Tag Archives: Coronation Street

Mrs Brown’s Boys is TV Christmas No 1.

26 Dec

To me Mrs Brown’s Boys is not a programme I have really got.  It comes across to me a mix of 1970′s northern variety act and a Carry On film, however the rest of the great British nation clearly disagree. Mrs Brown’s Boys was the most watched programme on Christmas Day beating all comers including perennial chart toppers like EastEnders and Dr Who.

Top Ten programmes this Christmas (2013) (Average number of viewers [percentage of viewers])

  1.  9.30pm: Mrs Brown’s Boys – BBC One – 9.4m  [35.5%]
  2.  7.30pm: Doctor Who – BBC One – 8.3m  [30.7%]
  3.  7.30pm: Coronation Street – ITV1 – 7.9m [29.3%]
  4.  8.30pm: EastEnders – BBC One – 7.8m [29%]
  5.  5.00pm: Strictly Come Dancing – BBC One – 7.3m [35.4%]
  6.  6.15pm: Call The Midwife – BBC One – 7.1m [30.1%]
  7.  8.30 pm: Downton Abbey – ITV1 – 6.6m [25.4%]
  8.  3.20pm: Toy Story 3 – BBC One – 6.3m [38.9%]
  9.  3.00pm: The Queen’s Speech – BBC One – 5.7m [36.2%]  /  7.15pm: ITV1 News – ITV1 – 5.7m [23.5%]
  10.  3.10pm: BBC One News – BBC One – 5.6m [37.4%]







Brazil with Michael Palin…Serenity south of Sao Paulo

18 Nov

Four weeks ago we started our journey across Brazil with Michael Palin in the steamy and tropical northeast of Brazil and over the next two weeks we journeyed across this vast country, a country spanning half a continent and 40 times the size of the United Kingdom.

This is the last week and once again we are off the well beaten tourist tracks of Brazil to the parts where we may not have been before. We met the remnants of the Brazilian royal family in a country that is solidly republican serving as a reminder of times gone and a social and racial hierarchy that it is ebbing away.

The programme threw up a question which I don’t know if most people would know the answer to? What is the third largest aircraft manufacturer in the world? Did you say Brazil’s Embraer? Head to the top of the class!  We have seen the vast mineral and agricultural resources that Brazil is endowed with but the country is also moving up the value chain with a growing industrial base with world-class companies like Embraer and Petrobas.

Palin took us to the Embraer manufacturing facility where we met Felipe who is arguably the happiest plane painter I have ever met, admittedly he is also the only plane painter I have met, but he has a quite a jolly outlook on life. His love for his job was apparent and his contentment with the lifestyle it gave him very commendable.

One of the challenges of a rapid industrialisation and urban growth is the waste is generates and disposing this.  Palin meets Wilson Cantahla, a man who has taken the adage “there is money in muck” and spun it out into a personal fortune, and along the way elevated thousands of people who scavenged the waste dumps outside Sao Paulo in to regular jobs in his recycling plants. Further evidence of the transformation of Brazil industrial sector and the social change it spawns.

Another instrument of social change is introduced. The Brazil Telenova  industry. We think of Eastenders and Coronation Street as massive TV shows imagine  then if they regularly pulled in 72 million viewers, that is the power of Brazil’s telenova’s. They are essentially soap operas, but unlike their British cousins dont run for years till we are pleading to be released from our misery, they run for about 9 months before ending while not shying away from tackling a wide range of social issues.

These social changes have transformed but not completely overcome one aspect of Brazilian society and it was something that Palin only lightly touched on, Brazil’s reputation as a melting pot. The country seems blended on the surface but like cream whisk it too vigorously and it splits. As we have traveled across Brazil from the poorer North to the wealthier South although uncommented upon we have seen a subtle change in the makeup of the population.

