Tag Archives: music

TV Pitches: Sonia

I had the pleasure of seeing Scouse popstrel Sonia Evans perform as part of the Hit Factory Live reunion gig the other day. She was tucked way below the likes of Steps and Jason Donovan on the bill, so what next for the chirpy songstress if this doesn’t relaunch her career? Here are some TV show ideas…

YOU’LL NEVER STOP ME LOVING YOU

youll never stop me loving you

Experimental science show in which Sonia is kept alive until the end of time to demonstrate the persistence of emotion. Long after her fella’s death she’s still telling herself that his refusal to answer her calls is no obstacle. After the earth is devastated by bio-nuclear war she still wanders to the site of his home in the hope of catching a glimpse or two. And following the eventual obliteration of our planet, billions of years into the future, she lingers – now evolved into gaseous form – between the stars. Finally the collapse of the universe into a singularity renders her video diaries useless. But we are left with a sense that Sonia’s love endures. Narrated by India Fisher.

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

TV Jessen 1

Sonia teams up with TV’s Doctor Christian to learn the secrets of auscultation. Armed with only a stethoscope and a well-meaning grin she must correctly diagnose which of five celebrity volunteers has a heart murmur. If the pilot is successful a live roadshow series in shopping centres around the UK will follow.

COUNTING EVERY MINUTE

counting every minute

Endurance gameshow in which Sonia must count out loud to 1,440 in exactly twenty four hours, speaking once per minute and making no other sounds or movements. Throughout the day distractions come in the form of other popstars with time-themed hits. Five Star attempt to coax Sonia into not waiting another minute. So Solid Crew make an appearance to trick her into thinking she’s only got a few seconds to go. Finally the ghost of Whitney Houston will try to make Sonia focus on  a single moment of time only. Hosted enthusiastically by Alison Hammond.

ONLY FOOLS (NEVER FALL IN LOVE)

only fools never fall in love

Sonia must keep her wits about her in this new dating quiz show! She’s given the chance to get together with the man of her dreams, but if she fails a general knowledge test she must sign a legal document agreeing never to see him again. Piers Morgan presides.

BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

better the devil you know

Documentary series in which Sonia explores comparative religion to discover which faith’s afterlife punishes wrongdoers most severely. In the first episode she visits Sister Wendy Beckett to discuss eternal torment in Catholicism; later there’s an awkward moment when Donny and Marie Osmond tell her she can look forward to being cast into the Mormon “outer darkness”. Sonia’s smile slips for a second. But only a second.

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“It sounds wrong!” – The wit and wisdom of S Club 7 part two: The 1999 Specials

Between Miami 7 and L.A. 7, S Club filmed two double-length specials detailing their adventures on the road trip across America. And so our episode guide continues… [part one here]

BACK TO THE FIFTIES

Really?: It’s the second time S Club have time travelled, this time thanks to a magic mileometer. That’s all very well, but they don’t seem to have any trouble spending their modern day money in the bowling alley.

Paul’s dinners: His subconscious is manifesting as road signs now. Fortunately after this unhappy hallucination he gets to tuck into a huge pile of hot dogs later on.

signs

Topical!: The gang are very keen to point out the unreconstructed sexism of the era. But otherwise it’s an incredible, idealised 1959 that sees Bradley able to chat up a white girl without anyone bringing race into it. Speaking of which…

Exploring other cultures with Jo: Oh dear god she’s blacked up AGAIN.

Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 22.59.24

Careful what you wish for: Hannah: “We’re looking for a wormhole in the time-space-whatsisname!” The countdown to Primeval continues.

Slashfic trigger:

Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 22.52.57

BOYFRIENDS AND BIRTHDAYS

Really?:  At this point in their long drive the gang’d be somewhere in New Mexico or Arizona. So it’s not clear where Rachel finds the beach with the crashing waves.

Careful what you wish for: When Rachel’s on the point of leaving the band: “I suppose we’re the S Club 6 now.” “It doesn’t sound right.” “It sounds wrong!” A few years later, thanks to Paul, this focus group would take place for real.

