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Your new game's a crying shame, Cilla.

YOU'VE got to hand it to LWT for dreaming up The Moment Of Truth.

In the frantic search for ratings, the idea of making kids cry on prime- time television is a corker.

Every single person involved in the production of Saturday evening's shabby, shoddy show should be hanging their heads in shame.

Yes, Cilla. You too.

Especially you.

As a mother, didn't you feel the slightest pang of conscience, the teeniest twinge of embarrassment, when you looked at the miserable, tear-stained faces of those two little boys Nick and Chris Wisby?

For a fleeting second, did the thought cross your mind that to parade the expensive prizes they had chosen before their eyes - TV, video, computer game console, remote-controlled car - and then snatch them away because their mother had failed to play the game properly was an act of despicable, wanton cruelty?

I'm not easily shocked. I've seen some terrible tat on TV.

Mainly, I love it.

If grown-ups want to humiliate themselves for a few minutes of fame, fine.

People get on Family Fortunes, behave like prize chumps, and go away empty-handed.

That's their choice.

But if making two young boys blame their mum for dashing their dreams is entertainment, then roll on televised public executions (and yes, they'd get fab

I know kids are tough. Nick and Chris will soon have dried their tears.

That VIP day out at Charlton Athletic, which was their consolation prize, is something to look forward to, isn't it? But who knows what mental scars remain?

My heart sank when the Risby family were first shown, sitting grim-faced backstage.

"They're right now getting ready to face their moment of truth," chortled Cilla.

You'd have thought they were getting ready to face a firing squad.

We'd already seen mum Julie practising her almost impossible task - memorising the league positions of all 132 English and Scottish professional football clubs.

And she looked like she'd have been happier scaling the Matterhorn.

In the studio, pressure was piled on.

The drum roll, the fanfare.

Dad and the kids standing with their fingers crossed.

Julie's voice faltered. Barely a third of the way through, she lost it. Aaah! Went the audience. Cilla put on her concerned, sincere face.

Nick hung his head. Chris buried his face in his hands.

Unbelievably, we were then shown a replay.

They're going to cry... YES! They're crying!

I can't wait for the live Christmas special.

The kids are gathered around the tree, waiting to open their presents - when "Santa" Cilla comes down the chimney and asks mum to explain Einstein's Theory Of Relativity in ten seconds.

Aaah! You did ever so well.

Never mind.

No mountain bikes or GameBoys for you, gang.

But here's a book token, a Tesco voucher and a signed photo of our Cilla.

Ta, ra!

A WAIT OFF HER MIND..

QUESTION: Why did the supermodel stare at the carton of orange juice?

Answer: Because the label said concentrate.

Oh, that's so unfair.

Clive James Meets The Supermodels (Sunday, ITV) revealed the real reason why Naomi Campbell finds it difficult to string two words together (even one is a bit of a problem). It's because she thinks too much.

"I'm usually quiet because I've got so many things on my brain," she explained.

Clive nodded, sympathetically.

He'd been hanging around for hours at the Paris fashion week for just this moment.

Naomi kept him waiting so long outside her apartment that he had to ask: "What on earth was she doing up there? Writing another novel?"

When Kate Moss arrived for the show in a flurry of arms and legs, like a bundle of twigs blown in by Hurricane Georges, Clive said: "You could tell Kate was late because Naomi was already there."

Watching the models being pampered, painted, primped and preened, it suddenly occurred to Clive that he could have been at a Grand Prix race.

"Like a racing car in the pits, each girl was surrounded by technicians who could rebuild her in a matter of minutes . . . the body she was born with is just a chassis. They can change all the other bits to suit the track."

Naomi finally went into overdrive when another model trod on her frock, almost ripping it in half, and she had to totter down the catwalk holding the bits together.

This was like watching Jacques Villeneuve's reaction after being shunted off the track by Michael Schumacher.

Except that Villeneuve doesn't roll up for races two hours late.

Charlie's Clanger

I'M NOT sure whether this counts as a Clanger ... but it makes me laugh.

John Lowe of Huddersfield wonders if Coronation Street's Jack Duckworth had been watching the Clinton tapes before he handed Vera a cup of tea and said: "Get your laughing gear around that, cock ..."

You too could win pounds 30 by writing (on a postcard or the back of a sealed envelope only) to: TV Clangers, The Mirror, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP.

