Monday, 31 October 2011

Kirstie's Handmade Britain: A man called Tony made a paper PC out of maps of Wales

Could anyone other than Kirstie Allsop pull off a programme about crafting?

Kirstie's Handmade Britain is like a perfect storm made of paper and card - the sudden coming-together of various threads all at the right time, and no doubt delighting Britain's crafting hobbyists, perhaps still society's most invisible underclass.

The dedication people devote to this world is clear, and Kirstie's celebratory approach is difficult to resist.

Especially when she's faced with a computer keyboard and monitor MADE ENTIRELY FROM PAPER MAPS OF WALES.

Where else would you see this tribute to the modern age presented in paper form, and in all its hand-made crafting glory? In some ways it may be just the tv-hug the country needs.

No-nonsense

Kirstie's taken the audience trust she's built up over years of doing property shows and has developed a reputation as a no-nonsense, self-aware woman who likes an Aga, home made decorations and the occasional winter coat with oversize novelty buttons.

She also appeals to those busy, metropolitan thirty-something city-based mums who think they want to move to the country and turn hobbies into business.

Kirstie is living that dream, and like any newcomer she's doing her best to get involved.

Kirstie's taking part in crafting competitions at agriculture shows, and by meeting Kirstie's rivals, we get to see the cut-throat world that is crafting, and this week it's paper-sculpting - and Kirstie's out to win.

'A renaissance'

Kirstie says crafting is enjoying a renaissance, and driving her Range Rover, she's having a great old time zooming around the countryside.

Her rural Devon home, Meadowgate (its refurbishment documented in Kirstie's Homemade Home), forms the backdrop to scenes of her learning various crafts with the help of experts, ahead of entering said fare in competitions at county shows around Britain.

This week she's up against Tony, another entrant in the Royal Welsh Show and the man behind that paper PC - but as it turned out he didn't win, and to add to his pain the paper PC ended up squashed.

Kirstie means business though - she even contemplated nicking a rosette to impress her four-year-old son, after failing to win anything too; particularly galling after winning the Afternoon Tea competition the previous week back in Devon.

'Modern approach'

Kirstie's self-described "modern approach" to her entry in the embroidered greeting card category, which she hoped would "catch the judges' eye", failed miserably.

"I liked it," sniffed the judge, perhaps wanting to send a message about Kirstie's apparent 'London ways' - modern approach indeed - "but it looked like a young person had done it."

Next time, Kirstie's at the Great Yorkshire Show, and learning about needlecraft and machine embroidery.

"The crack cocaine of needlework," says Kirstie, showing off those London ways again.

Gawd luv ya Kirst, but perhaps you need to curb that sort of thing if you really want to win at this countryside lark.

You can take the girl out of the city but you can't take the city out of the girl.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Made in Chelsea series 2 episode 6 - Binky and Cheska: Do we call them Bheska? Or Chinky? Or what?

Right, stop everything everyone.

The "guys" in Made in Chelsea need to start watching Made in Chelsea and fast, tv-ooh has decided, because at the moment there seems to be gaps in the plot which the audience are expected to fill in.

1. When did Binky and Cheska's falling out become so serious?

It started about three episodes ago with the former missing the latter's dinner party to go out with other friends, but now the tension has escalated and become about something else.

Suddenly, we hear Cheska saying Binky isn't supporting her, when really they should be united over the fact they both possess ridiculously daft names.

So now, the two once-inseparable best friends aren't speaking to each other and are confiding in others.
Binky, sporting the evening-dress-with-muddied-purple-wellington-boots look:
like really popular in the Royal Borough right now yeah?

It's interesting to mix things up and put different characters together in scenes - for example, who wouldn't want to see Binky advising Spencer on his choice of jazzy shirt purchase as it's clearly tv gold - but let's also recognise this for the COMPLETE NONSENSE that it is.

In real life Cheska and Binky would have made up by now, but instead the whole thing's been stretched out to make Stuff For Us To Watch.

The petition to re-unite Bheska (or perhaps Chinky?) starts here. Those endless scenes on Ollie's roof terrace talking about their plans for a night out or unusual methods of body grooming need to be reinstated, and immediately.

