Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Top Telly Tips - June 2008

2 June 2008:
EastEnders - 8:00 BBC1
The bolshy Chelsea discovers that she's not as invulnerable as she thought she was. Got to lay this one on ya, darlin', few people are - except, maybe, Captain Scarlett. He very definitely was. Mind you Moscow Chelski FC, they were as vulnerable as we thought... Which was pure-dead funny, so it was.

The Great British Body - 9:00 ITV
Yes, it's the moment ITV believe you've all been waiting for as Trinny and Susannah return to our screens – oh, the joy - and descend on Gateshead, Brighton and Birmingham. (Listen, seriously, if you're on Gateshead High Street or the Low Fell bypass and you see them coming, just RUN - trust me on this one.) As thousands of willing subjects reveal their vital statistics for the cameras. Typical of the current very popular trend of "concerned, emotional, interfering busybody TV" no doubt and will, I confidentially predict, include at least one person staring at the camera looking bewildered and asking, "why aren't the government doing anything?" Now, if only somebody could manage to produce a show that combined the subjects of obesity, flooding, the housing market, child smacking and ... Jamie Oliver, they'd make an absolute killing. In fact, I think I'll pitch it to Channel 4 myself...

Queen Victoria's Men - 9:00
Dramadoc beginning a season on Victorian Passions on Channel 4 which sets out to challenge the traditional view of Queen Victoria - and the age that she figureheaded - as repressed and prudish. Well, she did have eleven children after all, so she and Prince Albert must've had something in common.

3 June 2008:
A Taste of My Life - 6:30 BBC2
I mentioned how good this show looked last week and it's lived up to its potential so far. Tonight, everybody's favourite TV mum, Sue Johnston remembers her first taste of lemon meringue and, also, hanging out with The Beatles. Presumably not on the same night cos that WOULD have been memorable.

Emmerdale - 7:00 ITV
There's nowt like a good soap wedding to get the nation's hankies out and the stoic Emmerdale viewer is rewarded tonight as the show's best two characters, Eric Pollard and Val Lambert (played by the show's best two actors, Chris Chittell and Charley Hardwicke) tie the knot. We're also promised a kidnap attempt, blackmail, a violent row, recriminations and a guest appearance by Anthony Worrell Thompson. Just an average wedding day, then?

The Culture Show - 10:00 BBC2
Now moved - for some baffling reason - from Saturday to a new weekday slot, Wor Lovely Luscious Lauren and Big Quiffed Marky Kermode - one of the best double acts on TV as far as I'm concerned - are back to present a review of all the week's best ... you know, stuff. Including Ricky Gervais on the set of his new film. Let's hope it's funnier than his last TV show.

4 June 2008:
Corrie - 7:30 ITV
As Steve and Dan's simmering feud escaltes Gail gets ready to hang out the flags and bunting as David is due home. Eh? Is she off her rocker? Remember why he was in pokey in the first place, chuck. Change the locks. Buy a big, mean, hairy Rottweiller and stick an elastic band around it's willy and teach it to growl menacingly.

Location, Location, Location - 8:00 C4
Phil, Phil, Phil and Kirstie Kirstie Kirstie are back back back in the first first first of a new new new series series series in which they help help help a student student student. From Bedfordshire. Nope, sorry, I'm not doing Bedfordshire three times, I've got bronchitis. I do like Location, Location, Location, though. The presenters are quite funny and it can be a very very (very) entertaining show when it's good (good good).

The Bill - 8:00 ITV
There's been some rattlingly good episodes of The Bill of late and this one, about tensions among migrant Polish workers, looks to be both interesting an tropical. What's the Polish word for today? Walczyć - which means fight. Call the cops.

5 June 2008:
Alexei Sayle’s Liverpool – 9:00 BBC2
Five years ago the outspoken comedian Alexei Sayle needed protection at a book reading when he mocked his hometown and calling it a “place full of Philistines” after it was chosen as the 2008 European City of Culture. (Mind you, anybody brave or stupid enough to threatened Big Alexei would probably be able to see of any bodyguards that could be provided for him.) This film, the first in good looking three-part series, follows Alexei’s attempt to reconnect with his Scouse rootsa by examining the bond Liverpudlians have with their city and his own latent Scousism. Well dey do doh, don’t dey doh.

