Monthly Archives: August 2012

‘Celebrity Juice’ – Episode 8.1

The ever popular Celebrity Juice returned to ITV2 last night after a hiatus of a mere four or five months.

HOLLY WILLOUGHBY: SEX GODDESS

Firstly, it was finally great to see new opening titles, in which Rufus Hound is no longer mentioned after he quit mid-series seven. I found it hilarious that team captain Fearne Cotton’s pregnancy was brought up in the titles, with Keith quipping, “There’s Fearne Cotton, who is pregnant [loud laughter] – how did that ‘appen?” It immediately assured me, and I’m sure many other Juice viewers that just because she’s pregnant, it doesn’t mean Keith won’t continue to mercilessly mock Fearne.
Likewise, the introductions by Keith of the panellists – both regular and otherwise – were as funny as ever, as was the choice to surprise Holly by showing an advert which she made early in her career as an underwear model, in which she growled, “I’m a sex goddess!” Holly cringing and her peers’ utter bewilderment was just so entertaining! I bet her husband Dan – executive producer on the show – will have got it in the neck for that!
In fact, the showing of this ad led to Kelly Brook allowing Keith to make my favourite ad-lib of the whole episode when she asked him:

“Why are you so obsessed with boobs?”

To which he replied:

“Listen, if men weren’t obsessed with them, you’d be working at fucking Dixons!”

KEITH LEMON: NOT A SEX GOD

However, it didn’t take long for Keith to grab the opportunity to get his kit off and send-up the Prince Harry in Las Vegas story.
Is the sight of him flashing his penis still funny? I don’t think so. I adore Celebrity Juice and I first remember Keith getting fully naked at the beginning of the third series, which was hilarious – so unexpected! From then on, however, it just became mandatory for Leigh Francis to get his “tallywhacker” out in the name of entertainment. It’s happening episode, after episode, after episode and the joke has worn thin somewhat. Has anyone noticed that Keith uses the phrases “bang tidy”, “mot, mot, mot”, etc. less often now? The reason for this? He presumably didn’t want them to become overused and for people to be sick of them. Therefore, people still say these things because they aren’t said over and over by Keith any more, so the audiences haven’t become bored of them and subsequently still find them funny, so use them everyday, often not even thinking that they were first coined by Keith. Why, then, hasn’t Francis woken up, smelt the coffee and realised that no longer is his alter-ego’s nudity fresh and funny, it’s now tired and tedious.

LEMON HAS INDEED BEEN SQUEEZED

Unfortunately, I went to see Keith Lemon: The Film yesterday, too. I don’t know if you read my Lemon La Vida Loca Episode 1.1 review but I said in it that with all of the work Leigh Francis is doing at the moment relating to Keith Lemon, I hope he can keep it new, original and – most importantly of all – very funny. If Keith Lemon: The Film is anything to go by, he hasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was quite amusing and there were strong points (like Keith singing ‘When The Going Gets Tough’ to a gang mugging him) but it certainly didn’t touch the genius which I know deep down he possesses and which is evident in his previous shows. Actually, it seemed more of an opportunity to boast – “Look how many celebrities I can get into my movie!” and “Do you remember when I impersonated Mel B? I’ve dug the mask and costume back out!”
Plus, if Twitter is to be believed, Alex Zane is not one of those celebrity friends any longer. It really is worth looking at @LeighFrancis’s tweets from five or six days days ago: he pulls no punches with Zane!

But anyway, this is a Celebrity Juice review, not a Keith Lemon: The Film one and thankfully I still really like Juice…I just hope Keith keeps it in his pants, that’s all.

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer

Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

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‘Mount Pleasant’ – Episode 2.2

Mount Pleasant – in its new home on Sky Living – continued this week, and it’s still as enjoyable as ever. WARNING – CONTAINS A SPOILER! Just thought I’d let you know…

JIM AND JAMES

Within the first ten or fifteen minutes, I was over the moon to see that Bianca’s husband Jim was being given more prominence, after living in her shadow pretty much throughout the first series. It was great to see him actually be at the centre of a storyline for a change. Well…it was until he died half way through the episode! Never mind – at least his funeral provided a few laughs!
It was really lovely to see James Dreyfus as a vicar in this episode, too. Dreyfus genuinely is one of my favourite actors, from one of my favourite sitcoms: Gimme Gimme Gimme. I also think he’s one of the most underrated, both as a comedy and drama actor. He is so synonymous with camp comedy (like in Gimme or The Thin Blue Line) but he is also quite a good straight actor, as proven in Double Time – a criminally forgotten one-off comedy drama from a few years ago. He was as brilliant in Mount Pleasant as he was in the aforementioned programmes and I hope his appearance will open people’s eyes to his talent.

