Friday, 27 June 2008

A right Royal rascal...

Oonagh Robinson looks back at the week's TV...

Normally, I couldn’t give a stuff about any programme focussing on our Dullsville Royal family, but Snowdon and Margaret (Channel 4, Weds) was strangely compelling.

Maybe it was because they were both so glamorous and hung around with Peter Sellers, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton so much.

But maybe it was also because they just seemed a bit more human than that other lot.

At the start of this racy documentary, we kept being told how charismatic and Bohemian Tony Armstrong Jones used to be. Looked like a horse just the same as all the other Royals to me, but you have to take people’s word for it sometimes.

He was shamelessly rejected by his posh mum as a child. She once put him and one of his sisters in third class on the train, while another sibling travelled in second class and the “favourite” went in first. Is there no end to the cruelty of the upper classes?

Despite such setbacks, Tone soon became a world class photographer and was bedding virtually everyone in London by the time he met Princess Margaret. Even after he met her, actually.

The happy couple soon got married and everything was wonderful for a while - but old habits die hard and Tony was soon up to his old tricks.

It all ended rather horribly with Snowdon leaving nasty notes to his missus in her glove box saying: “You look like a Jewish manicurist, and I hate you.” Charming.

Course, him being such a rat and fathering 20 or 30 kids outside of wedlock (well, nearly) and all that didn’t stop the public blaming Margaret for the embarrassing divorce.

Even the Queen herself still thought Tone was a smashing bloke after the split.

Something tells me she didn’t know half the story...

The Supersizers (BBC2, Tues) were in Regency England this week - where they were mostly eating cheese on toast.

Sue Perkins and Giles Coren continued their highly enjoyable exploration of historical diets with a look at what posh folk ate in the early 19th century.

The former Prince Regent himself, we learned, once breakfasted on an enormous pigeon pie and oodles of champagne. He was dead four weeks later, mind.

And Nottingham’s own Lord Byron was a bit of a “Manorexic.”

Yes, after ballooning in his early 20s, the poet soon developed all sorts of eating disorders and became one of the faddiest eaters around.

Most disgusting of all, he insisted on using a whole egg to whiten his tea. Which didn’t look poetic at all, let me tell you.

Giles was quite encouraged when after a week on game, red wine, champagne, sweetmeats, steak and cheese on toast for breakfast, luncheon and dinner, he hadn’t ended up with gout and had only put one or two pounds on.

Maybe he needed to do it for an entire lifetime to really feel the benefit...

Ooh, we have been missing Adrian Chiles on The One Show (BBC1, weekdays) while he’s been off commentating on that football borefest.

His replacements on the relentlessly upbeat magazine show this week included Nicky Campbell and Matthew Wright - who just weren’t right at all.

Maybe it’s just that the only accent to go with sidekick Christine Bleakly’s strong Nor’n Irish drawl is a thick Brummie twang.

Still, at least we’ve learned a few things this week. Who would’ve thought ladybirds could make such interesting telly, eh?

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Smells like team spirit...?

Oonagh Robinson on the final of The Apprentice...

That’s it then. Three months of all our lives down the pan watching this God forsaken programme...
And all so that shouty LEE MCQUEEN could at the last minute get chosen as Sralan’s apprentice.
Eh? What? Where? How?
I’m thinking of starting a 24-hour hotline for any other viewer who doesn’t really understand why the Reverse Pterodactyl got the job.
On the face of it, everything rested on the final “perfume” task.
Although alarm bells started ringing with me when it turned out not to be one of those challenges that depended on how much money the teams raised or anything sensible like that.
Instead it was one where the experts just had to give “feedback” - so Sralan could randomly choose to ignore it.
Alex - he’s 24 you know - and Helene could have quite easily “won” with Dual and its innovative bottle (yes, it WAS that designer bloke who came up with the idea, not Alex or Kevin).
Okay, it was expensive to produce, but that Givenchy bloke was almost having kittens he was so impressed.
Wonder would he have felt the same if they had called it Girth, as Helene suggested.
But it was Clurr and LEE MCQUEEN who triumphed with the ever-so-dull Roulette.
And instead of giving the job to tough talking safe bet Clurr - Sralan went for a bloke who looked and sounded like he should be running a market stall selling knock-off watches,
Okay, he was on the winning side a lot and all his team-mates seemed to think he was a bloody nice bloke.
But would YOU put him in charge of Sales and Marketing for a high-tech new advertising initiative at a salary of £100,000 a year? Cos that’s what Sralan’s going to do.
I give it six months before Lee turns up on I’m a Celebrity...

