ON Sunday night, BBC1’s Bafta Awards boldly declared Benjamin Zephaniah’s poetry show Life & Rhymes to be better entertainment than Strictly Come Dancing, The Masked Singer and Ant & Dec’s Takeaway.
They didn’t mean it, obviously. They were just patronising this obscure Sky Arts series.
Least, I hope they were, because I’ve watched Life & Rhymes, start to finish, and it’s cat-shat-on-the-mat doggerel for the most part, performed to 23 finger-clicking hipsters (plus Rick from The Young Ones) in what looks very like the old Trumpton bandstand.
If the television industry genuinely thinks it’s the future of light entertainment then television is finished.
MISTAKES AND LIES
This is why I have to keep telling myself that what we witnessed, at the weekend, was Bafta’s desperate attempt to scramble back up to the moral high ground following the Noel Clarke debacle in April, when its film ceremony gave the actor/director an outstanding contribution award, despite organisers being made aware of sexual harassment allegations against him.
And scramble they most certainly did.
The result was an event that felt very much like being slapped round the face with a rolled-up copy of the Guardian for two hours.
The grandest exercise in woke self-delusion you’ll ever see and one of those occasions when it’s a lot easier to list the very few things it got right rather than run through all the mistakes and lies Bafta told itself.
In no particular order, the worthy winners were: Once Upon A Time In Iraq (Best Factual), Michaela Coel (Best Actress), Inside No 9 (Best Scripted Comedy) and Welcome To Chechnya (Best International).
There were also a few debatable decisions, of course, but many others that just seemed downright perverse, such as Channel 4’s toxic documentary The School That Tried To End Racism being crowned Best Reality And Constructed Factual Show.
Most of the subsequent attention, however, has fallen on Diversity’s victory in The Must-See Moment category, which was voted for by the public but was a done deal the moment the feeble short-list excluded: Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse winning Strictly, Phillip Schofield revealing “I’m gay” on This Morning, Diana skipping on to The Crown, former Home Secretary Alan Johnson emerging from The Masked Singer’s Pharaoh costume or, indeed, anything else that actually look like a must-see moment, including Scotland qualifying for Euro 2020.
Not for one second, obviously, am I suggesting this was very cynical and calculated revenge on the 26,000-plus ITV viewers who complained about Diversity’s George Floyd routine on Britain’s Got Talent. Goodness me, no.
However, I’m certainly alarmed that every single one of those viewers has been tarred and feathered with the label “racist”.
’Cos, no doubt, some of them probably fit the description, but I bet a lot more are simply sick to death of imported outrage, believe it has no place on a light-entertainment show and are deeply suspicious of all the left-wing propaganda that gets smuggled under the radar, with all the rest of the virtue-signalling.
On the evidence of the Baftas, they’ve every right to smell a rat, as the event’s news review of the year demonstrated when it said of the US elections: “Kamala Harris moved closer to the White House.”
Not Joe Biden won, or even Donald Trump lost. She WILL win . . . in four years’ time.
Thick as she is, you see, Bafta and the BBC heartily approve of Kamala Harris and there will be hell to pay if the American people don’t follow their orders and vote for her.
How such a slyly manipulative agenda tallies with The Beeb’s neutrality guidelines, I’ve no idea.
But as Sunday night demonstrated, our state broadcaster faces a very stark choice here.
Either the BBC washes its hands of the tainted, biased, hypocritical Bafta organisation and all of the political posturing that comes with them, or the people who actually pay for this indoctrination will wash their hands of the BBC.
It couldn’t be simpler.
LOOKALIKE OF THE WEEK
THIS week’s winner is Rob Beckett, as seen on The Last Leg, and a Fuggler. Sent in by Lilly McQuade, via email.
Picture research: Amy Reading
GREAT SPORTING INSIGHTS
PETE GRAVES: “Alexander-Arnold created seven chances last season – 49 of them were from open play.”
Lewis Hamilton: “Today was a good stroke of bad luck.”
James McFadden: “We should be optimistic about Scotland’s chances, not hopeful.”
(Compiled by Graham Wray)
SEAN BEAN and Stephen Graham’s outstanding performances on BBC1’s brutal Scouse version of The Shawshank Redemption, Time (Sunday, 9pm).
