Strictly Come Dancing, Week 10


Ten weeks already? Ten truly terrible dresses from Tess (alliteration or WHAT, folks), ten weeks of Len’s appalling puns, ten weeks of Claudia, and, unbelievably, ten weeks of Anton. Whodathunk?

So, three weeks to go and only seven couples left in game.  Who’s likely to win? Professional Northerner Georgia (“I’m Northern”) May Foote and her sweaty Sicilian partners are ahead on scores, but Anita and Gleb are definitely in the running. For my money, Jay and Aliona should win it, if Jay can go from being a poodle-haired introvert to an expressive sex god via the Charleston.  I can’t see Katie and Anton, Kellie and Kevin or Helen and Aljaz winning it, and after Peter Andre looked to be in pole position in the early weeks, now he just looks like a pole dancer in search of one, so I’m going to discount him.

By way of a disclaimer, I have terrible form predicting winners for any reality competition, so if you skip off the bookies on the strength of this blog, it’s entirely your own fault.

This week Tess was dressed like an upmarket toilet roll,  whilst Claudia wore a hideous, black and white striped number that made her look a magpie flattened by a truck.  Seriously, who is their stylist?

On the subject of outfits, every week Kellie is dressed in something gruesome that looks like it came from the T K Maxx bargain bin. Every, single, week. Anyway she and Kevin danced a salsa which I thought a tad meh, but Len declared “Ar fort it woz fabbluless” and the other judges agreed with him. Pfft. What do they know?

Anton, wearing the beatific expression of one who cannot believe he is still in the competition, danced an Argentine Tango with Katie. Notoriously crap at Latin, (dancing, not the language), Anton did surprisingly well.  There were a few clunky moves but Katie looked glorious and the audience loves them so much that when he clumsily hoisted her into half-hearted lift the audience went bananas and roared with delight.  Not that the approval of the studio audience is anything to get excited about, as they’re so easily pleased they’d give a standing ovation to a chicken laying an egg.

Helen and Aljaž danced the Viennese Waltz to ‘At Last’ by Etta James and they were absolutely gorgeous. Dreamy, soft, perfect lines, immaculate timing.  The judges adored their dance and Helen cried an elegantly twinkly tear of gratitude. She won’t win though (I refer you to my earlier comment re the bookies.)

Jay and Aliona danced the Tango to Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’ and all I can say was it was the best Tango I’ve ever seen on Strictly. Len, the miserable old twat, blathered on about Jay missing some heel leads, and then inexplicably announced “Vat woz a mango of a tango.” WTAF? The old fool should be pensioned off immediately.

Throughout footage of his training, the Andre wore an ugly knitted hat borrowed from a smurf, although he has an orange rather than a blue face.  Perhaps he was revving up for a six part Channel Five series entitled Me And My Smurf Kids? Anyway, he and his partner danced the American Smooth to ‘Sweetest Feeling’ by Jackie Wilson. He seems an affable chap and I wish him well, but his free arm waved around so randomly it looked like he was directing traffic. He and Katie are now the weakest dancers in the competition.  “You’ve obviously worked very hard,” said Darcy, kindly, the Strictly equivalent of slapping a sticker on him that reads “I ate my greens at Jamie’s Italian”.

Anita and Gleb danced the Rumba to ‘Read All About It’ by Emeli Sande. Remember those days when no public occasion could take place without Emeli Sande singing throughout? I wonder what she’s up to now. Anita was dressed in her nightie and Gleb’s shirt revealed a chest smoother than a Tefal frying pan.  Len disliked their dance because it didn’t contain enough basic Rumba, eliciting boos from the audience.  Len protested his judging credentials. “Ar don’t come ear to blather on.” I beg to differ, Len.

Whoo-hoo, Georgia! She bangs on about being from the North so much I think she’s trying to reach George R R Martin via the BBC so she can join the cast of Game of Thrones (#ballroomiscoming).  Dressed as a dead crow with Kristen Stewart eye make-up, she and a leather-clad Gleb hurled themselves angrily round the dance floor like two goths who’d been told there were no rooms available in Whitby. It was magnificent.

