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A load of old Clock.

Byline: Kevin O'Sullivan

FORTY minutes into Channel 4's dazzlingly dreary 10 O'Clock Live there's a breakthrough ... I've managed to raise a smile. Yay!

Congratulations to David Mitchell for coming out with something vaguely amusing. About time. Until now it's been a grimly solemn slog. Newsnight without the laughs.

Poor token female Lauren Laverne. Trapped in a feeble format that simply doesn't work, she comes across as a bland bombshell recovering from entirely successful comedy bypass surgery.

But wait... here's un-topical Jimmy Carr ploughing through an interminable interview with some eco-bore called Bjorn.

"You put the mental into environmental," quips Jimmy, hilariously.

"I put the sensible back into an environmentalist," replies quick-witted Bjorn, not quite getting Jimmy's "joke". Understandable.

On and on this dire exchange continues. Until Mr Carr finally turns to the long-suffering studio audience and declares: "I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say we'd love to have Bjorn back." I don't think you do actually, mate. But why not? He couldn't be any worse.

And now over to the permanently furious Charlie Brooker, who appears to have a flying saucershaped Brillo pad glued to his forehead. As a quiff, it's really not making the grade.

But to night Charlie is particularly angry about Tunisia and Sarah Palin.

During his ludicrously lengthy snarling soliloquies, our fuming hero implores us to be nicer about Arabs... and nastier about crazy Palin. You know... cos she's all right wing and vile. Yeah man.

Fine, whatever. But just calm down a bit, eh? I want to be entertained here... not frightened.

Maintaining the bitingly low level of political satire, Jimmy responds to Brooker's scary diatribe by giggling: "Say what you like about Sarah Palin... but I still would." Who said sophisticated humour was a thing of the past?

Back to Lauren for her hopelessly tedious World News Now slot. Which, in fairness, does get me chuckling. Because the lipsynching goes badly and she looks like a poor-quality ventrilobeing quist's dummy. We endure a whole horrible hour of this garbage. A slow-motion car crash. An illconceived anorexically thin programme desperately trying to be funny... and failing on an epic scale. That Was The Weak That Was.

This is a schizophrenic production which com bines inexpert chats with dulls ville guest MPs... and Jimmy's reworked stand-up routine. Is it current affairs... or comedy? Or neither?

You decide. If you care. With 14 episodes to go (oh God!), let's take the charitable view and call this disaster a work in progress. But boy are this lot going to have to raise their game.

Because as of now, 10 O'Clock Live is dead in the water.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

You can let me know at the email address above

CONFUSION over C4's The Joy Of Teen Sex. Where was the joy? Good to see James Corden's social worker sister Ruth offering explicit expert advice. But, apart from titillating adolescents, what was the point of this tawdry nonsense?

MARY past? Portas: Secret Shopper ... and TV's retail queen rather over-estimates her superstar status. Unnecessarily disguised in a wig and sunglasses, she whispers: "It's really important no one recognises me." But Mary... most people wouldn't.

WEEK two of Adrian Chiles' That Sunday Night Show ... and top guest Neil Hamilton concedes: "I'm a media tart - I'll do anything." Funny. But for the most part this strange show is no laughing matter. Like the British Comedy Awards.

CAPTION(S):

Yawn... Jimmy and Bjorn
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 23, 2011
Words:575
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