Author Archives: Emma Chaplin

About Emma Chaplin

Editor, writer, lover of terrible telly.

The Good Wife – 7th & final season

alan-cumming_240Given I’ve just realised that this is the final season of The Good Wife, it’s probably not worth a whole load of speculation about the one irksome thing about this otherwise fine programme. Why would Alicia remain ‘the good wife’ to cheating politician Peter Florrick this long after they separated?

Plot device, you all cry, and rightly so. As Winnicott would say, good enough.

I like the fact that it’s called The Good Wife, when actually, nobody in this show is ever simply good (or bad). Lots of shades of grey here, characters are complicated, greedy, scheming and utterly splendid, often all at once.

So, we’re a few episodes into the final series being shown on More 4. And it looks like it’s going to be FUN. Continue reading

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Filed under Legal dramas

Lustbox: Robin Ellis

A tale of tin mining, lust and pasties

Poldark. A tale of tin mines, lust & pasties

Sue recently reminded us that she’d had her eye on Aidan Turner long before he started a trend for topless scything in the new series of Poldark. I’m enjoying watching it, and Aidan Turner is undoubtedly very pretty, but I’ve long had a soft spot for the original (and the best, certainly in terms of scar make-up) Robin Ellis.  Continue reading


Filed under Drama, Lustbox

Holby City. Jonny be good

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 20.45.41
Sadly, due to sad family circumstances, Sue ‘Queen of Holby’ Haasler is unable to blog this week, so I’ll be providing a brief stand-in post for my lovely friend.

Look, I’ll admit. I watch Holby every week, and I’m a devoted fan of Sue’s blog, but I’m counting down the days until Henrik Hanssen is back in the captain’s chair on the bridge, or wherever the person in charge of this hospital keeps everything running smoothly. Selfie is a vain, inept twonk, and I don’t like it when there are staffing shortages and confusion over shift patterns, however fictional. Jonny can be irksome at times, but it’s preposterous that he should be on remand awaiting trail for murder. Great that it transpires at the end of the episode that Jac is paying for a high-class defence team for him (as well as supporting Elliott’s Kibo development. She must have a hell of a salary), but I’m not sure why he couldn’t get bail, neither do I understand why he has no memory of explaining how to change the battery of the ‘Kibo’ to the memory-deficient partner of the patient who died. Continue reading


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The Apprentice: A petri dish of twonk

Top Twonk

Top Twonk

(Series 10, ep.8) The delicious smorgasbord of idiocy that is The Apprentice got turned up to 11 last night. We’re at episode eight –  or roughly stage two as laid out in Qwerty’s series opener blog. Some chaff has been fired. Plenty more left to sneer at.

We know their names. We could do a set of Apprentice Twonk Top Trumps card featuring those qualities of imbecilic delusion that make them so annoying. But into the mix, we got the pleasure of the Royal Bath & West Show this week (best cider bar this side of Yeovil), hot tubs, flat cap handbags and Nick Hewer looking hella cool on a ride-on lawnmower.

Team Summit comprised Bianca; sexist über-knob 1 James; Solomon; calm, collected Roisin and Sanjay. And Team Tenacity included domineering Aussie Mark; the adorable Paddington bear-like Columbian Felipe; sexist über-knob 2 Daniel and the normal-seeming Katie. UK1 James got to be PM for Summit, Felipe was made PM for Tenacity over Katie, for no explicable reason that I could see, other than the fact that she carelessly forgot to be born with a penis.

This is the episode where members of each team gets to select from a parade of random objects, which in this series included a pet finder and a flushable cat loo. It’s the sort of motley collection that you used to see on the Generation Game conveyor belt or as prizes on Sale of the Century. Teams decide what they want most, then the PM has a conversation with the manufacturer of said chosen objects to try to convince them they are right team to sell to. Continue reading


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Fargo: You’ve spent your whole life thinking there are rules. There aren’t…


fargo-tv-seriesI’ve been in need of good telly lately. Rev. is fab, so is Nashville and The Good Wife, but I miss The BridgeLine of Duty and Parks and Recreation. MasterChef doesn’t do it for me anymore. I can’t even be bothered to tune into the Great British Menu, despite loving Prue Leith and co on the judging panel dearly, because it all got too formulaic and silly last time round. The ‘brief’ is always silly, trumped-up and about as clear as a poorly executed consommé. After finishing and enjoying House of Cards (twice), I’ve been watching some ok TV series suggested by Netflix, but they all seem to be heavily dominated by men (Suits, Justified, Sons of Anarchy), and frankly, I have no interest in watching things in which women have been reduced to bits of skirt. The sexism of the 70s seems to be thriving in American drama, unless Netflix aren’t showing me the ones in which women have decent parts.