ROY and Hayley's moment of truth in last night's Coronation Street ("If neither of us know what we're doing, we won't know if we're doing it wrong...") reminded me of Bob Monkhouse's description of inadvertently pulling a transsexual.

It was, he said, like putting your feet into an apple-pie bed.

Charlie's Choice

Undercover Heart (Thursday BBC1, 9.30pm)

JUST what we really, really need ... another cop series.

This new six-parter promises to be a cut above the usual "Don't do it, guv, he's not worth it!" stuff, where lots of unshaven men in leather jackets beat up other unshaven men in leather jackets.

Moral dilemmas matter as much as shoot-outs. And keep an eye open for one very hot scene with ice-cubes, involving the delicious Daniela Nardini from This Life.

YOU can catch Charlie talking television at 10am every Saturday on Talk Radio 1053 or 1089 AM.

MOVING STORIES

FUNNY how easy it is to move home in Soapland.

No tiresome business with estate agents, solicitors or removal men. You just throw a few things in a suitcase, call a taxi (or your mum) and off you go.

Fed up to the back teeth with too many McDonalds, Fiona flounced out of Coronation Street after agreeing to sell the salon to Audrey.

Er, for how much exactly?

Audrey had banged on about the price having to be right. Then she roped in Fred as her "business advisor" to persuade Alfie to stump up the cash - but a sum was never mentioned.

Meanwhile in EastEnders, Gita was moaning: "Sometimes I feel like I want to disappear ..."

No sooner said than done, dear. Next day, she and Sanjay were standing on the pavement bidding a tearful farewell to Ruth and Mark.

"We have to make a fresh start," sniffled Gita, as Mark got down on to his knees to hug her.

The Kapoors had been hounded out by the tabloid Press. Boo, hiss. All week, packs of reporters were roaming around Albert Square, trying to follow up Polly's sensational story: Secret Baby Shame Of "Murder" Wife.

Or to put it another way: East End Market Trader's Missus Disappears For A Short Time And Turns Up With Another Man's Kid.

Hold the front page!

What about Ian Beale's story? My Two-Timing Runaway Wife Hired Hitman To Kill Me And Now My Kids Have Vanished.

Or Grant Mitchell's? Falklands Hero Admits: My Alcoholic Brother Bedded My First Wife - Now My Mother-In-Law Is My Lover.

Maybe they should all be on the Jerry Springer Show. Seriously, though, I'm worried about the decline in journalistic standards.

Behind the bar in the pub I spotted a framed, full-page restaurant review headed: A Right Royal Feast At The Queen Vic. Eh? Shepherd's pie and a packet of pork scratchings?

Michael Winner's getting easy to please.

A downmarket rag has been working itself into a lather about soap stars' salaries. Who cares what they ARE paid? Here's what they SHOULD be paid:

MY

TOP

5

Malandra Burrows (Kathy Glover, Emmerdale) pounds 69,000. Emmerdale's plots may be hard to swallow, but without man-eater Kathy, ratings would go down.

David Neilson (Roy Cropper, Coronation Street) pounds 68,000. Roy deserves a BIG raise for taking the plunge with transsexual Hayley.

Claire King (Kim Marchant, Emmerdale) pounds 66,000. Kim loves being in the saddle. But now she's so broke she can't afford a horse.

Ross Kemp (Grant Mitchell in EastEnders) pounds 65,000. Grant receives danger money for getting inside mother-in-law Louise's spray-on trousers.

Michael J. Jackson (Ollie Simpson, Brookside) pounds 62,000. Enough to fund Ollie's Viagra habit after the collapse of his affair with Eleanor.

MY

BOTTOM

5

Anna Brecon (Lady Tara, Emmerdale) pounds 20,000. For a new silver spoon for her mouth, when Lord Michael pawns the one she was born with.

Kerrie Taylor (Lucy Benson, Holly-oaks) pounds 15,000. A new silver spoon for her nose. She's tried every drug bar aspirin.

Elizabeth Bradley (Coronation Street's Maud Grimes); Peter Amory (Emmerdale's Chris Tate) and Charles Lawson (Coronation Street's Jim McDonald) pounds 10,000 each. Those wheelchairs can't need much maintenance..

Wendy Richards (Pauline Fowler, EastEnders) pounds 9,000. To redecorate her house for the first time in 15 years. And splash out on a new cardigan.

Clive Hornby (Jack Sugden, Emmerdale) pounds 8,000. He's already rolling in EU farming subsidies.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Catchpole, Charlie
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 29, 1998
Words:1555
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