Television light entertainment used to be sketch shows headlined by the likes of Harry Worth and Dick Emery and comedy and variety programmes from Morecambe and Wise.
Eric and Ern produced classic moments of hilarity with Shirley Bassey, Vanessa Redgrave and Andrew Preview.
“You are not playing the right notes.”
“I am playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.”
Name any major star and they appeared with Morecambe and Wise.
These days, prime time has X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing continuing on their moribund ways each weekend. The best light entertainment the autumn schedule can offer is the Graham Norton Show, who has genuine star guests and the personality not to be over awed.
At least there is good drama, something that we Brits do rather well. The Peaky Blinders continue to play a blinder (how did Australian Sam Neill nail the Northern Irish accent so well?) and Sheridan Smith was brilliant in the evocative Cilla, but I’ve been disappointed with the new Dr Who series: with both the scripts and Peter Capaldi.
Grantchester, the detective series set in the 1950s, looks promising with Robson Green as the policeman aided by sleuthing vicar James Norton, who has made an amazing transformation from his role as the rapist of Happy Valley. I’m looking forward to The Great Fire and also James Nesbitt in The Missing, a drama about a boy who disappears on a family holiday in France.
Last Tango In Halifax is returning but I shall not be tuning in to the second series of multi-award winning Broadchurch. I found the first series tedious, over elaborate and with enough red herrings to feed Dorset.
Next month sees the return of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. I can hardly wait to see which D list celebrities have accepted phenomenal fees to go and spend weeks in the controlled environment of a jungle camp in the Australian outback that is no more dangerous or uncomfortable than a Maplin’s holiday chalet.
When discussing this with my mate Kev the Sparkie, he said: “Why is it always celebrities? Why don’t they do one for ordinary people?”
This is an idea that appeals, although I’m A British Soldier Get Me Out Of Here wouldn’t work, because the soldiers would complete all the tasks without fuss or drama, in between night raids on the nearby five star hotel for beer supplies.
“How about, I’m A Sub-Contractor Get Me Out Of Here?” said Kev, who is an electrical sub-contractor. This, also has obvious drawbacks. A group that included joiners, electricians, plumbers, builders, painters and roofers would, by the end of the series, have transformed the camp into a five star hotel.
One possibility that might be popular is I’m A Politician Get Me Out Of Here.
Pick all the most annoying MPs and cabinet ministers, drop them in the middle of the Australian Outback – and leave them there.