Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week Forty Two: Hey! TV! Leave Them Estates Alone!

Associations can be decidedly strange things, can they not dear blog reader? Many of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's mental associations are, of course, TV-related. One would expect that, the medium being ma'job and all that. Thus, this week's family-trip to lovely (if flaming cold) Lindisfarne brought to mind that Time Team episode which was filmed up there. And of dear old Phil Harding's utter delight at finding out he was digging the remains of a Fifteenth Century brewery. Then, yesterday my sister-in-law's purchase of a Kilner storage jar reminded me of the Who Do You Think You Are? episode featuring the great-grandson of the jar's inventor, Jeremy Clarkson. And, indeed, the nasty bout of sickness and diarrhoea I had to suffer at the start of last week couldn't make me think of anything other than Piers Morgan.

Today, it be Octobeard Day 10, dear blog reader. And, as a consequence, an extremely itchy Keith Telly Topping is now just about starting to resemble the tough-tackling former Newcastle, Birmingham City, Sheffield United and Wales midfielder Trevor Hockey. If you don't remember Trev, his fuzzy-chops features in the early 1970s made him into a cult figure in the football world with a look not unlike that of a roadie for Hawkwind. Or, if you prefer, Eddie the Wolf-boy from The Munsters. Good player, mind. And now, very sadly, departed.

Anyway, in a - somewhat belated - tribute to Trev, here's your next lot of Top Telly Tips:

Friday 16 October
One of the best things about Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller is the beautifully realised Englishness of their comedy. With the possible exception of Davey Mitchell and Robert Webb, and, if they weren't too busy with other things, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, there are few comedy acts who could get away with a Flanders and Swann spoof and a Jeeves and Wooster pastiche in the same episode of The Armstrong and Miller Show - 9:30 BBC1. And, of course, there everyone's favourites, the World War II pilots, who talk just like Twenty First-Century teenagers. Dude. It's the incongruity of such juxtapositions that's so funny - something that their heroes, Eric and Ernie first discovered forty years ago. In the first of a new series of Xander and Ben's sketch show, the pilots are facing a firing squad, but they are as blithely self-regarding as always, petulantly protesting their innocence like a couple of posh street kids: 'We never done nothing anyway.' There are also plenty of new characters, including a trio of children's television presenters forced to apologise on-air for a series of increasingly debauched nights out and a disastrously gauche Sir Kenneth Clark-type figure, Dennis Lincoln-Park. With their usual mix of the beautifully observed and completely barmy, we've also got The White Devil, a self-important ex-pat in Africa – roaming the back roads, saving lives and fixing his hair in the wing mirror of his jeep; Jilted Jim, dumped at the altar but still on his honeymoon, turning the lives of other newly-weds into a living hell and the Old Clubber, a forty-something, mad-for-it Ibiza veteran/company accountant. It's really good to have this show back. Friday nights just don't seem the same without them.

There's a decent argument to be made that the early 1980s were the last time pop music was genuinely innovative. It was an era when guitars, bass and drums were suddenly replaced by bleeping boxes and blokey four-piece beat combos in leather jackets were edged aside by gauche, serious duos in trenchcoats. The latest film in the always interesting Britannia strand, Synth Britannia - 9:00 BBC4 - talks to representatives of all synthpop's pioneers: The Human League, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Ultravox, New Order and Gary Numan. They explain how many young Britons who couldn't play guitar even to punk standards made such complex music with machines. Just a few years after Kraftwerk and the Clockwork Orange soundtrack had inspired it, synthetic pop was subsumed into the mainstream. It was a brief, weird, glorious period, and it's captured here extremely well. Synth At The BBC, an hour of archived live and Top of the Pops performances, follows at 10:30pm.

Saturday 17 October
Have I Got a Bit More News for You - 9:30 BBC2 - is back. It's simply never quite the same set up for a weekend when HIGNFY isn't around to take politicians and celebrities down a deserved peg or two on Friday night and then getting an extended repeat the following evening. Government slip-ups go unparodied, media storms are left unsatirised and, somewhere, the BBC's many libel lawyers all sleep far easier in their beds. Not any more. Tonight Ian Hislop and Paul Merton return for their thirty first series (astonishing, isn't it?), with Hislop armed and dangerous with his trademark barbed witticisms and Merton ready at a moment's notice to veer off into some surreal bypass of the information superhighway. Their guest host tonight is Martin Clunes. The king of Sunday-night drama has proven a genial host in the past and should do so again. Less known for his joviality is the only guest confirmed at this time - King Charlie Brooker. Save forty minutes of tape and/or disc for this one, I reckon.