Best Marge of all time

Best Marge of all time

So, as a massive fan of the best fictional Marge on the planet after the blue-haired one, you might say I’m ripe and ready for the new TV series of Fargo (Channel Four, Sundays, 9pm). William H Macy was revoltingly, skin-crawlingly brilliant as hapless Jerry Lundegaard in the Coen brothers’ film, and I guess we all wondered if Martin Freeman would be as good – and could pull off a Minnesotan accent (and the Minnesotan accent – ya – you betcha -was such a brilliant feature of the original Fargo, it was almost a character in itself). Also, if anyone could make a good hash of a reworking of what was a frankly brilliant film.

Second best Marge, by a blue whisker

Well, the good news is, it seems Noah Hawley can. It’s not exactly the same story as the film, it’s sort-of is, it’s in the same, cold-as-heck, snowbound ballpark anyhoo (actually filmed in Calgary, Alberta, not Minnesota, however). The characters share similarities/dysfunctions with those from the 1996 film but are also different. Continue reading

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Filed under Detective/police drama

Hair: MasterCoiff

granWhen my lovely gran had to move into a home, we were amazed to discover it had a hairdressing salon tucked away down a corridor. Nobody ever seemed to use it, so we did. Which is brave of her, because I’m very much an enthusiastic amateur. I’d cut her hair as she sat and swivelled in the chair like the cool woman she was (see left). That’s not MY haircut by the way, she’s a gay young thing here obviously, but I’d cut it along those lines when she was in her eighties. She looked great with the vague bob, which was all I could do, and she hated ‘salons’. So I’m loving watching Hair (Wednesdays, 9pm, BBC3) – in which a group of talented amateurs are set a series of Bake-Off like challenges. But instead of flour, spun sugar and Mary Berry, you’ve got blockheads, drawers of hair extensions and Alain Pichon (no I’d never heard of him either – he cuts David Beckham’s hair apparently). Also, floating presenter Steve Jones (not sure why he’s involved to be honest, he’s got no hairdressing background as far I can see, and he’s no Sue Perkins) and second judge, royal hair tweaker, Denise McAdam. Continue reading

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The Taste: A rose between two prawns

The Taste Tasting RoomWhy are people tuning into the new Channel 4 show The Taste? Let me count the ways. Because they enjoy cookery programmes? A few, possibly. Because they’re fans of Anthony Bourdain’s 2000 sex, drugs and buttered roll book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly ? Some. I loved it – and I got the vibe that a few contestants on The Taste were hoping they could look forward to a bit of a hardass Tony tongue-lashing in future episodes, definitely.

Nobody I know has ever heard of French ‘Allo ‘Allo stylee head chef Ludo Lefebvre that’s for sure. He’s apparently big in LA, but an unknown quantity here, other than appearing to be a bit of an egotistical, culinary willy waving twat (which Google Translate tells me, perhaps unreliably, is “zizi-agitant con culinaire”).

So what was the big draw? Nigella, of course. Along with most of the country, I couldn’t give a toss about the alleged cocaine snorting, I’m just sad she chose such a massive zizi-agitant con for a second husband and wish the ghost of John Diamond would come and “calm him down” with a couple of firm hands around the throat.

Anyhoo, Nigella was on top form. She’s a beautiful woman I don’t envy, because she’s mentally placed in my ‘statuesque goddess’ file, along with Sophie Loren, Beyonce and Angelina Jolie. She didn’t disappoint. Utterly, preposterously gorgeous. Also, kind, funny, smart, supportive. Made the two blokes look even more like a pair of zizi-agitant cons culinairesContinue reading

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Filed under Cooking shows

I’m a Celebrity: The mouses are getting excited with each other

VINCENT_SIMONEA Strictly/I’m a Celebrity mash-up, what could be better than that? Endearing Argentine tango expert Vincent Simone isn’t dancing the Strictly boards this year, and he’s joined the I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here bunch instead. He likes to put on the Italian stallion act, but frankly he’s more of a Thelwell pony with an adorable accent. He has become one of my favourites over the years, sweet once you see past the preposterous flirting and self-aggrandisement. His professional dancing partner is the fantastic Flavia Cacace, so you know he must be a decent sort.

