Those planners at C4 had a great idea to compare the great American Wall Street with all of the 23 Wall Streets in Britain; while in the process look at the recession through the sad eyes mostly of such residents who represent hard-working values but have to cope with short time, layoffs, house repossession. The women came across as resilient home-makers and some of the men were heads-in-the-sand merchants. One man who used to manage a pub refused to sell his Star Wars memorabilia while his wife worked in a fish processing plant.
He had eight Light Sabres at under a grand each! It was depressing viewing – even the couple planning a wedding who wanted six bridesmaids, four pages and a white dream dress at two grand, would leave a hole in your hopes.
The idea was good. Bring back Reggie Perrin. Great. Super. But the BBC1 bods and boffins got it wrong. Yes, Martin Clunes would do if Rowan Atkinson wouldn’t, but however a good actor Clunes is, he doesn’t do Leonard Rossiter and this version is just not funny. Shows like Eli Stone and Ashes To Ashes have made an artform out of quirky, but this Reggie Perrin, set in Groomtech, next door to Sunshine Desserts, just doesn’t cut the stubble or shave the goat. It’s flat, its humour is old-style shoe-horned into a modern context.
Yes, the support cast is sterling. Fay Ripley is a great wife, Neil Stuke is a brillo Chris (CJ) with management-speak. Wendy Craig is his mother but it’s all a bit of a cock-up on the television front. Only loyal Clunes fans can save this. Why didn’t they just remake the old series?
You would have to wonder sometimes where the line is drawn between the lives of public figures and the privacy of their family. A sad case in point was the BBC2 programme Best: His Mother’s Son, where the so-called fact-based drama looked at the alleged impact of George Best’s mother’s alcoholism as a contributing factor in the footballer’s downfall at the age of 27. This was a harrowing story about a mother caught in the petty jealousy and sectarian hatred in Belfast as she struggled to maintain a normal homelife for her other children. George Best was sad, fair-game, as he courted fame and notice but his mother came across as a private woman who worked in a local chipper. The scenes where the young Best bought his parents a chipper, were very poignant. Michelle Fairley was wonderful as the mother and Tom Payne was a fine George Best. But ultimately this was an intrusive sad story, better left untold…
William Goldman, the screen-writer, was the featured guest on The South Bank Show with Melvyn Bragg. He wrote the script for Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid and is most famous for the line that when it comes to movies – nobody knows nothing. Success is as much a surprise to the makers as it is to the public. It would put you in mind of the Susan Boyle and Jade Goody phenomena where tv makes the most unlikely of people into popular stars.
Don’t know what possessed TV3 to screen the awful World’s Strictest Parents, as it was nothing of the kind. Just a cheepo filler, they got with something else, for a bargain. The idea is that problem British kids are sent to tough love fundamentalist American families, where their diaries are read and even the tunes on their ipods checked and censored. The Brits were just spoiled brats, who packed their bags and went away to throw hissy fits and tantrums.
GRAHAM NORTON will star in another BBC1 Saturday night entertainment show, in which participants belongings become the stars in the show. Ah Go On. Called Totally Saturday, members of the audience will have their possessions handled by the rich and famous, as they compete for a holiday. Knickers to you too…
JOAN COLLINS must be short of a bob or ten, as she has agreed to front an ITV makeover show about ordinary housewives getting a Hollywood-style make-over. Collins said that for too long, it has been acceptable to wander around in t-shirts, trainers and low-slung sweatpants. Ooh you are awful but my mother used to like you.
SUSAN BOYLE: Views of the YouTube Susan Boyle auditions have reached the 100 million mark and has got more hits to the site in one week as Paul Potts got in three months! What if she doesn’t win the final night?