THE NICHE

The show is just really well written. Sarah Hooper has hit upon a brilliant niche: a comedy-drama set up north, but not following the predictable ‘grim’ theme. The cast do the script justice, too, with their spot-on performances, therefore making their characters immediately identifiable, loveable and – most importantly of all – believable.

So that’s it! There really isn’t a lot to say about Mount Pleasant. It’s just great, feel-good comedy blended with relatable drama. I wouldn’t say there’s as many laughs in this series but it’s still undoubtedly a joy to watch.

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer

Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘The Rob Brydon Show’ – Episode 3.3

The likeable Rob Brydon Show continued this week, with comedienne Sarah Millican, artist Grayson Perry and singer Newton Faulkner joining in the fun.

QUITE GOOD GUESTS

I thought the guests were quite good this week – they all brought something to the show with Sarah as her usual funny and lovely, albeit rude, self and Grayson providing my biggest laugh of the night when he told an impressed Rob and audience that his artwork could fetch anything near to£100,000 and then said:

“But you’ve got to think I’ve got to pay tax. I know that might be a foreign idea to some comedians…”

Rob and Sarah didn’t seem to be too comfortable with it, though…
The musical guests usually aren’t all that entertaining before their performances but Newton Faulkner actually managed to turn The Rob Brydon Show intoSurprise, Surprise! briefly by singing his hit ‘Dream Catch Me’ to two friends in the audience. When the song ended, the male friend turned to his female companion and asked her to be his girlfriend. Needless to say, she said ‘yes’!

EXTENSION NEEDED!

The only complaint I would have about The Rob Brydon Show is that the guests aren’t kept on for long enough to excel. I usually find Sarah Millican absolutely hilarious but last night – whereas I found her funny – I wasn’t in the hysterics which I usually am.
Perhaps the episodes should be extended. An hour would be too long (I’m sure even Rob would run out of questions then!) but certainly an extension to somewhere between forty to fifty minutes would be an improvement.

Next week’s guests are Ronan Keating, Jason Manford and Neil Morrissey. I think Rob will be the only scandal-free man on the sofa!

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Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘Gates’ – Episode 1.3

The first episode I practically loathed, the second I disliked less…this week’s Gates, however? Read on…

ONE STEP FORWARDS, TWO STEPS BACK

In this episode, Helen (Joanna Page) and Mark (Tom Ellis) strongly disapproved of their nine-year-old daughter Chloe ‘going out’ with Sam – a boy of the same age who – I have to admit, humorously – collects roadkill. This whole storyline was little more than a dangerous step back to Gates‘ boring absurdity theme, which we were subjected to in the first week.
Add to this the fact that the word ‘CLAM’ kept popping up on walls in the playground and you had what was attempting to be a farcical, entertaining and gripping episode. It transpires that Chloe’s new boyfriend Sam was responsible for the graffiti, by simply merging his and her names together, ‘Brangelina’-style, in a move to prove his love for her. Okay, so we’re really expected to believe that a nine-year-old boy can produce such brilliant artwork as ‘CLAM’ was? Yeah, right!

‘EXCELLENT ACTRESS’

On a more positive note, I must say that it was really proven in this episode that Mari Ann Bull (who plays Chloe) is an excellent actress. In fact, she reminded me of Romana Marquez, who played Karen in Outnumbered. She really has the cute factor and is actually more convincing than some of the other cast members!

So, in conclusion, after showing signs of promise and possible redemption last week, Gates has sadly slipped back into its old ways. Oh dear!

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer

Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘Citizen Khan’ – Episode 1.1

Citizen Khan, Adil Ray’s sitcom about a Pakistani family living in Birmingham began on BBC1 last night. I thought it was okay but I’m not going to rave about it.

