Posts Tagged ‘Sue Perkins’

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.


August 15, 2008

So here’s the story: Drum ‘n’ bass star Goldie, Blur bassist Alex James, actors Jane Asher and David Soul, Newsreaders Peter Snow and Katie Derham and comedians Sue Perkins and Bradley Walsh are all learning over the next six weeks how to conduct an orchestra. Each week, one of them is voted off by the judges and the winner gets to conduct at The Last Night of the Proms.

This latest BBC2 reality show perfectly illustrates the Corporation’s ongoing dilemma. They’re required to fulfill the Reithian ideals to inform educate and entertain us in a responsible manner. But they also want a juicy slice of the giant reality TV pie. How can they do both without seeming opportunistic?

PRODUCER: Why don’t we just do the same shit as C4 – but y’know, with posh stuff like orchestras an’ that?


At the start of this first episode, the contestants were all immediately thrown in at the deep end and asked to conduct one of the popular classics, Strauss’ Blue Danube, Bizet’s Carmen etc…

As conducting seems primarily to involve waving your hands about in the air and grimacing enthusiastically, Peter Snow was the obvious favourite after all those years of gesticulating away at the Swingometer on Election Night Special. But it wasn’t to be. Peter is virtually deaf and has absolutely no sense of rhythm. I’m not even sure he knew where he was half the time. I think they’d perhaps told him the whole thing was some sort of new election gimmick – Newsnight set entirely to music. ‘Keep waving your arms about Peter. That’s the way, old chap. The results from Wolverhampton are just coming in now.’

The still very beautiful and graceful Jane Asher and the demure Katie Derham both fared much better with the task, being naturally musical and both having learned instruments as a child. Similarly with the ubiquitous Sue Perkins. Comedian Bradley Walsh started off with gags and when that didn’t work, eventually settled on a conducting technique which appeared to be an homage to Norman Wisdom from his epileptic Mr Grimsdale period. The always likeable Goldie breezed through the exercise with his natural unaffected charm and instinctive musicality. A clear favourite from the start.

What to say about Alex James. He appears to be one of those chaps who begins each day by gazing lovingly into the mirror to check that he has just the right casual floppy-haired scruffbag look before leaving the house. No doubt in the miniscule world of art college, such attention to detail would have marked him out as some sort of deep and sensitive artiste. Unfortunately for Alex, evidence collated elsewhere, (i.e. that he was once the bassist in Blur and now makes cheese) tells another story. His irritating faux-modesty act got on my tits as usual, and not just because the posh twat’s shagged more girls than me. Though that obviously doesn’t help.

As for David Soul, the last time he held a stick in his hand, it made the tabloids. Luckily those hard-drinking days are behind him and he made a promising and impassioned first attempt with the baton. Soul also helped to get the emotional journey off to a much-needed start by mentioning his difficult relationship with his father within the first 30 seconds of being interviewed. I get the feeling, however, that he mentions this when ordering food in restaurants, dealing with cold-callers and waiting in supermarket checkout queues. So maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised. For me though, he’ll forever be the blonde one out of classic 70s cop show Starsky & Hutch. So best of luck to the grizzled old dog.

As part of the training, they were each assigned a personal mentor to teach them musical theory, taken out with a marching band to help with their rhythm and then spent time with a choreographer to loosen up their posture. This was all leading up to their first public performance with a full orchestra at the end of the week, after which one of them would get fired.

Guess who that was? Beloved old Uncle Peter, of course. But remember, it’s just a bit of fun.

I wouldn’t really bother watching this, to be honest. There were hardly enough thrills to sustain this first 90-minute opener, never mind another five episodes. I always used to imagine there was nothing much to conducting. That it was just waving your arms about in time and hoping you could bluff it through to the end. Turns out I was right. So unless David Soul goes back on the sauce and decides to drown Alex James in a giant vat of his own cheese, there’s nothing much happening here.