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Dear Him & Her

Dear Him & Her, (BBC3, Tuesdays @10.30pm)

Well, Tuesday nights eh? They used to be rubbish. I’d come back from my Mad Lizzie exercise class (think Zumba but with big hair and neon leotards) via some form of fried chicken emporium (every action needs an equal and opposite reaction) and sink into both the sofa and a greasy state of self-loathing. Like I say, Tuesdays were rubbish. Then it all changed, because along came a show so fresh, inventive and funny that it quickly became ‘must watch’ TV. I stopped going to Poultry Bungalow and started enjoying a salad or quiche on my return home. I stopped hating myself and life in general. In short I stopped and smelled the roses, and they smelled wonderful. Tuesdays at 10.30 no longer represented everything that was wrong in the world – it was a time for us all to gather on the sofa and laugh our respective socks off – and it was all thanks to one show, Wilfred. Simply brilliant television.

Wilfred - made Tuesday nights something other than an orgy of chicken grease and onanism

Why am I telling you about how great I thought Wilfred was? Well I’m hoping that you’ll feel suitably shamed, because by comparison you make the greasy self-loathing look like a two-week all-inclusive holiday in the Algarve, local alcohol included. To go from the quirky, original and genuinely funny Wilfred to the seen it all before, stilted, awkward, puerile laugh desert that you presented me with was akin to going to bed with Angelina Jolie and waking up with Dom Joly. In fact it’s even worse than that, because whilst that scenario would be massively disappointing there’s still an outside chance you’d get a laugh out of it. I think you get my point though, I loved Wilfred, and I loved it precisely because it was everything you are not.

"No, he thought he'd gone to bed with Angelina Jolie! What? Of course I let him!"

In fairness to you I should have known what was coming as I had already subjected myself to the horrors of watching half of series 1 (a feat for which the medal I should have been awarded never arrived) and struggled to raise anything beyond a stifled obscenity and a look of sad bemusement. However, the powers that be saw fit to grant you a second series – “It must have picked up in the second half!” I thought to myself, temporarily forgetting that ‘the powers that be’ at BBC3 are the same people who kept re-commissioning 2 Pints of Lager until even the cast and crew hated it – so, I figured I’d give you a second chance too. Mistake.

I don’t know what it is I like least about you. Well that’s not true, it’s the fact that for a ‘comedy’ you’re not what I like to call ‘funny’. Not even vaguely. However, that’s

Pete Burns - pop star, pin cushion, primate

obvious, any old fool with a sense of humour and opposable thumbs could write to you and point out that you’re not funny, like you don’t already know it, but what’s the point? Like if Pete Burns asks “How do I look?” responding  “You look like a monkey that’s been in a car crash. A really bad one. Whilst not wearing a seatbelt. And carrying a box of nails.” isn’t going to help, he knows this so it’s a worthless and pointless observation that isn’t going to help you one bit. ‘Be funnier’, while great advice and certainly something you should consider (alongside ‘stop altogether’ and ‘sod off’) is too vague, and one could argue too easy – being funny at all would achieve that goal. So, setting the obvious aside what are my gripes?

Well, I think I’ll limit myself to the top three, and to make it feel exciting I’m going to start at three!

3) Charm

You haven’t got any and it’s a vital part of comedy. You don’t need it by the bucket load, just a smidgen here and there, but it

Remove the charm from this beauty, go on, I challenge you. Oh you have? Already? Oh...

feels utterly absent throughout – like with Ed Milliband (in fact I like that analogy better – you are Ed Milliband to Wilfred’s David). You’ve even managed to somehow clinically remove the charm from the bewitchingly sexy Sarah Solemani which should not only be impossible, but should be punishable by imprisonment. How have you done this? Well I think it’s in your efforts to…

2) Mimic Reality

Doing this is all well and good, if you actually do it, but you’ve got all the ‘real feel’ of Ricky Gervais’ humility or Amy Children’s breasts. I’m assured that I’m supposed to feel like I’m peaking through the window on to a couple going about their everyday lives, so why do I actually feel like I’m watching a highly contrived effort at commonness, crudeness and banality? It’s not because of the performances of Tovey or Solemani because these two are actually alright – though the supporting cast could turn to appearing smoked, sliced and glazed in honey at the local Deli such is their hamminess – no, it’s because whilst aiming for the position filled by The Royle Family you’ve fallen well short, and that’s partly because of the…

