Britain’s Got Talent 2014

A disappointing year for Britain’s Got Talent. Maybe all the talent has dried up. In other years there have been one or two clear favourites and though this year Simon Cowell was happy to crow about how this was the most open competition yet, it actually meant that no act was particularly memorably or noteworthy. As ever, the running order on the show really influenced the voting and there was blatant manipulation by the producers.

Anyway here is my order of the finalists (in reverse order of my rankings):

11. Yanis Marshall, Arnaud and Mehdi

Three french men who danced in heels to a Beyonce medley. Simon Cowell buzzed them. Indicative of the importance of running order as they only went through their semi finals because they were last. Weren’t terrible but weren’t great or interesting.

10. Paddy and Nico

An old woman who dances and is thrown in the air. If she wasn’t “old” then this would be a terrible dance act. Amanda Holden’s golden buzzer act; Holden compared Paddy in some convuluted way to the men who fought in the D-Day landings which was a horrific analogy. Paddy also seemed very shocked when she came 9th, which was slightly amusing.

9. Lettice Rowbotham

She would be described as a posh violinist. She played to Evanescence. Ruined her performance by deciding to suddenly sing in the middle.

8. The Addict Initiative

A theatrical dance troupe – who did an interpretative dance of Hansel and Gretel. Simon Cowell compared them favourably to Diversity but they weren’t that good.  I’m intrigued by their name though and I wonder if it means more.

7. Darcy Oake

A Canadian illusionist. I thought his earlier acts were much better – appearing doves and then turning into a cameraman. For the final he did a standard Houdini-style escape from a straightjacket with the danger of a trap falling on him. Though the judges talked about their fear that he wouldn’t survive, of course he always would. Good production and he’ll obviously continue to have a good career but not that exciting.

6. Jon Clegg

An impressionist who always harked back to his father who had also been a comedian. He was the wild card entry and did a serviceable job including a good call back to another impressionist but not particularly memorable.

5. Collabro

The show was weighted towards singers this year. And the top 5 are the music acts – not because they were all great but more so because the other acts weren’t particularly noteworthy. Anyway I’ve put the winners, Collabro, in fifth place. They a five piece musical theatre act who sang two Les Mis songs in the competition – repeating the audition piece in the final. They were ok, but I was disappointed that they did the same song and seemed a bit shaky. They were put on in penultimate place and had a lot of goodwill going into the competition but I was surprised they won. I’m sure they’ll sell records but they’re really not that exciting and need to venture outside of Les Miserables territory.

4. Jack Pack

I didn’t like Jack Pack in their auditions but I quite liked their final performance (in comparison to some others), and I’m surprised I’ve put them as high as 4th.  A four-piece ‘swing’ musical act – it’s obvious that they’ll be groomed in the same way as the kind of cod-opera bands that Simon Cowell has managed (Il Divo). The one on the far right never speaks (except briefly in the VT in the final) which is funny.

3. Lucy Kay

An “opera” singer. She sang Nessun Dorma. And although she explained that it’s difficult to sing for a woman, it seemed very unoriginal. Isn’t that the song that Paul Potts won with? She came second, but she did perform last and did have a very clear voice. Potentially the new Katherine Jenkins, but not very exciting.

2. James Smith

A fifteen year old singer with a guitar. Surprisingly really good. He sang Try a Little Tenderness and had a really good voice. Not surprised that he didn’t get into the top three as he wasn’t promoted much and played in the middle. But I liked his performance.

1. Bars and Melody

Ok so the show shamelessly pulled at the heartstrings for their audition. They were Simon Cowell’s buzzer act. Their semi final performance to Sting’s Every Breath you Take misunderstood the lyrics of that song. They’ve been on the Ellen Show. They’re probably a bit of a one-hit wonder. But I like their anti-bullying song-  it could be used effectively – and they were good characters. It would have been good to see them win for the entertainment value of it. That is all.


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Who Dares Wins, 15 March 2014

So I thought it was over a few weeks ago, but then suddenly another episode appeared – because The Voice was not taking up the whole Saturday evening. Anyway, more lists, more games, less interesting than it used to be.

Saturday 15 March 2014

1. Boys names beginning with vowels

The top 100 boys names in the UK in 2012 starting with vowels. The reigning champions bid 13 but for their 8th answer said Ian/Iain, which was not on the list.

2. British and Irish Lions

Any male British or Irish Rugby Unions Lions whoplayed in a test match since 1993. The champions bid 12 but for their very first answer said Gareth Jones, which was wrong.

*Money Game: Labour or Conservative Party Leaders since 1939

Easy to get to £10k even if you’re not into politics. The new Champions got to 12 answers and £25k.


1. Top Artists for Karaoke in 2013

Top 200 artists sung at Karaoke in the UK in 2013 (as compiled by LittleVoice). The Challengers bid 16 and were going well until they said Donna Summer, who was not on the list.

2. Harry Potter Actors

The top 15 billed actors (male or female) in any of the Harry Potter films. The Champions bid 12 but said Mark Milliams half way through, who was in the films but not in the top 15 billed in any film.