Dentalwatch: 

Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 23.12.51

Dada never died: Jon: “Statistically fish ARE much more reliable than boyfriends.”

Paul’s dinners: 

Slashfic trigger: Rachel tries to impress new crush Ethan with an invitation to tea and biscuits, but when Bradley points out they don’t have any, she offers him her sticky buns instead.

To be continued…

PURITY, PASSION or PAIN? The X Factor final decoded

PURITY PASSION and PAIN

There’s no way to get round it; every X Factor final represents a significant choice in the symbolic life of the nation. Who can forget 2010’s battle between coolness, cockiness and “credibility” (the Fergo/1D/Cardle showdown) or when Shayne Ward led cheekiness to victory over cleanliness AND cheesiness in 2005? Here in 2012, times are more austere and the UK’s choice is a solemn one between almost religious virtues: PURITY, PASSION or PAIN…

(NB Not to be confused with Trey Songz’ very good 2010 album Passion, Pain & Pleasure. If only.)

PURITY

PURITY

Cherubic reflex-giggler Jahmene is a role model for all those cautious kids you see hanging around drinking milkshakes outside Morrisons these days. Well I don’t see anything like that in the slightly stabby neighbourhood I live in, but I hear it goes on elsewhere. What with calling for a Gospel Week, admitting he’s never been kissed and saying he won’t sing any songs with swear words in them, he’s set a new gold standard for non-threatening behaviour in a reality show. Whether such a gentle soul will get very far in the music industry remains to be seen, but you know, there was, er, Dana.

Jahmene’s favourite virtue is his chastity, and I say favourite because it’s the one he aggressively advertises via the constant public display of a purity ring. I have begun to suspect that the power of his alarming falsetto is linked in some way to this holy ring, like a sort of anti-Sauron. Bust the ring and the spell is broken. But hasn’t that always been the way.

PASSION

See no Maloney, Hear no Maloney, Speak no Maloney

See no Maloney, Hear no Maloney, Speak no Maloney [screencap by @baradar85]

No-one has brought raw emotion more firmly back into British public life this year than Christopher Maloney, as he stands on the stage each week violently shaking, sobbing or generally collapsing (Popjustice has a nice gallery). He only seems to find equilibrium when he’s singing. Famously, the great love of his life is his nan, who’s been passionately deployed as a bargaining card right from the start. Originally viewers were urged to vote amid grave concerns for her health, but now she’s more prosaically invoked with Chris saying he hopes to buy her a new kitchen.

The best thing about Christopher’s presence on X Factor is how completely it undermines his mentor, pompous control-monkey Gary Barlow. Gary’s preferred quality in a protégé is laddishness, which is why he picks acts like Kye Sones or Frankie Cocozza in some sort of attempt to vicariously relive his youth – or at the very least snare a “Robbie-I-can-control-this-time”. And as all the acts Gary chose for this year’s live shows were eliminated in the first few weeks, he’s been left politely endorsing someone he rejected while saving his most lavish fawning for rival James Arthur. So allow any smugness on Barlow’s part if Christopher wins.

PAIN

PAIN

The public’s final symbolic option is pain. Week after week James Arthur has taken one cheerful song after another, slowed it down a bit, unsheathed the Acoustic Guitar of Authenticity, and proceeded to sing with the sort of anguish that makes me wonder if he’s suffering from hard stool syndrome.

Oh he seems like a nice fella but you won’t get any sympathy round here for thinking that great pop songs need smothering with torpid angst to make them somehow worthwhile. Last year’s winners represented FUN after all. But the country gets the X Factor finalists it deserves and it’s been a fucking miserable year. So what’s it to be? It’s time to face the music.

Available from Greggs. I know.

Available from Greggs. I know.

Adverts explained: John Lewis – Never Knowingly Undersold

HI I’M A PLUCKY OUTGOING YOUNG WOMAN FROM 1925 LOOKING FOR A POTENTIAL RELATIONSHIP OR A BIT OF BARNEYMUGGING WITH A KEEN 2012 DADDY

Gosh I bet society’s changed a lot since your day, I’m not sure we could ever make it work!