1) Dialogue

The number one sin in trying to be realistic. Don’t feel bad, loads of much bigger budget productions make a far bigger hash of it than you have (see The Shadow Line). In fairness a lot of your dialogue is really quite good in this respect; at times I found myself believing I was listening to actual conversations – but my God those conversations were dull. If the News of the World hacks had listened in to these conversations for all those years they’d be heading to an asylum, not a prison. Sure, some people probably do talk like that to each other, and conversations of a similar ilk probably happen up and down the country on a daily basis – but that doesn’t make them good TV. Unfortunately when the dialogue isn’t dull it dives headlong in to ‘heavily contrived’ territory – I mean what’s all that ‘apple rubbing’ thing about? It felt like it was trying to be Quentin Tarantino. It didn’t work.

A middle class couple having a dull conversation about guacamole and loft insulation. I don't want to listen to this either. Dullness is not limited by class.

Look, you’ve got plenty of people who think you’re great just the way you are and that all that occurs is ‘wryly observed’, the poor bastards, their lives must be painfully dull. My point is though that this is just my opinion – it’s right, obviously – but you’ve got plenty of easily pleased idiots you can turn to if you want to feel better about yourself. And no, I’m not just talking about the BBC3 Commissioners.

So don’t go changing (though you probably should)

Tatty Bye

R x

PS – If you missed Wilfred then I’d seriously suggest getting the box set.

PPS – And then watching it on Tuesday nights at 10.30pm

PPPS – It’s good to be back!

Dear Jim

Dear Jim, (1926-2011)

Please please please please please please please please please please please could you fix it for me to return to the simple days when your show was one of the highlights of my weekend?

Your death, whilst terribly sad, was not a complete surprise – I have never once seen a photo of you without a cigar on the go, and once even saw you jogging while smoking a fat one – but it drew something in to very sharp focus for me: Kids today are utter bastards.

'The Chair' allegedly nine immigrant workers were killed in its 3 year construction

I think back to the letters that you used to get. You’d be sat there, decked out in your finest gold like a bleached anorexic Mr T, sat on that giant chair with all the secret compartments where you’d hide cigars, gin, your gun and of course those famous ‘Jim Fixed It For Me’ medallions, and you’d read out a letter from little Kevin in Withernsea asking if you could get him in to London Zoo to see if elephants really are scared of mice; or if him and his mates in the cubs could go to Alton Towers and eat a Wimpy meal on the rollercoaster. You’d make some delightful quip and then we’d meet the little scamp. They were generally agreeable enough, polite and clearly delighted to be there. These, let it be perfectly clear, were not spoilt little bastards – even I could see that through my haze of envy as they got to be a passenger in a stunt car doing a wheelie, throw a million pounds into a fire or press the button that demolished a tower block – they were just normal kids with the dreams of normal kids i.e. silliness, messiness and a bit of destruction. And you made them come true. And they got a bloody medal at the end of it. Jammy bastards.

Do you know what Jim? Even without your incredible charity work, your pioneering radio endeavours or your unrelenting service to Elizabeth Duke and the struggling British shell suit market you’d be a shoo-in for a spot on the good side of the afterlife. I have no idea who you’ll meet there, Jeremy Beadle’s a 50/50 shot, as is Rod Hull – mostly thanks to Emu, but I would imagine Bamber Gascoigne’s going to be there – he’ll be great for Trivial Pursuit. Did you two get on? I digress, the point is that you made so many kids happy that your spot is assured (we won’t mention that you did introduce some kids to Gary Glitter – how were you supposed to know?).

You could, of course, have made a lot more kids happy had your show not been cancelled, and while many will argue that your time was up because you were a relic of a bygone era, those people are idiots barking up the wrong tree.