Tie Break: Formula 1 Drivers in 2013

A tie break then when the two teams had to give answers in turn until one couldn’t. They did 5 between them but then the Challengers said Mika Hakkinen, who was not driving in 2013.

* Money Game: Countries smaller than the UK

Well the currently reigning Champions weren’t very good at this question. For their third answer they said Norway and so did not get any money this round.

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Line of Duty, Series 2, Episode 6

Strangely unsatisfying ending, but also satisfying as it was the only ending that could work and make sense. So Lindsay Denton was, to an extent, unwillingly and unwittingly involved in the conspiracy to kill Tommy, the super witness. She knew, when she was in the car, that Tommy would be killed – but not how and where and when, and so she was not the master criminal mastermind she hinted at sometimes, but she wasn’t a goody-two-shoes either. And of course, Dot Cottan, the caddy, was still corrupt and pulling most of the strings (along with Jane Akers) in order to kill off Tommy as he had too much incriminating evidence against bent coppers. And Dryden was only guilty of underage ‘sex’ and perverting the course of justice by taking his wife’s speeding ticket, but not involved in the main conspiracy to kill policemen.

In the end, it all came back to Carly Kirk. Who was being pimped out by ‘Tommy’ (and Prashad) to blackmail policemen. Lindsay Denton, following Dryden, saw Tommy beating up Carly and tried to follow it up. Unfortunately for her, that meant that she tried to arrest Tommy (on the sly because she didn’t want to tell her colleagues how she knew about Carly Kirk) but was confronted by Jane Akers, his witness protection officer. She then later came to Lindsay and drew her into a conspiracy to kill Tommy – giving her a shedload of cash to bind her in. Lindsay didn’t know the details, or who else was involved, or that a tracker was actually placed on her car to facilitate the ambush.

And so Steve Arnott, who at the beginning of the episode appeared to be smitten with Lindsay, was going ‘undercover’ and worked out that the cash was with Lindsay’s mother’s things and that she had been using someone else’s computer. The cash was incriminating and she was convicted for conspiracy to murder and life imprisonment – when really she probably didn’t deserve such a harsh sentence. And Dot Cottan is now a permanent member of AC12 – profiting while everyone else fails.

New Picture

New Picture (2)

New Picture (3)

New Picture (4)

New Picture (5)

New Picture (1)

New Picture (6)

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Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle

The best comedy on British tv on at the moment. That is all!

Now with added Chris Morris

Now with added Chris Morris

Saturday nights on BBC2; the latest three episodes are still on iplayer, and there are three more to go.

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Line of Duty, Series 2, Episode 5

There’s only one episode left and it’s not clear how they’re going to wrap everything up in just one hour.

So with all the signs pointing towards DCC Dryden (Mark Bonnar) as the main conspirator until the last 10 minutes, when under questionning he seemed pretty convincing that he was not involved in the murder of the witness, Tommy, or Carly Kirk although he was definitely involved in ‘sexual acts’ with the fifteen year old and perverting the course of justice… it now seems that maybe Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes) was pulling the strings all along, because she’s Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and is a spurned woman who stalks and is hell-bent on destroying Dryden? I’m not sure I’d be happy with that kind of resolution, i.e. that the strong female character is actually a jealous harpy.

The final shot shows Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) looking at Denton’s medical records and pulling a shocked face. She terminated a pregnancy, but there was a close up on her address on the medical records and I wonder if the address on the medical records was different from the place that she lives in? I’m not entirely sure.

But back to the beginning – Prasad and Cole (from Vice) – we hardly knew you because as soon as you turned up at the end of last episode to kidnap Denton, you were then dead within the first few minutes (Cole) having been killed by the other (Prasad) and then Denton somehow managed to escape the car boot to nearly kill Prasad – getting him to record a confession on the phone that Dryden was behind everything but not quite dying, later asking for immunity from prosecution in order to give evidence.

But AC12 find photos from a flashdrive in Prasad’s boot that show Carly performing oral sex on Dryden (or at least photos that imply so) and the dead body of Carly. However, in light of the final smirks by Denton, did she plant these? As Dryden points out, Denton is very cunning – she got the financial records of Hastings, the phone records of Kate and photos of Arnott sleeping with the witness. Who’s to say she can’t do more, set up everyone and do the ultimate long con, even setting up Prasad somehow? Although Prasad and Cole definitely did the ambush on the witness and Cole definitely killed Jessica Raines and they definitely did not know Denton. Ooh.

Meanwhile Hastings redeems himself. The head of AC12 was in a moral quandary but in the end did allow his team to arrest Dryden even though it means no promotion and no cruise to win back his wife.

And we saw a cameo return from Nige (Neil Morissey) and his cane from last series. He meets with Dot Cottan, who gets some information about Dryden out of him, while Dot also plants the seed with Nige that the ‘caddy’ (ie actually Dot) who Tommy the witness alludes to, is in fact the now conveniently dead Cole. Is Dot doing the ultimate long con in fact? It appears not, but I wonder now that Hastings may be disgraced if Dot will eventually become head of Anti Corruption unit 12, all the while being the ultimate corrupt copper?

