Rants

Al Murray – aka The Pub Landlord – successfully made the transition from a one-man standup show to sitcom format on Sky One, and then on to ITV1 with Al Murray’s Happy Hour.

But how did he take to the transition to sketch comedy, in Al Murray’s Personality Disorder?

Not quite as well as hoped.  Friday night’s show was a brave effort, introducing a range of characters from overpaid mercenary footballer Jason Bent to the rather painful sub-Carry On mincery of the all-pink Nazi officer Kamp.

The success and quality of Al Murray’s Happy Hour meant that many people were praying that Personality Disorder would be a success, and while the Jason Bent character and the Randy Parents sketches were good I really don’t think that the show is going to be remembered for anything other than Kamp.

In a different context, Kamp could be funny – for instance if Al Murray’s Personality Disorder was broadcast in 1970.  Even ‘Allo ‘Allo never took the “Gay Nazi” stereotype to this extent – but then ‘Allo ‘Allo is an oft-underrated sitcom that made far superior use of double entendre than Al Murray managed here.  In fact I’d go so far as to say that Murray made no use of double entendre here, signposting almost every potential laugh with ridiculous camp gestures that would have embarrassed Kenneth Williams and preferring to offer the “gags” as nothing more than single – or half – entendres.

It’s a poor showing, I’m afraid, one that I really, truly hope will be improved upon.  For now, however that was at best a mixed bag, and at worst a step backwards for Murray and British Comedy.

 

Where do I even start on this bizarre programme?  The first episode aired on Living TV on Monday 23rd Feb at 10pm.  The trailers had been shown for a good few weeks beforehand and my husband, for one, was really looking forward to the series.  It seemed a light hearted look at some 80’s cheesey pop bands to see what they are up to now and a chance for them to perform together again.  There was obviously going to be a makeover element to the show but it seemed innocent enough.

Fast forward to the first episode, starring the duo ‘Dollar’.  Now, let me say right from the start that I don’t really remember Dollar.  I’ve heard a few tracks over the years and I’ve seen David Van Day on a few programmes but I honestly can’t remember them from their heyday.  So maybe I’m missing something.  I don’t know.   However, David Van Day irritates me from the moment he appears on screen.  He always has done and this week’s programme did nothing to warm me to him at all.  Theresa Bazar seems lovely enough but appears somewhat blinded by Van Day.  She admits that when they were a couple she struggled to cope with his cheating and yet still seems totally smitten by her bandmate.

And so, on to the programme itself.  The aim is to give the band eight weeks in which to reinvent themselves in order to perform in front of an audience at the end.  They are put in front of a panel of four ‘experts’ although, to be honest, most of them filled me with fear rather than confidence!  There is a stylist, a personal trainer, an expert in non invasive surgery and a plastic surgeon.  Yup, you read it correctly.  A plastic surgeon!  This is no simple makeover show after all.

As Bazar opts for non invasive treatment, you’d think she was safe.  Until you see the scary expert woman stabbing her hundreds of times with a needle.  Think Little Shop of Horrors and you won’t be far wrong.  The poor singer comes out in bruises that make her look like she’s fallen down the stairs.  As for our man Van Day, of course he opts for the full surgery and undergoes a face lift. There’s a complication with one eye and a whole section of squeamish scenes that had me peeping from behind a cushion.

Finally, at the end of the 8 weeks they are ‘revealed’ on stage to perform in front of an audience.  There must have been at least, ooh thirty people there.  This was no big concert revival.  Most of the audience were family and friends with a few ‘super fans’ thrown in for good measure.  The pair were cheered and applauded as they made their way out onto the stage.  Yes, there was some visual improvement but how much of it was surgery and how much was just good make up it was impossible to tell.  As Dollar mimed to one of their old hits we didn’t even get the chance to watch them perform as there were so many cut aways to interviews with friends and family.  And they only did the one song.