The writing was on the wall for the show when Jimmy fixed it for this little boy to have a free go on 'Miss Swallows' at the local knocking shop

The problem was the kids Jim. In your heyday in the 80’s the kids had simple dreams – dancing The Locomotion with adorable teeny pop temptress Kylie or driving a locomotion with gruff giant Northerner Keith – they were fun and, importantly, achievable. Then the kids changed. The bastards. No-one wanted to be a train driver any more, they wanted, neigh demanded to be famous – talent optional. No longer would they be happy smashing a fake priceless vase on Antiques Roadshow (that was a brilliant one by the way) no, they ran out of imagination and into the shopping mall, wanting expensive things like computers, they wanted the moon on a stick – and they wanted it now. If you’d carried on you’d have had to have a budget of several million a show,  and giving in to them would have just compounded the problem Jim. You were best off out of it.

One lucky git meets the legend that was Roger Hargreaves, this kid changed his name to Mr Spawny

You never answered my letter but I forgive you, you were a very busy guy. It was probably an unreasonable request any way, I wanted to have a go in a fighter jet. It was a lot to ask, especially bearing in mind the rapidly collapsing Communist bloc subsequent political upheaval and increased demands on the military, not to mention the vast costs that would be involved in taking a child far too unattractive to appear on modern television (but perfectly acceptable then – in your face ugly present day kids) on a ten minute joy ride that would inevitably end with vomit filling the control panels. Regardless, you prolonged my innocent wonder at the world for a bit longer, and I thank you for that. It saddens me to think that in order to have watched, understood and properly enjoyed an episode of Jim’ll Fix It you’ve got to be over 21 – that’s a whole lot of people who missed out on something really special. No wonder they rioted.

The world was a better place with you in it, so (lights cigar) now then, now then Sir Jim, you Rest in Peace now, you were a proper legend.

From

R (aged 34)

PS – If you still get the letters wherever you are I would still like that flight

PPS – Or a go on a hovercraft

PPPS – Or a go on Kylie. I’m not fussy.

 

 

 

Dear Odd One In

Dear Odd One In, (ITV1, Saturdays @7.15pm)

Have we met before? I think we have, because I tuned in to you on Saturday for what I believed to be the first time and I recognised almost everything about you. Where is it I’ve seen you, where do I know you from? Oh yes! That’s it! The entirety of the 1980’s.

Mick Hucknall was popular in the 80's - enough said about the decade methinks

Yes, from the ‘weaker than diluted water’ concept, through the ‘as already seen on 3-2-1’ set and the ‘hasn’t been particularly good since first rising to prominence in the 80’s’ Bradley Walsh, every single tiny little thing about you felt massively outdated. That’s not to say, however, that it is outdated. You see nostalgia’s a very big market and TV is a sucker for it – if an idea’s worth doing once then it’s worth repeating again and again until you flog every last little ounce of entertainment out of its battered corpse.

Whilst I believe that all commissioners do desperately want to find ‘the next big thing’ that desire is, unfortunately, hampered by an all-conquering fear that they’ll make a mistake. One mistake, that’s all they think it’ll take to steal their handsome pay packet and fancy lifestyle away from them, one mistake and it’s no more sniffing coke off the breasts of a 19-year-old Lithuanian lap dancer, instead they’re giving hand jobs to truck drivers so they can afford just one glass of Prosecco – and even that probably wouldn’t be chilled. This is the fear they live with, and this is why – despite their protestations of desperately seeking originality – we keep on seeing the same old faces presenting the same old shit on TV.

Sometimes that can work quite well: Strictly Come Dancing is probably the most striking example of how LACK OF ORIGINALITY+CRIPPLING FEAR OF FAILURE+PROMINENT TIME SLOT (can)= HUGE WORLDWIDE SUCCESS, but it’s that (can) that’s the key factor in all of this, because the truth of the matter is that most of the time it doesn’t work. Take, for example, you ‘Odd One In’, I’m led to believe that the format first began during The Black Death (a plague that tore through Europe in the 14th Century, cutting the population in half) where you had to guess who had the plague and beat them to death with a stick if they refused to leave the city. It was an entertainment smash and the ‘guess who’ spirit persisted throughout the centuries:

 

  • Say what you like about the French, but they knew how to add a bit of jeopardy!

    In Tudor times it was “The Axe Factor”, the game was spot the Catholic – the prize being a haircut, with an axe.

