TV Weekly: ‘If these celebrities turn up with an ego, they won’t last 24 hours’

This week we look back at Celebrity SAS, Corrie’s Eccles’ demise and EastEnders fans baffled once more.

Celebrity SAS line up announced

In all seriousness Channel 4 described the forthcoming telly outing as having an ‘all-star line-up’. Well, that is being a little bit optimistic.

There’s the usual z-list reality tat such as Joey Essex, Katie Price and ‘Youtuber’ Jack Maynard. There’s slightly more interesting participants with BBC presenter Helen Skelton, former Strictly pro dancer Brendan Cole, GMTV host Anthea Turner and Hollyoaks actress Nikki Sanderson.

Also nice to see sporting personalities Tony Bellew, Lauren Steadman, Denise Lewis and John Fashanu lined up along with Locksmith from Rudimental, Radio 1Xtra DJ, Yasmin Evans and rapper Lady Leshurr.

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins returns to Channel 4 with twelve famous and not so famous names who think they have what it takes to pass SAS Selection. They will embark on the toughest test of their lives, facing a gruelling course in the challenging terrain of Scotland’s rugged West Coast.

Putting them through the toughest course yet is Chief Instructor, Ant Middleton and his team of Directing Staff, Foxy, Billy, Ollie and newest member Jay. The DS don’t care how famous the recruits are, how many followers they have or what they have done before this. As soon as they enter the selection process, their celebrity status will be stripped away.

With this series returning to Scotland – the homeland of the SAS – the celebrity recruits will leave their glamourous lives behind and live together in a derelict farmstead on the remote island of Raasay, where they will be exposed to Scotland’s unforgiving weather, harsh landscape and volatile seas.

“If these celebrities turn up with an ego, they won’t last 24 hours. There are no short cuts, there are no easy options. They think they know what’s coming but trust me, they are going to get the absolute shock of their lives.” – Ant Middleton

This show needs Gemma Collins on it, that would be worth watching.

A Steph in the right direction

The Sun reported how ‘TV presenter Steph McGovern has got her own Channel 4 show — seven months after close pal Sinead Rocks became a boss there.’

Her chat show was brought forward in the schedules to entertain viewers during the COVID-19 crisis, with Steph hosting the live show from her home. The show goes up against ITV’s This Morning and later Loose Women, but shows no sign of stealing their viewers just yet.

The tabloid report that Sinead Rocks left the BBC last year to take up the position of Managing Director for Nations & Regions. The Steph Show is based at the broadcasters new home of Leeds although Channel 4 have said that Rocks had no role in the commissioning of McGovern’s programme.

“Sinead Rocks has no role in the commissioning of programmes and had no involvement whatsoever in the commissioning of The Steph Show. All commissioning decisions are made by Director of Programmes Ian Katz and his team. We undertook a rigorous pitch process for the new daily live show and the commission of The Steph Show from Expectation and Yorkshire-based Can Can was based purely on merit. 

“It was the best format and talent proposition from a strong selection of pitches.” – Channel 4 Statement

We can only hope the programme improves when it moves into its Leeds Dockside studio and begins transmission as originally intended otherwise all that ‘rigorous pitch process’ and looking for the ‘best format and talent’ will have been a bit of a waste of time. McGoven was a cover host on BBC Breakfast as well as one of the main presenters on Watchdog before she quit the Beeb last October.

Laura reflects on Caroline

Television presenter Laura Whitmore, who took over hosting duties on ITV2’s Love Island following the suspension of Caroline Flack spoke this week of how her late friend thought being forced to leave the programme may be good for her mental health.

Whitmore stepped into hosting duties on the series following Flack’s arrest for assault when she allegedly attacked her boyfriend Lewis Burton. Talking to The Open Mind with Frankie Bridge podcast Laura noted that in one of their last conversations before Caroline killed herself she had spoke about taking time out from television might help her work through her issues.

“I’ve never told anyone this, but one of the last things she told me is that ‘this is probably good that it’s happened this way as I have a lot of things I need to deal with and work through’.”

“I remember thinking she’ll come back with a bang, maybe I was being naive; but I didn’t think it would go the other way. My brain still hasn’t computed it.”

Making a Beale of an outfit

EastEnders viewers, The Mirror reported, ‘were left a little perplexed by Kathy Beale’s choice of funeral attire’. When on Monday BBC One aired the funeral of Dennis, who had drowned on the Thames barge disaster in February, leaving Sharon is a constant state of middle distance acting ever since.