His slippery grasp of English is always a delight. He and model/writer (and ex-wife of Midge Ure Wiki tells me) Annabel Giles were about to join the jungle gang last night. But only after an Aussie hat cork-threading challenge in a cabin, featuring increasing numbers of copulating rats, cockroaches and the usual bug suspects.

Annabel, who has a lovely line in dry wit, said she had been “Hoping to get a macho man to protect her”. Then realised she was going to have to BE that man. As the bugs and rodents streamed in, Vincent and Annabel leapt on chairs, clutched each other, screamed like banshees. Vincent plaintively crying “I want my Mama!”. His explanation for the fact that all the rats seemed to be shagging was: “My aura stimulates menopauses with them”.
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Filed under I'm A Celebrity...

Strictly: Murder off the dance floor

I'm killing off that bloody Forsyth and no one can stop me

I’m killing off that bloody Forsyth and no one can stop me

Yes, I’m sure it’s the presence of Sophie ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’ Ellis-Bextor, especially in her flapper dress last night, that’s making me think that every year, Strictly gets more like an Agatha Christie ensemble piece. You’ve got all the stock characters. The pretty young things, the old rogues, the ageing glamour pusses, the screechy Welshmen and comic Geordies. Then there are all the Johnny Foreigner dancers. Ruskies and damn commie bastards. They may shake a fine leg at the old cha cha cha, but you can’t trust any of them. 

The thing about Strictly is that everyone is outwardly chummy and charming when we all know they’re all actually enormously competitive. Plus they’re stuck under hot lights in a sweaty, enclosed space wearing uncomfortable clothing. I, for one, would have very little difficulty imagining Anton du Beke as a murderous gigolo. Brucie was “missing” last night, and a girl could dream someone had bumped him off, his body lying unnoticed inside a tanning booth backstage for the fifteen hours it seemed to take to get through all the dances. The facade was that he had “flu” of course. But Tess and Claudia have been after the top compering job for years, I’m sure of it.

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Filed under Strictly Come Dancing

Lustbox. Chris Packham

chrispackhamI don’t watch Springwatch. I’m sure it’s delightful, and I know lots of people who adore everyone in the team and feel connected to them, much in the way that the Blue Peter presenters of our youth seemed like cool, older siblings (well, sort of – what constituted ‘cool’ growing up in Newbury just meant people not wearing Marks & Spencer slacks. The bar was very low).

In the past, I’ve noticed people becoming gooey over the very mention of Kate Humble. And fair enough. I’d have married Valerie Singleton if only David Cameron had only made it possible in 1977. 

But there is one presenter I have a soft spot for, not for Springwatch, but having seen him as a panelist on various comedy programmes, and that’s Chris Packham. He comes across as funny and frankly a bit nuts when I’ve seen him on Have I Got News for You? and Would I Lie To You? (he was on that with Victoria Coren, who is also a bit admirably scary).

Some people admire clean-cut Rob Lowe types, or the heavily muscle-bound. I don’t object to either, but it’s not my favourite thing. Witty is good, and I just happen to like people who look like they might be up for some mischief, and also come across as a little mad, bad and dangerous to know. 

I mentioned this on Twitter, after re-tweeting the splendid Jake Yapp’s loving review  of it (full of sweary words, be warned)  and it seemed to strike a nerve with a couple of people. I ended up DM-ing a fellow admirer, saying: “What I like about him is he seems like he might be a bit of a filthy pervert. In a good way.” They concurred.

He does lots of good, important conservation and educational work too, saving bats and that. You can click here for more about that. 

But frankly, I’m shallow. I just think he’s gorgeous.

Postscript 13 Oct 2013 If you’re quick you can catch him on one of the greatest Desert Island Discs ever

Posted by The Divine Bebe, @thedivinebebe


Filed under Lustbox