  • The Pilgrim Fathers took the concept to America, renaming it “You Have Been Witching?” but who had? Everybody! The solution? Burn them of course.
  • Then the French had a go with their revolutionary take on the theme “Posh or Pauper” which was very popular for a few years until they ran out of poshos and had to start making up other reasons for beheading people – “Come Die With Me” was, however, not popular and commissioner Robespierre ended up getting the chop.
  • There was also a UK revival “The Spy at Night” that the entire town of Hartlepool lost when they incorrectly identified a monkey as a French spy and hung him.
Clearly this was a format with legs, and one that lasted for hundreds of years – progressing from barbaric slaughter to new, enhanced form of barbaric slaughter with the odd parlour game version in between – but then something happened. An invention arose that rendered this game, this somewhat pedestrian game, moot. That invention was the television.
.

Walsh wonders why he's still working, Manford laughs at his wife's trust whereas lovely Peter Andre has obviously been thinking about a squirrel. Again.

With the development of network television the stakes were raised, people started to expect more and more in order to be entertained – for a while it was enough to watch something like a fat man sitting at a desk, and I’m sure that in those days Odd One In would have been a resounding success. TV quickly moved on though, so why didn’t you? What is it about three minor celebrities and a sex texter guessing which random idiot can do what utterly banal thing on the basis of absolutely no information that is supposed to entertain us so? Is it the ‘witty banter’ that Bradley ‘Actor, Comic, Tit’ Walsh so spectacularly fails to engage in? Is it the comedy stylings of husband-of-the-year Jason Manford? Is it the fact that no-one really says or does anything to relieve the tedium at any point? Is that it? It is isn’t it, we’re supposed to be entertained by the mere fact that your show exists aren’t we?
.
Well I’m afraid to say that I’m not. Sorry about that. Time for some home truths I think.
You are not a good TV show. You are a bad TV show, bad because there is no point to you, no entertainment factor, little originality and you are so intensely and unflinchingly dull that at one point I found myself dismantling my clock to see if it was broken – time was moving so very slowly that I feared it had stopped all together.

Grass - I'll be watching some of this grow next Saturday at 7.15pm!

There is no hope for you, there really isn’t. Sell the set to a nostalgia night club – Flares or Reflex perhaps – send Manford back to the Travel Lodge his wife makes him stay in, thank Peter Andre and tell him he’s lovely, and take Bradley Walsh round the back of the barn and put him out of his misery. It’s not that you can do better, it’s that you would genuinely struggle to produce something worse than this derivative dirge.
.
I do have one idea though, maybe you can pass it on for me. It’s also called ‘Odd One In’.
.
What you do, is you get all the commissioners in a room together and you have to spot the one who’s going to take a chance and commission something new, fresh and original. The prize could be that they keep their job. For those that lose? Well, the French had an idea or two (well it was just one, but it was a good one wasn’t it?)
.
Let me know what you think,
.
Rx
PS – When you go to finish Bradley, don’t look directly at him – you’ll never go through with it.

Dear Dirty Sexy Things,

Dear Dirty Sexy Things, (E4, Mondays @10pm)

I’m so sorry that it’s taken me until now to write to you, according to my doctors I fell into a banality induced coma about halfway through your debut on Monday. I did regain consciousness for a short while on Tuesday and watched the second half of the

How I believed I looked in my catatonic state - note the beautiful lilac plumage which is very in this season. Who's a pretty boy?


show, but in an effort to protect me from myself my brain went into overdrive and I became convinced I was a budgie. I’ve spent the last 24 hours staring into a mirror and eating the odd seed (ironic really, I’d probably fit right in with your lot) but now I have regained my senses, promised my brain I will never put it through such traumas again, and in return it has promised to help me write this letter begging you to stop.

Yes, normally I’d write with a few helpful hints as to how to get a show back on track (I’m generous like that) but once in a while there comes a show so utterly beyond hope that you just have to hold your hands up and say “What the f**k am I supposed to do? These people think Zoolander is a documentary.”.

I mean seriously, from top to bottom what are you about? It’s a genuine question, because although you filled my screen for an hour (and will continue to fill my nightmares for months to come) there was maybe 90 seconds of content. Digital storage space may be cheap and easily available these days, but that’s still no excuse for you to be such a grotesque waste of it. Hang on, I’m thinking about you too much, I’ve gone all feathery…

Trill - a delicious treat. If you're a bird. Which I'm not.