‘A PAKISTANI IN WITH THE FLYNNS OR MY FAMILY

I have to say that it’s a bit of a cliched show. A father who disapproves of his daughter’s fiancé, an often peeved mother, an emabarrassed teenage daughter and another rebellious one attached to her phone. To me, it seemed a bit like a Pakistani In With The Flynns or My Family, only not quite as funny.

I think one of the mistakes the writers (Ray, Richard Pinto and Anil Gupta) have made is heaping the lion’s share of the gags upon one character: Mr. Khan. Think of other classic sitcoms such as Only Fools and Horses and Fawlty Towers, to pick the most obvious. Yesterday I spent watching at least three episodes of Only Fools and if you think about it, John Sullivan shared the jokes between all of the characters, didn’t he? He didn’t just save them for the most obvious: Del Boy. Similarly, in Fawlty Towers it wasn’t just Basil who was funny – Sybil, Polly, Manuel, even the guests were too! With Citizen Khan, however, it really is the title character who has most of the jokes, and the strongest ones at that!

I imagine that without the (easily pleased and somewhat irritating) audience’s laughter, this would be quite a flat programme. Instead, with the laughter – whether it be canned or otherwise – it does at least have some life and is a lot more vibrant than it would be if this was absent.

‘NOT ALL BAD’

Citizen Khan wasn’t all bad, however. I’ll admit that I did laugh a couple of times during this half-hour run. Firstly, I was more than a little amused at Mr. Khan stating to his daughter, in his wife’s presence, “The first thing I thought when I saw your mother was, ‘Wow! She looks bloody cheap!'”

Then, I thought the later scene, which I will dub ‘Brokenhearted Amjad’, was well crafted and it did actually make me laugh, particularly when new Mosque manager Dave (My Family star and ex-BT employee Kris Marshall) walked in to mistake Amjad and Khan for being in quite a compromising position.

‘GLIMMERS OF HOPE’

It is these saving graces which give me glimmers of hope for Citizen Khan. There are some good lines – don’t get me wrong – but it’s mainly unoriginal and, as I said, cliched. There is actually the possibility of the title character becoming a very likeable character and a bit of a cult (yes, that’s cult) but for me that’s a while away yet. In a couple of episodes, the show might grow on me but at the moment, I’m still a little unsure.

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer

Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘A Touch of Cloth’ – Episode 1.2

After I wrote my first A Touch of Cloth review, I read back over it and simply thought it was too short. Yet, everything I wanted to say was included in it! The reason for this was because there really was very little to say about it: it was hilarious, ingenious and that was the end of it, and so it was with the second instalment.

‘PRICELESS GAGS AND CLICHÉS’

When tonight’s episode began, we as viewers were welcomed to immediately jump back into the priceless gags and clichés which I alluded to in my previous review. These themes continued for the entire hour with line after line and scene after scene of comedy gold, including Avengers-style elaborate high-kicks and far-fetched stunts as well as a purely inspired cameo by Todd Carty as…well…Todd Carty.

The episode as a whole was a perfect successor for the first, having not deteriorate at all in script quality, nor the cast’s performances. It remained as brilliant as the first, as I’m sure every viewer would concur.

CLASSIC LINES

I don’t really want to go on too much about it because, firstly, there isn’t much to say – it speaks for itself – and, two, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who still has its delights to discover. In fact, I usually pick out my favourite line from a programme and then quote it when reviewing. There are, however, too many classics in A Touch of Cloth to pick a ‘best one’.

Both of the writers’ contributions are palpable within the show: Cloth is dripping with the wit which Brooker brings to his writing and has wrung all of the ridiculousness out of Daniel Maier, which he used to bring to TV Burp.

For the episodes currently in production, I really hope the pair still have plenty of jokes in their arsenals in order to maintain the high standard set by these two episodes.

Please, if you missed Cloth over the Bank Holiday weekend, I urge you to catch it on Friday, when both episodes will be repeated back-to-back from 10pm. Actually, even if you have already seen them, why not watch them again?

Oh, and sorry for the pathetic Cloth puns!