Sunday 18 October
It's the final episode of the thrilling Last Chance to See - 8:00 BBC2. Stephen Fry and Mark Carwardine continue their journeys to the ends of the Earth, travelling by car, boat, plane and - eventually - horse through Mexico. Stephen does not look happy! In a dramatic conclusion to the series, the travellers have a close encounter with grey whales and meet the deadly killer Humboldt squid in a search for the mighty blue whale, the biggest creature that has ever lived and a particular favourite answer of Stephen's pal Alan Davies on Qi. To everything.

Having been the guest host of Have I Got News For You this week, Martin Clunes is back on somewhat more familiar territory in Doc Martin - 9:00 ITV. In this episode, Martin makes a good impression when he meets one of the interviewers for the surgeon's job in London. But he realises that he is not really over his blood-phobia, so he books himself into a session with a renowned cognitive therapist recommended by Edith. Meanwhile, the parents of a boy who fell ill following a visit to Aunt Joan's farm hold her responsible for his condition and threaten to sue her. And a newly-widowed woman tells Martin that she is seeing visions of her dead husband - could she be sick, or does she just need bed rest? Or, a strait-jacket perhaps.

Or, if you fancy a movie to finish off your weekend instead, Channel 4 is showing one of the very best of the last decade, Kevin MacDonald's astonishing The Last King of Scotland. Forest Whitaker won a deserved-Oscar for his electrifying performance as the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. If you haven't seen it before, it's well worth a couple of hours of your Sunday night.

Monday 19 October
One of Keith Telly Topping's particular favourites, An Island Parish, returns for its fourth series at 7:30 on BBC2. This charming and beautifully filmed documentary series charts a year in the life of the people of the remote Isles of Scilly, off the western coast of Cornwall. In the opening episode, Minister the Reverend David Easton struggles to come to terms with the fact that, in a secret vote, a small group of his congregation has voted against his remaining their priest. Meanwhile, the island vet, Heike, and her fiance, Alistair, ponder whether they can afford a proper wedding. And, after the near-calamitous attempt by four of the island's men to row home from New York (an incredible rescue story told in last year's special The Deadly Storm), a wrecked rowing boat turns up in Newfoundland.

Murderland - 9:00 ITV - is a new three-part crime thriller starring Big Robbie Coltrane telling the emotional story of a young woman's quest to discover the truth about her mother's death. The story is told in two timeframes and from three different points of view which is quite an interesting textual experiment although it remains to be seen if viewers may be put-off by the complexity of the construction. Carol is about to get married, but feels she cannot move her life forward until she finds out who killed her mother fifteen years earlier. This episode focuses on her perspective as a teenager on the night of the murder, as well as her - later - obsession with the ongoing investigation and the policeman in charge, DI Hain.

FlashForward - 9:00 Five - has started with a real burst of adrenalin and such an intriguing premise that even plot holes big enough to fly a 747 through can be comfortably folded into the viewer's suspension of disbelief. If you haven't caught it so far, it's a - sort-of - science fiction drama about a mysterious event that causes the population of the entire world to black out simultaneously for two minutes during which time everyone sees a vision of their own personal futures six months hence. In tonight's episode Olivia (the lovely Sonya Walger, providing far more adept at an American accent than Joseph Fiennes) must decide whether a patient's flashforward holds the key to his diagnosis. Elsewhere, Nicole returns to work and discloses her shocking future vision.

Tuesday 20 October
7 Days on the Breadline - 9:00 ITV - is a three-part series in which four celebrities live for a week on a council estate in Leeds, each taking on a challenging role. Why? I mean, just why? These poor people, haven't they been through enough without having a camera crew parked on their estate for weeks? I suppose there's on consolation for them, it's not the Duchess of York this time. Instead, they get lumbered with Mel B taking over from a single mother on benefits who looks after five children. After roughing it in luxury hotels and dealing with Posh's tantrums for years, that'll probably be a welcome break. Meanwhile, rugby star Austin Healey takes the place of a stepfather with a wayward nineteen-year-old son and his fifteen-year-old brother. Fashion guru Trinny Woodall replaces a carer looking after a sixty nine-year-old woman with mobility issues. And actor Keith Allen takes over the role of a lone parent on benefits with six children between the ages of eight and sixteen. Keith, mate. What are you doing? I mean, I repeat ... why?! Why, for the love of God, why? Horrorshow.