I’m back. Right, obviously this could result in a serious and permanent mental funk if I think about you for too long, so I’m just going to go down the old-fashioned route and list the most obvious faults I can think of, beg you to stop again and then go spend the evening ringing my bell and eating some trill. Pizza, I mean pizza. Right, have to be quick.

.

.

.

  • Dirty Sexy Things? Eh? What? Are you competing for the most stupid name in TV history? It means literally nothing and is of no real relevance to the show. You may as well have called yourself ‘Model Train Set’, it would have meant just as much. The only thing I can think is that it’s a play on either a) The little watched marginally entertaining C4 show ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ or b) The little watched band fronted by original Pete Doherty robbery victim Carl Barat – ‘Dirty Pretty Things’ you know, they did that one song that got used on everything for a while. Maybe it’s a mix of the two, either way I suggest a change of name – ‘Pointless Shitpots’ sounds good to me. Go for that.

The 'Pointless Shitpots' from L to R - Lord Hunk of Beefcake, Fun Time Frankie, Gladriel, Little Miss Chaste, Johnny Cheekbones, Apprentice Candidate, Nick Grimshaw and Miss Council Estate 2011

  • Perou? Eh? What? Continuing the theme of ‘what sort of f**king name is that?’ is this jug eared photogratwat who’s obviously mistaken himself for a Brazilian footballer when deciding upon his moniker and mistaken his ability to press the shutter button on a fancy camera that does a lot of the work for you for the ability to cure cancer just by looking at it. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it takes a lot of hard work to be a good photographer, I have no doubt it’s a real talent…ooof…sorry I just tripped over one of the umpteen names that Pernod dropped. Where was I? Oh yes, he’s skilled, obviously, but it’s not the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is it? Which brings me on to…

Perou (yes, that's what he calls himself) contemplates the true meaning of 'Being a Twat'

  • Eight photos? Seriously, that’s the foundation for this mess is it? Eight super special magical earth shattering photos of models? Wow, you might just have found the flimsiest premise for a show since someone at the Beeb said “You know walls? Well what if you cut a whole in one stuck Darren Gough in a leotard and shoved him through it?” on the plus side though they at least didn’t take themselves too seriously – Perou takes himself so seriously he’s in danger of becoming a one man human centipede, and those Pet Shop Boys inspired shades…
  • The models:
  1. You keep referring to ‘the beautiful people’ but I seem to be watching a different show, one that’s filled with six fairly average looking people, an elf and Nick Grimshaw.
  2. It was made very clear that they were being selected because of their personalities – it’s so important in a model don’t you know – so I have to ask where you got that magic camera? You know, the one that can tell you everything you want to know about someone’s personality based on three photos. It’s either that, or they were selected base on their looks. Which would make more sense. Because they’re models.
  3. I think it tells you all you need to know about a group of people when they consider ‘walking’ to be ‘tricky’. I’ll admit that I once found it difficult – for the first eight months of my life. Since then it’s not provided me with too many challenges and I’m quite confident that I could walk equally well in London, Paris or Milan and in a wide variety of clothes…

    A model makes the fatal error of thinking whilst already walking and wearing clothes

