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Some of the best articles on the blog. Typically, these have a picture. It's a low entrance requirement, I know.


February 27, 2007

People Elevated to God-like Status: the inaugural members

Posted on February 27, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

People elevated to God-like status logo

Today marks the start of a new category on the blog: people elevated to God-like status (do you like the banner? Impressive, huh?). There are actors, writers, performers and other creative types who produce things that fill our lives with joy. Then there are people who hold opinions so right, so accurate, that they are as gods, walking among us. This category will celebrate them.

Today, I'm going to launch the category with two inaugural members: Charlie Brooker and Stewart Lee. Really, I was just going to start with Stewart Lee but then I realised that that would mean Charlie Brooker wouldn't be the first member of the elite, which just wouldn't do. So they're both going in at the same time.

I'm not going to say much about Charlie Brooker, since I've already said rather a lot. Instead, I'm going to focus on Stewart Lee. Now, whatever you think about a certain opera, Fist of Fun and a whole load of other things he's done over the years, he was automatically granted membership of this glorious category purely as a result of comments he made on Charlie Brooker's Screen Wipe this week. I will let his wisdom speak for itself.

Christ, I've just realised Chris Morris needs to be in here, too. Okay. That's three then.

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February 27, 2007

Third-episode verdict: Primeval

Posted on February 27, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Primeval Carusometer3 Minor Caruso

Primeval has a problem. Okay, it has lots of problems. But its central problem is pacing.

Like a shark swimming along in the ocean, it needs pace. If it slows down, it collapses under the weight of two miles of silliness.

Now the first episode was just fine, nipping along fast enough that you could overlook the masses of plotholes. It was stupid but perfectly acceptable, particularly if you're a kid. The second episode slowed things down a bit, but filled in the gaps with great big giant spiders.

The third episode, though, committed the ultimate crime of being boring: a show about dinosaurs must not, should not be boring.

However, there are other problems. Hannah Spearitt may be 26 and there to appeal to kids, but having her dancing around in her undies is disturbingly close to a widescreen version of Minipops; having her flirt with a lump of man-granite (James Murray) and a student version of Norman Bates (Andrew Lee Potts) is probably illegal in most countries.

Then there's Dougie. Somewhere during the second episode - I probably blinked and missed it - Dougie Henshall must have been shot by a tranquilliser dart, because he's been wandering around with a dazed expression ever since.

This is probably because of the sub-plot with his wife. I'm sure it's supposed to appeal to the adults while the kids snort up the beasties like so much crack cocaine. But we're supposed to believe in a woman who's decided she'd quite like to spend time with dinosaurs back in the past, but doesn't trust her hubbie enough not to bring some of his mates, so fakes her own death instead? Then, after eight years, she gets a bit lonely and asks him if he'd like to come back with her, but instead of turning up at their house, she starts giving messages to his pals when they're close to death along the lines of “Why don't you come back and see me some time – about 80 million years should do it, love, and don't forget the weekly Sainsbury's shop, cos we're going to need plenty of loo rolls.”

All that time by herself and she has, to use one of my wife's expressions, gone doolally tap. No wonder Dougie looks dazed by it all. He's probably calculating precisely how much he's going to have to spend on psychiatric and hospital bills.

I'm not predicting this is going to get any better – in fact, it's probably going to get worse – so I'm probably being generous by declaring that Primeval has earned a three or “Minor Caruso” on The Carusometer quality scale. A three on The Carusometer corresponds to “a show in which David Caruso might guest star. If dinosaurs feature in it, it will be impossible to decide which is more convincing, him or the dinosaurs. Throughout the episode, he will insist on doing a 'cock-a-knee' accent that will make it impossible for any other actors to keep a straight face. He will then storm off set, shouting about how he can't work with amateurs.”

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February 27, 2007

The weird and whacky world of late night signing

Posted on February 27, 2007 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

Signing of Heston Blumenthal

Hard though it might be to believe, we don't watch much television in our house. Friends re-runs and episodes of Charmed are as much as we usually stretch to. Occasionally, though, we'll record things and watch them later, although it takes us some time.

Case in point is Heston Blumenthal's In Search of Perfection, which was on over Christmas and which we only started watching yesterday. In case you're not aware of our Heston, he's a chef: he runs The Fat Duck, a three-star Michelin restaurant once voted the best place to eat in the world*. His unique selling point is that he mixes cookery with science, performing experiments with food to produce the best tastes he possibly can. Liquid nitrogen as a freezing agent to prevent crystals forming in ice cream, carbon dioxide bubbled through a mixture to give fish batter the best possible crunchiness - it's all in Heston Blumenthal's stride.

Thing is, we set the PVR to record a late night repeat of In Search of Perfection, not a daytime showing. Of course, we belatedly realised, that means it was part of the Beeb's late-night Sign Zone, in which popular programmes are enhanced with British Sign Language (BSL) signing for the benefit of the deaf.**

Now, I don't know about you, but when I watch anything signed, I tend to ignore the signer and focus on the main picture. It's not exactly hard. So I'm oblivious to what's going on.

At least, I would be if it weren't for my wife.

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