Around the World in 80 Days - 9:00 BBC1 - seeks to re-enact Jules Verne's literary odyssey, with six pairs of celebrities racing against the clock to raise money for 2009's Children in Need. They form a global relay team aiming to circumnavigate the world in, you guessed it, eighty days. Without flying. The second leg sees The Apprentice stars Nick Hewer and Saira Khan take the baton on the three thousand-mile journey from Turkey to Kazakhstan, which is jeopardised when Iran and Uzbekistan refuse to let them in. Iran, I can kind-of understand, the British aren't exactly flavour of the month over in Tehran at the moment. But, what the bloody hell have we done to upset the Uzbekis? Most people couldn't even point to it on a map. Maybe that's the problem. Anyway, Keith Telly Topping rather likes the prospect of the Uzbek equivalent of Sir Alan Sugar standing, arms folded, at the border telling Nick and Saira 'you're barred!' Instead, the couple must take 'extreme measures' to meet their deadline. Does it involve an invasion to win the hearts of minds of the oppressed populace by any chance? Cos, I've got to lay this one on you guys, it's been tried before and it seldom works.

Nature Shock: Cannibal Hippos - 8:00 Five - is, comfortably, the best title for any TV show this week. This instalment of the series about unusual natural occurrences explores a spate of hippo deaths on a nature reserve in Uganda. Tests confirmed that the hippos were dying from anthrax, possibly contracted from infected soil. However, the unusual nature of the outbreak gave rise to a second, even more shocking theory - that the anthrax was being spread by hippos eating each other.

Wednesday 21 October
As usual when there's a big football match on, Keith Telly Topping endeavours to provide you all, dear blog reader, with a bunch of alternative to Chelsea vs Athletic Madrid. Which, let's face it, is likely to be question of who bursts into tears first.

Defying Gravity - 9:00 BBC2 - is a rather exciting-looking SF drama with something of a decent pedigree behind it. Ron Livingston (Sex And The City, Band Of Brothers) stars in the series, which was created by James Parriott (Grey's Anatomy) and executive producer Michael Edelstein (Desperate Housewives). A team of eight astronauts, embarking on a six year journey to explore Venus and other planets in the solar system, find their lives and destinies intertwined and carefully directed, not only by Mission Control officials on Earth, but also by an unseen force which is much closer and far more powerful. Only hours from leaving Earth's orbit for Venus, aboard the spaceship Antares, two of the eight novice astronauts mysteriously develop heart problems. For ship's engineer Ajay Sharma and mission commander Rollie Crane, it means a premature return to Earth, and replacement by Maddux Donner, an experienced astronaut who lives under the shadow of a previous mission during which he was forced to abandon two people on Mars, and Ted Shaw, who will have to leave behind his wife, Eve, at Mission Control. The Beeb are showing the first two episodes tonight. The project was inspired by the BBC docudrama series Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets, first broadcast in 2004. The show is co-produced by the BBC, FOX and Omni Film Productions in association with Canadian broadcasters CTV and Pro7 in Germany. From the evidence of the first two episodes it promises to be an odd mixture of genres but not an entirely unappealing one. It's certainly far better than that sour-faced, talentless waste-of-space Alison Graham's hideously ignorant comments in this week's Radio Times would suggests: That it has the potential to become a cult series in the sense of '"it's terrible but a handful of people will watch it because it's, like, you know, really deep and meaningful and says a lot about us as humans" and then they'll bore on about it in illiterate messages posted on internet message boards.' I'm not quite sure what's the most offensive part of that arse-gravy statement; the suggestion that everybody who posts on Internet message boards are 'illiterate' or the deeply unfunny attempt at, like, you know, apeing how all such people, like, you know, speak. Baby. Ms Graham, my congratulations. Somehow you've managed to reach your, clearly, advanced age employed in a job in which you get yer money for nothing and all this whilst having a face like a pig that's been dragged through a hedge backwards. Then forwards. Then backwards again. And I say all that as someone who's genuinely pig-ugly themselves. Not quite as pig-ugly as you, thank Christ, but still ... Today's olerence threshold for people who write horseshit reviews - not on the large side. You might've noticed.

The Secret Millionaire Changed My Life - 9:00 Channel 4 - follows up on some of the previous stories told in The Secret Millionaire, Channel 4's cult show in which a millionaire goes undercover in a deprived area in the hope of changing someone's life. In tonight's episode, scrap-metal tycoon Gary Eastwood returns to Blackpool. In the eight months since his last visit, he has more than doubled his donations to the town. Now, he takes his privileged son Antony to see what changes the money has made to the terminally ill children at Donna's Dream House and the recovering addicts at Vincent House homeless shelter.

