Posts Tagged ‘Celebrity’

Hell’s Kitchen 2009

April 14, 2009

marco pierre white hell's kitchen itv

There are teachers who, on your first day in their class, think it’ll benefit you massively if they act as though you’re already an advanced student. Thus, in your first ever French lesson Monsieur Higgins will regale you with an anecdote on how he refitted the bearings on his bicyclette and expect you to respond in kind. The PE Teacher will throw you into your first ever 11-a-side comptetive match as central defence and berate you when you prove hapless as you try to block the opposition’s christmas tree formation.

These teachers – who think putting you in a completely impossible position, watching you flail, rescuing you and mocking you for your lack of ability is an apt substitute for actual teaching – are bastards.

Marco Pierre White is one such teacher. Last night, he chucked his new staff of celebrities, has-beens and who-the-hells into an overlit kitchen and expected perfection, then gave his charges a subtle earful when they didn’t oblige.

Still, a bollocking from M. White isn’t half what it might be coming from one of his ex-students. Gordon Ramsay appears to have absorbed all that is negative from White – every poisonous mannerism and inflection – and nicked it wholesale for his own act. But where Ramsay is a hopeless joke of a man, an instant parody of himself with a routine that was starting to run thin five years ago, White himself is actually a balanced beast and often comes across as a wholly likable bloke. If only he’d stop wrapping those enormous Palestinian keffiyehs round his insane haircut.

Claudia Winkleman hosts, now ubiquitous to the point of omniscience. She takes over from the over-cynical Angus Deayton and injects a good dose of bland where old Ang’ only offered the viewer mockery for even watching in the first place.

Following last night’s episode, I’d be surprised if Winkleman’s make-up artist hasn’t been sacked as the treatment she appeared to have received at the end of an applicator brush made it seem she’d either been up all night weeping or was suffering from ocular hemorrhoids. It was difficult to look at her, full on, without feeling a twinge of unwarranted sympathy.

The show was uneventful, so let’s take a look at the contestants and their performance on the opening night of a show you won’t care about and probably won’t even catch in passing:

Adrian Edmondson
The most immediately recognisable, Ade is still the affable giddy goat with the posh voice and the nice line in fart gags. Burned his hand to a blister and didn’t moan much. I’ll only continue to watch if it can be guaranteed that he’ll win.

Jody Latham
Apparently an actor from Shameless, a show I’ve historically been told off for when admitting I’ve never watched it.

Ms. Dynamite
Christ – where’s she been? A definitive case of ‘whatever happened to?’, Ms. Dynamite appears having spent the last five years hidden in a shed.

Bruce Grobbelaar
That cheating goalkeeper with the moustache who wobbles about when he’s defending a penalty. Remained anonymous.

Grant Bovey and Anthea Turner
Appearing as a couple but not cooking together, Anthea Turner is Anthea Turner whilst her husband continues his campaign to prove himself Britain’s most tedious arsehole.

Linda Evans
American actress best known for Dynasty, Evans fell into default American-in-British-reality-show setting and remained statue-still whilst looking startled for the duration.

Danielle Bux
Lingerie model and wife of Gary Lineker. Very clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but very presentable. White immediately made her his right hand girl – so Lineker beware.

The latter two lost last night’s invisible challenge. Their punishment, as it turns out, will be that they’re out of the kitchen and waiting tables in the next episode.

Oh, the indignity.

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Celebrity Juice

March 31, 2009

celebrity juice keith lemon fearne cotton holly willoughby ITV2

ITV’s not exactly ruled the panel show show format over the years and the odds are they’re not about to start with ITV2’s Celebrity Juice, hosted by Keith Lemon.

Keith Lemon is, of course, the man who used to don a neck-brace and play the giddy goat on the disconcertingly popular Bo Selecta, with its cavalcade of non-impersonations and irritating catchphrases. Since being dropped by Channel 4,  Leigh Francis (for it is he) has taken on the persona of Keith – a ginger moustache, casual dress and bleached hair combining with a pronounced Yorkshire accent to manifest this new character. And it’s a character based on nought.

It’s not a hilarious stereotype, it’s not a grotesque amplification of a known type and it’s not something so new and surreal that it makes you question the very fabric of comedy – it’s simply a man from Leeds, in a costume, dicking about. If some people find that funny, then good luck to them, but after five minutes of Celebrity Juice surely the joke wears thin even for those defective enough to have found it funny in the first place?

