The Tuppence-ha'penny Punch and Judy Show

The Chewing Gum for the mind on the sole of your shoe.

By: Sertraline (Other listings magazines are available)

Coronation Street is in another dimension: Official

Regular visitors to this site will know my views on "Britain's favourite soap" but for the uninitiated who have simply stumbled across us let me clarify. Far from being the window on reality that other critics would have you believe it has always been my argument that Weatherfield exists in a parallel dimension that looks similar to ours but isn't quite the same. Now Granada have slipped up and it is clear for all to see that Coronation Street is not of our world. Got you interested? 

Using the miracle of CGI Granada have inserted their one-street set into a landscape taken from the real Manchester. There is a grid of terraced streets surrounding it and backing onto it, there are tower blocks in the distance, there are even Metro trams running over the arches at the bottom of the street. BUT, in true Philip K Dick style, the creators of this near perfect simulacrum have made a fatal flaw that your intrepid reporter has spotted. In one of the shots in the opening sequence we see along Rosamund Street which, for those amongst us who aren't devotees, is the one that runs down the side of the Rover's Return. Immediately behind the pub Rosamund Street runs underneath a railway bridge to where a group of lovable little street urchins are playing on the cobbles. (Below is the best shot those miserable bastards on their website had available but you can see the pub's kitchen window on the extreme right of the picture behind which Betty is furiously turning out hot-pots for the dinner-time rush ). Now the big question is if this is a railway bridge and carries or carried a railway line where does that line go to when it leaves the bridge? Well, if you think about it the trajectory goes along the back of the houses in Coronation Street but as we have seen from the aerial shot that opens the title sequence there is no railway line behind the houses, just an alleyway and the rear of the houses in the next street!!!! It will come as no surprise to hear that I have my own theory about this. Anyone who has read my rant about Coronation Street elsewhere on this site will recall my observation that when people leave the Street they do so forever, vanishing into some vast limbo beyond the limits of Weatherfield, the place that physicists call "the absolute anywhere". Well the railway line in question is obviously how they leave. They get onto a train at a nearby station which travels along the track, crosses the bridge in question then promptly disappears into wormhole to emerge in another part of the space-time continuum. Mystery solved!

Reality TV? Get me out of here!!!!

So the latest reality TV programme to reach our screens is now being aired with the second outing for I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. Of course the use of the word "celebrity" to describe some of the non-entities that are currently wallowing in the jungles of Queensland demonstrates a certain semantic license on ITV's part. Ex-soap stars, retired cricketers and fading ballet dancers are not particularly celebrated in the Sertraline household, I can tell you. Why is it that so much air-time is given over to carefully manipulated but allegedly cinema-verite programmes wherein a bunch of people of no discernable interest to any of us alternate between sitting around doing nothing whilst discussing bodily functions and taking part in contrived and ultimately meaningless "tasks" like seeing who can construct a mainframe computer using only bamboo shoots, a thirty foot long liana and a bucket of koala shit. I've got a much better idea for a reality TV programme and it goes like this. Take Graham Norton, Cilla Black, Dale Winton, Anne Robinson, Terry Wogan, June Sarpong , Noel Edmunds and Jonathan Ross - maroon them on a desert island, preferably one that has been used for testing nuclear weapons or developing biological and chemical warfare and then........well that's it really. The entertainment would come from watching them die lingering and painful deaths and we could call it I'm a Complete Twat, Leave Me In Here!

Face Value?

Speaking of June Sarpong, a woman who makes Steve Davis look vibrant, she presents the latest ritual humiliation masquerading as a game show - Your Face or Mine? The basic concept is this: The two contestants, let's call them Wayne and Tracy, sit on a sofa. Firstly a male guest joins them and Tracy is asked if the audience will think that the guest is better looking than her boyfriend, Wayne. When she has given her answer the audience then vote using keypads and the number of votes cast are displayed under images of the respective boys. The process is then repeated using a female guest being compared to Tracy. If the contestant guesses the audience's response correctly they win money - if they don't then Zip, nada, bugger all. Granted, some of the guests are their friends but some are strangers and tend to look like models so the contestant is left with the moral dilemma of whether to effectively say to their opposite number "You're an ugly bastard" and get cash for their forthrightness, or to salve their conscience and leave with nothing. As in the case of most game-shows of this kind the whole sorry proceedings are predicated on greed and consequently greed tends to win through. The final humiliation comes when at the end of the game the two contestants are asked to say which of them the audience will think is the most attractive and if they get it wrong then they lose everything they have won so far. So having sat through thirty minutes of having their self-esteem trampled over one wrong decision means they walk away empty handed. And the price for which these shallow and venal specimens sell their souls to TV is a paltry couple of grand. How cheaply some people are bought and how richly they deserve one another!

Ineptitude Quotient 

The second national IQ test was screened on Saturday night and oh did it take me back in time. Not to the same event last year but to that memorable Brit Awards ceremony hosted by Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood, you remember the one that demonstrated all the organizational sills of a decapitated Rhode Island Red. Unintentionally ironic in a programme dedicated to the exploration of how intelligent the nation  was how we were treated to the two presenters, Anne Robinson and Philip Schofield failing to be on their mark revealed in long shots of them scurrying from one side of the studio to the other or staring into the camera with bunny-in-the-headlights expressions on their faces as they suddenly became the focus of attention to tens of millions of people and clearly weren't expecting it. There were two instances that summed up these smooth professionals' discomfiture at being in the presence of such intellectual titans as car mechanics and body-builders. The first was when Anne Robinson referred to a certain surgical implement as a "scapel" and sadly there was no arrogant and condescending gobshite there to make disparaging observations about her glaring inability to read her own language before moving on to savage her dress sense. The second, whilst no less clueless could at least be understood,  and occurred when Philip Schofield was told by one of the Tax Inspectors that his daughter was also competing amongst the Blondes and the girl's face was duly splashed across the screen. Schofield crossed the studio to talk to her and immediately began questioning the girl in the adjoining seat before a quite obvious word in his ear-piece redirected him to the correct interviewee. This lapse in professionalism is in my opinion probably due to Schofield being distracted by the planet-engulfing cleavage of the blonde in the bright green jacket further along the same row. The cameraman certainly seemed to find her image magnetic because every time a shot of the Blondes was flashed up, and in her case I use the term in its broadest possible sense, she of the cleavage longer than the San Andreas fault was centre screen. Nothing wrong with his intelligence anyway!

Your son's on next, Mrs Mozart.  One of the, no doubt, university educated programme makers took the decision to make a show called "Britain's Brilliant Prodigies". Now before we go any further let's look what my Oxford Handy Dictionary gives as the definition for "Prodigy": Marvellous thing, esp. one out of the normal course of nature; wonderful example of (some quality); person with surprising qualities or abilities...... So to begin with referring to a "brilliant prodigy" is a tautology like referring to forgetful amnesiac, an educated academic or a greedy Tory. But for a minute let's not be pedantic, let's be charitable and assume that the tautology was done for the purpose of hyperbole - you know: these aren't just prodigies they're brilliant prodigies, child geniuses that surpass the description of  mere prodigies. At the very least I expected a kid who had written a few symphonies, another who had discovered a cure for cancer or one that had cracked the problem of nuclear fusion but what I got was kids who were quite good at singing or disco dancing. Talented maybe, gifted at a stretch, but not prodigies and certainly not brilliant. What's next: Britain's Most Meticulous Bin Men?


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