Celebrity Big Brother – the first eviction

Celebrity Big Brother

If you believe the result of The World’s Most Orange Face competition would be a draw between Peter Andre and Donald Trump, take a look at Paul Danan.  Located on the glow spectrum somewhere between an easyJet headrest and a pan of burnt carrots, the marmalade dementor sucks all the colour out of a room, it being unable to compete with his thermo nuclear, Ibiza travel rep hue.

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I mention Paul only because this week he fell out with Sarah Harding and insults were exchanged.  The Sun gleefully reported the Wildean exchange: “The pair clashed on Monday night with Paul branding Sarah “insecure” and “moany” while she described him as “psycho, snide and a hypocrite”.  3-2 to Sarah.

Tonight is eviction night.  Who would go? More to the point, who cares? 1.1 million of you, apparently, according to the ratings.  Not as good as Usain Bolt failing to win the 100m final of the World Athletics Championships (8.9 million) but then not as bad as Football On Five (600,000).

Which meant your writer opened £5.99 Côtes de Provence Rosé from Aldi (not sponsoring me either, the swines), switched on the telly, and readied herself for an explosive night’s viewing.

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I will make a brief confession here.  I haven’t watched a single minute of CBB since the launch night, so I remain blissfully ignorant of the identities of a fair number of the housemates.  But since the car crash that is Ms Harding is eclipsing everyone else anyway, why bother? Economy of effort, folks.

On came Emma Willis, looking unfeasibly beautiful as per.  She went through the people up for eviction. Nope, nope, and nope.  The Monobrow.  And poor old Sarah Harding. And someone else.  As the roll call of names was announced, half-hearted boos rang out from the gathered mob, all of whom had nothing else to do on a Tuesday night.  I don’t have much fellow feeling for any of the housemates, but really… who cares what this bunch of losers think?

Cut to footage of the housemates waking up.  Holy crap, Bazza from EastEnders, naked in bed.  Shouldn’t there be a three second warning before broadcasting this sort of thing?

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Sarah came to the Diary Room.  “I miss my dogs.  If they’re not happy with you, they pee on the furniture.” Be careful what you wish for, Sarah.  Remember Paul Danan is in the house.

But why all the suspense? Surely, as a famous psychic, the all-seeing Derek Acorah could tell us who would be evicted. Perhaps he was too busy chatting to Sam (his spirit guide) to tell us.  A quick google revealed Derek is convinced he was a “little black Ethiopian boy” (nice turn of phrase, Derek) in his last life, which is how he met Sam, as they lived in the same village 2,000 years ago.  Okaaaaaaaaay.

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Sarah and Paul held a duel in the kitchen, covering up last night’s spat by pretending to be concerned about each other.  Paul assumed the role of the wise old man of showbiz, prepared to share his hard-won knowledge with the ingénue that is the far more successful, and indeed famous, Sarah. “Ar remember vat Love Island shit.  Ar see masell in you,” he confided.  Sarah looked appalled at this revelation, and went in for a hug in order to shut him up.

God this was boring.  Where was everybody else? Some dude called Jordan who couldn’t string a sentence together discussed his week-long “relationship” with some woman – sorry, no idea – who felt things were going too fast.  Jordan took this revelation on the chin. “We’ll coolitdarn. Sortit.” Said woman looked bored. Who ARE these people?

Okay, eviction. Chad (boos). Marissa (boos). Karthik (boos). Sarah (massive cheers). Trisha (boos).  It was between Karthik and Marissa. The tricoteuses yelled “Get Marissa OUT!” Why though?  Marissa appeared on the stairs looking terrified.

Why anyone would subject themselves to this kind of public damnation is beyond me.  I make fun of the housemates, but it’s the public who need to have a word with themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Big Brother – launch night

Celebrity Big Brother

I gave up watching CBB a couple of years ago, the majority of contestants being drongos from other reality TV dross, but this year, it was rumoured that in amongst the nonentities would be some proper slebs.  Whoopee! Bring it on, Tom Hiddleston! Welcome, Kit Harington! Well hello there, LordeRuPaul, the pleasure is all mine! Sorry, what’s that? Barry from EastEnders 13 years ago?

The best part of the build up to the show has been the supposedly inside story of ex-Girls Aloud chanteuse, Sarah Harding.  The allegedly hard-partying Sarah, who is only 35 but now resembles a 48 year old woman who has undergone surgery in order to look like a 45 year old woman, apparently has mixed feelings about going into the house.

Sarah Harding

An insider told The Sun Online: “Sarah is fully onboard. But she is not sure if she feels ready.

“She has been enjoying a career out of the spotlight recently and is not sure she wants to give up her low-key presence just yet.”

The term “insider” is journalistic shorthand for “we made this up”, and given that Sarah’s career in recent years has comprised appearing on Tumble, Celebrity Masterchef, Dating in the Dark (yes, really) The Jump and a universally panned guest spot on Corrie, once might want to question the veracity of this statement, but props to her for giving it a go.

Anyway, tonight is launch night and as is customary, your writer laid in supplies of prosecco and Lidl Bitterol (only £7.99 and better than Aperol, you’re welcome) and stared keenly at the screen, ready to be awestruck, or at least only mildly bored.

Lidl Bitterol

(I’m not sponsored by Lidl. More’s the pity.)

First out the gate was, yes, Barry from EastEnders, dressed as a Poundland Simon Cowell.  “Hello, I’m Shaun Williamson. I can sing.” Eh? Bazza gave us a couple of notes to better illustrate this unexpected statement. “Singing. I like to think that’s the thing I can do best.” How wrong can a man be?

Shaun was given a secret task of such stupifying idiocy – “be nervous!” – that I refuse to say anymore on the subject.

Ooh, Sarah Harding, dressed as a supervisor in the Doncaster branch of Next, three hours and 15 rum and cokes into a hen night.  Sarah gave us the inside track regarding her misunderstood personality. “Arm just one of the lads,” she confided.

Someone from Made In Chelsea.  Sorry folks, I’ve never watched it.  A swift Google revealed him to be a chap called Sam Thompson. Not a very upper crust name, but perhaps he would be teaching the housemates how to play polo later.

