Monday, 26 January 2009


Ok, so I know I've banged on about 'Masterchef' before, in particular the raw emotions on display from the celebrity contestants, but now I feel I must expand on my previous diatribe. I swear tonight's episode is one of the ridiculous things I have ever seen on TV (yep, even more ridiculous than 'Jonathan Creek').

Firstly, do they even check to see whether the contestants can actually cook anymore?? A dude on tonight's show concocted a plate of what can only be described as a tin of chickpeas with bacon on top, all floating in what looked to be the the result of a nosebleed.

Needless to say he was torn to pieces by judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace. The efforts of the other competitors were pretty pants too. One contestant couldn't even finish cooking his dish because he chopped the top of his thumb off and had to be rushed to A&E (we were reassured later that he hadn't bled to death, although I think some of the blood may have spurted on to the plate above).

Other amusing attempts at recent cooking by contestants include a well-meaning lady with a nervous giggle who started out by making a risotto, panicked and decided to PUREE it into a 'soup', which resembled concrete, and a guy who served up boiled carrots (complete with a bite taken out of one of them) and potatoes!! Even Gregg today admitted that "anyone who can open a tin is through to the next stage" because the standards were so low.

Secondly, the programme is becoming increasingly formulaic - there now seems to be a 'novice cook', 'experimental cook' and 'traditional cook' in each episode (as well as the 'crap cook'). And, of-course, they all have bags of PASSION, as repeatedly expressed by the husky-voiced voiceover woman who sounds like she could do with a good cough.

I must say, however, that it is hugely entertaining, and I have had some massive belly laughs tonight as a result of the incompetence on display. Experience the hilarity for yourself on iPlayer. I might even enter next year's series and whip up a bowl of Heinz tomato soup, followed by Supernoodles and a Wagon Wheel.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Frost/Nixon fact/fiction?

Another reason why I love living in London. I got into work ridiculously early on Monday as a result of a big leak in my flat (long story). As a consequence of my early start, I managed to spot an advert in the Guardian offering free tickets to a preview screening of 'Frost/Nixon' much earlier than I normally would have done, and managed to get my hands on a pair.

So Thursday night, just hours after the film had picked up five Oscar nominations, off we went to Cineworld Haymarket after a beer and a sausage at my favourite pub, The Harp. The foyer was packed, with hundreds of people all clutching their printed tickets, and amongst the throng was none other than former Lib Dem leader, Charles Kennedy. I do like my celebrity spotting, so I was quite chuffed with this one. Then, when we took our seats in the grand, art deco Screen 1, we spotted legendary broadcaster John Humphrys (whose real first name is apparently Desmond, according to Wikipedia). Turns out that, as well as watching the film for free, we were to be treated to a Q&A session after the screening with Charles, John, Observer film critic Philip French and Channel 4 news broadcaster Samira Ahmed, hosted by the Observer's political editor, Gaby Hinsliff.

It was riveting stuff, with lots of intelligent debate about the film itself (I thoroughly enjoyed it, although the Q&A session sparked the panel to deliberate whether it should have simply stuck to the facts, rather than adding in bits such as the late night phonecall between the two lead players), as well as some amusing anecdotes from John Humphrys after he was asked whether he believes Gordon Brown is 'Nixonian'. According to Humphrys, Brown, like Nixon, has a 'desperate need to be loved'.

A fab evening, and spookily, all as a result of my own, rather less complicated, 'Watergate'.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Wicked 48 hours

So I have completed another rotation around the sun and have waved goodbye to my mid-twenties. Ah well. A very good birthday it was too, with a birthday lunch, lots of wine, laughter, Chinese food (leading to doggybag-gate) and a surprise delivery to the office of a fab Authentic Cuervo Margarita kit courtesy of the lovely people at Splendid Communications. It was delivered by a courier and everything and came with a gorgeous glass with sparkly bits down the stem. Yum yum.

Then the following evening a bunch of us from work went to see the musical 'Wicked'. I'm a regular theatre-goer, but musicals aren't usually my bag, yet I swear this one blew my socks off. Fab story, catchy songs, witty humour. I even shed a couple of tears, which is VERY unlike me. Go and see it. Now. It's even got Carol from 'The Brittas Empire' in it (the receptionist who used to keep her baby in the drawer).

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Sonic relief

Funny Dunlop family joke earlier. What with Doctor Who being 'in the blood', my mum, dad and I were waiting with baited breath for the BBC's over-dramatic televisual announcement of the actor who has been chosen to portray the Eleventh Doctor. The build-up was anti-climactic (apart from some well-deserved airtime for Great Uncle Patrick Troughton), with the selected actor being unveiled as the relatively unknown Matt Smith. He is going to be the youngest ever Doctor. He's younger than me for goodness sake! Now I do feel old.

Anyway, my brother was out at the time of the announcement so we concocted a plan, and decided to tell him when he got back that Lenny Henry had got the job.

The build-up was perfect - resulting in a game of 20 questions for him to work out who it was. He got to Lenny Henry after about ten questions....and was absolutely delighted! "I'm definitely going to watch the next series now!" he proclaimed, with the widest possible grin on his face. The rest of us completely cracked up and broke the news to him that sadly it wasn't going to be Lenny Henry after all, although in hindsight I kind of wish we had let him go on believing it in order to cause maximum embarrassment.

Congratulations young Mr Smith - don't let us down!!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Up sh*t Creek

I made a special effort to get home in time for 'Jonathan Creek' last night (what has my life become?!) and I must say I was a tad baffled by it. I used to be a big fan of the show back in my youth, enjoying its twists and turns and witty humour, but last night's storyline was just too preposterous!

*Stop reading now if you don't want spoilers*

So a woman's best friend mysteriously disappears into thin air in the middle of the night, with all remaining of her the clothing she went to bed in. Now if this was my friend I would be pretty darn worried. The best case scenario is that she would be walking around naked somewhere. But does our new heroine call the police? No. Instead she approaches Jonathan Creek upon the recommendation of an old lady she barely knows for his help. Little progress is made in tracking her down, so they go along to the local village show and have a bit of a giggle by partaking in some magic tricks. ERR - YOUR FRIEND IS MISSING AND POSSIBLY DEAD, DON'T FAFF AROUND BY PERFORMING MAGIC TRICKS YOU DUNCE!!

In an equally absurd secondary storyline, a magician's girlfriend is having an affair with their handyman (played by the lead singer dude from ace 90s series 'The Young Person's Guide to becoming a Rock Star') and they get married in secret. The magician finds out and murders his girlfriend. The handyman is understandably a tad upset by the turn of events, but when Jonathan tracks him down to try and found out what happened, he is still doing oddjobs round the magician's house. ERR - YOUR WIFE HAS JUST DIED AND YOU ARE AWARE THAT YOUR EMPLOYER IS THE MOST LIKELY SUSPECT. WHY ARE YOU STILL UP A LADDER CLEANING OUT HIS GUTTERS??!!

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh - I know the show is meant to be a bit 'out there', but last night's episode really did push the boundaries of acceptable social behaviour and common sense a little bit too far.