Posts Tagged ‘doctor who


Derren Brown is a warlock. Does that make it wrong to fancy him?

Before you say it, yes, I know he bats for the other side. But if he can persuade a bookie to pay out on a losing ticket, he can surely spend five minutes in front of the mirror and persuade himself that he fancies me.

Tonight on C4, Derren’s Evening of Wonders recorded at the Garrick Theatre was shown. I saw the same show at Norwich Theatre Royal, the cultural epicentre of Norfolk’s art scene (there’s not many contenders) and was mightily impressed. I struggle to get anyone to do what I ask them to until I start holding my breath, turning purple or threatening violence. Derren manages to get total strangers to obey him in seconds, although I’d still like to try and see him persuade my daughter to buy a suitable pair of school shoes without raising his voice or using physical force.

Brown, for the uninitiated, looks a bit like a  cross between a Victorian villain and The Master in Doctor Who, can apparently read people’s minds and is often described as “Britain’s answer to David Blaine”.

Personally, I think this comparison is incorrect, primarily because I believe that Britain’s answer to David Blaine should always be “sod off back to America and leave us alone” regardless of what question is being asked.

Instead, I think Derren Brown is more like a British Uri Geller, other than the fact that he is genuinely talented, significantly less creepy and doesn’t bang on about Michael Jackson’s beautiful soul while bending butter knives on the Richard and Judy Show.

Having watched Derren in action, I got to thinking about what it would be like to be Brown’s girlfriend – I like to play this game every now and again, and since the restraining order regarding Abz from 5ive has been lifted (only because I can’t find him) I feel safe in allowing myself the odd flight of fancy.

Having conjured up several very pleasant images of a relationship made perfect through mind control, hypnosis, illusion and trickery, I suddenly realised that every silver lining has a cloud. And I’m not just talking about Derren’s beard (actually, I quite like his beard – perhaps the mind control has started already).

For example, imagine the trauma involved in buying Derren Brown a surprise birthday present. He’d have worked out what you were going to buy eight years previously, written the name of the gift on a piece of paper and sealed it in an envelope taped to the face of a man who shunted your car on the very day you bought his present.

Or of trying to pull the wool over his eyes.

Derren: I haven’t seen those boots before.

You: Yes you have, I’ve had them for ages. I bought them in the sales.

Derren: No you didn’t. You bought them this morning from a woman with slightly crooked teeth and a lingering odour of Sure 24-Hour Protection. Her postcode is NR4 6ZT. The first single she ever bought was by the Bay City Rollers and her front door is blue. You paid full price. In five minutes you will say the word “unilateral”, in 10 minutes you will see this entire conversation tattooed on to the back of a passing horse.

You: They’re just boots, Derren.

Derren: I knew you were going to say that. Etc etc etc.

I still definitely would, though. And so would he if he wasn’t gay. Fact.


ITV1’s Demons? Five reasons why I’ve seen more frightening nativity plays

I won’t beat around the bush. Demons, ITV1’s new Doctor Who/Merlin/Primeval slot filler is so irredeemably shit that it makes Bonekickers look like a seminal piece of drama. Christ, it even makes Robin Hood look fantastic.

Here are five (I limited myself) reasons why Demons is as pleasurable to watch as open heart surgery on a loved one:

1) Philip Glenister’s ‘American’ accent. Veering from the Texas ‘y’all’ to the New Yorker’s ‘how YOU doin’?’ in one sentence isn’t easy, but Glenister manages it. Throughout entire episodes, he sounds as if he’s parodying people who think they can do accents, but can’t. The irony is that he is one of these people.

2) Characters are given to slipping into middle English the moment they are confronted with one of Satan’s minions. Quite why a messenger from the dark side, imbued with all the devil’s awesome power, would be terrified by a Hollyoaks extra threatening to “smite thee” is anyone’s guess.

3) The demons themselves obviously cleared Poundland out of stock last Halloween. These are the kind of ‘monsters’ we used to be frightened of on Doctor Who in the 1970s because we didn’t know any better.

4) Zoe Tucker’s character Mina Harker (just to hammer home the vampire heritage) is blind. Yet she still manages to apply a perfect sweep of black eyeliner with the kind of finesse that 99 per cent of women with 20:20 vision  can only dream of. Perhaps her guide dog received tutorials from Chanel.