He says things like ‘bang tidy’ and makes jokes about tits and arses and cocks, but the only people laughing at the right points are the panel. The studio audience simply applaud for the full 25 minutes. Their applause doesn’t let up at any point throughout the show. Occasionally it may be overshadowed by ominous whooping at an ear-splitting volume, out of whack with the speech onstage, but the applause just goes on and on and pitilessly on so that your mind’s not allowed to rest. It’s a barrage of cretinous hand-clapping that upsets, unsettles and unnerves, and it lasts right up until the bitter end.

The regular team leaders are Holly Willoughby and Fearne Cotton. Holly and Fearne, the unthinking man’s crumpet. Holly & Fearne, pedestrian totty for the asinine bumbrains of this great nation. Holly and Fearne, corroding your eyeballs as they laugh at Keith Lemon’s jokes, playing along with his gags because they’ve been misinformed by their terrible agents that it might boost their profile – making it seem that they can laugh at themselves. They think they’re playing Ulrika to Lemon’s Vic Reeves – but haven’t registered that the chemistry is non-existent and that none of the players have any of the wit, likeability or humour of any of the Shooting Stars crew.

Speaking of Shooting Stars, Celebrity Juice is, at the core of it, a blatant attempt to thieve that format and hot-foot it over the channel-divide. But everything’s wrong. Where Shooting Stars would have, say, a musician, a page 3 girl, a 70s celebrity and a Radio 1 DJ, Celebrity Juice puts Rufus Hound on one team and Dick ‘n’ Dom on the other. And one of the Loose Women. Thomas Turgoose was also there in the episode I watched, but he’s exempt from criticism because he’s only nine years old.

With Fearne and Holly to head up the ranks, neither of whom have ever been paid for being funny, where the hell is the good stuff meant to come from? Shooting Stars had charismatic Ulrika, comedian Vegas, comedian Lamarr and intellectual Self to throw around the banter with the likes of John Peel and Jarvis Cocker, but this kind of talent is completely absent from Juice – Shooting Star’s runty, limping sibling.

Where are the bon mots? Wither the witticisms? When am I supposed to laugh?

The jokes aren’t erupting out of Hound’s mouth. Dick ‘n’ Dom look lost. The Loose Woman just shrieks and poor old Turgoose looks like he’s walked into the wrong studio. As a whole, the thing’s a gag-free stream of shouting, split-second clips and badly conceptualised stunts.

At the end, as a way of signing off, the losing team gets ‘gunged’ by the winning team, in a worrying flashback to the grim old days of Noel’s House Party. And when I got to that point, I have to admit I stifled a laugh at something onscreen.

A small, sinister snicker creeped out of the side of my gob and lingered as I rewound to watch the moment again and again. Lurching forward, Lemon slipped on some slime and fell on his arse, all the way over his tit. But it wasn’t the slapstick of the moment or the intentioned comedy of a clown that had me ho-ho-ho-ing. I was chuckling under my breath at the fact that his coxix-jarring somersault actually looked really, really fucking painful. Just desserts for the agonising infliction that wasted the preceding twenty-five minutes I’d say.

Chris Moyles’ Quiz Night

March 23, 2009

There are times when you really have to wonder what the fucking point of it all is.

Why bother watching yet another terrible piece of television with the intention to write about it when, in reality, it will have little or no effect or purpose? Chris Moyles will always be successful and no amount of barbed critique from an anonymous blog writer will change that. So why not abandon the flowery wordplay, reclaim my wasted hour and do something more pleasant like sit in a park or make love to a beautiful woman instead?

Well, to answer my own question, I do it because I have to – to make it known that while Rome burned and civilisation fell from the sky I stood amongst a small band of brothers who resisted, as long as possible, the enslaught of mediocrity. I may not have marched against the war, I may have not fought to defend freedom but at least I carpe diem-ed when the time seemed right and dared to exclaim to all who read – ‘this programme is SHIT.’

