Thursday, 21 October 2010

Ian Holloway v Wayne Rooney, BBC budget cuts and Breast cancer

It's been a while since a did a post that covered a multitude of vaguely related things. Just today my in box has  given me grist for the mill and yesterday I made a discovery that shocked even me. Then of course there's a multitude of tiny bits and bobs worth passing on that don't frankly fit in to any of the usual Strictly, Masterchef or History posts.

I may as well reveal the shocking news first. I who have sworn to never watch The One Show as I thought it to be just a step away from bizzaro telly for the truly odd, have become a convert. There's something appealing about the new hosts Jason Manford and Alex Jones that makes the segment where Salman Rushdie plays table tennis seem less surreal. The informative pieces that I'll admit were also on the old One Show, seem to fit better now that the hosts don't seem to be sharing a brain cell. There are in fact three people who are a near guarantee to make me switch channels if they are on a chat show.... James Corden, Adrian Chiles and Katie Price, together these three make almost a whole personality. Perhaps it is the insensitivity and near total lack of knowledge emanating from Mr Chiles that so repelled me from the One Show, but with him gone , the segments worthy of BBC4 are truly informative and entertaining. All my favourite BBC4 presenters seem to be doing a short film a week for them, and  it doesn't seem as pointless now that we don't have interviews in which Yo Yo Ma will be asked for his favourite Lady Gaga track or if he thinks she's a tranny. 

Another chat show that has taken us by storm is the Rob Brydon Show. Normally a comedian with two chairs and a musical guest falls flat on his face as he or she will just end up interviewing the same dreary list of celebs Wossy used to get. But not our Welsh dynamo. He's got a small room, fewer than 200 people in. This intimate setting insures that no person sitting in a chair is immune from interrogation by the host and must be on his or her toes. Guests are mostly drawn from a combination of iconic British personalities to rising stars of comedy and drama. What I consider the icing on the cake, is that Rob Brydon is in fact not a bad singer, and will sit in with musical guests for a bit of a jam session. Guests of late have included Seasick Steve and Paloma Faith. If you like indie pop and music outside of the x factor production line, you will enjoy the segments. Brydon  has filled the void that once was the near exclusive domain of Graham Norton .

So why don't I watch Graham Norton anymore? Besides being off the air at the minute, his guest list had got so polluted with visiting Americans who needed everything explained to them  and the strange allowance of Jedward, TWICE, as well as apparently regular visits by James Corden, that I could not bear to turn on the telly. This sort of booking has replaced his previously entertaining range of comedians, actors, authors, freaks and funny misfits who knitted, made strange toys or channelled dead pets. Since He moved to BBC1 and Jonathan Ross lost his show, the BBC have tried to get Norton to take up the Ross mantle along with his guest list, in the process stripping him of any remaining charm.

In the it sucks to be you department, universally loved NUFC hero Andy Carroll, who is now living with Kevin Nolan under terms of his bail from assault charges, has had his brand new chrome-plated Range Rover burned to a crisp while parked in the drive. Graffiti expressing above mentioned love was found nearby . Joining Caroll this week in the race to see who is more "loved", is Wayne Rooney. He made Alex Ferguson look deeply disappointed and hurt beyond words on Sky sports. While no one will want to burn Wayne's car, I think he wins the twat of the week and the month award. Football has gone wrong when a single player and his agent can hold the the club hostage like that. If he's going to sit and sulk till January and bugger off on a free, then shame on him and the people who think this is ok. Ian Holloway got it right today when he raged at the players and agents who are now bigger than even the biggest clubs. What arrogance, what hubris, what a shame. What is the point of a contract when it means nothing, what is the point of training up a player only to have him throw his toys out the pram and leave when HE's done with YOU!?This rant was so good it made the Russell Howard show

Speaking of tits, some dim bulb with a computer has sent me an e-mail letting me know I've won £500,000. To collect I only had to send an e-mail to "Dear Graham Poll at". If that didn't work I got a second one telling me to use graham.poll9. If you get one of these, don't respond, you're only telling them you have an active e-mail address. Best comedy line of last week goes to visiting American comedienne on Qi XL Animals , when she stopped Ross Noble to ask him "Are you speaking English?". I also learned that if ever meet a honey badger, I should be wearing a steel jock strap.  Want a super power? Get bit by a radioactive hag fish and acquire the skill to ooze mucus at will, very cool and useful as well in a tight spot. Get it, tight?

