Couch Potato: Break the mould Cowell and let’s hear it for Britain’s Got Talent’s ‘loveable loons’

The judges of Britain's Got Talent 2014
The judges of Britain's Got Talent 2014

Call off the search.

We’ve found our much younger replacement for Bruce Forsyth on Strictly.

Supple ballroom dancer Paddy Jones who, pushing 80, performed the complete Kama Sutra in 90 seconds flat, with Nico the Spaniard, on ITV last night.

And with all four judges clearly won over, up stepped Amanda Holden to press the golden buzzer, this series’ “big twist”, having completely misunderstood its point is to save a doomed act.

Still, a largely enjoyable start to Britain Got Talent VIII which opened with the traditional parade of no-hopers.

Including Luke Joseph who looked like he’d stopped off to change in Oxfam while blindfolded and danced like he was picking a fight in a kebab queue after a night on the lash.

Loveable loons like him are this show’s bedrock, along with Ant and Dec on sparkling form and David Walliams who really gets BGT.

He asked Luke: “Did you plan any of that out before you came out this evening?” and said what everyone was thinking to (OA)Paddy and 39-year-old Nico: “It reminds me of a Little Britain sketch.”

Entertaining as they were, though, undoubted act of the night was German Peter Panduranga, a vision of white and apparently channelling Marlon Brando in The Missouri Breaks, during a brilliant funny foreigners section.

He dedicated his song to his wife and, I think, stalkers: “My heart is full of joy when I just follow you. Haaaarh! Argh, argh, argh, argh, argh! Heeeeeeeave hoooo, heave in years gun arms. Argh! Argh!”

A right old cacophony. I thought Eurovision’s semi-finals had arrived a month early but would’ve happily seen him sail through.

Sadly, I’m mourning his premature loss to the series because Amanda Holden, who said: “I thought it was going to be amazing,” (you’re saying that wasn’t amazing?!) and Alesha Dixon didn’t see it that way.

And Walliams failed to press the golden buzzer and guarantee a semi-final place, despite Panduranga being the very act it was designed for, as did Simon “I’ve got to tell you, I mean, seriously” Cowell.

Dixon and Holden, whose wit amounted to: “Your breath is probably a bit smelly,” to that raw onion eater, are purposeless and part of a fundamental problem.

You see for all its greatness, BGT undoes its own good work, like the deafening torrent of Syco background music – Little Mix, 1D, Leona, SuBo, Labrinth – and Walliams kidding himself: “We’re looking for something we’ve never seen before.”

It’s the same old from the same mould. Cloned pegs in holes.

Lauren & Terrell are Little Twist & Pulse.

Ukraine’s Light Balance are this year’s eastern European variety act in the dark (Attraction) whose spectacle, while impressive, was like Debenhams’ lighting department on the blink.

Show-tunes boyband Collabro are Richard & Adam plus three, so they’re destined to be interrupted mid-song by an egg-hurling viola player before appearing on QVC.

And soprano Lucy Kay is Charlotte minus “Jonathan &...”

She arrived after a sob-story-free first half with tales of bullies and Cowell telling her: “I don’t want to hear those people ever mentioned again.”

Code, if ever I’ve heard it, for: “Production, it’s Simon. I’ve got to tell you, have this on a loop for the callbacks and live shows.

“I mean, seriously.”

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Who’d win, I hear you cry, a quiz between 1974 Mastermind champ Elizabeth Horrocks, 67, and a young sports marketer named Duncan, from Manchester?

Well wonder no more.

ITV put that debate to bed once and for all last night on Amazing Greys, a game show pitting 20-somethings against OAPs who, on first glance, appear to be Off Their Rockers non-playing squad members lost en route to The Alan Titchmarsh Show.

But, with John Lowe and “Diddy” David Hamilton, they thrashed the upstarts, leaving Paddy McGuinness unable to see through his taunt: “You’re all going down.”

Make an orderly queue at the Stannah Stairlift.

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This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

University Challenge final’s relentless buzzer presser Filip Drnovšek Zorko sending the announcer into pronunciation meltdown.

Off Their Rockers’ zebra-crossing prank, plus the old dear’s tweet to Harry Styles: “Roses are red, violets are blue, you like older women, well I’m 82.”

ITV preceding This Morning’s interview with “the woman who smells of fish” with an advert for Young’s pollock to the tune of When The Boat Comes In. (I’ll just have the chips, thanks.)

Britain’s Got More Talent’s Stephen Mulhern telling the dad of Stavros Flatley: “F***off, Stavros,” a bit too convincingly.

And EastEnders’ Lola receiving flowers from her boyfriend: “Ah, they’re from Peter. He wants to take me up The Shard.” It’ll take more than flowers, Pete.

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What’s the crassest way a chef could mark D-Day’s 70th anniversary?

Serve veterans an edible beach scene pumped with dry ice in a ham-fisted attempt to represent the gunfire that cut down thousands of their Allied comrades because it’s “what it might have been like on the beaches in them days”.

One of many bonkers Great British Menu moments this week.

We had a carrier pigeon starter, a main course in a helmet, a dish based on the grow-your-own Dig For Victory drive with “camomile tea-smoked mackerel”, that famous garden veg they ate at Arromanches.

And this inspiration for halibut with cider and camembert: “Our troops, when they hit Normandy, came across cheese.”

It’s what the 1944 Landings are remembered for.

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Host Rob Brydon to James Corden about make-up, on BBC1’s Saturday night Blankety Blank/8 Out Of 10 Cats mongrel The Guess List: “James, what’s your grooming routine?”

Usually he waits until they’ve been nominated at The Brit Awards and then sits next to Harry or Zayn.

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Former TV-am boss Greg Dyke recalling Roland Rat’s puppeteer, on The Battle of Britain’s Breakfast: “He was the most boring man in the world until he put his arm up this rat’s arse, in which case he became funny.”

And under investigation by the RSPCA.

Dyke added: “The great advantage of having a television show where there’s nobody watching is that you can try all sorts of things.”

Explains Party Wright Around The World, I suppose.

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The One Show, Monday, Matt Baker: “A quick word about Wednesday’s show. We’re looking for people who’ve messed up on camera.”

The One Show, Tuesday, Alex Jones: “Our first Historically Inaccurate Movie Award is for film failure, no, fashion film failure, film fashion failure. You know what I mean.”

Alex, are you free Wednesday?

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Amazing Greys.

How sh**e that sounds.

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This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

The ludicrous Game of Thrones fanfare. (It’s quite a good TV show. Get over it.)

Clare Balding claiming: “There is no second place in the Boat Race.”

ITV2 making Alan Partridge’s Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank idea a reality with six-week backpacking filler Tom Daley Goes Global, plus the lad missing the point by checking into hotels.

EastEnders becoming an endless soap version of The Big Reunion.

Marvin Humes introducing The Voice judges as: “The class of 2004.”

Limelight hogger Michael McIntyre spending more time performing moronic fake magic tricks than he gave his chat-show guest Dynamo.

And BBC2 failing to give The Big Allotment Challenge its full and proper title... Great British Rake Off.

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This week’s Quiz Show Answer of the Week award goes to...

Pointless contestant Joanna: “There are 29 days in a leap year.”

Doesn’t time fly?