NOT REALLY, MANY CORE VALUES AND EXPERIENCES ARE THE SAME, ESPECIALLY THOSE ESPOUSED BY THE JOHN LEWIS BRAND

Why are you shouting by the way?

I’M USING A TELEGRAPH MACHINE STOP

Stop what?

DON’T START THAT

Culture has changed so much since your day! We won’t have any common reference points!

I THINK YOU’LL FIND THAT IF YOU’RE MIDDLE CLASS AND CAN AFFORD NICE THINGS FROM JOHN LEWIS, NOTHING CHANGES ALL THAT MUCH

Fair.

WHAT’S THAT MUSIC YOU’VE GOT ON IN 2012?

It’s Paloma Faith covering INXS. It encapsulates the cuteness of how our time-crossed lovers’ feelings are different but the same.

WOULDN’T AN ILL-ADVISED DUBSTEP VERSION OF THE CHARLESTON BE A BETTER FIT FOR OUR TIMEZONES?

It wouldn’t wash with the Mumsnet crowd. But you’ve got Doop to look forward to in 70 years!

SO HOW SHALL WE WORK THIS?

Like Gary and Phoebe in Goodnight Sweetheart maybe? Unless Gary ever checked on Phoebe’s gravestone in the present day. I don’t think he did. Oh! Or like Gideon and Edith in The Invisibles!

I THINK GIDEON DID IT WITH HER WHEN SHE WAS AN OLD LADY IN THE 1990s TOO

I’m not sure about that babes. Hang on I’ll check if there was something in Torchwood.

TORCHWOOD?

Oh no you’re dumping me aren’t you.

DON’T BE SILLY DARLING. JOHN LEWIS! WE’VE GOT THE CHRISTMAS CAMPAIGN TO THINK OF…

Exploring the symbolism of hats with Ne-Yo

You should be careful what hat you wear. Their meanings are many and diverse. And who better to guide us through this minefield of symbolism than Ne-Yo, at Number One again this week, who’s only ever seen without a hat on pain of death.

When we first meet Ne-Yo in Stay he’s expressing his humble roots and hard songwriting graft in a series of brightly coloured baseball caps. By So Sick he’s moved on to a woolly white beanie, which I’m not sure symbolises anything other than it looks fucking cold. In When You’re Mad a daring straw donkey’s hat comes into play, a reminder perhaps of Freud’s assertion that hats represent the male genitals. Mind you it’s often quicker to list the things that Freud DIDN’T say represented the male genitals. Later in the video a black beret appears – a clear statement from Ne-Yo, in the wake of his first flush of success, that he has fully become an artist.

It’s back to a plain black cap in Sexy Love, which sees Ne-Yo snogging girls and ignoring eviction notices in a dank apartment. In the same video there’s a sudden switch to a black fedora – the rags-to-riches narrative is clear. Because Of You is a greatest hits of hats so far but the one that catches my eye is the ‘tea-cosy’, presumably representing the security he feels in his nice new relationship. Then in Do You it’s time at last for a soft flat cap, imbued with all the wistfulness for days gone by that’s redolent in the song.

It’s a holiday fedora (!) for Can We Chill, in which Ne-Yo’s on location and chatting up every girl in sight. I think you can get those from machines on Blackpool Prom. Go On Girl seems to feature a plastic trilby – a comment no doubt on the superficiality of modern relationships in celebrity America. As a reaction perhaps, Closer launches Ne-Yo’s ‘Year of the Gentleman’ with a selection of gutter-dented fedoras, representative of a golden age of manners and romance. I like the cream one.

Miss Independent is an ode to female empowerment so we see Ne-Yo working in an office that’s otherwise staffed entirely by, er, leggy lovelies. Consequently his hat stays rakishly bent, perhaps expressing the angle of his penis. In Mad Ne-Yo has DIED and wears the sombre black hat appropriate to that state while regretfully haunting his lover and dwelling on that row they had. In a rare moment of equality his girlfriend gets to wear a hat too, but of course it’s a widow’s veil that she sports while clawing hysterically at his freshly dug grave. Part Of The List is a beautiful song and has a classy video to go with it. The hat is almost immaterial. I don’t mean that it’s flimsy. I mean it doesn’t matter.

