Couch Potato: Westlife’s Brian McFadden is ringleader in ‘trial-by-trollop’ TV

Brian McFadden
Brian McFadden

At the risk of ridicule and accusations of being drunk, there’s a certain charm to Take Me Out.

It may be ritual humiliation and trial-by-trollop for a parade of unrealistically self-confident lads.

Presenters of Stand By Your Man Brian McFadden and Laura Jackson.

Presenters of Stand By Your Man Brian McFadden and Laura Jackson.

But it has wit, warmth, playful putdowns and, most importantly, Paddy McGuinness delivering his only decent TV performance.

Channel 5, it seems, took one look, surgically removed all of the above and dished up their reply to ITV, on Friday night.

Stand By Your Man, a dating show that has dispensed with all foreplay and gone straight for the Rohypnol, hosted by Westlife’s Brian McFadden and “up and coming” Laura Jackson (nope, I’ve no idea).

Forty girls leaving nothing to the imagination gather on stage as if a DJ has cleared the room of males by sticking on I Will Survive, by Gloria Gaynor.

At the end of each soul-withering round they stand by their pick of “four frisky fellas” who’ve given them increasingly compelling reasons to walk out and take their chances on online dating.

It’s not quite as awful as The Love Machine, The Love Bus or Love Shaft (congratulate yourself if you recognise none of those), but it is a whole world tackier, not least the script.

McFadden opened with: “Hello ladies. Look at them all here. The stars of my favourite bedtime story, Boobs in the Wood.”

This show has a one-track mind that’s forgotten the necessary layer of cheeky teasing: “Our girls don’t want romance. They want some action.”

“What kind of boyfriend would you be?” “Kind, considerate and good in the sack.”

“Damian reckons he’s marriage material but would you let him take you up the aisle?”

Not on a first date. Then again, with this lot, I’m not so sure.

“Self-confessed boobs man” Jamie’s response to the question: “What kind of girl are you looking for?” – “T*ts, fanny, definitely” – received whoops and applause from the girls.

And the line: “I think you’ve got a nice body under there. Get your kit off!” was from the female contingent.

It’s virtually a televised hen party.

There are moments that almost compensate for the experience, like when Jackson said: “Damian, I want to ask about your cooking. You’re a big cook.”

Something like that, Laura, yes.

And this chat during Pillow Talk (guess how that round works)...

Jada: “What’s your best sex position?”

Chris: “Missionary.”

“What does that mean?”

It means you probably didn’t do very well at school, chuck.

I’m left, regrettably, with the image of Jamie, “who says he’s not arrogant and would definitely give himself 10 out of 10 for personality”, talking about taking girls back to his bedroom at his mum’s house...

Jackson: “You’ve still got a single bed. Where do you put them?”

“On the floor or against the wall.”

Stay classy, Channel 5.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

Jose Mourinho’s pitch invasion to floor Soccer Aid’s Olly Murs.

ITV’s World Cup coverage.

Holly Willoughby teasing This Morning’s beauty tips: “A lot of people with no eyebrows will be all ears today.”

ITV2’s I Wanna Marry Harry dope Maggie: “Am I a complete idiot or is this Prince Harry?” Two guesses, Maggie.

Roxy’s headscarf-and-shades Jackie Onassis look to hide her fake tan disaster on EastEnders.

Vet Mark Evans clinging on for dear life as the mind-of-its-own willy of a sedated elephant thrashed around wildly on C4’s Born In The Wild.

And Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid the day after Soccer Aid: “Ben Shephard has a mean tackle.” Crikey, you HAVE got to know your co-hosts well.


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

The Chase. Bradley Walsh: “King Charles I was imprisoned on which island before his execution?”



This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

Good Morning Britain professional smirker Sean Fletcher mistaking a World Cup report from Rio de Janeiro for Wish You Were Here: “Nothing quite beats the feeling of the Ipanema sand between the toes.”

Nat Geo wasting its breath asking Could You Survive A Zombie Apocalypse?

Newsnight’s baffling ability to spell “Rwandan High Commissioner Williams Nkurunziza” and “South Sudan Justice Minister Paulino Wanawilla Unango” correctly but not the “Football Asasociation”.

Big Brother’s EastEnders-inspired casting with back-stabbing, domineering alpha-females and spineless men.

And Simon Cowell presuming Mel B is the answer to X Factor’s woes. It’s a million per cent no from me.


Compare and contrast.

Big Brother, day two, devout Catholic Danielle: “Certain things make me feel really uncomfortable – certain topics of conversation and all that swearing. It gets to me.”

Day four, Danielle, having been nominated for eviction: “If I f***ing go on Friday, I’m going to tell each person what I f***ing think of them. It’s a f***ing joke. F***ing joke. What? Because I don’t f***ing talk about f***ing fannies? That makes me a bad person? F*** off.”

Minutes later, to hateful Helen Wood: “Go and f*** off you f***ing idiot. Who the f*** do you think you’re speaking to? F*** off.”

That’s it, Danielle. You stick to your guns.


The host of Celebrity Jeremy Kyle to a tearful Tara Palmer-Tomkinson watching her TV career clips, including singing on Loose Women: “The extraordinary thing about you is the positive stuff makes you cry because you seem to be so used to the negative stuff.

“Is that why you cried? Or was it watching yourself sing.”

Take it from my bitter experience, Jezza. It’s the singing.


Intelligence test time with Big Brother’s resident Scouse whiner Mark: “I know sometimes I’ll say a comment that’s a little bit dozy. I don’t claim to be... what’s his name? The fella in the wheelchair who can’t talk?

“Stephen King.”

Like then, you mean, Mark?


The greatest tribute to Rik Mayall? No contest.

The One Show getting away with showing the doctored Scumbag College name caption “(P)Rick” on The Young Ones’ classic University Challenge episode.

Wouldn’t have been possible today without Rik Mayall’s game-changing comedy. RIP.


This Morning’s Legal Eagle, “personal injury lawyer” Alicia Alinia, advising a woman left bruised and in shock in A&E after tripping over a vacuum cable in a hotel lobby: “She needs to get specialist legal advice from a personal injury lawyer.”

Thanks for coming.