2. Who was this "friend" of Millie's that Hugo cheated on her with?

Have we been told? Is it Millie's friend Rosie?

The continuous cut-aways of Rosie's wide-eyed blank expressions as Millie talks about Hugo's betrayal suggests so; but in the "next episode" clips we see Rosie telling Hugo that Millie cheated on him. The fall out from that'll be fun, if you like that kind of thing.

3. Everything else

- Caggie is still permanently pouting: tv-ooh half expects a tiny bubble to be blown from her lips at any moment, like a mini benevolent volcano on a face.

- And cranking up the tedious Spencer/Caggie will they/won't they plot-line again is another spin on the merry-go-round we'll give a miss, cheers.

- When Gabriella tried to comfort her ex Ollie after his split with new girlfriend Chloe, but he was shockingly horrible to her while sitting on a bench during a cricket game, where did all that anger come from? Where were the Ollie-patented quips and hair flicks? HE WAS SO COLD.

- And Mark Francis - living in a £10m town house he's calling a tip due to the ongoing absence of his housekeeper - is continuing to vie for the most hilarious character, along with Francis.

In summary, none of it matters, but as an hour of life to fill, and as something full of intentional and unintentional comedy, Made in Chelsea has it.

Related stories:

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Key points from an interview by The Culture Show with the lady in the jumper* from The Killing (*Sofie Grabol)

Sofie Grabol, interviewed by "best selling crime writer Val McDermid" for the BBC's show about culture and that (called The Culture Show), has said some interesting things about her job on The Killing ahead of the start of season two.

You can watch the interview on BBC iPlayer but it's only availble until 7.58pm on 28 October 2011.
Here are some of the interesting things she said in the interview.

Sofie on how she got the part: Sofie says that she had worked with the writer and producer of The Killing before, on another television series. Sofie says they phoned her like a year before with a loose idea of a crime story? They wanted one murder and a female investigator.

Sofie on the character of Sarah Lund: Sofie says that as an actor you're always looking for a challenge and to go somewhere you haven't been before. Sofie says that up until that point, she had played very emotional characters, who were often crying and shouting a lot. Sofie says she remembers in that first meeting about The Killing that she said she would like to play someone who doesn't communicate very much. Sofie says she found this very difficult to play at first.

Sofie doesn't know what it is with that jumper: Sofie says there have been times when she felt the jumper was wearing her [rather than the other way around]. Sofie says, at the start of the production process, they were not looking for a woman in a suit. Sofie just spotted that jumper and she felt that that was it.

Sofie on the second season, to start on BBC Four in November: Sofie says it's more complicated [than season one], it's shorter, has less episodes [ten compared to 20 last time]. Sofie says the first season was a small story about one family, but in the second season the story is lifted up and deals with politics and what war does to people. 

Season two is set in Denmark and also Afghanistan but Sofie says she didn't film in Afghanisation. Sofie says they went to Spain to film the Afghanistan scenes and that it was very hot in the jumper.

Questions not asked by The Culture Show:
1. What do you think of/have you seen the US version?
2. Will there be a season three?
3. Are you surprised at the huge international success of the show?
4. Would you like to work in the UK, say?

In summary, the first British television interview tv-ooh has seen with Sofie Grabol from The Killing was actually pretty good, if a bit short but hey it's a magazine format and you can't go on too long in a magazine format, what do we think this is, blooming Piers Morgan Life Stories or something.

However, we STRONGLY ADVISE clicking on this link to view it on iPlayer while you can to watch it for yourself, cheers.

Oh. Tv-ooh has just remembered the existence of YouTube.



Related stories:


  • Watching too much Danish crime drama is like really bumming me out, man
  • The Killing (Forbrydelsen): Familiar, but different - and knitwear fetish intact
  • The Killing: is that relentless rain ever going to stop or what
  • Monday, 24 October 2011

    Southland: a cop show that's really quite arresting (DO YOU SEE?)