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer

Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘A Touch of Cloth’ – Episode 1.1

I always find that it’s far easier to write a review if you hate a programme. Put it this way: this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write.
A Touch of Cloth stars John Hannah as Jack Cloth and Suranne Jones as DCI Ann Oldman (pronounced, as she never tires of pointing out, ‘Old Man’) and is set on the Rundowne Estate, home of Peter Andre House. I don’t wish to state the obvious, but this show doesn’t take itself very seriously. Whether you love or hate the crime genre, you will find A Touch of Cloth hilarious!

‘FABULOUS MOCKING OF CRIME DRAMAS’

Usually comedies take a couple of minutes at least to warm-up and become familiar with its audience but ATOC immediately immersed us into its fabulous mocking of crime dramas.
This episode followed newly acquainted Cloth and Oldman (pronounce it correctly, remember!) investigating the death of a male pensioner who apparently “has never been found dead before”. However, the storyline almost didn’t matter: it was the witty writing which made this show work so bloody well.

‘OUT-AND-OUT FUNNY’

There was no subtlety – it was out-and-out funny, fast-paced and packed with gags, reminiscent of Lee Mack’s Not Going Out. This may have been inspired by drama but even the pathos in this episode couldn’t be trusted: it was seldom genuine, merely a set-up for some joke or another.
The script was inspired (who’d have known you could make so many Cloth jokes, eh?) and if I could quote it all here, I would. It was that good.

Roll on tonight’s episode and thank God there’s even more in the pipeline!

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer
Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘C4’s 30 Greatest Comedy Shows’

For thirty years, Channel 4 has been at the forefront of ground-breaking and brilliant British comedy. This special show, counting down the channel’s greatest ever comedies – as voted for by the public – was everyone’s chance to celebrate that. But what was the top thirty made up of?

30. Paul Merton: The Series

I wasn’t around when this show went to air but am a big fan of Paul on Have I Got News For You and Radio 4’s Just A Minute. From the few clips we saw on 30 Greatest Comedy ShowsPaul Merton: The Series seemed quite funny. I might try and catch a couple of episodes online.

29. The World of Lee Evans

Somewhat forgotten about, The World of Lee Evans introduced the public to the comedian. I love Lee’s stand-up and this series seems to have been even more madcap, random and physically challenging than his live comedy…if that were possible.

28. The Jack Dee Show

Once again, I think Jack is great – and excelled on the revamped Shooting Stars – and his style of pessimism is still evident in many comics today. Just like with Lee Evans’s show, this is where it all started for Jack and the rest is history.

27. Star Stories

Kevin Bishop and Steve Edge – just two of Star Stories‘ stars – are great actors and writers. Plus, Bishop is a really good mimic which was invaluable for this show: a spoof of celebrity life. I have seen a couple of episodes of Star Stories, such as the Take That one and that depicting Simon Cowell’s rise to fame and they’re clever, funny and – most importantly – great send-ups of the celebrity culture.

26. Saturday Night Live/Friday Night Live

Again, Saturday/Friday Night Live was before my time but I have seen clips – particularly those including Jo Brand, Julian Clary and the brilliant Harry Enfield as Loadsamoney. Its contribution to British comedy cannot be underestimated as it launched the careers of the aforementioned trio as well as Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, French & Saunders, Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson and so many more. Actually, I’m surprised it wasn’t further up the list.

25. Desmond’s

Ground-breaking in that it was one of the first comedies to feature a predominantly black cast, Desmond’s didn’t really connect with me in terms of humour but maybe that’s just because times have changed and – despite the writer’s claims – this show isn’t one of those which you could say has stood the test of time (like Only Fools or Fawlty Towers, for example) but I can’t deny it’s importance in sitcom history.

24. Harry Hill

I watched an episode of Harry Hill the other night but didn’t really like it: I found it a bit too madcap. Plus, I think that for myself, and many others of my generation, Harry’s true home will always be on TV Burp.

23. PhoneShop

I’m surprised PhoneShop is so far up the list (perhaps it should swap places with Saturday Night Live) as I have watched it twice, I think, and haven’t found it particularly funny either time. I think it’s great that the show embraces the actors’ comic talents by it mainly consisting of improvised pieces – just like Outnumbered – but personally I don’t find it funny. Clearly I’m in something of a minority, though, as a third series is in production.