Oh Christ, the ocean-going, gold-plated twat that is Derek Acorah. “If there’s activity, or a presence in the house, I will expose it.”  Emma eyed him warily. “Do you think the house will be haunted?” she queried. “Yes,” replied Derek.  He went on to give us his philosophy on life. “Inside us all…. if we think fun…. er…. fun and….er…. think… of fun….” Emma kindly helped him out. “We’ll have fun?” “Yes.”

Marissa Jade. Not a clue.  Neither had the housemates.  “How ARE you?” they chorused, too polite to ask, “WHO are you?”

Sandi Bogle, of Gogglebox fame! Sandi is ace. She looked fantastic, as well she might given that she is Naomi Campbell’s cousin (appaz).

Another bloke. “Most people know me from The Bachelorette.” Not me, mate.  Chad Johnson.  The Sun reports that he once shat himself on TV.  Chad is the living embodiment of Andy Warhol’s much quoted prediction.

Helen Lederer. Cracking. Funny, clever, terrific on Ab Fab, and unusually truthful. “I wouldn’t describe myself as a celebrity.  I would describe myself as someone who likes a drink.” She’s far too classy to be on this shite.  Perhaps she’s a large mortgage to pay off.

The Apprentice

Prize berk Karthik Nagesan of Apprentice (fired) fame appeared.  His monobrow spoke to the nation. “I’m going to be the centre of attention. I can sleep when I’m dead.”  Except you can’t.

Some foul-mouthed bint known as Brandi Glanville, which sounds like the kind of puzzling condition doctors in an Edwardian sanatorium would discuss, turned up.   “What is it, Professor?” “I believe it to be…..Brandi Glanville.” “NO!” “Yes.  Ask the nurse to bring the ice, and a gallon of laudanum.”

Another bloke. “I’m not going in this house to play safe. I’m gonna do what I wanna do.” Genuinely, no idea. Clueless.  Jordan Davis.  “Hopefully the house will be 15 girls, and just ME!” he yelled in Emma’s face. “I’M GONNA WIN IT!”  Emma wiped his spittle from her elegant cheek, and looked doubtful.  The voiceover informed us Jordan had slept with 1,500 women.  His OBE is in the bag.

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Trisha Paytas landed, dressed as Miss Piggy  during an explosion in the local Kleenex factory.  “Trisha once ate 10,000 calories in one sitting!” declared the voiceover.  Same.

Another one. Jemma Lucy. “Arve got tits, teef and tantrums,” she announced, her grammar limp with excitement.   Would this damned programme never end? A glance at the TV schedule revealed there was another 30 minutes to go, and I had already endured an hour and a half.  Beyonce and The-Dream wrote Single Ladies in 20 minutes, for crying out loud.  PEOPLE ARE GETTING CLOSE TO RUNNING A MARATHON IN LESS TIME.

Professional Northerner  Amelia Lily used to be a figure skater, we were told.  She has owned 28 guinea pigs and once wet herself on the London Eye.  Her parents must be so proud.

Paul Danan! “Ma nickname is Dangerous Danan, because arm dangerous,” he explained helpfully.  I remember Paul from Celebrity Love Island, where he behaved like a complete prick.  One must hope he has changed.  “Arl juss be me,” he leered. So no, then.

So that’s it. All the housemates were in the house.  What next? Channel 5 cut to shots of them chatting awkwardly, looking like the delegates at the annual luncheon of the Didcot Chamber of Commerce.

Send help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strictly – the quarter final

Strictly Come Dancing the quarter final

Musicals Week, hurrah!  But before we embark on our Strictly journey, take a moment to remember the man, the legend, the sheer, er, balls, that is Ed:

In the great steaming pile of shite that is 2016, Ed was a weekly two minutes of joy. Now at something of a loose end since last week’s Strictly ejection, he has said he has no plans to return to his previous life in politics.  Very wise.  Let’s face it, if a tangerine fuck-knuckle can make it all the way to the White House,  the public affairs bar is set way too low for a man of Ed’s talents.

Dress watch: Tess in a split bin bag, Claudia in an Ann Summers’ nightdress.  4/10. Must do better.

The show kicked off with Anton Du Beke yelping an abomninable ditty specially penned by Strictly’s music producer Matt Howes, who should be taken out and shot.  The only distraction from Anton hitting all the wrong notes was his unfeasible, decayed satsuma-coloured hair.  Presumably Anton is mates with Paul McCartney and Silvio Berlusconi, both of whom use the same orange hued dye. Embrace the grey, Anton.  And never sing again.

Once I’d taken my fingers out of my ears, I was able to focus on Ore and Joanne,  who danced the Foxtrot to ‘Pure Imagination’ from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Ore as Willy Wonka.   It was truly lovely, but I’m afraid I’ve led you astray with my previously stated conviction that he would win the competition.  He won’t.  Hey ho.  This is why I don’t win the Lottery, folks.

Next, Judge Rinder and Oksana, who danced the Samba to ‘Oh! What a Night!’ from Jersey Boys.   I have loved Rinder ever since the moment when, waiting to find out if he was in the dance off, he was caught during one of Tess’s interminable pauses mouthing “Oh COME ON.”  Alas now Ed has gone (obligatory two minutes’ silence) he is the weakest link.    I missed some of Rinder’s dance due to a brief spat with my daughter who objected to my asking her to unglue herself from her iPhone and pour me another Aperol Spritz – what are offspring for, if not to keep one’s drinks topped up?, but what I did see looked fun.  Not good, but certainly fun.

Louise and Kevin danced the Quickstep to ‘The Deadwood Stage’ from Calamity Jane.  Louise’s characterisation was brilliant, although there was far too much out of hold and she messed up the timing. Len, of course, managed to bugger up his bon mot: “Never mind the Deadwood stage, you could be on the, er, um, er, the West End stage!” he burbled, like a grandad at Christmas, unable to get his knock knock joke in the right order.

Claudia and AJ danced the Salsa to ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ from the Lion King.   It was a frantic routine, the teeny twosome bopping like toddlers high on Ribena and Tangfastics at their 12th birthday party.  “Well, that was HIGH ENERGY!” shrieked Darcy, who kindly refrained from mentioning the final lift in which AJ lifted Claudia over his head and wore her like a hat, something I hope never to witness again.

