Tag Archives: fern britton

The Chase Celebrity Special: Cock shots, beavers and Beasts

305980-the-chase-3008Saturday nights have felt bare without it. A nation has waited with bated breath. Star studded, tense and with so much at stake, an ITV titan roared back onto our screens this weekend. No, not The X Factor (is that some kind of algebra contest?) but a brand new spanking series of The Celebrity Chase.

As PauseLiveAction interviewee Mark Labbett swaggered across the stage, complete with a brand new dickie bow tie to make him look even more the part of a hammy Bond villain, four personalities from the world of celebrity were on hand in an attempt to dethrone him – which is, physically and mentally, no easy feat.

This week saw former This Morning host and novelist Fern Britton, cricket champ Matthew Hoggard, lingerie entrepreneur Michelle Mone OBE and Bob The Builder himself (although we preferred him in Waterloo Road), Neil Morrissey team up.

The biggest challenge of the evening came for the ever-entertaining presenter, Bradley Walsh, renowned as he is for corpsing at questions. The Chase question setters have a whale of a time trying to catch him out and made a brazen attempt to knock him off guard by asking which game involved a cock shot and a beaver. Now, had there not been options, I would have been shouting all sorts at my television which would have given a dark insight into my private life, but thankfully it became obvious that the answer was backgammon. (One of the options was Twister… although what a game of Twister that would be). Bradley held on so well. That is until The Beast opted for the answer, ‘Ker-Plunk.’   Continue reading

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Strictly: A bit too Special

I like Strictly. It’s the comfort food of Saturday night telly. A glitzy, sequined, orange spray-tanned shepherds pie of a programme. Many people have put a huge amount of physical effort into training for it, but all you need to do as a viewer is watch. Slouching on your sofa, drink in hand, taking the piss. And bitching with other Twitter folk about how much the wardrobe department must hate Tess.

This year, we’re all keeping an eye on Darcey Bussell as the new judge. She’s undoubtedly knowledgeable on dance but her first appearance was marred by (presumably nerve-driven) repetitions of a horsey “Yah?” to every contestant, but that have fortunately stopped now. Perhaps because Craig is sticking pins into her leg under the table.

In the order of things, he and Len have been separated by the Bussell this year, which means Len is the person who gets slapped in the face by Bruno’s histrionic arm movements (which is actually pretty funny). Darcey can be as harsh a marker as Craig, and frankly I’ve got my eye on her after she marked the delightful Lisa Riley much lower than everyone else last week – I don’t trust ballet dancers to be well-balanced around bigger women, and in my (entirely ill-informed) opinion, Riley is top-notch in every respect.

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Saturday Kitchen: Not cool but I like it

Just look at the set in this picture. Fake stone clad walls in a strange pinky beige colour like a holiday rental cottage in Devon circa 1982. Random orange vases. Peculiar lighting. It’s a terrible set, a bit like the one you’d see in the 1970s lunchtime ‘housewives’ show Houseparty, which featured a similar fake domestic set plus a cast of various women who would ring the doorbell (did this happen or am I having a weird retro Avon lady dream here?) and happen to ‘drop by’ with a cake recipe or pink loo seat cover pattern to crochet. It was innocent, comforting and ‘hyggelig’ and I loved it to bits.

Saturday Kitchen is a bit slicker of course, but it’s just as cosy. I happened upon it when I was ill a few weeks ago. I remembered host James Martin from Ready, Steady, Cook a few years back, Fern Britton era, when he always seemed to be spinning hot sugar into baskets (pity the poor sod who had to clean the floor after he’d finished). I didn’t like him much then, but he’s lovely in Saturday Kitchen. Maybe he’s older, maybe he prefers being in charge.

It all kicks off (actually, that’s too active a description – ‘gently slides into existence’ perhaps) with him welcoming a couple of viewers, well-coiffed women in their 40s who look like they’d do well in a modern version of Houseparty. He has a couple of professional chefs that join him to cook for the celebrity guest, and these dishes also tasted by the two viewer guests. They get through quite a lot of wine, chosen by an expert such as Jolly Olly.

Last week’s smiley, unchallenging celeb was Amanda Burton, the week before, an entirely pleasant, flirty Gok Wan. Throughout the show the demonstrated recipes are interspersed with clips  from other cookery shows, such as MasterChef, Rick Stein or Antonio Carluccio. Works a treat this – none of the repetitive flannel, just a perfect bite-sized mouthful.

