Posts Tagged ‘Claudia Winkleman’

NewsGush: TOTP Unlikely To Return

April 1, 2009

A sad day(?) as the BBC confirm they won’t be reanimating the twitching, half-rotten corpse of their once-flagship music half hour, Top Of The Pops.

Do you miss TOTP?

The BBC seem to have noticed the affection the public hold the anachronism in and take every opportunity to milk that nostalgic twing. The Comic Relief Does Top Of The Pops resurrection was a self-indulgent outing, spoiled by those flailing smarm-mistresses, Winkleman and McCall, dancing like uninvited, pissed spinsters.

“It’s got a mythical status… but I don’t think we should get hung up on that one programme.

“We are a long way from [BBC1 controller] Jay Hunt recommissioning Top of the Pops in its old-school form on BBC One,” said Andy Parfitt.

“The days are gone when we can make a programme and just put it out there,” he added.

The Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve programmes attracted around four million viewers.

Personally, I don’t miss it.

Maybe the thirteen year old me would like to see it return, but as I’m a thirty year old with a broadband connection, I’m happy looking at music videos on Youtube (while we’re still allowed to ) rather than watching a band – hungover and miming – going through the motions on TOTP as some confused teenagers make an effort to look interested on the floor in front of them.

There’s not really a place for Top Of The Pops on TV any more unless it ups its game a little and takes itself a little bit more seriously – but that would be at the expense of the pop-fluff that made TOTP what it was.

Clearly, the future for the disposable music show is online. A TOTP website is the only way forward – hosted by Jimmy Saville and DLT, forever trapped in the matrix of the interweb.

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Just a Thought: Comic Relief

March 16, 2009

In the past it would’ve taken an iron will or three VHS tapes to get through the nearly-annual maelstrom of goodwill they call Comic Relief. Luckily, in times of broadband and fibre-optics we can press the relevant button and watch it all back at our own pace. If you’ve paid your money, you makes your choice – and there’s no shame in avoiding such a long stint on the couch if you’ve already coughed up.

But is donating ample justification for having a pop at the format of a show founded on what is undoubtedly a good cause? Or is it churlish to criticise the production values of a well-intentioned telly marathon?

Well – that depends. It depends on whether or not the stuff they put out in return for your charity is insultingly manipulative and needlessly shallow.

With the best will in the world, and with the complete understanding that telethons are fired by the contribution of funds from the viewer, this year’s Comic Relief was borderline unbearable. Unless my nostalgia blanket has crept up over my eyes, the BBC seem to have reneged on the deal somewhat, and the old structure we’re used to – wall-to-wall comedy interspliced with occasional and thorough information pieces – has been shipped out, wholesale. The appeals are now relentlessly repetitive, too short to leave any lasting understanding and the footage around them leaves a sour taste in the throat as a consequence.

One five minute sequence featuring Catherine Tate squawking, with barely any context, would be quickly followed, clumsily and offensively, by footage of a baby dying and endless requests for dollar from the overpaid likes of Claudia Winkleman and Davina McCall. Neither of whom are comedians. Both of whom are irritating at best, and hideously insincere, attention-grabbing slimers at worst. The sight of them on Comic Relief does Top of The Pops, infiltrating the stage when FloRida attempted to plug his new single (proceeds presumably going to his own coiffers), was breathtaking.

It was impossible to ignore them, in the company of the now beyond-irrelevant French and Saunders, mugging along during the whole of the TOTP sequence as they’d been placed right at the front of the audience. Had they been told to make arseholes of themselves by Production, or had they just grabbed the opportunity to blag screentime off their own backs? Either way, it was teeth-grindingly annoying, and added insult to the injury of the likes of Take That promoting non-charitable singles in the wake of shots of poverty-stricken children breathing their last breaths.

The idea of sending celebrities overseas to film VTs to show us where the money goes – or why it’s required – is essential to Comic Relief. There are some classic examples from the past. But this time round, despite Christine Bleakley’s good efforts on The One Show in the preceding week, the night itself concerned itself with a stream of superficial films which misappropriated extremely upsetting, shock images and all ended with the likes of Davina or Annie (bloody) Lennox weeping – as though that would help us to empathise. As though we were too stupid to empathise without seeing a familiar face, urging us to empathise. And the less said about Fearne Cotton fainting, the better.

I haven’t yet mentioned Simon Cowell. They had an appeal from Mr. Simon ‘Fuck You I’m Rich’ Cowell. Didn’t this idea ring a few alarm bells in pre-production? It’s one thing to have the media megalomaniac Jonathan Ross and his enormous salary presenting a slice of the show, and quite another having a shamelessly greedy arsehole like Cowell asking us – recently redundant, credit-crunch victims – for our cash, whether the appeal is genuine or not.

And speaking of Annie Lennox – it’s nice to see her crawl out and into the limelight following a media silence that seemed to last years. And now she’s back – just in time for Comic Relief and the release of her new album. Nice to see that the two happened to coincide.

Despite these howlers, Comic Relief improved over the course of the evening. James Corden was (I can’t believe I’m typing this) brilliant in his England team pep talk. The Celebrity Apprentice was excellent, with the trio of Dee, Carr and Ratner making it last year’s equal. Graham Norton and Alan Carr’s presentation was far better than the earlier stuff because of their lack of earnestness, their avoidance of faux-sincerity and their awareness of the incongruence between the comedy and the tragedy. To their credit, they got on with the job without crying their eyes out between links, then wiping their eyes for a mum-dance to a new release.

