Questions

The News of the World has reported that Anton Du Beke has called Strictly Come Dancing celebrity Laila Rouass a “Paki”.

Du Beke used the offensive term when he saw the actress after she had a spray-tan at the BBC. Allegedly he told Laila: “Oh my God, you look like a Paki.” This was (again, apparently) heard by 15 other people including fellow pro dancer Brendan Cole.

A witness said: “Laila just stood there gobsmacked, as was everyone else. She just looked at him as if she couldn’t quite believe what he’d said. Everyone in the room was just shell-shocked and nobody spoke for few seconds.

“Then Laila glared at Anton and just walked out – she was so upset. She just went to her dressing room, collected her stuff and went straight home. She felt totally humiliated.”

Du Beke’s has also (allegedly) dubbed Laila a “terrorist” when they first met.

Du Beke has issued an apology: “Laila and me have strong personalities and she gives as good as she gets. But I must say immediately and categorically that I am not a racist and that I do not use racist language.

“During the course of rehearsals Laila and I have exchanged a great deal of banter entirely in jest, and two weeks ago there was an occasion when this term was used between the two of us.

“There was no racist intent whatsoever but I accept that it is a term which causes offence and I regret my use of it, which was done without thought or consideration of how others would react.

“I apologise unreservedly for any offence my actions might have caused.”

Laila has accepted the apology, saying: “It was a situation which happened that we have moved on from and I accept his apology. I’m really enjoying the show and dancing with Anton, and hope we can go as far as possible in the competition.”

Carol Thatcher lost her job on The One Show for a similar incident, which begs the question: Should Anton Du Beke lose his job on the show? He is the new host on Hole In The Wall too… will that role be under threat too?

What do you think?

[via]

24 is one of the most ludicrous shows that has ever been aired. If you’re a fan of the show, that’s one of the best bits about it. The world is always in danger and in Jack Bauer, we’ve got a super hero who has powers that stretch to being really hard, growing a beard, the ability to exist without sleep and occasional heroin use.

Excellent.

However, imagine a 24 without our Jack aka Kiefer Sutherland. Imagine that for one second. How does it feel?

Well, maybe you should think about it a little harder because Sutherland has said that 24 could survive without Jack Bauer.

Keifer has been playing Bauer since the show started in 2001 and has ShortList that he is afraid that the drama could continue without him.

Sutherland: “I’m not the real star of the show, not at all. All of us, from the actors to the writers on 24, have always understood from Day 1 that we are not, and never will be, the heartbeat of the show.

“You only have to look at the casualty list of major characters that have died over the years to know you can be killed off, and the show will only get better without you. The real star of 24 has always been the concept of doing this show in ‘real time’.

“You involve a running clock and inherently it makes the viewer sit forward and feel on edge. That changed TV forever, I think.”

Asked who he wanted to replace his character should he die, he added: “Nobody. F**k. I’ll switch into Jack Bauer mode and do whatever I have to do to kill that b*stard. It’s my job man, and people should know when I go, I’ll be going kicking and screaming. Let’s say, even if Jack were to die, there are a lot of great actors that could do it, and be successful at it, but that doesn’t mean I’d be happy about it.”

Next week will see the Tory party having their conference in Manchester. With almost spookily good timing, The Sun newspaper is publicly backing the Conservatives and tonight will see Boris Johnson appearing on EastEnders.

After the recent brouhaha from the Tories concerning Alan Sugar’s gig with the Labour party and their wails of things not being impartial, this all reeks a fair bit.

The BBC, at the moment, are as spineless as ever (let it be known that, aside from their yellow streak, I still love the corporation to bits) especially given that, some years ago, former London Mayor -Ken Livingstone – was denied an appearance on the soap by Auntie.

Boris will appear in a short, and invariably toe-curling scene (c’mon… he’s a politician…) in the Queen Vic with Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor).

