To mark the Hucklebuck King’s fifty years in showbusiness, Brendan Bowyer was on the Late Late Show and he rocked through his sort-of autobiographical, I Don’t Break Like Crystal. Next month, Waterford City Council, are going to honour Brendan by conferring him as a Freeman of the City. A very popular choice and in the Late Late audience were Councillors Cha O’Neill and Mary O’Halloran. Can’t you just hear the big man – now here’s a little song you should know . . .
From now until near Christmas, BBC1 have double weekly doses of Strictly Come Dancing with old twinkletoes Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly and the four twinkly judges. So, shine up those fancy shoes, sew on a bit more sequins, smooth the spandex pants and sleek dresses and go baby go. We have the usual mix of ex-Soapies like Gillian Taylrforth, Jessie Wallace, some singers and models putting their heart and soul into posh frocks. On the male side there’s a mix of sports has-beens, some actors, a political journalist and a celebrity chef.
Too often the choices we have in tv are a result of a ratings or viewers’ numbers. If you like you watch the ratings soar and you get more of that show or type of show. Then they’re all at it. Sometimes these viewers figures are available to channels the next day such is the competition. The Monday after the initial Strictly Come Dancing went out on BBC1 knew that about 6 – 8 million started to watch and by the end 9.2 million in Britain were watching giving an 8 million average. The same night the launch of Merlin on BBC1 averaged 6 – 8 million and nothing dented The X-Factor’s 9.3 million. Later that night the Griff Rhys Jones hosted It Will Be Alright On The Night made a fine 4 million. Opposite it on BBC1 Casualty held a 5.5 million average. The battle is only starting as soaps lose viewers’ interest.
Bill Cullen takes on the Sir Alan Sugar role in the sure to be a hit TV3 version of The Apprentice. Bill brings on his wife to assist and he does his little apples and me mammy in Moore Street spiel. The Irish contestants are more laddish than the UK ones, but it’s awful cliched stuff. With wannabes spouting – I’ve got my game face on . . . women can multi-task better . . . guys are all testosterone . . . I’m a control freak, a bossy woman . . . but the losing guys spout – Your head was never in the game – a High School Musical line. The guys chose the team name Dynamo and run out of sales pitch while the girls called themselves Phoenix, unaware that the mythical bird has to die and be rekindled in the flame. When the show progresses, it is going to be fascinating, crash-test-dummies stuff as personalities emerge. And if you are going to ask – why would successful wannabes want to sell fruit on a wet day, the answer is obvious – it’s about getting on television and instant ame. At least nobody is saying they are doing it for charity.
There is a distasteful sense about some of prime time viewing these days as channels chase ratings as advertisers tighten their belts and their purse strings. UTV have Place Of Execution, a creepy child abuse story, running over several episodes and recently has a dark but sadly compelling child murder or worse story in The Children. Big star names attract and Place Of Execution is written by the mistress of creepy sleeze, Val McDermid, who writes the uncomfortable Wire In The Blood series. And if you are wondering why golden boy Robson Green stays with such gross stuff, his production company, Coastal make that series.
EastEnders has Bianca Jackson’s boyfriend Tony King coming out of jail and going to see his kids with Bianca, but the baby is obviously not his with his afro moptop. Tony is having sex with Whitney, the 15 year old step-daughter of Bianca, and according to the back-story, has been doing it for some time. Tony is a paedophile and no doubt BBC have a Christmas in the snow special all lined up but it will be alright if good triumphs over evil around the festival table. Even Fair City upsets with Yvonne’s backstory of abandoning her baby in Australia and suggesting she sold it into adoption. Over on Hollyoaks, the gay priest has been murdered, no doubt in the name of morality and ratings.
AMERICAN WINEHOUSE: Zig Zag Productions are to produce a 10 show series of American Amy Winehouse looking for a wannabe bad girl rather than a lookalike. Auditions will be held for singers to be the next Amy or the US Winehouse. There will be a team of judges as well as resident one Grammy vocal coach Mauli B. The series will be hosted by rocker and professional wrestler, Chris Jericho.
JASON DONOVAN: The former Neighbours and Echo Beach star has agreed to play drag Queen Mitzi in the West End version of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, when the show transfers from Australia. It is ironic that Donovan would do so since in 1992 he unsuccessfully sued The Face magazine for claiming he was gay.