Match of the Day Live: Euro 2008 – 4:30 BBC1/7:00 ITV
You are simply not going to be able to avoid Euro 2008 for the next month – although we will be trying to bring you some alternatives each night on the Top Telly Tips slot – but, the opening day’s matches are, kind of, a must. If only to remind you how ruddy boring international footie can be compared to the rough and tumble of the domestic game. The BBC kick-off with Switzerland v the Czech Republic and have the suave and well-manicured front three of Gary, Alan and Alan that all the ladies lurv the mostest, baby. ITV, by contrast, have Portugal against Turkey on later - remember, kick of is 7:45 so, fer Christ's sake don’t bother with the pre-match analysis, partly because it clashes with Doctor Who but mainly as it's an ITV pre-match analysis and, as a consequence will feature both Andy Townsend and Jim "you know NOTHING" Rosenthal.

Tony Robinson’s Crime & Punishment – C4 7:00
If you don’t fancy Germany v Poland – that’s gonna be ruthlessly efficient, no doubt – check out this charmingly barmy little series from the Time Team production team as good old Bladrick himself looks at Britain’s, sometimes novel but usually brutal, ideas of rehabilitation and vengeance from the pages of history. This week, the Middle Ages. Ah, the good old days - they didn't mess about with namby pamby Community Service in them days, they just chopped yer head off for looking at a sheep in a funny way. We need more of that, I reckon.

The Sunday Night Project – 10:00 C4
The return of the usually amusing Justin Lee Collins and Alan Carr and their topical news comedy. Tonight’s guests include Peter Andre. Lads, trust me you're gonna need all the humour you can muster with him around!

9 June 2008:
EastEnders - 8:00 BBC1
No Corrie tonight because of the football. The big match is The Netherlands v Italy on ITV – which should hopefully be rather good, two of everyone's favourite international teams – but, if you don’t fancy that then there’s plenty of hot Latin temperament and brilliant orange flair on display in Albert Square where Shirl finds herself in charge at the Queen Vic. Aw gawd.

Britain Under Water – 9:00 BBC1
Documentary examining the cause and effect of last year's shocking floods in Britain. The floods, the worst on record, claimed 13 lives and ruined more than 50,000 houses. Why did it happen? And, if it happened again, how could we be better prepared to cope? Presented by Nicky Campbell, with Kate Humble and Matt Allwright, the programme features extraordinary footage, much of it shot by the survivors themselves, and moving interviews. And this is where I have make a rather impassioned - and hopefully not too offensive - rant about how I've always felt that anybody who buys a house next to a river has to accept the vague possibility that one day they might get flooded and, frankly, standing knee deep in water in their front room being interviewed by the BBC and bewailing "why aren't the government doing anything?" is a bit of a crass example of "victim culture." You know, it's a trade-off, you live in a lovely location but, if it rains, you've got the possibility of flooding. All the sandbags in the world aren't going to hold back a fast moving tidal force if it bursts its banks.

Mary, Queen of Shops – 9:00 BBC2
Retail guru, Mary Portas is back to save the small fashion boutique from extinction. This series she comes to the aid of five independent shops that are fighting for survival. Mary visits Ascot, home of Blinkz, a shop that caters for the fuller figured woman. It is owned by size ten gym fanatic Amanda Collins. Mary is shocked to discover that Amanda's attitude to her plus-size customers leaves a lot to be desired.

10 June 2008:
A Taste of My Life – 6:30 BBC2
This really is turning out to be an excellent little show. Simon Nye, creator of Men Behaving Badly, challenges Neil Morrissey to cook an omelette blindfolded. Is this The Generation Game or what?! Neil talks candidly about his childhood in care homes, being separated from his brother, and his relationship with the tabloids. The perfect alternative to, I'd've said to Spain v Russia in what could be the European Perpetual Under-Achievers Cup Final.

Emmerdale – 7:00 ITV
Jo is tempted to confide in Sam about her problems with Andy. Mel resists a move to Spain with Greg. And, if they’ve got beat by Russia this afternoon, that’ll probably be a very good idea.

