Can we look forward to Ricky Gervais blacking up next?

I used to like watching Ricky Gervais enormously. ‘The Office’ was a brilliant concept and the follow up ‘Extras’ was  extraordinarily ambitious and funny too, when the humour was self-deprecating and aimed very much at his own character Andy Millman or his close circle of hapless associates or when he was pricking the pomposity of his celebrity guests. But to me it became rather uncomfortable viewing when the focus of the humour was re-directed away from the fame-hungry and towards some easier targets like the Down’s boy in the restaurant, the girl with celebral palsy, the dwarf actor and perhaps even the outrageously camp  BBC tv producer of Andy’s programme ‘When the whistle blows’, in the second series.

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As the red tops know there’s nothing like a clever punny headline to capture lots of interest; and that’s nothing like a clever headline. Anyway have you seen the recent C4 adverts for a new programme to be hosted by Alex Zane called Rude Tube? It’s a celebration of the top 50 good, bad and the simply shocking clips appearing on youtube and the like. In other words it’s the online equivalent of You’ve Been Framed which spawned Kirsty’s Home Videos. You’ll be pleased to note that as well as all the latest user-generated stuff there are also some rude TV outtakes, an idea first covered by It’ll Be Alright on the Night and copied by Harry Hill’s TV Burp. Plus there’ll be some crazy ads but hang on doesn’t Tarrant on TV do that?

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Did you catch the Extras special on TV the other night? What did you think? I thought it was excellent to be honest; a bit moralistic about the shallowness of fame towards the end, but funny and brilliantly acted. I really like the way Gervais gives starring roles to the lesser characters. Everyone raves about Merchant’s performance (which is bloody funny) and Ashley Jensen’s touching performance as sidekick Maggie and the major/minor actors playing themselves down. But for me I think the best part is the Greg Lindley Jones character, Andy Millman’s nemesis, played with ‘brooding intensity’ by Shaun Pye. The guy who achieves everything Andy Millman aspires too – fame and respect, and because he knows it too he cannot stop belittling Andy. The scene where he interviews Andy for a role in a new film is just painfully funny. Have a look:

If you’ve seen anything better on the TV this holiday, let me know.

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diana concert

Well have you been watching the Diana concert and if so, what did you think? A bit like Diana herself – great at times and embarrassing at others? I’ve sort of enjoyed it on and off throughout the day. Is it just me but I can’t help thinking the BBC are getting crap at doing this sort of thing now. Some of the editing, production and sound countrols have been appalling, the presenters very weak and too often switching to video just as the atmosphere was building. Give it to Sky. Also did you think Wembley wasn’t perhaps the best setting for the event, too many gaps, too regimented seating? Compared with the mayhem of Glastonbury it looked a bit like a Buck House garden party. But what do I expect from an event organised by the Princes? They were pretty rubbish I thought at the presenting lark. Honestly, they had what, 40 words to say between them and they’ve been preparing for this for 10 years, so I’d have thought they could have remembered to say ‘Hello Wembley’ without crib cards in their hands. Still they were clearly proud of the achievement.

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