There’s got to be an argument for a more intelligent take on the charity telethon. Audiences’ viewing habits have changed and their knowledge of how editing and scheduling works is more developed than ever before. If the BBC learns that we’re not all reliant on Davina’s moodswings when it comes to making a decision on whether or not we donate, we might end up with a product that makes just as much money for the cause and doesn’t leave us feeling soiled and bemused. Here’s hoping.

NewsGush: Let’s Dance for Comic Relief!

February 17, 2009

steve jones comic relief lets dance

Because Fame Academy is rubbish and Strictly Come Dancing is for old people, Comic Relief have invented a new format for 2009’s reality-performance strand. And this is it. It’s basically loads of famous but not that famous people dancingĀ  to old songs from films. Acting the giddy goat for coin, essentially. ‘So open your purse’, they’ll say, ‘and spray us with sterling’.

And look who’s hosting! It’s only E102-charged, fringed twig Winkleman – daughter of the violently disagreeable Eve Pollard.

And who’s that beside her?

It’s that big lunk, Steve Jones. Steven ‘Berluddy’ Jones – the half bred offspring of a tree and a bull with damaged sperms. A lump of bum-muscle. An oafish, grinning tit, with his skinny tie and three-steps-behind-indie stylings. And YES. I would say that to his face. Before running away and jumping down a hole.

I can’t fucking wait!

So, who’s dancing? You asking?

I’ll tell you. The list is as follows, lovingly cut and pasted from this here press release:

Jo Brand, Robert Webb, Dick & Dom, Keith Lemon & Paddy McGuinness; Peter Jones, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden from Dragons’ Den and Blue Peter presenters Tim Vincent, Anthea Turner, Mark Curry, Diana Louise Jordan, Peter Duncan, Janet Ellis and Helen Skelton. Also, the cast of Hollyoaks (names to be confirmed), chefs (Paul Rankin, Sophie Grigson, John Burton Race, Nancy Lam, Kevin Woodford, Sophie Michel, Tony Tobin, Reza Mohammad and Silvana Rowe), Les Dennis, Neil Fox, Angela Rippon and Nancy Sorrell

So, that’s seven ex-Blue Peters, three Dragons (where the hell is Caan? Lumbago got the better of him?), Jo Brand, Robert Webb, that bouncer off Phoenix Nights, those two morons off Saturday morning TV and the Bo Selecta man.

We’ve also got some Hollyoaks kids I won’t recognise, some chefs I might recognise, but only just, Neil ‘Foxy Doctor’ Fox, Vic Reeves’s missus, Les Den and Angela the Rippon.

It’s win win. The charity gets a boost, the celebs get fantastic PR and we, the lucky audience, get some quality entertainment packed with laughs, proficient presentation and funky moves.

Actually… now I think about it, is that technically a three way win? Can’t help but feel someone’s got the bum end of the deal…

Are you excited?

Big Fat Quiz Of The Year: 2008

December 30, 2008

Another year, another Big Fat Quiz Of The Year. Previously, this was decent, low-grade Christmas TV fodder. You could even stand Jimmy Carr and his casual bigotry as the outing relied more heavily on the panelists, made up of, if memory serves:

  • A pre-Manuel-trouble Jonathan Ross, gamely trying to keep up with the cool kids and acting the giddy goat, managing to be funny for ten percent of the time.
  • A pre-Manuel-trouble Russell Brand, putting in a good spot in conjunction with partner in crime…
  • Noel Fielding. Noel Fielding is one of those annoying swines who personifies likability. Thus, anything with him in it is generally alright.
  • David Walliams – like Ross, trying a bit too hard, but keeping the thing afloat with enthusiasm and idiocy.
  • David Mitchell – always good quality, even when he’s in something shit.
  • Someone else I can’t remember. [update] It was the comedian and good egg, Rob Brydon.

This year, things went horribly, horribly wrong. Ross is on a forced holiday because he done a naughty on a phoneline. He couldn’t appear as a result, presumably. Brand was unavailable for similar reasons, in addition to promoting a proper career abroad. Mitchell must have been busy and Walliams is in America. Consequently, we were left with a real horrorshow. Barrels were scraped and dogshit scraped ceremoniously from shoes as Channel 4 booked, presumably whilst drunk:

  • Claudia Winkleman – that woman off Liquid News in the 90s who looks like a goth nine-year-old who’s being continuously tasered.
  • Dara O’Briain – a man who claims he’s a comedian but is actually just Irish. And, disgustingly, he can’t even spell his own name.
  • That posh man – who is infrequently funny on Have I Got News For You.
  • Sean Lock – a cracking comedian whose usually brilliant humour was sullied for the second time this year by that arsehole:
  • James Corden – why? Why, why, why? Why is this bastard even… even…. Why is he…

…I can’t be arsed.

  • Oh – and Davina Fucking McCall.

Need I go on? Does the resultant car crash even warrant description?

Does it buggery. Even the bit where the kids from a primary school do an amusingly amateurish and endearing take on an event from the preceding year fell flat, thanks to the berks on stage following the clip, hooting like gorillas and revelling in their own crap jokes. What a ruddy letdown.