Finally, Danny and Oti danced the Tango to ‘One Night Only’ from the musical Dreamgirls.  Danny was excellent at the start of this series, and is still excellent, although his footwork went awry several times.  He’s too much of a tailor’s dummy for my taste, but there’s no denying the man can dance.  He’ll probably win.

The show finished with a knock-out West Side Story routine from the professionals that mercifully did not include Anton singing.  If only Ed Balls had been in it, it would have been perfect.

 

 

 

 

Strictly – Blackpool!

Strictly Come Dancing Blackpool

It’s that week.  You know, the one where everyone pretends that they want to go to Blackpool.  They don’t, of course, but part of Strictly’s charm is pretending to like things when you patently don’t.  Ed Balls, for instance.  There must be quite a few contestants who would like Ed to be knocked down by a Blackpool tram, but nobody says so because that’s not the Strictly way.  Not me.  I’m 100% #teamballs.  Er, #teamEd.

Yes Blackpool, the “Vegas of the North”.   People say that. They really do.

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Blackpool is usually where the novelty act gets booted out, so this week could be the end of Ed’s Strictly run, but then, in a world where a hamster-crowned kumquat can be voted the leader of the free world, who knows?

Claudia and Tess maintained current hideous dress form, Claudia dressed as a 1960s primary school teacher in navy polyester, Tess in a red confection that probably looked okay until the caretaker’s cat mauled it.

Up first were Claudia and AJ, dancing the Jive to ‘Hey Mickey’ by Toni Basil, a song I hated in 1981 and didn’t sound any better in 2016, as it was murdered by the Dave Arch singers.  In typical AJ style it was fast, probably too fast for Claudia, who went wrong right in front of the judges.  Len was on hand however to provide reassurance, and his customary unfunny word-play.   “Verr woz no takin’ the mickey wiv that darnce!” he yelped.

Peter Kay turned up to read out the terms and conditions and was funnier in his allotted 90 seconds than any other comedian manages in an hour.  Behind him, the dancers giggled wildly and Claudia gave up any attempt at control.

Next up, Ore and Joanne danced the Viennese Waltz to ‘That’s Life’ by Frank Sinatra. I have tipped Ore to win, but I am now going to hedge my bets and say Ore or Ed. (Now Ed will be voted out. I am rubbish at predictions.  This is why I haven’t won the Lottery.)  Their dance was gorgeous, notwithstanding the extra dancers milling around the floor which I find an annoyance, not an enhancement.    There was a fleckerl that went on for a week and a show-stopper of a finish.

Louise and Kevin danced the Paso Doble to ‘Explosive’ by Bond.  Louise has gone from tentative “don’t look at me” to full-on hoofer and it has been a joy to watch.  Their Paso was passionate, dynamic and perfectly choreographed.  Even Craig liked it.  Just as it seemed as though the judging panel might all say something informed and constructive, Len blasted through their measured intelligence like an ice cream van fuelled by amphetamines: “Ar woz blown away on the beach diss mornin’! An’ arm blown away nah!”   Shut up, Len.

Danny Mac and Oti (love her) danced the Charleston to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Gregory Porter. He was supposed to be playing a waiter, but was dressed like a circus ringmaster; no matter, it was really, really good.  Her choreography was terrific, a sort of American Smooth Charleston, and although Danny looked a bit knackered in the middle section, there was no denying it was a full on performance.   Craig gave it his first 10 of the series.

Ooh Ed Balls and Katya! They danced the Jive to ‘Great Balls of Fire’ by Jerry Lee Lewis. The Jive is where many dancers trip up (literally) but my worries that Ed’s dancing would be flatter than a platypus nailed to the floor were unfounded.  There were genuine kicks and flicks in his routine.  Of course the judges have now given up attempting to provide any form of critique because he is just fun to watch and the public love him.  His marks were rubbish of course.

Next it was Greg Rutherford and his huge bottom, dancing with Natalie to the Quickstep to ‘Hand Jive’ by Sha Na Na.  Greg looked nervous throughout, skipping round the dance floor like a kangaroo keen to let the townsfolk know that young Barry Dingwall had fallen down a disused well.

Finally, Judge Rinder (now spray tanned to a shade known as Donald Trump Max) and Oksana who danced the Salsa to “Spice up your life” by  – do I really have to tell you?  I LOVED it.  Lots of hip action, and Rinder unable to stop himself singing.   He and Oksana really seem to have struck up a genuine friendship.  Craig, amazingly, loved it.  “Hip-tastic, dahhhling.  I think I’d like to call you Judge Grinder.”   Darcy gave him The Look.

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but Craig was unapologetic. Len whinged about piffling detail relating to footwork, but Rinder was too happy to care.

Will this be the week that results in Balls being buried at Blackpool?  I’ve no idea, but clock that alliteration.

Strictly – Halloween!

Strictly Come Dancing Halloween

I bow to no-one in my love of the BBC, but their copywriting stinks.  Cop an eyeful of this drivel:

“Want to see an Olympian practicing witchcraft, or a TV presenter playing an evil shopkeeper? How about a couple of comic book villains giving us a chilling Charleston, or a Lady Gaga song turned into an eye-popping Paso Doble? Of course you do. So grab a toilet roll, do yourself up like a mummy, and get into the spooky spirit.”

Grab a toilet roll? God’s sake. Hey Beeb, give me a ring. I’m way better than the dudes you employ who churn out this deathless prose.

Anyway, to the dancers.  Halloween night is usually a florid rat’s nest of ludicrous props and holy-crap-the-kids-have-found-my-all-my-lipsticks face paint, as pros and slebs alike camp it up more than a Carry On film directed by Liberace.  This year’s stuck fairly close to tradition.

For anyone missing, or at least recently discharged from hospital after playing, Bake Off Bingo,  there’s always Strictly Halloween Bingo to keep you warm/ease you into an alcoholic coma.  Neck a double everytime:

  • Someone (and when I say someone, I mean Tess or Len) says “spooktacular”
  • Ditto “frighteningly talented”
  • Ditto “scarily bad”
  • Len smugly delivering the line “there woz plenny of tricks anna few treats” or variations thereon
  • Craig referring to Ed Balls as “a horror show” or variations thereon
  • Len telling us all that the Rumba is hard for a man
  • Anastacia pretending to be pleased Brendan is back
  • Tess wearing an appalling dress.  Oh hang on, that’s every week.

