Let’s crack on with another look back at The Week in TV
I’m not quite sure what Sport Relief is celebrating, we’ve got to raise money for children in Africa to get proper schooling. But I’m sure that’s what Comic Relief is for as well. But no matter we still got a Celebrity Apprentice out of it so it can’t be all bad. These so called celebrities obviously wanted to look like they were helping this charity even though none of them knew what it was about. Sir Alan was on hand to tell them that it was a good cause before barking introductions at certain members of the teams. On the boys side he told us that he and Former Sun Editor Kelvin McKenzie, who looks like a sweary amalgamation of Richard Digeance and Ron Atkinson, and McKenzie had told him to F-Off. He then asked so called comic Hardip Singh Kholi if he was related to the Kholis he used to flog dodgy electrics to in his first job, I’m sure Kholi was slightly taken aback by this like all Indians know each other. Kholi was sporting a matching green turban and shirt and looked like a Sikh Kermit the Frog. Sugar then turned his attention to Phil ’Loans I know nothing about loans’ Tuffnel the only person related to sports on the team if you don’t count occasional sports presenter Stoke’s own Nick Hancock, he called Tuffnel one of the greatest bowlers of all time. Rounding up the boys team was Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik a man who looks like he’s been drawn and is more famous for his dalliances with Welsh weathergirl Sian Lloyd and one of The Cheeky Girls then he is for anything political he does.Sugar then turned his attention to the girls first of all Ann Summers head honcho and all round bossy boots Jacqueline Gould, he was impressed that Gould had met the Queen but hang on a minute isn’t he ’Sir Alan’ has he not been knighted, unless he just gave himself the title. He took a shine to Louise because he liked her husband and father-in-law. Also on the girls side was George Clooney’s ex Lisa Snowdown, gruff manly sports presenter Claire Balding and ’businesswoman first celebrity second’ Kirstie Allsop. The task was to create two pop-up shops next to each other, so surely the girls would have the advantage, as they made Gould team-leader, Nick Hancock made the observation that the boys team was lacking in grown-ups and with the natural leader former Sun Boss Kelvin McKenzie and chose who they thought would be the most grown-up Hardip, within about five minutes Hardip had quit after a row with Kelvin in which he called him Hitler, so nice-guy Lembit stepped up. While this three hour row was going on the girls had picked their team name and Gould had organised ten thousand pounds worth of Harrods merchandise courtesy of Gould’s mate Mohammed Al-Fayed.
By the end of the first day thanks to their contacts Snowdon and Louise had sold a lot of tickets for a lot of money and also stocked half of the shop and the only thing the boys had done was come up with a name ’buy one get one free’. The only cracks in the girls team were coming in Gould’s bossiness getting to similarly strong presence Kirstie Allsop. Day two and the boys had managed to get four items from John Lewis to fill their shop while Louise got three tickets sold for 150,000 pounds from the boss of Newcastle United. Tuffers eventually came through for the boys getting most of the merchandise while Hardip was setting up the store and still bitching at everyone, and criticising Lembit’s sign for the store saying it wasn’t good enough and Lembit like a good Liberal democrat lay down and let him design the sign. Oh and I forgot each team got assigned a Celebrity PA, the girls struck gold with PR supremo Max Clifford who got more tickets and stock from his mates like Simon Cowell, while the boys were stuck with hottie Tamara Ecclestone who only managed to get one guest her dad Bernie.On the night the girls store looked like a great place, Claire Balding was auctioning off two first class tickets to Dubai and VIP tickets to the American Idol finale. While the boys were trying to flog cheap kids toys, the only decent things they had were the football merchandise that Tuffers wangled from his sports chums. Thankfully Bernie Ecclestone agreed to double the amount that the boys made but that wasn’t enough. In the world’s most predictable outcome the girls won and the boys lost, invisible Nick Hancok and wonderboy Phil Tufnel were let off the hook and the man who didn’t do enough Kelvin McKenzie, the disruptive Hardip Singh Kholi and nice but dim team leader Lembit Opik were put in the firing line. And in the end Kholi was fired.