The Quick Step-a-thon.  It was like watching seven pedalos trying to steer clear of one another in a choppy sea, and Helen emerged triumphant.  She still won’t win (I refer you etc).

You know what’s so lovely about Strictly? It’s absolutely joyous.  Everyone in it loves every minute, everyone wants to win, and yet they’re kind to their fellow competitors and generous in their praise of one another. X Factor, take note.













The Apprentice – episode eight


This week, those chumps remaining in “the process”  had to prove to Lordsugarsiralan that they could plan parties for the children of wealthy parents.   And so the only people in the world able to rise at 6am and leave the house 20 minutes later looking immaculate were summoned to the Museum of Childhood.  Yes, it’s a real place.  Now if it were my Museum of Childhood it would comprise sadistic nuns, Refreshers, Spangles and a school report which said I would do a lot better in life if I stopped considering my teachers to be my academic inferiors.  Whevs, Mrs Murray (Head of Sixth Form).

Anyhoo, said wealthy parents wanted to hold parties for their little darlings, budget of £2,000. That’s right. Two thousand pounds for a child’s party.  TWO THOUSAND POUNDS.

There was much eye rolling as Selina “I don’t like children” was made PM whilst Gary helmed the opposition.  Selina bombarded her client (a cool American girl called Nicole) with crap suggestions but failed to get the mother’s telephone number.  Meanwhile Gary’s client, Jamal’s mother, had a nut allergy, which she felt was important. No shit.  Try sitting in the boardroom explaining to Sirsugaralanlord that the reason you failed to win the task was because you’ve accidentally killed your client.

Gary’s team decided Jamal and his mates would like an outdoors party, which they decided to host themselves, instead of bothering with piffling details such as staff who know what they’re doing.  David foolishly admitted he had experience of working in children’s camps and set to work to demonstrate his entertainment talents.  “YOU PUT YOUR LEFT HAND IN!” he squawked into the ensuing silence. “COME ON!” The dead-eyed children looked unimpressed.  But David had other songs with which to get the tots on-side.  “YOU PUT YOUR LEFT HAND IN…. YOU CUP IT AROUND… PUT IT BEHIND… Like that one?” “No.”  Tough crowd.  Making them all wear glow sticks that don’t work in daylight didn’t help.

Selina also chose a sporting theme.  What happened to just running round the house, screaming your heads off whilst high on sugar, like normal children? Parents these days are idiots.  Back to Gary. The parent with the nut allergy were told that perhaps the birthday cake contains nuts. Well done, Gaz. Back to Selina.  “We have party bags.”  She proceeded to talk Nicole’s mother through their contents, which consisted of naff plastic mirrors and sweets.  “Had you suggested these last night, my instinct would be to say no,” said Nicole’s mama. Selina pressed on, regardless. “Can we discuss costs? These are £10 each.”

I am, on the whole, in favour of party bags, as they are a clear signal that it’s time for the children to leave. I give those parents of young children that tip, gratis.

Gary’s team messed up on Jamal’s t-shirts and all the money they spent on them went for nothing. His party bags were transparent sandwich bags with sweets in them, which ordinarily would be perfectly acceptable but Jamal’s parents had spunked two grand on this shindig and thus had clearly expected Nigella Lawson to turn up and make some praline truffles and perhaps throw in a hand-job for Dad for good measure.

Cake disasters, blah blah, icing, marshmallows, blah blah.   The ghastly Selina won the task and assumed the expression of a cat who had just knocked back three pints of cream with a dead mouse chaser.  Gary, who runs his own events business, looked like the dead mouse. Selina’s team went off to snowboard.

In the Cafe of Doom, Gary told David he would bring him back into the boardroom because he burnt Jamal’s t-shirts.  “He left a sour taste in the client’s eye.” I’m just going to leave that quote there, without comment.

