20 May 19
The Scottish Sun
DARE to Dream? I wouldn’t, not after some of the things we saw and heard in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.
Starting with anti-capitalist thrash metal, from those Icelandic sex gimps, but also including the swaying Australian pencil gonks and the very large French ballerina, Cargo Fonteyn, who I thought was going to be the most right-on gesture of the evening.
Graham Norton reserved particular venom for the Slovenian ‘Avatars’, Zala Kralj and Gasper Santi.
Until we met Bilal Hassani’s other dancer, who turned out to be deaf.
The luckiest woman in the building, as it transpired, at Eurovision 2019, which proved to be a song contest of two halves. The very best light entertainment of the television week. And also the very worst.
It set off at a cracking pace, though, with “The Albanian Kirstie Allsopp”, the Icelandic sex gimps and Serhat, a dentist from San Marino, who wrote his song in five minutes (“And spent the other four shaving his head”), all getting what they deserved from commentator Graham Norton, who reserved particular venom for the Slovenian “Avatars”, Zala Kralj and Gasper Santi.
“Romantic or creepy, you decide.” Three very unsettling minutes later . . . “Creepy, I’ve decided. Free the Slovenian one.”
Madonna very clearly thought she was doing Eurovision a massive favour just by turning up
The four pretty awful Israeli hosts weren’t safe from Norton either. Particularly not model Bar Refaeli, who was on the sharp end of it when she asked an extremely “relaxed-looking” Jean Paul Gaultier, backstage, what he looked for in a muse.
“She ’az to ’ave person-al-ity.”
“Well don’t go looking for it in Bar then.”
We had hosts, acts and commentator all working in perfect disharmony, in other words, and, if you’d asked me just before half time, I’d have placed a lot of money on it being a vintage Eurovision Song Contest.
Starting with anti-capitalist thrash metal, from those Icelandic sex gimps,
You may have your own reasons why those bets were abandoned long before that dreary entry from The Netherlands was declared the winner, including excessive running time, the whiff of voting foul play from the usual Greek/Cypriot suspects, and Britain’s Michael Rice finishing last, but I’m pinning it all on the half-time turn, Madonna.
She very clearly thought she was doing Eurovision a massive favour just by turning up.We just as clearly could hear it was actually Eurovision which was doing Madonna the service, even if they had forgotten to fit her a chairlift. Or an auto-tuner.
Or bothered checking to see if she was secretly working as part of a Hamas sleeper cell. Because, in all my long years of watching and enjoying this barmy old event, I have never seen someone suck so much life from the room. Audience and viewers were both gone in the space of ten minutes.
So too was Graham Norton, who might not have had his chat show booker’s head on, but he certainly spared her blushes, made no reference to the fruit ’n’ nutcase music and didn’t even point out Madonna’s parting “WAKE UP” shot was pretty wishful thinking having comatosed half the continent.
Graham Norton made no reference to Madonna’s fruit ’n’ nutcase music
A shame. An event like Eurovision needs him to apply the same levels of brutality to everyone who deserves them, including superstars and the 41 exhibitionist berks from the national voting juries who try to make the night all about them.
By the time the evening got round to that point, though, Norton was either too tired or too busy belly-aching about the night’s big casualty.
“Oh that’s got to hurt.
“That’s awful. Our hearts go out to Michael.” Michael? Michael will be fine.
It’s the mad old American bat who you thought had “conjunctivitis” who’s really screwed.
[boxout headline=”Piers on body positivity”]
GOOD Morning Britain, Piers Morgan on THAT magazine front cover: “To put it in context, she’s 100lb heavier than me and she’s 11 inches smaller. And that’s a body- positive image?”
No, that’s Mikumi, Whipsnade Zoo’s white rhino.
Years a real PC plodder
ANOTHER reason for Line Of Duty’s incredible popularity? It didn’t despise more than half its potential audience. Something you’d think would be the default setting of most mainstream TV drama.
The only people who don’t fulfil the usual PC criteria, in fact, are the exclusively white members of a right-wing populist movement, led by Emma Thompson
But it’s the exact opposite, as you’ll have discovered if you watched BBC1’s Years And Years, which, according to Auntie’s continuity moron, was “written by the modern- day genius that is Russell T Davies”, who’s caught here somewhere between Doctor Who and Queer As Folk, while probably wishing he’d written Our Friends In The North.
So we’re vaulted into the near future with a bunch of insufferable heart-bleeders called the Lyons family, who’ve ticked every box in the Beeb’s manual, mixed race, disabled, gay, “trans-human”, and like to appear concerned about Palestine, poverty and a bunch of freshly-arrived Ukrainian refugees, who look about as Ukrainian as the front three floats at the Rio carnival.
The only people who don’t fulfil the usual PC criteria, in fact, are the exclusively white members of a right-wing populist movement, led by Emma Thompson, who plays the role of Viv Rook with a northern, working-class accent, just to put as much distance as possible between herself and her character.