  4. Basically can you please ask them to stop insinuating that being a model is difficult? That’s not to say it’s not hard, I’m sure they have a lot of demands placed on them and they might sometimes be a bit cold or uncomfortable, like a homeless person but with more expensive ill-fitting and ridiculous looking clothes. However anyone who believes that wearing clothes and ‘looking’ at the same time is – in any way – difficult, must surely have to sit down every time they’re asked a question. I know I’d be fearful of falling over if I upset that delicate balance.
  • The content. There wasn’t any. We learned that hunky beefcake man likes to workout, didn’t see that coming, Nick Grimshaw will throw up if you call him fatty gaylord, and that blonde snooty chops won’t get her non-existent tits out. That’s pretty much it. Oh, and that not every model gets selected for every job. Insightful. An hour and that’s all we get.  You may have missed the memo, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression and your is a mind-numbing fog of dullness almost beyond comprehension. How you will fill another seven hours without being engulfed with self-loathing is beyond me. Thankfully I shall not be finding out.
.
So, I thank you for further lowering a bar of shallow and vapid programming that was already interfering with the Wombles headroom, and I ask that you look in the mirror (glass not newspaper) smash it and take a jagged piece to whichever dipshit commissioned you – it’s they who truly deserve my wrath.
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Yours with contempt,
.
R
.
PS – Seriously, watch Zoolander again, you’ll see that what Ben Stiller’s actually doing is taking the piss out of you.
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PPS – Sunglasses are generally used to deflect sun from your eyes, not to help self-appointed demigods avoid the gaze of mere mortals
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PPPS – Why did nobody tell Perou (seriously, I can’t get over that name, didn’t he play for Benfica?) that a calendar needs twelve pictures? I mean he’s going to look like a right twat when he approaches WHSmith with a calendar missing September through December.

Dear Columbo

Dear Columbo, (Loads of Channels, 1968 – 2003)

This is something of a first for me, a letter that is both entirely heartfelt and somewhat posthumous, I hope you don’t mind if at times it’s a little bit less than serious.

Basically I just wanted to say how saddened I am that Detective Columbo has now shuffled off this mortal coil, to know that the next time I see a detective he (or indeed she, for these are the times we are living in) will almost certainly have two functioning eyes fills me with both trepidation and an intense sensation of boredom.

Columbo - f**king ace!

In the last forty odd years there have been so many cop shows that it’s impossible to count. Actually that’s nonsense, it’s perfectly possible to count them, but it’s Friday night and I can’t be bothered. The point remains, however, that you can count the number of cop shows that lasted longer than you, Columbo, on the fingers of a dolphin. Or a jellyfish. Or a budgie. Basically you can count the number of cop shows that have lasted longer than the 35 years you have managed on the fingers of any creature that doesn’t possess fingers. It’s zero. None. Nada.

I should maybe acknowledge that I haven’t researched this, so it actually might not be true – I can’t think of a cop show that has lasted longer and do you know what, I don’t care. Columbo’s just died, if I want to say his was the longest running cop show in history I will. You can’t stop me.

Excuse my waffling, I’m emotional.

I’m one of the three billion people in the world (again not researched, sue me) who were born after your show began, so I feel like I’ve known you all my life. In a huge sea of cop shows that came and went, everyone knew Columbo and everybody, at least on some level, loved you. Yes we had our passing dalliances with others: the pastel shaded speedboat excitement of Miami Vice, they offered a glamour you simply never attempted; the tropical intrigue of Magnum who sported a moustache you couldn’t match; and the hokey old school warmth of Jessica Fletcher – who was also blessed with impressive facial hair. We fooled around with them, even loved them, but when they were gone we came back to you Columbo. We came back not just because you were there, but because we loved you.

Thomas Magnum - Sexy and undoubted owner of impressive lip upholstery, but a bit of a show off.

Why did we love you? How typically modest that you should ask you scruffy one-eyed midget. Well let me tell you why:

  • You possessed a natural charm that other shows simply couldn’t match, and trying to match it would have been a fool’s errand – because they didn’t have Peter Falk.
  • You drove a battered old car that looked ready for the scrap yard. Whilst Magnum and Miami Vice tried to engage the Yuppie audience with their flashy Ferraris you were realistic about your main audience: stoners and the unemployed. They don’t care about Ferrari’s, they don’t particularly aspire to own them – seeing a successful detective drive the sort of car they could afford was all they ever needed – and you supplied it!

He drove the sort of car that no-one ever aspires to. He was one of us.

  • Mrs Columbo. We almost never saw her, you made sure of that (we certainly never watched the ill thought out show that was Mrs Columbo), but boy we loved her – we knew all her little foibles you see, Columbo used to tell us all about them. The best character never to appear? Quite possibly.

Mrs Columbo. Yes, it was a real show.

  • The dirty Mac. Maybe my memory’s playing tricks on me, but whatever the weather, be it chilly (what’s that in LA? Low teens Celsius??) or if it was sweltering heat, you were wearing that Mac. I believe I’m right in saying that this also means you’re the only man ever to wear a Mac that often and never be caught masturbating in a public place. Bravo for that.
  • You had a glass eye! That’s cool enough, but the fact that you never got drunk, popped it out and dropped it in your bosses drink? That puts you a class above.