Ne-Yo has all sorts of superpowers as part of the baffling theme for his last album – in Beautiful Monster he’s all force-blasts, icy rays and slow-mo tussles. But that’s besides the point; in his fight with the beautiful monster herself his hat gets shockingly blown off. As, presumably, does Ne-Yo after the cameras have rolled. Thankfully the hat’s back in Champagne Life – a fetching brown one to symbolise the richness and decadence of a millionaire lifestyle. Then it’s a shorter, almost porkpie hat in the lovely One In A Million, symbolising brutishness as he sex-pests his way around the city in pursuit of an understandably grumpy Galen Hooks.

So, the final stretch. And finality’s on everyone’s mind in Give Me Everything, an existential look at the last night of your life delivered in a reassuring Gatsby cap from the halfway-up-the stairs position favoured for bleak explorations of mortality since the days of the Muppets. I can’t even screencap most of Lazy Love as it’s basically soft porn in a hot tub, but you can see from the image above that the cap visor is as hard as everything else. And now there’s Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself), a frankly terrible song in which Ne-Yo dons a sober black fedora for a shameful bit of mansplaining. Honestly, I used to say that you could stick on anything from his catalogue for an example of how to write the perfect middle eight – well not any more, this one’s a repetitive shower of shit that nothing can redeem. Go back and listen to Part Of The List to find out how it’s done. And for the rest of this album campaign the solution for Ne-Yo is obvious. More hats. New hats. Let’s see a Balmoral. A tin helmet. An ushanka even. The symbolism need never end.

The 2012 Mercury Prize nominees explained through the medium of Fruit & Veg

1. Pickled peaches You WANT to like them. They look really interesting. But they’ve coolly distanced themselves from you with a big thick glass jar. Then you finally try them, and the individual elements are things you like – some old-fashioned, some a bit out of leftfield – but it’s a bit much all together.

2. Frozen parsnips One person’s ‘earthy’ is very much another person’s ‘indigestible’.

3. Tinned mango A bit of exoticism BUT NOT TOO MUCH THANKS, let’s keep it safely packaged in a reassuring tin.

4.  A formal knot garden of germander, marjoram, thyme, southernwood, lemon balm, hyssop, costmary, acanthus, mallow, chamomile, rosemary, Calendulas, Violas and Santolina Easy to admire but hard to love.

5. Asparagus The conoisseur’s choice. A delicate and lasting flavour to be savoured. NO I’M NOT SAYING JESSIE WARE MAKES YOUR PISS STINK I’M SAYING I LIKE HER.

6. Courgette Oh it’s all very nice but would you miss it if it had been left out? Would you?

7. Potato Well you know where you are with it don’t you.

8. Dried apple I like dried apple. It’s very nutritious isn’t it. But sometimes, perversely, knowing something is good for you makes it a hell of a lot less interesting.

9. Pepperoncini (or ‘kebab shop chilli’ to give it its proper name) Salty! A bit hot! A bit caustic! Essential.

10. Snow pea In the words of Harry Hill – ‘Mangetouts, they’re lovely aren’t they. But I couldn’t eat a whole one.’

11. Anyone know what this is? Cheers.

12. No me neither.

If popstars were… Winged

The Garuda, Faravahar, the angels of the Bible, Icarus, Huitzilopochtli and now finally X Factor winners Little Mix. Yes, since the dawn of history people have dreamed of having wings. But how have the last thirty years of pop music treated the idea?

MR. MISTER – BROKEN WINGS (1985)

What’s the mood? Earnest. This classic power ballad was inspired by Khalil Gibran’s 1912 novel of the same name (as was The Beatles’ Blackbird, apparently) and is essentially a four and a half minute self-help manual about ‘learning to fly again’. I was expecting to write something sarcastic and dismissive about it, but on listening again I was quite taken with its straightforward lumbering. To be honest my prejudice was purely down to Mr. Mister featuring in a question on an 80s schools quiz show that I got humiliated on. Maybe it’s me who should learn to fly again.