22. The Armstrong and Miller Show

Well it was a lot ruder before it moved to the BBC, wasn’t it? I find Armstrong and Miller hilarious and I’m so pleased others do too, therefore placing them at number twenty two in the list. This is where it all started for the pair and it’s great that they have now also branched out and moved into gameshows (Alexander Armstrong on Pointless) and dramas (Armstrong in Love Story and Miller in Primeval).

21. Friday Night Dinner

Shit on it! Isn’t Friday Night Dinner just brilliant? The cast, the scripts, everything! I think one of the show’s stars, Tom Rosenthal, put it perfectly when he said, “Generally people are strange and I think the Goodmans are a perfect example of weird normal people.” Everyone can relate to Friday Night Dinner: we all have disasters in the kitchen, family occasionally visiting (therefore creating even more stress than there was before) and we all have our own quirks and play jokes on one another, just like Jonny and Adam do. The filming for the second series is, I think, finished and now all we have to do is wait until its return, courtesy of writer Robert Popper.

20. Smack The Pony

The first sketch show written and performed by a group of women, Smack the Pony is very funny and inventive. It doesn’t conform to the stereotypes set by its comedy predecessors and instead just presents women for what they are – very funny.

19. Bo’ Selecta!

If you follow my reviews, you’ll know that I adore Lemon La Vida Loca and the character of Keith Lemon as a whole. Before the madness of Lemon, though, Leigh Francis forced such characters as Avid Merrion, Mel B, Craig David (sing it, don’t say it!) and Michael Jackson upon an unexpecting world. The result was the brilliantly and unashamedly weird Bo’ Selecta!. How the hell did he think this up? Anyway, regardless of how he did it, thank God he did because it was clearly very popular with audiences.

18. The Adam & Joe Show

I’d never seen this show before I watched clips last night. Put it this way: I’m not going to seek out any more clips.

17. The Comic Strip Presents…

Even before Saturday Night LiveThe Comic Strip Presents… introduced us to French & Saunders, Rik & Ade and the gang as this premiered on the Channel 4’s first night. Personally, I’m not mad about it – and neither was I about last year’s special, The Hunt for Tony Blair – but, once again, perhaps that’s a generational thing. Whereas I might not love the show itself, I do adore its cast.

16. Drop the Dead Donkey

Prior to watching Greatest Comedy Shows, I had only heard of Drop the Dead Donkey and had never seen any episodes. I will definitely seek it out now, though – it looks hilarious! It would seem that Gus, Globelink News’ boss played by Robert Duncan, could have been the inspiration for The Office‘s David Brent over a decade later.

15. Absolutely

I have never watched this show and am not particularly bothered about doing so. Sure, it didn’t look bad but it didn’t overwhelm me either. Sorry.

14. Vic Reeves’s Big Night Out

The other day, I reviewed Vic & Bob’s Lucky Sexy Winners and stated that I was a huge fan of the duo. It transpires that Big Night Out was even more random and frankly inexplicable than Shooting Stars. There really is nothing else to say – it was just really good and slightly puzzling viewing.

13. Fonejacker

I have never been a fan of Fonejacker or Facejacker but I appreciate that it has become a cult hit and am not surprised in the slightest it has been voted so highly in this list. I recognise that to make a show which is, in effect, one about prank calls, work on TV (whereas its usual home would be the radio) is some feat and I applaud Kayvan Novak for that. Unfortunately I don’t find it terribly funny, though.

12. Trigger Happy TV

With Dom Joly’s new show Fool Britannia beginning on ITV1 this coming Saturday, this was the perfect way to celebrate what made him a household name: Trigger Happy TV. It’s just genius, isn’t it? Imagine if you encountered Dom and he played a prank on you – you would just be astounded, wouldn’t you? Especially if the prank you were caught up in involved ‘The Big Phone’!

11. Gareth Marenghi’s Darkplace

Gareth Marenghi’s what? I’d never heard of it! However, I soon warmed to it because of its send up of all those cheesy hospital dramas…and the fact that it stars Richard Ayoade and Matt Berry.