In a case of supreme bad taste, the opening group number was to “You Spin Me Round”, a hit for the recently deceased Pete Burns.   The Beeb rushed out a statement blithering on about it being a tribute, instead of admitting they hadn’t had time to choreograph and rehearse anything else.  Tess and Claudia appeared, Claudia in her usual flapper-meets-shapeless-sack affair and Tess wearing her nan’s bra and net curtains she’d dyed black for the occasion.

First up, Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton, dressed as Suicide Squad Lite, dancing the Charleston to the ill-advised Emeli Sande version of ‘Crazy In Love’, one of the worst songs ever recorded.  I thought it was dull, but the judges loved it.   Maybe I need new glasses.  Maybe THEY need new glasses.

Judge Rinder and Oksana gave us their Paso Doble to Gaga’s Born This Way.  He was a moth, she was a butterfly and it was tremendous fun.  Their gapping would have allowed a small mini-van to drive between them, but there was bags of theatrical energy and I loved it.  Even Craig liked it.  Rinder looked delighted and squeaked with pleasure.  I’d rather watch him than tailor’s dummy Danny Mac any day of the week, but each to their own.

Claudia Fragapane and her partner AJ, who is taking part in this competition to pass the time until he’s allowed into big school, gave us their American Smooth.  It’s difficult for tiny people to pull off elegance, not least because when in hold, teeny Claudia looked like a baby mammal clinging to her mother rather than a sophisticated foxtrotting dancer, but again, the judges loved it.

Oh God, giant ego Brendan and Anastacia in one of the unfunniest VTs of the series.  “Aal this bat training has got me burble burble burble Aa hope Aa wone bee wingin it” she drawled.  At least she had the grace to look embarrassed.  They danced a flat-footed Jive to ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ by Meat Loaf.   Darcy wiffled on about confidence and failed to mention Anastacia’s kicks and flicks had all the sharpness and energetic action of an elderly bear wearing Ugg boots.

Danny (tailor’s dummy but very accomplished dancer) and Oti (fabulous) danced the Foxtrot to ‘Take Me To Church’ by Hozier.   An interesting choice of music for a pagan festival.   Their VT was one of the worst-acted in the entire history of Strictly, ever.  How is this man a paid actor? Sorry, what’s that? Oh.  He’s in Hollyoaks.  That explains it.   Danny messed up but he’ll still make the final.  He won’t win though.  Ore will.

Laura and the sweating Italian Giovanni danced the Tango to The Rolling Stones “Paint It Black.”   They were all kinds of wonderful; sexy, passionate, snapping heads – a real tango, in other words.

Ore and Joanne danced the Charleston to the Bow Wow Wow version of ‘I Want Candy’.   Now this was a routine about Halloween I could get on board with, that is, one that was all about stuffing your face with sweets.  It was utterly bonkers, tremendous fun and incredibly fast but unfortunately he missed a lift, there was hardly any swivel and he got out of sync for a couple of seconds.  But hey, it just wasn’t his dance.  And imagine how dull it would be if he was brilliant every week.  I am, in case you were unsure, a huge Ore fan.

Greg Rutherford danced a rumba to ‘Bring Me To Life’ by Evanescence. Natalie, a woman who has always resembled a robot until her partnership with the Olympic gold medallist, gave it her not inconsiderable all.  Greg did a lot of “acting” and the choreography was fast, faster than most rumbas, possibly to cover up the fact that the rumba content was almost non-existent, Greg’s hips needing a couple of cans of WD40 to get them moving even a centimetre.  It was all performance and zero technique,  a critique which reminded at least one viewer of an ex-boyfriend.  Darcy sympathetically told Greg that “rumba is hard for a man”.  DRINK, EVERYONE.

Daisy and Aljaz danced the Paso Doble to Santa Esmeralda version of ‘Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’, that well-known Halloween anthem (me neither).   She wore a fantastic dress (I care about these things, shut up), the Day of the Dead make up on both was outstanding and they danced a Flamenco-based Paso that was truly exciting to watch.

Finally, Ed Balls (Ed Balls).  Hurrah!  Craig has awarded him two points each time for the past three weeks, and I felt worried that his Cha Cha would bring a new low with only one point.  Latin is not Ed’s friend.  But they danced (minced would be more accurate) to the Hansel Martinez version of ‘Love Potion No. 9’ and bloody hell, it was great!  Not in a dancing sort of way, you understand, I’m not mad.  “I absolutely loved that,” said Darcy, puzzled.  “There was actually quite a lot of cha cha.”  She looked as though she needed a lie-down and a Valium.  Len, of course, was keen to impart his not at all scripted wisdom. “It wozzunt soopa, and it wozzunt natrell, but it issya best darnse.”  Craig awarded him a four and laughed like a loon, Bruno lost his head and gave him a eight, and the nation ran round its sitting rooms in delight.  Nobody can quite understand the Ed phenomenon, but if I might be allowed to put forward my two penn’orth worth, these reality competitions are now crammed with people who have stage/performance/acting creds, if not dancing ones, and total novices like Ed are rarer and rarer.   Which is why we take them to our hearts.

OMIGOD Ed wasn’t bottom of the leaderboard, either.  That humiliation was occupied by Brendan and Anastacia, who have surely outstayed their welcome.

Next week, everyone quacking on about how badly they want to go to Blackpool.  Which we all know is absolute rot.

 

 

The Great British Bake Off – THE FINAL!

The Great British Bake Off - The Final

The last ever Bake Off on the Beeb.  It’s the end of a madeira.  Oh please yourselves.

So – and now there were three. Who would win the royal-themed Great British Bake Off final? The country held its breath.  And its glasses of wine, if Twitter was anything to go by.  Mary Berry’s legacy to the nation is that everyone is now as keen on booze as she is.

Jane, Andrew and Candice lined up and were told to bake a filled meringue crown.  “Big enough for the whole Royal Family!” squeaked Mel.  What, all of them? They were going to need a bigger tent.  “It’s the final, and we’ve been waiting for this,” wrinkled Mary, wisely.  “I’m looking for it to taste good, look good, and…..” And what, Bezza? Have a secret layer of tequila-flavoured raspberries?  Be made entirely of gin?  “Be spectacular.” Oh.  I blame Nadiya (last year’s winner) for this royal shizz.  She’s always being papped with Her Madge.