Over at the Guardian, Livingstone told the newspaper that he had twice approached the BBC to ask to appear on EastEnders but was refused on the grounds that it was “too political”.

Livingstone says: “There has obviously been a Damascene conversion here … There is no reason why the BBC should not give the mayor a cameo appearance; I just wish they would do it for everybody, not just their chosen favourites.”

A BBC spokewoman has said: “Boris Johnson makes a cameo appearance in EastEnders as part of the storyline where Peggy Mitchell stands as an independent candidate in a fictional local election. His appearance is compatible both with BBC editorial guidelines and the principle of due impartiality.”

That said though, it would be churlish to assume that the BBC is backing anyone at all. Politicians appear on all kinds of shows, including entertainment shows like Have I Got News For You? Tony Blair infamously appeared in a dreadful sketch saying “Am I bovvered?” and Thatcher appeared on the news doing her dismal routine with the Yes Minister lot.

Either way, the whole thing has got great publicity for the Tories and now, it’s over to the government to out-do them.

Once again, Heather Mills is being hotly tipped to appear on reality talent show Dancing On Ice.

According to The Sun, Paul McCartney’s ex-wife is getting a number of prosthetic limbs manufactured for her appearance and has been practising with a professional skater.

A source said: “Heather has often been linked with Dancing On Ice but this year she’s finally decided to do it. She has been speaking to ITV and is really excited about the show.

“In typical Heather fashion, she is convinced she’ll be a huge attraction. She knows she divides people but there’s never a dull moment with her.”

They added: “Whatever people say about her, she’s certainly entertaining.”

But why? I mean… doesn’t everyone loathe her? As a human, she’s impressively unlikeable, which is saying something for someone who has a missing leg. Brits tend to love someone unreservedly when they’ve got a bit of tragedy surrounding them don’t they?

Instead, most see it perfectly alright to make jokes about it all. Still, on a positive note, she is certainly showing that being a leg down doesn’t mean you have to give up on doing things. That’s nice isn’t it?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know… she’s a nasty gold-digger…

Anyway, other slebs tipped to appear on next year’s Dancing On Ice include Hollyoaks duo Gemma Merna and Jennifer Metcalfe and former popstar Sinitta.

Various newspapers have today reported that, as we predicted in our Corrie Christmas Spoilers article a while ago, Tony Gordon is all set to – or try to – bump off Roy Cropper.

The storyline goes that, later this year, Tony suffers a heart attack, and fearing he’s going to die, he makes a deathbed confession to Roy and Hayley Cropper about being behind Liam Connor’s murder.

But, the evil knicker-maker recovers, so then he’s got two holier-than-thou witnesses to his confession.

And to seal Roy’s fate, he tells Tony that unless he himself goes to the police and tells all, then he and Hayley will. Oooooo, fail Roy! Rookie mistake that – telling a murderer that you’re going to dob him in!

So, the following pictures were snapped by The Sun and the Daily Mail’s photographers as filming took place next to a canal in Manchester. It seems that Roy’s there bat spotting, as you do, and evil Tony has followed him, with murderous intent…

However, in Scooby Doo styly, it seems that Tony takes the time to explain to Roy how he would’ve got away with it too if it weren’t for you pesky café owners, and it’s just long enough to give Roy a chance to fight back. According to the newspaper reports, “a tussle” ensues which results in the men ending up in the canal.

However, Tony walks away from the scene covered in blood…

So is it Roy’s or did he cut himself during the “tussle”? I guess we’ll have to wait for more spoilers to emerge, but I’ll let you know as soon as I do!

See you tomorrow 😉

Every time I look at Paul Gascoigne I get a weird feeling in my bones. A feeling very similar to the time I first recognised that I would probably have to get my dog put down. You remember the good times and how much fun you had… but now, it’s pained and dragging his back legs around the park when once he would’ve kicked at the grass gleefully having just taken a dump.