And they are the reasons I love you, I believe they are the main reasons that we – a couple of generations right around the world – love you, and why we’re very sad to see you go. The world is a poorer place now, but I will leave you all to your grief.

Sincere Condolences, and much love

R

Peter Falk - Legend

Oh, and just one more thing – you’re a one trick pony, but what a f**king trick! We knew who did it, we knew that you knew who did it, we knew exactly how you were going to pin them down but it was exciting every single time you did it. Just as you were getting to the door, or into your car, or as they were about to leave – it didn’t matter – you’d just toss it out there, all casual, like it was an after thought, like it meant nothing “Just one more thing…” and they were nailed, you had a piece of information, evidence or just a bloody hunch that they couldn’t escape from. Like Chris Waddle with his shoulder drop, it was the only trick you had, but you forged an incredible career out of it. It was brilliant.

That one more thing is why we loved, sorry love, you Columbo, and a big part of the reason that we will miss the awesome actor and human being that was Peter Falk.

RIP Columbo and Grandad out of The Princess Bride, you will be missed.

Dear Made in Chelsea

Dear Made in Chelsea

Dear Made in Chelsea, (E4, Mondays @ 10pm)

Writing this letter is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do – not because what it’s saying is difficult to say, quite the contrary, if ease is equated to shooting fish in a barrel then tearing you to shreds will be like punching a shark trapped in a phonebox – no it’s going to be difficult because of your show itself. So vacuous and vapid was the entire enterprise that I find myself sat here, mere moments after the end of the show, struggling to recall a single thing about it.

Was it about Chelsea football club? Maybe, I mean the tall skinny lad was struggling to score…No! There was no shooting of poor people.

Was it about Chelsea Clinton? Well I certainly recall that there were a lot of irksome youngsters with an overwhelming sense of self importance and ridiculous names, but none of them had an American accent so it wasn’t that…

I know what it was. It was a reality show set in a private gynaecologists office on the Kings Road. That doesn’t sound right, but I just have this overwhelming memory of seeing a hell of a lot of c**ts.

I kid, of course I remember what it was about. Nothing. It was a duller than plausible sneak peak into the empty lives of the rich and mind numbingly self involved ‘socialites’ of London’s second fanciest suburb. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting great things – I’ve seen ‘The Hills’ the other soft scripted, sorry, reality show on which MiC is ripped off, sorry, based – and my hate gland started to twitch the second I saw those  Abercrombie and Fitch promo’s of yours. The thing is though that you’ve gone too far. You’ve made it so awful, included so many things to scorn that I’m overloaded and started to question my own worth as a human being. I hold you in such disdain that I’ve almost come full circle.

I almost love you.

Almost.

But like Gillian McKeith is almost a doctor and Patrick Kielty is almost funny, almost is the closest point to being the very least of something. You fall just short of being my very least favourite thing that I like. Still, at least that puts you at the top of the very large pile of things I dislike – I hope that’s some consolation.

I presume you’ll want to know why you’ve hurt me in this way. Actually I presume that you care less about that than you do about the herd of Wombles slaughtered to clothe your women, but I’m going to tell you any way. So here’s my top 5 things that made you such awful company for an hour – read and learn!

5. Fresh in at five is the general level of unattractiveness of the major players. I’m not shallow and care little for beauty (when you’re as gorgeous as me it pays not to expect the same from others ;)) but when I’m being told that these are, in fact, ‘the beautiful people’ I expect a little more than Bond villain in waiting Frederik, the bastard off spring of an ill advised menage-a-trois betwixt Rocky Dennis, Thor and Susan Sarandon.

Susan Sarandon was left exhausted and ashamed.

4. New at four it’s the ridiculous names. Is this what happens when you get so rich that you consider Waitrose to be a discount shop? You get so bored that you start to make up words to call your children? Binky? Caggie? Funda? Chess Set? Note to posh sorts – you don’t have to tick every box in order to get pauper’s sh*t thrown at you.

