Let’s get honouring some film greats in this special edition which also focuses on romantic comedies and critical eaters.
First up then is The BAFTAs. In recent years the ceremony has become more important as it is scheduled pre-Oscars. So most of the big stars trek to London and get a little bit and a bit cold as they stand in their low cut dresses in an English winter evening (and that’s just the men). The show also became a bit more noble for the first time as Prince William was in attendance. In fact it was revealed at the end of the show that Prince William has taken over as head of the British Academy from former boss Lord Attenborough. Now I know that Prince William hasn’t made or starred in any films so I would like to know his credentials and think he should go on the Kermode Five Live radio programme to talk about his favourite movies. William appeared right at the end of the programme to present the Fellowship award to Vanessa Redgrave who did a very awkward curtsy when accepting her award. Redgrave’s speech was very endearing but also very dry and got little crowd response but to me it felt like that was the tone of the whole evening. I have to say there was little to like about the event from the autocue read speeches from those handing out the awards to the acceptance speeches themselves nothing had the glamour and sparkle of an awards event. As many TWIT fans will know I’m not a huge admirer of the work of Jonathan Ross, however here I think he was given a hard time. Although a few of the jokes missed the mark I think he should be given a lot more credit than he was by the haughty Americans in the room I especially liked his gag about 3D films. The BBC has stated that Ross will continue to present the awards when he leaves them later this year but after the response to him this year I wonder whether he will. While presenting an award James Corden jested that he should do it next year as they wouldn’t invite Ross back but would that really be such a bad idea? It would give the awards a younger less stuffy feel and Corden, who never holds back, would let rip on the stars whether they take a joke or not. I do feel that the style of the awards certainly has to change next year.
As for the recipients of the awards, well it was all rather predictable really. Future Oscar winners Christoph Waltz and Mo’Nique both won their supporting awards while the latter wasn’t present, the former did a very classy speech as he has done throughout awards season. The Brits scooped the lead acting prizes with Carey Mulligan a shoe-in because of a lack of Bullock in her category. She was very gracious and poised and I for one thought she deserved the Oscar as well, never mind. Colin Firth’s win could’ve also been predicted, even though Bridges was nominated, it was between Firth and Andy Serkis but it was given to someone the Americans recognised. In his speech Firth told the crowd how he almost gave up the part but thanks to his fridge being repaired he had time to rethink the offer. Elsewhere An Education lost out in Both Best Film and British Film categories with the former award going to The Hurt Locker which won the most awards in the evening and the latter going to Fish Tank. In fact Fish Tank’s director Andrea Arnold gave the oddest speech of the night in which she talked about a dream she had about trying to pitch a tent and the camp site being completely full. Kristen Stewart thanked the Twi-hards for voting for her in the Rising Star category and Moon director Duncan Jones was welling up after he won the Best Debut award. As I say every year, part of the problem with the BAFTAs is that I, with all the other TV viewers, have to watch it after the event has finished and with severe cuts made. I don’t see why, in this day and age, why the whole ceremony can’t be broadcast in real time if not on BBC1 then one of the other BBC channels or even on the red button, surely Antiques Roadshow and Countryfile fans can miss out one night of the year? If the BAFTAs were a sporting event I’m sure it would be different and the entire schedule would be cleared but as it is the producers of the awards have to decide which ones to show in their entirety and which ones to cut out. So apparently then Hair and Make-Up is more important to a film than cinematography, editing or sound. Overall then a rather sombre ceremony with an under-appreciated host and an audience full of people who obviously don’t appreciate British hospitality, or the weather.