Of course, I’m not implying that Gazza (or G8 or whatever he’s called now) should be euthenized. I’m just trying to convey how sad it makes me every single time he appears on my box.

Gazza is probably the footballer who had the most natural talent that I ever saw in my life. He was a cad off the field and now… well… he’s all broken and trembly.

Naturally, this makes him a prime target for reality television. It’s of little surprise that the Channel 4 bosses (or whoever makes such decisions) are gunning for Wor Gazza to appear on the next – and last – Celebrity Big Brother.

According to The Mirror, Gazza has been offered £100,000 by producers to enter the show. There, they hope, he’ll talk candidly about his depression, alcoholism and… well… you know the back story.

Other celebrities rumoured are equally tragic. Get this: Lindsay Lohan, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Kerry Katona.

Who next? Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston? Blake Civil-Fielder? David Crosby? Jeff Stelling?

I was in a book shop the other day. Amongst the biographies and non-fiction crime was a section called ‘Painful Lives’. I merely sniggered at it and went on my way. A little later, it got me thinking about how the western world loves a painful tale.

This was confirmed with an episode of Oprah Winfrey starring Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of rock star John Phillips (of the Mamas and Papas).

In her interview with Oprah, Mackenzie promoted her new tell-all book ‘High on Arrival’, which effectively meant talking about how her famous dad used to give her drugs and have sex with her.

Mackenzie writes, “I had tons of pills, and Dad had tons of everything too. Eventually I passed out on Dad’s bed. My father was not a man with boundaries. He was full of love, and he was sick with drugs. I woke up that night from a blackout to find myself having sex with my own father. Had this happened before? I didn’t know. All I can say is it was the first time I was aware of it. For a moment I was in my body, in that horrible truth, and then I slid back into a blackout.”

Mackenzie says their sexual relationship became “consensual” and that we all shouldn’t hate her father for what went on.

Grisly reading huh?

As odd and huge as this story is, it serves as a reminder to me that there is a clear commercial-need for painful lives on our box. Many tune in, day-in and day-out, to shows like The Jeremy Kyle Show and re-runs of Rikki Lake on ITV2 to gasp and gawk at those with appalling personal lives.

I’m not entirely sure it’s a healthy thing as I’m a little concerned that it detaches the viewer from the terrible things that happen in the world. By the same token, most people appear on these shows with an agenda because the best place to air your pain is, generally speaking, not broadcast to millions of people.

It’s a very strange phenomena that will no doubt be looked back on in a couple of decades from now as one of TV’s strangest quirks. The wallowing of other people’s misery.

Justin Lee Collins, a ridiculous human it has to be said, has called for Bruce Forsyth to retire.

Lee Collins, who used to present Strictly Come Dancing: On Three said Forsyth was “too old” to carry on.

“I still think Bruce in his day was the best at what he did, but I think he should have given up three or four years ago,” Lee Collins said. Forsyth, 681 years old, has of course, presented the BBC One show with Tess Daly since it began.

Lee Collins continued: “As legendary as he is – I grew up loving him, as did my parents, as did my grandparents – he wasn’t particularly nice to me on that show. I loved him and they do say never meet your idols because you’re always going to be disappointed and in the case of Bruce I was disappointed. He was very rude.”

Speaking whilst hawking his new book, Lee Collins added that people were “frightened” to say anything negative about Brucie because he was a broadcasting “legend”.

“It would be like saying something rude about the Queen, you just don’t do it. But he does a very, very difficult show on TV, and I think particularly on that first series, he may have found it difficult. I still love to watch it, religiously. I never miss it, if I’m away it’s recorded. It doesn’t get much bigger or better than Strictly,” he added.

Funny. I don’t feel bad about slagging him off*. The old goat.

So what do you think? Is Brucie way past his best? Should he shuffle off for a nap and cocoa? Is he still a vital televisiual tour de force? Are you thinking ‘I hate Justin Lee Collins more than anything on Earth’? Or are you just not arsed at all? Leave a comment and spill your brains.

