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Saturday 19th June, 2021

Bizarre Thought for the Week, w/c 21st January 2008
Tony Dobson

Hi all,
I promise you, I don't want to talk about television every week. However there are some weeks when incidents on some programmes just jump out at you and demand to be talked about. This is one of those weeks.

1) Brian Belo on The Weakest Link.
This started a whole new Sky+ feature to me, that being the "What did he say?" followed by the "Did he really say that?" double-rewind moment. The question and answer went something like this:

Anne Robinson: "What T were used by prisoners of war to escape concentration camps in World War II?"
Brian Belo: "Herbal tea?"

Yes, Brian seemingly thought that the T in question was in fact tea. When he first said it I missed it, only hearing the audience's laughter. I had to find out what they were laughing about, so I rewound my Sky+ to hear the comment. After hearing the comment I had to rewind it again to make sure I heard it all correctly.

N.B. Shortly after this I had to go out to pick up a take-away. You don't want to get behind the wheel when you're still crying with laughter and you're still coughing from having laughed so hard. Not a good combination.

2) Standing on Ice.
Yep, I'm refusing to call this by its proper title as the celebrities this year are mostly terrible. Some of them look as if they can barely skate.

Actually, what am I complaining about? That's a far better scenario than last year when a lot of the celebrities looked to be more than just adequate skaters.

Now throw in the ability to make comments that three of the female competitors might have, ahem, difficulty balancing (always a good way to get your wife to give you a dirty look) and there's plenty of fun to be had. And that's before you start giving the Russian skaters paraphrased Rocky IV lines. "If she dies, she dies!"

What could make me not watch this show? How about catty judge Jason Gardiner? I'm honestly sick of judges in reality shows who do nothing but criticise, trying to make a name for themselves as a tyrant like Simon Cowell.

Here's a small problem with that theory: Cowell isn't actually as bad as people think. Okay, he's blunt when people are bad. But he's also shown a soft side in recent years, cuddling up to the nutcases and wasting no time to tell bereaved children "Your Mum would be very proud."

Gardiner shows no such subtlety. He's a consistently low marker, never says anything positive and is frustratingly dislikeable to watch. Last night I ended up getting Lorraine to press the mute button every time he spoke. It made the show considerably better.

By the way, why did ITV move this show to a Sunday night? What's up against it on the other side on a Saturday night that made them move it?

3) The thankfully one and only.
Oh good grief, how many bad shows can the BBC shoe-horn Graham Norton into hosting? And on prime time, on Saturday nights, on their main channel? Seriously, they're a quick visit to an ATM away from forcing me to go out at the weekend.

Unfortunately for me I married someone who insists on watching this mince. Given a shortage of baby-sitters (not to mention places to go in the middle of January) I'm in as well, and shows of this nature (along with the obnoxious host) send me fleeing elsewhere in the house.

Of course I'm not going to neglect dinner for most programmes, and this one is marginally bearable enough to avoid starvation. However as I finished dinner the musical tributes were to Elton John, Kylie Minogue and Dusty Springfield.

At least I had the decency to tell Lorraine that she isn't the target audience for this programme, before disappearing upstairs before K. D. Lang and Boy George took the stage.

I did have the misfortune to see enough of the show to judge the talent level. This is no talent on the show! I've seen enough shows with David and Carrie Grant coaching singers to like and respect them, yet I can't help but see a look of terror in their faces when any of the contestants sang. "Twenty plus years of establishing our reputations and now this! Do we have a release clause?"

4) You can't spell to save your life.
In a show which appealed to my morbid side, last Tuesday's Horizon on BBC2 covered forms of capital punishment. It was pretty tidily edited, especially for the part where presenter Michael Portillo entered the phrase "recent electricutions" into Google. "Do you mean recent electrocutions?" And this was a man with serious plans for running the country. Yikes.

As it turned out Portillo also thought he could persuade a pro-death penalty activist that a form of execution where a condemned man wouldn't feel pain would be a good thing. Seemingly filming stopped before the activist told Portillo that he'd taken the word gullible out of the dictionary. The more I saw of this programme the more I'm glad he was never in line to be Prime Minister.

Have a good week!

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