The Supersizers Go … Seventies – 9:00 BBC2
Loved the Elizabethan episode a couple of weeks back (particularly Sue interfering with Giles's codpiece). In this episode the couple spend a week going back to the food of their childhood in the 1970s. So get ready for fuzzy sideburns, clackers and Hai Karate Aftershave™ and miniskirts, Harmony hairspray and stax heels. Hopefully, Sue’ll be wearing the latter (although you know, it's changing world, live and let live and all that). Anyway, cooking for them at home is chef Mark Hix as they go down culinary memory lane.The nation was, fo course, slimmer and healthier in the 70s than we are today - despite this being the birth of convenience food and a lot of people having a diet of nothing but fish fingers and chips and spaghetti hoops on thickly buttered toast (lovely!) - so after seven days Sue and Giles discover whether their diet has been good for them. Remember, this is on opposite Greece v Sweden. Clearly, grease has ruined the nation...


11 June 2008:
Corrie - 7:30 ITV
When Corrie’s bosses shipped-in Sinbad from Brookie and called him Jerry, every time he appeared on screen I kept on thinking “Why is Sinbad from Brookie in Corrie selling kebabs?” When the only way to make a character interesting by giving a heart-attack you know he's not long for the soap. Rumour has it he and his offspring are likely for the chop. Can’t come soon enough for me, especially the wooden Fin, a child so lacking in acting ability he makes Amy look like Julie Walters. Maybe the whole lot will be buried under the kabin’s patio. Then they could lock her from Pushing Daisies up for it. Again.

Britain’s Biggest Babies – 9:00 ITV
No, it's not about John Terry and his mates surprisingly enough but, rather the untold story of some of Britain's biggest babies, and the dangers overweight mothers face giving birth to them. Britain's babies are getting bigger - some are so big, that their collar bones and arms have to be broken to get them out. Ow. That's harsh.

The Apprentice – BBC1 9:00
The big final as Alan Sugar gets to make someone’s day by telling them he’s going to be nasty to them on a permanent rather than a temporary basis. But first, the exhausted finalists must take on their most daunting task to date - in just a single week, they must create and market a new and original male fragrance which they will then launch to an audience of a hundred industry experts. So, will it be the sweet smell of success or will they stink the place up? Oh, I'm fired am I? Well boo-bloody-hoo...

13 June 2008:
Gold Fever! – 7:00 BBC2
Whilst other sectors of the economy are in apparent turmoil, the price of gold has quadrupled in the last ten years. The Money Programme's Max Flint travels to the gold mines of Nevada and the souks of Dubai to find out why. Or, you could watch the flying Dutchmen giving France's Dad's Army a damned good walloping if you fancy some REAL entertainment.

The Two Ronnies Sketchbook – 9:35 BBC1
Or “We’ve got absolutely nothing to put on opposite Greece v Russia, how about a bunch of clips from a thirty year old comedy series that you’ll have already seen eight or nine times!” So, what do we reckon’s gonna be on then? Fork handles? The Mastermind sketch? The best bits from The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Olde London Town? One thing you can absolutely guarantee, they probably won't be including the Not the 9 o'clock News "Two Ninies" sketch.

How TV Changed Britain – 8:00 C4
This edition profiles TV heroines in shows from Prime Suspect to The Liver Birds and the Sex in the City girls to Elsie Tanner, each of whom played a critical role in changing how it was acceptable to portray women on screen.

Commercial Breakdown – 10:20 BBC1
Jimmy Carr follows in the extremely well-worn footsteps of Jasper Carrot, Chris Tarrent, Clive James et al and presents a collection of the "funniest, wildest and weirdest television adverts from across the globe", it says here. As well as delivering his own incisive (for which read "smug to the point of overkill") view on adverts, the advertising industry and everything in between. So, how is this any different from Eight Out Of Ten Cats you may well ask? The honest answer is, I couldn't give a toss. Includes an Australian take on the classic audition scene from Flashdance, John Cleese attempting to talk enthusiastically about pretzels and an unusual road rage deterrent from America. Oh, I bet that'll be almost as funny as when Clive James used to show clips from Endurance and we all laughed and said "my God, our TV may be a bit crass at times but we'd NEVER stoop to those sort of levels..." Sounds wretched and, unlike most of the shows that sound wretched, this one probably WILL BE.