Jane wanted her meringue to be “as white as possible” (should please Prince Philip) whereas Andrew wanted his to have a brown colour, using muscovado sugar and Candice, (looking all kinds of fabulous in a funereal black dress) wanted to go “a little bit further” and threw in some prosecco (should please Mary).   “Now for my cassis jelly jewels,” shimmied Andrew.  Is that what you kids are calling them these days?  He then bent over his oven to check his meringue and uttered the immortal words:

Great British Bake Off

Moving swiftly on, the judging.  “Your coulis is sharp,” declared Mary to Jane, who looked unsure as to whether or not this was a good thing.”  Candice and Jane got a Paul handshake (it’s just a handshake, calm down) but Andrew didn’t.  Andrew felt this was a worrying development.  What would happen in the technical challenge?

Victoria Sandwich.  Eh? Any fool can make one of those.  There were no instructions, no quantities, no recipe, no method, nothing.  Aha.  Evil.  The camera cut to a Victoria Sandwich so perfect it couldn’t be real.   “It MUST look like this,” said Mary firmly.  Paul’s mandarin orange complexion gaped at her in awe.

Everyone made their sponges, fretting about creaming methods and all-in-one methods, (“Mary likes the all-in-one method” said Jane, trying, and failing, not to look smug.)  They then started making their own jam.   Oh but Mary, you’re cruel.  “Everyone’s will look exactly the same, making it easier to compare them,” wailed Andrew, his jelly jewels presumably limp with worry.

Candice was told she’d made jelly not jam, because she’d taken the pips out.  Candice reacted as though she’d gone to the doctor with a slight rash on her knee and been told she needed her leg amputated.  Jane’s buttercream was a bit on the soft side and her jam was gluey.  She pulled a face that indicated she wished to destroy the government.  Andrew won.  “An even bake, a good jam, a smooth buttercream.”  What more can a girl ask for?  He should put that on his Tinder profile.

The biggest ever Bake Off final show stopper challenge. Five hours to make  12 puff pastry sausage rolls. 12 fruit and custard tarts (bleurgh). 12 savoury scones.  12 mini quiches (seriously Bezza, the 80s are over. Stop trying to make them happen) and a chocolate cake.  Essentially, a large picnic for alas unwritten Enid Blyton novel, “Five Go Mad With Pastry In A Tent”.

Candice made a chocolate orange and cardamom cake.  Bloody cardamom.  WHY?  Andrew produced a spreadsheet. Of course.  Jane made stuff like elderflower and something or other tarts and a four tier chocolate cake.  You won’t fit that in the picnic hamper, Jane.  There was a clip of Jane’s extremely good-looking children.  Why doesn’t one of them tell her to use Frizz-Ease? John Frieda is the way forward, Jane.  Knock that squirrel off your head.

So, 49 bakes, but only one oven.  “Time management has never been so important,” whispered Mel.   Meanwhile the other bakers were sat outside the tent having a great old time, giving their tips for who would triumph.  Selasi wanted Andrew to win.  I WANTED SELASI TO WIN.  Jane had the most supporters.  Would she steal it from the other two?   Val was firm.  “Candice.  She’s VERY focused.”  Val gave no indication as to whether she approved of this.  Jane’s chocolate collar wouldn’t peel off the greaseproof paper.  She pretended not to mind.

200

God but it was amazing – they were baking at the speed of light (whatever that is, I didn’t pay a lot of attention in physics at school) and everything looked bloody gorgeous.

Mary thought the Queen would love Jane’s colourful picnic.  “Great chocolate cake”, smiled Paul.  “Shame about the collar.”  He giveth, and he taketh away, folks.

“It’s beautifully displayed,” said Mary of Andrew’s spread.  “But such a thick layer of undercooked pastry, I think I’ll be leaving that.”  His cake fared better.  “That’s a great cake.”

Finally, Candice, who looked terrified.  “It looks an exciting hamper,” said Mary, happily.  “I love your little piggies.”  (Sausage rolls folks, she hadn’t cooked her toes.)  “Beautiful LAAAAAAIIIRRRRRS.”   The tarts were a little over-baked (apparently) but “that’s a good custard.”  Paul looked closely at her cake whilst Jane also stared at it intently.  “Let there be snakes in it,” she seemed to be praying.  “Or a great honking dog poo.” Bad luck, Jane.  Her chocolate orange and bloody cardamom cake was a triumph.  Had Candice got this in the bag, or rather the hamper?   The bakers joined their cheering family and friends whilst Bezza and Paul tried to pick a winner.

Candice won.  Of course she did.  She is a superbly talented baker and she deserved it, and all the people on Twitter and in the newspapers who said a ton of mean things about her lipstick and her pout can just EAT IT.  She cried while Jane and Andrew cheered her heartily, like the good sports they are.  “I did it,” she wept quietly.  “I’m good enough.”  Of course you are.  They all are.

So, that’s it.  Bake Off moves to Channel 4, without Bezza, and without Mel and Sue.  It is such a truly lovely programme that I really, genuinely hope it is successful on another channel.  There’s enough meanness and cruelty in the world.  Let’s have more cake.

 

 

 

 

 

The Great British Bake Off – Semi Final

The Great British Bake Off

So we kicked off with Selasi saying if he made it into the final, he’d wear a dress.  PLEASE LET SELASI MAKE IT INTO THE FINAL.  A very funny arthouse homage to French cinema (patisserie week, innit) from Mel and Sue, and then the bakers were up their elbows in palmiers.    Palmiers are easy peasy to bake, folks.  They are also a delicious party snack, the kind that you can cram into your mouth one after the other in vast quantities before realising that everybody is looking at you, and not in a good way.  Just me, then?  Oh please yourselves.

Selasi admitted he’d never made palmiers before, and Mary said “laaaaairs” several times.   There was an interesting spat between Jane and Candice, when it seemed that Jane was carefully watching Candice’s every move – for hints? tips? straightforward copying? – and Candice hissed “I CAN HEAR YOU WHISPERING” in a hey-I’m-only-joshing-I’m-not-really tone.   Selasi finished Sue’s sentences for her and then gave everyone a time check.  “Don’t take this away from me!” laughed Sue.  “Time checks with puns is all I have!”  Selasi grinned, and then went over to Andrew’s bench to help him because Andrew was having a complete ‘mare.  I love Selasi.  Candice wasn’t wearing any lipstick so Mel decided to apply some for her because “you, without lipstick, just isn’t right”.  I also love Mel.

