Curse Martin Kelner. I have enjoyed his columns in the Guardian, viewing him as the kindred spirit of Charlie Brooker – the patron saint of devotees of crap television. I’ve even tolerated the man’s appearances on Radio Five Live’s Fighting talk, where his carefully crafted witty bons mots compete with John Rawling, Steve Bunce, a token comic, and some former sportsman who thinks humour involves a making a Carry On Style reference to sexual activity of some sort. This week Kelner has gone too far.
For years I have bored my wife with the suggestion that Chris Tarrant should ditch his evening entertainment quiz show and instead present a reality show with celebrities called Who Wants to be a Milliner? This suggestion has involved various celebrities at various times to head hat-making teams including Trinny, Richard Pitman, Gretchen Franklyn (Ethel from Eastenders), Chris Eccleston, Sir Alex Ferguson, Eamonn Holmes, Gillian Taylforth &c.
Yesterday morning she said, “Oh look, he’s had the same idea as you.”
Then to make things worse after a week of fake game shows traded with blue_condition I was thinking of others at the end of the last week and suggested a fake language show of the type that used to be on the Beeb on weekend mornings before it was decided that we should immerse ourselves in a mire of 24 hours news, celebirty chefs, and Gloria Hunniford questioning various actors about their faith (sadly this week’s Heaven and Earth Show’s interview with Roger Lloyd Pack did not feature him saying “FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE” or “BWAHAHAHAHA” at any point).
This idea has been trumped by the reality of Excuse My French which begins this evening. Featuring Marcus Brigstocke (from a BBC4 topical comedy show whose name escapes me which sadly features Steve Furst in a weekly “humorous” role); Esther Rantzen (her post Would Like to Meet revival); and Ron “Lazarus” Atkinson – fresh from 12 rounds with Darcus Howe.
Apparently this show is to involve each celebrity learning French in order to perform their day job in France. Brigstocke is a comic (and a very good one in my view) so obviously he’ll make topical comic observations in France. However, I am not completely sure what Esther and Ron do now.
Esther was in Strictly come dancing, presented That’s Life, presented some daytime talk show, and created Childline. Perhaps she’ll talk about amusing genitals in the shapes of vegetables in French with Médecin Cox reading witty small ads from Le Monde, and Le Figaro.
Ron may be going over to France to insult Marcel Desailly in person and in French.
Anyway, it starts tonight. It looks worth a glimpse. And real fake game show, Rob Brydon’s Annually Retentive is on later.