Regular readers (a Mrs Television of North Wales) will be pleased to hear that I can no longer bring myself to watch that third rate tosh ‘Downbog Abbey’, and I have exhausted my ability to find new ways to describe how dire ‘Spooks’ is. Instead I will compare and contrast two other recent offerings on the electric television.
I was expecting to be mildly entertained by Stephen Fry’s “Planet Word”, but held out little prospect of Jo Brand’s Big Splash being other than a schedule filler.
I was wrong.
There. I’ve said it. I was wrong.
I found Planet Word to be fairly dull, learned nothing interesting from it, and found myself becoming slightly irritated. (I know that most of you think that I spend my waking life in a state somewhere between ordinary grumpiness and blood-vessel bursting. It ain’t so.) The programmer planners seem to think that we all want to see endless footage of recycled celebrities trekking round obscure corners of the globe (yes, Dave, I know there are no corners on a globe, now shut up and write your blasted blog) making facile comments and expressing enthusiasm about subjects of no earthly nor celestial interest.
Thus we have Mr Fry sitting amongst some poor bastards in East Africa who had only just recovered from a visit by Gyles Brandreth making a documentary about trombone polishing. They could not understand what Stevie was saying, and he spoke not one word of their language. I am not sure how many times my licence fee it cost the BBC to fly Fry to Eritrea to fail to communicate with some poor unsuspecting bugger who was looking forward to an evening of goat-tending, but it is too bloody many. Then we have him striding along a beach, pontificating. I do not know why he felt that he needed the Caspian Sea (no, I have no idea where it was) as a backdrop – possibly to distract from the tedium of his discourse.
What I had overlooked about Jo Brand was that whatever she is in, she is brilliant, certainly when all she does is be herself. I just like her, it is as simple as that. I’ve liked her ever since her early days of abrasive comedy (the “painter’s in” line was one of the greatest ever), and now, even when her humour is no longer cutting-edge, and would probably not be even remotely funny when done by someone else, whenever I see her, I get the feeling that there is room in my enormous circle of friends for her, and I would love to spend time with her. Just watch it and feel good.
Here is an example for those of you of a foreign persuasion, who may not be familiar with her stage act.