16 June 2008:
Coronation Street – 8:00 ITV
Austria versus Germany. That would've normally had “after you, no after YOU” written all over it but, apparently, it's all got a bit tasty over in the lands of the beer and the goats with some nasty aspertions being cast in both directions and whatnot. So, now there's the promise of some tooled-up action. Niiiice. Meanwhile, on Corrie, Carla has Liam over a barrel. Dan finally changes his statement - but is this the end of the feud? Probably not. But, hey, the big news is last night's Corrie only got 5.7 million. Are they crapping themselves over on Outpost Weatherfield this morning we ask ourselves?

My Child Won't Eat – 9:00 ITV
A look at the controversial work of leading child psychologist Dr Gillian Harris who believes that there's a special category of extreme food refusers who aren't just being fussy, but have a genuine food phobia which needs to be properly treated. All this, remember just six weeks after TV brought you Too Fat To Toodle which focused on children who ate too much. What next, My Children Eat Normally, What’s Wrong With Them? Just bloody leave them alone, you interfering busybodies. For Christ's sake, everybody's an expert these days...

Dickens' Secret Lover – 9:00 C4
Part of the excellent Victorian Passions series. Charles Dance presents a study into the romantic life of Charles Dickens, and his secret affair with a woman who was 27 years his junior. Dance explores how Dickens's relationship with Nelly Ternan had an impact on the writer's life and literary work, and examines attitudes towards the public morality and private indiscretions of Victorian England. Gotta say, I've always tohught Dickens was a bit over-rated myself, not a view shared by a lot of peopole I know. I reckon he targetted his audience and, if he's been around today, he'd be writing for EastEnders.

17 June 2008:
Last of the Dambusters – 8:00 C4
France v Italy – it’s crap-or-bust for both Les Bleus and the Azzuri. So, Forza Italia! But even if you’re watching that, set the video for Last of the Dambusters part of Channel 4’s “Revealed” strand of historical documentaries which follows WWII pilot George Johnson - one of only two of the Dambusters left alive today - as he sets off on a final mission to rediscover his past. Great stuff, like The True Story it proves Five have got something worthwhile to offer aside from being a dumping ground for superior US drama and documentaries about sharks.

Gordon Ramsay's F Word – 9:00 C4
Gordon Ramsay presents a fast-paced food magazine show (it says here) featuring recipes, consumer stories and cooking challenges. Gordon teaches John Prescott how to cook mouthwatering fishcakes with an anchovy dressing (careful with the eggs, John). Tom Parker-Bowles visits Sardinia to track down one of the world's most interesting delicacies. And, Dannii Minogue shows how to make a vegetarian risotto. Hopefully this will involve her spilling olive oil all over her naked breasts and then her sister having to come on and li... sorry, that's just my fantasy, it has no place being within a hundred yards of your minds.

The Culture Show – 10:30 BBC2
Wor Lovely Luscious Mackem Lauren preside over a special summer with a seaside feel. Vic Reeves visits the first Folkestone Triennia whilst Big Quiffed Marky Kermode (who's one of my Facebook friends, incidentally! Just thought I'd mention that!) previews the upcoming Edinburgh Film Festival. Totally brilliant stuff though it should be on much earlier in the evening and for much longer and on BBC1 and should always finish with a couple of choruses of 'Punka'. Sez me.

18 June 2008:
EastEnders –8:00 BBC1
May is loose on the Square and Dawn tries to protect Summer, with explosive consequences. Abi disappears after an argument with Tanya. Ian's the victim of high jinks at the Square's party and things get worse when he makes a shocking discovery about Lucy. Get that's leave him with a face like a smacked arse. Hang on, he's always got a face like a smacked arse...