In the  boardroom, Gary, having said David was in the firing line,  then asked Charleine and Joseph to decide which of them wished to throw themselves under the bus.  They protested they had done everything 50:50 and he would have to make the decision for himself. Gazza refused.  Sugarsirlordalan looked even more like a furious Shar Pei than usual, and told the four of them they were all up for firing.

Charleine, desperate to save herself, started arguing in so shrill a voice that only dogs could hear her. Joseph hid behind his Gomez Addams moustache, and Gary smirked (I don’t like Gary). David got the boot. “Thank you for the opportunity.” My GOD, someone think of something else to say, why don’t you?

“Joseph has been a brilliant candidate,” declared Gaz. Good.  That 14 quid office sweepstake is looking promising.









I’m A Celebrity – episode 8


For a variety of reasons, including going to Ireland to spend time with my lovely family, I missed the first week of I’m a Celeb.  Apparently Spencer Matthews was on it, then off it, Lady Colin “I have five tiaras” Campbell is playing a blinder as the Dowager Countess of Green Ants, and there’s every possibility Duncan Bannatyne will be fatally bitten by an Eastern Brown Snake (venom ranked as the second most toxic of any land snake in the world, according to Wikipedia).  Man, it’s good to be back.

So, Lady C was in the firing line for the latest Bushtucker Trial, entitled Helmets of Hell.  Required to stick her head in a Perspex box, she was joined by various bucket-loads of jungle critters.  Angry green ants explored the inside of her nostrils.  Scorpions and spiders attempted to break into her tightly pursed mouth. Lady C remained unmoved. The woman is 66 years old, for crying out loud. Is she Supergirl’s grandmother?

Next up, a box of pythons. “I was brought up to avoid pythons,” she said, peering at the writhing inhabitants. “Oh well.  Let’s give it a go.”   Meanwhile, on Twitter #LadyC was trending, as indeed it should.  Ant and Dec expressed awe at her zen-like countenance.   “I’ve faced many challenges in my life,” she informed Ant and Dec, imperiously.  “THIS,” she gestured dismissively at the jungle, “is not a challenge.” Lady C for Prime Minister, people.

Triumphant, she trotted back into camp, pausing only acknowledge her fellow celebs by waving delicately  in the manner of the late Queen Mother when sat in a chauffeur-driven Bentley.  After taking what only seemed like 15 years to recount her ordeal (obviously nobody dare interrupt her) they learned she had won nine stars.

The camp then had to divide into four groups of three people, and then compete in a challenge to win various prizes, the top prize being a stay at the “jungle hotel” (beds, wine, etc.)

Looking like an ancient tortoise accidently left on a dining room chair, Duncan Bannatyne presided over the picking of teams. Brian (failed X Factor judge) teamed up with a girl called Jorgie (no idea) and some child called George (ditto). Tony (Spandau) Suzannah (no Trinny) teamed up with Yvette (no ghosts)  Lady C declared she had no interest in the competition whatsoever and would like to team up with two others who felt the same and just wanted a nice rest. I forget the other teams.  First up was the Tortoise and two girls, Ferne (no idea) Vicky (Geordie Shore, apparently) and managed to grope both of them at least twice during proceedings.  Vicky called him “a bit of a sort” which is a Tyneside-speak for “lecherous old goat.”

Coincidentally, it was goat for dinner and Lady C and Brian clashed over how to cook it.  Words were exchanged. Lady C stalked off. “I’m far too old to be bothered with the stupid, pointless, ego-grabbing games of these puerile people,” she announced, giving voice to the exact thoughts of the majority of viewers.

Next trial is to be “Floods of Fear” and Ferne was chosen to take it on.  “It’ll involve water,” declared Susannah, wisely. “Possibly swimming.”  You really can’t make this stuff up, can you?



The Apprentice – episode six


This week, those remaining in “the process” schlepped off to a warehouse situated on some Godforsaken piece of land where warehouses live, and were told to set up and run a handyman business.  Handymanandwoman? Handyperson? Handyman. This is my blog, not the Guardian.

“Odd jobs have become BIG BUSINESS,” informed the doomy voiceover.  They have? I spend every frickin’ weekend doing odd jobs yet have somehow failed to become a billionaire, but I’ll take the Beeb’s word for it.