Looking forward to next week, but wish this series went on longer.

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Line of Duty, Series 2, Episode 4

This series of Line of Duty is getting critical acclaim everywhere – with everyone saying that Keeley Hawes is a shoo-in for Baftas etc. Well, yes, but let’s see how it all ends before we anoint her – a terrible ending could ruin all the good feeling everyone has for her as an actress.

The fourth episode (two more to go) ended with Lindsay Denton shoved into the boot of the car being driven by the two-helmeted guys who have been killing policemen and the witness, Tommy. But now, they are without their helmets, and AC12 have worked out who they are – two vice cops – one the Asian man who was Carly Kirk (the missing girl)’s boyfriend. the other the man who wore the dodgy blonde wig to kill Tommy and also Jessica Raines’ character. Not only are they policemen but AC12 have found video evidence that they knew Dryden – the top boss who Fleming and Arnott are increasingly convinced is involved in the murders. And on top of all that, Carly Kirk, the girl that Lindsay Denton was trying to find – and who was probably buried under the garage floor – was waitressing at an event, on the night that she went missing, where Dryden and Asian cop (Prasad) were at. And on that same night, August 16th, Dryden pretended that he was speeding in his wife’s car – in order to give him some sort of alibi.

Complicated? Yeah, maybe.

So all the evidence is increasingly pointing to the fact that Lindsay is innocent. She has a chance to escape – as she visits her dying mother in her nursing home -but doesn’t do so. And then her G4S van is rammed by the two vice cops, Cole and Prasad and she is taken away. But if she dies then what? And if she doesn’t die, how will she get out of this situation?

Meanwhile, the link to Dot Cottan remains a mystery. He was the caddy for Tommy, as we found out in the last series, and Tommy explicitly leaves behind a video (or rather Jane Akers, the witness protection officer does) that talks about the caddy. But it seems that Jane Akers was being paid  off, while also collecting evidence, and that her husband knew about her payoffs while sleeping with Kate, who has been chucked out of her family home by her husband.

Complicated? Yeah maybe.

And I haven’t even started on Hastings who is trying to win back his wife by dangling the possibility of Dryden giving him a promotion and therefore payrise which will solve all the financial problems he caused. But it is increasingly looking like Dryden is guilty and Hastings is torn – especially as there is little dispute that Dryden and Lindsay were having an affair. But if they were having an affair, maybe this is all a long con? Or maybe it is nothing to do with them?

Complicated? Not enough! Roll on the next two episodes.

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Line of Duty, Series 2, Episode 3

The second series of Line of Duty is linking up explicitly now with the first series as ‘Dot’ Cottan returns and we find out that the witness who was the focus of the ambush in the first episode was ‘Tommy’ – the big gangster in the first series (the man on the phone for the most part) and the man for whom Dot worked. However, nobody realised that Dot was corrupt, as Lennie James was always perceived as guilty and Dot now works for the AC9 and the witness protection squad and is drafted in to help AC12 with their case against Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes).

Yes, Jessica Raines did die after being chucked out of the window of the first episode, as did the witness. In the second episode, the evidence was stacked up against Lindsay Denton although she too did her own investigating about AC12 – proving that Arnott had slept with a witness, that Hastings (Adrian Dunbar) has money trouble and keeps up her sleeve that Kate has been having an affair with Aker’s husband ie the husband of the witness protection officer who was killed in the ambush.

The missing girl case that Lindsay was pursuing in episode 2 seems to be linked somehow to the witness protection case. Her boyfriend worked at the same garage that the people involved in using the nurse to get to the witness used. Lindsay visited the garage in episode 2 and then confronted Kate, working out that she was an undercover AC12 officer, and this makes Kate convinced that this is no coincidence and that Lindsay is involved in selling out information – but surely if Lindsay was such a clever policewoman she would not take Kate to the scene of the crime. In this episode Kate realises that the floor of the garage is wonky and they dig it up to find the remains of a young girl – probably the missing girl Lindsay was looking for, Carly.

The third episode has Lindsay in prison where there seem to be only two officers looking after her and the whole prison. She is abused and not allowed bail. The press know her identity, even though it was meant to be protected, because the big boss (Dryden – Mark Bonnar) told a press informant in order to get them off his back about a speeding fine. However, Lindsay admits to Kate that she once had an affair to Dryden, that Dryden was the person she rang when she went out on the call for the witness and so perhaps he was the one, and the one with the power, to frame her and arrange the hit. Kate does some digging and finds out that Dryden had specifically rearranged the shifts so that Lindsay would be on shift when the witness move call came in. However, she shares this information with Dot (as well as Arnott) – not a good move.

In the meantime, Dot doesn’t believe that Denton did it either though so are we meant to think he has turned ‘good’ or is there a longer con going on? He thinks Akers is the informant and finds financial records to prove that she received £50,000 recently. But ickle Steve Arnott ends the episode by going to see Lindsay Denton in prison to tell her believes her. Oh dear, having believed Keeley Hawes now that Arnott believes her it can’t be true!

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