10. Da Ali G Show

Whenever I’ve seen Ali G on TV, I’ve liked it. However, I’ve never felt the need to find out more about the character or its creator Sacha Baron Cohen. The interview with the Beckhams is, for me, what Ali G will always be synonymous with but seeing the clips on Greatest Comedy Shows proved to me that Cohen excelled in other situations, not just interviews.

9. Phoenix Nights

Firstly, I would like to say how great it was to see Dave Spikey being interviewed about Phoenix Nights? He really doesn’t get the credit he deserves. I had the pleasure of going to see him on his tour this year and then meet him afterwards and I have to say that he is one of the nicest, kindest, most underrated men in comedy. Far too often, Phoenix Nights is thought of as Peter Kay’s exclusively but it wasn’t – Neil Fitzmaurice, Dave Spikey and Peter wrote it, and that shouldn’t be forgotten. Of course, it’s a brilliant series and all of the characters are excellent. May I be controversial and say that I prefer Max and Paddy’s Road To Nowhere, though?

8. Brass Eye

Cake. It’s just funny. I’ve never watched a full episode of Channel 4’s most controversial comedy Brass Eye but I have watched the ‘Cake’ skit and liked it. How on earth did Chris Morris convince the rich and famous to say and do the things they did? Well, it worked, anyway.

7. Green Wing

I have seen one episode of Green Wing and quite liked it. With a cast consisting of Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Greig and Pippa Haywood to name just a few, it’s one of the main jewels in Channel 4’s thirty-year-old comedy crown and is the true definition of a cult comedy. Just like many of the other comedies in this list, I might get onto 4OD and watch a couple of episodes.

6. Spaced

I have never seen Spaced, I must confess. It’s undoubtedly a very geeky sitcom and – just like Green Wing – has definitely achieved cult status. Plus, anything with Jessica Hynes in I will love!

5. The Inbetweeners

I can’t remember whether I voted for The Inbetweeners or Father Ted but either way I am really surprised this only came in at number five. It is purely and simply one of the best comedies of the twenty-first century and every joke still works after the tenth time of watching it. I am sure that in twenty years time it will still be relevant and we will still be talking about it – it’s timeless.

4. Black Books

I’ve never been ‘in to’ Black Books. I’ve watched clips and even an entire episode but don’t connect with it. I can see why people would find it funny: Dylan Moran’s character of Bernard Black is just so pessimistic and constantly irritated that there’s something of the Basil Fawlty about him and Bill Bailey and Tamsin Greig are highly capable actors, making the most of all of their roles. I can see why Black Books appeals, but it just doesn’t appeal to me.

3. The IT Crowd

If you dislike The IT Crowd, you have a serious sense of humour failure. Maurice Moss is just my favourite character from any comedy since the turn of the century. Graham Linehan gives him razor-sharp and inspired one-liners and Richard Ayoade delivers them to their full potential. In fact, even if Linehan’s script was poor (which it’s far from), there’s always Moss’s hair to find hilarious. Oh, and Chris O’Dowd and Katherine Parkinson are really good too.

2. Peep Show

I am going to be really controversial and say that I’m not a Peep Show fan. I love David Mitchell, Robert Webb, Olivia Colman and, in fact, all of the cast. I even loved the creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong’s university comedy-drama Fresh Meat from last year but for some reason I don’t get the hype about Peep Show. Don’t get me wrong, I know that the use of ‘inner-monologues’ and unorthodox filming methods is brilliant, but I don’t warm to the end product. I have been desperate to like it, though! I have watched the whole of the first series and several other episodes besides but I just don’t get it. I’ll give it another go when the next series airs and see if I understand it any more then. Fingers crossed!

1. Father Ted

Of course, at number one it was somewhat inevitable that it would be Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews’s sublime, wacky but absolutely hilarious beyond description Father Ted. There’s not one weak member in that cast and the show itself is simply legendary. How many other comedies can you think of which have an episode as funnily titled as ‘Kicking Bishop Brenan Up The Arse’? It’s timeless fun and if you haven’t yet checked it out, what the hell have you been doing with your life? Get the box set, get on YouTube, get on 4OD – just do anything to discover the brilliance that is Father Ted. Ah go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on, go on….

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer
Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘The X Factor’ – Episode 9.2

After news of falling ratings last week, The X Factor soldiered on last night into the second episode of its ninth series.