As I said at the start – what an odd programme!  It was entertaining, I’ll give it that and I think my husband did enjoy it after the big build up but it is far more about the image of the people than the music of the band, and I can’t help feel slightly uncomfortable that people would go to the extremes of surgery to get back on stage.

Next week’s episode will be all about Bucks Fizz – no doubt they’ll go ‘Pop’ too.

Sky’s decision to broadcast a documentary showing the final moments of a mans assisted suicide in a Swiss euthanasia clinic has drawn fire from anti-euthanasia groups and Britain’s TV watchdog.

Sky’s Real Lives channel will air the controversial documentary at 9:00pm on Wednesday the 10th of December in the hope that Craig Ewert’s exceptional courage would stimulate debate about euthanasia.

Ewert, a sufferer of motor neurone disease, died 45 minutes after swallowing a lethal dose of sedatives and using a mouth-operated switch to turn off his ventilator at the Dignitas clinic in Zurich on September 26, 2006. His wife Mary was at his side during the emotional farewell.

£3,000 was paid to the Swiss clinic which is the only place someone seeking assisted suicide can be legally helped to die, no matter where they are from or what state of health they are in.

Right to Die? was directed by Oscar-winning Canadian director John Zaritsky who spent 12 months with Dignitas and follows intimate, compelling and controversial stories of four lives and one death.

Right to Die? premieres on Sky Real Lives and Sky Real Lives HD on Wednesday, December 10th 2008.

A couple of months ago i went to my local supermarket to get a quick snack, i was totally unaware that there was spilt liquid on the floor, i slipped on the liquid and recieved injuries to my coccyx as a result. I was in sleepless pain for many days and the bruising did not go down for 3 weeks.

I decided to make an accident claim to, but it was not as easy as i thought.
I browsed the internet for hours on end filling out many different forms for different companies such as injurlawyers4u and accident hepline, just to be told that they was unable to help me with my claim.

Just when i was going to give up i came acrosss a great website accidentsdirect.com.

Accidents Direct gave me a fast and fantastic service and now my claim is in progress.

Hi all you blogers out there! you know life is hard. Aspeisaly when you are about to go into a new school! uhhhh. I am so dreding it. how fast hs this summer gone i mean we are suposed to enjoy are time on holidays but really its gone to fast!

Now to more presing matters. I am new at this but i know how to speek my mind. Like what is happining to the world. I know that everyone of you are probubly saying everyone is draging this globle warming crap on to long and i agree. Im not saying that ther is not a hole in are ozone lare im sayins that it is mostly caused by all these space crafts being sent to space in america. Im saying that it is mostly caused by the jumbo jets and the privet aroplanes celebritys are using. I mean think about it that concert LIVE EARTH. It did raise awareness and all but think about how much energy all those difrent stages used i know one had at least over 500,000 bulbs on it. Even if they used enery saving bulbs that is still alot of energy. And any way i know we are littering and all but the celebritys and all the famous people cant say they never through a chewing gum rapper on the ground eather. None of us can blame the other because we all have done it. Now im not an expert but if we all pitcht in (and if any one has a my space address) and give out lodes about all of what i have just said then mabey just mabey we can realy make a difreance!

think about it

Winnie think about it!

It’s always funny when the housemates get a telling off.

Especially when they seem to ignorantly be breaking them.

So, the first mistake was clearly pointed out by Big Brother that it’s a no no to talk about the auditions or the chaperoning process.

I bet this wont be the last time we hear Big Brother reminding the housemates of what is and isn’t acceptable topics of discussion.

And so it’s that time of year again, the time for another bunch of entirely vacuous preening narcissists to live together on national television while a gloating public watches the fall out and begs for more. I’ve never been the biggest fan of big brother, in fact, to be honest, I’ve never been a fan at all, I am firmly in the “don’t watch it” camp, and not even the one where people say they don’t but actually do. I actually don’t.