*Even if I don’t always mean it.

Once upon a time, the game show was the place where we saw ourselves writ large on the small screen. Members of the public would appear on game shows and do daft things and we all laughed together.

However, that seems to be a thing of the past now as most shows seem to be favouring celebrity versions… and I can’t for the life of me work out why.

Returning to our screens soon is Family Fortunes. However, it’s coming back in the All Star Family Fortunes guise, thereby making it a redundant show. One of the best things about Family Fortunes is the weird things uttered by contestants… the kind of thing only a milkman from Ipswich could come up with.

You simply wouldn’t get the answer of ‘a bicycle with wings’ for the question ‘name something that flies that doesn’t have an engine’ from a celebrity by virtue of the fact that they are just too self aware.

Shows like The X Factor have kept us on the box, but other than that, we seem to be becoming more and more absent. Come Dine With Me, Strictly Come Dancing, Ready Steady Cook and the like all prefer an established face than some person off the streets.

As such, it feels like TV is slipping away from us more than ever. Even when you look at comedy and sitcoms, there is very little in the way of new talent coming through with shows preferring to go down the route of the ’80s, with sitcoms being based on people we already recognise. Lee Mack’s appearance in Not Going Out being a classic example.

It’s worrying to think that TV is closing up the shop to those that peer in the most. Things like The Generation Game (for its sins) just don’t seem to exist anymore. Primetime television is littered with people from the exclusive club of celebrity and it’s a real shame.

I think we need to bring back the pull of The General Public (a horrible term, I know) and get them on our TV without having to audition for Simon Cowell.

Strictly Come Dancing returned to our screens this weekend and, as ever, it did very well in the ratings and everyone was chattering about it. I too tuned in, for reasons that aren’t especially clear to me.

See, I can’t actually work out the appeal of the show.

In Bruce Forsyth, we have a host that reminds me of one of those old people who greet you upon your arrival at a supermarket. He’s not especially useful and constantly looks like he could do with a little lie down as all the excitement is wearing him out.

This leaves Tess Daly looking like something of a homecarer who, between appeasing Brucie and he’s rubbish catch-phrases, has to help him to the toilet and peels back the lid on his meals-on-wheels for him as he’s simply not strong enough to do it for himself.

The show itself tackles an unfashionable form of entertainment. I mean, when was the last time anyone knew a ballroom dancer? I know precisely zero. Everyone I know doesn’t know a single person who likes to break out into a pasodoble or whatever.

Add to this, a bunch of Q List celebrities who are going on the most tenuous of journeys – notably, they aren’t very good at dancing but with practise they might get better – and on paper, the show shouldn’t work at all.

The music is rubbish, the judges are annoying and surely it all adds up to something that anyone with a working brain should be switching off in droves.

However, weirdly, the show does work.

Like the ubiquitous dance routine by the news readers on Comic Relief, Strictly Come Dancing seems to draw us in with a mixture of glee and horror. The whole spectacle, when broken down, feels hobbled together and pointless… yet… when you add it all together, it gives TV something that it has been missing for some time.

Glamour.

The shiny outfits and the awkward sexualising of sports personalities and soap actors brings simple cheer to a country all too aware of the recession. The snide comments from the judges gives us all panto-esque villains to berate and hoot at whilst they take the whole thing far too seriously.

It’s obvious that Strictly Come Dancing is television steeped in yesteryear. It’s good, clean fun that appears to be devoid of the cynicism of, say, The X Factor. It truly is one of the only things that seems to unite families on the sofa together. You pick your favourites, you hurl abuse at Craig Bag O’ Revels (or whatever he’s called) and fall off the couch laughing at Joe Calzaghe’s Herman Munster moves on the dancefloor.

There is no reason why Strictly Come Dancing should work, but it does. Even a hateful, sneering idiot like me doesn’t really mind when it’s on the box.

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