    In a way, it's nothing we haven't seen before. But Southland, a grim but lively, blood-soaked US cop drama currently playing out its third season on More4, takes the definition of "gritty" and runs with it before inevitably getting shot then dying from its injury.

    The body count is high, scenes are frequently shouty, and there's a fair amount of frisking up against metal railings in the name of law enforcement, but it's the dark humour and relationships between the main characters that sets it apart from your usual cop show.

    Rather than a "lead" pair of detectives, there are three or four pairs of cops all driving around LA - so there's lots of over-the-shoulder shots from the back seat of the police car as we watch them take all the death and crime and misery in their stride.

    At one point some of them even come together for a lunch break on a picnic table that looks like it's under a motorway, where trainee cop Ben - that's him in the picture above, played by ex-OC actor Benjamin McKenzie - is ridiculed for having been picked up by a police-mad older woman who apparently is working her way through the force, before it's promptly back to saving LA from itself -  a job that's never done.

    The cast of Southland posing on some steps.
    Could they be about to sing and dance? No.
    This being LA, there's lots about the gruesome results of gang culture and how situations escalate, and, in one episode, how it resulted in a drive by shooting where a four-year-old child is killed.

    There's also the fortunately less-fatal situations of a man found gagged and tied to a bed in a motel, and a group of Mexican singers found in an overloaded car.

    But the dead bodies - all of them - are shown in realistic detail, and it's likely the props department spent most of its budget on fake blood.

    The almost documentary-style of filming - on-street wobbly handheld cameras ahoy - takes the show out onto the streets of the real LA not often really seen.

    It gives the show an extra air of authenticity, but in reality it probably keeps costs down - this third season, made for US cable channel TNT had a much smaller budget than the NBC-produced first and second seasons.

    "What's the kid's name," asks trainee Ben, at the scene of the four-year-old's murder.

    "Why the hell do you want that in your head for," replies his colleague John.

    "Believe me, God did us a favour," chips in another cop, Dewey, fresh out of rehab. "This neighbourhood? Two gangster parents? We'd be right back here in eight years arresting that little *something*'s ass. They've saved us a trip."

    At which point, Detective Lydia Adams, offended at the comments, tries to fight him, before the pair are restrained amid much US cop-style a-cussin' and a-bitchin'.

    Like we say,  anyone can do gruesome murder and be liberal with the ketchup, but it's the shouty, darkly funny interplay between the characters that makes Southland one to watch.

    Thursday, 20 October 2011

    The Only Way is Essex: Maria's "worst week"; reality redefined (again); and a flppin' colonic for Arg. Give me strength

    Tv-ooh is struggling a bit with The Only Way is Essex at the moment.

    It's still very watchable and all that, but tv-ooh doesn't just want to enjoy it, tv-ooh wants to understand it - and there are some questions in life that perhaps you just shouldn't ask.

    Hearing Maria and Lauren P discuss the former's "worst week of her life" in a recent episode has only further blurred the fiction/reality boundaries.

    And those are the same boundaries that tv-ooh has frequently found bothersome if not troubling, and are now causing untold amounts* of inner turmoil 'n' confusion in the process.

    Maria's upset because of a story in The Sun which claims she used to work as an escort - which she denies - and that she had been seen out with a footballer, while in the programme she's been dating nightclub owner and dad of Kirk, Mick.

    To have this referred to in the show itself takes the notion of these so-called "structured reality" shows up a notch - emphasising the "reality" part particularly - and also showing how close to broadcast the show is made.

    That all sounds simple - real characters talking about real situations that are going on in their lives - but what confuses things is that Maria doesn't refer directly to the story as having been printed in The Sun.

    Instead she talks about "rumours".

    Mick, who said in the same episode that he would no longer talk to Maria after hearing the allegations of her being seen leaving a club with another man, also refers to "rumours".

    The reasons The Sun isn't mentioned as the source of these "rumours" - "rumours" that probably wouldn't have otherwise left Essex and might not have earned a place in the programe - is probably because it would ruin the idea of them being "normal" people living "normal" lives.

    Because, of course, "normal" people don't make these sort of headlines in The Sun - celebrities and people on television do.

