Firstly to Royaume-Uni’s search for an act to sing our Eurovision entry. "YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU" (BBC-1, Saturdays). Whilst it’s good to see the Beeb making an effort, it still falls short of acceptable. Such is the favouritism for one contestant that it should be renamed "Your Country Needs You (As Long As Your Name’s Jade)". It’s all rather tacky and amateurish: Damian (lack of interest) and Charlotte (strange voice, youngest contestant blah blah blah) have been evicted so far, leaving the following:
The Twins - holiday camp karaoke-queens in the making and most likely to give a Jemini-type performance - and what’s with all the blubbing?
Mark - the best voice and possibly the only contestant who I’d have confidence in delivering a Diane Warren/Andrew Lloyd Webber big-ballad;
Jade - shouty-Beyonce clone who may be more representative of what’s popular just now, but that’s not to say she’d be right for ESC;
Emperors of Soul - I normally like this type of soul bands but this lot is a rarity - a soul band which isn’t very good.
As you can tell I’m not too excited about any of them, but Mark is probably the best bet. It’s a poisoned chalice, whoever gets the ticket to Moscow. Just ask Andy Abraham....
The final season of "ER" (More 4, Thursdays) returned with a very emotional first episode (even cynical old me had a lump in my throat) which said goodbye to Dr Greg Pratt, who failed to survive despite the surgeons’ best efforts. I think it’s a very good decision to end ER as it’s gone as far as it can go, but it never lost its ability to do gripping drama.
Its younger sibling "GREY’S ANATOMY" (Living, Thursdays) is absolutely on fire at the moment. I loved season 4 and season 5 is on the way. The season 4 finale saw Meredith and McDreamy finally conquer their clinical trials and find their way back to each other. Hopefully they will stay together this time but Grey’s being Grey’s I very much doubt it, which will probably mean more Meredith-angst (spare us please). Elsewhere, Dr Bailey handed over the running of the clinic to Izzie, the Chief got back with his wife and George decided to re-sit his intern exam. Season 5 is on the way (starts this Thursday on Living): can’t wait.
For a long long time I’ve never followed tv schedules and preferred to tape and time-shift programmes then watch them when it suits me, rather than when the TV companies think I should. These days, the DVD box set also lets you make your own TV schedule, as well as giving you the chance to catch up with programmes which escaped your attention first time round. So I make no apologies about raving on endlessly about "GILMORE GIRLS", which I mentioned on here before. I am now the proud owner of the first three seasons box sets and am working my way through season one at the moment. In an ideal world, this simple, warm and family-friendly series would have been a prime-time hit on terrestrial TV with its snappy scripts, good acting and well-developed characters. Instead, the reruns have been stuck away on daytime E4, where I finally came across it and loved it enough to go back and watch it all from the beginning.
I only watched a little bit of "SURVIVING GAZZA" (Channel 4) but I got the picture: it made for uncomfortable viewing watching the former football star Paul Gascoigne spiralling down into the depths. Further proof as if it was needed, that fame isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and there are as many casualties as there are success stories, maybe more.
Yet that doesn’t put the wannabes off their never-ending search for TV fame. Although I am loving "CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER" (Channel 4) - it doesn’t mean that I’m going to overcome my growing hatred of such shows and start watching them all (although I am partial to the odd Swedish one as you know). I’ve therefore made the decision that I’m not going to watch "DANCING ON ICE" (ITV, Sundays) with the latest crop of ex-soap stars and Z-listers. Despite being a figure skating fan, I find nothing to like in this show, I hate Philip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, the panel, the favouritism....need I go on?
Even the excellent "COME DINE WITH ME" (Channel 4, Monday-Friday) went down the ‘celebrity’ route this week so I deliberately avoided it. At least it will be back to the ‘normal’ (cue Harry Hill facial expression here) people from this week.
In the soaps, the tedious Steve-Becky-Michelle love triangle finally came undone in "CORONATION STREET" (ITV) - one wonders how this man, a charisma-free zone, can even get one woman, never mind two. We don’t like Tyrone either: he got married to Molly last week . Pity that her hideous Auntie Pam didn’t get blown to smithereens in that bio-fuel explosion the other week :) Decided that there are too many un-likeable characters in Corrie now, and you don’t really care what happens to them.
"HOLLYOAKS" (E4/Channel 4) has got that soap-disease where it inevitably suffers after a big storyline - Warren killed Louise on their wedding day, although we never actually saw this of course. Everyone is at it, and it’s one love-triangle after another: Mike-Zoe-Sarah and Nancy-Ravi-Kris, and it’s all getting a bit repetitive.