…apart from, that is, last night. Last night under duress I saw some of the first show where they introduce the contestants to the baying public. The gimmick this year? The house starts off all female. Apart from the entirely obvious fact that they’re doing this to see how far they can push things this year by throwing one man at a time into a house full of frustrated young women, this has highlighted to me a problem with modern society.

Don’t any young girls have aspirations anymore? Want to be teachers or writers? Lawyers or designers? Please, some one reassure me, because on the grounds of last nights show one can only think that every girl in the country wishes to be nothing but famous, forget any kind of intellect, you can be famous for being famous and show as much flesh as possible in the press. Surely there are some young women out there who have role models other than a bunch of footballers wives? Please, as a single man, tell me there are somewhere young women who actually have real live intelligent thoughts, who can read, and articulate?

Please, tell me that the cross section of the house is not a cross section of society? If it is, I think it’s the best advert for Global Warming ever, in fact, I may stop recycling and start spraying CFC’s everywhere, knowing for certain that were she alive, Emily Pankhurst would be right there with me.

So, it appears that the BBC are indeed producing a second series of the ever imaginative new adaptation of Robing Hood. The first one was really popular, however, I had my problems with it, so what better way to encourage them to up there game than rant in the BBC inbox.

Dear BBC,

For the past few months your prime Saturday evening slot has been taken over by the latest adaptation of that classic British tale that is Robin Hood, with some pouty young chap running around in Leather pants and not quite saving the day. I have to applaud the idea, it’s high time there was some good family entertainment on a Saturday evening and Robin Hood is the perfect type of story to make a series.

Now, I’ll be honest, after the first couple of episodes, I lost interest, in fact, interest is probably too strong a word for what I had, let’s go for, curiosity. However, I have caught small parts of some episodes since, and I have to say, my impressions went from bad to worse as I found out that the new Robin is nothing short of a wimp that’s afraid to kill people. Now, it’s a family show, so I know we don’t want gore, but shooting people with a long bow was just what Robin Hood did, who are we to mess with seven centuries of folklore? Robin Hood was an outlaw, and a former Crusader, at which point did we decide he’d not kill the bad guys, and as he won’t why does he have that ruddy great bow?

Also, while we’re on, Robin Hood, yeah? Supposed to be a former Crusader, so how come in the bits I have seen I have heard him quote the Qur’an, seen him defeat Saladin’s assassin squad who were trying to kill someone in England because he was a Muslim Prince and was spreading the joyous word that Allah wants peace, I’ve seen the merry men jump up and down shouting “Praise be to allah!” because the new Muslim member of their band had cared for the injured Maid Marion. It’s just silly, it’s trying to push some modern day and very out of context political message on to the viewer, instead of getting on with the business of entertaining them.

Now, I did turn on the other day to a repeat and saw a few moments of what Robin Hood should be, he was shooting soldiers left, right and centre, Little John had just announced that it was a good day to die before charging forward, and it seemed, perhaps, someone had remembered what Robin Hood was about. Alas, I was mistaken as it was then explained that Robin had stopped being good for a few moments fearing Marion was dead, and then decided to be good again once he realised Marion was ok, and went back to his new found Islamic pacifist career as a full time catalogue model for the leather pants shop.

I was going to ignore all this, surely it wasn’t worth writing a blog about, however, yesterday I heard that there is going to be a second series, and as such I have to say, when in doubt I want you all to dig deep, go to that place where you know your creativity lies, grip that long bow and think to yourself…

…What Would Errol Do? You know it makes sense, and you know he’d shoot any dumb fool unfortunate enough to step in his path. Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood was the man, beyond question, and could still be shown at family hours.

Yours in anticipation of a far better second series,

amillionpieces

Under the latest advertising rules adopted for children’s television, all cheese ads are banned during kid’s tv shows. The Food Standards Agency has listed cheese among other products as junk food and such ads are not to be played. Both the National Farmers’ Union and the British Cheese Board are outraged at the development. Would you have called cheese junk food??!!

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