A Tale of Two Britains - 9:00 BBC4 - uses interviews with people who remember the decade in a documentary that offers an alternative vision of Britain in the thirties and shows that, after the recovery from the slump that followed the crash of 1929, life was actually quite good for a large proportion of the country. It celebrates the growing market for entertainment and consumer goods, shows how a boom in housing transformed the lives of millions of slum dwellers and challenges the view that the period was one of national gloom and austerity. Depended where you lived, I guess. The Jarrow March didn't happen because they all fancied a walk one day. I like history shows that challenge the accepted, however, so I'm quite looking forward to what they come up with in this one.

The Lost Symbol: Truth or Fiction - 8:00 Five - is what is described in the pre-publicity as an 'investigative documentary' exploring the story behind Dan Brown's new novel, The Lost Symbol. Featuring unique access to Freemason lodges throughout the world, the film examines the history of the organisation and explores the biggest conspiracy theories surrounding it. After centuries of rumour, suspicion and scandal, do the Freemasons deserve their mysterious reputation? It's the secracy that drives much of this, of course. If they did their business in the full gaze of public scrutiny, like as not the masons would be regarded as a slightly wacky bunch without any of the sinister overtones that seem to attach themselves to the organisation. I do like the funny-handshake business, though. They ought to update that. Get some hip-hop Freemansons in to liven up the gestures. Word.

Thursday 22 October
We reach the grand final of Masterchef The Professionals at 8:00 on BBC2 tonight. The three chefs remaining (Daniel, Marianne and Steve) have to face their toughest challenge yet - preparing a three-course menu for thirty of the world's leading Michelin chefs and inspectors at Brown's Hotel in London. Then, as if that's not bowel-shatteringly scary enough, in one final cook-off, they must produce the best three-courses of their lives for the judges to decide who wins the title of Professional Masterchef. Michel, Gregg and the terrifyingly fearsome Monica glower menacingly in the background whilst they do their thing. I'm backing Daniel myself, for geographical reasons as well as the fact that I like the look of his rack of lamb.

And, speaking of Keith Telly Topping's favourite TV guilty pleasures we've also got Location, Location, Location - 8:00 Channel 4. Tonight, Phil Phil Phil revisits Steve and Dee from Essex who need a home for themselves, their children and their trio of racing camels. Aw. Come on, that's just taking the mickey. It'll be 'we must have enough room for the leopard,' next. Meanwhile, in Chelmsford, Internet entrepreneur Steve and his wife Dee are also looking for a dream house. For themselves and their twelve attack hedgehogs. Or something. Is it any wonder Kirstie looks like she wants to give these people a damned good thrashing.

There's a particularly fine episode of Bones on tonight at 9:00 on Sky1. When the remains of a young member of the Amish community are found, Booth and Brennan find his death may be linked to his extraordinary musical talent. And, finally tonight's Culture Show - 7:00 BBC2 - is a special from the London Film Festival presented Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo. They review the festival highlights and talk to David Morrissey about his directorial debut and - alleged - comedian Michael Palin discusses his life in films and his new book. That'll be tedious. Toby Young, meanwhile, examines the future of the film critic and talks to Cosmo Landesman and Peter Bradshaw as he eagerly awaits the first reviews of his latest television film.

And, so onto some Top Telly News. The Duke of Edinburgh has attacked the complexity of modern television sets and remote controls, giving a rare glimpse of life inside the Mountbatten-Windsor household. Prince Philip said that the quality of design had in some areas declined and he picked televisions as an example. Harking back to an age when televisions were simple he said: 'To work out how to operate a TV set you practically have to make love to the thing.' No you don't, Phil, you've got bloody servants to do that for you, don't try to make out that you haven't. 'You had to lie on the floor with a torch and magnifying glass,' he added. Again, I very much doubt that. The Duke was speaking in an interview celebrating the Fiftieth anniversary of a Design Council prize in his name. He told the presenter of Channel 4's Grand Designs, Kevin McCloud, that he was impressed by the new generation of designers, and it was important to celebrate them. But some technology had caused him frustration. 'They put the [TV] controls on the bottom so you had to lie on the floor and then if you wanted to record something the recorder was underneath, so you ended up lying on the floor with a torch in your teeth, a magnifying glass and an instruction book. Either that or you had to employ a grandson of age ten to do it for you.' He added: 'And why can't you have a handset that people who are not ten years old can actually read?' But, still he hadn't finished. He also railed against fascia panels in cars, because they were sometimes unreadable due to light reflections. And he complained about car fuel gauges because they only told drivers how much fuel was left, not how much was needed to refill. Is Grumpy Old Men starting again any time soon? I think we might just've found then the perfect new addition.

