RELAX everyone, Saturday night TV has reverted to the familiar format of wheeling out mad-eyed, crazy-haired oddities for our delectation.
I give you Britain’s Got Talent (ITV, 8pm). There was the woman who could simultaneously cry and open her mouth really wide, yet not allow her face to move; the jolly comedian in an unwise suit, playing his old-school-camp card for all it was worth, to little effect.
There was a lady with performing shoulders and a bun so tight, they felt her pain on the International Space Station; and a dishevelled old fellow whose talent appeared to be surprising us with sudden flashes of ultraviolet-white veneers.
But enough about the judges.
It was time to revel at the acts of atrocity being rolled out before us.
A woman, with alarming leggings, wrapped her foot round her head while her wee dog sat on her other foot just watching. She called this nonsense ‘doga’ (Gerrit? As in yoga, but with a dog? Except the dog didn’t really join in).
A small boy did an impression of a stand-up comedian, reciting jokes written by his dad. Probably.
There was a real policeman, still in his uniform, which predictably drew salacious leers and cries of “Oooooh, yes!” from David Walliams. The cop’s talent was convincing himself that it was the early ’80s and, therefore, robotic dancing was a good thing.
On went the Easter parade of fools.
A dull dance troupe in animal masks that belong in the securely-locked cupboard marked ‘Clowns, glass-eyed dolls, antique-animatronic monkeys and other stuff of nightmares…’
And Jess, who was cheered enthusiastically for being freshly-divorced, less so for her frankly baffling impressions. Then a man with a cardboard boat on his head. Two guys with a voice-activated notepad, pretending to read minds and two women painting upside down.
Man, it was bad.
However, just as the cynicism of the entire audience at Gibson Towers had reached fever-pitch, on came The Missing People Choir to shut us up.
This group of the saddest, yet bravest people you’re likely to see for a while, took dignity to a new level. Each member was living with the relentless agony of having a loved-one simply disappear. Each had a bleak tale of loss, all had a haunted look in their eyes. And yet, as photos of their absent loves appeared fleetingly on a giant screen behind them, they held their heads high and sang their broken hearts out.
Now that takes talent.
Then consternation at Gibson HQ as the deranged doc (Peter Capaldi) crashed back onto the screen with a new sidekick in Doctor Who (BBC1, 7.20pm).
Was Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) a teeny bit annoying? Could that warp-speed manner of talking possibly be sustained/get immensely irritating? Was the sassy thing old hat?
All these misgivings disappeared into thin air, though, as the joyfully-creepy plot unfolded and the mysterious Potts came into her own. She’s the most overtly gay character the series has seen. The bit about her ‘fatting’ a girl she fancied in the uni canteen by giving her too many chips was funny but the heavy-handedness of the right-on message will calm down.
Her face is good telly. In one scene she even mentioned that it never did what it was meant to and The Doctor, who is looking lean, mean and madder than a bottle of chips, commented: “Most people, when they don’t understand something, frown. But you … smile.”
And how scary was puddle girl? My girls were doing exactly the same thing I did, while watching Doctor Who at their age, and hiding behind cushions. Which meant they didn’t notice I was, too!
So, a great start and a marvellous end, as we found out that John Simm is coming back.
John. Simm. Is. Coming. Back!!
But wait. What’s that? Elation turned to deflation within seconds on discovering that Kris Marshall (BT, My Family, etc.) looks set to be the new doctor.