What sort of wings are they? It’s a dashing bird of prey who visits the band in the video, so in the spirit of forgiveness let’s give them that. 

BETTE MIDLER – WIND BENEATH MY WINGS (1989)

What’s the mood? Mawkish. Bette hijacked a song that had already been around the block a few times (there’s a version by Sheena Easton of all people) to fit in with the tragic ending of her film Beaches. So we have the electric piano of regret, the synth strings of sadness, the choral vox of heaven’s door and the gentle splash drums of hindsight. Not to mention those grandstanding vocal ascents into the sky at the end. Sainthood! What can I tell you? I’m a sucker for this shit. Hilariously, on the soundtrack album this funereal behemoth is followed by a perky song called ‘I’ve Still Got My Health’.

What sort of wings are they? Bette says that (subject to an appropriate aerodynamic lift coefficient) she can fly higher than an eagle. Which would make her more like a bar-headed goose.

XTM & DJ Chucky presents Annia – Fly On The Wings Of Love (2003)

What’s the mood? Jaunty. As jaunty as you’d expect from a jaunty Eurohouse cover of a jaunty Eurovision-winning song – jaunty panpipes, cheesy drum fills, flanged crowd noises and all. I like the way that the exposed bassline snakes around under the verses and I like a song that doesn’t outstay its welcome, so neither will this paragraph.

What sort of wings are they? These are wings that can take us from the softest sand (hand in hand!) to touch the sky (fly baby fly!) and the stars above – the wings of love themselves, in fact. Well if love needs to have interstellar capability AND saltwater resistance it sounds like these are probably the wings of that underwater spaceship they found in the Baltic recently. And as this discovery was by Swedish scientists it brings us nicely back to Eurovision’s spiritual home.

MAXWELL – PRETTY WINGS (2009)

What’s the mood? Stoic. Oh it’s proper heartbreak now as Maxwell lets his love go so she can find someone better. And the music’s as delicate and lovely as the title implies; subtle and powerful at the same time.

What sort of wings are they? Of course the only downside of orbiting your lovely song around a fixed metaphor is that bloggers like me will come along and dissect it at best whimsically and at worst slightly more whimsically. Is she a beautiful brightly-coloured hummingbird? No, you see loads of those, she’s something too good be true. A flying toaster such as what were all the range in 90s screensavers then? Yes, yes why not. It’s about as likely as Maxwell ever finishing the supposed trilogy of albums that this song allegedly kicked off.

LITTLE MIX – WINGS (2012)

What’s the mood? Celebratory. It’s so rare for X Factor to throw up a winning act that actually feels at home in the charts. And yet here they are at Number One, finally uniting pop’s clap-clap-clap genre with its wob-wob-wob one, with even a quick foray into rat-tat-tat at the end. Let’s not be disheartened that this decent-sounding music comes from a band with an irredeemably bad name – we did start off with Mr. Mister after all.

What sort of wings are they? Well here’s a thing. It’s made very clear in the lyrics that the inspirational appendages keeping the girls sailing above all their haterz are butterfly’s wings. Hooray! you might say. But you’d be wrong. Because later we hear that hurtful words are like ‘water off my wings’. Did they think they were ducks for a minute? Because they’re stuck with being butterflies. And the prospects for a butterfly who gets her wings wet are grim. A wet butterfly is too heavy to fly. If she falls from her perch then she’s stuck on the ground, and assuming she avoids being trodden on then she’ll quite likely get a horrific fungal infection and die. Still. Clap-clap-clap.

What happened with the alarm at the Carnival

By Bert, aged 4.0

It was the Carnival at the weekend and I was allowed to go with my Auntie Nicki because my mum was organising one of the floats and we were helping. Mum sent us to get all of the fireworks out of the allotment shed and Auntie Nicki said she wasn’t going down in all that mud on foot and she wanted the Keys To The Benz and my mum said in the real world that translated as Change For The Bus and she sent us on our way.

Auntie Nicki was very dressed up but you could still see her big knickers so I think she must have been cold. She kept offering me drinks from her bottle and I had a sniff and it smelled a bit like cough medicine and I did not like it. She was getting quite excited and shouting ‘Bottle, Sip, Bottle, Guzzle!’ and then a bad word and then she said she had no muzzle and I remembered what happened to our old dog and I felt sad.