Actress Lynda Bellingham became the fourth celebrity to be voted off Strictly Come Dancing after facing Coronation Street actor Craig Kelly in the dance-off last night. However, unlike that Rav Wilding bloke last week at least Lynda went in a thoroughly classy way without her lip trailing the floor and with a smile on her face. See Rav, it's easy if you just practice. The sixty one-year-old actress and her partner, Darren Bennett, lost out after head judge Len Goodman gave a deciding vote to Kelly. Bellingham said her time on the dance show had been 'absolutely fantastic.' Singer Amy Winehouse made her television comeback on the show when she provided backing vocals for her thirteen-year-old god-daughter Dionne Bromfield who was singing her single new, 'Mama Said.'

Reports earlier on Saturday, meanwhile, suggested that Winehouse had received a boob job ahead of her appearance on Strictly. According to the Sun, the singer paid thirty five thousand pounds to a London Harley Street clinic for the surgery. The newspaper alleged that the twenty six-year-old singer told fellow patients she had gone under the knife especially for her TV appearance. Someone who was described as 'an employee at the clinic' told the newspaper: 'She looks amazing, like a new woman. Amy told us she wanted a new look - it's all part of her fresh start. We all feared she'd fallen off the wagon when she came in. Then we saw her bouncing around with these huge boobs which stand out as she's so tiny and skinny.' So, expect that employee - if they exist, of course - to be fired first thing on Monday for revealing a patient's intimate and private details to a newspaper. However, one patient - if, indeed, they also exist - suggested that Winehouse may not have been in a fit state to appear on the show. They were alleged to have stated: 'She was wandering around in a daze, humming under her breath. She had tubes hanging out of her bust so I asked what she'd had done. She started rambling and said, "I've had a boob job. I 'ad 'em done for Strictly. I wanted to look my best and I'm sick of stuffing hankies down my bra." It was hilarious. The way she was when I saw her she was struggling to string a sentence together.'

Strictly dancer Anton du Beke apologised on-air after making a racist remark to dance partner Laila Rouass. The forty three-year-old appeared on spin-off show It Takes Two on Friday to say sorry, adding that he was 'mortified' by the avalanche of publicity that the comment had caused. Du Beke said he wanted to 'reiterate my apology from last weekend to Laila, to everybody on the show really and to everybody who watches the show.' Rouass told presenter Claudia Whatsherface that she wanted to 'move on' from the row. Du Beke said he felt 'embarrassed' I feel stupid as well. It was a stupid thing to do. Now people are talking about that when they should be talking about the show, the great show that it is, and as I say I'm mortified about it completely and Laila has been quite remarkably wonderful.' His original comments had prompted a lot of tabloid headlines but only four hundred and eighty seven actual complaints from viewers. Which, out of an audience of pushing nine million some readers may well consider to be a trivial non-story that has only gone on as long as it has because some national newspapers had an agenda to keep it there for as long as possible. Others may disagree. And, others still may not give a bleeding stuff one way or the other. Rouass added: 'I've just had such a great four weeks. I just don't want it to end. Apart from the dancing he's taught me how to be gracious and how to laugh at silly things and we've just had such a great time and I want it to carry on - it's just such a shame that this is happened and we want to move on.'

Louis Walsh, meanwhile, has reportedly criticised Bruce Forsyth for getting involved in the race row. According to the People, the X Factor judge has suggested that the eighty one-year-old should have remained quiet after Anton Du Beke referred to his dance partner Laila Rouass as 'a Paki.' The newspaper also claimed that Walsh said that Strictly Come Dancing is 'finished.' Not for another few weeks yet, Louis.

Craig Revel Horwood has claimed that he was slapped by a Strictly viewer. The judge told the Daily Express that he was walking in Newbury, Berkshire when 'A woman came up to me in the street, said, "You're awful on that show!" and slapped me right across the face.' Keith Telly Topping would like to assure all blog readers that, should a similar incident happen on his watch he will defend himself. Vigorously. And with extreme prejudice. Horwood explained that he is used to facing criticism from the show's fans. 'You're followed in the street, people scream at you,' he said. 'I've even been rammed by a shopping trolley in Sainsbury's. It's really quite odd. People think they know me as I am on their televisions every Saturday.' Still, the money's quite good, eh?