    So just when you think you've got the whole so-called "structured reality" format sorted - ie real people reacting to staged situations - along comes a scene that's caused by a tabloid headline but can't be referred to as such.

    And it stands out because it's not a scene that's the result of the producer asking one character to go and have a chat with another character about something someone else has done in order to create a dramatic or funny scene for our enjoyment.

    Instead it's something from the actual "real world", and the talk between Lauren P and Maria - now said to be very upset by the "evil" claims - almost takes the programme in a new direction: minor celebrities talking about a tabloid story that's upset them.

    But then in a show that's all about "structured reality" - as opposed to yer actual reality - perhaps it shouldn't be all that surprising after all.

    It's reality by its own rules, and tv-ooh needs a lie down and maybe a doctor to help address this over-thinking of something that really shouldn't be examined too closely.

    And all of that is WITHOUT EVEN MENTIONING that in the very same episode Arg had a colonic irrigation thing which is probably the most unpleasant thing ever witnessed in the history of ITV2; while Joey Essex had an animal-themed pool party in the freezing cold. You could see everyone's breath and everything.

    It can only be a matter of time before the cast will start to refuse doing stuff like that.

    And Gemma told Lucy and Mario to grow up in a move that perhaps echoed the sentiments of every single viewer watching - or at least those not permanently damaged by the thought of Arg having his intestines rinsed out.

    Let's never discuss that again.

    *only a momentary amount of inner turmoil 'n' confusion , in passing, to be honest. In fact it might have just been that Mars bar not sitting right.

    Previous related stories:
    An inexplicably serious and thoughtful review of The Only Way is Essex series 3 episode 1
    Only Way Is Essex: Series two - a verdict: the winners, the losers
    Only Way Is Essex - the dumbed down, dumbed down
    Only Way Is Essex: Reality/drama hybrid wins heart, confuses mind

    Saturday, 15 October 2011

    A conversation between Joanna Lumley and her agent about a documentary in Greece



    Joanna Lumley answers her ringing telephone at home.

    "Joanna, darling, it's Bernie."

    "Bernie? Bernie who?"

    "Your agent darling."

    "Oh, Bernie Bernie! Hello darling how are you?"

    "I'm well darling."

    "Splendid. What's new? Benidorm aren't still pestering are they? Tell them for the umpteenth I'm simply not interested. If I wanted a part as a promiscuous drunk I'd pop next door to the massage parlour. Dolly says she'll have me anytime. Upper class birds are a big hit apparently."

    "No, no it's not Benidorm, darling. I think they're trying someone else now. The word on the street is Flick Kendall's in the frame. It's all over Twitter. But no, they decided not to go for you co-hosting the rugby world cup in the end, so the whole deal fell apart."

    "Oh well. Boris says he'll sort me a spot with the torch next July so comme ce comme ca quelquefois as they say."

    "Right. Good, good. No, I'm calling because I have an offer about Greece."

    "Really? Are they doing another sequel? I'd thought they'd go straight to Olivia, darling."

    "No, not Grease, darling - Greece, the country."

    "Ah I see! Ha ha ha! I thought it rather peculiar. But isn't Greece teetering on total economic collapse?"

    "They are darling, yes."

    "Oh what a terrible drag. Tell me more."

    "Well you'll recall your time wafting around The Nile and reacting to everything with awe and wonderment for that documentary you did last year?"

    "I do darling. Who was it for again?"

    "ITV, darling."

    "Oh yes! ITV - what a funny little channel they are!"

    "Well now they want you to do it again but in Greece."

    "I see. So I fly in, a few tours, meet a couple of locals, switch between genuinely fascinated and slightly amazed and back again, business class home before you know it?"

    "I think they need you there for a few weeks."

    "Oh."

    "But The Nile programme was a big hit apparently. People like your approach to things. They like your reaction to everything - kind of respectful but also constantly amazed and you take everything in your stride."

    "Well when you've taken as many cabs as me dear..."

    "I know Joanna, I know. So will you do it?"