Brett the builder (seriously?) got the PM job and was visibly delighted.  Seemed like a bit of a fix to me, but The Apprentice likes to set up people for a fall, so there was no telling how things would turn out.  Elle headed up the other team, looked gleeful and then immediately found out her team hadn’t got a clue. “Simplicity is key here,” she announced.  No shit.  Mergim, who confided he had been “dying for it” got the sub team role.  Imagine dying to be a team leader on The Apprentice.

Elle’s bunch of chumps missed the deadline for printing their marketing material. Well done, love.  Both teams had to pitch for corporate contracts, and both quoted to do up the costume department at the Theatre Royal in Stratford, east London and some South London football club (I missed which one, but I doubt that matters). Brett’s team did a lot of measuring and making knowledgeable noises about wood. The club wanted their seats cleaned and their white lines re-painted and someone called David, I think, randomly quoted £500.  His team-mates stood back in awe, clearly having no idea if this offered a decent profit margin or not.   Mergim’s mates put up a shelf that was wonky, but confidently declared it was supposed to be, as though designing a Tate Modern installation.

Blah blah quoting for contracts, blah blah.  The corporate client called Elle to discuss prices. “I have no idea about negotiation” wailed Elle to her fellow chumps (well done again, love).  Where do they find these people? Joseph, aka Gomez Addams and my pick in the office sweepstake, seemed on it. Perhaps that £14 will be mine after all.  “Ar feel lark arve really taken ovah vis tarsk,” he confided modestly to camera.

By this stage, I’d lost track of which team was which, but the one with Brett the Builder realised they had no chance of finishing their job at the football ground and told the football bloke.  Claude looked thrilled.  “He’s going to have to re-negotiate on price, and it’s going to cost him,” he whispered, looking like Ernst Blofeld (post-corrective surgery).  The football bloke knocked forty quid off the price.  “Even if we lose, I’ve shown my leadership,” squawked Brett, proudly.  Er, okaaaaaay.

So, to the boardroom. Atop his booster seat, Siralanlordsugar was keen to show his superiority. “Ar laid on two big jobs. ”Props to the candidates here for not laughing.  “So ow did yoo lot do ven?”  A moment here to praise April for the bun on top of her head, so high small planets were circling it.  How does she do it?

Brett the Builder won – what a surprise – and he and his team went off to a spa, which appeared to comprise nothing more than a small sauna and one mud face mask between six.  Wowser.

April, her bun now reaching hitherto undiscovered galaxies, defended her non-existent pricing strategy.  “It was a mistake, and I learned from it.”  Sugarlordalansir turned to Elle, disturbing her mentally working out a new way of saying “thank you for the opportunity.”   She was fired. “Thank you VERY much for the opportunity.” In the taxi of doom, she said she wouldn’t have done anything differently.

Back to the boardroom. “Vis ain’t finished.”  Richard came under fire, but Gomez Addams defended him.  “Ee woz sweatin’, Lord Sugar.”  April and David were chosen to come back with Mergim for the potential chop.  “Charleine, you’re off da ook,” “Can I say something?” “NO.”

Mergim fought hard to stay in the process. “Ar always fink outside feh box.” April saw an opening. “He didn’t lead his team.”  Mergim wasn’t having any of it. “Arm passionate about being a millionaire.”  So am I, Mergim.  So am I.  He was fired, but the firing was tempered with kindness, a rare glimpse of humanity from the teeny boss man. “Keep striving for ya dreams.”  April looked relieved, but unexpectedly got fired as well. David grabbed his chance to boast. “I do shine.” “I didn’t see any shining,” came the withering retort from Baroness Brady.

“Lord Sugar’s search for his business partner continues.” Poor sod.

The Apprentice – episode five


Not being a fan of turning nouns into verbs, I winced on hearing Siralanlordsugar declare that the remaining chumps were to be “tasked” with demonstrating the essential business skill of writing a children’s book.  Yes, in boardrooms throughout the world, cowering minions wish they too, could write “Five Snort Cocaine In The Square Mile” with the same level of skill as their CEOs.  Because anyone can write, yeah? NO.

