Daily Archives: March 29, 2010

Ask the Chancellors

An odd title for a programme given that there was only one actual Chancellor and two would-be Chancellors, but never mind.

Just one of the many compromises involved in a programme that was wrongly hyped as paving the way to some sort of televisual history, propelling UK elections into the TV age, in the way which US elections have been conducted since before the Nixon era.

With the big TV channels having secured the potential PMs, Channel 4 snuck in and grabbed the Chancellors and got to show them off first.  This must have felt like a coup in the planning.  In retrospect, I’m not so sure.

Of all the negotiated positions – who goes first, who stands in the middle, how do we all avoid wearing the same tie – the compromise condition that the audience stay shtum to avoid any appearance of bias was the unexpected downer on the evening.

As the first statements were made, and questions were asked and answered, they sat still, silent, unresponding. To politicians used to the caffeine rush of immediate feedback, it must have felt like they were comedians dying on their arses before a wet matinee in Hull.  And people at home were bereft without their live audience barometer to see who was up and who was down.

I could sense the producer wondering what the hell he had agreed to as they sat in frozen silence for nearly 15 minutes.

And then a Vince Cable aside prompted the audience to laugh, despite whatever pre-broadcast contracts they had signed in blood, and the spell was broken. They immediately returned to the same sepulchral silence, but at least we knew they were breathing. Continue reading

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Glee (13): Nobody, no, nobody, is gonna rain on my parade!

Reminding us why she is the star of the show, Rachel blew the competition away with her superb rendition of Don’t Rain On My Parade. It’s good she’s resisted doing Barbra till now; this was the perfect moment for her to demonstrate how well she suits that power-house, roof-raising, put-the-show-on-right-now performance that usually only Babs can get away with. It was wonderful. I had a tear in my eye, for god’s sake! Rachel explained she could do it as a last minute thing because ‘I’ve been working on it since I was four’.

The rest of the episode couldn’t live up to this. Plenty of storylines came to an end: Finn discovered the truth about Quinn’s baby; Glee Club realised Sue had leaked their set-list; Will left Terri; and Emma didn’t marry Ken. But none of this was surprising – we’d either been told or guessed. Certainly none of it had the sheer excitement of Rachel running down the central aisle of the auditorium, belting out ‘I’m gonna live and live NOW! Get what I want, I know how!’ Might have to watch it again in a sec.

Mercedes did have one belter of a song, but it wasn’t as impressive as her colleagues implied with their awe-struck expressions. The best part was before she began, tossing over her shoulder to Cool Piano Man, ‘Do I even have to tell you what song?’ He immediately started playing the opening chords of And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, which apparently is a standard but I’d never heard it before, and wouldn’t be sorry if I never heard it again. No-one else had much chance to shine, a shame given it was the last episode.

Even Sue seemed subdued, and too easily crushed by Principal Figgins. She had one great put-down, to Will, of course: ‘I’m reasonably confident you’re going to add revenge to the long list of things you’re no good at, right next to being married, running a glee club and finding a hairstyle that doesn’t make you look like a lesbian’. Good to see her getting in one more dig about the poor man’s hair. Their chemistry is terrific; I keep hoping one of them will grab the other and deliver a great big snog, though Will saved that for Emma. His loss, I think.

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Lustbox: Gene Hunt

What is it about television that makes relatively sane woman fantasise about men they wouldn’t want to share a postcode with in real life? Ladies and gentlemen, the defence calls DCI Gene Hunt.

Philip Glenister seems to be a nice enough bloke and a talented actor, but unless he’s wearing Gene’s cowboy boots I’m not interested. As Cranford’s Mr Carter he was very watchable, but despite being shod in much nicer footwear (and occasionally getting to ride horses) he didn’t get my pulse racing.

Sam Tyler famously, and accurately, described Hunt as  an “overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding”.  But still I harbour fantasies of being rescued from various types of badness by DCI Hunt.

For all his brutality, racism, sexism and homophobia, he’s still the good guy and a charismatic, and occasionally tender, one at that. Despite her troubles, I’d gladly step into Alex Drake’s very pointy shoes.