Whether you think she’s the smuggest hypocrite on the planet, though, she’s really good and very occasionally Years And Years’ dialogue absolutely sings.
The actress plays the role of Viv Rook with a northern, working-class accent – just to put as much distance as possible between herself and her character
Most of the first episode, though, Davies was just parading his own political prejudices and engaging in BBC wish fulfilment as he torpedoed us through the years 2019 to 2024.
So the bad news was that (who else) Donald Trump started a nuclear war with China. The even worse news? Have I Got News For You still seems to be going in 2023. Roll on Armageddon.
[boxout headline=”Great sporting insights”]Clinton Morrison: “Berardi lost his head in a split second in five seconds.”
Ian Wright: “Zaha was literally uncatchable, until he was caught.”
Tim Sherwood: “You knew the goal was going to come, but you just didn’t expect it.”
(Compiled by Graham Wray).
Glad GoT didn’t dragon
GAME Of Thrones was a brilliantly imaginative, daring, funny, stylish, mood-capturing television production which arguably changed the face of TV for the better. But the greatest television show of all time? Do me a favour. It’s not even the best show currently on Sky Atlantic (see Chernobyl).
Show bosses definitely had the good sense to make its exit while the going is still good and left most of the audience wanting more
A purely personal opinion, obviously, that I’ll happily admit owes a lot to my own staggering lack of imagination and the presence of dragons, which stopped me ever giving too much of a toss over who sat on the Iron Throne.
It’s also down to the mixed quality of the writing, particularly in this disappointing last series, and the acting.
Because although there were lots of great performances, like Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont, the dispensable nature of the cast meant none of them were towering, quite a few of them were awful (Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth) and the main protagonist, Jon Snow, wore the same slightly aghast expression for the duration.
It’s debatable how well GoT will age as well. It has, though, definitely had the good sense to make its exit while the going is still good and left most of the audience wanting more.
It’s debatable how well GoT will age
And should they ever want to watch the greatest TV show of all time again, they can simply type those 11 letters into their Sky planner: The Sopranos.
Random TV irritations
Every bandwagon-jumping, attention-seeker in the country calling for Love Island to be axed.
The very next middle-class t**t who tells me “you must love Fleabag.” (I don’t). The meerkat advert version of Don’t Rain On My Parade making me long for species extinction.
The absolute PC scandal of Suffragettes With Lucy Worsley beating Bros: After The Screaming Stops at the Baftas. And king of the luvvies, Benedict Cumberbatch, telling the same gathering: “I breathe rarified air.” By which I think he means: “I wear fancy dress and pretend to be other people, for a living.”
Quiz show doughnuts of the week
The Chase, Bradley Walsh: “La Tasca is a restaurant chain specialising in food from what European country?”
Bradley Walsh saw contestants get their answers horribly wrong
Bradley Walsh: “In which sitcom did Hilary Minster play General von Kilnkerhoffen?”
Tipping Point, Ben Shephard: “The actress who won Olivier awards for Into The Woods, Sweeney Todd and Gypsy is Imelda what?”
Natasha: “Helena Bonham Carter.”
And Ben Shephard: “Students and graduates of which prestigious American university are known as Princetonians?”
Betty: “Harvard.” (All contributions gratefully received.)
[boxout headline=”Telly quiz”]TELLY quiz. Who said the following, on Friday: “Comedy can’t exist in a vacuum. Something has to happen for something to be funny.”?
A) The presenter of John Bishop’s Ireland.
B) Every single viewer of John Bishop’s Ireland.
C) Probably both.
Stephen Graham’s disturbingly good performance on Channel 4’s The Virtues.
Stephen’s performance in Channel 4’s The Virtues is great
Kenneth Cranham, Alex Norton, Timothy Spall and the cast of Hatton Garden, who are the creme de la crematorium.
BBC2’s Thatcher – A Very British Revolution. GMB’s Piers Morgan hitting Susanna Reid with the coffee-spluttering accusation: “You shat fame me every day.”
And Sky Atlantic’s Chernobyl, which is horrifyingly brilliant in every single detail, right down to the blood-red splurge all over “Mikhail Gorbachev’s” head. (Tonight, Sky Atlantic, 9pm).
[boxout headline=”Great TV lies and delusions of the week “]GREAT TV lies and delusions of the week. Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan: “I don’t go home and eat cakes.”
Saving Britain’s Hedgehogs, Steve Backshall: “In the next hour, my hardman image is under threat.” (What hardman image?)
And EastEnders, Sean Slater: “Ten years and it hasn’t changed a bit. Sill absolute misery.”
Try 34 years.
[article-rail-section title=”MOST READ IN OPINION” posts_category=”14″ posts_number=”6″ query_type=”popular” /]
Rylan looks like the bloke from the Aviva advert
THIS week’s winner is Rylan Clark-Neal and the bloke from the Aviva advert. Sent in by Billy Bentley, via email.
Picture research: MARTA BREESE
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