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TV: Comic Relief

Is it all about staying in to watch the celebrity gang weep buckets? Nicola Mostyn thinks so

Published on March 17th 2009.

TV: Comic Relief

I’VE got an idea for the next Comic Relief. Instead of all the comedy, they should just show back to back clips of Denise Van Outen, Davina etc weeping over the poor children dying of TB and HIV. And make it illegal to switch over. The only way you would be able to stop the vaguely nauseating display of celebrity anguish is to pledge ten pounds to the cause. Once you do, the TV would automatically switch to Monty Python, or a documentary about fish. I’m telling you, it would work. Twenty minutes in, forced to watch, say, Sharon Osborne snorting self indulgently over an African mother who has just buried her fourth child, the nation would be united in donating just to get her off our screens.

Sorry. Went a bit mad there.

But, really, there was something slightly disturbing about Comic Relief this year, like the celebrities had become more important that the kids and lack of water.

They were certainly far more important than the people around the country doing daft things for Comic Relief. It was all Cheryl Cole climbing Killimanjaro and Fearne Cotton fainting at the horridness of it all. And the footage of the needy – the sick children or the victim of domestic violence - were incongruously slick, like M&S food ads but with the ill or abused replacing the profiteroles and oak-smoked salmon. Not nice.

But I did enjoy Comic Relief Does The Apprentice which was at least entertaining.Facing up to a challenge to create a new toy, it was girls v boys with Jonathan Ross, Jack Dee, Gok Wan and Alan Carr being lead by Gerald Ratner and Patsy Palmer, Carol Vorderman, Fiona thingybob off GMTV and Ruby Wax, managed by some shouty Scot who designs underwear.

“There are a lot of comedians on board which I like because I like laughing,” said Ratner, then proceeded to fail to crack a smile the whole show. Ross, Carr, Dee etc showed themselves to be just as lovely as you’d imagine them to be in real life. So did the women. That is to say, if you were trapped in a lift with them for more than half an hour, you’d be using one of their stilettos to poke your brains out through your ears.

The teams threw themselves into the task. The boys had the idea of some collectible characters you could hook on a belt – Swap Belt. The girls went a bit more touchy feely. “What about a hugging suit?” asked Palmer. “It makes a noise when they hug each other?” This was met by silence.

“Or a Velcro suit” suggested Ruby. “So they could stick to each other?” They went with this and, as they set about getting the design together, Patsy was soon proving herself to be even more annoying than in EastEnders, sulking because nobody was telling her what she should be doing, and then sulking because Scottish Michelle told her what to do. “Do you want to just zip it, because we don’t need this right now?” said Michelle when Patsy got stroppy.

I though I was going to see the first Comic Relief bitch fight. Not a money raising idea to dismiss out of hand.

Once their products were made, they had to present them to an audience of industry experts. The boys were hilarious. The girls, cringeable. Someone pointed out that boys aged 5-8 probably wouldn’t want to stick various of their body parts to other boys. Or girls, for that matter.

“They shouldn’t have a problem with intimacy,” screeched Palmer, inexplicably receiving a round of applause when surely the correct response was that someone should have mounted the stage and hit her with a chair.

Sadly the girls won, because the boys’ idea, fabulous thought it was, would cost ridiculous amounts to make, whilst a Velcro suit, crap idea though it may be, would be a cinch to run up. Sir Alan sacked Alan Carr, though personally I’d have laid the blame at the door of Gerald Ratner – the man who ruined his own company by calling its products “total crap” and whose contribution to the task was to stare around like Eeyore.

He was amusing, though. Which is more than can be said for a lot of Comic Relief

Other highlights from the evening included a great Facebook sketch by Idiots of Ants, the sight of Ronnie Corbett falling off a treadmill and a wonderful Royle Family special in which the family discuss the temperature of Jim’s balls.

Low lights included Little Britain, the increasingly annoying and increasingly ubiquitous Matt Horne and James Corden from Gavin and Stacey and a celeb version of The Full Monty. I don’t want to see Minty from EastEnders naked. I don’t really want to see him clothed.

But I hope you donated anyway. Next year, how about 24 hours of Minty from EastEnders projected directly on to your eyelids, slowly stripping off his overalls? Pledge twenty pounds or you’ll end up with his tackle dangling in front of your retina for ever and ever. Charity would be easy.

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Rusty SpikeMarch 17th 2009.

Ah, 'Phil' above is clearly a fellow Royale Family dissident. I could never figure out why the nation fell about in delirious glee, almost to the point of dribbling hysterics, at the inane, mundane babbling, almost neanderthal behaviour and vulgarity that was essentially the main thrust of the show. I know, I know, its the tumbrils for moi but frankly I still think its baffling that so many were consumed by this dross, and its playmate Early Doors - I hear the cry of 'Where's me clothes, where's me clothes?' And I never got Harry Worth or Morecambe and Wise for that matter...and as for that clod Rowan Atkinson and his dire Mr Bean character....pleeease!!! And while we are wielding the demolition hammer - and at this I do fear the sound of switchblades being stropped and outraged howls filling the air - all this Comic Relief, Red Nose nonsense and, worse, the other bloody celebrity driven Children in Need, where everyone involved thinks pompously that they've been a vital part of saving desperate folk who are starving in 3rd world countries, or are deprived or battered in other ways - and they all reckon it can be done from a comfy designer chair, and with the hurling of a handful of coins...Naw, I'm glad to be a scurvy curmudgeon who bows in awe to those making real sacrifices in the field, who take the risks and work silently and with dedication with no fanfare and little thanks. Not for them the smug aura of self-satisfaction. And do you reckon that a kid in a war-torn, or famine struck land, riddled with disease, malnutrition and other horrors has a clue about - or the vaguest interest in - the antics of the Little Britain bunch. And as for Ronnie Corbett...get me to the stocks pronto, Tonto; I'll gladly take the blows. Yours in recycled cynicism.

PhilMarch 17th 2009.

You are wrong about the Royle Family being funny.

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