I THINK THERE’S BEEN A MIX-UP…

Just before I get onto this week’s auditionees, I’d like to take a quick census. Who dislikes the audition process being mixed up when broadcast on TV? Last week, we saw Nicole Scherzinger and then guest judge Mel B, then this week we met guest Rita Ora, then Mel again, and then back to Nicole! What’s wrong with showing one city’s auditions in one episode, then another city’s in the next, and so on? Add to this the fact that when they are showing a particular city’s auditions – take Newcastle for example – they mix up the days! One minute, you’re seeing Day One in Newcastle, then Day Two, and then we’re back to the first Day again! The hair changes, the wardrobe changes…it’s just so annoying. Well, for me at least.

PREDICTABLE PANEL?

Anyway, now that I’ve jumped off of my soapbox and ended my rant, I can get back to reviewing this week’s X Factor action. Having already been introduced to Mel B and Nicole Scherzinger last week, the new guest judge this week was ‘RIP’ and ‘How We Do’ singer Rita Ora. She was quite an entertaining judge, I found – I was quite surprised.

However, earlier this week I watched a repeat of The Talent Show Story on ITV1, during which the issue of the modern trend for ‘celebrities’ as opposed to ‘behind-the-scenes experts’ as judges was brought up. For example, on Pop Idol, the panel was made up of; PR expert and manager Nicki Chapman; Stock and Aitken’s partner Pete Waterman; DJ Neil Fox and, of course, then relatively unknown music producer Simon Cowell. Therefore, perhaps bar Foxy, the judges weren’t pre-established ‘celebrities’. They worked behind-the-scenes in the industry so knew what a star was made-up of. All I’m saying is, perhaps we need more of this on modern talent shows. I’m not for one minute saying that Nicole and Tulisa, Rita and all of those people aren’t qualified judges and don’t have the credentials to fulfil their roles but look at Louis Walsh – manager of Westlife and Boyzone but only came to prominence as a judge on Popstars: he was an industry expert, too. I enjoy watching the ‘celebrity’ and ‘pop star’ judges but maybe it’s time to put a new music producer into the limelight…

Anyhow, the judges aren’t – and shouldn’t be – the main focus of The X Factor. That title goes to the contestants. ‘The Good, The Bad and The Angry’, as Peter Dickson put it this week, are the ones who really make this show and this week there was quite a few of them successful.

Rylan Clark

Let’s begin with Rylan, eh? He started off in his VTs by portraying himself as quite narcissistic and vain – it got me thinking that maybe he could be the male equivalent of Amy Childs? As well as having something of the David Guetta about him (well, in my eyes, anyway), he brought something quite different to The X Factor: an Ibiza party atmosphere. It would have been quite easy for him to take to the stage poorly equipped vocally and just jump, wave his arms and scream. He didn’t do that, though. Instead, he was reasonably equipped and had some attributes such as likeability: the judges immediately warmed to him…except Gary, who didn’t think he was very good at singing at all. I can sort of see where Mr. Barlow was coming from but I genuinely believe that if Rylan takes up the singing lessons which Rita suggested, he could be a good performer. A finalist, though? I doubt it.

Kye Sones

This cockney chimney sweep was surprising! I didn’t think he would be up to much but he actually had brilliant vocals, singing a version of guest judge Rita’s hit ‘RIP’. I really could picture him on an album cover, I can imagine hearing him on the radio, I can see him as just what Rita dubbed him: “a superstar”. She’s right – the judges will be fighting to mentor him.

Lucy Spraggan

I became really worried when Lucy Spraggan revealed backstage that she was going to perform a comedy song. Comedians seldom succeed on Britain’s Got Talent so how was one going to work on The X Factor – a show exclusively for singers, and not used to comedy? The answer to that question: very well. I saw her as Victoria Wood without the piano but couldn’t help thinking she would in fact be more suited to a show like BGT. Clearly, however, I was wrong as Lucy’s amusing self-penned song about waking up on a Sunday morning, following a previous night’s heavy drinking, earned her a standing-ovation from the arena audience. This overwhelming reaction led to another of those bloody irritating hashtags popping up in the bottom right-hand corner of my screen – the title of Lucy’s song: ‘Beer Fear’. I didn’t mind, though, because #BeerFear was the only one of the many X Factor hashtags which I have actually wanted to tweet.