    "Well... (sighs). Might it not be a little inappropriate, what with all the financial troubles there at the mo? And me wafting in wearing my finest silk head-scarf and an immaculate white trouser suit?"

    "Well it can get dreadfully hot, and you'll need to keep cool."

    "And what happens if I say no?"

    "It goes to Caroline Quentin."

    "Then I'll do it darling. Sort out the cash and leave it along with a Harrods hamper on the doorstep by noon."

    "Will do darling. Lots of love."

    "Oh and Brian..."

    "Bernie."

    "Will I have to talk to the locals or climb up any building sites in any way and say how much I don't like it because of my vertigo but do it anyway for the sake of the viewer?"

    "Erm, yes. You're contractually obliged to. Yes there's a clause here about fondling old marble."

    "Fine, fine. Just checking. And if it rains can I look like I've just popped out to Marks for a melon, in my raincoat and tartan umbrella? I'm going to push for that. Can we push for that, darling?"

    "I'll talk to the producers, darling, certainly."

    "In fact, can I be a producer? An executive one?"

    "Why not?!"

    "Splendid. But other than that, I can just waft around all graceful and gasp in awe and wonderment at the unfolding world around me, almost as if I'm some sort of alien unfamiliar with these strange people in their strange little country, when really I'm a much loved national treasure in a head-scarf beloved of so many for my fabulous portrayal of so many much loved comedy parts now firmly ensconced in the national consciousness? That whole bit?"

    "Like I say darling, contractually obliged."

    "Splendid. Now is that all? It's Cash in the Attic darling and Rippon's spotted a teapot that could be worth a pony."

    "No that's all for now, darling. I'll be in touch about the..."

    (phone line buzzes as Joanna hangs up)

    Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey, ITV1, Thursdays, 9pm.

    Wednesday, 12 October 2011

    If I allowed sweary language on this site I'd be profanin' like biatch right now

    The eye-rolling news that MTV is auditioning for a new so-called 'structured reality' programme for the East London area of Dalston, to be made in the vein of Made in Chelsea/Only Way is Essex/Geordie Shore, is either grist to your mill or chaff and not wheat, depending on which side of the farming metaphors your ploughs are furrowed.

    Sorry - tv-ooh's been out grazing with cattle all day. SHUT UP Daisy!

    The plan, according to this report on the internet here, is for a series called The Only Way is Dalston - working title, everyone - concentrating, probably, on the lives and loves of a bunch of 'urban' and creative types with asymmetrical hair (is asymmetrical hair still in?) (is the expression 'still in' still in?) going about their contrived-for-the-cameras business.

    Inevitably, the twit-count is in danger of being quite high. Dalston is one of those areas of East London known for its 'edge', its 'creative industries', and, to be honest, its crime and council estates  - the place you might live if you don't fancy the equally edgy Hackney (and tv-ooh has lived in Hackney and also Walford# too, in tv-ooh's time).

    Let's have a quick mind-map of episode one then shall we (mind-maps are what you do now 'brain-storms' are outlawed due to upsetting people with epilepsy apparently - sorry epileptics!).

    Scene one: some random bedsit somewhere in Dalston - inside, there's Josie, posh and rich but pretending to be poor and working class? She's off to score some crack.

    Then there's Jez - he wants to direct films, so calls himself a film-maker. He's got the Star Wars wide screen editions on Bluray so he's so on it.

    Elsewhere, we've got Mona, probably, she's a fashion stylist and deeply kooky, and probably some other people too as well, none of whom are that familiar with washing a lot.

    Possibly someone with a tattoo and a cap. Caps in structured reality always work.

    Oh that mind mapping didn't go very well did it.

    Never mind, I'm sure The Only Way is Dalston will be much better than that and will be a huge success and everyone involved will deserve much applause etc etc.

    *reader avoids eye contact, looks away nervously*

    #Tv-ooh stayed in the B&B on Albert Square when Pat ran it. Not the ensuite.

    Previous related stories:

    Monday, 10 October 2011

    God almighty it's times like this I wish I had Sky

    Pop band Steps - famous for relentlessly chirpy pop songs and dance moves you might do in the shower if you happen to take showers while drunk - are doing some sort of reunion programme thing on a satellite channel called Sky Living.