Two brilliant new dramas this week with the first being part of BBC2’s White Season – White Girl. This one-off saw a single mother played by Anna Maxwell-Martin relocate her kids to a new house in a predominantly Asian community to escape her abusive husband who got her oldest child to run drug errands. That oldest child is Leah who is old enough to realise that her mum is a drunk and that they won’t stay there for long before the husband got back into the household. She takes to the community and starts to read about Islam, wear a hijab and attend a mosque. Her mother and grandmother become ashamed of her and she moves in to the next door household. Through her faith the bond between her and her mother become stronger and she decides to throw out her husband once and for all. This was so gripping, well-filmed and well-acted, Anna Maxwell-Martin is one of Britain’s underrated actresses and she was well supported by Bank Job star Daniel Mays as the abusive husband and Melanie Hill as the grandmother. But it was eleven year old Holly Kenny as Leah who was the star of this show displaying real emotion we got to see Leah’s changing views of her family and the community. Although not watching any of the other programmes in the White Season, from the adverts I got the point that this was celebrating working-class White Britain but here the Working Class Brits were drunks, abusive druggies or obscenely ignorant while the Asians were kind and forgiving. So this may have been a step in the wrong direction.
ITV1 presented us with a new thriller, and the word thriller is always met with trepidation certainly after the last T.V. Thriller, BBC1’s limp The Last Enemy turned out to be such a confusing bore. Thank God then for The Fixer, from the word go it was action as John Mercer played by the stoical Andrew Buchan shoots his aunt and uncle and point blank range and then his put into prison. Five year later he is let out b the mysterious Lenny Douglas and moved from prison to a flat with former cellmate and comic relief Callum. Douglas wanted Mercer to be his hit man for people who evaded the law big crime bosses and dodgy coppers both got a pasting from Mercer as he tried to reconnect with his sister played by Life on Mars’ Liz White. It turned out that Mercer had shot his aunt and uncle for raping his sister and then taping it. Mercer also came into contact with Douglas’ femme fatale Rose played by Tamzin Outhwaite who within five minutes of meeting her was ripping her clothes off. The Fixer is one of those thrillers where if you suspend disbelief enough works very well. While Buchan plays the strong silent type the two women aren’t as well cast Outhwaite can’t really do sexy and undercover and White is her usual bland self. There were two stonking performances though, first from the creepy and always reliable Peter Mulan as Douglas he continues his T.V. record after Boy A and the second is from Shameless star Jody Latham as Callum his job is to provide comic relief to Mercer’s straight man and he does his job well but he also showed a different side to his character when he had to assist in a killing. All the elements for a hitman drama – the killer, the sidekick, the love interest and the boss were all here and they worked well proving that an old-fashioned thriller is better than any high-tech nonsense like BBC2 are pumping out.
Last Saturday night we were presented with ’Guilty Pleasures’ an ITV1 filler show presented by the ubiquitous Fearne Cotton. This was about so called ’Guilty Pleasures’ songs which according to flame haired T.V. hogger Carrie Grant ’a song you shouldn’t like but when it comes on you goes yes!!!’ Some of these songs were then performed by some of the biggest performers from The Feeling doing Video Killed the Radio Star, KT Tunstall singing The Voice, Craig David – Terrence Trent D’arby’s If you let me Stay, Amy MacDonald ruining her career with her version of Sweet Caroline and two halves of Supergrass doing Beat It. But two performances stood out, The Magic Numbers’ cracking cover of Islands in the Stream was by far the best here but what did Bonnie Tyler ever do to Kelly Osbourne. After murdering the art of performance last week at The Brits, this week Osbourne murdered a decent power ballrd – Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart. Between these songs, ITV1 favourites told us about their guilty pleasures fromer Oaks star Ali Bastian claimed that Aerosmith’s Crazy was hers but I don’t consider that a guilty pleasure, Holly Willoughby enjoys a bit of Lionel Richie and Lorriane Kelly wondered why we didn’t think George Michael was a raving gay when see him in her guilty pleasure video Club Tropicana. The best bit of these segments were from the Loose Women while Lynda Bellingham claimed to love I Will Survive it was Sherrie Hewson saying that Jane McDonald would look good doing a striptease to Copacabana, shudder. The show ended by Cotton saying that everyone should ’forget the guilt and enjoy the pleasure’ which sent all middle-aged men reaching for the man size kleenex.
Next Time: I’d Do Anything and Gavin and Stacey