Perhaps I’m no different from my five-year-old daughter who wants dinosaurs to roam the earth again. The reality would be terrifying, but because it can never be more than a fantasy, the imagined adventure is thrilling.

Posted by Jo the Hat

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Brothers & Sisters: Thank heavens William Walker had so many affairs

“But you mustn’t let Justin/Kitty/Mom/Kevin/Sarah/Tommy know,” is the classic Brothers & Sisters line. Someone says it, in some form, almost every week. And, a matter of minutes later, someone has let Justin/Kitty/Tommy etc know, and they’ve let everyone else know, and they all find out they all know usually in the middle of a family dinner.

Hardly an episode goes by without this happening. It’s the engine that runs the plot of the average B&S episode. Not this week. This week contained a mild form of “Don’t tell Kevin,” when Kitty revealed to Sarah that she’d once had an affair with someone so mega-famous his name couldn’t even be mentioned, but it wasn’t Bill Clinton. Sarah wasted no time in telling Kevin and Justin, obviously – you can’t keep juicy gossip like that to yourself, though unfortunately she whispered it so we never found out. Boo. I couldn’t help speculating. Someone mega-famous… Surely not George W Bush? Or… Michael Jackson?

The real centrepiece of the story is that we’re apparently all bored with the Kitty cancer plot now (or is that just me?), so she’s been cured by a bone marrow transplant. All the siblings were tested and found not to be a match. Nora, despite looking ever-youthful thanks to fuzzy focus was too old to donate. But thank the lord for William Walker scattering his seed far and wide. Ryan Lafferty was found to be a perfect match, and it worked out very well for him as Holly had just confronted him about sabotaging her award-winning wine. He’d been caught on CCTV at the time the wine vats were drained.

Kitty and Robert renewed their marriage vows and everyone cried a bit, including Rebecca who was probably wondering whether she’ll finally get to finish her wedding now.

Posted by PLA          (more Brothers & Sisters posts here)

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Pineapple Dance Studios: Lemons for Andrew

You’ve got to admire the resilience of Andrew Stone. Life gives him lemons and Andrew makes lemonade. A few more lemons, and he makes a nice lemon drizzle cake. More lemons and – well, you’d think eventually he’d just get sick of lemons.

This week Starman’s youthful manager Rob had some good news and some bad news for Andrew. The good news was that a hotshot music bigwig was prepared to back Starman, and someone who’d produced Kylie (in the musical sense, I don’t mean the Minogue parents) was happy to come on board as producer. Hurrah! Surely that Brit award could be just months away now?

Sadly, Mr Bigwig was only happy to do this as long as Andrew (“He’s not gay? Well, I’m… surprised”) was no longer sole frontman. He wanted backing singer Rosalee front and centre with Andrew.

Well, Andrew wasn’t having that. Invoking dreadful X Factor losers Same Difference, he declared that cheesy pop duetting was not what he was about. Rob agreed, and turned the offer down. So it’s back to square one for Starman. Or is it? Andrew, whose showbiz talents are only exceeded by his ambition, took Rosalee to one side. He’d had an idea. She was so talented, why didn’t she come more to the forefront of the proceedings? Rosalee seemed unsurprised by this about-turn (last week he was conspiring with Louis to keep her mainly in dark corners where she wouldn’t upstage him).

Andrew isn’t the only super-ambitious person on Pineapple Dance Studios. There’s also the dreadful Tricia Walsh-Smith, a woman with no discernible talent, the charisma of a three pin plug and eyes that have apparently been so surgically enhanced that they won’t close on their own. The big difference between her and Andrew is that he has charm and a sort of sweet vulnerability, and you end up rooting for him.

So what of Louie Spence this week? By his standards, a bit of a low-key episode, enlivened by some cake sabotage (only Louie would contemplate decorating a cake with some highlighter pens and a photo of himself) and clearing up some (human) poo from the fire escape. The poo was pixelated but I think we could discern that it couldn’t have been left by a ballet dancer, because, as we’ve learned previously, they don’t eat enough to produce solids.

Posted by PLA          (more Pineapple posts)

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