The man hasn’t had time to enjoy his retirement and he goes and breaks a leg before his four-part tv documentary is shown. And what a man is Bertie, who gladly made himself available to Mint Productions. No ladies of recall here as we get the full head of hair, Bertie. His estranged wife said he had lovely eyes and sour grape picker, Alan Dukes, said he had no political passion. Yerra, he survived better than many of his detractors and this film will copper-fasten his claim to be a man of the people, a man for all seasons and the man for the Park.

Sharpe’s Back

Sean Bean and Darragh O’Malley are back with the UTV version of a sword and saris costume drama with Sharpe’s Peril. Bean is soldiering in India with a great mixture of uniforms, horses, camels and elephants and the plot is full of derring-do and opium smugglers. This series has been running on and off since 1993. In fact this is the sixteenth outing to date and was filmed in India and the cost of two episodes costs in excess of STG£4 million and with ITVs current financial problems such series may be a gonner. Bond superstar Daniel Craig appeared in the series as a red coat back in 1993. A year later Pete Postelthwaite played a baddie.

False Pigs

Horror of horrors, look what CBBC have done to Pinky And Perky. Twenty five or more years ago they were little wooden puppets with funny speeded up voices. In fact, it was the crazy voices that made them stars along with Mary Whitehouse, who said they were tools in the politicisation of children’ tv. Daft or what? But now they’re back on CBBC as computer generated cartoon characters and the high voices are now gone. So we get trendy cartoon characters who do one liners with Harry Potter or Trotter characters. Hard to believe that in the trendy sixties 15 million viewers watched them. They might get two million a day now, if they survive. Originally the duo were created by a Czechoslovakian art lecturer who fled the Soviet invasion and settled in Yorkshire. At one time in Las Vegas, Pinky And Perky were doing more shows than Elvis or Sinatra.

Scotch Mist

Taggart is back for its nineteenth season and this opener, about wife beating, despite its twist on the baseball bat batterer, was poor fare and an indication that the current cast have run their course. With duff storylines that were tamer than a soap, this opener was short on procedural accuracy and the cop, Ross, who beat up a wife-beater, wasn’t suspended but left to blunder on in a series that is short of cast and short of stars too. Even the always dependable Blythe Duff looked glum, tired and fed up.


Royal Totty

On the night of the Obama results, nothing much was planned to happen on tv. Liverpool nearly lost in European but for a dodgy penalty and Chelsea lost at last to take the smile off Big Paul Scolari. So, C4 felt it as a safe time to show the Prince Charles’ Other Mistress, in a dodgy now-that-she-is-dead we can tell the tale of Lady Kanga Tryon, allegedly a rival for Camilla and Diana for Charles attentions. As commoner Dale Harper she came from Australia to work or party in PR, met with Prince Charles and attended a few balls and events. She was an early kiss-and-tell girl who confided in Nigel Dempster type journalists who nick-named her Kanga. She did the debs circuit, designed posh frocks for Princess Diana at one stage. Then tragedy struck after she married Lord Tryon and tied of trying-it-on, she got depressed and after a botched suicide attempt, she died of bed sores. As if we needed to know this, but like Kerry Katona, there is almost fatal fascination.

Home Truths

C4 have taken the message of recession well in their makeover shows and The Home Show looks at decoration so that we can live in the house, not sell it. The boom times are gone, houses are for living in, not a profit margin. Not all the money is gone, so programmes like this are realistic with makeovers, more realistic rather than greedy. Improvements rather than piles of money. First thing this presenter, architect George Clarke, did was rip out the heart of the place, knock a wall or two and paint the whole interior white. He had twenty grand to refurbish the whole house and as he ruefully remarked – I’ve often spent that on a kitchen.

Back Chat

Typical, when the going gets sweaty, the suits start to sweat, or rather, perspire responsibility. On foot in mouth of the Brand/Ross debacle about good taste and acceptable comment, Michael Grade, the ITV Executive Chairman, has criticised public broadcasters indiscriminate acceptance of strong language. Nobody seems to say bad language or foul language, anymore, such is political correctness and backside-saving. Grade said not enough attention is given to a very large section of the audience who do not want to hear such words.