It’s not too often you hear people giving praise to UPS/Chorus/NTL, but they must have been reading this column occasionally, or at least the one time they didn’t leave me hanging on for ages – they heard me ask about ITV2 +3 +4. Now they are part of the Digital Max pack and this week we also got Sky Arts, which I think is a big plus. They also promise FX and other sport like ESPN.

Can’t beat competition folks!

More Law

Now, back for a second series, the UK version of Law & Order UK, still hasn’t got the pace or the verve of its US parent. Marginally, the legal eagles lost, or at least established a moral victory about a gay policeman left to die by a homophobic colleague. It has a look at Law to Order about it and I find it hard to take the rumpled beige raincoat of the Bradley Walsh character. It smacks of a touch of Columbo visually, to please the American franchisees. Last weeks murdered girl in a skip story had the suggestion that this was a story used before elsewhere. I know it’s hard to be original every week but this plot rang too many bells.

All Ireland Talent

It took a while but this year the controversy has started on that od-bod of talent – The All Ireland Talent Show – where Judge Shane Lynch took a verbal side-swipe at Bella Anam, describing their lacklustre duet like two witches around a cauldron. Ouch, indeed. A fine Northern singer did a good dramatic job of a Phantom of the Opera song – Music Of The Night – and it was high on studio markings but the audience voted him fourth and put forward a sean nos dancer into the finals. It has become obvious that the judges, who sponsor contestants, indulge in tactical voting and it is also obvious that only a small section view the show in Ulster and the Northern vote is small. There’s a €50,000 prize at stake as the show climaxes before St. Patrick’s Day.

A Miss

Despite the many comedy successes on BBC2 that ape a radio style and some shows did actually start like Little Britain, on the radio, the newest BBC2 spoof – Bellamy’s People – has Higson and Whitehouse, from the Fast Show, but many of the sketches fell flat on their behind. If it wasn’t for Whitehouse, this might never have gotten to a broadcast stage at all.

Jonathan Ross

Did he jump or was he pushed? People will have differing opinions about Ross. Some will say he was over-paid over opinionated, over-funny (as in not sereious enough) but the BBC may save money and lose a talent and then lose viewers. Were the Beeb going to dump him or just halve his salary, so he jumped first.

Who will replace him – Chiles or Norton? Chiles is too serious, too dry. Norton too camp. Some think Eddie Izzard is in the frame. Could it be a woman? Have the BBC such a woman in mind? Or would they buy in say someone from ITV’s Loose Women?

Now that Chris Evans has replaced Wogan on BBC radio, could he find an audience on a chatshow or movie review format? Would Gary Lineker fit the bill?

Where will Ross go? Back to C4 or set up at ITV, where old BBC friends now call the shots. One thing certain, talent will survive and Jonathan Ross is a big talent and he knows it too . . .


The new TV catchphrase – Simples! Comes from the newest marketing/advertising hit – the meerkat, with that odd Russian accent in Now one of the top advert successes, this meerkat is Aleksandr Orlov, voiced by actor Simon Greenall from I’m Alan Partridge (He plays Michael).

Millions are spent on advertising campaigns and the meerkat is now as famous as Howard Browne, the all-singing all-dancing Halifax employee or Eva Herzigova’s Wonderbra advert. Aleksandr is more famous than the annoying, the crazy moustachioed plump opera singer Gio Compario who sings that jungle composed by the couple who wrote to Shiela’s Wheels jingle.

There’s even a Meerkat toy coming out that goes – Simples!, when you press his stomach.


There’s great singing and fine entertainment in the UTV show, Pop Star To Opera Star with odd pairing of co-hosts Alan Titchmarsh and Mylene Klass. Alan keeps referring to crazy judge Meat Loaf as Meat. I fancy Darius to do well in the show but it’s hard to vote against the soapstar Kym Marsh from Corrie.