Now if you are good soul and want to give to breast cancer awareness, may I suggest you avoid buying pink branded foods, products and other such crass commercial grasping and give directly to the charity. If you like cheese and the pink wrapped cheese is the one you would have bought normally, go right ahead, but for pity's sake, don't encourage this fake marketing  by buying a product from a company that will give a fraction of what you spent to the cause in question. Take note that you care about the cause, keep going , then when you get home, give something through paypal or write a cheque. And on that subject, we are a month away from Children in Need.  Start checking your finances now to make sure you have something to give on the 19th of November.

Spooks has been chugging along nicely. In last week's ep we learn the new commodity will be fresh water  and that there is a new world that resembles the old one of the pre-ideological days, when nations did war unto each other by stealing industrial secrets and attempting to shore their own economies at the expense of others. We also wondered just how bent Lucas was going to be; very it turns out, having set up some drone passing him in hall way. Loved his line where says  " We can be together, I've fixed things". When the fall comes, it will be spectacular. This weeks ep had the President of the United States, oddly referred to as the leader of the free World, chairing yet another doomed to failure, peace conference about the Arab-Israeli conflict. In a fresh twist, it takes a turn at stating the obvious, mainly that ultra religious elements in Israel are far from interested in peace before they get their nationalist agenda firmly in place. One of the most annoying things about the story was that I had so wanted to dislike the Home Secretary, but he turns out have a soul after all.

Speaking of the current government, the spending cuts at the BBC are on the one hand, not as bad as they could have been, and on the other hand still terrible. Or as my mate Keith Topping said, "It's better to loose only one leg instead of the two". The fact is that 16% of operating budget is being taken out of original programming. BBC News and the Welsh service that used to be paid by government departments are now paid for out of the main BBC budget. That budget by the way  frozen now for several years. So it you're nostalgic for the cheap special effects of 70's Doctor who, then wait a few months and you'll be right at home. Merlin has already seriously downgraded it's FX budget from last year with obvious results. I may not say it all the time, but I LOVE THE BBC. If I take away the few programmes I watch on ITV  ( Corrie, the occasional special crime drama and football), I'm left with a huge amount of telly I still watch. In fact if you took away my BBC, I'd be left with nothing.  One hopes that a few Lib Dem  or Tory MPs are caught in a scandal or are too ill to work, It won't take but a handful of seats to bring the whole rotten house of cards coalition down.

I'll close this with a massive praise of Mark Gatiss and his History of Horror of a less detestable kind. It has been a joy to watch, taking us step by step by step through the fascinating , sometimes forgotten sometimes unknown parts of the the story of Horror cinema. I was a boy all over again, watching Frankenstein, Dracula, then moving on to my teens, the Hammer films which I was finally old enough to see. Because of this series I've had to make a list of must watch again  and must watch for the first time classic horror films. I need to see the wax museum films, never seen Freaks, and I've forgotten  more Hammer films than I've watched new films in the last 10 years. I love how Gatiss explores the Luton buses or shows us how Bray studios reinvented the genre with it's more urbane, sexy  and bloody monsters. BTW, I'm with Luton, I'd much rather make up my own monsters, seeing them sometimes  just makes you laugh, robbing the whole build up of any tension and fear. There is one more instalment left covering the Texas chain saw massacre era to now, an era frankly I found far too bloody and macabre without ever telling a story. Zombie films will also get a shout, so if you fear the walking dead, get your trusty shovel, make sure nobody around you is dead and lock the door.

Happy telly people, and don't forget, if there's nowt on telly, go for a walk, read a book or talk to your significant other. Me, I'm off to see if her indoors would like to do something other than stay in for the night.

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