Springwatch Spectacular – 8:00 BBC2
Simon King reveals his most magical wildlife moments and recommends some spectacular British wildlife encounters, including getting up close and personal with badgers, entering the chaos of seabird colonies and basking in the beauty of a bluebell wood. Wildlife is all around us from our city parks to wild places and it is medically proven that it's good for us. I like Simon - both on Springwatch and Big Cat Diaries - it’s not just his enthusiasm, mainly it's that he’s infinitely preferable to that insufferable oiyk Bill Oddie.

Tribal Wives – BBC2 9:00
In this new six-part series six women each live for a month with six different tribal groups. The Kuna Indians live on a stunning scattering of coral islands off the coast of Panama. They are a deeply spiritual people who believe that their homes and families are protected by ever-present spirits. Living with them for the next month is Sass Willis, a 34 year old from Oxford. Could be good, like Meet the Natives, could be wretched like The Tribe. Place your bets now.

19 June 2008:
The History Detectives - 7:00 BBC2
Neil Oliver, Claire Barratt and Jeevan Deol delve into historical mysteries. They find out how a catfood tin in Wales provided proof that the British were secretly building an atom bomb during WW2, and how a photograph found in an old biscuit tin leads to revolutionary Russia. Another great little show which, like Coast or Time Team or Timewatch, manages to bring dry academic subjects to life. And there should now follow a lengthy discussion about Scottish Neil and how all the ladies lurv him because of his soft accent and lovely hair! Ah, you're The Man, Neil. Tell us all about it, baby.

Britain's Lost World - 9:00 BBC1
Dan Snow (currently filling on the sofa - with Christine - whilst Chiles is on holiday on The One Show), Steve Backshall and Kate Humble set out to solve some of the mysteries of St Kilda in Scotland's Outer Hebrides - the only British World Heritage Site nominated for both its extraordinary history and its wildlife. Steve collects food the St Kildan way by abseiling down a 400 foot cliff (knew there'd be some activity sports involved!) and Kate finds out how this season's baby puffins are getting on. Ah.

The Graham Norton Show - 9:30 BBC2
Featuring chat with Hollywood actress Alicia Silverstone. Now, a lot of people reckon Batman & Robin is the worst movie ever made. My reply to that is simple. "Alicia Silverstone in a schoolgirl outfit - what's not to love?"

20 June 2008:
A Touch of Frost – ITV 9:00
It’s a repeat – in fact I’m not sure if they’re planning to make any more - but, if you don’t fancy the football (which tonight will be every England fans second-favourite team Croatia versus the Turks) then David Jason’s usually a reliable and cuddly alternative. A vicious attack on a widow and her daughter demands Frost turn his attention to catching the murderer. Hang on, that sounds rather like Croatia v Turkey to me.

Doctor Who – BBC 6:40
I - genuinely - didn't want to mention it this week, cos we've got the two-part season finale coming up next but, tonight is one of the 'where were you, when ...?' TV moments because it features the return of Billie Piper, fresh from fighting aliens in a parallel universe (or getting her kit off on ITV whichever you prefer). Remember it's a 6:40pm start this week, and 7:10pm next week. And it's still getting seven million plus and Audience Appreciation Index figures in the top eighties, despite the pissing about with the timeslot. In! Your! Face! Corrie!

Top Gear – BBC2 8:00
The Boys Are Back in Town and so is the best sitcom on British TV! Jeremy, Richard and James apply their minds (oh dear) to the question of what the police should drive. Armed with one thousand smackers, they set out to buy a bargain cruiser that can take part in a dramatic speed chase without costing the taxpayer an arm and a leg if it gets totalled. Alan Carr and Justin Lee Collins are the star(s) in a reasonably priced car. The show has its critics, of course. And all of them are WRONG. End of discussion. Watch this or you're a hippy liberal Communist sandal wearing zero.
The Royal – ITV 8:00
If, on the other hand, you're a pensioner and prefer something more gentle than three hooligans in tasty motors tearing around the Hertfordshire greenbelt, The Royal may be more to your tastes. Grandad. Tonight a honeymooning couple's dreams of marital bliss are derailed on their wedding day. Quite literally. Are we sure this ISN'T Top Gear as well?