Ten or so years ago ITV1 gave us a comedy drama about 20 and 30 somethings falling in and out of love to an indie soundtrack and it felt very of-the-times. Of course that programme was Cold Feet and was very successful and made stars out of Fay Ripley, James Nesbitt and Hermonie Norris, now it’s back. Only with a different name and a different cast now it’s called Married, Single, Other and has Ralf Little and The Office’s Lucy Davis among the cast and is about 20 and 30 somethings falling in and out of love. The story is that Lucy Davis and the ubiquitous Shaun Dooley have two sons together, one a teenager and the other younger but wiser but are not married, so are the ‘other’ of the title. He is a paramedic who rides round all day in his ambulance with only Gina Yashere for company (poor bloke) while she works in a battered woman’s shelter and is regularly punched in the face by abusive husbands (not as funny as it sounds) and that is the reason she doesn’t want to get married although at the end of episode one she proposes and they are one the way to being married. Little meanwhile plays a ladies man who wants something more from his latest conquest than a quickie, she is a pretty blonde model who is way out of his league but he stalks her for a bit and manages to win her round after Davis’ proposal she realises he could be quite romantic through the process of osmosis. Ralf Little’s brother played by Dean Lennox Kelly is a bit of a layabout and has married a woman with a kid she wants out of the marriage as he won’t get a proper job but at the same time he is good with her daughter and so she has a dilemma on her hands. Three different couples, lots of jokes, pretty people, life decisions and cute kids sounds like Cold Feet to me! The difference is that this seems quite dated and although the acting from Dooley especially is very good its still hard to buy Ralf Little as a ladies’ man and Gina Yashere as a paramedic. At the same time though this is a perfect antithesis to all the drama with horrific content (Waking the Dead, Silent Witness) that usually clogs up the schedules and I for one would rather watch a guilty pleasure romantic comedy drama then a corpse being identified for signs of rape.
It’s charity season again as we head towards Sports Relief we have another series of Let’s Dance for Comic Relief but this time magically changed to Let’s Dance for Sport Relief. It is hosted again by the Welsh Vernon Kay, Steve Jones and the lovely and bubbly Claudia Winkelman who’s combined style is somewhere between Saturday morning Kids TV and satirical satire. Last year one of the most iconic TV moments was Robert Webb in his leotard doing the ‘What a Feeling’ number from Flashdance. This time the comic doing the cross-dressing was Rufus Hound, someone who I’ve never liked mainly because he ruined Top of the Pops, killed Richard and Judy’s career and has never been that funny. But because he dressed as Cheryl Cole doing ‘Fight For Our Love’ he was the instant hit of the night and my predicted winner of the whole contest. Katy Brand also struck a chord with the audience doing Beyonce’s ‘Put a Ring on It’ although my favourite dance of the first episode had to be Snooker Vs Darts as Dennis Taylor and Willie Thorne squared off against Bobby George and some other fella doing the classic Run DMC and Aerosmith walk this way dance. However I think I’m in the minority on liking this one and two old men shouting at each other through a fake wall isn’t everybody’s idea of Saturday night entertainment. Meanwhile the second episode was very poor indeed and the winners were GMTV’s Richard Arnold and Kate Garraway, one of the worst Strictly competitors of all time who managed to hand jive their way to the final along with Debra Stephenson who can’t decide if she’s an actress or a comedienne as she did Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal dance. The main problem with this is that the team are now running out of ‘famous’ dance routines so some feel a little cobbled together and some fail to raise a titter all together. At the end of the day though it’s all for a good cause and I shouldn’t be slating it really but I have a feeling come next Comic Relief it might be back to the Fame Academy.
And finally we see the return to TV of Mr ‘Calm Down Dear’ Michael Winner as he fronts a new show Michael Winner’s Dining Stars. It’s a bit like Come Dine With Me, if Come Dine with Me had a bad film director and insurance salesman come round every week instead of three or four other simpletons. The format sees Winner trek to a remote part of the country and when I say remote I mean places like Wilmslow not small villages in the middle of nowhere but because he’s not in a big city Winner thinks its fitting to slag off his surroundings. He traipses round the shops with his assistant Dinah who is somewhat reminiscent of Alan Partridge’s put-upon P.A. Lynn. He then arrives at the house of some nice lady who has cooked him a lovely three course meal he doesn’t compliment the meal instead slinking off to a bedroom to record his thoughts on the meal and then he leaves again. Most of the people who cook for him also seem to have family problems, one has a husband who’s just recovering from cancer while another has a son with a heart problem, both of whom surely has better things to do than have the bombastic director of Death Wish round to their houses. It is the finale that is the most laughable thing about the entire show as Winner invites the families to an abandoned cinema in London and projects his verdict on the big screen with the whole family watching as Winner basically slags them off. You would think after all these people go to to impress Winner there’d at least be a monetary prize but no. Instead the people are offered a little ornament with some stars on – one, two or three depending on the quality of the meal but sometimes they go away with nothing so the whole experience seems completely futile. A bit like this programme really which is baffling beyond belief but at the same time completely compelling. It seems like a show that should be on mid-week as it doesn’t quite have a Friday night feeling about it. But at the end of the day Winner is a bit of a git so you know what you’re getting if you want it.
Next Time: Five Days, Push the Button and Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man