But the answer’s there for you anyway, if you want to see, at 10pm, BBC2, Friday.
It’s called Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and is officially classed, by listings, as a “comedy”, even though it’s nothing of the sort.
That’s just a Get Out Of Jail card for BBC2, because New World Order is very obviously a political discussion show featuring a host and four guests who represent every possible shade of opinion, from the hard left to the extreme left.
Typically, these will be Sara Pascoe, Katherine Ryan, Guardian statistics expert Mona Chalabi, who’s as funny as her job suggests, and a token male in Miles Jupp or David Baddiel, whose purpose is to sit there, furiously agreeing with everything the women say.
Starting point here will be a “light-hearted” subject that plays to the collective bias.
One week, for instance, it was “Donald Trump will be the first crowd-funded assassination”.
A move the panel eventually seemed to rule out, not on the grounds it’s morally wrong, but that it would: “Make him a martyr.”
On the eve of Harry and Meghan’s wedding it was “We have 12 hours to abolish the monarchy”, which ended with a huge round of applause for Frankie’s suggestion of “executing them”.
If you’re waiting for me here to tell you one person demurred or looked a bit ashamed, you haven’t been watching BBC comedy recently.
There is no shame or opposition these days, least of all from the host, who’s made one of the more remarkable transformations of recent times.
Just eight years ago, Frankie was telling jokes about disabled children, now here he is, via a column in The Guardian, preaching about “the inhumanity of the Tories” and parading his apparent concerns for the children of Palestine.
Remarkable, but I guess that’s what happens if the BBC decide you’re “One of us”.
You get your own show and a stand-up slot at the beginning of each episode, where Frankie settles scores in his usual gear-crunching style.
Targets may be Brexit, the Tories, America and Israel one week. Israel, America, the Tories and Brexit the next.
Corbyn’s off limits, obviously, as Frankie thinks he’s “a real person”, but there’s a regular cast of soft targets, including Donald Trump, Richard Branson (“a c***”), Boris, Michael Gove, Ruth Davidson (“a bastard”) and usually a joke about Prince Philip dying, which I think we can put down to the host’s very obvious and well-deserved self-loathing.
Prince Philip, after all, was mentioned in dispatches fighting real Nazis in World War Two, instead of just ranting about them to a couple of hundred students at the Edinburgh Fringe.
At the age of 97, The Duke is also still a thousand times more unpredictable, off-message, edgy and funny than any of the people on NWO and, unlike Frankie, who has 11 scriptwriters, also comes up with his own material.
The hatred and abuse of Israel is slightly harder to explain, though. Frankie claims it’s because “They break international law”, but then so do a lot of countries, including Russia, which even shoots down passenger aircraft.
A stroke of luck then, you might think, that the BBC’s just screened Frankie’s two-part, pre-World Cup travelogue, Frankie Goes To Russia, where, unfortunately, he didn’t have time to raise the issue of the aircraft, but he did go on Moscow radio to denounce the British Empire (topical or what!).
If you were expecting anything else, of course, you give Frankie Boyle more credit than his apparent cowardice and hypocrisy deserves.
If you were also expecting laughter, then I applaud your optimism, but you’ll no more get it on NWO than on Have I Got News For You, or The Mash Report, or any of those other shows that have decided the right-on part of the world is untouchable and their own left-wing agenda is far more important than being funny.
The BBC’s continuing claims of impartiality, on the other hand? Well, forgive me if I let out the hollowest laugh of my life, but they are really, darkly funny.
Ha . . .
— GIVEN the BBC’s endless, self-serving and grovelling tributes to the NHS are still very much ongoing, I feel it would be wrong, at this point, if I didn’t join in the birthday celebrations.
For though it has its faults and is often criticised, it’s been there for us, healing the lame, curing the sick, becoming the envy of the world, a shining beacon to the entire universe, which makes me fall to my knees and give thanks for seven decades’ service at the mere mention of its sacred initials.
Happy 71st, Bupa.
RANDOM TV IRRITATIONS
GRACE Campbell swiftly establishing herself as the emptiest vessel in the feminist rent-a-gob market. The whinge whinge whinge tone of Managing England: The Impossible Job.
All those liars who say they want fat, unattractive people on Love Island. The disturbing Trouble With Women revelation that Anne Robinson keeps a scrapbook of her old newspaper columns, when so many hamsters still go without decent bedding every night.