So much so that when Palin reaches the deep south of the country in the state of Rio Grande do Sol on the border with Uruguay it is almost as if we have stepped onto the casting set for a Bavarian agricultural show awash with lederhosen, barrels of Pilsner and accordions  It was a different country from the one we had arrived at. The Germanic culture and influences were strong and pervasive and  in a way more authentic that what now remains in the teutonic Motherland. It may not be a testament to Brazil as a melting pot, but it is a testament to its varied heritage.

Palin was now in the southermost tip of Brazil close to his journeys end, but that was not to be without a final trip to see another of the great natural wonders this country offers - The Pantanal. The world largest wetland, spanning an area the size of holland and Belgium.

The Pantanal Wetlands

A beautiful, tranquil haven of nature. Here Palin ends the day fishing for flesh eating pinranha, which apparently are delightful for a light evening Sashimi…Just  another day of contrasts in Brazil

I Am A Celebrity…How Do you Solve a Problem Like Helen Flanagan…

18 Nov

ITV’s ratings winner “I am a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” has run into a big problem and it is causing the producers endless headaches. Simply put they have a problem with Helen Flanagan

For anyone who has never watched the show the premise is this.

  1. Pick a bunch of a bunch of “celebrities” who are looking to give their career a boost and earn some extra cash.
  2. Fly them out to Australia.
  3. Stick them in a “jungle” camp over there for three weeks. (In reality a camp built on the edge of a nature reserve).
  4. Put them on very basic food rations mainly rice and beans.
  5. Every day the public vote for one of the celebs to go through some sort of ritual humiliation (aka Bushtucker trial) to win more food for the camp. The trials range from eating Kangaroo testicles to crawling through bug infested slime.
  6. If doing the trail proves to be too much for the celebrity, they can yell out “I am a celebrity get me out of here” and the humiliation will end but obviously they will win nothing.
  7. If celebrity completes the trial successfully they win improved rations for the other celebrities back at the Camp.
  8. Next day repeat 5-7
  9. At the end of about two weeks of repeated celebrity humiliation the public start voting to kick out the celebrities they were least entertained by and the last man / woman standing is crowned King or Queen of the Jungle.

Now if all goes well the celebrities endure the rounds of humiliation, sometimes winning some times losing, but providing the show with lots of footage to keep the watching public entertained.

As most of the celebrities involved are only border line famous, a lot of pre-show publicity is required to raise awareness of who they are before it kicks off.  Some get more publicity than others and in the run up to this show a significant amount of publicity was given to ex-Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan. In addition to endless shoots of her in her jungle kit,which she did look good in, much of the publicity was about the inordinate amount of things she was afraid of.

I suppose from ITV’s perspective she was the ideal celebrity a beautiful woman, guaranteed to provide oodles of amusing footage during bushtucker trials as wades through a pipe of slime, slugs and spiders a fetching two piece swimming suit.

It all seemed to be going to plan, the public were voting for Helen Flanagan  to do the trials day after day. The problem was Helen was not really playing ball, trial after trial she has either ignored the instructions, put in a half-hearted attempt or as we saw last night simply said she was not doing.

The problem now for ITV is that it seems to have a war of attrition on its hand. The viewers of the show are relentless in voting for Helen, and Helen in turn is becoming increasingly unapologetic about not doing the trails, leaving the producers with very little celebrity humiliation to pad out the show.

They’ve apparently tried to make the trails as easy as possible  and host Ant and Dec have cajoled, persuaded and pleaded with Helen to give the trials ago but it looks like it is not working and people are getting livid according to The Sun

An ITV source said: “The amount of time and effort to set up these trials is huge. “So it is infuriating for them to see that work go to waste.

This time the anger is so high producers are planning to use the trial again.”

The real big problem is unlike other days today’s trials is supposed to be beamed live and if Helen (who has been voted to do it again) wimps out they will be left with a significant amount of live broadcast time to fill in.

Looks like it is time for the production staff to really earn their keep, as they need to find a solution to this before tonight.