Then Auntie Nicki said ‘Please-ah! I’m in Ibiza!’ and I said the scenery looked more like Trinidad and she said wasn’t it supposed to be Notting Hill anyway and I said it was probably like before and we were in a made-up place where my imaginary childhood got mixed up with her recent pop videos and so it didn’t really matter and she looked at me and then she did a belch.

I told Auntie Nicki that I could hear the smoke alarm in the allotment shed and she said no it was the music and I should relax and do a dance. I tried but then all the fireworks went off at once and Auntie Nicki was too drunk to stop it. We walked over to the allotment and everything smelled smoky and I do not think there were any fireworks left for the parade. But I could still hear that alarm going off. It was a right old racket but I liked it.

TV Pitches: The Spice Girls

Their musical reunion at the Olympics was only temporary, every Spice Girl in search of an interview is telling us. So where next for the peppery pentahedron? Here are some ideas…

WANNABE

The concept: Ambition-themed gameshow in which the Girls audition potential replacements from a crowd of needy schoolchildren

Emma: And now it’s Kayleigh from Swindon’s turn! Kayleigh, which Spice Girl do you… “wannabe”?

Small child: I wannabe Geri!

Geri: Kayleigh, you’re aware that to become the perfect simulacrum, your established interiority is forfeit? And that you may pass from physical existence into a theoretical state of hyperreality?

Small child: I like the dress with the flag on it! Girl Power!

2 BECOME 1

The concept: Mel B oversees proceedings as the remaining girls pair up – quite literally! – to live as Siamese twins for a week. In the grand finale the winning pair undergo a full and irreversible surgical joining procedure.

Mel B: (bursting into room in which Emma and Victoria are sat glumly in a giant three-legged jumpsuit) Hi girls! How are you getting on?

Emma: (wriggling) I’m worried about what’ll happen if we win the challenge and have to live like this permanently.

Victoria: David says he’s alright with it. And I could get a new fashion line out of it.

Emma: (viciously) Stop fooling yourself Victoria!

Mel B: Chin up, ladies! It’s nearly time for the breakdancing challenge!

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE

The concept: Undeterred that a programme of the same name already exists, the Girls present a fun exploration into the concepts of identity and consciousness.

Mel C: So you see Mel, the self is a narrative we create for ourselves, but an intangible one. Look at this hula hoop! Its centre of gravity is a point in the middle of thin air!

Mel B: Are we going to do hula hooping now?

Mel C: Well YOU’RE not, Mel! Being sporty is MY narrative!

Mel B: You’re really starting to episteme off.

VIVA FOREVER

The concept: Each Spice Girl tries out a different method of attaining immortality. Hosted by Esther Rantzen.

Esther: Well I think we can all agree Geri’s quietened down A LOT since we put her into cryogenic suspension. We’ll be checking back in ten years to see how she’s getting on.

Emma: How much more of this disgusting black fungus water do I have to drink, Esther? It tastes like the bottom of a carpet. And I’ve got terrible shits.

Esther: It’s Ling-Zhi, the Chinese mushroom of immortality, Emma – keep going and don’t be a baby! Victoria, how are you getting on uploading your intelligence onto that floppy disk?

Victoria: I’ve written my name on the label already!

HOLLER

The concept: The Spice Girls call for help repeatedly from the centre of an existential void. But no-one ever comes.

‘Poo in the sky’ – The wit and wisdom of S Club 7 part one: Miami 7

My exclusive episode guide to S Club’s television adventures gets underway with their debut TV series, 1999’s Miami 7.

Episode 1: Take-Off

Paul’s dinners: ‘I started thinking about lunch and I completely lost it.’

Topical!: ‘You’re looking a bit Tony Blair, Jon!’

Dada never died:

Rachel’s world: ‘Maybe fame is just poo in the sky.’

4th wall shattered: Tina: ‘Hang on a minute, whose fantasy are we in here?!’  – as the gang dip in and out of one another’s dream sequences.