Tasting time.  Jane had turned the same colour as her cerise T-shirt, so the only way to know where her face ended was by the bristling squirrel located about 12 inches above her neck.  Oh Jane.  Why the terrible haircut? In fact, why do women of a certain age choose this haircut? It’s one of life’s mysteries.

Jane: underdone and oily (sounds like an Italian bloke I once dated).  Candice, beautiful flavour, didn’t look like palmiers.  S elasi – okay, Andrew, okay.  Candice is looking good for the winner, but who knows?

Next up, the technical challenge.  A Savarin, which is sort of yeast and booze, basically.   Don’t bother, folks.  Have a sandwich and a beer instead.  Yet again, Selasi had never made one.   Nobody knew what they were doing and everyone tried different methods: Selasi didn’t beat anything, Jane used a dough hook, Candice melted butter, Andrew hurled it all in one bowl.  This is Mary’s doing – who bakes crap from the 1970s apart from Bezza, eh? Someone needs to drag her into the 21st century, pronto.  “How is it everybody can make caramel and I can’t?” wailed Jane, now a shapeless fuschia blob topped by a welcome mat.

Paul didn’t hold back in his criticism. “Overcooked and under-prooved.” He could have been referring to the latest ITV Agatha Christie adaptation, but was actually being rude about Candice’s effort.  “The membrane is off the orange, which is nice,” said Mary of Andrew’s bake.  Innuendo central.  Selasi’s was declared to be the wrong colour, and, horror of horror, he’d left the membrane on his orange.  Ahem. Jane’s caramel had crystallised.  And yet she won.  Selasi looked despondent.  Noooooooo.

The showstopper.  36 fondant fancies, of two types. Genoese sponge, buttercream and glossy fondant.  Argh.  They are SO difficult to get right.  “Time really is important,” said Andrew, glumly.  “I want to see SHOP STANDARD FANCIES,” glowered Paul.  You do? Then buy them from a bloody shop, mate.

Everyone came up with inventive ideas for their fancies.  “I never sieve my flour,” confessed Selasi.  Mary looked as though he’d just done a poo on her kitchen table, stuck a candle in it and wished her Happy Birthday.  “BUT YOU MUST SIEVE!” she corrected, in a horrified tone. “Er, okay,” said Selasi, with a “calm down you loon” look on his face.

Candice’s fancies looked am.az.ing.  “Could do with tidying up,” said Paul. Oh shut up. “Textures are spot on though.” As you were, Paul.  “You’ve made two cracking fondant fancies,’ added Mary.  Candice to win, anyone?

Selasi’s weren’t all that.  “The white chocolate isn’t coming through,” said Mary.  “There’s very little sponge, but then the  lime IS really coming through.” DRINK, everyone. Jane had made a bollocks of hers, and looked close to tears.  She’d iced hers in the same colour as her face, ie fuschia pink.  “So sad you didn’t put anything on the outside of them,” sympathised Mary.  “They’re very lumpy. But the lemon’s coming through.” Anyone playing the GBBO drinking game (copyright, my daughter) would be in an alcoholic coma by this stage.  Andrew’s were too buttery.  “The mocha’s coming through.” Christ, enough with the coming through, judges!  When this programme moves to Channel 4 (pah) the new judges need to think of something else to say.

It was goodbye to Selasi.  Everyone was genuinely sad to see him go.  “No-one’s more sad than me to see him go,” said Mary.  “What a character, what a baker.”  Goodbye, Selasi.  Jane said she was crying that he had gone.  Andrew, however, was made of sterner stuff. “I’m in the final. YESSSSS!”  Nobody likes a show-off, Andrew.

Until next week, folks. Can’t wait. Also, Candice for the win.

 

 

 

The Apprentice – Week Two

The Apprentice Week Two review

Well this is unusual.  The advertising task in Week Two, which this year involved devising a marketing campaign for jeans.  Hey, that’s cool, Apprentice dudes, nobody’s ever done that before!

Anybody remember who got fired last week? No, me neither.

Blah blah recap, blah blah holding phones horizontally the way nobody in the history of mobile phones has ever held them blah blah. Taxis, please be quiet, you is not the kind of person ah want to go inta bizniss wiv, blah blah.

The telephone rang, at OHMIGODWHATTIMEISIT, and despite having only minutes to get ready, ironing/hair straightening/admiring the view took place.  The numpties were summoned to – er, not sure, somewhere that used to be a textile factory and is now a “renowned fashion school”, and told to come up with an advertising campaign for Japanese denim.  “One of yoo will be ‘ung outa dry.”  Oh haha, Sirsugarlordalan.  Very droll.

Big K (twat) waffled on about not wanting to pluck his monobrow because he didn’t want to be like everyone else.  Whevs, K.  One of the girls announced she had a fashion plan. What’s that?  The girls couldn’t decide on a project manager.  “How many for Rebecca?” Rebecca held up her own hand. “You can’t vote for yourself.” “Oh.”  JEEZ.

Jessica was PM (that’s project manager to you, not the prime minister.  Although I can easily imagine Theresa May in this scenario).  The girls did a quick focus group on the street. “What makes you choose a particular brand of jeans?” Her respondent replied as though speaking to a very slow, very small toddler.  “The fit. And the fabric.”   The boys wasted time stopping blokes to question them, and then telling them they were too old to know anything about jeans.  Well done, boys.

Everyone started blabbing on about straplines.  “Claim your fit.”  “Wozza strapline?” “The thing that sits alongside the branding.” Man, this was already shaping up to be a doozy.  Dillon, he of the mascara to emphasise his eyelashes, was, if I have got this right, art director.  He declared he couldn’t be interrupted during his thought processes.  Everyone in his team gave him the side eye.  Their brand was Day After Yesterday Denim.  What does that even mean? The girls chose something that I think was both Unclaimed (eh?), and  Claim Your Fit, which frankly would have worked a lot better with an apostrophe.  Jessica had a panic attack, which amused everyone (nice), and went outside to recover whilst her team took the opportunity to conspire against and say loudly how unreliable she was.   They also seemed to have mislaid their jeans. Cracking start.

