover that the task this episode is for the contestants to cut some hair whilst a child cuts some hair on the other side of the room. Then someone will judge who cut the hair more skilfully – the child or the grown up.

Guess what?

The grown up won.

Aside from the mammoth task and the suspense, drama and incident that sprang off it, the most memorable moment was when Willow turned up with his family for nor reason.

The only other thing that stuck in the mind was how much of a complete and utter cock this fringed fuckwit is. Never heard of him before, never want so see him again. He might even win in a cock-off with George Lamb. Such a cock, such an irredeemably dislikable cock, that he doesn’t even irritate you. You just head in the other direction and pretend you never saw it. Blanked through trauma, like the sight of a dead relative’s carcass.

So please – give money to Children in Need. But don’t, whatever you do, tune into this flotsam.

NewsGush: Massive?

August 29, 2008

Presumably to fill the Two Pints-shaped hole in the schedules (currently being filled with thousands of episodes of Family Guy), BBC3 have commissioned Massive.

Massive is a new comedy series on BBC Three starring Ralf Little (Two Pints Of Lager, The Royle Family), Carl Rice (Scallywagga) and Johnny Vegas (Ideal, Benidorm). 

Danny (Ralf Little) and Seamus (Carl Rice) bonded over Oasis in ’94 and have been best mates ever since. Both Manchester born-and-bred, both mid-twenties and both temping in dead-end jobs, they’re united by one all-consuming passion: music.

Inspired by the city’s local heroes – Tony Wilson, Joy Division, The Happy Mondays – the lads wile away the dreary office hours dreaming of their own record label.
But while they put in the footwork when it comes to gigs (three a week) and beer (considerably more than that) time is ticking by and they’re on the road to nowhere.

That is until Danny’s gran pops her clogs. The mad old bat leaves him £10,000 and Danny doesn’t hesitate – he and Shay are going to have their label.
The lads jack in their jobs and find an office by the canal. Now all they’ve got to do is unearth the next Oasis and have a hit record…

Ralf ‘Two Pints’ Little, for my money, has forever blotted his tattered copybook with that pile of shit he kept starring in. Apart from Ideal, Johnny Vegas hasn’t really found a TV vehicle that suits him. So can we hold out much hope for this?

Summer Heights High

July 3, 2008

It’s not often we do recommendations, but Summer Heights High is easily the funniest thing on TV at the moment. Worth tuning in. And also worth buying the DVD of We Could Be Heroes by the same guy.