If the TV summer of 2014 is remembered for anything, it’ll surely be the flash-in-the-pan fad for imitating royalty.
ITV2 had I Wanna Marry Harry. E4, Almost Royal.
And on Monday night, 14th to enter the house, it was Benefits Street’s White Dee pretending to be the “Duchess of Solihull” for a Celebrity Big Brother secret task.
At least I think it was her.
She’d undergone such a makeover that it looked like Terry Scott and Jimmy Krankie had ruffled a duvet together, 43 years ago, in a B&B somewhere off the M42.
Yes, it’s the customary yawn-some CBB launch night twist, only this time Channel 5 unwittingly let its guard down, exposing the show’s fragile chin, with this fake royal tomfoolery.
You see, it is more plausible for the “21st in line to the throne” to appear on this show than the person playing her – Dee Kelly, a woman well-known only for claiming state handouts.
She’s not alone in being famous for being famous.
Two other housemates fail to register on Wikipedia’s radar – Gogglebox’s George Gilbey (a Ronnie O’Sullivan Spitting Image puppet voiced by Joe Pasquale) and Ricci Guarnaccio who’s no longer in Geordie Shore.
A-listers the lot of them. At least you’d think, judging by the latter’s optimism: “I don’t know if I’d have a relationship in the house. Depends who’s in there. Eva Mendes, Mila Kunis... ”
Yeah, Ricci. Try one-quarter of B*Witched, a Made In Chelsea leech, an ex-Towie limpet, someone called Angelique “Frenchy” Morgan in the obligatory inappropriate older woman role (see also Denise Welch) and Claire King who left Emmerdale 15 years ago.
Other CBB box-tickers are the current affairs casher-in (the admittedly courageous Kellie Maloney), the pumped-up dork with a celebrity girlfriend and a chronic case of over-exuberance (“international model” David McIntosh, from the Alex Reid mould) and the jaded sportsman (Audley Harrison).
Personally I’m looking forward to someone having a go at him after a few too many, just so I can do the “drunk and diss Audley” line. And no, I’m not apologising.
But the one who’s guaranteed to salvage Celeb Big Bro year on year is the American movie star/human wreckage, in this case Gary Busey.
From his bizarre entrance when he babbled on to Emma Willis about three questions he was expecting, that she’d already asked, he’s been pure box office, an irresistible force and, not to put it too bluntly, completely out of his tree.
In his life he’s “died twice”, “been to the other side” (Point Break on ITV4?) and only the other day felt Patrick Swayze’s spirit pass through him on a bench.
Busey told Big Brother: “It’s a lovely blessing to be here with these housemates. This was all set up by the angels. I know that for a fact.”
Which makes you wonder how bad Hell must be.
He has already terrified most, offended everyone and had several run-ins, antlers first, with fellow alpha-male James Jordan over a gay sex joke that was lost in translation.
In fact he’s such a divisive character that Big Brother felt compelled on day three to pull Jordan to one side for help to calm everyone down so Busey isn’t ostracised. It remains the case, however, that the Hollywood actor is a walking grenade and “the bad boy of ballroom” has no qualms removing the pin.
Personally I prefer to go along with Busey’s fondness for acronyms and this assertion: “‘Death’ stands for Don’t Expect A Tragedy Here.”
I’ll take your word for it, Gary. CBB 14 looks like being anything but.
TOP DRAWER TELLY
Soccer Saturday deity Jeff Stelling.
BBC3’s astonishing Our World War finale.
Last Week Tonight With John Oliver judging the comedy/serious line to perfection, belittling the authorities’ disastrous handling of the Missouri riots.
The prospect of Alison Hammond on Strictly. (You’d best start eating your spinach, Anton.)
And Helen Flanagan’s Brando-esque Holby City performance as a vain, self-absorbed, spoiled, flustered, “moody little madam”. Must have been a real stretch for her.
SCRAPING THE BARREL
EastEnders stealing its Charlie Cotton mild-mannered janitor/secret identity idea from Hong Kong Phooey.
ITV airing a Judge Rinder trailer during... Judge Rinder.
Tumble judge Craig Heap’s childhood regression, like he was hypnotised aged seven at an end-of-pier show.
Lenny Henry ad-libbing a borderline contempt-of-court Cliff Richard joke live on The One Show.
And the distressing news on Horizon: Should I Eat Meat? that a bacon sarnie takes one hour a day off your life. Which, by my calculations, means I died a week last Thursday.
Barfed from the belly of a dinosaur in Victorian London (that old chestnut), Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who era began last night.
And an encouraging start it was too.
Darker, scarier and with more than a hint in the new Doctor of the cantankerous old rant-machine Malcolm Tucker, minus the swearing.
The humour’s still there but it’s not as much all-out fun as Matt Smith’s tenure.
But on the plus side, it’s not as much all-out fun as Matt Smith’s tenure.
Richard Osman stepping from behind the Pointless desk to host his own quiz show has been worth the wait, going by the answers BBC2’s Two Tribes contestants gave him...
“Which four-letter word was removed from the iconic Hollywood sign in the 1940s?”
“In 1829, who founded the Metropolitan Police?”
“Who succeeded Bradley Wiggins as winner of the Tour de France?”
Osman’s wit is even better, side-stepping this offer from Janet: “I quite like tall, dark-haired gentlemen who run quiz shows.”
“Well, I’ve got Bradley Walsh’s phone number. I’ll give it to you.”
Alexander Armstrong. You’ve been rendered Pointless.
Revelations galore at Match of the Day At 50 which had interviews with all the football greats – Giggs, Beckham, Aguero, Sue Johnston, Tinchy Stryder, Piers Morgan.
Theme tune composer Barry Stoller admitted: “I’m not into football at all.”
BBC2 got the rights to show matches by convincing a fearful FA that nobody watched the channel.
And Sport Relief guest MOTD pundit Russell Brand said: “I’m not going to try to be funny.”
So, business as usual then.
Tumble contestant Amelle Berrabah on the “slinky” gymnastics move: “It is definitely the most un-dignifying thing I’ve ever done.”
Though Minehead Butlins, with the rest of the Sugababes, is a close second.
This Morning’s Ruth Langsford: “Tomorrow, Dr Chris is going to be here to digitally diagnose your anal... ailments.
Eamonn Holmes: “Is this legal?”
Yes. But only since the 1960s.
Holby City’s Colette sacking Kirsty (Helen Flanagan): “Only two kinds of people can cry on demand – actors and sociopaths. Which are you?”
Well I wouldn’t plump for option a), Colette.
This week’s Most Unexpected Comparison To A Pint-Sized Pop Star award goes to...
Mark Evans on Dogs: Their Secret Lives: “After the break we meet Cassie, a Labrador who weighs more than Kylie Minogue.”