Genius Derek Jacobi raising BBC2’s Inside No 9 to new levels. Tamzin Outhwaite moving like a dream as Scarecrow on The Masked Dancer. And This Morning’s bewitching feature on Bear the border collie, “Britain’s smartest dog”, who can identify 80 objects, understand 50 per cent of human conversation, fetch a beer from the fridge and probably sit in for Dermot O’Leary next Bank Holiday, so long as the mutt’s prepared to dumb down a bit.
WEDNESDAY night, I watched Olivia Attwood’s Romanian rescue dog, Lola, take its first outdoor s**t, in the Love Island star’s garden, on ITVBe’s Olivia Meets Her Match.
And you know what? It was still better than Life & Rhymes.
LET’S face it, no one really emerged from The Masked Dancer with their dignity fully intact.
There were just degrees of humiliation on the ITV series.
The three most demeaning tasks, though, surely belonged to the video stunt doubles, the yellow dancing sponges, and Davina McCall, who took the thing so seriously she lost her rag with Jonathan Ross during the final, shouting: “I honestly thought we were going to get a serious answer, I really did,” like she wasn’t the gormless prong who’d said the Squirrel costume was occupied by “Bruno Mars”.
Mind you, I was also caught on the hop by that creature, assuming nothing could be scarier than the “Nick Ferrari” or “Paloma Faith’s sex face” vibes I got off that mask last week.
But then, to my utter astonishment, the Squirrel head was removed on Saturday night, and there was Bonnie-ruddy-Langford, looking about 130 years younger than she ever did on EastEnders, and moving like a woman half her age (56).
She was probably unlucky, in fact, to lose the final vote to gymnast Louis Smith, who, despite not showing up on my radar since CelebAbility in 2017, was still hit with Joel Dommett’s standard enquiry.
“Why did you decide to do Masked Dancer in the first place?”
Why? When it’s a toss-up between this and the Postcode Lottery advert, there’s no decision to be made, Joel.
Fetch the Carwash outfit.
INCIDENTALLY, if you ever wanted to understand why Good Morning Britain will never recapture the hundreds of thousands of viewers it’s lost since Chunk left, all you needed to do was watch Richard Madeley shout “HEAR HEAR” as Susanna Reid, with icy contempt in her voice, said: “The Bafta win for Diversity was one in the eye for anyone who complained. I’m so, SO pleased for them.”
The “anyone” she’s talking about being ITV viewers.
Or in Good Morning Britain’s case, ex-viewers.
SPRINGWATCH revelation of the series. Michaela Strachan: “The grey partridge is different to the red-legged partridge.”
Yes, yes, but how, Michaela?
“It doesn’t have red legs.”
UNEXPECTED MORONS IN THE BAGGAGE AREA
THE Chase, Bradley Walsh: “This Is The Story was the 1987 debut album for which Scottish twins?”
Bradley Walsh: “The 2016 art installation Inside Reading Jail celebrates which author?” Clare: “Charles Manson.”
Tipping Point, Ben Shephard: “The usual name of which 20th Century British Prime Minister can be abbreviated to WC?”
Meghan: “William Churchill.” And Ben Shephard: “In the classic fairytale, how many ugly sisters does Cinderella have?”
That was EastEnders’ Zoe Slater.
RANDOM TV IRRITATIONS
BIG Weekend Away host Gregg Wallace telling every single slaphead he meets: “You look like me.”
Stacey Dooley’s accent going the “full Dick Van Dyke” at Sunday night’s Baftas.
The tragic figure of Alastair Campbell still grovelling around for a TV career, on Steph’s Packed Lunch. An over- emotional Andrew Neil, of all people, crying on Wednesday’s This Morning (Et tu, Brillo?).
And drowning Baftas host Richard Ayoade introducing the event’s Scripted Comedy award with the words: “If you want laughter, it’s best to plan for it.”
So why didn’t you?
THE Last Leg’s “loveably self-effacing” host Adam Hills: “I did a comedy show to 1,300 people in Canberra, and do you know the weirdest moment?”
When one of them laughed?
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