Anyhoo, the morning call came and off they went to the London library, described, weirdly, as “home to the writers’ library”.  Well DURR.  They were to write a book for the three to five years age group, record an audio version, and then market the result.

Sam wanted to be project manager.  “I have a degree in English Literature,” he declared, his hands waving about like Oscar Wilde in a gale. Charleine, a hairdresser, insisted that because she was clever and more knowledgeable about children’s books than J K Rowling (I’m paraphrasing) she should have the PM role, and promptly grabbed it for herself before the rest of them could shout “HUBRIS”. Her team then blathered on about bees “collecting honey from flowers”, rather as a human might pop into Marks and Sparks and pick up a ready meal.  Bees in Charleine’s world don’t bother with shizz like nectar or, you know, making the stuff. They just collect it.

Sam’s team, initially keen on dragons, (“I like dragons”) eventually went for a mythical creature called Snotty Dink.  Eat your heart out, Roald Dahl.  Meanwhile Charleine’s book, crap rhymes and everything, was written – yep, it takes minutes folks, why aren’t we all authors? – and it was into the recording studio.  Having appointed Richard sub team leader, Charleine then made it clear she loathed him and refused to speak to him even when she was speaking to him, a talent of sorts, and instead spent the time available kissing David’s butt.  Sam, now on draft 2,347 of his script, took rather more time and then panicked about being behind schedule.  “Pfft. We’re done,” smirked Charleine, making it clear she didn’t think much of Sam’s English degree.  “I hope we’ve beaten Shakespeare over there.”  I don’t think Shakespeare went to university, did he? Eat that, Charleine.

Next morning, having opened boxes of their books (“Wow!” “Brilliant!”) it was time to pitch their books to various publishers.  Waterstones told Charleine her book was rubbish. Her extravagant hair-do drooped with disappointment.  Blah blah publishers, blah blah retailer discount percentages (“er, what?”) running through streets blah blah. “OUT OF MY WAY, PEDESTRIANS!” screeched Selina, who then sold a load of books for two quid each, whilst Sam looked distraught at such a rock bottom price point.

To the boardroom. Sirsugaralanlord delivered his customary bon mot, wiggling with delight in his booster seat: “One of youse will not be livin’ ‘appily ever arftar!”  Shakespeare/Sam lost, and Charleine, chippy, mean-spirited witch that she is, was triumphant.  “Me and Richard are totally fine!” she yelped, as Richard gave her the side-eye but was sensible enough not to say anything in case she slipped him a poisoned apple.

“I’m sorry,” said Sam to his team.  Instead of making the kind of “It’s alright mate” noises nice people murmur in such situations, they stared at him as a hungry lion might a wounded wildebeest calf separated from the herd.  Sam, who is far too decent a person to work with Alansirlordsugar, couldn’t decide who he would bring back into the boardroom with him.  “Er…. um….er…..” Aeons passed. Tectonic plates moved. New galaxies were created. Finally: “Nat and… and…. and…” It was worse than waiting for the who has to dance again decision on Strictly. “Um….Brett.”  “Oo?” enquired Sugarsiralanlord. “Me,” answered Brett, looking furious at the snub.

Mercifully, all three were relatively polite, there was no shouting and minimal recriminations, probably because Sam was so reasonable that even when the other two were telling him he was shit he saw their points of view.  “Natlee,” sighed Sugarlordalansir. “Your pitch woz rubbish.”  Natalie got fired.  “Thank you.”  “Natalie, I’m so sorry,” said Sam, looking close to tears.  What a gent.

Back in the house, there was an entirely different atmosphere. None of that politeness and decency HERE, thank you very much. “I’d like to raise a toast to myself!” shrieked Charleine, as the others glumly knocked back the booze, hating her.

I rather hope Sam doesn’t end up as Alansirlordsugar’s business partner.  He’s much too decent a person for such a tawdry bauble.