Sunday, 26 July 2009

SPOD IDOL! The search for the new Corpus Christi, Timble!


Encyclopaedic knowledge? For a girl, she was pretty impressive on the traditionally male subjects like sport. But her team lost (albeit probably as a highest scoring loser) 2/5
Somehow both smug and embarrassed? Not smug at all, but very coy when Jeremy praised her knowledge. 2/5
Bizarrely alluring? Enough to fluster Paxo... that deep baritone voice, the strong shoulders, her rather shapely throat. It's a mixed up muddled up, shook up world, except for Livvy... 3/5
Name that's great when you shout it like Roger Tilling just before the gong? 
Look, if you haven't worked it out yet, Olivia is a trannie with a name that sounds like "willie". You bet it's entertaining to shout. 4/5

TOTAL 11/20 (second place behind Warwick, Christmas!)

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Spod Idol - the search for the new Corpus Christi Trimble!


Encyclopaedic knowledge? She's blind yet she got one of the picture questions (with the help of a Braille card, but still - she was quicker to read it than any of the sighted students read the screen) 4/5
Somehow both smug and embarrassed? Quietly satisfied getting starters right, but it's a good team and the plaudits were shared. She did much of her best work in collaboration with her captain. 1/5
Bizarrely alluring? She's a big girl with bright pink hair and her eyelids closed. There's a bit of a Penelope Garcia in Criminal Minds vibe, but she's not as sassy. 3/5
Name that's great when you shout it like Roger Tilling just before the gong? 
Unfortunately she was up against a vet called Bones, so the best name was on the opposing team. 2/5

TOTAL 10/20 (second place behind Warwick, Christmas!)

Friday, 10 July 2009

Comedy Round-up: Top 3

That Mitchell & Webb Look

Ever-reliable sketches. Very clever and self-referential (there was a brilliant skit about having to write some misses, because every sketch show had to be hit and miss). And, thankfully, a lot less than usual of Webb's inexplicably popular tramp, "Digby Chicken Caesar".


The League Of Gentlemen hit the target again with a I Know What You Did Last Summer plot device as the salver on which they serve up a selection of their traditional obsessions... conjoined twins, serial killers, circus people, dangerous healthcare workers. It's like Fellini with gags.

The Chaser's War On Everything

An Australian version of Dom Joly's The Complainers or Balls Of Steel, it should be bloody awful. But when they tested whether people had learnt lessons from history by trying to deliver a wooden horse to various organisations, it had me in stitches. Mainly because Aussie security guards are so funny: "Hello, stage door? Fella here's got a fucken' great horse for ya." Notably, the only people who wouldn't let it in were at the Turkish consulate - possibly because the comic laid it on a bit thick by saying it was a gift from the Greeks!

Comedy Round-up 3

Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow

Or... A Massive Swizz. Off the back of McIntyre's stratospheric rise – biggest selling stand-up DVD ever etc. – the trailers made out that this would be Michael McIntyre doing stand-up around the country. Now that seemed pretty implausible – who the hell's got six hours of material? (Unless Springsteen does stand-up?) But not once has the Beeb sold this as what it really is – Live At The Apollo on the road, or a moving vehicle for the agent Addison Cresswell's clients. Which is fine – there are some majorly good stand-ups on his books, including Jeff Green and Sean Lock. But to sell it as the McIntyre show, when he basically only MCs, kicking off each week with a little regional piss-taking, as all comperes must, is misleading. Why isn't The Daily Mail getting into a lather about this?

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Comedy Round-up 2

Mock The Week replaces the appalling

Kröd Mändoon And The Flaming Sword Of Fire

So they put an umlaut on Krod to make it appropriately pronounced "crude", then pronounce it Krod Mandoon? That was just one of the irritating things about this show, which has hopefully disappeared after five episodes (one an hour-long struggle). To think the BBC used to make period parodies called Blackadder. This was just juvenile tosh that presumably was only greenlighted because Matt Lucas signed up. Note to the BBC: Matt Lucas can't act. His character Dongalor (phnaar, he said "Dong") was just "I'm The Only Gay In The Castle". The shame of all this is that Radio 4 has a pretty good Lord Of The Rings spoof, written by The Office producer Anil Gupta, called Elvenquest, which could easily have transferred to TV with its radio cast of experienced British TV comedy stars in tact. This pile of turd means it's highly unlikely we'll see Sophie Winkleman, Alistair McGowan, Stephen Mangan, Kevin Eldon and Darren Boyd hit the screens.

Comedy Round-up

Thursday night is comedy night on the Beeb, so Barking At The Television thought it was time for a quick scan over the current comedy crop.

Mock The Week

Or... Have I Got Fucking Spastic News For You is back in all its sweary, un-PC glory – well, all Frankie Boyle's. You still get a bit of Now Show political satire from Hugh Dennis and childlike wonder from Russell Howard. The format is samey (Dara O'Briain can barely be arsed to explain the rounds any more) but the jokes are razor-sharp as ever (although it was a surprise to hear Howard trot out the hackneyed line about Andy Murray being British when he wins and Scottish when he loses).

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

PLAYER POWER (Shows you haven't missed after all)

University Challenge
BBC iPlayer, till Monday 8.30pm

The search for the new Gail Trimble ("CORPUS CHRISTI, TRIMBLE!") has begun. Over the weeks, Barking At The Television will be rating this year's contenders in a sort of Spod Idol competition, judged on their x factor. Or rather a number of x over y to the power of 10 divided by π factors. This week's contender...