While emotional scenes were plentiful, one thing left viewers miffed; Kathy and her enormous black hat. “Why is Kathy wearing a fedora? She looks like she’s either gonna break out into a Bugsy Malone number!!!…” said one social media commentator, another described her look as ‘mob widow’.

The big shock of the episode was the return of big Phil Mitchell, who had been missing since the river sinking. Sharon went from outraged to almost dropping her knickers within the space of the half hour, well some things never change…

You’re temporarily fired!

BBC One’s big business series The Apprentice has been put on hold due to the continued concerns over the coronavirus crisis. Beeb bosses have been forced to suspend production on the series headed by Lord Alan Sugar. It’s one of a number of programmes that have been either dropped for 2020 or put into temporary production halts.

“In light of the spread of Covid-19, after much consideration, Boundless the producers of The Apprentice, have postponed filming in consultation with and supported by the BBC. We will continue to review all productions on a case by case basis and will continue to follow the latest news and advice from the Foreign Office, World Health Organisation and Public Health England.” – BBC Statement

Weekly Quickies

Little Mix are also on hold with the BBC as their reality competition The Search has been postponed. The Chris Ramsay hosted series was due to air later this month, with the prize being a slot of Little Mix’s UK summer tour for the winning act.

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan sparked complaints TV watchdog Ofcom following an interview with Countdown legend Carol Vorderman. While talking about Carol’s live steaming maths school Morgan suggested she dress to turn on adults. The ITV News branded programme becoming a bit of a turn off for anyone with a dose of intelligence.

Coronation Street fans will be left weeping at the demise of one of the shows most convincing actors when Eccles the dog passes away this coming week. The pooch had been a regular on Corrie since 2006.

Emmerdale actress Charley Webb has spoken about being abused by fellow customers while out shopping. The Debbie Dingle soap star was given the verbal after requesting other shoppers stick to the social distancing rule we’re all supposed to adhere to during the covonavirus pandemic. She also observed that it seem many people are not taking the issue seriously enough.

Hollyoaks actor David Easter confirmed this week that he is in rehab for alcoholism. The former Brookside performer tweeted; “Forgive Me, last message, as I only have use of my phone for a few hours. I’m in lockdown in a rehabilitation home in Kent, which treats substance abuse and alcoholism. I’ve been an alcoholic for over twenty years. I’m safe and making progress, thank you, friends always.”

Linda Lusardi returned home after a stay in hospital with Covid-19 along with husband Sam Kane who were both admitted to wards for the virus early last month. At one point reports suggested Linda was near death, however the actress has battled back and beaten it.

Tilly Keeper, best known for her role as Louise Mitchell in EastEnders is to appear in a BBC Three drama focusing on the dangers of reality TV and social media in Make Me Famous. 

A Question Of Sport, TVs longest running sports quiz, has moved to BBC Radio 5 Live while new telly episodes can’t be produced. Sue Barker, the TV host, won’t be taking to the mic for the radio version however team captains Phil Tufnell and Matt Dawson have signed up and will be heard with a different host each week as well as one guest contestant each.

Dynamo spoke of how he began to feel ‘like a performing monkey’ when producing his UKTV series’, causing him to fall out of love with the medium. He however has returned to Sky One with a new series of magic shows. Dynamo, real name Steven Frayne, since recording the series has fallen ill with coronavirus symptoms.

Eddie Large dies

Comedian Eddie Large passed away aged 78 this week, with a mix of heart issues and coronavirus. The performer is best known, and best loved, for his partnership with Syd Little. Large, real name Hugh McGinnis, was born in Glasgow in 1941 but grew up in Manchester’s Moss Side.

He first met Syd in 1960 and joined in on his stage act. As well as jokes Eddie was also an impressionist making many names of the 70s and 80s part of their act including singer Cliff Richard, cartoon characters Deputy Dawg and Woody Woodpecker and a remarkably accurate take on Benny from Crossroads.

The pair made their television debut on Thames Television’s Opportunity Knocks, winning the competition in 1971. It lead to regular appearances on London Weekend Television’s quick-fire stand-up show Who Do You Do? for ITV from 1972 to 1976 and then a switch to BBC One for their own series The Little and Large Show in 1978 to fill the slot left by Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise’s defection to ITV.

The Little and Large Show ran until 1991 when audiences that had once been 15 million dropped to 8 million, not enough for the Beeb execs of the time as more ‘trendy’ comedy was deemed more suitable for the schedules. Guest spots followed in the years after, including the infamous ‘Gotcha’ by Noel Edmonds as part of his Noel’s House Party show in 1993, however ill-health had seen Large step back from the spotlight in recent years.


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