5) Demons is like a really long session of foreplay with an inept man that leads to 30 seconds of sub-standard penetration. Storylines are torturously long-winded and boring, and lead to a face-off between Lynx ad boy Christian Cooke (role: last in a long line of vampire hunters, first in the line to take his top off for no reason) and one of the undead which is practically over the second he starts smiting. In last night’s episode about demons in angel’s clothing stealing children – a kind of Lidl-brand version of Doctor Who’s Blink – he sent Gilgamon, or Gilbert, or whatever dressing-up box devil he was dealing with packing in the time it took me to leave the room and go to the toilet.

I have far more reasons. Like why Richard Wilson looked like the tramp who used to direct traffic in Norwich city centre, why he insisted on carrying a candelabra in a church where you could clearly see light fittings and why we were supposed to just accept that he was like some kind of slovenly Q from the 17th century with a really bad wig. Like why ITV1 has employed someone to choose incidental music which is so glaringly literal (playing the Kaiser Chief’s Ruby, Ruby, Ruby when the Hollyoaks extra rushed to save a character called, you guessed it, Ruby, from some demonic peril or other) that it’s a wonder they don’t play the theme music to Why Don’t You? throughout the entire thing.

Obviously I will watch it again next week to be equally outraged.


Five new reality shows – including Celebrity Dances with Wolves on Ice and Maverick Cop Idol

Frustrated at the fact I have to wait a full six days until the next celebrity-infused reality show begins (Dancing on Ice, ITV, Sunday, 7pm), I have pitched the following ideas to ITV, Channel Four and Channel Five. I still feel disappointed and let down by the BBC after the Blue Peter kitten-naming scandal and therefore am denying the corporation the opportunity to jump aboard this lucrative bandwagon – if that doesn’t hit them where it hurts, I’m not sure what will.

It goes without saying that all of the below ideas MUST be accompanied by the Sugababes’ ‘Here Come the Girls’ AT ALL POINTS when female contestants are introduced. You know, like in every other reality show in the UK at the moment.

ITV1, 8pm: I’m a Celebrity….Pointlessly Teach Me to Do Something Else.

A group of celebrities become even more famous for learning to do the kind of mundane hollow-skulled crap everyone else has been doing for years. Not only are their lives better than yours, now they’re able to do your job better than you and while looking far more attractive than you do. A helpline number flashes up at the end of each edition in case you need to be talked out of a self-harming session in the bathroom with a Doctor Who ruler when you realise how pointless your life is.

ITV2, 6.30pm: Maverick Cop Idol.

Members of the public join a police line-up to become the star of a gritty new Carlton Food Network drama about a pub chef who becomes a maverick cop after something traumatic happens to him involving a spatula and some oyster mushrooms. Candidates should (a) be brilliant but flawed geniuses (b) have a drink problem (c) live alone somewhere quirky, like a windmill or a sewage tank and (d) have a secret sorrow, preferably a dead wife or child.

Channel 4, 8pm: You’re a Fat Pig – Let’s All Sneer at You.
Lots of fat people are herded into a windowless room full of cakes and sausage rolls and then forced to roll in them while thin people watch them through a two-way mirror, pointing and laughing at them.

ITV3, 6.45pm: Celebrity Dances With Wolves On Ice.
Presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby pit man against beast in this light-hearted skate-to-the-death. Celebrities will don ice skates and suits made of bacon and take their turns to face a pack of wolves on the rink. The live grand final sees the two remaining celebrities, or two celebrities’ remains, compete for the first slot on the nearest surgeon’s operating table.

Channel Five, 9pm: Celebrity Conjoined Twins.
Six stars agree to be spliced into a member of the public who will hilariously turn out to be the chalk to their cheese; Gillian McKeith will be sewn into the body of a morbidly obese teenager, Su Pollard will be grafted on to an agoraphobic chronic depressive and Keith Harris will be attached to Orville if the budget gets tight. Stars will be forced to share their lives, homes and major organs with a stranger for six weeks, after which time the public will text in to decide which sibling should die under the knife to save their twin.

I will let you know the outcome. I have high hopes this time round, although personally, I’d have commissioned my last idea: Celebrity Traffic Island.

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