So, here’s a few things you need to know about Chris Moyles’ Quiz Night:

  • Following a very expensive opening sequence which features the title – Chris Moyles’ Quiz Night – in huge letters, Moyles enters and introduces with the explanatory sentence “Welcome to Chris Moyles’ Quiz Night – I’m Chris Moyles, and this is my quiz night” which should go some way in helping you to understand the highly attentive and sharply intuitive sort of audience he’s aiming for.
  • It purports to be a topical quiz ripped straight from the headlines when in truth it’s actually the sort of quiz that takes a recent event and uses it as a springboard for an irrelevant and unrelated question; “the Pope said this week that condoms are part of the problem in combating AIDS, thus further hindering the plight of millions of infected Africans in acquiring life-saving medicine – but how many condoms does Nuts Magazine hottie Sophie Howard say she uses during a three-hour sex session?” for example.
  • It takes the guise of a pub quiz crossed with an ITV talk show, in which guests answer questions posed by an (almost literally) phoned in celebrity appearance while Moyles attempts some form of sycophantic banter that results, more often than not, in awkward silences, shouty bullshit or streams of abuse.
  • It’s less fun that a pub quiz – in fact it’s less fun that sitting alone during a pub quiz and not taking part.
  • His guests are the level of average not seen since Davina McCall’s chat show; either fellow traders of shit TV (Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne), ironically booked institutions who should know better (Barbara Windsor) or permascowled hip musicians who clearly think TV quiz shows are more rewarding than their chosen art form (Mark Ronson).
  • As well as having a format that looks suspiciously like the Big Fat End of the Year Quiz, it also features obligatory cameos from well known television personalities trying to appear hip and switched on by appearing in what their agents have no doubt told them will be a ratings winner. The idea is clearly to create the illusion that Moyles is now a member of an elite team of Channel 4 broadcasters  who all love, cherish and adore each others work; although it’s actually more of a name-dropping fiasco that serves as an extended commercial for more inanely pointless drivel. “Hi, I’m James Corden and I’m obviously in some kind of press junket room for my new, overhyped movie Lesbian Vampire Killers, but how many lesbians does Nuts Magazine hottie Sophie Howard claim she’s slept with in her lifetime?”
  • For all his success and acclaim the fact still remains that Chris Moyles is a deeply uncharismatic personality – he may well work on radio but on TV he comes across as a beligerant drunk wallowing in his own ego with enough cash to silence anyone who says otherwise.
  • It runs for 50 minutes… 50 fucking minutes of cheap and crass mind swabbing… it’s almost as if the producers dared themselves to make it an hour but chickened out at the last minute, fearing some kind of nationwide brain-haemorrhaging from which the country would never recover.
  • “Hi, we’re Richard and Judy and we’re currently trying to get back in with Channel 4 after our disasterous decision to headline the channel Watch, but how many pornos does Nuts Magazine hottie Sophie Howard say she watches a week?” Etc.

I reckon that’s about all you need to know.

Comic Relief – Thursday’s Celeb Specials

March 13, 2009

A celebrity double bill then, kicking off with Kilimanjaro: The Big Red Nose Climb.

In this one off charity special, Chris Moyles and his celebrity mates climbed a mountain for the Comic Relief cause. Viewers tuning in expecting to see Gary Barlow tumbling down a rocky scene, shattering bones with each bump, were disappointed – as all he did was complain about his back. Those who set Sky+ in the hope of seeing a naked Cheryl Cole bathing under a waterfall will also feel let down by the fact that all she did was worry about her make up and walk like an upright stick-insect, unable to move a step unless a flunky held her hand.

Aside from that, this wholly unremarkable show featured Denise Van Outen being her usual chirpy self, Ronan Keating sporting his curtain cut in a variety of different lengths, Aleesha Dixon laughing like a hyena one minute then sobbing the next and Fearne Cotton feeling peaky.

So not a particularly eventful feature, particularly considering the build up the BBC had pasted all over their magazine shows this week. In fact, it was such a non-event that they felt the need to feature three ten minute appeals in the one hour running time to get some money in, presumably to wake viewers up and remind them that this wasn’t just a complete waste of time.

Immediately following the monotonous trek, Comic Relief Does The Apprentice lifted the spirits somewhat. There was, admittedly, an issue this time round. The Producers filled the teams with funny people (or in Jonathan Ross’s case, people who think they’re funny), with only one business-experienced individual on either team.

Rather than cause no end of hilarity, this resulted in Jonathan Ross on the boys’ team going into overdrive and steering his team like some terrible, cheesy dictator, his team becoming instantly timid in the face of his gigantic salary and influence.