    The idea is that they've all got together again ten years after their 'amicable' (but actually quite acrimonious) split and spend time talking about how much fun they had but like also about the pressures of being in a really popular and successful pop band?

    The deal is that Sky Living is probably paying them a few hundred pounds each for their trouble, in lieu of other work, and there's also a greatest hits album on the cards as well as a tour next year.

    To be honest, tv-ooh isn't sure because tv-ooh hasn't seen it.

    But what tv-ooh has seen is the five of them performing live for the first time in ten years, on This Morning this morning - a mixture of nostalgia, delight, amusement and SHEER HORROR.

    Watch it again and again and again and marvel at Lisa Scott Lee's BELLOWING while operating a hand fan. Is she also going to the loo at the same time as singing? Either way she looks very excited.

    So are they all now the best of friends again? Why are H's trousers such a peculiar colour? Why does Claire look a bit uncomfortable?

    We just can't possibly know.

    Tv-ooh wants Sky Living.

    Sunday, 9 October 2011

    X Factor: Can we send the judges home, let the thing run itself?

    If Downton Abbey is the downer, the sleep inducing narcotic designed to lull us into sleep as we say goodbye to the weekend, making us all think we've got servants and it's 1914, then the X Factor is the upper, the stimulant, the televisual equivalent of SHOUTING IN A NIGHT CLUB NEXT TO THE SPEAKER BECAUSE IT'S SO MENTAL IN HERE I SAID BECAUSE IT'S SO MENTAL.

    So come these here X Factor live shows, and like many viewers perhaps, judge Louis has already probably upped his meds to cope with all the excitement.

    Those flashing lights would give anyone a funny turn, and in fact may well explain his "erratic" styling and song choices for his acts - soldier Jonjo, already sent home and so back to Afghanistan, struggled with his chosen song on the first live show, while Johnny wore a coat made of kitchen foil.

    Imagine the dismay - you get chosen for the live X Factor shows only to discover your mentor is Louis.

    What's he done for us lately?

    Furthermore - like all this actually matters in some way - we were promised a twist in the first Sunday show, but why can't the twist (one of each of the judges' acts getting sent home) be that the judges themselves get sent home?

    Let all the contestants sort it out for themselves - song choice, styling, dance routines, performance feedback.

    Get Sinitta on standby for tips on wearing enormous leaves.

    The resultant show would be a shambles, of course, but it might liven things up no end. Rather than new judges, how about no judges?

    Kitty would dive into the nearest swimming pool to attract some - any! - attention before hunting out the nearest camera, NuVibe would be all over the place, that boy with the arse would have it out at any opportunity, and the acts with the least pop star sounding names ever - Janet Devlin and Craig Colton - would look a bit awkward but grateful to be there.

    Because with names like that they sound like they should really be down the local Asda.

    Still, let the X Factor love flow - let's rejoice, a bit, in those flashing lights, the heartbeat noise to up the tension whenever a decision is made, the operatic music, the tears, those flashing lights again, Dermot, the fact that Konnie Huq is NOWHERE TO BE SEEN and the fact that the three new judges are actually doing a pretty good job.

    Ooh - next week's show has Katy Perry on it.

    Let's hope she sings in tune this time eh.

    Related stories:
    Paula Abdul saw a man's willy on US X Factor and it made her sick; here he'd be a celebrity

    Saturday, 8 October 2011

    Fix those grins dancers; order more sequins seamstresses; dust off that old joke book Bruce: it's Strictly Come Dancing!

    Beginning another run of enforced on-screen partnerships of varying unease and enough sequins to blow an old cathode ray tube tv from here to oblivion, it is clear that the return of Strictly Come Dancing is, on balance, something to be celebrated - if not by its fixed-grin participants then certainly by its audience.

    And that's especially if you like to watch a bit dancing - even though the dancing feels a bit secondary.

    That's because of the sheer unashamed 'showbusinessness' of the whole affair: as if the glitterballs have glitterballs.