Episode 2: Howard’s Hotel

Slashfic trigger: Bradley: ‘Girls – they’re so rough!’ appearing in a white-splattered t-shirt and offering his body for inspection.

Careful what you wish for: ‘I guess if we don’t make it as famous singers we could always become a singing cleaning service’

Episode 3: The Blue Chevy

Dentalwatch special:

Tonguewatch special:

Episode 4: Wind Resistance

Exploring other cultures with Jo: Jo: ‘You pompous git!’ Paul: ‘What did you call me?’ Jo: ‘Great leader! Only I used the Hawaiian pronunciation.’

Slashfic trigger:

Dentalwatch: Paul: ‘That was a smirk not a smile!’ Hannah: ‘That was a smile! I showed tooth!’ Paul: ‘If you show less than five it’s a smirk.’

Rachel’s world:

Dada never died: Tina: ‘What am I, a choreographer or a combine harvester?’

Exploring other cultures with Jo: Jo blacks up after a flight through the air. But it’s all in good fun!

Episode 5: The Man From EMI

Paul’s dinners: ‘I haven’t had my breakfast yet!’

Exploring other cultures with Jo: ‘Hasta la vista baby! Which in English means – well I’m not sure what it means.’

Episode 6: Alligator

Dentalwatch:

Careful what you wish for: Hannah crawls around on the grass in an attempt to devise a trap for a pesky alligator. She’ll be doing a lot more of that sort of thing once Primeval starts.

Episode 7: Volleyball

Nothing to see here. Just lots of SKIN.

Episode 8: Alien Hunter

Really?: This episode is notable for CATHY BLOODY DENNIS showing up (in her only ever acting role) as Jill, an actress with a terrible northern accent, who plays Cinnamon Hunter, a character with a terrible American accent, in a sort of prototype Sarah Jane Adventures show that’s being filmed at S Club’s hotel.

In  River Song style she leaves S Club with a book, blank except the first page which reads ‘This book is the future, fill it with your hopes and dreams.’

Episode 9: Missing

Paul’s dinners:

Episode 10: Court In The Act

Really?: In this hilarious episode S Club 7 pretend to be American to avoid deportation, and show kids that immigration fraud is fun! Jon actually ends up perjuring himself in court in pursuit of this. His defence also includes describing S Club as ‘the best and the brightest the nation has to offer’ and doing the mid-air splits. Yes, the courtroom scene turns into a full-on song and dance routine.

Slashfic trigger: An American backstory for Tina: ‘Back on her daddy’s ranch, this little homegirl used to really ride the range.’

Paul’s dinners:

Episode 11: Bermuda Triangle

Really?: It’s a time travel episode. S Club sail into the Bermuda Triangle and end up in 1975. Wigs ahoy! They meet Elvis, Cher, and most puzzlingly Madonna, who would have been a Michigan cheerleader at the time. To cap things off, Abba’s Dancing Queen seems to have been released a year early.

Rachel’s world: She mistakes a mop for a spider.

Episode 12: How Deep is Your Love?

Dada never died: Bradley: ‘The secret with girls is to treat them like buses.’ Jon: ‘You mean don’t put your feet on their seats?’

Really?: Hannah finds she’s able to communicate with dolphins (‘That’s a very fishist remark!’) in some sort of tribute to The Ballad Of Halo Jones perhaps.

Careful what you wish for: Rachel’s excited to be approached by a model scout, despite Bradley’s scepticism (‘You couldn’t model, you’re just too… Rachel.’) It turns out he only wants her for her hands. I’m reminded unhappily of her later ad campaign for Braun ladyshavers.

Topical!: The three girls Paul is said to fancy most are Jennifer Aniston, Xena: Warrior Princess and Natalie Imbruglia.

13: Reprise

The season finale’s mostly a clip show, but at least Cathy Dennis’s back to deliver the deathless line ‘One moment I was popping burgers in a bun, the next I was zapping aliens with a gamma pulse death ray!’

4th wall shattered: Rachel turns to camera: ‘Are you sure this isn’t a fantasy sequence?’

To be continued…