And The X Factor giving a job not just to Robbie Williams, who’s won 18 Brit awards and five Ivor Novello awards, but also his wife, Ayda Field, who handed Emmerdale the NTA’s 2017 Best Soap award. There on merit . . .
Holden's spheres of joy
IF you have ever wondered why some people are so dementedly pleased to see the World Cup arrive, try watching daytime TV just before the ball-kicking tournament starts.
I did last Wednesday and quickly fell down a QVC rabbit hole, where I discovered Amanda Holden has a neat line in selling stuff nobody actually needs but everyone seems to want.
Suitcases that aren’t really suitcases, string chairs designed to look like a cat’s sphincter, rugs that would make a Moroccan fez salesman blush, machine-woven toilet roll baskets, lamp-shades so taut and expressionless they could sit on the Britain’s Got Talent panel, if you just pre-programmed them with a dirty laugh.
Amanda’s exclusive landfill range has the lot. Piece de resistance, though, has to be her “glass infinity spheres”, which defy any sort of purpose or description, but she had a crack anyway.
“They’re, uhm, a bit like those things in the ’80s and ’90s you put fingers and hands on.”
Lava lamps? Tamagotchis? Les Dennis? Sadly, we may never know.
The afternoon’s real curve ball, though, was introduced by QVC’s endlessly enthusiastic host Pipa Gordon, vis-a-vis lightbulbs: “Amanda, bayonet or screw?”
Get back to you, Pipa. I’m just emailing a format idea to ITVBe.
BBC2 Springwatch offering the full range of natural wonders, from basking sharks off Scotland’s west coast, to parakeet sex above a pub car park in Kent.
Sophie and Sadie both switching their lights off the moment 5ive’s Ritchie Neville burst into song on a celebrity version of Take Me Out.
The One Show’s Alex Jones telling David Walliams: “You’re handsome . . . in a different way.”
And a dreadful opening to the World Cup being elevated by the brilliant Spain versus Ronaldo game, ITV’s superior selection of pundits and Wrighty, very solemnly assuring us: “I think Suarez has got a big one in him.”
—TUESDAY, Good Morning Britain calls in the big diplomatic hitter to comment on the US/North Korea peace deal.
Singer Michael Ball: “I would feel better if it wasn’t those two having the conversation.
“But there is nothing better than people talking, ’cos . . . ”
’Cos love, love changes everything. Hands and faces, earth and sky.
Island's warming up nicely
AFTER a relatively slow start, Love Island is now in the groove and I am totally immersed. To such an extent that I developed a really strong loathing for a couple of the contestants last week.
Namely, Eyal, who’s as ruthless and possessive as the next smirking little berk who claims he’s “spiritual”, and Hayley, a venomous little madam whose description of herself – “I’m cute, funny, feisty, dozy” – is a million miles away from anyone else’s, unless the Theatre Royal St Helens is seriously short of dwarves next Christmas.
Fortunately, she’s gone now and there are quite a few of the Islanders that I do actually like.
Stationery-obsessed Jack, who has Dancing On Ice 2019 written all over him, top secret Josh, who can’t say too much about his job (taps nose) and Laura, who, like every Scottish woman ever born, is incapable of disguising her feelings, good or bad, and has a biological clock that’s ticking like a Countdown Conundrum.
It’s the production that still sets Love Island apart, though, and the fact it’s the only reality show which would drop Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony into the mix or have the wit to pay off the Alex/Eyal showdown with this news: “Megan had to choose between a man who saves lives with his bare hands and a boy who can walk up and down in a straight line while pouting.
“There was only ever going to be one winner.”
- Love Island, ITV2, 9pm, tonight.
WORLD CUP INSIGHTS
Mark Clattenburg: “It was a definite non-penalty kick.”
Steve Wilson: “Portugal’s big man in the sky is on the pitch.”
Alex Scott: “Croatia looked lustlackre.”
Glenn Hoddle: “The Ref saw it so he must have been watching.”
THIS week’s winner is Gemma Collins and Tiffany from Bride Of Chucky. Sent in by Connor David, via email.
Picture research: Alfie Snelling.
GREAT TV LIES AND DELUSIONS OF THE WEEK
GOOD Morning Britain, Piers Morgan: “I love salad.”
Good Morning Britain, Susanna Reid: “I’m totally neutral when it comes to politics.” (Dyed-in-the-wool BBC left-of-centre about everything).
And Love Island, Alex on Megan revealing she’s a stripper: “I think that showed such character and strength. I really respect her for that.”
(Would like to see her with her kit off.)
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