Not so ugly betty

The gifted but timid and pathetically conformist makers of Ugly Betty please take note of ‘My Mad Fat Diary’. You had the opportunity and the talent but you blew it. Once again Channel 4 leads the way and Sharon Rooney becomes the latest in a long line of brilliant talent to be given the opportunity they deserve by a channel with genuine vision.

An open letter to Marina Sirtis

Dear Marina,

I have a pain in the small of my back, although I have no recollection of having injured it. Do you think it is likely to be some form of trauma induced pain, or an ailment of as yet unidentified origin and/or nature?


Alex Annesty

Is there any chance we could have a deep, meaningful and physical relationship? Failing that, is there any chance we could have a shallow, meaningless and physical relationship?

Ageing and Andrews

I’ve been thinking about age recently; I’m approaching another landmark birthday.  As one gets older, landmark birthdays are separated by more years but seem to come with increasing frequency.  Generally, as they age, men lose hair where they want it and grow it where they don’t.  They spend less time washing their hair and more time washing their faces – my thanks to a man named Andrew for that last observation.

“A man named Andrew” sounds like a title for a western.  I wonder what others there might be in the series: “The Magnificent Andrews”, “A Fistful Of Andrews”, “For A Few Andrews More”, “Pale Andrew”, “The Good, the Bad and the Andrew”, “The Wild Andrew”, “Pat Garrett And Andy The Kid”, “Andrew Cassidy And The Sundance Kid”, “The Outlaw Andrew Wales”, “Andrew”, “Andrew Rides Again”. Of course, there are also the classic old TV westerns: “Shotgun Andrew”, “A Message From Andrew”, “Flowers For Andrew”, “Sentenced To Andrew”, “Old Andrew’s Sister”, “Cannonball Andrew”, “Hopalong Andrew”, “The Lone Andrew”.

Phew, I think I’ve got Andrews out of my system now. And westerns.  Perhaps I should turn to music for a change of pace and a bit of light relief; something by the Andrews Sisters, perhaps?

Predictions for 2009


  • Sterling weakens further and the pound sinks to parity with the Zimbabwean dollar.
  • In a completely unexpected move, the Federal Reserve recommends that the USA join the Eurozone.


  • FIA regulations restrict Formula 1 cars to human only power and the World championship is won by a previously unknown tap dancer from Kidsgrove.
  • In response to the continuing credit crunch and declining pound, Lord Coe announces that the 2012 Olympics will be held in the back garden of a Mrs Nellie Pardue of 29 Bramble Way,  Croydon. It is hoped this move will reduce the overspend to around £14bn.


  • Eligibility for the download chart is restricted to finalists from X-Factor, Pop Idol and Big Brother. No-one over the age of eight notices.
  • It is discovered that Osama bin Laden has been making fake video broadcasts, in which he claims to be Ringo Starr, hates Liverpool and doesn’t want anything to do with his fans. The prank only comes to light when the real Ringo makes an impassioned plea for anyone to get in touch with him; even Sir Paul McCartney.


  • Windows version 7 early release is made available. All features of previous releases, including the text editor, calculator, e-mail client, web browser and the ability to run applications are now only available in an add-on entitled “You’re stuffed without this pal – Live!”, expected to cost $99. All familiar menus, options and general features have been moved into illogical and difficult to find groups, which reflect the way Microsoft believe their users think, having not bothered to ask them. The new operating system requires a 3 gigahertz quadruple core processor, 8 gigabytes RAM and 500 gigabytes free disk space. It takes a mere twenty-five minutes to start up and is capable of running MS Word at nearly 50% of the speed Word 1.0 ran on an IBM PC with around one thousandth of the raw computing power, back in 1983.
  • Nintendo release Wii Yum, using a special food tray controller, with built in sensors – the Wii diet dish. Wii Yum allows players to measure food intake and play amusing games, whilst dieting. Amazingly, Nintendo appear to underestimate demand and only ship a dozen units to each continent to cover the first six months sales.

Martyr Chef

I’m not entirely comfortable with the revised format of Master Chef. It’s gone down the same ‘X-factor style hyper-critical judges’ route as most other programmes at the moment.

I preferred the old Loyd Grossman version, which was far more cosy and closer to the ‘Galloping Gourmet’ end of the cookery programme scale.

If you need a reminder, here’s the Reeves and Mortimer take on Master Chef 1995, also featuring the brilliant Morwena Banks, Matt Lucas and Charlie Higson:

If the programme makers insist on sticking to the modern format, I think they should take it further and really embrace the reality TV concept. How about if they were to rename it Martyr Chef, move into a domestic, ‘Wife Swap’ style setting and focus on how each cook suffers in the the creation of the meal?

“I spent four hours in this kitchen preparing something special for you and YOUR friends. All you’ve done is slob around and drink beer. You could at least have loaded the dishwasher for me. Have you any idea what’s involved in making filo pastry? No, sit down – I’ve nearly finished tidying up now. I’ll be up at 7:30 to prepare your breakfast, while you sleep off your hangover.”