3. Straight in at three is Amber. Oh Amber, I’m sure that when you started your little jewelry business you had nothing more than a dream in your heart and a hundred grand seed money from Mummy and Daddy. As detestable as Chess Set and her ‘Girl About Town’ diary may be I think they probably called it right when referring to you as a socialite and ‘it’ girl – unless you’ve got a weekend shift at the BP garage that you’ve not told us about.

2. Just being kept off the top spot is that introduction. Bless you programme makers, bless you all. Adding a quote at the beginning made me think I was about to watch a Chelsea based version of ‘The Wire’. For all of four seconds. Add to it the V/O of Alison Moyet wannabe Caggie telling us how hard it is being rich (a line I’m sure is ripped off from another “I’m a Young Rich Twat” show I’ve thankfully expunged from my memory) and what you do very effectively is set the scene for the pomposity-fest that is about to follow.

1. And topping the charts from now until the end of time is the conversation. My wordy wordlet. To paraphrase Churchill (the tubby PM, not the car insurance dog) Never, in the whole history of television have so many words been used by so many poshos to say so very little. An hour you were on screen, an hour, and in that time not one thing of substance was said. Not one thing that could even pass as a conversation. If these are the preliminary rounds of the world self involvement championships then I have to say it’s an incredibly strong field. Then again, the one conversation that wasn’t about themselves exposed why. When you think Charles Dickens wrote Winnie the Pooh it’s time to get your tubes tied and end your genetic line right there.

Ollie, butch as ever, frets about his split ends.

Pocahontas' decision to bring about peace through tickling had more than a touch of Ken Dodd about it.

I’m sorry if I’m being harsh, but it was a real struggle to make it through. I’ll finish on a positive note though – there was one moment of intrigue, suspense and surprise (what we who frequently watch television refer to as ‘watchable television’) and that was when Ollie, played admirably by Pocahontas went out for date night. My money was on a gay S&M club, gay hardcore trance bar or some other establishment where he might be able to find some ‘rough trade’. Nothing wrong with that at all, that’s certainly not my point. I’m sure, however, that you can imagine the collective gasp from the 19 people still watching at this point when he met a human woman – and I nearly collapsed when he talked about doing sex on her.

So there you go,  vapid, vacuous, empty, soulless and most certainly without heart, but with a solid 45 seconds of shocking and watchable TV. You might want to focus on that 45 seconds and build around it.

Almost Best Wishes

R xx (one on each cheek)

PS – Is Spencer really Spencer, or is he Ricky Gervais after lipo and lobotomy?

PPS – Get them to talk about money. We paupers do actually find that part of richness interesting – we want money, we don’t necessarily want fur, to play Polo in The Hamptons or to make sex at someone so posh you can practically guarantee that their family tree meets several times on the way up.

Dear Facebook,

Dear Facebook,

I’m just writing to let you know that I really enjoyed your film. I particularly liked how quickly everybody talked – a skill I’ve been practising myself but as things stand I only get about half my words out and end up spitting on everyone. Any way, because I was so impressed I’ve decided to give your internet site a try and also to promote it to anyone who reads my blog and might not have heard of it –www.facebook.com – and I really suggest they try it. To me it’s a bit like meeting up your friends in the pub except you don’t know most of them very well, they tell you a whole load of stuff you don’t want to hear and you’re sat at home at your computer, alone and lonely.

So, if you’re reading this and you’d like to see what I think about things the second I think it or you’d like to post compliments (or even abuse) on my wall* then why not become my ‘friend’**. It’ll be fun. You can find me here – Instantly Forgotten

Sorry facebook, that last bit was a bit weird wasn’t it? Any way, better go – I’ve just seen a squirrel that’s made me ROFL and I need to tell the world about it.

See you soon,

R

PS – Are you any relation to Twitter? They look nothing like you but you seem to have some of the same attributes… Any way, I’m on there too – ForgottenBlogs – but you won’t be my ‘friend’ you’ll ‘follow’ me, which makes me a little bit like Jesus. Or the Pied Piper. Or a Tour Guide.

*If you find out where I am, please don’t write on my actual wall

**Does not constitute actual friendship, please don’t ask to borrow any money or for a lift to the airport, we’re not there yet.

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