The girls’ team split into two camps, causing some friction and an underwhelming argument between Patsy Palmer and an underwear magnate, but aside from that they bumbled through just fine.

The best line of the night came from Jack Dee – at one point perfectly executing his comic timing to complain about the amount of seats in the boardroom, then retract his outburst like a small boy.

Enjoyable stuff and for a good cause – but the real thing is coming soon…

Just a Thought – Jade on LivingTV

February 24, 2009

jade-goody-jack-tweed1

My interest in reality television runs its course when a series ends. The resulting deals – guest spots on the Tuesday Night Project, tabloid coverage, Heat covers, OK covers, Hello covers,  Now covers, Next covers – they’re all for morons, right?

Right.

So what the hell is going on with the coverage of Jade at the moment? The bizarre, sentimental freakiness of the last few days is enough to turn the stomach – both at the soft-focus, Max Clifford exploitation festival it’s becoming and also at the outright hypocrisy that’s dribbling out of the television and from the mouths of idiot journalists.

It’s not just the tabloid press. The higher-minded (but just as manipulative) broadsheets and nightly talking heads are also enjoying a spurt of repulsive self-analysis, disguised as altruism and goodwill. I’ve seen features on Newsnight and in The Observer and The Times – and no doubt I’ve missed many others.

Jade Goody occupies a very weird position in public knowledge. She’s the epitomy of the untalented celebrity, celebrated for nothing. Her normality is what made her famous and with fame as her ultimate aim, once she reached that peak there was nothing left for her to do but milk it. She was born without a silver spoon and with no talent to speak of, so all she could do was sell herself. And bizarrely, people handed over their cash.

The worst thing about this current state of affairs is the presence of circling vultures, literally waiting for the death of their prey before they can cash in their chips. So – I’ll share a few of my questions before my head implodes at this phenomenon.

  • Who is actually watching LivingTV’s ‘Jade’ – her new reality show in which the casual, morbid voyeur can watch a familiar face degenerating and dying?
  • Isn’t this a shameful enterprise, devoid of actual, meaningful content and consisting of nothing other than celebrity death?
  • It’s tasteful enough when it’s onscreen, but isn’t the screen soiled with sensationalism and grotesquery when the show’s switched off?
  • Who is that buys ‘Hello’ magazine so they can gawk at shots of Jack and Jade sharing their last, personal moment in front of millions?
  • How much does Max Clifford make in all this?

Jade and her family are being exploited to the tune of a few a thousand quid, earning it in a grim race against time so they can chuck soiled notes in a gaping grave. It’s as simple as that.

‘Ah’ – they counter… ‘but who is exploiting who?!’

As they say this they make that ‘aren’t I clever?’ face and raise an eyebrow as though they’ve made the most brilliant and insightful second hand comment in history. And, to be fair, it’s a difficult question to answer – the money she’ll receive will be monumental… but where’s the soul? The dignity? The meaning?

Can somebody let me know?

The Friday Question: Celebrity What Now?

October 31, 2008

It seems like every TV show and their ITV alternative have got a celebrity off-shoot these days. From ‘Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ to ‘Celebrity Fat Club’ via ‘Celebrity Family Fortunes’ and beyond, it would appear that that there’s no base level quiz show, reality show or factual show involving the public that can’t be improved by shoving ‘Celebrity’ before the title and having an appearence by Lisa Scott Lee.

So, dear Motherers, what current unupgraded TV shows would you like to see have their profiles raised by the invention of a celebrity version?

Perhaps ‘Celebrity Antiques Roadshow’ would be your weapon of choice, or how about ‘Celebrity 60 Minute Makeover’ or even ‘Celebrity Channel 4 News’?

I’d like to see the arrival of celebrity versions of drama shows, like the Bill or Holby City, where the casts are removed and replaced with reality show winners and failed 80’s pop stars – but still playing the same characters.

That’d beef up an otherwise dull episode of Heartbeat anyday.

Heat

October 2, 2008

How does one sum up the contemporary female as viewed by the gutter press?

Well look no further folks, it’s here.

Being perpetually presented with media stereotypes of women, the new Heat advert is the perfect representation of all that is wrong with how we view the role of the young woman in today’s society. What is more disturbing is how this celeb crap is something women aspire too.