Mukai tried to call his artistic director who was busy auditioning hot models for the advert.  The girls blabbed on about “share your image” and directed a photoshoot with genius suggestions such as “do a fake laugh”.   It was all kinds of mess, like trying to make mayonnaise using egg whites instead of yolks.    At this rate the whole lot of them were going to get fired and Sugarlordsiralan would spent the rest of the series having botox injections in the fruitless pursuit of looking less like a disgruntled Shar Pei.  Jessica declared that today had been not at all smokin’ (quote) and that tomorrow she would be better. She missed out that to achieve this she would be an entirely different person with a working brain and a few ideas.   The rest of her team had a hugely enjoyable session bitching about how hopeless she was.  “She just lost it!” “Yeah.”  As far as Jessica is concerned, the sisterhood is dead.

The next day dawned – the day of filming their ads.  The girls were on point. “You need more lipstick.”  YEAH GURL. They filmed in a toilet, to the sound track of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” which was, frankly, an unfortunate choice.  Over in Brixton, Dillon gave directorial instructions to a skateboarder.  “When you fall, can you take off your sunglasses?”  Special K , behaving like Donald Trump at a Miss Universe pageant, suggested he remove his own shirt because he was so hot.  Everyone shuffled their feet in an embarrassed fashion and pretended they hadn’t heard him.

The pitching.  Speaking as a pitching expert (modest) they were all crap.  The boys in particular were appalling.  “I’ll now hand you over to…. thanks, Big Guy…. creative juices…. yeah, love it…. sorry if I’m going a bit quick.”   There was a terrible bit where DAY denim or whatever they called it, launched into their presentation and Mukai, barely one word in, said: “I’ve completely fucked it.”  Yes, he actually said that. It is only fair to say the girls were no better.

Alansirlordsugar listened intently on a corded phone (get with the 21st century, Daddio) as the advertising experts slagged off both teams.  Everyone declared everyone else to be an idiot.  “Did you all go orf talking too much abaht the jeans bean Japanese?” enquired Sirsugarlordalan.  “Wotissit? You wait hours for a terrible bus advertisement and then two come along at once!”  It was hard to disagree with him, and he was properly angry about the dross he was presented with. “Arm not putting ma name to EYE VERR OF VEESE ADVERTS!” he yelled.  “Viss is ma favritt tarsk! GIT OUTTA HERE!”

Both project managers were sent out and told to chose two people each to accompany them back into the boardroom.   The Cafe of Despair was full to bursting as both teams told each other they were crap.

“Arm bitterly disappointed,” declared Alansugarlordsir. Mukai brought back JD (who? Does he have a sports clothing company?) and Special K.  Jessica brought back Alana and Natalia (no, me neither).    The boys started arguing almost immediately.  Special K’s monobrow disappeared into his hairline as he criticised JD.  Mukai’s bow tie drooped with disappointment.

The girls fared no better. “On Day One, arr lost ma head,” explained Jessica.  “But on Day Two, arr found it.  Natalie could’ve done more, but she just got on with the job I gave her.”  WTF?  Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do, ie your job?  “Oooh, arrve lost ma train of fought,” flustered Jessica, who had mysteriously turned into Sue Pollard.

Natalie waffled on about not letting anybody down and doing 100 hours a week with passion but Alansugarlordsir was unimpressed and gave her the boot.  “Thank you, Lord Sugar.”

JD was given the benefit of the doubt and was allowed to stay.  Special K was declared to be a loose cannon but also allowed to say.  His monobrow looked grateful.   Anymore to be fired? Nope.

Next week, manufacturing and selling their own sweets.

The Apprentice – Week One

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Oh man.  “My business acumen would be like a bouncing puppy.” “Behind my boyish good looks…’ “All I’ve ever wanted is money, and power.”  “Arm here twin.”  Look, there’s 18 of them.  I can’t write down every brainless quote.  Stick with me though, because I have a feeling this series is going to be television GOLD.

“So.  You lark to be called The Big Kay arr hear?” Siralanlordsugar interrogated Karthik Nagesan.  “The Big K for friends and fans,” smirked K.  “But you can call me K.” Sugarlordalansir gazed at him in wonder.  It’s been years since a candidate has revealed their idiocy so early in the process.  He then delivered his annual boardroom sermon of doom. “You can compare this to being on a life support machine and one of your colleagues here pulling the plug out just to charge their mobile phone up,” he warned. “That’s how competitive it will get.’’

So, the task.  But first, team names.  The boys chose Team Titans.  Hey, have I heard that name before?

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The girls chose Team Nebula, because who doesn’t want to be thought of as a cloud of gas and dust in outer space?

Someone called Paul was project manager for the boys, Michelle for the girls.  They had to go through piles of antiques, find valuable stuff among the rubbish and sell it.  One numpty reckoned he’d got it covered because he had seen an episode of Bargain Hunt.  Off they trotted to a car boot sale, the boys proudly setting out their crap trestle table with broken china and an old statuette. The girls hadn’t even unpacked when some old lags who knew what they were looking at took them for a ride.  The girls, of course, celebrated.  “We’re gonna make some MONEY!” they yelped.

Then they dragged their stuff off to experts to find out how much their rubbish was worth, buy new stuff blah blah (I missed a bit due to the cat having a fit that I’d put out dry food instead of wet, so I put out wet and he promptly started eating the dry. Frickin’ cats).  Anyhoo, Paul was quite taken with a perfectly hideous Alan Partridge-type chair and got a £300 valuation from his expert. “Hipsters will like it,” declared Paul.  Yeah, they probably would.  Add a couple of antique trombone parts and an ironic lampshade and you’ve got a deal. The girls sold the same chair for about fourpence.  Go, girls!

Michelle spent what felt like the entire day quizzing her expert, only to ignore him entirely and go to Camden instead of heading for Portobello market.  The Titans, however, DID go to Portobello on the basis that it’s the ideal place to flog junk to unsuspecting poshos with money but no sense.    Blah blah how much shall we drop the price blah blah where’s the antiques dealer blah blah run run run run RUN!  “Guys, comman see our stall we sell THINGS!”   Meanwhile, the camera cut repeatedly to shots of Mukai walking around the market wearing an insane orange crocheted bowtie with matching pocket kerchief.    Then there was the usual running around shops with five minutes to go thrusting hideous tables and plastic candelabras at bemused dealers.  “£60 for the lot.” “£50.” “£55?” “£52.”  “Done.”  They had obviously all read that bible of business acumen, Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal.”

