The other week in ITV’s Midsomer Murders, poor Martine McCutcheon was killed to death by massive cheeses. How cruelly ironic that Martine, who’s spent so many years tirelessly promoting Activia yoghurt on British screens, should meet such a vicious dairy-related death. Here’s that perfect moment in full, soundtracked at last by her biggest hit.
International superstar Beyoncé has caused quite a stir by adopting her husband Shawn’s name for her forthcoming “The Mrs Carter Show” tour. We asked her about the reasoning behind it.
“It’s a powerful name. It’s a name of power,” Beyoncé tells me as we sit over cocktails and a plate of scotch eggs in a pop-up artisan cafe on the deck of a Dover-Calais P&O ferry that’s moored in uptown Beverly Hills. “For a good few years while Jay [Shawn’s “rap name” is Jay-Z] was growing up, his mum [TV’s Lynda Carter] was Wonder Woman every week on tv and his dad [Jimmy] was president of the USA. And that’s exactly the sort of drive and ambition my solo career encapsulates.”
It must have been quite a childhood, I say. “Hell yes!” spurts Beyoncé, waving at the waiter for prawns. “He used to get teased something awful at school. ‘Show us your magic bracelets!’ ‘Negotiate a peace with Cuba!’ All that sort of thing.” She sighs wistfully.
Just then we’re joined by Beyoncé’s aunt Helena [Bonham Carter, best known for her role as Don Johnson’s love interest in Miami Vice] – they briefly brush each others’ hair in greeting before settling down to tell me more. “When I had my kids they were always over at Lynda’s wanting to play with Jay-Z,” confides Helena in an outrageous Cockney accent. “My eldest Dwayne [Carter, best known today as musician Lil Wayne] has quite the rivalry with Jay these days but they were so friendly once. They used to do raps together over Sunday lunch!” Did they have beef, I ask. “No, chicken usually,” says Helena.
Beyoncé’s thoughts turn to the lost members of the Carter clan, as a regretful breeze ripples across her perfect skin. “Jay hardly sees anything of his uncle Chris these days,” she moues. “He went a bit wild with his conspiracy theories about twenty years ago, it was all ‘the truth is out there’ and ‘trust no-one’ and ‘aliens are in the jelly’ and that sort of thing. He and his kids the Backstreet-Carters have been shut off ever since. Poor Nick and poor little Aaron.”
“They wanted it that way,” spits Helena bitterly.
Still, happier times lie ahead, I venture, drawing Beyoncé’s attention back to her forthcoming tour and the reason for our interview. “Yes, and perhaps now you appreciate a little of the wonderful Carter legacy,” she says with a sweet, winning smile. “With all that rich history behind the name I’d be a fool not to adopt it for promotional purposes.” And the loss of the Knowles name? “My father Nick will be devastated. But with the money from the tour he’ll finally be able to do up his house.”
A lot of people are quick to claim that The Hunger Games is some sort of rip-off of Battle Royale. But Suzanne Collins claims she’d never heard of the Japanese book and film before her own became a success, and who are we to argue? Especially when, somewhere between Connecticut and Shikoku – here in South East England in fact – there’s another source so close as to be uncanny. Could a Grange Hill school trip to Beaconsfield really have inspired the adventures of the Panem tributes? Let’s take a look…
Once a year, selected children are taken out of their ordinary lives by a woman in a remarkable hat and suit
On the way there they must learn to respect their mentor
Alliances are soon formed in the wilderness
But the gang are in hot pursuit!
Lost in the woods, will the girls find the odds are in their favour?
In a rose garden waits a man who could save them, but will he?
What happens when you take Doctor Who‘s single most innuendo-laden story and reduce it to its purest form by taking out everything but the smut? A mildly amusing YouTube edit of Four To Doomsday is what happens, and here it is:
In my similar round-up last year I explained that our telly automatically turns subtitles on when muted, which often then get stuck when we change channels. With hilarious consequences!
The year began with a nasty cold snap, and the BBC Weather Department was getting increasingly frustrated at the public’s apathy
And it was a year of austerity measures, with stern advice given daily on the news
Columbo had one last question for Underdog
June brought the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and Fiona Bruce got carried away with some of the terminology
On the Enterprise-D, Beverley was furious that Picard’s special nickname for her had become common knowledge
The Olympics! And Gary Lineker was spoiling for a fight
But it was the achievements of Team GB that really made the nation proud
Over on the X Factor, one advertiser spotted a celebrity sponsorship opportunity during the early stages
And as the weather turned cold again, one forecaster lost the plot altogether
Never, Fiona. Never.
Posted in Frippery
Tagged adverts, beverley crusher, columbo, fiona bruce, gary lineker, james arthur, olympics, piccalilli, star trek, telly, x factor
1. …AND REMEMBER
First, Steven Moffat introduced the Weeping Angels – creatures that can only move when not observed – to Doctor Who. Then, John Lewis took this principle and applied it to snowmen in their terrifying Christmas advert. Now, Doctor Who counters with horrific snowmen who DO move about, and snarl with gnashing fangs, and eat people, with the explanation that they’re made of “memory snow”.
The logical conclusion of all of this – with Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary next year and John Lewis’s 150th the year after – will be a forthcoming crossover spectacular in which the Doctor saves a branch of John Lewis from sentient carnivorous versions of those “memory foam” mattresses that are so popular nowadays. It would not be a big leap for a programme that once made an evil plastic armchair the monster of the week.
2. CHEKHOV’S WORM
Among all the funny lines that Strax hogged were mentions of automated laser monkeys, scalpel mines and projectile acid fish. And there’s a video game I’d happily play for hours. He also hopes for a “full frontal assault.” (Is this the first Doctor Who story to use the phrase “full frontal”? In the same episode that has someone say “enter by the back door”?!) But the must-have toy for 2013 will be the Torchwood-tinged “memory worm”. Especially if it actually lets you wipe an hour’s worth of memory. It would come in handy if you’ve just accidentally sat through the live episode of The Only Way Is Essex or something.
3. He can’t sulk in his box forever
There was a lot of gorgeous imagery in The Snowmen, with the TARDIS sitting on a cloud at the top of an impossible spiral staircase the obvious centrepiece. But to a childhood fan like me it was the revamped title sequence and TARDIS control room that had me all a-quiver. I think they’re the perfect mix of old and new.
4. GOR BLIMEY!
The governess and her two young charges caught up in impossible goings-on is a nicely familiar set-up. The children terrified of the late former governess comes to us via The Turn of the Screw, but thankfully Clara doesn’t. With her cleverness, wonder and Gladstone bag she’s clearly Mary Poppins. She even gets a scene in which she ascends cheekily into the air while holding an umbrella. And as for her wild stories…
5. THE CENTURIES THAT DIVIDE HER SHALL BE UNDONE
In Doctor Who terms, the most easily reached answer to Clara’s existential mystery is that she’s splintered in time like City of Death‘s Scaroth. Her claim (one of her “definitely true stories”) that she was born behind the clock face of Big Ben sounds like a nice symbolic lead-in to that sort of thing. But somehow I can’t see her recreating the most iconic cliffhanger of my childhood by pulling off a rubber mask to reveal what my sister and I always called “The Twiglet Monster”. And this is Steven Moffat we’re talking about. Previous climactic revelations have centred around Rivers and Ponds, preferably by the side of a lake. So watch out for Clara’s claim that she “invented fish”.
Posted in Reviews
Tagged adverts, christmas, clara oswald, doctor who, fish, john lewis, mary poppins, matt smith, oswin oswald, shops, snowmen, telly, time travel, worms
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
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
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
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)
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
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.