23 June 2008:
Today at Wimbledon – BBC2 8:00
Wimbledon starts today – I know it is very popular with a lot of listeners but, personally I’m not a big fan. It's not so much that I don't like tennis but rather that everything else seems to stop for the next three weeks as TV schedules go out of the window to accommodate some “brilliant five-setter” (usually meaning some show that I want to watch gets moved, or cancelled). I suppose, one could argue the same about the footie, to be fair though. Anyway, providing the matches all finish at a reasonable time (some hope), there’s a nightly “best of” show, presented, of course by one of Britain's finest failures, Sue Barker. And, this year, she's joined by another, Tim Henman. At least John McEnroe's quite funny.

Identical Triplets: Their Secret World – ITV 9:00
To many, the idea of identical triplets seems unimaginable, even bizarre. They are certainly rare - out of the 750,000 babies born every year in the UK, only four sets are identical triplets. This film profiles four such sets of siblings, including Britain's oldest surviving identical triplets. The trios discuss their lives together, their rivalries and relationships, and they take part in an experiment to explore whether they share a sixth sense that allows them to communicate between themselves. Sounds really good.

24 June 2008:
Black Market Britain – ITV 8:00
A look at how the counterfeit racket has become an international, highly organised and extremely profitable business. The programme makers go undercover to discover that in Britain, the gangs often employ everything from baseball bats to actual firearms to further their careers in this illegal business.

Legend of the Crystal Skulls: Revealed – 8:00 Five
Since the 19th century, quartz skulls have been discovered and displayed in museums. I first remember seeing one on Arthur C Clarke’s Mysterious World back in the 70s and, more recently, they’re featured in the latest Indiana Jones flick. These relics, allegedly dating from Aztec and Mayan civilisations, are believed to have psychic powers. But are they geniune artefacts or elaborate Victorian fakes? For the first time ever, scientists are given access to the most famous one of all, the so-called 'Skull of Doom'. It would be called that, wouldn’t it? ‘The Skull of Fluffy Kittens’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Reichenbach Falls – BBC4 10:00
A welcome repeat of this excellent one-off crime drama based on a short story by Ian Rankin and Edinburgh literary and criminal past and how intertwined they are. Highly recommended.

25 June 2008:
Real Crime: The Fight for Sarah's Law – 9:00 ITV
Police officers and forensic scientists discuss how they trapped the killer of eight year old Sarah Payne, whose murder while on a family outing to the seaside shocked the nation. Her mother Sara Payne recounts why she was determined that the death of her daughter would not be forgotten.

Snowdon and Margaret: Inside a Royal Marriage – 9:00 ITV
Documentary telling the story of Tony Snowdon and Princess Margaret – the Posh and Becks of their day (except they actually had some REAL class about them) - the iconic royal couple of the 1960s whose fairy story romance ended in the first royal divorce for over 400 years. Following her scandalous affair with several younger men (including, if you believe them rumours, both Peter Sellers and, possibly, John Lennon), Princess Margaret was widely blamed for the breakdown of the marriage. This programme, however, tells a very different story, as insights from the couple's friends and family reveal the truth about Tony's own affairs, his difficult behaviour and his traumatic past. So, this is the "official - Royal Approved" version of the story, then. Still, it's a good story whichever side you come at it from.

On the Ball: the Story of Sports Commentary – 10:45 BBC1
Ah, one for the chaps this, as Adrian Chiles celebrates eighty years of the best of British sports commentary. Featuring a mix of legendary sporting moments, a behind-the-scenes look into the commentary box and interviews with Barry Davies, John Motson, Murray Walker, Jonathan Agnew, Ian Botham, Sid Waddell and Kelly Holmes among others. Queue up all your favourite commentary blunders - "... and, for those of you watching in black and white, the yellow is behind the pink", “the bowler’s Holding the batsman’s Willey”, "Juantorena opens his legs and shows his class" etc. etc. Some people are at the mic, they think it’s all over…

It is now.

26 June 2008:
Gok’s Fashion Fix – C4 8:00
New fashion series presented by Gok Wan and Alexa Chung. Alexa road tests classic fashion: this week, she puts high heels through their paces in a stilletto race. Gok launches a nationwide search for the UK's most stylish person, beginning in Liverpool. Oh ay, la, wha dey wanna do dat fer?