NEWCASTLE DIVIDED

The auditions then rolled into Newcastle. Now, I’m from Sunderland so for me it was great to see The X Factor, after six long years, return to the North East of England (or the North West, according to Louis). I’m just gutted I didn’t get to go and am envious of a friend who did…and met Gary!

With the Newcastle auditions came an hilarious representation of us North Eastern folk. Yes, we’re eccentric and talk gobbledygook a lot of the time but don’t let that put you off – we mean no harm, I assure you!

Billy Moore

Oh, Billy! What on earth happened? You may not have been able to get past the first note but we enjoyed your appearance, nevertheless – it entertained us. Oh, and thanks for providing my Tulisa Joke of the Week when you said this:

“Me sister, she made us some chicken sandwiches. Eeh, they were lovely, mind: went down a treat.”

Thanks, mate.

Sophie Stokle

Turning up with her mam, dad and an auntie who looked like Dorien from Birds of a Feather, Sophie was full of confidence but didn’t quite impress the judges with her over-the-top rendition of Jennifer Hudson’s ‘Love You I Do’. Am I the only one who saw potential, though? I wholeheartedly believe that if she calms down a little, she could do well. I hope she’ll be back next year, wiser.

James Arthur

J. Arthur. His parents didn’t really think it through, did they? Nevertheless, James didn’t live up to what his name suggests and was actually quite good. I thought the judges went a little to town on their comments (I wasn’t quite as impressed as they were) but then again, they are the experts. Reuniting his parents, James’s audition did have an element of Surprise, Surprise! to it but never mind – if we look beyond that, I’m sure we’ll all agree that he has talent.

And isn’t that the main thing?

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer
Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.

‘Lemon La Vida Loca’ – Episode 1.4

Leigh Francis’s excellent Lemon La Vida Loca, the mockumentary series depicting fictional character Keith Lemon’s everyday celebrity life, concluded this week with an episode just as hilariously rude and ridiculous as its predecessors.
There’s no point really scrutinising the show – it should just be enjoyed for what it is: brilliant and uniquely hilarious. Therefore, I shall merely offer two of my highlights…

WHILE THE CAT’S AWAY, THE MOUSE WILL PLAY!

Firstly, following the row in Marbella last week, Keith set off on a promotional tour for Keith Lemon: The Film by himself. To see him out on his own was brilliant – he was just let loose and very cheeky! At the end of the tour, he announced, “[I’m] going back to Rosie now and ‘opefully she’ll ‘ave ‘er arms wide open and anything else she wants to ‘ave wide open.” It’s a phrase I really have overused in the Lemon La Vida Loca reviews but I’ll use it again: that was quintessential Lemon!

SURPRISE, SURPRISE!

One of my other highlights was Keith’s surprise for Rosie, in an attempt to negotiate sex with her, by organising an all-singing, all-dancing shock for her while they were out for a meal and a drink. It was exactly the kind of extravagant thing you could imagine Keith doing, and him joining in with the ‘We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off’ routine was priceless! If the clip isn’t on YouTube, catch it on ITV Player or one of the Lemon La Vida Loca repeats: it’s well worth watching (as is the whole show!).

NOT THE END

The whole series was ‘priceless’! It worked extremely well as both a fly-on-the-wall documentary and a comedy. Not many writers or performers can pull that off. There wasn’t one weak episode and it’s such a shame it’s over. However, we needn’t mourn for long. Keith Lemon: The Film was released yesterday (I’m off to see it on Tuesday), Celebrity Juice returns on Thursday with The Film stars Ronan Keating and Kelly Brooke, which is followed by a marathon of Lemon La Vida Loca which will see the whole of this series broadcast. ‘Keith’s’ autobiography Being Keith is released later this year and LLVL is back at Christmas for a special. So, Keith’s not over by any means but – for the time being – Lemon La Vida Loca sadly is.

Twitter – @UKTVReviewer
Also, keep up-to-date with the latest TV news, reviews and interviews at www.thecustardtv.com, where some of my articles will also appear.