Friday, 6 June 2008

There’s not much point giving an opinion on this year’s Big Brother yet as the series won’t even get going until they do their first nominations. In fact, we’re not sure we’re even gonna watch it all yet. We do say that every year though.
However, so far we rather like the chap who wears the suits and think the couple (the real one not the fake) will be an interesting experiment. There are far too many buxom brunettes though. And watch out for the American Albino.
And they say the freak show died out with the Victorians...

... And who will YOU be supporting this year? The BBC’s wretched campaign to get us all to watch Euro 08, despite the lack of Home Nation presence. The most annoying "reason" is the girl who says she’ll be supporting Switzerland because she likes Bratwurst. They’re German, you gonk!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

My betrothed managed to walk in just as I was watching the bit at the beginning of Trinny and Susannah’s The Great British Body where the pair were getting women of all ages and shapes to talk about their breasts whilst getting them out on national television.
So now that’s what she thinks I’m into.
But lo, as we continued watching a programme that we initially came to with no small amount of scepticism, we were won over by a genuinely good-hearted attempt to understand body image while making Britons feel better about theirs.
The "plot", as it were, had T&S canvassing the country looking for comfortable, confident (read: not model-perfect) Britons to represent the country in sculpture. It ended, as these things often do, with two naked television personalities in a field, surrounded by a somewhat windblown and just as starkers gaggle of their countrymen and women.
As T&S talked about and occasionally felt up people’s abs, butts and in the case of one voluptuous 52-year-old woman, "puppies" (hint: there were no golden retrievers in sight), one thing became clear – there wasn’t much sexuality, embarrassed or otherwise, on display here. Oh, there were people talking about why they felt sexy, why they were comfortable (or less so) with themselves as sexual beings. But the programme itself didn’t set out to titillate, and it didn’t.
I sat down with an idea that this would be post-modern seaside-postcard television, a "tee he, I’m making you get your kit off in public" parade of boobs and backsides. Utterly wrong. This is reality television with a big heart – non-fiction telly that gives you a big hug and tells you your bum looks fantastic in those jeans. Or out of them.

Loopy Lu legs it - but who will win?

Oonagh Robinson on Week 11 of The Apprentice

Well, S’ralan thought she was a bit too zany for him - so off Lucinda and her bright coats and berets jolly well went.
Leaving us with four finalists who are not the slightest bit zany at all - just stark raving barmy the lot of them.
Yes, this year’s interview task was another cracker - providing offices all over Notts with something to talk about all day.
First, there’ll be fluent English speaker Alex - he’s 24 you know - who dobbed Loopy Lu in for saying that she might not want to be The Apprentice after all.
Actually, seeing as she’s on 100 grand a year and doesn’t really need the job, I don’t much blame him.
Then there’s shouty LEE MCQUEEN who went to university for two years. Oh no, it was four months, wasn’t it?
Still it’s an easy “mistake” to make on your CV.
And what does such an oversight matter when you can do such a good “reverse pterodactyl” in a formal interview setting?
Monotone Helene played the “I’ve had a really tough background” card. She also thinks everyone else is a gobsh*te.
S’ralan said he wasn’t impressed but he still didn’t fire the boring tart.
Next there’s gobby Clur, who’s very motivated, very focused and will probably win. Zzzzzz.
She’s on £85,000 a year already too. Does it make you wonder what you’ve been doing wrong all your life when this lot can earn so much for doing... sod all by the look of it?
So goodbye Lu and let’s look forward to next week’s final.
Will it be blank canvas Alex - he’s 24 you know - or will down to earth LEE MCQUEEN pip him at the post in his Zonda?
Will feisty Clur and her pearls get her man or will Helene send everyone into a coma and seize the day?
Who wins? You decide.
Oh no, wrong show...