    But compare it to the booming, arena-tour style of the slick and emotionally overwrought X Factor, and Strictly looks tame in comparison.

    On Strictly, the best drama you get might be a few cross words here and there between 'celebrity' and professional dancers in the 'training' footage, as well as tabloid tales of sabotaged dresses and Jason Donovan putting in enormous effort learning to dance after never bothering with it as a 1980s popstar.

    But the show's doing something right, judging by its millions of fans and the secret career-reviving thoughts presumably entertained by some of the celebrities taking part - perhaps Edwina Currie's already got a steamy rompy novel lined up for release straight after, as a cash-in.

    But perhaps best of all are the celeb spots in the audience - look out for them grimacing in lightning-quick reaction shots to Bruce's gags.

    It's like a game of spot-the-celebrity against the clock - you've got only seconds to place the face, and achieve a positive identity.

    Thrills of ever-changing note come from spotting who's clapping. Ooh look, it's those two from McFly and a pink boa! John Prescott not covered in egg! (but with a lipstick mark on his cheek!) Mel Giedroyc from Mel and Sue and, er, The Wright Stuff, and other things like that, applauding while wearing a pink feather boa too!

    And is that Tim Henman? No it's a chair!

    But one of the largest amounts of fun, aside from the dancing, comes from the live band - churning out song after song across all known musical genres, and sometimes getting it right, and sometimes getting it not so right.

    Who'd ever thought they'd hear a live band rendition of Higher by Taio Cruz? Especially not as Chelsea from Waterloo Road hurls herself around the studio in a way later unconvincingly described as 'fun, flirty and fearless' by judge Alesha Dixon.

    Tv-ooh's life is complete.*

    *It's not. It's not complete. But Strictly is a bit of laugh.

    Monday, 3 October 2011

    When Spooks finishes, can everyone PLEASE take some holiday please, thanks

    Oh for a mundane day in the Spooks office.

    A day when Sue on reception brings in cakes because it's her birthday; angry Louise from Accounts is happy as she's lost four ounces and is celebrating with a Walnut Whip; or manager Tom is running late because he discovered his wife's a lesbian on the weekend and is kicking himself for not noticing her radically short hairstyle as a possible sign.

    Y'know - a normal office, where the job almost takes second place behind the lives of the people who work there.

    But not in the Spooks office - it's all international terror threats this, nuclear scares that, and Ruth looking sombre as she goes through one of her hi-tech powerpoints on the plasma while dressed in one of her 24 identical black suits.

    "This man was on the flight," Ruth says of a suspect, barely showing the tiredness caused by the 13 hours it probably took her to put together the whizzy graphics she's now showing to her stern-faced colleagues.

    But what's this - there's more exposition masquerading as almost unsayable dialogue.

    "Passport in the name of Matthew Wilkinson, but his name is John Douglas Grier - Jonny.

    "Hard-line anarchist and anti-capitalist. Numerous convictions for violent offences. He planned a major bombing campaign against industrialists in Germany in 2002."

    You wonder if Ruth actress Nicola Walker is longing for a part in a sitcom before her facial muscles no longer remember how to smile.

    Elsewhere, Dimitri's pretending to be an estate agent called Ryan who is dating the sister of a terror suspect as a way to get to him, while the investigation into the murder of poor young Data Analyst Tariq has to be paused due to a nuclear threat. No card, no collection, no nothing.

    It's clearly a tough old life working as a spook in Spooks. When do they take lunch? When do they check their Facebook? Is the Christmas do not a total nightmare?

    And perhaps more importantly, is keeping a stern expression permanently installed on your own face a huge risk to health?

    Clearly, we can only speculate - what with Spooks being a drama progamme chiefly designed to entertain and all that.

    And this last series is as slick and gripping as ever - and the spooks in Spooks, all five of them, fighting international terror they are with their mobile phones and fast cars and jazzed up Macs, will be missed.

    Now, spooks in Spooks - you all go and use up some of that leave you've accumulated.

    Crazy terrorism plots by people with Russian accents or a beef against industrialism can wait.

    Let The One Show do it - Dom Littlewood would sort it out in a morning.