Encyclopaedic knowledge? Was the best on his team, but made some intemperate interruptions and earned a telling off from Paxo. 3/5
Somehow both smug and embarrassed? Regulation smugness to begin with, then mortified after the 'Carly Simon' incident. 3/5
Bizarrely alluring? Not really - wears a grey shirt and looks like a young Lloyd Cole. 1/5
Name that's great when you shout it like Roger Tilling just before the gong? 
Come on, the guy's called Christopher Christmas. Brilliant shouting material. 5/5

Total... 12/20

I got (Torch)wood


Where the last two Doctor Who specials were better than feared, Torchwood: Children Of Earth is greater than fans dared hope for (when Jack skipped off with Martha and Mickey in 'Journey's End', looking like a rubbish new Torchwood team; plus, if you'd listened to any of the somewhat lame plays on Radio 4 last week). 

Those of us who've knocked Russell T Davies's writing in the past stand more corrected than someone with orthopaedic shoes and a spirit level. The director, Euros Lyn, shot Doctor Who library episodes and The Girl In The Fireplace, and there were some lovely touches, like the close-ups of Gwen's and the nutter's hands.

The first episode of five nightly parts had everything, starting with some great creepy-possessed-kids scenes, reminiscent of "are you my mummy?". We were bombarded with conspiracies, kill orders and shady organisations; the doctor was a brilliant red herring (just when you thought he'd make a crappy replacement for Owen...); we got another great something-major-in-Jack's-past shock; and finally the "double pregnancy" bombshell, ahem.

And so, we shall find out the answer to that old question: sure, Jack revives when he's shot or stabbed, but what would happen if he were blown into mincemeat? Will it at least stop him running like a camp Terminator?

Sunday, 5 July 2009

CSI: Cliffhangers Suck It

So, in the past week, one of the CSIs returned and two ended for the year. And the contrast couldn't have been greater. 

CSI: Miami – the most watched TV show in the world and therefore written with a pan-global audience of retarded gimps in mind – came back after its second fake "officer down"cliffhanger. In season 5, Delko was shot in the head, lost about eight pints of blood, was clearly dead... yet he woke up with a few vision and memory problems (eventually having a chat with the ghost of Speedle in the worst. episode. ever. of any crime show – though back when Rory Cochrane got the hell out of this show, at least people shot in the head died.). So it was no surprise that Horatio Caine – gunned down, lifeless, leaking a swimming pool's worth of blood at the end of the last season – turned out to have faked his death. It was pathetic – he was hanging around the police station and meeting dozens of people when pretending to be dead. Yeah, deep undercover... Absolute tosh.

The original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, realising that we'd been put through the mangle enough for one series with Warwick's death (see... he got shot in the head; he stayed dead) and Grissom's departure, told a simple tale with an Old Vegas theme (time for Greg to trot out some lore), in which Langston has to take a life. It rounded off an unspectacular but sound series – Laurence Fishburne plays his part with enough Grissom oddity and sagacity but is gently steering in his own direction. It's a classy touch having the star as a junior team member. Hopefully next season will see more plots centring on Lauren Lee Smith as Riley Adams, who arrived with a foul mouth and some leftfield ideas but has been somewhat ignored by the scriptwriters since.

And CSI:NY continues to veer between being as good as Vegas and as bad as Miami. The finale saw Detective Angel shot and she died in surgery. So far, so realistic. The team tracks down the baddies; Flack shoots one of them when he didn't strictly need to - nice Shield-style grittiness. And then they go to a cop bar and drink whisky in Angel's memory. Nice NYPD Blue touch... now, just fade to poignantly silent credits, don't do anything stupid. Gah, nooooo! Here comes an attack of the Miamis; can't resist; must have drive-by shooting, making all the characters dive to the floor, possibly hit, possibly renegotiating contracts. For chrissakes, what is this? The Moldavian Royal Wedding from Dynasty?

Friday, 3 July 2009

Today At Wimbledon

Will Miss Scotland (the blonde out of the two attention-seekers pictured) be back at Wimbledon for Andrew Murray's semi-final against Andy Roddick? And if so, will the BBC continue to attempt to create some little soap opera around her? 
On Wednesday, every time Murray won a point, they cut between the restrained applause of his girlfriend, Kim Sears, sat next to his Mum in the players' box, and the screeching former schoolmate in the Royal Box (which is, in fact, the comped tickets box). Were they trying to make Murray look more interesting with a fake love triangle? 
If so, they failed pretty badly as, when Murray was shown footage of her after his match he said that he'd sat next to her at school in Dunblane and she was "pretty annoying". The guy had to hide under his desk to escape the Dunblane massacre and he found her the most annoying thing about school. She must be a right pain in the arse

Mardy Bummed
The player with the best name in tennis lived up to it yesterday when he and fellow-American James Blake were knocked out of the doubles – almost literally. Number one seeds and suspected T-1000s Nestor & Zimijonic kept peppering the Yanks with body blows, which pissed off the piscine one no end. And Blake-Fish lost from two sets up. That was one mardy* Fish.

Just in case you don't know this word, here's the Urban Dictionary definition:
Mardy: A word popularly used in the Nottingham/East midlands area of england. Words with a similar meaning include: stroppy, moody, sulky, grumpy, childish etc.