My favourite part is when the two chefs enter the cookery version of the ‘Star in a reasonably priced car’ bit of Top Gear by trying to make an omelette in the shortest time possible. They mostly produce a slimy mess of runny eggs, but it’s enjoyable to watch talented people doing something as silly as a Generation Game test, and also, be a bit crap at cooking like the rest of us for once.

At the end of the show, Martin will cook a dish for the celeb which is either their idea of food ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’, and the decision as to which gets decided by the panel members of chefs and viewers.

It’s all terribly pleasant, sweet and gentle, like being fed spoonfuls of shepherd’s pie whilst slolloping on a La Z Boy recliner.

Posted by Inkface

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Strictly Christmas Dancing: Ho ho hum

Da-da-DA-da-(*insert jingling bells here*)-Da-da-DA-DA! (*insert more jingling bells here*).

Yes that’s right folks, it’s the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special! Only this year with a RADICAL new format, in that all 5 contestants have never appeared on the show before. Far out, man.

It all starts well enough. A pyjama-clad Matthew Cutler (provoking scenes of mass hysteria to the point where my ear is still ringing 15 hours later) leads the Professionals through a bizarre group dance number which climaxes in the contestants jumping out of cardboard boxes. Typical, isn’t it – all those things they must have had for Christmas, yet all they’re interested in is the box.

Vince Cable and Erin Boag. Photo from The Guardian.

Following this, everything else seems to be reassuringly the same. Bruce enters as flamboyantly as ever (“why has he just flashed that Christmas tree?” enquires an eagle-eyed Mama VG), plus Tess’s outfit is up (or should that be down) to the usual standard – which this week seems to be based on that of the Innovations Catalogue. It’s strapless, it’s strapped, it’s off the shoulder, it’s satin, it’s velour, it’s long, it’s short – I bet it probably opens jars, has a torch function and pumps up car tyres too, if pushed.

Anyway, time for the all-new shelebriddy contestants! And it’s John Barrowman! “Hey, Mom! Look what I found under the tree!” he shrieks, clutching a valiantly-grinning Kristina Rihanoff. “Still, I bet his mother’s pleased, given what he usually manages to find under the tree” snarks an increasingly-weary Mama VG. I sympathise re weariness– 30 seconds of listening to John Barrowman and I’m already revealing the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden to anyone who’ll listen. “I said I’d only do this if I was covered in bling!” squeals Barrowman. Unfortunately, the BBC costume department seemed to have stopped listening after the first letter and covered him in bubblewrap instead. An easy mistake to make, I’m sure you’ll agree. Anyway, they do a Quickstep, which to me just looks like a Panda Pops-addled infant racing around at a school disco. Still, the judges liked it a lot and the audience are “standing up!” (DRINK!)

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Lustbox: Alastair Campbell

I’ve thought Alastair Campbell to be pretty darn sexy for quite some years, but have been reluctant to blog about it. This is because, from what I’ve seen (and I met him briefly because I know someone who worked with him) he has a pretty high opinion of himself. Plus his partner, Fiona Millar, is a mighty fine woman, and I can’t imagine he is the easiest man to live with, so the last thing I wanted to do was contribute to the monstrous ego of her other half.

But fanciable he definitely is, even if he knows it. I like his tallness. The fact that he used to write porn is amusing. And I know for a fact that far from being a monster to work with, he’s actually a witty man, warm too. He’s almost certainly too sharp for his own good, but I’ve always liked brains in men. His taste in women is impeccable, and his Sky News wind-up of Adam Boulton was one of my favourite moments of the election.

But I feel the need to speak out now after spotting him on Top Gear and with Fern Britton at 5 recently. On both occasions he was trying to play the nice guy in the face of irksome Jeremy Clarkson being rude and the rather strange sight of Fern trying to be tough. Campbell may well be much nicer bloke than his scary reputation would indicate, but it’s not something that anyone who doesn’t know him would ever believe. Or want to, frankly. As Qwerty demonstrated so nicely, it isn’t something that makes him less attractive. So this is a plea to him to stop with the chummy nonsense. We don’t want to see that. We want to pretend you’re a mustachioed pantomime villain, a sweary, shouty Malcolm Tucker-esque monster of control-freakery. It’s much more fun.

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