My favourite whipping boy (and she’s got a face like a bloke) is Jordan, the tit-waggling tart who, by a combination of self exploitation and sheer greed, has managed to make a fucking fortune by using the media to reinvent herself at the expense of her own family. As a role-model, the damage has already been done. Every other aspiring ‘celeb’ is only too happy to be seen, cosmetically adjusted for the purpose of the universal proletariat bloke, swaggering about wearing nothing but tooth floss in order to gain the attentions of the paparazzi.

But there is more. After the mutual exploitation has established a ‘celeb’, said celeb will often bite the hand that fed it. This results in violence – think Allen/Winehouse who regularly find themselves having to punch their way out of their own homes or clubs when the monster they’ve created turns to suck the very marrow out of their bones.

It has to be said that the violence is usually dished out by those that, to some degree, have earned their fame via talent (the likes of Jordan and Marsh couldn’t afford to spurn the attentions of the press) but obviously such behaviour keeps the artist in the public eye, which will ultimately result in record sales. young women are left with the notion that it’s acceptable for women to use their fists as well as their tits.

Now the Heat advert. Incidentally, Heat is nothing more than a paparazzi-landfill with a desire to do no more than poke its nose into the lives of those that jangle their enhanced privates / damaged emotions at cameras before dishing out gushing praise or more commonly, screaming vitriol, to nosy gossips and fishwives.

So, after being presented with a typical cover of Heat, an expose on some gits Lumpy Thighs’ for fucks sake, two women start to punch the crap out of one another.

We’re presented with the idea that Heat is of such value that two perfectly normal women are prepared to kick seven bells out of each other in order to read the last available copy. But even within the advert there is more bird-baiting, while these two fairly ordinary wankers roll about on the floor a model serenely plucks the magazine from the shelf looking down at the ‘ordinary’ pugilists with a certain degree of disgust.

Sort of says it all about the magazine, it’s content and it’s readers.

Actually, I could go on and on about this… but I won’t.

ASDA adverts

September 27, 2007

Celebrities are amazing people. Truly, madly, deeply amazing people. They can brighten our day, make us feel special and turn even the most humdrum act into an exciting, liberating experience.

Take, for example, working for ASDA. To the vast majority of normal people it is a great example of a McJob – mentally and physically demanding, underpaid, patronising and exploitative – but in the hands of Ian Wright it is a joyous task filled with comedy banter, idle conversations and pleasure-bringing to the great unwashed. How wonderful! The job seems to be so much easier and improved with the inclusion of a celebrity fish-seller it makes you wonder why ASDA haven’t sacked their entire workforce and replaced them with washed up TV pundits. Think about it; one roaming camera crew to keep up the quality service and you’ll have thousands more customers flocking through the doors clammering to see Chantelle making pies and Nick Hancock offering wine-tasting.

What’s very interesting about Ian Wright’s behaviour in this advert is that almost everything he does would urge disiplinary action against normal employees. Were a 17 year old shelf-stacker to hustle or entertain customers in such a manner, they would find themselves hauled into the manager’s office and verbally beaten into submission. Were the 17 year old also to be overly familiar to customers, approach children offering them food and disply a lack of knowledge of their subject then you can guarantee that they’d be shown the door.

The advert tells us more about ASDA than they’d like us to know; primarily that they’re tight enough to rely on celebrity association rather than specialised branding. It’s far cheaper to throw a c-list celebrity into a store and let him interact with minimum wage employees (who will not have been paid extra for their involvement) than a considered and creative campaign from a large advertising company. Shoot it on handheld low-grade camera to keep costs down and you can afford to throw even more money at your designated ‘personality.’

At least Ian Wright is a better choice than their previous spokesperson, Sharon Osbourne. Her gurning, patronising spiel about bargains and parental responsibilities just made a nation stare aghast – amazed that anyone could think she was a thrifty shopper, let alone a good parent.

It’s an awful advertising campaign; misleading, simplistic and exploitative of their workforce. Much like the company itself.

“Asda has been criticised for misleading advertising, using suppliers who are known to have illegal employment practices, ignoring planning regulations and destroying greenbelt land, lack of serious environmental policy and blatant greenwash. With its ‘strategy of consolidation’, copied directly from Wal-Mart, Asda pursues an aggressive takeover policy of small towns, wiping out local competition and local jobs. False claims by the company about ‘value’ and ‘convenience’, have been challenged, along with the exploitation of every opportunity to push impulse buying”

Corporate Watch