The boardroom.  Nebula were immediately roasted for selling stuff too cheaply and spending hours with an expert they then ignored.  Michelle, project manager remember, praised everyone.  Everyone repaid the favour by telling her she was rubbish.

SugarSirAlanLord moved onto the boys.  “Arve had the feedback from Karren fat sum of yoo were like lost lams.”   Everyone gave each other serious side eye as they tried to explain their brilliance and blame each other for their failure simultaneously.  They didn’t need to.

The boys won.  Their prize was a lesson learning how to lindy hop (that’s a kind of jive, young ‘uns).  They looked underwhelmed at this, but not as underwhelmed as the Nebula gals who gathered in the Cafe of Despair.  “Lemme finish torkin!” “IN MY OPINION!” “Arl fight my corner!” etc etc.

Back into the boardroom they trooped and promptly started looking for a bus under which they could throw their team mates.  “There was a lack of leadership.”  One candidate boasted of selling some vases for £15.  “Do you know how much they were worth?” enquired SirSugarLordAlan.  “Er, no…” she replied, sensing that he was about to tell her, and she wasn’t going to like the answer. “Three hundred pahnd.”  “Oh. Sorry.”  Hopefully the vases’ new owners were watching the programme, shouting “Joleen! Them fackin’ vases are worth a fortune!  Gettem on Ebay, now!”

Michelle brought back Alana and Rebecca (nope, no idea.  Soz.)  Rebecca gave a pretty good account of herself, despite selling nothing.  She turned on Michelle’s lack of leadership and zero business acumen.  “Five, ten, fifteen, twenty.   That’s not a pricing strategy.”  Alana declared herself to be the second best seller.  Way to go, Alana. Who wants to come first? Second is where it’s at.  There was a lot of tedious bickering, and Michelle got the boot.

‘THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE OPPORTUNITY!” she yelled in response.  Seriously, think of something else to say, you losers.  “I DIDN’T F%*KING WANT TO BE YOUR KNOBBING BUSINESS PARTNER ANYWAY!” for example.

The lesson, dear readers, is never, ever, volunteer to be project manager in the first week.   But you knew that, didn’t you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great British Bake Off – episode 7

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It’s dessert week, yay! Back to proper baking, not pratting about with pancakes that you FRY, Paul.

So, the signature challenge was to bake a roulade.  Last fashionable in 1981 (I can still recall the horror of spinach roulade filled with coronation chicken), it put the fear of God into all the bakers, as everyone immediately fretted about their roulade having a crack when rolled.  I’m just going to leave that sentence there, as my gift to you.

Andrew made a Tropical Roulade – yeuch, and also, why? – and Benjamina knocked up something repulsive involving pineapple.   The only two ways to serve pineapple are (a) in the 14 Pina Coladas you knock back on a night out in a dodgy cocktail bar, and (b) on top of the Hawaiian pizza you snarf in a feeble attempt to banish the ensuing hangover.  I realise I may be in the minority with this opinion.

But wait!  The bakers are not just good at baking.  No.  Some of them are philosophers, specifically Tom, who briefly decided to abandon his roulade to take up the role of Confucius.  “Good enough is not good enough,” he intoned solemnly.  Honestly, if I wanted to drown myself in that sort of meaningless shite, I’d scroll through Instagram.

Back to the tent.  Everyone served up their sponge tubes of goo, and Mary and Paul liked some of them.  Far more interesting was the technical challenge: making something nobody had heard of.  Marjolaine.  Who the what now?  It’s a  fiendishly difficult French (obvs) dessert, essentially a combination of nutted meringues, pastry cream, and a hint of chocolate.   Or as Andrew put it, “It’s like a Vienetta, but posher.”  Paul and Mary would, we were informed, be looking for a perfect daqciose. Aren’t we all, darlings, aren’t we all.

Anyway, at the judging, Mary told Selasi that his effort was “a bit drunk looking”.  You should know, Bezza.  Andrew won.  He looked thrilled, as well he might.  Onto the show stopper – 12 Mini Mouse cakes! Hey, that’s a bit low rent, isn’t it?  Just icing a load of red and white bows onto sponge.

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Sorry, what? Oh, Mini MOUSSE cakes.  If you’re not sure what they are, let me explain.  They’re the kind of pointless shizz you buy in a panic in Aldi when it’s Christmas and the whole family’s coming round and you suddenly think you need a metric tonne more food but you don’t want to cook any of it.

Candice confided that she would be making a “Champagne Cocktail Mousse.”  Mmmn, yummy.  “I’ll be making it with Prosecco.”  So a Prosecco Cocktail Mousse, then.   Andrew whipped out a ruler to measure his strawberries.   Look I just report this stuff, I don’t make it up.   Tom and Benjamina did complicated stuff with apples.   Jane did something with gelatine.  Selasi looked worried as his mousse refused to set.  “Disaster.”  Oh no, not Selasi, the king of laid-backness (shut up, it’s a thing.)  Would he be booted out of the tent?

Jane’s mousses (I really want to type mice) were terrific, despite some gelatine disasters (steer clear of gelatine, people, nothing good ever comes of it).  “Great moussiness,” snuffled Mary with her mouth full of pink gloop.  Selasi’s were pronounced to be too big *sideways look to camera* but had a lovely flavour.   Candice’s chocolate mousses weren’t mousses, according to Paul “more of a ganache”, and her other mousses were “too stiff for me” he added.  If you say so, Paul.   Tom produced mousses called “Hipster Madness” but, if I have got this right, as there were no Doc Martens, beards or checked shirts they were pronounced inadequate.  Andrew won Star Baker.  “He showed us a very good finish,” creamed Mary.   What is this woman on? And can I have some?

Tom got the boot, and was incredibly gracious about it.  “You always hope it won’t be you, but I knew, really, it would be me.”  What a lovely chap.

Next time, quarter final.  Tudor Week.  Tudor Week? FFS.  Baked swan and leeches, anybody?