Britain’s Lost World – 9:00 BBC1
Kate Humble goes beneath the waves to find out how St Kilda's underwater wildlife is faring. Dan Snow investigates a World War II plane crash and Steve Backshall tries to find out what is harming the islands' most secretive inhabitant, the rare Leach's Storm-petrel. There then follows a lengthy debate on the subject of the Grey Squirrel. Why it is that people with beards who wear sandals and eat tofu and go hiking a lot in Cumbria and who wouldn't normally dream of harming any sort of animal regard the Grey Squirrel with the same sort of loathing that a Daily Mail editorial normally reserves for Asylum Seekers? Just leave the damn things alone, will you? It's not the squirrels' fault they're here - blame the Victorians, they brought the poor animals over in the first place. Which, of course, means that they've been here for over a century and, therefore, I would suggest that most of those currently running around in England are, as a consequence, qualified for a British passport and could, if necessary, play up front for Capello if Wayne Rooney gets injured again. I really don't understand the full-on hate that many naturalists have for these poor creatures. Anybody would think they'd been round your house, nicked yer stuff, shagged yer wife and drank yer beer from the fridge... And, I'm fairly certain they haven't cos, you know, the lack of opposable thumbs means they can't do at least two of those things.

House – 9:00 Five
Start of the two-part season final – one of best bits of sustained drama US TV has done in years. House suffers head trauma and short-term memory loss after being involved in a serious bus crash. While his colleagues urge him to rest, House is plagued by the belief that he noticed someone with a life-threatening illness on the bus, but cannot remember who they were.

27 June 2008:
Big Brother - C4 9:00
No particular reason, just to remind everybody it's still on. Not that many people are watching, of course, even when somebody gets chucked out for bullying these days.

Who Dares, Sings! - ITV 8:00
Denise Van Outen and Ben Shephard host the ultimate singing gameshow - a TV karaoke party with a £50,000 cash prize. Members of the audience must sing against ar computer. Sounds like an episode of The Goodies, frankly. Only not as funny. When I first head about something called Who Dares, Sings! somebody suggested it was actually a show in which Lloyd Webber, John Barrowman and a bunch of musical wannabes stage an attack on an German castle. And get shot to death. Now, that I’d definitely watch.

Wild - BBC2 6:40
Killer Whales in the UK? Nature documentary series. Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan travels to the Shetland Islands to try and track down Britain's most formidable predator - the killer whale. His adventures take him all over these rugged islands and on the way he has endless entertaining encounters with the local wildlife.

UEFA EURO 2008 Final - BBC1 6:55
Did anyone notice that at the end of the Portugal/Germany game, the Portugese number ten swapped shirts with the German left-back. Some are saying it was a case of Moutinho dressed as Lahm. Anyway, Spain v Germany - the irresistable force versus the immoveable object. Stand by for extra-time, penalties and Spaniards crying one way or another.

30 June 2008:
Corrie - 7:30 ITV
Vernon’s plans for a new life with Liz come crashing down around his ears. Tony Blackburn’s just announced that he is to join an impressive list of people – including Norman Wisdom, Cliff Richard and Prince Charles – who’ve all had a walk-on cameo in Corrie. Poptastic.

On the Fiddle? - 8:00 BBC1
Documentary series following the work of benefit fraud investigators. This week a highly respectable middle-aged lady and her cousin are found guilty of falsely claiming nearly two million poundas in benefit, using 192 stolen identities. Scum. They should all be horsewhipped to within an inch of their lives and then transported to the colonies, clearly.

Tonight: Priced Off the Road? - 8:00 ITV
Quentin Willson - now seemingly working for ITV having got the heave-ho from Fifth Gear - investigates how to beat the current crisis at the pumps, looking at whether using chip fat can slash a quarter off a company's petrol bill, and if trading in the gas guzzler really is worth it. I remember Top Gear did a similar report on using chip oil to power engines a few years ago which proved it's perfectly poosibly, perfectly legal and very cheap. However, they did say that the smell produced will mean that very quickly you'll have a queue of people behind you in traffic leaning out of their cars and asking for pie and chips with a side potion of batter!

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