It’s dark before 6pm, brass-monkey chilly and winter is in the post via express delivery.
The worst possible time of year to have a barbecue on a roof terrace. Right?
Wrong, if you’re Kaye Adams and Nadia Sawalha and have an hour to fill, with Peter Andre, on ITV at the weekend.
They’re hosting a dire mess called Sunday Scoop, the show that puts the “scoop” into “poop scoop”.
It’s one half of a festering two-headed beast that begins with an unnecessarily raucous sister show hosted by Stephen Mulhern being all upbeat when the rest of the nation is reaching for the Alka Seltzer.
That part of the equation, Sunday Side Up, is at least watchable, unlike Sunday Scoop which goes about its business – reviewing the papers, interviewing guests, Sawalha cooking lunch – as if the format isn’t done infinitely better elsewhere.
To give an idea of the level they’re aiming for, the set’s armchairs look reclaimed from a student bedsit, minus the springs, and Adams had this burning question: “Chicken pie or beef burger? Which would you go for Matt (Cardle)?”
Unlike Mulhern she’s a total suck-up (“Zoe Lucker, you’re so beautiful and elegant”) and will not shut the hell up about being a vegetarian.
Week one: “Have you got to put meat in everything, Nadia?”
Week two: “Charlie Condou from Coronation Street is bringing in a cheesecake which yet again is going to be the only thing I’m able to eat. Am I the only veggie in the world?”
Week three: “I’m not going to go on about the veggie thing again because...”
Because that could get tiresome in a hurry, Kaye.
I wanted no part of this head-shaker of a programme long before Sawalha declared: “I’m seriously thinking of growing my moustache.”
It succeeds only in giving a moment of dull peace after the hour of Sunday Side Up and its two golden rules: “We don’t do cooking. We don’t mention Mondays.”
Mulhern added a third after Christopher Biggins gave him the Heimlich manoeuvre, or worse, from behind while trying to pop balloons he’d put under his shirt as breasts for reasons I genuinely cannot remember.
“If you’ve just switched on,” the host winced, “this is really happening.”
There’s unsolicited heckling from the studio crew, calamitous production links, some sub-TV Burp quips about X Factor with sideways looks to camera and parlour games you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy at their in-laws on Boxing Day.
One has a viewer on the phone making animal sound effects for the guests to guess, including this exchange: “Woof-woof-woof, MIAOW!”
“A dog chased by a policeman?”
It was either the hangover kicking in or I genuinely witnessed Biggins arm-wrestling a Joe Pasquale lookalike and Mulhern catapulting a cake from a skateboard across the studio into a bin held by Corrie’s Jennie McAlpine.
But I’m certain this appalling sequence of events on Remembrance Sunday really happened, when the presenter handed to the Cenotaph for the two-minute silence and the Queen’s wreath-laying, which returned immediately to Mulhern with an embarrassing-parent anecdote.
“Laura tweeted in, ‘My mum farted in the supermarket and said, ‘wherever you be, let the wind blow free,’ as a family friend walked past.’ How about that?”
It’s what the Flanders fallen would have wanted, Stephen.
This week’s I Haven’t Touched A Drop, Honest, Officer award goes to...
The Wright Stuff squatter Richard Madeley: “Is it your boss’s responsibility to look after your alcohol intake? Maybe, if you come back from lunch slumbering and stirring.”
Or even stumbling and slurring, eh Richard?
My considered thoughts on the 6h 35min Children In Need telethon on Friday night.
Just wasn’t long enough, was it?
Peter Andre’s 60 Minute Makeover. So called because, well, take it away, Pete.
“The work won’t be done in an hour. It’ll be done in a day.”
A DIY dunce, he’s as qualified to host this as Richard Hammond is fronting an astrophysics documentary.
ITV has dressed him as Hale & Pace’s Billy and Johnny and he makes Bruce Forsyth’s jokes sound like the Marx Brothers.
“Can we get a LION in the bedroom? No, but tomorrow he’ll have a LIE-IN.”
Interior designer Leah: “These baskets are hand-woven.”
And Leah, putting the finishing touches, on Tuesday: “We just need an orange ceramic stool.”
Pete, you’re needed in the lounge.
Down in darkest Chile, Shaun Ryder’s snooping around for aliens.
Not an ITV2 Mickey-take but History channel’s brilliant, demented Shaun Ryder On UFOs, featuring zero close encounters.
Just a crick in his neck from an all-night sky-stare abandoned because: “I’m bloody freezing. I have no testicles.”
“As to why aliens might visit our planet,” he ventured, “one theory is Chile is being used as some kind of intergalactic petrol station.”
You mean they’re landing after midnight and yelling through a hatch: “20 Marlboro Lights, please. And take us to your Ginster.”
Back to Matt Baker for a Team Rickshaw update: “We’ve got this walking map. We wondered is it possible to find somebody called Rick Shaw to wear it.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce 78-year-old... Eric Shaw!”
So “no” then.
This week’s Spudulikes...
Dave channel’s Crackanory.
Rent-a-gob Katie Hopkins losing the plot, more than usual, in a This Morning debate opposite Peaches Geldof (the irresistible farce meets the unflushable object) about parents sleeping with their babies: “It’s all a bit too knit-your-own-yoghurt for my liking.”
Alex Jones to Children In Need’s Team Rickshaw member and James Arthur fan Eleanor: “James has kindly sent a CD for you. But Pudsey sat on it in the rickshaw so it’s a bit cracked.”
And Rough Copy’s X Factor studio fans chanting the group’s initials, with hilarious consequences.
“RC! RC! Arsey! Arsey!..”
This week’s Spuduhates...
Sourpuss Strictly viewers snuffing out the Mark Benton/Dave Myers double act.
Matt Baker’s geography teacher elbow patches.
X Factor judges abstaining from voting, and Abi Alton in the sing-off on Remembrance Day failing to provide two minutes’ silence.
The right-on BBC making an issue of Only Connect: Children In Need’s team captains being lesbian partners.
Newsnight squeezing two typos into the same caption: “Kirsty Brimelow, chair, Bar Human Right Committee if England and Wales.” Which is an offshoot of the Bar Human RIGHTS Committee OF England and Wales.
And the flimsiest excuse ever for a BBC junket to America, on Richard Hammond Builds A Universe: “To find out what planet formation was like in the early solar system, I need the help of the Texas Roller Derby.”
Of course you do.
X Factor’s Gary “consistency” Barlow to Abi Alton last Saturday night: “That was a brilliant performance. The fragility in your voice completely worked. You’re a musician among musicians.”
Gary Barlow on Sunday night: “The act I’m sending home is Abi.”
Model Amy Willerton has been thrust in the jungle, so to speak, to sex up the worst ever I’m A Celebrity line-up.
But on Sky Living’s Signed By Katie Price she was obnoxious, astronomically high maintenance and a colossal pain in the rear.
Perfect for I’m A Celebrity.