Channel 4's decision to broadcast a Hollyoaks episode featuring a suicide attempt despite similarities to a real-life incident in Scotland has sparked criticism. Friday's instalment of the teenage soap saw schizophrenic student Newt (Nico Mirallegro) attempting to take his own life after making a suicide pact with new friend Rae (Alice Barlow). The troubled character jumped from an abandoned warehouse into cold dockland water while on the run. Earlier this week, fifteen-year-old Neve Lafferty and fourteen-year-old Georgia Rowe died after jumping into the River Clyde from the Erskine Bridge. A spokesman for Bishopton's Good Shepherd Care Home, where the teenagers lived, has now told the Sun: 'The decision to air this show is likely to cause further distress.' Well, don't watch it then. Is that too radical a suggestion? One would have thought that, perhaps, just a few days after the horribly untimely deaths of two of their residents, all of those at the Bishopton's Good Shepherd Care Home might have slightly more weightly things on their mind than the plotline from a TV soap opera. But then, as previously noted on many occasions and in many different circumstances, some people do just seem to enjoy the sound of their own voice. The network confirmed that it would transmit the episode as planned hours before broadcast yesterday. Speaking at the time, a Channel 4 representative said: 'Any similarities are entirely coincidental and we have carefully considered how best to proceed. We feel it is appropriate to continue with the transmission of these episodes as this is not a one-off programme but an established and long-running series. The audience will be familiar with the character of Newt and this plotline, which has been both trailed and promoted, has been developing over a number of weeks. Hollyoaks has a strong track record of dealing with sensitive issues, and the transmission will be followed by a programme support announcement directing viewers to a twenty four-hour helpline.'

Lauren Graham, best known for her motherly role as The Gilmore Girls' Lorelei Gilmore, will replace Maura Tierney on NBC's midseason show Parenthood. Tierney was forced to pull out of the prodution to accommodate her ongoing cancer treatment. Graham will take on the role of Sarah, one of the many siblings in the Braverman clan. NBC had also reportedly spoken to Helen Hunt for the role, but talks fell through.

A Brazilian TV presenter accused of ordering killings to boost his programme's ratings has turned himself in to police after going on the run. Authorities had been looking for Wallace Souza since he disappeared when an arrest warrant was issued. Souza, also a former local politician, is accused of murder and drug trafficking offences. He denies the allegations. He enjoyed legislative immunity until stripped of a political post last week. 'Souza turned himself in to the police this morning,' a spokesman for the authorities in the Amazonas state capital, Manaus, told the AFP news agency.

Former Coronation Street star Keith Duffy has signed up to reprise his role as Weatherfield womaniser Ciaran McCarthy. The thirty five-year-old actor and former Boyzone singer quit his part as Peter Barlow's (Chris Gascoyne) old navy friend in February 2005 after two-and-a-half years with the ITV soap. He later revealed that he made the decision to spend more time with his family. However, in August this year it emerged that Duffy had entered talks with Corrie producers for a possible comeback. The news came after he spoke about wanting to return on more than one occasion.

Joe Swash has claimed that he is bored with hearing about the exploits of Peaches Geldof. Yes, me too. But, then again, Keith Telly Topping was equally fed up to bloody back teeth with hearing all about Joe Swash and his doings last year when he was in the jungle with Mr Sulu. So, you know, swings and roundabouts and all that. The I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! winner explained that Geldof is difficult to avoid. Not that difficult, Joe. I mean, Simon Cowell's harder, let's put it that way. So's Myleene Klass. You know what I'm saying here? 'Peaches Geldof drives me mad,' Now quotes him as saying. 'She's everywhere and I've overdosed on her.' Vanessa Feltz also recently criticised Geldof, claiming that her tattoos are 'crude.' I'm sorry, the thought of Big Fat Non-Entity Vanessa Feltz describing anybody or anything as 'crude' just makes me giggle. It's my cross, I can bear it.

Gok Wan has admitted that he once tried to chat up Simon Cowell. The television presenter and style guru added that Cowell had been very nice to him afterwards, Now reports. 'I was introduced to him at a party and I'd had a bit to drink,' Wan explained. 'I suddenly found myself crouching down saying, "Hi Simon, how are you?" I'm chatting him up like I'm eighteen again in a nightclub! He just sat there and smiled at me. He was very accommodating. Not as accommodating as he was in my fantasies, but there you go.' Oh, God. Too much information, baby!

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