OUR Sunday web columnist takes a wry look at the week’s TV
THE passengers have disembarked, the luggage removed and the cleaners are, as we speak, replacing the sick bags, on British Airways flight 326 to Paris.
But don’t be fooled into complacency, folks. Strap yourselves in.
There’s a nerve-shredding race against time facing the ground crew and they’re really under the cosh, and in no way simply going about their daily humdrum routine.
Or so we were told by Anita Rani on Heathrow-behind-the-scenes Airport Live, an obvious four-minute filler for The One Show that BBC2, in its wisdom, decided to stretch to four hours in the hope this would be “event TV”.
So, rather than admitting honestly that the smooth running of the whole operation was, while impressive, ultimately quite dull, Kate Humble proclaimed at the outset: “You will never have seen this stuff before.”
Not unless you watched BBC1’s Heathrow-behind-the-scenes Airport (not live) anyway.
What we had here was Auntie’s latest pointless live crud-polish where Humble, Rani and Dallas Campbell were drowned out by jet engines and even less happened than on its siblings Volcano Live (wisps of steam in Hawaii), Planet Earth Live (Kenya in the dark) and Lambing Live (heavily pregnant sheep chewing the cud, in the rain).
But, bless, didn’t they try hard. Or Die Hard 2, perhaps, which Campbell seemed to be re-enacting on Tuesday at the business end of the runway, frantically waving air traffic marshalling ping-pong bats, like Bruce Willis’s John McClane.
This was the same night Rani was overhyping BA flight 326’s preparations and I stopped taking any of it seriously and just revelled in the laughable sincerity.
Humble: “Earlier we saw Anita standing by a plane.” At Heathrow Airport too, of all places.
Campbell: “I’ve got to ask, the bed is very comfortable.”
And Rani’s dazzling array of dumbass questions: “What happens if you see a fault on the tyres.” (They change them.)
“Will passengers be coming into the plane?” (No, Anita, they’ll be strapped to the fuselage for a spot of wing-walking, at 36,000 feet.)
Campbell, meanwhile, developed an attack of stating the obvious: “It’s incredibly noisy when planes go overhead,” and: “When a plane lands, it’s vitally important for it to get out of the way for another to land.”
In the interests of fairness I must state that Humble was a last-minute replacement for Dan Snow as anchor.
But even taking that into account, nobody who confesses: “I never like coming to airports, I find them a chore,” should host a show about an airport.
You could sum the week up as little more than Humble impersonating “whispering” Bob Harris in the control tower, Rani getting in the way of everyone at the gates and Campbell smudging fresh paintwork on a passenger jet.
Or you could simply look to BA flight 326 to Paris.
Because, after all the false drama and overblown build-up to its 8.36pm departure on Tuesday evening, the live TV-obsessed BBC only went and missed the damn thing taking off on time.
It was Rani who tried to pick up the pieces, asking British Airways shift manager Joanna: “So is your job done?”
“Unfortunately not. We’ve now got the 596 to Milan due in.”
And with that, they went off the air.
That was one sleepless night for me, I can tell you.
BBC Question Time has received flack about booking a comedian on Thursday’s show who’s known for making a fool of himself, has ridiculous hair and is seen globally as a bit of a prat.
But he is the Mayor of London after all.
This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...
Operation Snow Tiger. Dates. Justin Rose’s historic US Open triumph.
Hilary Devey telling The One Show: “I’ve got a lot on the go with Channel 4.”
Supplying their pallets, I assume. Can’t possibly be another series of The Intern.
C4’s The Greatest Shows on Earth, with Daisy Donovan revealing the power of television in Brazil: “The president has just moved an election so it didn’t clash with the finale of a hit soap opera.”
Imagine that. EastEnders having a finale. The promised land.
And on the same programme, reality show Miss Bumbum, “a competition to find Brazil’s best arse”.
We have one in Britain.
Only we call it Prime Minister’s Questions.
Burning questions aplenty ahead of last night’s live final of The Voice.
Would Reggie Yates turn up again as a circus ringmaster?
How revealing would Holly Willoughby’s cleavage be?
And would she top her own record of yelling: “Give it up for...” 21 times, set in last weekend’s semi-final (I counted).
None of it matters, you realise. As will.i.am, in a rare usage of English, told Leah McFall: “We’ve seen what you can do on iTunes, in the top 10, and we know who won last year...”
Sorry, Will. Name’s escaped me.
Early thoughts about new C4 hidden camera show Trojan Donkey.
It’s a dead horse.
This week’s Most Up-Itself BBC1 Series In Dire Need of a Name Change award goes to...
Wars of the Roses drama The White Queen.
As we’ll now refer to it, Bores of the Roses.
Like Pants Man and Stuart Baggs’ Germinator before it, this year’s TV advertising task will burn long in the memory as The Apprentice’s series standout moment...
Invertebrate Jason Leech becoming the first project manager to abdicate, with a “Nest of vipers/Everybody here has blood on their lips” speech that disgraced Cabinet members should cut and paste.
Chief mutineer was Luisa Zissman, who must stay, of course, at least until Margaret Mountford and Lord Sugar’s henchmen tear a strip off her at final interviews.
She’s a rude, spiteful, conniving, hideous creature, with a voice that could sink Royal Navy destroyers and splinter continental plates, who you may recall boasted: “I have the energy of a Duracell bunny.”
Change that to a Duracell bunny boiler and you’re getting warm.
Katie Price, on Daybreak’s sofa: “We came back from holiday two days ago, hence why I can’t put my make-up on because I’m so brown. I just thought I’ll go on here looking natural.”
Natural? Which creature in the natural world does she think she resembles?
Now, now. Who said catfish?
Loose Woman Carol Vorderman: “Is it a good idea to put aside time for a good old cry.”
I should coco.
For me it’s weekdays, 12.30pm to 1.30pm, whenever ITV’s on.
Jack Whitehall’s girlfriend Gemma Chan starred in Tuesday’s episode of C4’s outstanding Dates, including this scene...
Bar tender: “What can I get you ladies?”
Katie (Kate McGrath/Morgana from Merlin): “I usually get the Backwards Bellini. What about you?”
Erica (Gemma Chan): “I’ll go for jerky.”
Or to give its more popular name, Jack Whitehall.
This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...
BBC2 ditching Porridge for a pro-celebrity tennis match.
Corrie’s David Platt reverting to evil mode, like Furby if you squeeze its tail too often.
Ideal World shopping channel flogging Christmas cards and gift wrapping at the height of June.
The One Show failing to ask Nick Ross a single topical question about his controversial views on crime because, as Matt Baker put it: “This is a family show,” minutes after it aired a report centring on the brutal murder of Lee Rigby.
BBC Question Time booking Russell Brand.
And the death of James Gandolfini, which rules out any more episodes of TV masterpiece The Sopranos.
As it should be. Bada Bing.